Category Archives: Porn industry conditions

Kitty Stryker thinks women should die for saying ‘no’ to men

Previous posts here, here, and here.

H/t to Appropriately Inappropriate for her reblog of the tweet.

Kitty Stryker is a phoney and a fake radical who has co-opted the language of radical feminism, and shills for the sex industry while providing a fig-leaf for the BDSM ‘community’.

On twitter a few days ago, she said “I swear to god I wish we could just put the TERFs and Nazis on a goddamn boat together and send them into the sea.”

When someone else added “or we could put them in concentration camps? Maybe before they went into ovens? Lol” Stryker merely complained that that was “in bad taste”.

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Sryker has changed her twitter handle to “Punch Nazis”, and added a later tweet about ‘terfs’ drowning, so it’s clear she has no problem with violence against women, when they are women she disagrees with politically.

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This isn’t the first time Stryker has demonstrated that she sees women she doesn’t like as not fully human, in this tweet I screen capped a while back, we can see her wondering if radical feminists are actually real people, the ‘kill all terfs’ rhetoric follows on easily.

KS tweet 04

Stryker is also an intellectual coward, who ran away from conversations on this blog she wasn’t winning, and now won’t even engage, but she does keep an eye on me, as she tweeted about my previous post more than once.

Here’s a clue for you Stryker, ‘terfs’ don’t exist, there are no ‘terf’ organisations, there are no ‘terf’ leaders, there are no women calling themselves ‘terfs’ except ironically, it’s a term trans activists made up in order to intimidate women into unquestioning silence and obedience.

Stryker also likes lying about the Nordic (Abolitionist) Model, claiming that it made it easier for the police to arrest her – tell me Stryker, how does decriminalising ‘sex workers’ make it easier for the police to arrest them?

She’s doing this still, implying that under the Nordic Model, the police are more dangerous to ‘sex workers’, deliberately and cynically obscuring the fact that the Nordic Model means decriminalising the prostitute her (or him) self.

[EDIT 19/Feb/17: If decriminalising ‘sex workers’ under the Nordic Model doesn’t make the police ‘safe’, then how will decriminalising the whole of the sex industry make the police ‘safe’?]

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The first loyalty of sex industry advocates is to the sex industry itself, always.

QotD: “No law gives men the right to rape women. This has not been necessary, since no rape law has ever seriously undermined the terms of men’s entitlement to sexual access to women”

No law gives men the right to rape women. This has not been necessary, since no rape law has ever seriously undermined the terms of men’s entitlement to sexual access to women.

Catharine A. MacKinnon, Towards a Feminist Theory of State (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1989), 239.

(Found at always ask who benefits)

QotD: “2017 feminist tips”

6) everything is rape culture except porn and sex work, even though most women in those fields are repeatedly raped. “baby it’s cold outside” and “blurred lines” are rape culture but rape porn is empowering.

From Yourkinkisnasty, read all the tips here!

QotD: “I have to ask you to resist, not to comply, to destroy the power men have over women, to refuse to accept it, to abhor it and to do whatever is necessary despite its cost to you to change it”

We need to put women first. We need to do anything that will interrupt the colonizing of the female body. We need to refuse to accept the givens. We need to ask ourselves what political rights we need as women. What laws do we need? What would freedom be for us? What principles are necessary for our well-being? Why are women being sold on street corners and tortured in their homes, in societies that claim to be based on freedom and justice? What actions must be taken? What will it cost us and why are we too afraid to pay and are the women who have gotten a little from the women’s movement afraid that resistance or rebellion or even political inquiry will cost them the little they have gotten? Why are we still making deals with men one by one instead of collectively demanding what we need? I am going to ask you to remember that as long as a woman is being bought and sold anywhere in the world, you are not free, nor are you safe. You too have a number; some day your turn will come. I’m going to ask you to remember the prostituted, the homeless, the battered, the raped, the tortured, the murdered, the raped-then-murdered, the murdered-then-raped; and I am going to ask you to remember the photographed, the ones that any or all of the above happened to and it was photographed and now the photographs are for sale in our free countries. I want you to think about those who have been hurt for the fun, the entertainment, the so-called speech of others; those who have been hurt for profit, for the financial benefit of pimps and entrepreneurs. I want you to remember the perpetrator and I am going to ask you to remember the victims: not just tonight but tomorrow and the next day. I want you to find a way to include them – the perpetrators and the victims – in what you do, how you think, how you act, what you care about, what your life means to you.

