Tag Archives: pornography

Video: Gail Dines, “Neo-Liberalism and the Defanging of Feminism”

7 Oct

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Bondage: Now 100% More in Cemeteries

21 Sep

You know when you’re reading a news story and you feel like there’s no hope for the world and everything is awful and fuck it I’m just going to sit on my couch and watch a video of cats playing with a treadmill on a loop for an hour? This seems to happen fairly often for me, including this week.

Recently in Seattle, a pornographer thought it’d be a supersexihot idea to go to a veterans cemetery and hang (yes, hang) women on ropes from cannons and memorial statues. The bondage porn photoshoot has led police to investigate possible trespassing violations [note: link contains blurred versions of some of the photos.]

The outrage this has provoked very clearly is at the “disrespect” of the act. That is, the specific location where the porn was made makes it disrespectful. What – you thought people give a damn about the production of images featuring women bound and hung by rope? C’mon, this isn’t the year 2390, y’all! (2390 is when the radfem revolution will be complete; mark your calendars!) Even so, there is something to that. Not so much the whole “desecrating Our War Heros™” thing as the “female humiliation is everywhere” thing. It’s not awful enough to produce this in private; nope, you’ve gotta go where people’s dead relatives are and do it there.

But wait! He has an explanation for why he had to do it there and it’s totally nuanced and artistic and stuff:

The photographer, in a statement, said his intent was for the photos to make people think.

“The title of this series is Spoils of War,” wrote Patrick Andraste in a statement emailed to KOMO 4 News. “The model is Japanese American, and some of her family was interned in the relocation camps during WWII. Her grandfather was a combat vet during WWII and a long time peace activist. (She) wanted to show that the truth of our country’s history is disturbing.”

I’d say our present day is pretty disturbing too, bro. Like, did you hear about this guy who strung up a woman in cemetery and took phot– oh, right. Also, one can do a lot to simply “make people think”… dude could throw his literal shit on the ground, photograph it, and say that he wanted to perform a visual critique of Bergsonian intuitionism. By all means, do that (and I’m sure you could even get an MFA out of it too). But of course women’s bodies have to be used as tools to communicate his ‘message’. But I’m sure I’m just missing his self-aware irony that replicating forces of oppression represents. It’s meta! Or something! It’s just definitely not problematic or rapey. Nope.

On the photographer’s website, there’s another photo set from last month depicting a woman in latex garb out on the sidewalks of downtown Seattle. The caption mentions that they were playing “terrorize the tourists”. In this particular set, passersby are not cropped out of the photos. Rather, they are fully visible, reacting to what this man has thrown into their lives. Oh, you just needed to go to the bank? FETISH IN UR FACE. For all the talk of consent and boundaries within the ‘community’, part of the thrill in this is that there are non-consenting people involved in what he’s doing. It is the erasing of boundaries that makes it appealing in the first place, knowing that you are violating someone.

And now, cats and treadmills. Because the world is hateful and you deserve better.

New Hub Post: “Public Porn Users, Thy Name is Male Entitlement”

1 Dec

Go check out my new RadFemHUB article on men who use porn in public! FUN STUFF!

Porn & “Plot”

12 Sep

[Trigger warning for descriptions of pornography.]

Many women who say they like porn often include a caveat: “But I like it to have some plot”. So-called “feminist pornographers” and production companies who specialize in  “woman-friendly” or “couple’s” porn know this market well. The explanation provided for this reported taste discrepancy between women and men usually involves an allusion to hunters and gatherers and/or a reference to a caveman dragging a woman by her hair back to the cave. Where patriarchal paleo fantasies and evolutionary psychology fail, some kind of anatomical hypothesis is provided. Dudes get obvious erections. . . lady bits are so static and mysterious!

I have a new hypothesis. Women report to want “plot” in pornography because it makes the porn look less overtly like rape.

