Hi Tina Rad Fem

Hi Tina Rad Fem,

It’s really great that you liked what I wrote enough to tweet it.

It would have been great as well if you’d attributed it to me and/or linked to this blog. Radical Feminists are a marginalised group, and we build community online by connecting up different blogs/social media that we may never find otherwise (apologies if you found it elsewhere unattributed!). I want this blog to be available as a resource for anyone who is concerned about porn culture and rape culture, and is feeling isolated in the mainstream or in funfeminism, but I can’t do it all by myself!

Any readers on Twitter who can retweet with a link?

Kind regards,

21 responses

  1. Hi! Thank you for bringing this to my attention. I will definetly attribute you next time. I have often linked to your blog on my facebook page Kvinnefronten (the womens front of norway) It was a friend of mine who wrote your quote to me on facebook in a discussion, I knew I had read something similar elsewhere, but did not make the connection. I apologize for that. I am a big fan of your blog and did not mean to take credit for what is not mine. I will retweet it with a link as soon as I get to my computer. Sincerely, Tina

  2. Hi Tina,

    Thank you for such a lovely comment! I didn’t imagine there was anything ill-intentioned behind the tweet.

    It’s great that you are linking to the blog already (referrals from Facebook only show up on my dashboard as ‘Facebook’ so I never know who’s linking to me).

    Keeping up with what’s happening in other parts of the world can be difficult (even with Google translate), if you are involved in any anti-porn, or general radical feminist activism in Norway, it would be great to hear about it – if you are ever interested in doing a guest post for this blog please let me know (anti.p.london [at] hotmail.com).


  3. I have to say, I always look forward to reading your blog every day. You always have the best stuff on here. When I meet people online who are interested in feminism, I always point them here.

  4. Hello there, new(ish) reader here who will definitely credit you if/when I link or quote your brilliant work in my online travels.

    I have a general question I’d be interested in hearing your take on. I recently chatted with an elder radical feminist whose work I greatly admire. She briefly but adamantly expressed that she was for sex workers’ rights and that feminism isn’t about oppressing other women/taking their choices away, and that fighting sexism doesn’t work by fighting it on the backs of other women, which appears to be what she thinks the anti-porn/prostitution position is.

    I personally am 120% anti-porn/prostitution simply because it makes sense to my heart & guts, but I try to be open to hearing everyone’s views (minus the industry’s buyers and profiteers) because I don’t want to silence or ignore the most important people in the sex trade — the women DOING it. I haven’t heard any compelling pro-porn/prostitution arguments, but that’s besides my point here. What I’m getting at is, how do you respond to/dialogue with women who ID as sex workers and are offended by radfems and others who they see as trying to take their choices away from them? My apologies in advance if you’ve written about this before, I haven’t yet had time to go through all of this blog but am working on it! Any links you may have on this would be greatly appreciated.

    Sincerely & Respectfully,

  5. Hello FR, and thank you for your comment.

    I am 100% for the human rights of ‘sex workers’, which is why I want to abolish prostitution, since prostitution is incompatible with human rights. There is no ‘safe’ way to submit to unwanted sex, and there is no other way to view forced sexual activity other than as a violation of human rights (see Articles 3, 4 and 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights).

    Even as an abolitionist, I have to acknowledge that exiting the sex industry is a difficult and long process for many, and that intermediate steps are necessary to reduce the harm to women while they are still in prostitution (eg handing out condoms, ‘ugly mug’ lists, but these things are meagre, and can never make prostitution ‘safe’ in any meaningful way – the safest prostitute is one who never ended up in prostitution in the first place).

    The Nordic model criminalises the johns, while decriminalising the prostitute herself, which is something sex industry advocates always deliberately and cynically ignore.

    Against a ‘choice’ argument, I would say that the vast majority of women did not make any genuinely free choice to be in prostitution. If a woman (or, more realistically, girl, the average age for entering street prostitution is 13) wasn’t directly coerced by a violent trafficker/pimp, there will be a history of childhood abuse and neglect, drug addiction, poverty, homelessness, or domestic violence, in other words a complete lack of choice.

    I’m a bit confused by your question, as originally you were in discussion with a woman calling herself a radical feminist, but then you asked about talking to women who ‘identified’ as a ‘sex workers’. I put ‘identified’ in inverted commas deliberately, as I doubt that many of the women claiming to speak on behalf of women in prostitution are genuinely prostitutes themselves, they often turn out to be female pimps or pornographers, or have left the industry themselves, but are, for some reason, keen to help keep other women in it.

