The World Hates People with Vaginas, Part 1: The Donkey Punch

Hello, everyone, and welcome to part one of my new series that will never, ever end, The World Hates People With Vaginas. You see, I hear on an almost daily basis that women have made impressive strides in recent history, that equality is all but a foregone conclusion, that feminism is passe, that I’m living in the past and haven’t noticed just how good we’ve got it these days. We are, the story goes, living in a “post-feminist” society, whatever the fuck that means (I think it means we’re living in a society in which most women have been duped into believing they’ve gotten as much as they’re going to get and ought to be grateful they aren’t in Afghanistan).

Well, I’m here to tell you that feminism is still necessary because the world still hates women. And in order to prove it to you, I’m starting a new series in which I will present to my dear readership and to whatever random assholes get here searching for “6 year old fucking” and “slut bitch cougar fuckers” examples of the overt and flamboyant misogyny that pervades our popular culture. I warn you, this series is going to be fucked up. Real fucked up. It’s designed to force people who are putting their all into denying that misogyny is still a serious problem to consider the idea that they might, in fact, be full of shit.

So, let’s roll.

You know what I recommend you never, ever do? Peruse Urban Dictionary. I recommend that you avoid that URL for a very good reason: it’s the most terrifyingly misogynistic website on Earth. I mean it, dude. It’s nothing but page upon page upon page of descriptions of various methods of sexual assault and abuse written by fifteen-year-old rapists and voted upon by thirteen-year-old rapists-in-training. And the implication is that these miscreants have either done what they’re describing or wish they could. I understand that these things are more often than not nothing but teenage bravado and bullshit, but that somehow doesn’t decrease the “holy shit, thank god I’m not fifteen anymore” factor. Why not, you ask? Because these descriptions abound, because they’re saturated with dehumanization and hatred, and they’re clearly not arousing much disapproval, if one can judge anything by the thumbs-up vs. thumbs-down ratios the average Urban Dictionary post receives.

Let’s get an example, huh?

The entry for “donkey punch” brings up seven pages of results. Here are some samples:

while banging ur bitch in the anus u proceed to then punch her in the back of the head… if she coughs up blood thats 10 points!!
i fucked my bestfriends bitch and donkey punched the hell out of that bitch
The ratio on that one was 4:1, thumbs-up:thumbs-down. Another charmer:
The lesser known and even lesser appreciated version of the Donkey Punch, wherein you perform the normal acts of a donkey punch but then proceed to grab onto a ceiling fan and swing around over her unconscious body, trying to shit in her mouth.
“Man, sex with Michelle has been getting boring lately”
“Have you tried to donkey punch?”
“Yeah, it doesn’t help.”
“How about the donkey swing?”
17:9. One more:
Banging a girl doggy style and then moments before you cum, sticking your dick in her ass, and then punching her in the back of the head as hard as you can. This gives a tremendous sensation. But for it to work correctly, the girl must be completely knocked out, so that her asshole tightens up uncontrollably.
Last night, when I got back from the game I donkey punched Jenny, twice.
Apparently the correct spelling bummed people out, because that one only got a 3:2 thumbs-up to thumbs-down ratio. I did find a few posts that garnered more thumbs-down than thumbs-up votes. See this one, for example:
For anybody even remotely considering this stunt (adequately explained in the definitions) or for those who somehow think the idea of a donkey punch is amusing, I have the following opinion from a prosecutor at our local District Attorney’s Office:
Donkey punching is easily indictable as a serious felony on two counts.    First: deadly assault. A blow to the back of the head is can easily cause a severe or fatal brain stem injury; even no-holds-barred professional fights ban it.

Second: it is rape, pure and simple. The logic of this would be easily understood by any jury. The object and motivation of donkey punching is clear and unambiguous: it is to render the victim unconscious and thus incapable of saying “NO” to something the victim would ordinarily and vigorously object to.

Our office, given proper evidence would, with great eagerness and determination, prosecute a case such as this. The probability of conviction would be virtually certain. Furthermore, we could convincingly argue that the perpetrator(s) are to be regarded as dangerous sex criminals and thus pose a clear community danger while awaiting trial. Few judges would deny our argument that the perpetrators should be imprisoned while awaiting trial.

In addition, there is ample precedence for conviction of those encouraging these crimes on separate felony crimes of aiding and abetting a sexual assault. A viewing of Jody Foster’s “The Accused”, based on an actual rape conviction, should make this plain to people.

In the case of a prearranged or planned assault, an additional and more serious charge of conspiracy would be added to the indictment.

774:827. Apparently the denizens of Urban Dictionary don’t wanna hear from anyone who thinks women are human.

Do I need to analyze this little example of why this world is still a shitty place in which to be female for anyone? I realize that the majority of the people who fuck around on Urban Dictionary are adolescent virgins who listen to nu metal and run around with Aqua Teen Hunger Force t-shirts on, and hence never have and quite possibly never will have the opportunity to attempt a donkey punch on a sex partner, but that isn’t the point. These posts illustrate the fact that hating women is not only still accepted and encouraged among young people, but that it’s now become an extreme sport. There are no less than 47 gleeful descriptions on this website of an act (and it’s just one of hundreds of thousands) that is nothing short of battery and rape in language so hateful and degrading that I’ll go ahead and call it hate speech. (I know, I’m such a fag.) Even if none of the little assholes who wrote or voted on any of these posts has actually attempted to carry out the act, there’s still the little problem that people are openly encouraging rape and behaving as if it were the funniest shit of all time in a public forum that gets 12 million hits a month. One can only imagine what kind of shit the adolescent girls of the world are having to deal with these days and will have to suffer at the hands of these dicks as they get older and become sexually active. But let’s also not forget that adolescent boys alone can’t account for 12 million hits a month.

