Feminism can never equate with individualism, no matter what the pick-and-mix proselytisers might tell you. That a single woman feels empowered to make a particular choice means nothing if the grassroots organisations and political lobbies don’t exist to manifest real social shifts. It is still collective theory and collective action that changes the world.
Libby Brooks, Time for a good scrap about what our feminism really is
Just because I like it
In 1969, the difference between being a little boy and a little girl was like the difference between being a little boy and a little girl in 2009, except that in 1969, it was still believed by a stalwart few that feminism might fix some of that shit.
The posturing of sadists and masochists as “transgressive” can be confusing to those not familiar with feminist theory. By definition, the ultimate goal of feminism is to end sadomasochism. Our system is sadomasochistic to the core, how is celebrating it any kind of true rebellion? […]. The political values of sadism are blatantly antifeminist, totalitarian and right-wing. Sadomasochism is business as usual; power relations as usual; race, gender and class as usual. Sadomasochism is one ritual version of dominance and submission. Sadomasochism is not a creative deviation from normal heterosexual behavior. It is the defining quality of the power relationship between women and men. Sadism is the logical extension of behavior that arises out of male power. […] We live in a misogynist world, and women have so little political power, that it’s easier to fantasize about absolute personal power than to politically organize for change.
Ten Lies About Sadomasochism
The author’s assertion that lack of health and safety regulations in porn production is because “lawmakers are apprehensive about having their name attached to legislation that protects porn stars” seems ridiculous to me. She is trying to blame prudishness for a problem that is clearly caused, and easily solved, by pornographers. The porn industry generates billions in profits for corporations like Google and Fox News. Any effort to regulate porn leads to massive lobbying and “education” campaigns about how requiring condoms compromises free speech, will eviscerate the First Amendment and play into the hands of censorious foreign terrorists, putting our very democracy at stake, etc. That’s why porn is the least regulated industry in the nation.
And as far as the author’s assertion that: “There’s no doubt that many sick and twisted people in this country believe X-rated stars are getting exactly what they deserve” she is absolutely right, and the vast majority of them are men who consume porn.
Following on from this post, and after reading this post and its comments thread (which lead me to the material for this quote of the day) at IBTP, and after reading through Laura Agustin’s blog, I have come to some conclusions.
As the ‘good girl’ and the ‘bad girl’ are two sides of the same patriarchal coin, so the pro-prostitution ‘sex positive’ and the Conservative woman (I am using here Andrea Dworkin’s account of the ‘domesticated female’ from Right-Wing Women), are also two sides of the same coin.
Both are engaged in a defence of the patriarchal status quo – although they are not defending exactly the same aspects of it.
Both are uncritical of men’s behaviour, and both are unquestioning of the idea that women exist to service men’s needs. For the ‘sex positive’ no extreme of male sexual behaviour can be questioned or criticised, as long as he is prepared to pay the market rate for it. For the Conservative woman, it is the role of women to act as ‘gate-keepers’ of male sexual behaviour; if men ‘stray’ it is either the fault of one woman for ‘leading him on’, or the fault of another woman for not performing her duty by catering to his ‘needs’ correctly in the first place.
Under both paradigms, men cannot be held fully responsible for their actions; male sexuality is an inevitable, unstoppable force of nature, and men themselves lack free will and reason to be able to control it. Also unquestionable is the contradictory mix of men’s ‘natural’ role as ‘head of the family’, along side male insecurity and helplessness that requires a woman as equal parts domestic drudge and personal cheerleader.
Under both paradigms, women are supposed to accept without complaining their role as existing only to service men’s needs (and to keep quiet about the boredom, lack of kindness or respect, and all but the most extreme violence) – the smart women is one who learns to manipulate as much material gain as possible out of that role, not one who tries to fight it, or decides she would rather be poor than submit to it.
Both the Conservative woman and the ‘sex positive’ are anti gender equality and anti feminist (although they may claim otherwise), both view any attempt to challenge men’s behaviour as trying to ‘police’ ‘private’ behaviour, and to go against ‘nature’. For both, the idea of a truly equal, egalitarian relationship between a man and a woman is impossible (and yes, I can see how funny it is for a radical feminist to be defending the possibility of decent relationships with men – we’re the one’s who are supposed to hate men after all!).
A few years old, but still as relevant as ever.
There’s a sexist and racist trend going around liberal circles lately that says there’s no such thing as sexual abuse anymore for some, usually not-white, women. What would be called rape or sexual harassment for Global North white women is being called uncompensated sex work for Global South black women. What used to be called economic coercion is called economic incentive in the new liberal whoreticulture. For another example of this at work in liberal magazines The Nation and Counterpunch you can look for Debbie Nathan’s recent articles where she claims, based on the testimony of male cops, that teen girls are lying about being forcibly pimped through Internet escort services and terrorized into sex slavery.
SMBurg, in NYC Indymedia