Powerful article in the Guardian recently, where Kathleen Hale recounts how she was sexually assaulted as a student, and went on to see the man who assaulted her found guilty and sentenced to seven to ten years. It’s also an interesting article, for the details of how the US legal system works, particularly the fact that jurors who had been victims themselves, or who knew anyone who was a victim or perpetrator, was excluded from service.
The one thing I would like to highlight, is that the man who assaulted Hale was also a pimp, who was probably abusing the prostitutes who ‘worked’ for him. This kind of connection is no surprise to me, but sex industry advocated like to represent pimps as ‘business men’, ‘entrepreneurs’, ‘security’, even the ‘employees’ of ‘sex workers’, rather than the predator from Hale’s account.
They told me I was not the only girl. In addition to prosecuting Duncan Purdy on charges of running a house of prostitution, assistant district attorney Melinda Thompson was also building a separate rape case against him. Jillian Gagnon looked like she could be my sister, and had suffered a virtually identical massage. (There were suspicions that Duncan Purdy had also hurt some of his sex workers, but none of them would, or really could, come forward due to citizenship issues.) Melinda explained that if I built my own case, the judge and jury at Jillian’s trial would not know about me, and the judge and jury at my trial would not know about Jillian. However, if I served as a prior bad acts witness at Jillian’s upcoming trial, one jury would get to hear both stories.
Interesting article I found at nerve.com, by Christopher Zeischegg, a “pornographer, writer, musician, and filmmaker living in Los Angeles, California.”
His is, obviously, not an anti-porn stance, but he is critical of the industry he previously defended more unequivocally.
I am, obviously, only quoting the bits that support my anti-porn stance, so I suggest you read the whole article (and it is definitely worth reading in full) to see it all in context.
I still receive calls because my defense is still out there for anyone to read; my words line the articles of blogs and sex-positive websites. So when bad shit happens in porn, there’s always a reporter to come snooping for my side of the story. In December 2013, I talked to a few such reporters. Porn was in the midst of its third production moratorium of the year due to a performer testing positive for HIV. The news needed its sources.
“What’s your take on this HIV scare?” one reporter asked me.
“First off, I should note that I’m no longer a performer. I quit about two months ago.”
“Why is that?”
I told him the truth: It had to do with my use of ED drugs.
“Do you think that’s another example of the industry’s lack of concern for performer health?” he asked.
“It’s kind of irrelevant. No producer asked me to take the drugs.” It was just what most guys did to get through scenes. “And I don’t think the industry has a lack of concern for performer health.” That was my defense – a knee-jerk reaction to the type of loaded question I was used to. I told the reporter that we tested for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in porn, that our panel had expanded, and that we’d gone from testing every 30 days to once every two weeks. “It’s not even the law,” I said. “The industry does this on its own.”
Another reporter asked me, “Who takes on the costs of these tests?”
“They’re mildly subsidized by larger production companies, but it’s mostly performers.” I told her the current price, something like $175 per test, depending on the clinic.
“Wow. That’s quite the overhead.”
“Yeah,” I said. “It sucks. Especially for performers who don’t work often.”
She pulled more information from me: that there are no unions, no performer residuals, and basically zero resources for those who are sick, injured, or otherwise in need.
“But look at something like independent film,” I said. “I’ve worked on projects for terrible day rates, with no promise of residuals, and no access to benefits like healthcare.” My point was basically, “Why pick on porn?” I’ve found this is often part of my defense. I explain how terrible jobs are in general, and that there’s at least some money left in porn: Leave us alone to earn the last of it!
Given my generally leftist ideology, it’s a strange argument. I’d never drop my critique of other corporate workforce exploitations based on the fact that they’re “typical.”
But I’m starting to realize that condoms aren’t even the real issue. The porn industry has become an example of unsustainable business. Financial disruption has forced performers into unregulated forms of sex work (like prostitution) and opened up the industry to a greater rate of STI exposure. Advocates for testing have pushed for more rigorous and frequent panels. But most companies don’t want to pay for the increase in cost. In fact, most don’t want to pay at all. So performers take on a greater overhead. Then they’re told that safety measures, like barrier protection, are going to further destroy their ability to work – something that, without transparent and quantifiable evidence, is just regurgitated speculation that feels like it’s real.
It may be that regulation will hurt the expansion of profit. The question is, “For whom?” If companies like MindGeek are earning millions driving traffic to free-porn-giveaway-sites, do condoms even make a difference? Or will the last of porn consumers abandon their purchase of small-time hardcore porn once they see some safer sex?
When the fear of vanishing profit margins loom over the inclusion of a piece of latex, we can’t even get to the conversation of paying for industry-wide healthcare, let alone other benefits. Porn’s taken on the same old be happy you’re working at all mentality that’s become a staple for post-recession America.