To sum up, just in case anybody missed it, the goal in this little act of sexual assault is to rape a woman anally, and then to knock her out when she protests, because it purportedly feels good. Male pleasure, once again, comes at the cost of female suffering, and, quite honestly, looks as though it also derives therefrom. I wonder, really I do: could porn have anything to do with the escalation in the violence and degradation in teenage boys’ fantasies? Nah, couldn’t be. They come up with this shit on their own, I’m sure, because adolescent boys are so imaginative and creative.

Women in our society have achieved some legal rights, so misogyny’s over, right? The widespread cultural acceptance of the hatred of women is no big deal, because we prosecute rape sometimes, right? Pornography has no real impact on women’s lives because it’s pure fantasy, completely separate from the way people think about the world and interact with others, right? Whatever, dude. Tell that to this poor woman (73:29; I’m assuming the up votes are from the few outraged women on the site and from young dudes who think her suffering is just hilarious):

first, to the one that said no one actualy donkey punches, that is not tru. when i was in colege, a guy i hooked up with donkey punched me and i had to go to the hospital. i got brain damage. thatnk you, for that. anyway, a donkey punch is when a guy punches the girl in the back of the head and its sposed to make you have an orgasam. it doesnt work, and i cant telll you enogh not to do it.

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Dimples Kids Spa, making your 6-year-old sexy as fuck.

Ugh. Do I have to admit this? OK, I’m on Facebook. I was checking my Facebook page today to see what kind of dorky shit the people I know who have Facebook pages were doing and I happened to spy a teensy little ad in the column to the right of the page. The ad was for a place called Dimples Kids Spa (nice name — pardon me while I puke), which is located in Brooklyn Heights. I love New York sometimes, but I really hate it sometimes too. If someone can come up with a disgusting, insulting way to part people and their money, it’ll happen here first. This place has been open for a bit, so I’m sure there’s something similar in LA by now, but whatever. New York is the world capital of offensive profligacy, the city that offers the rich asshole the largest variety of opportunities to communicate the fact that she/he is evil by doing things like pissing off to eat a $1000 ice cream sundae after blindly waltzing past a woman begging for change for some corporate shit-burger with no nutritional value. And what better way to tell the world and all of its poor people that they can collectively huff a dong than to throw hundreds of dollars away on spa treatments for children?

Hence we have Dimples Kids Spa. If you live in Brooklyn Heights and just can’t figure out how to waste your money quickly enough, toss your kid into your Orbit Baby Infant Carrying System (MSRP $900), stop off for an $8 non-alcoholic beverage, and then drop her ass off for a spa day (drop your son off at the park where he can exercise and develop coordination and motor skills).  At Dimples, your little girl can “indulge” in hair, nail, and facial services, and they even do parties! Their services include temporary tattoos (what your daughter really needs is a temporary lower back tattoo), manicures, pedicures, chocolate facials, strawberry honey facials, hair braiding, hair styling for the “evening”  (you know, for all of those black-tie events), and flat-ironing. Because nothing looks less sexy on a kid than wavy hair.

What the fuck!?!?!?!?!?!?!

Has everyone lost sight of what spas (massage services notwithstanding) and salons are really about? They do nothing other than enable women to waste their lives and money striving for the ever-elusive beauty standards that our society sets up for them. And whence do those standards derive? From boners. Salons and spas exist to help women  increase the number of men who want to fuck them, and that’s it. All of this bullshit about “self-indulgence” and “empowerment” and “me time” is fucking absurd. I mean, sure, it’s a good idea, if you have to waste several hours a week on your appearance, to make the wasting of those hours as pleasant as possible, but women wouldn’t do any of that shit if we weren’t told that we are blowing it as human beings if we don’t look like gold-dusted, semi-moist cartoons.

The fact that the average woman’s idea of the ultimate way to spend a day so often involves hundreds of dollars’ worth of beauty treatments ought to show you that there’s something seriously amiss with femininity, our cultural ideas of what’s sexually attractive, and capitalism. Feminity is a fucking jail sentence, not an “indulgence.”  It requires that we sacrifice our time, energy, and self-worth chasing a goal we’ll never reach, the goal of being adequate as human beings when “adequacy” for women means hotness and when the definition of what’s hot changes every second. Our social construction of what is attractive binds women into a never-ceasing downward spiral of self-hatred and doubt, because our social construction of what is attractive springs from misogyny and is abetted by capitalism. Capitalism doesn’t work if we have a sense of “good enough,” and the entire world of marketing and product development exist to remind us that there’s no such thing as “good enough.” We don’t have enough shit, we aren’t hot enough, we haven’t put forth the effort or spent the money that we need to. We have to take that next step on the staircase to nowhere in order to be a little bit less worthless.