When a scenario such as PIV or any other penis-centric sexual act just suddenly happens, without any discussion or anything, that can look pretty scary. (Who is that man and why is he shoving his dick down that woman’s throat?) To take the edge off of what would potentially appear “iffy” in some way, plot comes in to smooth over the more clearly disturbing aspects of what you’re watching.

Additionally, plot in porn further mainstreams pornography, and, as with ‘features’, make the movies appear Hollywood-esque. This added legitimacy also gets used against feminists or anyone who dares to call porn violent or misogynistic. They say that anti-porn feminists overstate our case just because there exists a niche market for porn that isn’t as upfront with the “we hate women” message. Either way, it’s still there. Another way in which porn’s violence is excused is by giving the token example of female, nay, FEMINIST!!1 pornographers. As shown in this study of aggressive acts within mainstream pornography, female directors aren’t much less likely to tone down the violence. [Male-directed: 85.2% of scenes included agression, female-directed: 77%. Email me if you would like the entire article. More on the results of the study can be found here.]

Several years ago, I was one of the women who claimed to like her pornography “to have a little bit more of a story to it”. I said this after my then-boyfriend had shown me some ‘funny’ parts of porn one night. One of the noncontextualized clips he showed me was of two women giving blow jobs to over a dozen men who were all standing around a pool. Each man ejaculated onto the women’s faces, and then each woman would move onto another man. Nothing was funny about this, obviously. I was upset and confused as to why my boyfriend would think this was funny (though he wasn’t laughing either). He asked what I though, because he could tell I wasn’t into it. Having not read any porn critiques, all I could communicate was, “I just. . . feel sorry for those women.” He replied immediately, “You’d feel differently if you knew how much money they were making.” I didn’t have a response at the time, so I submit the following reply retroactively: no, I do not feel fucking differently, you porn-addicted jackass.

Around this time, I also had told him about my extensive NC-17-rated film collection. Looking back, I think I did it to impress him and show him I wasn’t a prude. He scoffed and said, “That’s nothing.” I guess something like that is ‘nothing’ compared to the afternoons he’d spend watching a plethora of cum shots.

Interestingly, this was also a period in my life when I was writing a lot of erotica. Believe it or not, though, none of my stories were simply: “They fucked and he came on her tits THE END.” Indeed, I included both plot and character development to buffer the PIV-centric narratives I was so fond of writing back then.

Even with some semblance of half-hearted plot, porn still looks violent to many women (because it is violent). While the storyline of a couple being on their honeymoon covers up some of the violence with cheesy romance, the violence remains. The use of women for men’s sexual purposes is still the subject. Debasement is always porn’s plot.

Links: July 19, 2011

19 Jul

The F Word: from Meghan Murphy, “Of course pornography is a prisoner’s right. Because women aren’t actually human beings.”

I Blame the Patriarchy: “A bit of lighthearted fun”. . . so it’s on consent and PIV, of course!

Echidne of the Snakes: “The Elizabeth Warren Case”. . . on Elizabeth Warren, who essentially created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, being passed over for Obama’s nomination to lead it. Who got it? A dude with the same exact views as Warren.

Woman on a Journey: “Are t-shirts a women’s right? (Or, maybe they’d rather we go topless)” . . . on the creator of woman-born-woman shirts being threatened into stopping production.

Twanzphobic Since Forever: “Excuse me, which way to the Squirrel Bathroom?” . . . seriously commit this sentence to memory:

Any so-called internal identity that requires any form of external validation, is not an internal identity at all.

Cherryblossomlife: “Manufacturing GID” . . . on how ‘gender presentation’ is totally dependent on people buying a bunch of shit.

Femonade: “Strange Days”. . . on the horrific songs/videos for Rihanna’s S&M and Katy Perry’s E.T.