Now, I know, in this room, some of you are the women I have been talking about. I know that. People around you may not. I am going to ask you to use every single thing you can remember about what was done to you – how it was done, where, by whom, when, and, if you know, why – to begin to tear male dominance to pieces, to pull it apart, to vandalize it, to destabilize it, to mess it up, to get in its way, to fuck it up. I have to ask you to resist, not to comply, to destroy the power men have over women, to refuse to accept it, to abhor it and to do whatever is necessary despite its cost to you to change it.

Andrea Dworkin, Speech at the Massey College Fifth Walter Gordon Forum, Toronto, Ontario, in a symposium on “The Future of Feminism,” April 2, 1995

(found via the Bewilderness)

QotD: “Action against sexual harassment in schools is more about protecting the male orgasm than girls”

How much pain and suffering is the male orgasm worth? Is there ever a time when a man’s right to access hardcore pornography is outweighed by the rights of young women to feel safe?

I am wondering this in light of today’s Women and Equalities Committee Report into sexual harassment and sexual violence in schools. The way in which young men see their female peers is tainted, poisoned by broader cultural narratives about what female bodies are for. Boys are not born with a need to hurt and humiliate for pleasure, but they are acquiring it, and fast.

The findings of the report are dismaying, if not altogether surprising. It states: “A number of large scale surveys find girls and young women consistently reporting high levels of sexual harassment and sexual violence in school.”

Data published in September 2015 found that over 5,500 sexual offences were recorded in UK schools over the course of three years, including 600 rapes. Almost a third of 16-18 year old girls say they have experienced unwanted sexual touching in school, while 41 per cent of girls aged 14 to 17 in intimate relationships reported experiencing sexual violence from their partner. Sexual harassment starts in primary school, with lifting up skirts and pulling down pants, driving some girls to wearing shorts under their school skirts.

One obvious conclusion to draw might be that boys do not like girls very much. They see them as objects to sneer at, flesh to grab at, holes to penetrate. They don’t see them as people, at least not in the way that they see themselves.

The report claims that, “boys and young men . . . are adversely impacted themselves by a culture of internet pornography that has become so prevalent amongst young people”. The images they are seeing distort their beliefs not just about what women want, but what women are.

Of course, it’s not as though sexism and rape culture are products of the internet. They have been with us for millennia. We tell ourselves that we are making progress. Eventually – not in my lifetime, though, nor even in my children’s – such things should not exist. Yet it seems that as soon as one channel for hate disappears, another emerges. The report posits “a correlation between children’s regular viewing of pornography and harmful behaviours”:

“The type of pornography many children are exposed to is often more extreme than adults realise . . . The government should immediately update its guidance on SRE [sex and relationship education] to include teaching about pornography. The new guidance should offer advice to schools about how to approach this topic in an age-appropriate way. It should also include suggestions of how schools can work in partnership with parents to address the impact of pornography on children’s perceptions of sex, relationships and consent.”

While I don’t disagree with any of these recommendations in particular, there’s something about the whole enterprise that makes my heart sink. It’s as though pornography is a natural disaster, something terrible that cannot be avoided, or some strange, dark offshoot of youth culture – a modern version of painting your walls black while listening to Joy Division – around which the grown-ups must tiptoe and fret.

You’d never think it was something created, paid for and used by men of all ages and classes, as part of the way they systematically dehumanise, objectify and exploit female bodies. You’d never think it was a multibillion pound leisure industry in its own right. You’d never think that violent, abusive pornography only exists because huge numbers of men want it to.