Following on from yesterday’s post re-blogging Deep Green Resistance’s support for Robert Jensen, here’s a quote from Jensen’s article which has led him to be ostracised by a book store/cafe/meeting place that claims to be ‘something radically different’.
Jensen’s piece is mild, calm and balanced, and the fact that he is being treated in this way just shows how powerful trans ideology is; any questioning, even in the most balanced and respectful terms, is now a thought crime.
I want to specifically quote the section of his article titled ‘ecology’ as, while the rest of the article is pretty 101 (this is an observation, not a criticism), I have not seen the ecological argument (which covers all ‘big medicine’, not just the ‘sex reassignment’ industry) spelt out so well before.
Many people, whether radical feminist or not, are critical of high-tech medicine’s manipulation of the body through the reckless use of hormones and chemicals (which rarely have been proved to be safe) or the destruction of healthy tissue to conform to arbitrary beauty standards (cosmetic surgery such as breast augmentation, nose jobs, etc.).
From this ecological approach, such medical practices are part of a deeper problem in the industrial era of our failing to understand ourselves as organisms, shaped by an evolutionary history, and part of ecosystems that impose limits on all organisms.
People are not machines, and treating the human body like a machine is inconsistent with an ecological understanding of ourselves as living beings who are part of a larger living world.
Deep Green Resistance condemns in the strongest possible terms the decision of Monkeywrench Books in Austin, Texas to cut ties with activist Robert Jensen. Robert has received a massive amount of criticism recently for his article “Some Basic Propositions About Sex, Gender and Patriarchy”, in which he makes public his support for women. That so many have been quick to turn on a seasoned activist for the crime of saying that females exist is not surprising; the women of DGR, like thousands of radical women throughout history, know all too well the threats, insults, denunciations, and other abuse that comes to those who question the genderist ideology and stand with women in the fight for liberation from male violence.
Deep Green Resistance would like to publicly thank Robert Jensen for his activism and offer our support in this trying time. In a world where so-called “radical” communities are blacklisting actually radical women at a breakneck pace – while pedophile rapists like Hakim Bey and misogynists like Bob Black are welcomed with open arms – Robert has been a uniquely positive exception to the Left’s legacy of woman-hating. His contributions to the discussion around radical opposition to pornography, prostitution, and other forms of violence are especially valuable. DGR would like to acknowledge Robert’s efforts as a model for male solidarity work and offer our full support. The men of DGR specifically would like to extend a thanks to Robert for his huge influence in many of their lives.
Intersectionality theorists also make clear … distinctions between oppression and difference. For them, not all differences are axes of structural social oppression. For example, both intersectionality theorists and poststructuralists speak of “marginalized” peoples. Yet the former [intersectional theorists] anchor this concept in hierarchically structured, group-based inequalities, while poststructuralists often are referring to people whose behaviors lie outside of or transgress social norms. This latter conception of “margins” includes a much broader swath of people where the normative structure rather than structural relations of oppression is determinate.
Indeed, not all countercultural lifestyles and politics reflect the historical, institutionalized oppressions highlighted by intersectionality theorists; even groups such as the Michigan militia or the Ku Klux Klan are marginalized groups in terms of transgressing norms. This is why Collins argues that, when scholars took the postmodern turn, “conceptions of power shifted – talk of tops and bottoms, long associated with hierarchy, were recast as flattened geographies of centers and margins” that “rob the term of oppression of its critical and oppositional importance” (Collins 1998, 129 and 136). Similarly, Kimberlé Crenshaw suggests that such “flattening” of intersectionality results from the absence of a structural and political critique (quoted in Berger and Guidroz 2009, 70).
Third Wave Feminism’s Unhappy Marriage of Poststructuralism and Intersectionality Theory, Susan Archer Mann, University of New Orleans
Kinksters/porn bloggers in their natural habitat discussing how to best deal with the “feminist problem”. Do you think it’s any coincidence that they are using the exact same messages as pornography to denigrate feminists?
According to patriarchal ideology women exist solely for the sexual and domestic pleasure of men. And here, above, from these misogynistic bloggers, we see the exact same attitude demonstrated.
Let’s stop pretending that porn is meant to be about giving women freedom of sexual expression and let’s stop pretending that porn isn’t harmful.
And let’s stop pretending that kink and feminism are in any way compatible.
A man who believes himself superior to women by sheer dint of his male-ness is by definition the antithesis of feminist.
The two ideologies are absolutely dichotomous.
Did you know in the video Belle Knox became famous for, she tells the men that she is doing women’s studies at university, and after they beat and choke her and ejaculate all over her face, they ask her what she thinks of feminism now? The same video also features a man climbing to the highest rung of a ladder and jumping onto the body of another woman.
I spent last Friday listening to exited women talking about customers lining them up and pissing on them before making them smear their faces in human feces and how their organizations are working with women who have been kept in cages and forced to fight each other like dogs with the “loser” then getting beaten and raped on video by johns who were paying for the privilege so yeah sorry I’m 100% not here for people who tell me that abolitionists are only in it for their “personal preferences and moralities” and because we haven’t done our research.