I have a good idea! Let’s introduce our daughters into this fucking mess as early as possible so that they’ll never have a chance to escape it! Let’s make sure that they learn that their lives ought to revolve around how much sexual attention they can get from men, and quick! Get ’em started on mani-pedis, facials, and the idea that the natural texture of their hair is an abomination as early as possible. It shouldn’t be that hard to convince a female child to accompany mom to the salon in the current Pepto-Bismol environment young girls are forced to live in, just tell her there’ll be lots of pink shit and that she’ll feel like a princess. Of course it’s not inappropriate to sexualize a 6-year-old and to encourage her to objectify herself. It’s good, clean mommy-daugther bonding action!

For those of you new moms, Dimples Kids Spa has an even better option. They do baby mani-pedis, so you can get your daughter onto the femininity track as a baby so that, by the time she’s five, wearing nail polish and having facials will come as naturally to her as tilting her head and pretending to be stupid and dainty when men talk to her. Hey, if you don’t get her used to the idea early on that she exists on this Earth to be looked at and lusted after, she might get the foolish idea that she’s a human being, and we all know that leads to disappointment, frustration, and a sense of unfairness — and then on to FEMINISM! And we wouldn’t want that. Men don’t want to fuck feminists, and if no one wants to fuck you, what power have you got as a woman?

Wake up, you fucking dupes. If not for yourselves, then for your daughters. I understand that as things are, sex appeal is one of the few sources of power that women have, but it doesn’t have to be that way. We don’t have to allow our worth as human beings be determined by advertisers, by the fashion industry, by how much male lust we can garner, but the only hope we have is that we start teaching young girls the right things, and the right things don’t include chocolate facials.  I didn’t start hearing that it was my responsibility numero uno to put shit all over my face, fingers, and hair every day in service of the fuckability mandate until I was an adolescent. As such, I stood some chance of seeing it for the inconvenience and outrage that it is. Had I been coated in face masks and nail polish at the age of 6, I’d have stood absolutely no chance, especially if the coating took place in a cutesty party environment and if it was presented as a bonding experience with mommy.

If anyone wants to toilet paper this place, send me an e-mail.

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BDSM (the sexual equivalent of being into Renaissance faires) Part 5: Nine Deuce, you’re a homophobe!

I’ve been catching a lot of grief lately from pro-BDSM bloggers and commenters for my posts on BDSM, and one of the most commonly recurring refrains happens to be that I sound just like one of those God Hates Fags assholes. Reader Gorgias was originally the most vociferous in his claims that questioning BDSM is akin to homophobia, and he posted several comments claiming that a large number of people in the scene report having lost their jobs and/or kids when their proclivities were discovered. I responded that I think people who are running around at work talking about their sex lives, whether their sex lives include weapons or not, are behaving inappropriately, as are people who expose children to their sexual activities. I don’t think it’s cool for people to be fired from their jobs or blackmailed because of what they do in their private lives, but I figured anyone who is being honest with themselves and who is engaging in this argument in good faith would know better than to pretend I think otherwise. Emotions are running high, everyone feels victimized, insults abound, so I suppose I can understand why things have gotten a little out of hand. But let me clarify a few things:

  1. I don’t think anyone ought to be fired from a job for what they do outside of work, as long as they’re not hurting anyone or wearing Crocs. 
  2. I don’t think anyone’s kids ought to be taken away from them unless abuse is occurring. However, I think that it is inappropriate for parents to engage in a full-time M/f relationship that is obvious to their children. Raising kids in that environment, regardless of whatever consent does or doesn’t exist between the parents (I’m going to leave that argument to others), removes consent and discussions of feminism from the equation. There’s no way a kid can grow up in that environment and not assume that a gender hierarchy is natural and normal. Adults might be able to thoughtfully make the decision to engage in such behavior and balance that with their ideas about equality and/or liberation  (again, I’ll leave that argument aside), but a kid can’t.  A parent has every right to seek custody of their child and to deny it to the other parent if they do not want the child to be raised in such an environment. 
  3. I don’t think BDSM ought to be criminalized. I’m a liberal when it comes to laws; I think the only way to combat a behavior is through changing people’s attitudes, not by banning things. I do think that serious physical damage ought to be prosecutable, whether the person suffering the damage wishes to press charges or not, because life and limb ought not to be in danger. 

There’s my position. 

As to this comparison between myself and religious fundamentalists who hate gay people, need I really explain the differences? Fine, here goes.

Let’s think first about what motivates homophobes. Men and women who are threatened by homosexuality are threatened by it because it carries the potential to disrupt their entire system of beliefs, to defy what they’ve come to see as the Natural Order of  Things (NOT).

“Nature” is a very slippery and very powerful mental construct that has been used to justify and to condemn any number of human activities. When we decide something is “natural,” it becomes fundamentally unassailable, which is why the term is thrown around so much. The problem is, there is no such thing as “nature.” Nature itself is a human psychological construct. I mean, yeah, the world is still there and the things in it exist no matter what we call them, but exactly which items and processes will be included under the term “nature” depends on who the one defining the term is. 