I understand the arguments. It’s here now and there’s nothing we can do about it (other than make more of it, harder, faster, crueller, the lines between consent and coercion increasingly blurred). The only thing we can do now is hope that SRE (sex and relationship education) lessons at school – followed up by consent lessons for those in higher education – will counteract the worst effects.

It’s as though misogyny itself is not something to be eradicated, but something young men must learn to enjoy in moderation. Grown men can handle it, we tell ourselves (after all, it’s not as though they’re sexually harassing and raping anyone, is it?). It’s the young ones you’ve got to worry about. They just don’t know the difference between fantasy and reality. Unlike the punter who can magically tell whether the person he is penetrating has been coerced, or the viewer with a sixth sense that informs him whether the rape he is watching is real or fake. We’re genuinely meant to think it’s only children who are at risk of not seeing the humanity in others.

I am tired of this. I do not want my sons to grow up in a world where watching violent pornography and paying to penetrate the body of someone poorer than you are seen as a perfectly acceptable recreational activities as long as one is over 18. Where watching scenes of choking, beating and rape – without knowing how much is acted, how much is real – is justified on the basis that nothing that gives you an orgasm ought to be stigmatised.

I do not want my sons to attend the “sensible, grounded sex education” lessons being proposed by Women and Equalities Committee chair Maria Miller if all they learn is how not to be too “laddish”, how to keep their misogyny at an acceptable level for polite society, how to pretend women and girls are human without truly seeing them as such. Because then this is not about equality at all. This is about etiquette. The gentrification of misogyny: down with lad culture (so vulgar!), up with hardcore porn on the quiet. No rapes until home time, this is a serious establishment.

It’s not good enough. Girls are suffering, horrendously. Their self-esteem – their very sense of self, their belief that their bodies are their own – are being destroyed. What if the cost of ending their suffering would be to say “Enough. The male orgasm is not sacrosanct”? There is nothing liberal or enlightened about promoting an age-old system of exploitation via the cum shot. Men – adult men – could end this if they wanted to. Surely a first step would be to stop pretending otherwise.

Glosswitch

QotD: “How Orgasm Politics Has Hijacked the Women’s Movement”

How Orgasm Politics Has Hijacked the Women’s Movement, by Sheila Jeffreys

In the late 1960s and early ’70s, it was widely believed that the sexual revolution, by freeing up sexual energy, would make everyone free. I remember Maurice Girodias, whose Olympia Press in Paris published Story of O, saying that the solution to repressive political regimes was to post pornography through every letterbox. Better orgasms, proclaimed Austrian psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich, would create the revolution. In those heady days, many feminists believed that the sexual revolution was intimately linked to women’s liberation, and they wrote about how powerful orgasms would bring women power.

Dell Williams is quoted in Ms. as having set up a sex shop in 1974 with precisely this idea, to sell sex toys to women: “I wanted to turn women into powerful sexual beings…. I had a vision that orgasmic women could transform the world.”

Ever since the ’60s, sexologists, sexual liberals, and sex-industry entrepreneurs have sought to discuss sex as if it were entirely separate from sexual violence and had no connection with the oppression of women. Feminist theorists and anti-violence activists, meanwhile, have learned to look at sex politically. We have seen that male ownership of women’s bodies, sexually and reproductively, provides the very foundation of male supremacy, and that oppression in and through sexuality differentiates the oppression of women from that of other groups.

If we are to have any chance of liberating women from the fear and reality of sexual abuse, feminist discussion of sexuality must integrate all that we can understand about sexual violence into the way we think about sex. But these days feminist conferences have separate workshops, in different parts of the building, on how to increase sexual “pleasure” and on how to survive sexual violence — as if these phenomena could be put into separate boxes. Women calling themselves feminists now argue that prostitution can be good for women, to express their “sexuality” and make empowering life choices. Others promote the practices and products of the sex industry to women to make a profit, in the form of lesbian striptease and the paraphernalia of sadomasochism. There are now whole areas of the women’s, lesbian, and gay communities where any critical analysis of sexual practice is treated as sacrilege, stigmatized as “political correctness.” Freedom is represented as the achievement of bigger and better orgasms by any means possible, including slave auctions, use of prostituted women and men, and forms of permanent physical damage such as branding. Traditional forms of male-supremacist sexuality based on dominance and submission and the exploitation and objectification of a slave class of women are being celebrated for their arousing and “transgressive” possibilities.

