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Feb 13 2007

Porn again

Are you sitting down? Bitch Ph.D. has taken a job as Culture Editor for the Suicide Girls news blog.

Well, you know me. “Porn-is-patriarchy’s-purulent-pantheon” is my middle name. So the news wiped the feckless smirk off the Twisty visage quicker’n a slap with a flappin flounder. It was, in other words, difficult not to regard this development as something of a victory for the Dark Side.

However, this post is not — I repeat, not — a referendum on Dr B’s personal career decisions [see Note below]. Instead I wish to address a couple of the remarks the Professor made in response to the response to the announcement. Which I will get to in a moment.

But first, if you have never heard of Suicide Girls, all you are missing is a teen porn site. An enormously popular teen porn site, yes, but like all teen porn sites, it is run by men and exploits women, because it’s, you know, porn.

So what’s the big whoop? Suicide Girls is marketed, not as “traditional” porn, but as a hipster “pin-up” site. It’s a meaningless distinction that nevertheless seems to confuse people. Suicide Girls’ hipsterness — which, as a former hipster, I am sufficiently credentialed to critique — lies in the supposed transgressiveness of its supposedly “redefined” porn/beauty standard. Instead of emulating the pneumatic blonde boobness of Pamela Anderson, the chicks are gothy, punky, pierced and tattooed. They have names like “Vivisect,” “Havok,” and “Sorrow.” They are “given a voice” through site-sponsored blogs* in which they publish their apparently sought-after views on video games and awesome poetry. These blog “voices” supposedly empowerfulize them like no pornulated girls have been empowerfulized before.

Alterna-chick apologists for SG-style pornulation — who, with their keen hipster’s eye for irony, embrace the lexicon (“pin-up” vs. “centerfold”) of a quainter, Bettie Pagier porn epoch — point to the website’s purported (and invisible) “female-positive” stance as evidence that Suicide Girls models are not exploited like conventional Penthousian objets de smutte. Naturally, there are ex-Suicide Girls who, noting that the site re-pimps their photos to hardcore sites as they decline in popularity with the SG staff, and that subscribers to the decidedly un-feminist Playboy have free access to SG, see things rather differently.

As we have seen time and time again, two things happen whenever anyone “transgressively” redefines beauty (or sex, or femininity, or motherhood, or anything else popularly believed to be the purview of women). One, the transgressive redefinition only transpires when there is money to be made and flesh to exploit. Two, although it represents only a cosmetic shift in art direction, the new line of sexbot demarcation is touted and accepted as some kind of paradigmatic feminist breakthrough.

Remember the Sexual Revolution? Now you have to service a bunch of men rather than just one. The Dove Campaign for Real Beauty? Size 6 is the new size 2. Bust magazine? Where to “stock up on gorgeous cotton pajamas and lingerie.” Suicide Girls? “Porn even feminists can love.

Suicide Girls, it turns out, is just niche-porn for honky scenester dudes. The women are all just as skinny, gloppy with makeup, young, hot, and clichéd as any models anywhere; they just sport a little more facial hardware, as specified by their subculture. The purported free-wheelin’ Suicide Girl vixenality, billed as an expression of the models’ empowerful “sex-positive” choices, is actually only a function of their having chosen from the limited sexuality menu determined by hetero male fantasy. As one BitchPhd commenter put it, “Sexist alterna-guys have this stupid fantasy about the perfect girl: She’s “alternative” and poetically sad inside about, well, the sadness of sad things; she’s all feisty and spunky and shit but always somehow does what alternaguy wants; and she’s all tough and fighty yet tiny and cute.”

But I digress.

The remark of Dr. B’s to which I mean to strenuously object is this:

“Whether the net effect of a hipster porn site is positive, or whether, just like mainstream porn, it’s ultimately exploitation pure and simple, is obviously an open question.”

