Category Archives: articles/essays/commentary

New post up at Autonomous Radical Feminists

Are Meaningful Sexual Choices For Everybody, Or Just The Privileged Few? Flyer for ‘afem2014′

One of the workshops today will challenge so-called ‘sex positive’ thinking, the idea that all sex that isn’t obviously coerced is good, that ‘sexual liberation’ can only mean saying yes to any and all sexual activity. I ask you to take that critical thinking and apply it to the sex industry.

To be truly positive about sex is to say that sex actually matters, that being forced, directly or indirectly, into sexual activity you don’t want is wrong and is abuse, that the right to be able to say no to sex is just as important as the right to be able to say yes.

QotD: “Anita Sarkeesian cancels talk at Utah State University over threats of ‘the deadliest school shooting’ in US history”

The feminist pop culture critic Anita Sarkeesian has been forced to cancel a talk at Utah State University, after a threat of a “Montreal Massacre-style attack”.

Sarkeesian, who is best known for her YouTube series “Tropes v Women in Video Games”, assessing various anti-feminist trends in gaming, was scheduled to talk at the university on Wednesday, when the unsigned email was sent.

The author of the email threatened that if the talk was not cancelled, they would carry out an attack in the style of the 1989 Montreal massacre, when Marc Lépine murdered 14 women, claiming he was “fighting feminism”.

“I have at my disposal a semi-automatic rifle, multiple pistols, and a collection of pipe bombs,” the letter said. “This will be the deadliest school shooting in American history and I’m giving you a chance to stop it.”

“You have 24 hours to cancel Sarkeesian’s talk … Anita Sarkeesian is everything wrong with the feminist woman, and she is going to die screaming like the craven little whore that she is if you let her come to USU. I will write my manifesto in her spilled blood, and you will all bear witness to what feminist lies and poison have done to the men of America.”

Initially, Sarkeesian stated her intention to hold the talk despite the threat, but was forced to back down after discovering that it was impossible to prevent guns being taken to the event.

“Forced to cancel my talk at USU after receiving death threats because police wouldn’t take steps to prevent concealed firearms at the event,” she tweeted. “Requested pat downs or metal detectors after mass shooting threat but because of Utah’s open carry laws police wouldn’t do firearm searches.”

Full article here

Previous writing on Sarkeesian here

It is amazing sometimes how much men hate women, and how terrified men are of even the small gains women have made. Men see anything other than women’s complete subjugation as men loosing out, as men being oppressed; they don’t even want meager ‘equality’, they want total domination.

“Revenge porn to be criminal offence with threat of two years in jail”

Revenge pornography – sharing sexually explicit images of former partners without their consent – is to become a criminal offence punishable by up to two years in prison.

The legislation is to be introduced into the criminal justice and courts bill that is currently going through parliament, the justice secretary, Chris Grayling, has announced.

There has been mounting political pressure to outlaw the practice of humiliating former lovers by posting intimate pictures of them online.

Among those pressing for a change to the law has been the former culture secretary, Maria Miller. Others have argued that the problem is already covered by existing laws against obscenity or blackmail.

The new offence will cover the release of explicit images both online and in the form of printed pictures.

Full story here

Of course, the problem with this is that it is only meant to protect ‘normal’ women, if the images are from a porn set, they won’t be covered by the law, no matter how much distress or harm they cause the woman in the image, or how unethically the images were produced – she signed a contract (who cares if the contract wasn’t followed, if the only way she could get the money she needed was by signing the piece of paper), she ‘chose’ it, ‘those’ women are not seen as deserving of protection.

What’s happened to Next Years Girl?

Her blog is gone, she is the last person I would imagine doing this, I hope she is ok.

WHO: What do we mean by “sex” and “gender”?

I want to have a screen grab of this on record, in case the WHO ever cave in to the trans/genderist dogma that insists on collapsing into one two distinct concepts.

WHO sex and gender

Sometimes it is hard to understand exactly what is meant by the term “gender”, and how it differs from the closely related term “sex”.

“Sex” refers to the biological and physiological characteristics that define men and women.

“Gender” refers to the socially constructed roles, behaviours, activities, and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for men and women.

To put it another way:

“Male” and “female” are sex categories, while “masculine” and “feminine” are gender categories.