Well, the pornography is in the letterboxes, and the machinery for more and more powerful orgasms is readily available through the good offices of the international sex industry. And in the name of women’s liberation, many feminists today are promoting sexual practices that — far from revolutionizing and transforming the world — are deeply implicated in the practices of the brothel and of pornography.

How could this have happened? How could the women’s revolution have become so completely short-circuited? I suggest that there are four reasons.

Continue reading here

(I posted this back in 2012, but I think it could do with a re-read)

QotD: “What Happens when Women are at the Helm?”

Abstract

Pornography is a lucrative business. Increasingly, women have participated in both its production, direction, and consumption. This study investigated how the content in popular pornographic videos created by female directors differs from that of their male counterparts. We conducted a quantitative analysis of 122 randomly selected scenes from 44 top-renting adult videos in 2005 (half male- and half female-directed). Findings revealed that all films shared similar depictions: Verbal and physical aggression was common, women were the primary targets of aggression, and negative responses to aggression were extremely rare. Compared to male-directed films, female-directed films were significantly more likely to portray women-only scenes and sexual acts. Even when controlling for main characters’ gender, female-directed films showed significantly more female perpetrators aggressing against female targets and significantly more depictions of women as perpetrators of aggression. We highlight the importance of economic forces, rather than director gender, in dictating the content of popular pornography.

A Comparison of Male and Female Directors in Popular Pornography: What Happens when Women are at the Helm?

Psychology of Women Quarterly 32(3):312 – 325 · August 2008

QotD: “Is slavery a human rights abuse or a sexual thrill? Of what use is a social change movement that can’t decide?”

The triumph of the pornographers is a victory of power over justice, cruelty over empathy, and profits over human rights. I could make that statement about Walmart or McDonalds and progressives would eagerly agree. We all understand that Walmart destroys local economies, a relentless impoverishing of communities across the US that is now almost complete. It also depends on near-slave conditions for workers in China to produce the mountains of cheap crap that Walmart sells. And ultimately the endless growth model of capitalism is destroying the world. Nobody on the left claims that the cheap crap that Walmart produces equals freedom. Nobody defends Walmart by saying that the workers, American or Chinese, want to work there. Leftists understand that people do what they have to for survival, that any job is better than no job, and that minimum wage and no benefits are cause for a revolution, not a defense of those very conditions. Likewise McDonalds. No one defends what McDonalds does to animals, to the earth, to workers, to human health and human community by pointing out that the people standing over the boiling grease consented to sweat all day or that hog farmers voluntarily signed contracts that barely return a living. The issue does not turn on consent, but on the social impacts of injustice and hierarchy, on how corporations are essentially weapons of mass destruction. Focusing on the moment of individual choice will get us nowhere.

The problem is the material conditions that make going blind in a silicon chip factory in Taiwan the best option for some people. Those people are living beings. Leftists lay claim to human rights as our bedrock and our north star: we know that that Taiwanese woman is not different from us in any way that matters, and if going blind for pennies and no bathroom breaks was our best option, we would be in grim circumstances.