Not to me. Pornography, as I so un-cogently argue above, is pornography, and its net effect has been shown by smarter people than me to be globally detrimental. The idea that the nature of the subculture with which a paying customer identifies — in this case, the audience of voyeuristic perv exploiters all dig punk rock — can somehow exempt porn models from the trenchant evils of commodification, strikes me as fanciful. Neither can I see that the “feminist” element, i.e. allowing the Suicide models to publish these closely monitored and censored blogs, represents any great blow for women’s sexual sovereignty.**

“I don’t think,” continues Dr. B, “that porn can be pointed to as promoting beauty ideals, though it might well be to blame for promoting fucked-up ideas about sex.”

Dr. B and I are in agreement about the fucked-up sex ideas. That’s because my argument is that in our culture “women” as a concept is indistinguishable from “sex.” We have always been the sex class, but now, thanks to the internet, sex and the male-dominant practices normalized by porn are so conflated, and those practices so universally pervasive, as to degrade women as we have never been degraded before. Because pornulated sex, with its dominant/submissive fetish, is so ubiquitous, and because beauty practices exist only to advertise sexual availability, I contend that all beauty ideals begin with porn. My case can be boiled down to one word.

Labiaplasty.

Genital amputation is merely the latest point plotted by the Twistitute for the Study of Mainstreamed Pornography on a continuum of sexual oppression that contains such venerable porn-generated beauty tortures as the Brazilian wax, hair bleach, dieting, the push-up bra, liposuction, the stiletto pump, and the boob job.

Porn, O young onions, is nothing but the graphic reproduction of prostitution. Just as male dominance has created the conditions that produce prostitution, it has created the conditions that produce porn. Under these conditions, all commercial sex is coercive and exploitative, even if women “choose” it, because women do not have agency in a patriarchy.

Note: We amicably disagree de temps en temps, but I am as fond of Dr. B as a spinster aunt can be of a internet personage she has never completely met. Once I even guest-blogged at Bitch Ph.D. I consider her a homey. I will therefore nuke without compunction comments that attack her personally (the proper place for those is on her blog, hardy har).
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* Which is not to say that Suicide Girls management encourages freedom of speech. Punitive action seems to be the result when models express too much “negativity.”

** Certainly someone has pointed out to these girls that you don’t have to pimp yourself on the internet to have either a blog or a “voice”. Of course, once they’ve signed the restrictive modeling contract and have resolved not to express too much “negativity,” they’re assured of quite the audience; the Suicide Girls “community” is fairly mondo, with several hundred thousand visitors a week. I regret that there is perhaps an aesthetic argument against giving teenage girls quite so wide an audience for these “voices.” Quoth SG model Niche, “I was sooooooo sick when Lorelei and I shot this… The “Pneumonia days”… But I had a blaaaast and she helped me feel hotter than I ever thought possible.” Oy vey.

141 comments

2 pings

  1. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    Call me crazy, but I just do not get what is supposed to be so hawt about porn. It’s all so boring and repetitious. I can’t think of anything *less* exciting than a plumbing manual (here’s the parts and here’s what you do with ‘em, blah blah blah).

    And please don’t hand me that tired old saw about how women aren’t stimulated visually because there’s plenty of stuff to look at that hits my revs my engines. It’s just that none of it happens to be images of any person being objectified, degraded or humiliated.

    Hee hee hee, a slap with a flapping flounder. *That* conjures up images.

  2. Lipstick-and-Birk-Wearing Momma

    Obviously this is a site for young men, perhaps my son’s age, but it’s that same ol’, same ol’. Same old porn in a new packaging. Even the name “suicide girls” suggests that these young women are expendable. More foder for the patriarchial meat grinder–a la Anna Nicole Smith.

  3. hedonistic

    Back at chez moi I recently mused about a recent UK study that showed a VERY HIGH correllation between teenagers’ identification with the Goth subculture and attemps to do harm to their bodies, whether by suicide, suicide attempts, cutting, etc. (whether or not multiple piercings and tatoos should be thought of as self-harm? Maybe?).

    Folks, this is what I call a low-serotonin subculture (as were many artistic and moody subcultures in human history). Many goths admit that they suffer from depression. Suicide, vampirism, the occult are seen as darkly romantic (FWIW I speak as a member of a low serotonin subculture so I would know!).