Aspects of sex will not vary substantially between different human societies, while aspects of gender may vary greatly.

Some examples of sex characteristics :

Women menstruate while men do not
Men have testicles while women do not
Women have developed breasts that are usually capable of lactating, while men have not
Men generally have more massive bones than women

Some examples of gender characteristics :

In the United States (and most other countries), women earn significantly less money than men for similar work
In Viet Nam, many more men than women smoke, as female smoking has not traditionally been considered appropriate
In Saudi Arabia men are allowed to drive cars while women are not
In most of the world, women do more housework than men

The mental contortions genderists go through to ‘prove’ that biological sex does not exists (while, on the other hand, gender roles are hardwired and immutable in our otherwise plastic brains), are hilarious (but also disturbing).

How has denying science and reality become the most important piece of ‘social justice’ activism for a large number of people?

How do these people function in the real world?

Why is ‘gender’ so important, why can’t they just accept that what they are describing is personality?

I think part of the answer (and I am by no means the first person to say this), is that minutely policing others’ use of language is an easy substitute for real world action; why stand on a picket or protest line when you could be sitting at home listing your privileges and your genders and your pronouns and your sexualities. This is pure narcissism as ‘activism’.

female penises exist male vaginas exist

I want to note that the way the sex binary looks like it’s present throughout the animal world is that white scientists have a terrible habit of labeling everything “male” or “female”

“White scientists” sounds pretty racist to me, as it is erasing all the non-white people who have contributed to science and technology and medicine over the decades. This is actually a pretty sad old rhetorical trick genderists play, to label anything they don’t like as ‘racist’ without anything to back it up.

(Yes, there are white scientists who are racist, and there is bad science that is used for racist purposes, but science itself is just a way of exploring, examining and testing our knowledge of reality, that isn’t racist, or gendered, in itself.)

Biology is transphobic

Transphobic folks with transphobic science conveniently forget that some species can be naturally trans and none of the other creatures in that species shit on them for gender swapping or allying with the opposite gender

Someone couldn’t answer this question by themselves

exploited black teens.com-racist porn?

This is one of the search engine terms used to find this blog today.

What is ‘ethical’ porn for? What does it achieve?

Sex industry advocate Kitty Stryker participated in a short debate at New Internationalist recently with regard to ‘ethical porn'; but before we look at that, let’s have a re-cap of Stryker’s activities.

In early 2012, an article was published by Salon, quoting Stryker (and also Maggie Mayhem) about abuse and cover-ups in the BDSM ‘scene’.

This was a brave condemnation of a ‘community’ that preached ‘safe, sane, consensual’, but in reality practised the covering-up of abuse and the ostracism and blaming of victims.

In the comments thread under my blog post about the Salon article I said that Stryker would have to choose sides at some point, and within six months she had backed down, and gone from a damning indictment of the BDSM community to ‘consent is complicated’ and ‘we need to educate ourselves about consent’ and ‘people fuck up’, as if all the bad stuff happened by mistake rather than being deliberate and systematic.

From a much more recent, and slightly odd, comment Stryker left under my first blog post, it seems that her ‘consent culture’ work now consists solely of providing one-on-one therapy to individuals worried they may be abusers, which is all very nice for the individuals involved, but has nothing to do with keeping your house in order. Stryker also revealed that she doesn’t actually understand what ‘rape culture’ means, as she sees it as something separate from culture itself, rather than a part of the air we all have to breath every day.

In the New Internationalist article, Stryker explicitly states that she is not financially reliant on pornography, which places her in a privileged minority who get to do porn ‘for fun’.

Stryker drags out the tired old canard that women are paid more than men in pornography (at least she says ‘employees’ this time, tacitly acknowledging that the real money and control is behind the camera), while completely ignoring that women are paid more than men in porn because they are not doing the same job, as someone else put it so well, “men are paid to orgasm, while women are paid to suffer.”

Stryker also says “As a woman without a degree, or as a transwoman, porn is often the only industry where class mobility may be achieved.”

This is offensive rubbish, there is no ‘mobility’ when there is nowhere to go, no kind of long-term job security, when the ‘work’ doesn’t give you any transferable skills and you are left with a gap in your CV and the constant fear of your ‘past’ being exposed. It ignores the fact that in the mainstream of het porn (which is effectively interchangeable with gonzo now), women are chewed up and shat out within less than a year, often with infections and injuries they receive no workers compensation for; that they have to prostitute to survive financially (so that the porn becomes merely the advertising of the prostitution); that only a tiny minority of women get to the point where they can have any kind of control over their ‘career’ and ‘image’.