Newsweek: “The Growing Demand for Prostitution”. . . on a new study about ‘users’ of prostitutes and pornography [TW for sexual violence]. Perhaps the saddest part:

“We had big, big trouble finding nonusers,” Farley says. “We finally had to settle on a definition of non-sex-buyers as men who have not been to a strip club more than two times in the past year, have not purchased a lap dance, have not used pornography more than one time in the last month, and have not purchased phone sex or the services of a sex worker, escort, erotic masseuse, or prostitute.”

Links: July 8, 2011

8 Jul

RMott: “Resisting Porn Culture”

Ilithyia Inspired: “Uncensored Birth Power”

Guardian CiF: Julie Bindel on World Femininity Day, “The end of feminism, or, how I learned to stop worrying and wear lipstick”

From Meghan Murphy, “My performance of femininity and why it isn’t all about me.”

So along with all the other labels that come along with being critical of gender binaries, pornography, prostitution, etc, that plant a feminist firmly in the no-fun camp, being critical of ‘femininity’ now, apparently, makes you ‘anti-feminine’, whatever that means. The trouble with the ‘anti-feminine’ label is, of course, that femininity isn’t a real thing.

Smash the P: “Joyful Resistance”

Femonade: “On Harm Reduction”

Finally, Gallus Mag shared a fabulous (and uplifting!) short video of Gail Dines talking about the enduring appeal of radical feminism.

[Added on July 10th:] Also!! Here’s a video of Sheila Jeffreys speaking about Kate Millet’s book Sexual Politics (found via this comment on RadFemHub).

Awareness… Yeah, That’s the Ticket!

22 Jun

There is a new “cancer awareness” campaign targeting women’s pubic hair. Cancer of the pubes? Nope. Your cervix! You know, cuz lady bits are all just one big amalgamation to be pornified.

This is not, of course, the first time women’s body parts have been turned into objects under the guise of ‘awareness’. There has been the ubiquitous pink merchandise that declares “I ❤ boobies”, for example. (Fun side story. . . before I knew these bracelets and so forth were for “breast cancer awareness” I legitimately thought it was some overtly misogynistic crap designed to sexually harass women. Why? Because I only saw men with the bracelets and stickers, and particularly dudebro-y men at that.)

There’s campaigns to “save the boobies” and “save the ta-tas”, emphasizing the preservation of fatty masses over the life of an actual female human being.

There are “dance for the cure” parties for women. And the dancing? Around a pole, natch.

The Susan G. Komen Foundation had an ad showing a woman with a shirt that reads, “Punch it, strangle it, kick it, spit on it, choke it, and pummel it until its good and dead.” Hahaha! You thought we were talking about murdering a woman! Funny jokes!

There was Boobie-thon, which urges women to send in photos of their breasts, covered or uncovered.

I think you get the idea. This newest sexy-cancer campaign is supposedly mirrored after Movember in which males grow out mustaches or other facial hair to bring awareness to general “men’s health issues”, including male-specific cancers. Creating a similarly awkward portmanteau of ‘vagina’ and ‘July’, this newest cervical cancer awareness-raiser is called Julyna. (I’m strangely reminded of that episode of Seinfeld in which Jerry can’t remember the name of a woman and only knows that it rhymes with a female body part.)

And so, Julyna kicks off with not only a hilarious name, but an inaccurate one. Vaginas and cervixes: not the same thing, actually! The campaign further removes itself from the actual subject with its promotion of sculpting pubic hair, something the founders chose to create ‘media buzz’. It seems if you’re not showing pictures of breasts or shaving your pubes, no one much cares about ‘awareness’.

The parallels with Movember pretty much end with its involvement of hair in some way. Other than that, it is actually a reversal. Men keep their facial hair, women remove their pubes. As the last linked article says, the website for Julyna “has sample design ideas and suggestions on how to execute shapes with the least amount of discomfort.” There will be discomfort (ingrown hairs, itchies, etc) but just not as much as there could be. Got it.