    A woman who’s selling sex on the street to feed her drug habit is unlikely to have the time, energy or inclination to find radical feminists to debate with, and she isn’t likely to be interested in ‘choices’, she’s likely to be thinking about how she’s going to survive the next 24 hours.

    As I’ve said elsewhere, the sex industry is a pyramid with a very broad base, the vast majority of women had very little choice about entering, and even less choice about leaving.

    There are some, already privileged women, who enter the sex industry at the top, stay there for a very short time (while they’re still young and conventionally attractive and can charge a premium) before going on to other things – Brooke Magnanti is a very good example of this, and her idealised, glamorised account of being a ‘high class escort’ has been used to further the normalisation and expansion of the sex industry.

    Those women get to be ’empowered sex workers’ off the backs of all the women and children who had no choice at all about entering the sex industry.

    Also, framing prostitution as being solely about women’s ‘choices’ invisibilises male violence, male demand, and male entitlement. Prostitution exists because men feel entitled to sexual access to women and children (and young men), and society has always, covertly or overtly, accepted the ‘need’ for a sacrificial underclass of prostituted women, to divert men’s sexual violence away from the ‘real’ women who matter. This characterises male sexual violence as normal, natural and inevitable, as something men can’t do anything about.

    Framing the prostitution debate as being about women’s ‘choices’ misses the point entirely, and any woman who can’t understand that has no right calling herself a radical feminist.

  6. I don’t know if this is out of place, but I would also recommend that you read blogs written by survivors of the “industry,” such as these:

  7. Those are all good sites and definitely worth reading

  8. I was just wondering if it was okay, given that you don’t have a blogroll; I thought maybe you didn’t want people referring to other blogs.

  9. And I now realize how stupid that assumption was, given the content of your blog… LOL. I say the stupidest things sometimes…

  10. No worries! There is a blogroll, on the right, but you have to scroll down a bit.

  11. I must have missed it. Anyway, to cover up my embarassing mistake, those blogs are all great reading and should probably be required reading for funfems/libfems (is there a difference? I haven’t noticed any). The fact that a majority of prostitutes report having been sexually abused in childhood, and that 89% of prostitutes want to get out, should be evidence enough of what it really is (see http://www.prostitutionresearch.com/pdf/Prostitutionin9Countries.pdf for the complete study).

  12. Francois, thanks for the links — I’m very familiar with those blogs, they are some of my faves and have paved the way to and shaped my anti-porn/prostitution position. It is these voices that blow any pro-sex industry arguments clear out of the water, at least in my mind.


    Thanks for taking the time to respond, I completely agree with all that you’ve said, and my apologies for any confusion in my original post — the elder radfem who I was speaking to does not ID as a sex worker in any way that I’m aware of; she’s an activist (for various marginalized populations), an academic, and therapist whose work I love, so I was disappointed and confused to hear her prostitution stance, and I hope to be able to chat with her again at some point and learn more about where she’s coming from. I suppose like anyone else we admire, no one is perfect, and perhaps this issue is where I part ways in thinking with her.

    My question about how you dialogue with self-ID’d sex workers was asked with real prostituted/’sex worker’ women in mind, not their profiteers (and separate from the radfem I spoke of, that was just context for where my question was coming from). One of the links you shared (a BDSM thread) spoke directly to my question, where Kitty Stryker said:

    “I deserve rights. […] I really don’t care what your feelings are on that, because I should have agency to decide what work I do and don’t want to do. Period. […] you’re actively silencing women and refusing them agency while trying to “rescue” others, which is pretty condescending.”

    I think this statement is exactly where the elder radfem I am talking about is coming from — not silencing or patronizing women ‘choosing’ this work, and I’m pretty sure she’s aware of all the points you raised, and I suspect that women’s agency, no matter how restricted (or in denial) they are, is her top priority. Awareness exists on a continuum, and we all come into it in our own time, and in the meantime there are some amazing women further along the continuum (like you & the blogs shared by Francois) doing wonderful anti sex trade work for the girls & women (and boys & men) who want the hell out. This continuum stance may appear as patronizing to some, but it doesn’t have to be when (perceived) judgment is removed from the equation.

