Category Archives: articles/essays/commentary

“Some Basic Propositions About Sex, Gender and Patriarchy”

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.

You can read my previous thought crimes here and here.

Is the number 1337 significant in some way?

1337

seeing this makes me happy

Happy

Thank you Next Years Girl

More Oxbridge sexual violence

From the BBC:

New students at Cambridge University could be offered “consent” workshops after a survey revealed more than 70 undergraduates said they had been sexually assaulted.

More than 2.000 people responded to the university’s women’s group and university newspaper, Varsity, survey.

Its authors called for “compulsory consent workshops” after 71 people reported “assault by penetration”.

The university confirmed it was discussing the workshops proposal.

About 77% of respondents also said they had experienced some form of sexual harassment with about 46% saying they had experienced “unwelcome pinching, groping or sexual touching”.

The “Cambridge Speaks Out” survey looked into the “prevalence of sexual violence, stalking and physical violence amongst all students currently studying at Cambridge University”.

About two thirds of respondents were female and one third were male.

From the Guardian:

The president of the prestigious Oxford Union has been arrested and questioned by police on suspicion of rape and attempted rape

Ben Sullivan, 21, who is studying history and politics at Christ Church College, Oxford, was arrested early on Wednesday . He was released the same afternoon on bail until 18 June.

It is understood that the allegations relate to one of rape reported to have taken place in January 2013, and one of attempted rape reported to have taken place in April 2013.

[...]

Sullivan, a third year student, was elected unopposed to the position of president last autumn.

He has been at the centre of recent controversy at the university after a student news website claimed he had been a member of an exclusive drinking society within his college known as the Banter Squadron.

He was embroiled in a bitter row with the website, The Oxford Tab, which accused him of trying to prevent it reporting his membership of the club and trying to get the Oxford Union to fund legal action against the site.

Part of the narrative of rape culture is not just the claim that rape is rare and unusual (so unusual in fact, that apologists think false allegations of rape are more common than rape itself), but also that rape is only committed by ‘outlier’ man, ‘bad men’, the implication being that these are men who were raised badly (which has the added benefit of facilitating the bashing of poor and/or single mothers). Oxbridge (for my non-UK readers this is a shorthand like ‘Ivy League’ for the top two Universities in the UK, Oxford and Cambridge) has a very high intake of students who were educated at public (ie fee charging) schools, and who are middle and upper class; ie, by mainstream standards, they were ‘raised properly’. Rape culture is the fact that ‘nice middle class white boys’ commit sexual violence just as much as any other group of men.

Also, the men educated at these Universities are the politicians, lawyers, doctors and business leaders of the future, they are going to have direct and indirect power and control over the lives of women and girls.

Quick note re. comments

Dear all,

My personal life has become rather hectic at the moment (nothing bad has happened, but I’m not giving out TMI on the interwebs), so I will not be responding to any comments for a while. All comments are moderated, posts have been scheduled in advance. I will not be checking the email account either.

Kind regards,
A

Shock horror! Guardian Comment is Free actually publishes something that is critical of the sex industry!

Unfortunately, they are toeing the ‘sex work’ line, which is effectively begging the question and taking the partisan line that submitting to unwanted sex is, under certain circumstances, merely ‘work’.

Tanya Gold on sex work

Legalising the sex trade means state-approved, monetised gangbangs

In Love for Sale, the feminist is the enemy of the prostitute, denying her free choices, thwarting her imperatives and daubing her with the mantle of victimhood. Feminists, a prostitute in a Dutch window tells Everett, makes her “feel small”. Despite the Liverpool streetwalker insisting, “We are not doing it because we love it”; despite a male prostitute reporting that eight of his colleagues had committed suicide in the previous 18 months because of “loneliness” and “crystal”; despite visiting the Bois de Boulogne, where his prostitute friend was murdered in 1998 (“She wanted to marry you,” a mutual friend tells him as they wander through the trees), Everett can only romanticise, and sometimes trivialise. An escort agency has a list of dodgy clients on the wall. “Jonny 12 (rough)” is one such. “Sounds my type,” says Everett. He adores the transgressive; even so, he supports legalisation. He thinks it is the only way.

The effects of legalisation so far are likewise obvious; Der Spiegel published a comprehensive account of the impact of legalisation in Germany last year. The law is a shield for pimps and traffickers, who flock to the safe areas with penniless girls from eastern Europe. Prices are driven ever downwards; mega-brothels offer all the sex an inadequate lover can desire for €70 (£58), which leads to queues outside the doors of exhausted women. Here, then, are monetised gangbangs approved by the state.