For western individuals who bumble around under the weight of the legacy of hundreds of years of Judeo-Christian ideas about sex and gender, the Enlightenment-era medicalization and biological essentialization of gender difference and female inferiority, and the general patriarchal tradition, the gender hierarchy is “natural.”  That is especially true of religious fruitcakes who believe what people like James Dobson have to say about what Christianity is about (sex is dirty, women ought to submit to men, everyone who disagrees will burn in hell, etc.). For these people, “natural” means “designed and sanctioned by the Big Guy,” and everything the Big Guy says goes. The problem is, the Big Guy probably doesn’t exist, and so the people in charge get to repackage their methods of protecting their place at the top of the hierarchy as what the Big Guy wants. When men get to put words into the mouth of gods, gods tend to reflect the desires of men. And thus, god wants patriarchy.

Patriarchy cannot exist without two agreed-upon sex roles arranged in a rigid hierarchy: men over women. Patriarchy, being approved by god as it is, is thus seen as the NOT. When anyone resists performing their role as assigned, they are therefore Going Against Nature. When someone defies Nature and the world doesn’t spontaneously combust, the people who are heavily invested in the maintenance of the dominant conception of the NOT freak out like Japanese girls over a Paris Hilton sighting. 

There are several ways to defy the NOT, but the most common one is to fuck the wrong people for the wrong reasons. Women who get down with other women lie on one end of the continuum; as long as they are doing it to titillate men, and as long as they remember that the party isn’t complete without a wiener, they’re tolerable. Women who get busy with other women and have no need for men aren’t. They threaten the NOT to an extent that makes men really uncomfortable, so men use what tools they have at their disposal to try to shove these women back into line, including violence, rape, and murder. But most men are content to just give lesbians the old sour-grapes routine and deny their worth as female human beings by accusing them of being unfuckable. If that doesn’t work, they may escalate. But men’s biggest fear is the male apostate. A man who fucks another man gives up the benefits of membership in the oppressor class and chooses to become, in the eyes of the average patriarchy beneficiary, just like a woman. There is no greater threat to the NOT than men who, in full cognizance of the benefits that come with being born male (that is, the privilege of using and abusing women), are content to shun those benefits in order to assume a “feminine” role. When men feel that the entire rationale behind their supremacy is in danger, they are forced to bring up Nature. “What you’re doing is against nature,” they say, and when one defies nature, the people who get to define the NOT, following another facet of “nature,” often react with violence (whether of the physical or emotional sort). 

So how do I differ from a patriarchy beneficiary or an appeaser when I question M/f BDSM? I don’t see M/f BDSM as throwing a wrench into the NOT, but rather as a pronounced and exaggerated display of the sexual hierarchy that the NOT rests upon. F/m or F/f or M/m BDSM might (MIGHT) do so, but I’m not sure that switching between the two roles does much to dismantle the roles themselves, and it’s the roles that I think cause the damage. I think male supremacy is a Bad Thing, and maybe even the Worst Thing, as so many other Bad Things seem to flow either directly or indirectly from it. Eroticizing male supremacy won’t get us any closer to destroying patriarchy or the phony, restrictive, oppressive sex roles that allow it to exist. And make no mistake, my goal numero uno in life is to do as much damage as I can to both before having my ashes scattered on Pulau Perhentian Besar. 

I think it would do us some good to look at BDSM encounters separately from D/s and/or M/s relationships. I’ve said a kajillion times that I don’t think people would be into BDSM in a post-patriarchal world, but we aren’t there yet. People might, in that world, still get excited by extreme sensations, but I don’t think that the accompanying power differential rituals would exist. So, I suppose we can leave BDSM in the context of the sexual encounter there (and open for argument).  As for relationship BDSM, I’m much more dubious. I doubt very seriously that there’d be a psychological need for power exchange in a world in which human relationships weren’t based on patriarchal hierarchies. What I’m struggling with, and have been all along, is figuring out how we can get to that place from the one we’re currently in. It’s easy for one group to say, “Hey, if you will all just stop doing what you’re doing, we’ll all get where we want to go.” But where we want to go has been defined, at least in part, by where we’re coming from, and the place we’re coming from is one in which sex and power (as it manifests in the two sex roles) are nearly inextricable.

For some people, the trouble involved in untangling the two is more than one should be asked to deal with. It might be that it’s easier to find happiness in being where the individual is than in pushing toward the place where the group wants to go. Sometimes meshing individual desires and the good of womankind (and humankind, though most men don’t know it yet) as a whole just can’t be done. Sometimes I eat chicken, sometimes I shave my legs, sometimes it’s easier to do what the NOT tells me to than to be constantly giving everyone the metaphorical finger.

The appeal to nature is a powerful one, and our ideas of what is and is not natural are deeply ingrained. When someone does something that strikes us as unnatural, we recoil with horror and want to protect ourselves, our worldviews, and (if they exist) our children from what we perceive as a foundational threat. That may not be noble or laudable, but it is nonetheless a common human trait. It takes a lot of work and critical thinking to question the received wisdom on the NOT, so it’s no surprise that not many people do. I avoid discussions of nature for just the reasons I’ve outlined above. It’s dangerous and it’s generally bullshit (ask me what I think  of patriarchiology — I mean evolutionary biology/psychology — some time), and I try to avoid it. But maybe I’m guilty of having my own NOT, one in which our current gender hierarchy is warped and out of touch with reality, one in which humanity is a given and in which sex roles don’t exist. But is that so threatening? My NOT might not be orderly or stable, but it carries a lot less potential for misery and violence than the one we’re currently rolling with. 

