On Monday, Lisa Wade wrote, for Sociological Images, that Playboy (you know, the multi-million dollar porn empire) has been shopping around for writers who can bring some feminist cred to the magazine’s website. While they’ve yet to find a woman from the actual feminist movement to join them, they found Noah Berlatsky, a man who has a bone to pick with any woman who challenges objectification, male power, and the sex industry.
Berlatsky’s willingness to invent quotes, beliefs, and opinions on my behalf in order to revel in his own self-adoration at his ability to objectify women is remarkable. He has written two articles, previous to this most-recent one, that have wilfully misrepresented or even outright lied about my arguments in order to present himself as the true ally of women, and I, their natural enemy. These three occasions are, tellingly, the only three times, previous to this week, that I’ve ever had to contact a publication about libel or about misrepresenting my work.
I am, of course, unsurprised that Playboy would publish his most-recent libel. Playboy has long promoted the sexualization and objectification of women as liberatory and have a history of unethical behaviour (beyond the obvious dehumanization-of-women stuff) to match. Gloria Steinem documented their exploitative labour practices back in the 60s, a number of women, including Vanessa Williams, Madonna, and Marilyn Monroe, complained that their nudes were published without their consent, and the magazine refused to put a black women on the cover of the magazine for the first 18 years of its existence. Despite their interest in turning women’s bodies into profit, Hugh Hefner claimed he was “a feminist before there was such a thing as feminism.” (The porn kings have always positioned themselves as the true freedom fighters.) It’s only recently, though, that “feminists” have bought it.
QotD: “On ‘corporate feminism’ and the appropriation of the women’s movement”