It could be that well-meant laws are poorly enforced, or that many prostitutes are incapable, for complex reasons, of true autonomy. Can we imagine women with a glut of choices choosing this? There are, of course, exceptions, and these exceptions want legalisation. No one can drive a law through these murky areas and unpick paid-for sex from contempt for women. In Sweden, for instance, where the punter is criminalised, the trade just moves elsewhere. But in Germany the testimony is the stuff of nightmare, of capitalism run mad to its inevitable dusk. The utopia of self-employed happy prostitutes serenely paying their taxes never materialised; instead, legislation conjured hell.

Gold neatly dismantles Rupert Everett: “Everett is obviously a romantic who romanticises what he finds because he is drawn to what his interviewee Russell Brand calls “maligned outsiders”. At one point he compares prostitution to his own profession, although it is hard to imagine a co-star placing a penis in his mouth, or anus, and giving him money.” This is an upper-class, white, male Hollywood star having his ‘naughty fun‘ at others’ expense; and isn’t it funny how ‘speaking for sex workers’ stops being a problem when the speaker says what the sex industry advocates want?

“Paedophiles to be treated as terrorists under new crackdown”

Paedophiles will be handed the same treatment as terrorists under a crackdown on child abuse to be included in the Queen’s speech.

David Cameron said he wanted to close a loophole that allows sexual predators to produce and possess “manuals” giving tips on how to identify victims, groom them, and evade capture.

In future, they will face the same kind of sanctions as extremists who download guides to bomb-making.

Full article here

If only sexual violence against adults would be taken this seriously too; but then that would mean acknowledging how much of mainstream culture and normal het ‘romance’ is actually rape culture too.

Extreme definition of ‘survival sex worker’ erases male violence

I found this poster a while ago on tumbler:

survival sex worker

It was re-blogged positively on the ‘sex worker problems’ tumbler.

Survival Sex Worker
a person who works in the sex industry who can’t access the right to refuse sex work

Unfortunately, I have not been able to find any alternative images that show the rest of the poster.

I meant to write about it in more depth, but I was reminded of it by two articles I read in the Guardian today.

Putting aside the obfuscatory language (“can’t access the right to refuse” = can’t say no), under any other circumstances, a person in a situation where they can’t say no to sex is a victim of rape. But here, because money has changed hands, it’s not rape, it’s ‘survival sex work’. My previous understanding of ‘survival sex work’ or survival prostitution, was people prostituting in order to get their next meal, or a roof over their head for the night, ie, to avoid immediate starvation or harm from environmental exposure.

The above definition re-labels any kind of forced prostitution, including trafficking and sex slavery, as ‘survival sex work’, and thereby conveniently erases the traffickers, the pimps and the johns.

The first article I read today was this one, on the Japanese army’s ‘comfort women’ during World War II. Under the above definition, these women were not victims of male, military violence, they were ‘survival sex workers’ and the institutions and individuals who abused them disappear.

The second article was this one, about the testimony of a man who was abused in an Australian religious institution as a boy, he is quoted as saying (that because of the lack of food): “I would do anything and let anyone do anything to me, just for a feed.” By the above definition, he was not a victim of abuse but a ‘survival sex worker’ (or, rather, a ‘juvenile survival sex worker’), exchanging ‘sex work’ for food, and the men who abused him have disappeared.

What questions were they asking?

Whenever I hear someone say ‘sex workers want xyz’ I always wonder under what circumstances the question was asked.

Ask a woman working on the street whether she would prefer to be in a brothel and she may well say yes (on the other hand, she may have worked in brothels already, and found it so abusive the streets seem safer), because she’s thinking about how she’s going to get through the next 24 hours.

Ask the same woman if she would like long term help with drug-addiction, homelessness, lack of education/work skills, physical and mental health issues, she may well say yes to that as well.

Sex industry advocates/researchers/etc often have nothing more to offer than free cups of coffee, clean needles, condoms, lubricant, and harm reduction ‘advice’ on the best way to be penetrated when you are already in pain from being penetrated multiple times already.

If the people asking the question aren’t actually offering you any real alternatives, when the tacit statement underlying the question is ‘given that you are going to be in prostitution for the rest of your life’ what else are you going to say?

Also, given the victim-hating hostility that comes from many sex industry advocates, and even academics – calling victims liars, trying to intimidate and discredit them – what woman would speak up about it if she did feel like a victim?

(From a comment I left in yesterday’s thread here)

Horay for equality!

I am not actually being (entirely) sarcastic here; one small patch of the earth has been found where men are not getting paid as much as women for equivalent work, and an employment tribunal will hopefully fix that, so equality and justice will be served.

Radical feminists are not actually against equality, we just recognise it as a limited concept that doesn’t cover most of the causes of women’s oppression, and that liberation is a far more useful focus for radical feminist analysis and activity.

For example, we will have achieved equality when just as many men have eating disorders as women, but nobody will have been liberated from body-tyranny.

Also the fact that women can’t be equal with men in any meaningful way when women are not free from male violence. We have equality on paper, and sometimes that results in justice, but liberation is bigger than that.

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