It may seem on the surface, when I say that I don’t think that children ought to be exposed to BDSM, or that I’m concerned about the ambiguities and potential for abuse that exist within BDSM, that I’m just like some asshole who perceives a threat to the NOT and who is lashing out at something they see as “unnatural,” but that’s a fairly shallow way of looking at what I’m saying, and I think it’s a way of avoiding the central point of contention by claiming victimhood. I’ll admit right here that I’m guilty of using inflammatory language in some of these posts (OK, in all of my posts), but my previous BDSM posts were aimed at people outside of the radfem and BDSM communities. This one isn’t, so I’ve done my best to avoid it. Now, am I still a God Hates Fags asshole? 

Here’s to civility.

I’m going to go act like a capitalist pig and conform to social expectations by drinking a bunch of beer to celebrate my impending capitulation to the patriarchy (getting married).

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Check this out.

Remember the satirical American Apparel ads? (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, see this and this.) Well, here they are along with a few others and some commentary on American Apparel. 

I have to warn you, two of the fake posters have some flat-out porn in them (which I think I can back since it’s there to prove a point), but this site is most definitely worth a look.

Props to reader Matt for the tip.

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They’re making it too easy.

An excerpt from a BDSM website describing the “nine levels of submission” (emphasis mine): 

FULL-TIME LIVE IN CONSENSUAL SLAVE. Within no more than a few broad limits/requirements, the slave regards herself/himself as existing solely for the Dom(me)’s pleasure/well being. Slave in turn expects to be regarded as a prized possession. Not much different from the situation of the traditional housewife, except that within the S/M world the slave’s position is more likely to be fully consensual, especially of the slave is male. Within the S/M world, a full time “slave” arrangement is entered into with an explicit awareness of the magnitude carefully, with more awareness of the magnitude of power that is being given up, and hence is usually entered into much more carefully, with more awareness of the possible dangers, and with much clearer and more specific agreements than usually precede the traditional marriage.

CONSENSUAL TOTAL SLAVE WITH NO LIMITS. A common fantasy ideal which probably doesn’t exist in real life (except in authoritarian religious cults and other situations where the “consent” is induced by brainwashing and/or social or economic pressures, and hence isn’t fully consensual). A few S/M purists will insist that you aren’t really a slave unless you’re willing to do absolutely anything for your Dom(me), with no limits at all. 

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Please, somebody, come and defend I triple-dog dare you.

This post contains some fucked up shit. Please be warned and think carefully about whether you want to read it. 

Everyone knows I went to peep some of the shit on as a part of the research I did for my BDSM posts. I don’t make the claim that what goes on on their sites is representative of what goes on in the typical real-life BDSM relationship (I mean, fuck, how many people can afford to buy all that shit?), and I’m not really planning to discuss that website in relation to the wide world of BDSM, but I feel it necessary to discuss what I saw on that site. 

I’m not easily thrown into a state of despair about the world unless I’ve been watching A Double Shot at Love or Bad Girls Club for over three hours (posts to come), but send me a story about human trafficking, about the abuse that women in war zones suffer, about the rampant torture of children by rape tourists in Southeast Asia, or about a submissive woman’s “journey” (brainwashing) and I’m likely to have to go lie down and think about moving to Mars for a few hours. And, of course, looking at images of women being tortured had the same effect, differing only in that it has yet to abate and it’s been over a month. 

For those of you lucky enough to have never seen anything those piles of shit at have put out, I’ll just characterize it as torture mixed with the most degrading sex acts possible. The variety of cruel and bizarre devices, contraptions, machines, and objects that the producers have accumulated for use on the women featured on the site is terrifyingly mind-boggling, and the  entire vibe more closely approximates the contents of a nightmare than anything I’ve ever seen while awake: the logos for the site are designed to look like titles for a horror movie; the page backgrounds are dominated by black, gray, and brown to the extent that they remind one of that stupid Tool video; and the videos are nearly all taped in the site’s building at the Armory, a pretty dungeonesque joint by the looks of it. The text describing each of the sites is fucking petrifying. An example from the Device Bondage site:

Device Bondage is a BDSM sex Website with the best porn around. Our naked women in BDSM play are whipped, tied up, chained, fucked, and humiliated. Amazing things that happen on our site include kinky sex with tit torture, steel bondage, hard nipples, nipple clamps, rope bondage, girls being caned, torture sex [What in the FUCK is “torture sex”? ], girls being spanked, leather bondage, and other BDSM play.

Girls are also pulled in and out of cages, their tongues clamped, their bodies pinned, and their arms and legs strapped. We also have contraptions used in countries such as China for torture. Our girls like to be tied up with leather belts and harnesses, spanked hard, punished, and humiliated. When the girls are done spreading wide for their bondage sex shoot, they have red asses, intense pleasure, and big smiles.

There’s footage and photos of naked women locked in cages too small for rabbits, of broken skin and blood, of women being waterboarded and subjected to other near-drowning tortures, of naked women being humiliated and tortured in public. Machines, metal, wood, electrodes, hooks, needles, hoods, and every other possible thing some sick motherfucker could come up with to use to torture a woman are in evidence on one or more of’s sites. 

Each of the galleries that the sites use to sell their videos features a shot or two of the woman’s face looking absolutely terror-stricken. And it’s those photos that bother me the most. I know why they’re there; the people who pay money to watch the shit on these sites need to see that the woman who they’re watching get tortured is hurting and is scared because she doesn’t know what is going to happen to her next. 