This isn’t just offensive rubbish, it’s disgusting rubbish, it’s obscene; Stryker gets her fun and her choices and her safer sex practises, those other women, those poor women, they ‘need’ to be chewed up and shat out by the sex industry, in the name of ‘social mobility’.

This is a ‘sex positive’ “let them eat cake”; there are poor women? then let them be sex workers! I’m having a great time!

Stryker says: “Most major porn companies are owned by white cisgendered straight men; this stands in the way of ethically produced pornography. I agree that’s problematic, and that representation and marginalized voices being brought to the centre is incredibly important for an ethical workplace.”

This is more rubbish, porn is the commodification of sexuality under white-supremacist, capitalist patriarchy, the idea that that is can be made nice by ‘centring’ ‘voices’ (whatever that actually means) shows no understanding of the reality of capitalism. It also ignores what men actually consume porn for, male pornographers are far more honest about this.

Stryker claims that there is more ‘interest’ in the porn industry in ‘alt’ porn because ‘mainstream’ porn is on the decline (please be aware that all links to Stryker’s blog are nsfw and potentially triggering because of pornographic images in her sidebar), but there is actually no evidence of this. The LA porn industry may be in decline, but this is not because of a shift to ‘alt’ porn, but because the industry has become more corporate and more professional (in fact Stryker doesn’t have proof that more people are consuming ‘alt’ porn, she even says in her blog post that women simply aren’t buying porn).

This is why I ask what ‘ethical’ porn is for, and what does it actually achieve? There is no evidence of it replacing mainstream het and gonzo porn, or of it having any real influence over your average porn-consuming hetero dude. The proponents of ‘ethical’ porn call themselves campaigners, and call their pornography ‘political’, but what do they actually achieve politically, as campaigners?

Stryker co-opts the language of radical feminism, calling herself a ‘sex critical feminist’, but where’s the criticism? Where is the criticism from any of these ‘ethical porn’ purveyors?

sex critical

The only time sex industry advocates have stood up to the pimps and pornographers was in 2012, when Kink.com changed the way it paid webcam ‘girls’, and the protest was only over the way the women were paid (and despite some internet searching, I cannot find anything to say whether this protest was successful or not).

Has Stryker said anything critical about Kink.com (beyond the way cam ‘girls’ are paid), which has left women injured and traumatised? No.

Has Stryker said anything critical about the ‘Free Speech Alliance’, the astro-turf lobby group for pornographers which claims to speak for porn performers? No.

Has Stryker said anything critical about the claims from the ‘Free Speech Alliance’ that porn performers don’t want to use condoms? No.

Stryker gets her safe sex practices, but cheers when a bill mandating condom use on porn sets gets killed off.

mandatory condom bill

The two excuses given by the ‘Free Speech Alliance’ are that condom use is not commercially viable, and that the sex acts in most porn are so violent, condom use becomes painful. Stryker has nothing to say about this financial intimidation that would make it near impossible for a porn performer to insist on condom use, and she has nothing to say about what it means to have a ‘work place’ that leaves ‘workers’ in too much pain to use Personal Protective Equipment. Stryker also has nothing to say about the reality of an 18-year-old woman doing her first shoot on a gonzo porn set, and how unrealistic it is that she would be able to demand condom use, or have any real control over what happens to her. Instead she cheers the fact that a law, which could have offered some protection for vulnerable workers against exploitative bosses, has been killed off.

Has Stryker said anything critical about the more and more violent trends in gonzo porn, so that women are now expected to shit out their internal organs on set? Not that I have seen, and anyway one of the women who does this is out-spoken and empowered, so everything is ok right?

Has Stryker offered any words of support to Sasha Grey, who, it turns out, was coerced into the porn industry by an abusive boyfriend who was a decade older than her? No.

Does Stryker have anything critical to say about the Crash Pad Predators? Not that I can find (she works for that company after all).