Not only is the campaign Not Helpful in the way that it promotes sexualization of female bodies for some bullshit ‘awareness’, but the awareness it is raising is over something rather dubious. Cervical cancer is believed to be caused by HPV, a virus which is transmitted to the cervix almost solely through penis-in-vagina contact. While I don’t expect a soon-to-be-popular movement to include a critique of PIV, that should be a part of any campaign that is truly trying to reduce the cases of cervical cancer.

As with any mainstream awareness movement dealing with cervical cancer, Julyna hypes the importance of very frequent Pap tests. As I have written about before, cervical cancer screening (particularly in the U.S.) is used far too often, is unreliable, and is part of a broader system of medical surveillance of female bodies as a means of control. The constant urging of women to ‘test early and test often’ serves to make women afraid of their own bodies and shame women as irrational and immature for deciding against the test. With the sexy-cancer angle, the concurrent pressure to get Pap tests is similarly unacceptable and harmful to women.

Now, in an attempt to balance the scales, I have a proposal. I ask everyone to join me in supporting my new personal cancer awareness-raising cause: testicular cancer. To increase knowledge about it, I ask that all men bleach their assholes. It’ll be a great attention-getter!

(Thanks to Jilla for bringing this campaign to my attention.)


Links: June 14, 2011

14 Jun

Gender Trender: “Boys Just Wanna Have Fun. As Fake Lesbians.” . . . on the two recent cases of “lesbian bloggers” who turn out to be heterosexual men.

Woman on a Journey: “Larry Flynt has no right to be left alone”

Undercover Punk: “Trans arguments debunked: being biologically female and ‘the myth of shared girldhood'”

Cherryblossomlife: “A use for the word Empowerment”

New York Times: “When It Comes to Scandal, Girls Won’t Be Boys” . . . a theory about why women don’t get into political sex scandals. Lots of interesting statistics regarding female and male office holders in the U.S.

Twanzphobic Since Forever: “Twanz-wot?” . . . a handy dandy guide for deciphering trans/queer political speak.

Video: “Slut Walks and Modern Feminism”

7 May

[Trigger warning for discussion of sexual violence and pornography.]

File this in the overflowing drawer marked “Gail Dines BRINGS IT”.

The video wouldn’t embed, so go watch the 35-minute program on the website for “The Agenda”.

Here’s just a few of my thoughts on Slut Walk and the video:

– Slut is a construct made up by males in order to demean women. Sluts do not exist. You can’t reclaim a word that was never yours to begin with.

-Jaclyn says that slut walk sends the message that “if you call one of us a slut, you have to call all of us sluts”. Yeah. MEN ALREADY DO THAT. They call all of us sluts because that is what most men thing of women.

-The interviewer’s framing is odd at times, and it seems that the pro-slut-walk guests are incorrectly understanding what Gail meant when she brought up male sexuality. She’s talking about porn culture, something that really hasn’t been confronted by liberal feminists.

-Finally, as a younger feminist who is a victim/survivor and who has been harmed by pornography, Gail Dines does speak for me.

[Updated May 10, 2011 to add the following additional comments:]

This whole thing is just so bizarre. I mean, totally in keeping with liberal feminist sex-pozerism, but really… you’re actually calling it a Slut Walk? I was thinking today about what Suzanna Walters says in her “From Here to Queer” article about reclaiming language. Could you imagine something like a “Nigger Walk”, “Kike Walk”, or even “Faggot Walk”? Allies welcome to join! Ugg.

I’m absolutely puzzled as to why the response here to being called a slut is, “Yup, we are exactly what you say we are! You’re right. Women ARE sluts!” As if the police or dudes give ONE shit about your ‘nuance’.

Documentary: “The Perfect Vagina”

31 Mar

[Trigger warning for body hatred miscellany. Warning for some graphic images of surgery.]

No, it’s not a perfect, radical-feminist-y film. And, yes, it should be ‘vulva’ instead of ‘vagina’. It’s still worth a watch if your emotional fortitude allows.