The fact that the site owners always include a shot of the woman after the shoot looking happy doesn’t matter. The men who go to these sites aren’t there to revel in women’s pleasure, they’re there to see women tortured. They’re not watching public humiliation videos to fantasize about iconoclasm and bucking societal norms, they’re there to get boners thinking about degrading and humiliating human beings. These sites aren’t about “exploring our dark sides,” they’re about giving free reign to the sickest of human desires, desires that are inculcated by a sexually repressed and guilt-ridden society that has yet to figure out how to deal with the detritus of religious dogma and has thus intertwined fear and hatred with sex to create the misogynistic shit heap we now live in. This shit ain’t revolutionary, it’s so fucking obvious and stupid that I’d  laugh if it didn’t look so much like RAPE. If exploring your “dark side” entails wanking to women being tortured, it might be best to leave it unexplored. Or kill yourself. 

You know what I don’t want to do? Live in a world where people jerk off to women being subjected to “contraptions used in countries such as China for torture.” Know what else I don’t want to do? Listen to women (or men) tell me that the women who participate in the creation of these videos for these disgusting motherfuckers to jerk off to do so because the shit feels “amazing.” Nor do I want to hear how subversive the people who are into this shit are because they “explore the dark side.” First off, what person over the age of sixteen talks about “exploring the dark side”? Seriously. And why does “exploring the dark side” have to be such an unimaginative, tired, boring, intellectually insulting, misogynistic cliche?  

But besides the ridiculous aspect of someone fancying themselves a revolutionary because they get boners from seeing women hurt or get orgasms from being hurt when we live in a society that encourages that shit like UFC encourages tribal tattoos, it’s pretty goddamned obscene. The way I see it, if you think you’re punk for getting off on reenacting the kinds of abuses that real women and children in this world suffer on a daily basis (and thus mocking their suffering), you can go fuck yourself. 

Did I mention that Howard Stern is a fan of The end.

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BDSM (the sexual equivalent of being into Renaissance faires) Part 4: Bullshit Posturing

Sorry for the delay. I just forgot to finish this series and got carried away with telling everyone what gutterballs Dov Charney and Ralphie May are. Polly Styrene, who is a badass, has got a post up that inspired me to get back on task, so here we go. 

Some qualifications (radfems can skip this paragraph): This post will revolve around my interpretation of M/f BDSM and nothing else, and I’m not going to suffer any relativistic bullshit about whether my interpretation is more or less “valid” than anyone else’s. I obviously think I’m right or I’d be out asking other people what they think rather than telling them what I think, and I admit up front that I think people ought to agree with me.  I know there are readers whose experiences may not have been as fucked up as some of the things I’m about to describe (though many of them may very well have been more so), but I’m here to discuss the general nature of a vast phenomenon, not get lost in the minutiae of every single individual’s private experiences. I’m going to say this again: I’m not discussing anything in this post but men dominating women. I’m going to do that because a large proportion of BDSM involves a man dominating a woman, and because that dynamic warrants separate discussion because it involves the eroticization of an oppressed group’s submission.  I’m not approving any comments on this post about anything else. You’ll have to wait for a later installment if you want to talk about women dominating men or lesbian and gay BDSM. Seriously. That said, I welcome argument and would like to have a discussion here, though it must be a civil one.

When considering sexual matters and their relationship to the general misogyny that pervades our culture, I generally pretend I’m a justice in the Supreme Court of Gender Issues and apply the ol’ strict scrutiny standard (albeit my own modified version of it). Sex, as it has been used throughout history as a tool of domination and as it is the locus of the negotiation of gender roles and a large majority of our social behaviors, requires close analysis. If I’m going to give a sexual practice a free pass and the Nine Deuce seal of approval, it’s got to meet three criteria:

  1. First, I ask myself whether women are ever hurt as a result of the practice under consideration. If the answer is yes, the practice has not earned immunity from examination and analysis.
  2. Second, I ask myself whether those who engage in the practice ever do so out of a hatred of women. If so, it’s up for discussion and judgment (a nasty word for those with po-mo leanings, I know, but a necessary one nonetheless). 
  3. Finally, I have to ask myself whether the practice would occur in a society that wasn’t characterized by male supremacy and the hatred of women, both of which tend to manifest as the mixture of sex and power. I’ve got a really impressive imagination (I invented unicorns), so if I can’t imagine a sex act having the power to excite in a post-patriarchal world, I get a little dubious. 

If a sex act fails to meet any of these three criteria, you can expect that I’ll be questioning the fuck out of it, and BDSM really blows it on all three. I know what you’re going to say: mainstream “vanilla” (a term I’ll not be using again because it’s insulting, hackneyed, and really not clever) sex doesn’t pass Deuce’s strict scrutiny standard. Fuckin’ A right it doesn’t, but I’ve never made the claim that it does. Many of those who responded to my previous posts in the series created that false dichotomy and pretended that I was out campaigning for the kind of sex we see in the average Michael Douglas movie, but I think we all know that’s bullshit. BDSM, just like mainstream sex that seems to mirror porn more and more every day, won’t be escaping my jaundiced eye just because a few people tell me they do it “right.” There’s too much ambiguity involved in BDSM with regard to my criteria for that (as is the case with pretty much all sex acts — in a misogynistic society, there may not even be such a thing as a sex act that’s free of the influence of patriarchy, though that thought makes me want to start an emo band). But the fact that I urge scrutiny doesn’t mean I’m here yelling, “Real feminists don’t engage in BDSM!” It does mean we all need to think about what our desires and choices mean to us as individuals and in relation to other women. If one does so and still decides BDSM is where it’s at, whatever, but it needs to be discussed in an open forum where those who are working things out for themselves can get access to the experiences and opinions of others and where issues can be raised that will help us all figure out how to try to move toward a future in which sex isn’t used as a tool of oppression.  