    That these young women call themselves “Suicide Girls” is no surprise, and I’m concerned their psyches are more than just a little bit vulnerable. Excuse me while I set my keyboard aside so that I may headdesk. IBTP.

  4. mearl

    It appears that stupidity is trendy. Who benefits? The Patriarchy, naturellment.

  5. jami

    you know who the perfect sexist alterna-guy suicide girl fan exemplar is? boing boing’s cory doctorow. he does like them, as i recall (though actual googling makes me think maybe the bigger fan was poor pinned-up xeni jardin). doctorow’s suicide girl fan-dom fits nicely with something i noticed listening to his podcast of “eastern standard tribe.” his lead character’s love interest is “all tough and fighty” (perfect description!), but she’s thin, so he wants to bang her pretty much the second she peels herself off the concrete under his car tire and starts cussing him out. later in the story, we meet another tough and fighty gal, exact same M.O. but the second one’s fat. so the second one’s a bitch.

    as you say, the beauty norms of the suicide girls are not new. the hair dye you have to buy because your natural hair color does not turn on the new frat boy is orange, not blonde. whoop ti doo do i feel liberated.

    and another thing. suicidal women are not sexy. i have been suicidal, and i have been sexy, but the suicidal day, when writing a note to my mother changed my mind and i barfed out half a bottle of advil, was not the same day as the sexy days.

  6. Hawise

    I remember student teaching an English class, and some young ‘stud’ tried to shock me by demanding that we study this cheap ass porn text that he had got his hands on. When the nervous twitters had subsided, I told them that I might except that the sex scenes were too poorly written. He looked like I had shot his dog, which I guess I had.
    Technology just lets men and women remain adolescents longer.

  7. kiki

    “She’s “alternative” and poetically sad inside about, well, the sadness of sad things; she’s all feisty and spunky and shit but always somehow does what alternaguy wants; and she’s all tough and fighty yet tiny and cute.” blech.

    I grew up in the punk culture of the late 70′s and early 80′s and this type of girl became more and more common. One of her defining characteristics was that she always believed that she had been accepted as “one of the guys”. She would hang with them, deride other women with them, talk tough and then suck their dicks to prove how cool she was. Of course, they’d only listen to her poetry or look at her sketchbook,etc when she was naked or about to get naked, so the suicide girls site probably makes perfect sense to her…it’s just part of the deal.

  8. Metal Prophet

    Hipster porn or not, it all pretty much amounts to the same thing, which is satisfying men at women’s expense. Suicide Girls is just another niche to fill, just like the airbrushed pictures of Playboy or the hardcore smut of Hustler fill other niches. Again, all for the benefit of men. Varied tastes, same end result.

  9. j

    hedonistic, when one’s subculture accepts self-injurious behavior as cool, or indeed as a prerequisite for becoming a member of the subculture, it is only natural that one would engage in such behavior regardless of whether one was clinically depressed or not. It applies to the goth subculture. It also applies to the patriarchy as a whole. The goth subculture is often derided, but cutting is worse than carcinogenic makeup only in terms of the degree to which it is imminently life-threatening.

  10. Frigga's Own

    I don’t know if I’ve ever said I love you, but I’m saying it now. I suppose I have something substitive to add about the enpornification and fetishization of fat people and the proliferation of alternaporn that features “BBW”, but I can’t make it come together right now. My articulation should return when the caffiene levels in my blood rise.

  11. Sam

    This reminds me of some Christian TV station in a place I forget now that broadcasts pornography late at night. When asked about the opposing principles on display he said, “Pornography is the most economically viable business model.”

    Not everyone sells out women for cash or a greater reading audience, but the number willing to put people before profits is getting smaller.

    Why I Turned Down Hustler
    by Nancy Snow

    A propaganda expert mulls over and ultimately declines an interview with Larry Flynt’s magazine.

  12. HistoricUpstart

    Excellent, excellent post, Twisty. You are a wonderful writer.

  13. Frumious B

    Speaking of transgressively redefining beauty, if you can stand the pain, I would like to hear a review of the burlesque show which occasionally performs at the Carousel.

