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!).
According to the dudely blamers, porn-poisoning makes it difficult for men — even feminist sympathizer men whose intellective powers impart unto them the objective knowledge that pornography is the graphic representation of rape — to behave as though, or, one extrapolates, to believe that, when doin’ the boinky, women are human, and congratulations if you made it through this sentence alive. Their discussion centers on whether it is even possible to “dislodge the [pornulated] ideas embedded in [a chap’s] brain.”
Another cracking post from Twisty Faster
See also, Women’s Sexuality 2.0
I’m going to be a bit lazy with this Quote of the Day, and refer back to a comment I just made on the ‘What are we Reclaiming For?‘ thread:
The sex industry is an integral part of patriarchy, the sex industry is intertwined with patriarchy, colonialism, militarism; women and girls are moved around the globe as chattel to meet male supremacist demand for fuckable females. Legitimising male sexual and economic exploitation of women and girls by legitimising the sex industry only reinforces patriarchy.
Cath Elliott, who fights the good fight over in the misogynist cesspit that is Comment is Free, had also blogged recently about the IUSW. She has more about how the IUSW accepts johns as members.
In the 1980s and 1990s the sex industry was able to expand in an economic and social climate of laissez-faire, free market individualism. The political liberalism associated with this particular economic ideology privileged men’s ‘free speech’ right to pornography over the rights of women to physical integrity.
The Industrial Vagina
Chapter 3: The International Political Economy of Pornography
In an interview recently, a leading British porn star admitted that if he had sex with his wife in the way he did with his co-stars she would certainly divorce him and probably press assault charges.
Imagine you were watching, over and over, not a DVD of people having sex which even its actors admit is violent, but instead a commercial for trainers. Then imagine that every time you watched that ad for trainers, you had an orgasm. Do you think you might, maybe, start to develop a positive association with buying trainers?
“Pornography users loudly proclaim the harmlessness of their hobby while simultaneously reporting sexual dysfunction, disgust, shame, and addict-like behavior. Women report feeling uncomfortable with their partner’s use of pornography but not wanting to seem like a “prude”. Boys are learning that women are hypersexual beings for whom no never means no, and girls are learning that that’s what boys expect them to be. And all the while porn is screwing up people’s relationships and sex drives and self images, we are being told that porn is sexy! Porn is edgy! Porn is cool! Porn is rebelious! Porn is none of those things. Pornographers like to act like they are on the edge, that they are anti-establishment, but they are some of the most pro-establishment people you can conceive of. There is nothing edgy or cool or rebelious about an industry that exploits the weakest people in our society, that thrives on sexist and racist stereotypes, that makes more profit than virtually any other industry and insults its customer base by pandering to their basest and most disgusting desires.”
The whole post is brilliant, so go read it!
Perhaps you can imagine how stunned I was to discover what modern pornography is like. And my reaction to it was, and is, pretty much the reaction the average porn consumer would probably have to a video of someone abusing a child or a dog. Not, I note, abusing a woman, because obviously people who watch modern porn are quite used to that. So I have to say “child” or “dog” to convey the sense of horror I feel, since only a porn-naive person like me could possibly still be horrified by images of women being abused.
This is a blog I’ve just discovered, and one worth going back to.
I gave the same speech [“The Rape Atrocity and the Boy Next Door”, published in the 1976 collection Our Blood: Prophecies and Discourses on Sexual Politics] at a small community college. At the reception after, the host pulled me aside. She had been gang-raped some fifteen years before. The rapists were about to be released from prison. She was in terror. One key element in their convictions was that they had taken photographs of the rape. The prosecutor was able to use the photographs to show the jury the brutal fact of the rape.
Some eight years later a founder of one of the early rape crisis centres told me that she and her colleagues were seeing increasing numbers of rapes that were photographed; the photography was part of the rape. The photographs themselves no longer proved that a rape had taken place. For the rapists, they intensified pleasure during the rape and after they were tokens, happy reminders; but the perception of what the photograph meant had changed. No matter how violent the rape, the photograph of it seemed to be proof of the victim’s complicity to increasing numbers of jurors.
The rules of evidence shamelessly favor the accused rapist(s) and destroy the dignity of the rape victim. The rape victim is still suspect – this is a prejudice against women as deep as any antiblack prejudice. She lied, she lied, she lied: women lie. The bite marks on her back show that she liked rough sex, not that a sexual predator had chewed up her back. That she went with her school chum to Central Park and her death – she was strangled with her bra – proved that she liked rough sex. One woman was tortured and raped by her husband; he was so arrogant that he videotaped a half hour, including his use of a knife on her breasts. The jury, which had eight women on it, acquitted – they thought that he needed help. He. Needed. Help.
Andrea Dworkin, “One Woman”
In Heartbreak: The Political Memoir of a Feminist Militant