A few things stood out in the responses I received to my little personal ad, the first being that a lot of the men who responded told me they were feminists themselves, and that they didn’t think there was anything incompatible about D/s relationships and feminism (they’re obviously not advanced feminist theorists). They wanted to make sure I knew that their idea of an ideal BDSM relationship was one in which the power differential in the bedroom stayed there. Mmm hmm. Many of them, because the fake woman in the ad was new to BDSM, explained the concept of the safe word and warned the poster to be wary of the men who responded because “there are a lot of sickos out there who just want to hurt women.”  No shit. 

I’ve heard plenty from commenters and from the many, many articles I’ve read on this or that BDSM-related website about the proper way to do BDSM, about the importance of ensuring that one’s BDSM activities are always “safe, sane, and consensual.” I appreciate the fact that the thoughtful people of the BDSM scene are concerned with protecting the physical and mental health of the people who engage in practices that have the potential to get out of hand if not approached in such a manner, I really do. But I’ve got to ask whether the fact that such discussions are necessary ought not to be a red flag. What of those who don’t follow the rules, who get fucked up before engaging in emotionally volatile and physically hazardous activities, who don’t ensure consent before they get into whatever they’re going to get into? What of the women who engage in BDSM because they’ve got emotional problems, and what of the men who seek out BDSM relationships as a venue to exercise their hatred on women’s bodies? How many people don’t follow the guidelines more responsible BDSM practitioners have devised? And how do other members of the BDSM community deal with those who don’t adhere to the safe, sane, and consensual line? 

How does a woman who has given her consent to one act withdraw it, especially while restrained, in the event that a safe word is ignored? And what, exactly, does consent mean in such a context? There is a pretty large measure of psychological ambiguity involved in BDSM, and I’m not sure that the idea of consent is as clear as people make it out to be. As is the case with any “scene,” there is unvocalized pressure on the members of that scene to be more authentic, more down, more hard core than others. BDSM is often practiced in semi-public contexts in which the sub might feel pressure to go farther than she’s ready to, and in private there’s always the pressure to perform in a way that will excite one’s partner that infuses every sexual encounter. And almost every dude who responded to my fake personal ad made mention of pushing the sub’s limits, a problematic idea if one really wants to emphasize consent. If the BDSM community is such a shining beacon of respect for the concept of consent, then why did so many of the men who responded to my ad make sure to let me know they weren’t interested in people who try to “top from the bottom” and wanted “true submissives” ? That doesn’t sound like the kind of thing that a dude who has any respect for his partners’ emotional safety (much less free will and human agency, the key elements without which a discussion of consent cannot even occur) would say. 

And what about the legality of consent as it is conceived of in BDSM? What does a woman who has been raped in the course of a BDSM encounter do to prove she did not consent to an act (remember, as our current legal system operates on the “innocent until proven guilty” model, that women are required to prove that they broke a state of — as the law conceives of it — constant consent in order for a rapist to be punished)? 

How safe and sane is BDSM? Those are some pretty slippery concepts, safety and sanity. There are plenty of people who would question the idea that there’s anything safe or sane about BDSM, myself included. I conceive of a safe and sane sex act as one that does not pose the risk of bodily or emotional harm for the participants. The mixture of sex and violence and the eroticization of women’s submission to male domination do not fall into the “sane” or “safe” columns for me because I don’t believe either would occur if we didn’t live in an insanely misogynistic society that is detrimental to our emotional health. But let’s say my opinion doesn’t matter (ha!). Who decides what’s safe and sane in the world of BDSM? No one, apparently, because every time I’ve read or heard a discussion among people involved in BDSM about some of the more extreme practices, I get the distinct impression that “to each his own” has gotten wildly out of hand and that there is a marked unwillingness to condemn anything but the most egregious of abusive behaviors (and I really mean egregious, as in permanent bodily harm or worse). 

But what does all this talk of separating D/s in the bedroom from real life, of taking “safe, sane, and consensual” as one’s creed, of female subs being empowered by the emphasis on consent really mean? Methinks the Sisters of Mercy fans doth protest too much, that someone is pissing on my leg and telling me it’s raining. I read 400+ e-mails from men interested in a young woman curious about submission, I looked at a shit-ton of BDSM porn, I went to a BDSM club, I read tens of thousands of words on BDSM-related websites, and I didn’t feel very safe or sane when I got done, nor did I feel like participating in the shit I’d seen or read about would make me feel particularly empowered.