And the woman enduring two penises shoved up her anus? This is not an exaggeration or “focusing on the worst,” as feminists are often accused of doing. “Double-anal” is now standard fare in gonzo porn, the porn made possible by the Internet, the porn with no pretense of a plot, the porn that men overwhelmingly prefer. That woman, just like the woman assembling computers, is likely to suffer permanent physical damage. In fact, the average woman in gonzo porn can only last three months before her body gives out, so punishing are the required sex acts. Anyone with a conscience instead of a hard-on would know that just by looking. If you spend a few minutes looking at it — not masturbating to it, but actually looking at it — you may have to agree with Robert Jensen that pornography is “what the end of the world looks like”:

By that I don’t mean that pornography is going to bring about the end of the world; I don’t have apocalyptic delusions. Nor do I mean that of all the social problems we face, pornography is the most threatening. Instead, I want to suggest that if we have the courage to look honestly at contemporary pornography, we get a glimpse — in a very visceral, powerful fashion — of the consequences of the oppressive systems in which we live. Pornography is what the end will look like if we don’t reverse the pathological course that we are on in this patriarchal, white-supremacist, predatory corporate-capitalist society… Imagine a world in which empathy, compassion, and solidarity — the things that make decent human society possible — are finally and completely overwhelmed by a self-centered, emotionally detached pleasure-seeking. Imagine those values playing out in a society structured by multiple hierarchies in which a domination/subordination dynamic shapes most relationships and interaction… [E]very year my sense of despair deepens over the direction in which pornography and our pornographic culture is heading. That despair is rooted not in the reality that lots of people can be cruel, or that some number of them knowingly take pleasure in that cruelty. Humans have always had to deal with that aspect of our psychology. But what happens when people can no longer see the cruelty, when the pleasure in cruelty has been so normalized that it is rendered invisible to so many? And what happens when for some considerable part of the male population of our society, that cruelty becomes a routine part of sexuality, defining the most intimate parts of our lives?

All leftists need to do is connect the dots, the same way we do in every other instance of oppression. The material conditions that men as a class create (the word is patriarchy) mean that in the US battering is the most commonly committed violent crime: that’s men beating up women. Men rape one in three women and sexually abuse one in four girls before the age of 14. The number one perpetrator of childhood sexual abuse is called “Dad.” Andrea Dworkin, one of the bravest women of all time, understood that this was systematic, not personal. She saw that rape, battering, incest, prostitution, and reproductive exploitation all worked together to create a “barricade of sexual terrorism” inside which all women are forced to live. Our job as feminists and members of a culture of resistance is not to learn to eroticize those acts; our task is to bring that wall down.

In fact, the right and left together make a cozy little world that entombs women in conditions of subservience and violence. Critiquing male supremacist sexuality will bring charges of being a censor and a right-wing anti-fun prude. But seen from the perspective of women, the right and the left create a seamless hegemony.

Gail Dines writes, “When I critique McDonalds, no one calls me anti-food.” People understand that what is being critiqued is a set of unjust social relations — with economic, political, and ideological components — that create more of the same. McDonalds does not produce generic food. It manufactures an industrial capitalist product for profit. The pornographers are no different. The pornographers have built a $100 billion a year industry, selling not just sex as a commodity, which would be horrible enough for our collective humanity, but sexual cruelty. This is the deep heart of patriarchy, the place where leftists fear to tread: male supremacy takes acts of oppression and turns them into sex. Could there be a more powerful reward than orgasm?

And since it feels so visceral, such practices are defended (in the rare instance that a feminist is able to demand a defense) as “natural.” Even when wrapped in racism, many on the left refuse to see the oppression in pornography. Little Latina Sluts or Pimp My Black Teen provoke not outrage, but sexual pleasure for the men consuming such material. A sexuality based on eroticizing dehumanization, domination, and hierarchy will gravitate to other hierarchies, and find a wealth of material in racism. What it will never do is build an egalitarian world of care and respect, the world that the left claims to want.

On a global scale, the naked female body — too thin to bear live young and often too young as well — is for sale everywhere, as the defining image of the age, and as a brutal reality: women and girls are now the number one product for sale on the global black market. Indeed, there are entire countries balancing their budgets on the sale of women. Is slavery a human rights abuse or a sexual thrill? Of what use is a social change movement that can’t decide?

We need to stake our claim as the people who care about freedom, not the freedom to abuse, exploit, and dehumanize, but freedom from being demeaned and violated, and from a cultural celebration of that violation.