As I have said before, many times, on this blog and elsewhere, the sex industry is a pyramid with a very broad base, Stryker, who does porn ‘for fun’ is at the top, and she gets her safer sex practices, her diversity, and her negotiation, on the backs of all the women who don’t have a real choice, and she won’t say anything about it because poor women ‘need’ abusive porn sets, for ‘social mobility’ purposes.

Stryker has her glitter and her My Little Pony fetish costumes and her supply of free sex toys to review and her paid speaking gigs (which would dry up if she ever started saying anything truly critical about the sex industry or the BDSM ‘scene’), so she’s-alright-jack!

But credit where credit is due, she does call out a ‘feminist pornographer’, for joking about raping a drunk woman, but she does so in the most minimising of terms:

“Now, I want to say that I know, especially when young, people say and do fucked up things. No one is perfect on consent. That said, joking about a situation where a woman felt violated enough to report rape seems pretty messed up – saying things like “so I gave it to the bitch” when talking about sex while drunk perpetuates rape culture, and is especially insensitive when in the context of college campuses.”

And the overall response from the ‘feminist porn community’ doesn’t seem to have involved much more than navel gazing.

So what is ‘feminist’ or ‘ethical’ or ‘alt’ or ‘queer’ porn (these terms tend to be used interchangeably)? What does it involve, what does it achieve?

Belle Knox says she loves ‘rough blowjobs’ so ‘rough blowjobs’ are ‘empowering’ and ‘feminist’. If anything that gets a woman off is ‘feminist’, then all porn becomes ‘feminist’ and the label is meaningless (like in that old Onion article).

In the New Internationalist piece, Stryker describes ethical porn as “a spectrum of behaviour that treats performers as workers and as humans, both on set and within the marketing” which is all very nice, and conveniently vague, since any porn, including porn depicting horrific sexual violence, can fulfil those criteria, as long as there is a woman prepared to say on camera how much she enjoyed it.

Look at this thing I found on the internet:

kinky queers slave training

“Kinky Queers – Slave Training” “We shoot high quality, ethical, hardcore BDSM porn”

Or how about something Stryker herself re-tweeted?

filthy taboo

Anything can be ‘ethical’ porn.

Stryker says nothing directly or vocally about any specific instance of unethical porn production, just pretends that it’s dying out. The reality is that ‘ethical’ pornography is fully embedded within the porn industry, it uses the same websites, the same expos and award shows, and so-called ‘feminist pornographers’ work for mainstream/gonzo porn companies.

The recent twitter altercation between ‘gold star’ lesbian porn performer Lily Cade and trans woman porn performer Chelsea Poe, reveals an interesting take on ‘ethical’ porn.

Lily Cade tweets

That one of the main aims of current ‘trans activism’ is bullying lesbians (or ‘genital obsessed perverts’ as some trans activists like to call them) for not being willing to suck cock, is not news to any radical feminist.

Stryker buys 100% into the ‘most oppressed people on the planet ever’ line, ignoring the fact that the middle-class heterosexual white men who transition in middle age after having a career and a family as men (the same middle-class middle-aged heterosexual white men who have taken over what was once the LGB movement), tend to do fine. The trans women who are oppressed along multiple axis (race, class, disability) tend to do as badly as other women or men who are also oppressed along the same axis.

After the Sylvia Rivera Law Project launched a campaign in support of child rapist and murderer Synthia China Blast, because his ‘dreams mattered’, I’m no longer interested in holding back on this subject; a large amount of ‘trans activism’ is about protecting and enabling violent men.

And it looks like ‘ethical porn’ is a part of this. Does Stryker have anything critical to say about Poe’s harassment of Cade? No! In fact, she joins in, calling Cade a ‘mean girl’ for not wanting to suck cock.

Cade has responded to the attacks against her (the link is to a wiki porn site and therefore nsfw and potentially triggering because of the images on the page):

Chelsea Poe, a pre- or non-op transsexual woman (a human being with a penis and testicles) asked me to cast her in my lesbian porn. I said no, and she accused me of transphobia, and it could have been left at that, but people piled on and piled on and I stood there and fought it because this whole thing is coming from a place of refusal to face reality… and I don’t believe in suffering delusion.

Frankly, I still don’t think Chelsea and Thelma [Sleaze] and all these other uptight, immature people understand why I went to war with them. I tried nuance and I tried grace and I tried everything in my arsenal but if you can’t grow up I can’t drag you kicking and screaming into the light.