I used to live in San Francisco. There is a fucking awesome building in the Mission called the Armory that I loved nosing around at whenever I found myself in the neighborhood. It sat basically unoccupied for many years until bought it in 2006, an event that seriously bummed my party out. I’d always thought of the place as an ideal art space, or maybe a music venue (possibly both), and when I heard that they’d be filming BDSM porn there I about fell off of my chair. I had no fucking idea, dude. Like I said, before I posted that ad, went to the BDSM club, looked at these sites, and read up on BDSM in more than a half-assed way, I had kind of a silly conception of BDSM, so when I went to the site I nearly had a heart attack. I know that porn is not the same thing as real life, but porn is fantasy fuel, and I’m pretty sure that I don’t EVER want to run across a fan in a dark alley.

Don’t read the next paragraph if you’re squeamish about descriptions of women being abused. 

Almost all of the videos on the Hogtied site (a branch of billed as the “sensual” bondage site) feature shibari, that Japanese rope bondage shit that’s absolutely terrifying to see. Almost every photo I’ve seen that involved shibari featured a woman whose breasts were so constricted by ropes that they looked as if they’d pop, and every single video I saw on Hogtied featured a woman suspended by ropes, gagged, and clearly in heinous pain, followed by a short clip of the woman in the video talking about how cool the experience was. Their other sites feature bound women with electrodes hooked up to their genitalia, a site where women are fucked by terrifying machines, a site called Device Bondage in which women are bound with every manner of nightmarish machinery, and The Training of O, a site that features women undergoing “slave training” that includes such weird shit that I don’t even know where to begin. Let’s just say that there were suction devices, dildos, blood, and hooks everywhere. The looks on the women’s faces in the photos that the sites use to promote the videos that they sell can best be described as anguished. The logos for all of the sites looked like the main titles for horror movies, especially the Device Bondage site, which included a terrified-looking woman’s face with a gag in her mouth along with that shitty grainy font overlay that every horror movie producer seems to love. What a disturbing combination, sex and horror. Visually confronting the fact that men are looking for images of women who are clearly in pain to wank to really scared the piss out of me. 

Out of fourteen sites puts out, three feature men as submissives. Eleven focus solely on women submitting to various forms of abuse (their term, not mine). I’ll leave the interpretation of that ratio up to you (as long as you don’t give me some evolutionary psychology bullshit about men being more visually stimulated than women). Really, ask yourself, what do you think it means that M/f relationships seem to dominate the BDSM world and that straight BDSM porn is almost entirely comprised of images of female submissives? It’s OK, make the comparison to mainstream porn. It only proves my point. 

I know that all of the sites that operates make a big show out of how much the actresses supposedly enjoy what’s being done to them, but that’s almost more worrisome than had they not done so, because it supports the idea that women can’t get enough of being sexually dominated and abused. The message in these videos, basically, is, “It’s OK if you get off on hurting women, because they’re sluts for pain!” 

What in Billy Zabka’s name would make a woman want to submit to such treatment, and how in the fuck could anyone get to the point that they derive sexual enjoyment from severe pain? No one ever seems to want to get anywhere near that question, because it’s nearly impossible to provide an answer for it that doesn’t sound silly if compared to the completely reasonable suggestion that women who are into submission are into it because our culture eroticizes male domination and female submission. Honestly, I can’t really think of many forms of the expression of human sexuality in our fucked up culture that don’t include an element of that, but BDSM is probably the clearest distillation of such a dynamic, and protestations to the contrary just seem absurd to me. And the same goes for male doms — the idea that any convoluted explanation for why a man enjoys hurting a woman has even a third as much explanatory power as the simple fact that men are raised in this culture to conceive of sex and power as one and the same is hilarious. The paternalism, arrogance, and unalloyed sadism evidenced in the ads I read both by men looking for subs and in response to my ad confirm what I saw in that heinous fucking porn and what I’ve read and seen elsewhere. 

So, should women who are into submission be ashamed of themselves? I don’t think so. It’s shocking to me that there are any women in this warped society who aren’t. But I would like to ask submissive women who read this if they think that what I’ve postulated is far off from the truth. I don’t think it’s healthy to mix sex and violence, and I think submitting to the will of other people is detrimental to our mental health and human development. I’m certainly not going to blame submissive women for sexual inequality or for the continuation of patriarchy because that’s completely ridiculous. Men are to blame for that because they’re the ones who benefit from it. So should men who are into domination be ashamed of themselves? That’s a harder question. Men, being that they’re the ones with the privilege and power in this society, bear more responsibility for the dominance and submission dynamic that pollutes human sexuality and romantic relationships. Human sexuality is a complicated matter, as are the hierarchical structure of human interactions and the way that structure interacts with our individual emotions and desires. 

But BDSM, as it intermingles sex with power and violence, is highly suspect for a feminist like me. All of the claims about women’s sexual agency and the focus on consent within BDSM sound awfully weak in the face of the reality of the misogyny that pervades our culture and the very real sexual and emotional abuses that women face every day. I’ve heard the claims that by playing with gendered power dynamics, people who practice BDSM are subverting the gender hierarchy, but I find that a little difficult to believe when so much of what I’ve seen just looks like garden variety sexual abuse at a Halloween party. I find it hard to believe that a sexual practice that fetishizes women’s pain and submission is so different from mainstream misogyny, that I ought to think M/f BDSM is a step forward for feminism because the women who participate in it like it. Orgasms don’t necessarily equal progress.

Enough of this shit. I’m going to bed. 

To be continued…

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