  14. Lisa

    I’d be curious to hear what folks think about lesbian porn. I’ve worked with a number of feminists over the years, and many of the lesbians have a hard time taking a stand against hetero porn because they want lesbian porn to be available. I find it almost impossible to argue with these sex-positive lesbians without seeming to insult them.

    The same goes, on a different level, with straight women who want to be free to dress provactively, learn poll dancing, etc. One can argue that they are choosing from a limited number of male-approved fantasies, but that can come across like you think they’re too stupid to know better.

    Sigh, the patriarchy wins again.

  15. bitchphd

    For my part, I am as fond of Twisty as *I* could possibly be of an internet person I’ve never met, and if I am ever out Austin way, I fully intend to buy her dinner.

    The thing that interests me about the site is that otoh, the audience (and many of the models) seem to view it as a site for amateurs; but the management clearly realizes that it’s a money-making venue. I suspect that a lot of the complaints by former models are in part the result of the shock of that recognition. No doubt the site takes advantage of the young and idealistic. That’s a legitimate problem, and one worth discussing.

    Re. my own job at the place: I’m writing to the audience, not to the management there. And the stuff I’m writing is publicly available–it’s not behind a subscription wall. And I was asked to write, specifically, about reproductive rights issues. And I’m geting paid, and being a new writer, that’s a big deal.

    Whatever my problems with the site itself, I think that what I’m doing is basically on the side of the angels.

    All that said, I don’t have any disagreement with what Twisty’s saying in this post.

  16. octogalore

    I’ve been trying to figure out why this bugs me, when I’m not anti porn per se. I think it’s because sites like SG are trying to masquerade as something else and therefore have more potential for abuse. And also because the audience and array of models are teens, or approximately, who may not easily see that this is not some kind of exercise in edgy feminism. A la Rauch Culture, women are being told that taking charge objectifying themselves (while really the strings are being pulled by someone else) is some kind of step forward.

    I like Dr B a lot, and agree with the point about wanting to make money while blogging. I just feel that, once one has a toehold in a profession that one seems to generally like and in which one can advance opportunities for women, giving it up (adding another statistic for the Patriarchy’s chart) and then doing something like this — is kinda playing for the wrong side. That’s judgmental, and I don’t have the right to say what’s right for anyone else’s life — but that’s what it looks like from the outside.

  17. Valkyrie

    Crap – First Amanda resigns from the Edwards campaign and now this.

    Thank Goddess for Twisty!

  18. teffie-phd

    Like Twisty says Suicide Girls is porn, just with different “art” direction.

    For me the interesting question is, can one change the system from within? Is Dr. B’s writing (which I often like) going to make change? Can we measure it (or will it be the classic, one girl changing her mind and getting out of the business)? Will it matter?

    I think of this much the same way I think about things like lesbian porn or pole dancing lessons.

    I can hear Audre Lourde talking about the master’s tools…

  19. Debby

    Yes, yes, Twisty. And, you know what else? Even without the rest of it, the name “suicide girls” is disgusting and offensive. Using the idea of being suicidal to titillate is in such poor taste. I have never been able to believe how popular and “alterna” this site is- because a girl who wants to kill herself is oh-so-sexy? Please.

  20. norbizness

    Hey, I know at least one Latino hipster with a subscription.

  21. Twisty

    “Is Dr. B’s writing (which I often like) going to make change?”

    Hell, I’m willing to entertain the idea that infiltrating enemy heaadquarters might produce some positive effect. Sad girls in the porn industry need to know about Plan B.

  22. J

    “For me the interesting question is, can one change the system from within?”

    An equally interesting question, for me, is: are we ever able to be outside of the system in the first place?

  23. Twisty

    “Hey, I know at least one Latino hipster with a subscription.”

    OK, but during the course of my research yesterday, I came across nary a single gothy black chick. Not that I would be any happier if they were exploiting more black women, but the honky focus seems to say something rather unpleasant about beauty ideals favored by hipsters.

  24. hedonistic

    Come one, how can one be the Corpse Bride if one is not white? Huh? Huh?