What Chelsea asked me to do was to spend my capital, my energy, the trust of my fanbase that I have built up over six years in porn, to fight for her cause: her cause of proving she is attractive. Chelsea asked me to give her work in my movies. Every time I cast a movie I can’t include all my friends and lovers and the women I think are beautiful and the women who I like fucking, but Chelsea demanded that in the name of “equality” I give one of those roles to her and pay for someone to fuck her, so that she could wave her dick in the faces of my lesbian porn fans to make some point about how they should stop being bigots and accept that she’s hot.

Attraction isn’t bigotry. I fully support the creation of porn that speaks to all kinds of people. I do to some extent, and have many friends who create porn that features non mainstream looks, that showcases new things that maybe people didn’t know they were into, and speaks to some larger truth about the world. I’m not exactly Brazzers. I don’t make assembly line porn.

(Emphasis in original.)

So, then, ‘ethical’ porn, the sort of porn that Stryker and her friends make, can be seen, at best, as a vanity project, of interest only to a small group of people, and, at worst (being realistic about who is actually buying porn, including ‘alt’ and ‘queer’ porn), as being exactly the same as all other porn, about granting men access to women’s bodies.

QotD: “there is nothing I want to hear less than a pastor and a fucking professional rapist’s thoughts on pornography”

Porn Pastor_Porn King

So, my city if holding a debate on pornography and as of this moment, both sides (for and against) will be represented by men. Although the demographic of mainstream pornography is men, porn’s affect is on women, and we need to hear their voices. I’m a radical feminism at 100% against pornography, but it’s women who matter in this debate. Please comment on this event and tell them we need to hear from women.

http://porndebate.citychurchevv.com/

Christ almighty there is nothing I want to hear less than a pastor and a fucking professional rapist’s thoughts on pornography.

From Next Years Girl

The presentation here is pretty disgusting – a ‘Porn Pastor’ and a ‘Porn King’ fighting it out over who has control over women’s bodies – like it’s all a big ironic joke; it’s being presented like a wrestling match, as something fake, as something where there is nothing real at stake (you know, like women’s lives?).

New Category! ‘Brain Sex!/Genderism/Gender Criticism’

I have decided to add a new category to the blog: ‘Brain Sex!/Genderism/Gender Criticism’, which will hopefully make finding content easier.

‘TERF’ is hate speech

I’ve seen some posts recently on tumblr, saying that we shouldn’t describe ‘TERF’ as a slur, because it doesn’t have the same power to harm as more established words like ‘slut’ and ‘whore’, and we shouldn’t conflate the two.

This is a fair argument, but the way ‘TERF’ is being used, it is hate speech. How else can we describe a word that is used to homogenise, dehumanise and demonise a group of people, especially when so-called ‘social justice warriors’ tweet and blog about how much they’d love to violently murder ‘TERFs’.

I have sent this email to the Guardian, expressing my concern over the use of the word ‘TERF’ in the article they published last Saturday.

Dear editor(s),

I am writing to you to express my concern over Lucy Mangan’s opinion piece published in the Weekend magazine on the 9th August (I am sending this to several different editors, as it is an issue that goes beyond this one article). My particular concern is over her use of the term ‘Terf'; this word is used as hate speech against any woman (and it is only used against women) who expresses a negative or critical opinion about gender or trans issues, or who even acknowledges that biological sex exists. It is used to dehumanise and demonise such women, and to justify violent threats against them and their children. It is highly irresponsible of a national newspaper to allow an article to be published that uses this term uncritically, as if it were a neutral descriptor.

I also wish to express my concern with the way the Guardian covers ‘gender’ issues generally; your coverage is alarmingly one-sided and uncritical, with the number of gender-critical pieces being minute in comparison to the number of articles that cover gender identity uncritically.

Why not, in the name of balance, ask Gia Milinovich or Sarah Ditum to write a critical response? Or even just commission a review of Sheila Jeffreys’ new book Gender Hurts?

I look forward to hearing back from you.

Yours sincerely,
Abi Pearson

Sent to these email addresses:

reader[at]theguardian.com
cif.editors[at]theguardian.com
comment.editors[at]theguardian.com
review[at]theguardian.com
society[at]theguardian.com
weekend[at]theguardian.com

It will be interesting to see what kind of reply, if any, I get.

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