Lierre Keith, Feminist Current, full article here

QotD: “The First Amendment Gone Wild”

In a decision that begs to be characterized as “First Amendment gone wild,” an appeals court has all but struck down a 1988 law that requires pornographers to maintain records showing that actors aren’t underage. For good measure, the court said it violated the Fourth Amendment to require the documents to be available anytime for government inspection. These twin holdings are both plausible applications of recent Supreme Court doctrine. But the results are so absurd that they call out for review by the highest court itself.

The laws in question appear in section 2257 of the Child Protection and Obscenity Enforcement Act of 1988. They arose from Congress’s desire to fight child pornography when the First Amendment has been interpreted to protect adult pornography, including depictions in which an adult actor is presented as underage.

The 2257 laws essentially require anyone making sexually explicit films to keep records documenting the identity and age of all performers. The records in turn must be available for inspection by the attorney general of the U.S. “at all reasonable times.”

Since 1988, these laws have applied without causing any crisis for constitutional free speech or privacy. In 2012, free-speech advocacy groups acting on behalf of pornographers brought a challenge to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit — and lost. But in 2015, the Supreme Court decided a major free-speech case as well as an important Fourth Amendment case. Buoyed by new hopes, the challengers returned to the courts.

They were right to do so: The Third Circuit reversed its 2012 holding on both fronts. The free-speech holding is probably the more shocking, so I’ll start with that.

The plaintiffs’ core argument was that, under a 2015 decision called Reed v. Gilbert, the 2257 laws are not content-neutral, and therefore must be subjected to what the courts call strict scrutiny. That means the law must be justified by a compelling state interest, and must be narrowly tailored to that interest. This standard is so high that in the free-speech context, it is almost always fatal to the law. Holding that strict scrutiny is necessary is almost (but not quite) a holding that a law is unconstitutional.

In 2012, the Third Circuit had held that section 2257 was content-neutral because the purpose of the law was to protect against child pornography. That was correct under then-existing precedent.

But the new Third Circuit opinion says that the 2015 Reed case should be read to say that purpose is irrelevant to content neutrality. The Reed case said that a sign-display ordinance in an Arizona town wasn’t content-neutral because it created different rules for different signs. The Third Circuit held that section 2257 is similarly not content-neutral, because it applies only to sexually explicit speech.

The government tried to save the statute under a doctrine that the Supreme Court has only ever applied to adult theaters and nude dancing. That doctrine says that when speech or expressive conduct is regulated for its “secondary effects” not its content, it can be subjected to lower level scrutiny known as “intermediate” — much easier to survive.

The court flatly rejected the invitation to extend the secondary-effects doctrine to other free-speech contexts. It said, somewhat plausibly, that doing so would endanger much free speech, because the government could almost always say its goal wasn’t to ban some type of speech but the effects of the speech.

This holding shows the absurdity of taking the Reed decision to its logical conclusion. Section 2257 doesn’t target sexually explicit speech in the sense of banning it. It simply imposes the burden of record-keeping as a way to avoid the separate, completely illegal practice of child pornography. That purpose should matter.

The lower court might say the law survives strict scrutiny — but don’t count on it. Almost any law can be tailored more narrowly.

The Third Circuit went on to strike down the inspection provision of section 2257 on the basis of another 2015 decision, City of Los Angeles v. Patel. That case overturned a city ordinance (straight out of a film noir) that allowed L.A. police to inspect hotel registers without a warrant.

If you think that there’s a stronger privacy interest in who’s sleeping in a hotel than in the ages of actors in sexually explicit films, then I think you’re right — but the Third Circuit ignored that distinction, taking the Patel precedent as near-absolute.

There’s a well-recognized exception to the warrant requirement for heavily regulated industries. But the court said that pornography isn’t as closely regulated as, say, the funeral home industry. If that’s true, it shouldn’t be. At the risk of stating the obvious, there’s much more risk to regulate with live people having sex than with dead people being prepared for interment or cremation.