    To me, the fundamental problem is the predatory colonist-kyriarchal-industrial culture we’re trapped in, so when that dissolves, so too will the problems it creates, including having a sex ‘industry’ to begin with. Lots of work to do to dismantle this beast!

  13. p.s.


    I like how you turned around the idea of fighting sexism on the back’s of other women as: “Those women get to be ‘empowered sex workers’ off the backs of all the women and children who had no choice at all about entering the sex industry.”

    So very true. And one group cannot exist without the other, since that is the nature of hierarchies, which the colonist culture is based on.

  14. Hi FR,

    I take your point re. the Kitty Strykers of the world, but I would argue that she is not a typical ‘sex worker’, she is an already privileged woman at the top of the pyramid.

    She said in one of those two threads that she also has a ‘day job’ in IT, so she, unlike the majority of women in the sex industry, gets to pick and choose. I don’t know how often she does porn, or what percentage of her income it represents, but it sounds like she is not financially reliant on it (and if she is financially reliant on it, then maybe she can’t actually be as choosy as she makes out)

    It’s also worth noting that she is a ‘dominant’ which changes the dynamic of such ‘work’ quite a bit – she’s not doing double anals for a few hundred dollars.

  15. Every account I have heard from a woman who exited prostitution said she had to tell herself she chose it in order to survive, and survivors talk about it taking years to ‘deprogram’ themselves from the sex industry.

    It takes a huge amount of courage for a woman to admit she has been abused, to admit to being a victim.

    Third wave feminism is fundamentally victim hating and victim blaming, and ’empowered’ women who enjoy consuming porn, or dabbling their toes in the shallow end of the sex industry don’t really want to hear about victims.

    Playing up ‘agency’ is entirely inadequate, agency doesn’t erase abuse, it explains how we survive under it. ‘Agency’ has become completely meaningless under third wave feminism – ‘agency’ is so powerful it means a 13-year-old runaway engaging in survival sex on the streets isn’t really being abused, but at the same time ‘agency’ is so fragile that my mere opinions, apparently, can take that agency away.

  16. It does take huge courage to admit to being victimized, and even more courage to speak out and do activism around it like exited women do, on top of dealing with the PTSD gifted to them from the sex trade. Speaking of, in case you haven’t seen it, Rebecca Mott is being slandered and under nasty attack on this blog — your voice would be a wonderful and much-needed addition here: http://researchprojectkorea.wordpress.com/2012/10/31/sex-lies-and-abolitionists/ (The author is apparently a British guy living in Korea & researching Korean sex workers).

    Agency is most definitely inadequate within the confines of the dominant enslaving euro-colonist culture we’re all trapped in. The privileged class of sex workers are clinging to their privileged agency so very hard while throwing their not-so-privileged sisters in the sex trade under the bus.

  17. He looks like a complete sleaze ball, and there are probably very good reasons why his ‘research’ project is unaffiliated with any university, so that he has to go begging on the internet to cover his expenses – it must cost a lot of money, but be so much more satisfying to get your porn in person! And he want’s to make a ‘graphic’ novel too!

    He’s such a good ‘sex worker ally’ ‘researching’ with one hand!

    FR, you and the few other commenters on that disgusting post seem to be holding your own pretty well; you have to ask yourself, how many readers does that blog get? How much mainstream influence does it actually have? (Very little I’d suspect.) Is it worth your time or emotional energy arguing with people who aren’t going to listening, and aren’t going to change their minds?

  18. I mean, what kind of legitimate academic spends their time slagging off a blogger like that?

    From a quick look at his blog, he isn’t actually producing anything, just reporting on what other organisations are doing.

    He’s an arrogant piece of shit and a fucking tourist who is happy to dismiss any woman (even a native Korean one) who doesn’t suit his narrative of ’empowered sex workers’.

  19. LOL @ ‘researching’ with one hand! Oh antip, I so love how you super-sonic see and speak The Truth!

    Yes I try to save my energy and sanity by not going to too many spaces like that blog, but in this case the topic was an abolitionist I greatly admire so something had to be said.

    I don’t converse with these people with the intention of changing pro-sex trade minds, but I figure we do have to engage in some of these kinds of convos somewhere, sometime, so as to have Movement, which can come in the most unexpected ways, such as by planting seeds in the minds of those who may be reading but never comment.

    Off to read more gems on this blog!

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