QotD: “If you are female, the 6000+ year existence of patriarchy is a long war of terror upon you and every one of your sisters with untold millions of female casualties”
If you are female, the 6000+ year existence of patriarchy is a long war of terror upon you and every one of your sisters with untold millions of female casualties.
If you are female, even if you are not being beaten and sold this very minute, you are a slave to the male gaze, to male expectations of “woman.” If you think that the hours you spend on your appearance are “for myself” the terror has colonized your mind.
Every catcall, every denied job, every assumption that male is normal and female is “other” is an act of war. every education denied, every FGM, every time men interrupt, dismiss, deny, minimize, patronize or in any way fail to allow women a seat at the table of power —because power is what we are really talking about, not constrained “choices.”—a skirmish has occurred. Except it is so normal that we do not call it an act of war any more.
Every abortion denied, every attempt to make contraception difficult to obtain, every attempt to shame women for taking power over their own lives is an act of aggression.
Every female selectively aborted, abused, violated, assaulted, attacked with acid, married off against her will, shamed, raped, prostituted and/or murdered is a casualty in this long, long war on women.
We have turned the other cheek. We have coddled, ignored, placated, and done exactly what you’ve asked. We have given you 6000+ years of unpaid labor and submission. Your misogyny increased. You gun us down us for the crime of being female.
This is not about “guns” or “mental illness,” this is about the hatred of women: misogyny. As painful as it is, women need to see that #yesallmen benefit from patriarchy. Your son, your husband, your boyfriend, you father, you brothers, uncles, cousins. Every man benefits from patriarchy. And misogyny is growing. In those same men. Women, you cannot shirk from this reality.
Men steal our time, our accomplishments, our emotional succor, our energy and our lives. The little flashes of time that we call “war” (where men go maim and kill each other while raping and killing women as “collateral damage”) are intentional distractions so that the everyday crimes that men commit against women all day, every day with patriarchal blessing are not looked at.
I have had enough. Do not expect me to see misogyny as anything less than an act of war. Because I won’t. Because seeing the enemy clearly is the first step in defending ourselves. It is time to wake up. Yes, it is all men.
And, no, I will not plead with, bargain with, beg or in any way negotiate with men for better treatment. Men can well deal with their own loss of humanity themselves. I will continue to help women see that patriarchal misogyny is the very air that we breathe every day. Because when women see that, we enter the war with eyes open and are fully prepared to engage battle.
Patriarchy is war on women and men are war criminals by their own definition.
For women, the war is every moment of her life. There is no bunker to return to, no trench to dodge the bullets. Men are everywhere, taking up space and dominating our lives.
Start with saying that being born female is to be born into a lifelong war. Start with that. And see the misogyny everywhere. And pray to goddess that you do not get shot today for simply being female.
QotD: “It is essential to recognize how genuinely accepted both the brothel model and prostitution are in the social structure”
It is essential to recognize how genuinely accepted both the brothel model and prostitution are in the social structure, and how this disposition of women is simply accepted as inevitable because they are women. However evil prostitution is held to be, however righteous or religious men are said to be, the brothel model does more than endure; it thrives. However marginal the women are said to be, they form the sex nucleus of a sex industry that is in no sense marginal. The brothel model thrives because men accept it and all that is part of it as proper treatment for sexual women: women who are sexual in male terms, women who get fucked by many men, women who get fucked outside the protective custody of a traditional father or husband. The staying power of both the brothel as an institution and prostitution as a practice comes from the efficacy of both for regulating the sexual use of women and the disposition of sexually exploitable women.
Andrea Dworkin, Right Wing Women
Anonymous said: long-time follower, first time asker! sitting here with tumblr open in one tab and okcupid in the next basically sums up the state of my life right now. any advice on reconciling knowing what we know as feminists with wanting to find a dude to love/marry? or do you know of any writing on this issue? sometimes i feel like my head’s going to explode for all the cognitive dissonance that comes with het dating. thanks!
Be honest with yourself about what your deal-breakers are, and communicate them up front. If you won’t date a guy who watches porn, put it in your profile, don’t shy away from it, own that it’s important to you. Otherwise you’re just going to have to deal with disappointment later, or find yourself getting attached to a guy you will have to compromise your values for, neither of which is a good use of your time. Relationships are about compromise, yes, but not when it means compromising your morals and ethical values. Especially not when it means tolerating the subjugation of your sisters for the sake of the man you’re with. You’re going to miss a lot of opportunities and you’ll deal with a lot of stupid messages because the only thing guys hate more than women who don’t tolerate their casual misogyny it’s women who won’t fuck them, but just know that it’s an inevitability and you are doing yourself a favor by sticking it out for the one who won’t ask you to change yourself or what you believe in.