Like the First Amendment holding, the court’s Fourth Amendment holding is tone-deaf to the situational need that created the section 2257 regime. Without records and inspection, the dangers of child pornography will increase. The law addresses this risk without barring any speech or granting government access to any private information. Its loss will be felt. And the Supreme Court, which has in the past made new constitutional law to allow bans on child pornography itself, is likely to respond.

Noah Feldman

QotD: “Liberalism and the Death of Feminism”

As many of you may know, Andrea Dworkin and I conceived and designed a law based on the politics of the women’s movement that we thought we were part of and fielded it with others who were under the same illusion. It is a sex equality law, a civil-rights law, a law that says that sexual subordination of women through pictures and words, this sexual traffic in women, violates women’s civil rights.

This was done in feminist terms: as if women mattered; because we value women; because it wasn’t enough only to criticize oppression, and it wasn’t enough only to engage in guerilla activities of resistance, although they are crucial. We wanted to change the norm. To change the norm, we looked for a vulnerable place in the system. We looked for something that could be made to work for us, something we could use. We took whatever we could get our hands on, and when it wasn’t there, we invented. We invented a sex equality law against pornography on women’s terms.

To no one’s surprise, especially ours, it was opposed by many people. It was opposed by conservatives who discovered that they disliked sex equality a lot more than they disliked pornography. It was opposed by liberals, who discovered that they liked speech – i.e., sex, i.e., women being used – a great deal more than they liked sex equality. Then came the opposition from a quarter that labeled itself feminist: from FACT, the Feminist Anti-Censorship Task Force. At this point, for me, the women’s movement that I had known came to an end.

In an act of extraordinary horizontal hostility, FACT filed a brief against the ordinance in court as part of a media-based legal attack on it. They did what they could to prevent from existing, to keep out of women’s hands, this law, written in women’s blood, in women’s tears, in women’s pain, in women’s experience, out of women’s silence, this law to make acts against women actionable – acts like coercion, force, assault, trafficking in our flesh. Pornography, they said, is sex equality. Women should just have better access to it. Using the debased model of equality-as-sameness that the women’s movement we used to know was predicated on criticizing, they argued that pornography must not be actionable by its victims because, among other reasons, “the range of feminist imagination and expression in the realm of sexuality has barely begun to find voice. Women need the freedom and socially recognized space to appropriate for themselves the robustness of what traditionally has been male language.” Men have it; FACT women want it.

Thus, “even pornography which is problematic for women can be experienced as affirming of women’s desires and of women’s equality” (emphasis added). This is a subquote from Ellen Willis in the brief, “Pornography can be psychic assault,” – get it, that rape only happened in your head – “but for women, as for men, it can also be a source of erotic pleasure… . A woman who enjoys pornography, even if that means enjoying a rape fantasy, is, in a sense, a rebel.” From what is she rebelling? Their answer: “Insisting on an aspect of her sexuality that has been defined as a male preserve.” Now who can’t tell the difference between rape and sex? Rape has been a male preserve. But to insist on being defined by what one has been forced to be defined by is, to say the least, a rather limited notion of freedom. And choice. And a women’s movement that aspires to inhabit rapist preserves is not a women’s movement I want any part of.

You might be wondering what the FACT response to all the knowledge, data, understanding, and experience of women’s sexual victimization presented in support of the ordinance was. What their response was to all the women who wanted to use the law, the women who had the courage to speak out so it could exist, who put their lives, their reputations, and, yes, their honor on the line for it. Mostly, FACT did not even mention them. They were beneath notice. Coerced women, assaulted women, subordinated women became “some women.” In fact, the FACT brief did what pornography does: it makes harm to women invisible by making it sex. It makes harm to women into ideas about sex, just like the right-wing male judge did who found the ordinance unconstitutional. On the bottom line, the FACT brief was a pure address to the penis. It said, “We like it. We want it. All we want is ‘in.’ Want to watch?”

Liberalism and the Death of Feminism, Catharine A. MacKinnon

(found at the Bewilderness)