    (kidding)

  25. Twisty

    “I’d be curious to hear what folks think about lesbian porn.”

    Lisa, lesbians do not have personal agency in a patriarchy, either.

  26. norbizness

    I was kidding about knowing that guy. Although I have my suspicions about a few others.

    I did read the comments for a few of the Good Doctor’s postings, and they’re a hell of a lot better than the ones that appear after articles about women in the Shitsburg Daily Gazette. The ones on the post commemorating some of the lovely wedding ceremonies for longtime partners in San Francisco three years ago were uniformly positive, as far as I could tell.

    Hopefully, all you’d need to do is get electrical tape for the upper 1/6th and right 1/3rd of the monitor, and also for any posts by Michael Totten, and you’re good to go.

  27. Twisty

    Or, you could just read Bitch Ph.D. She likes gay rights.

  28. magickitty

    I could never get into goth as a youngster, because I was brooowwwwwwwwn. So hard to get out of exams, too, when you’ve never looked sick a day in your life.

  29. bitchphd

    Ah, but because SG owns anything I write on their site, the stuff I write over there is different than the stuff I write at my own place….

  30. curiousgyrl

    SG, when it started, used to have more brown and black models and more different face and body types. Not that that is necessarily better, but it is noticible that theyve gotten more homogeneous and standard as theyve become more popular/commercial. Maybe the playboy deal had something to do with it.

    Back when they started I was more sex-pos and I was excited about non-exploitative porn, so I was disapointed with the way the site worked out and with my own male friends regular porn responses. I guess I’m older and wiser now.

    For the record, I’m still postive about sex, just not any actually existing porn.

  31. Dr. Free-Ride

    My own hope is that the management at SG, in paying for Dr. B’s writing on reproductive rights, is paying for the sowing of the seeds to their own destruction. It might not even need to be an intentional effort to take the system down — simply featuring writing that assumes the importance of women’s agency might set the edifice a’ crumbling.

  32. Twisty

    Well, the Christians took down Pandagon, so anything’s possible.

  33. Hattie

    she’s all tough and fighty yet tiny and cute.
    yep.
    And a tomboy. 75% of women say that they were tomboys when they were kids.
    Just made that statistic up. I like it.

  34. Dr. Free-Ride

    Yes, I’m being glass-half-full-ish over here. It’s what I need to do to get me through the week.

  35. XtinaS

    Suicide Girls, it turns out, is just niche-porn for honky scenester dudes. The women are all just as skinny, gloppy with makeup, young, hot, and clichéd as any models anywhere; they just sport a little more facial hardware, as specified by their subculture.

    Oh, bless you for this.  I was at Good Vibes with my friendgirl and saw a Suicide Girls picture book, and one – ONE – woman in there wasn’t entirely clean of hair from the eyebrows down.  Real alternative, yall.

  36. habe

    Perhaps the “Suicide Girls” plays on the tragically sad hooker thing. You know, the “most guys would treat women like this as shit, but I’m different. I really appreciate her tragic beauty and sadness and unique special flowerness. That way when I pay money to exploit her, I’m the hero, not the bad guy” dynamic.

  37. Hattie

    Just don’t go around all half-glassed.

  38. Vera Venom

    “the “most guys would treat women like this as shit, but I’m different. I really appreciate her tragic beauty and sadness and unique special flowerness. That way when I pay money to exploit her, I’m the hero, not the bad guy” dynamic. ”

    That’s perfect. It’s the Nice Guy ™ Porn excuse.

    Dr. B – you say that SG will own what you write. So, is it safe to assume they’ll censor you like they censor the “negativity” on the “girls’” blogs?

  39. bitchphd

    Vera, “own” means permission to reprint. Any writer who writes for pay has to deal with editing, I suppose, and sometimes censorship of one kind or another. I think when/if that happens, you decide what to do about it. I don’t anticipate writing anything about repro rights that’ll be in violation of my contract; but obviously, if I want to write something that is, I can either do it at my own place or, if I’m feeling constrained by the medium, quit.

  40. my sister would kill me = anonymous.

    See, the thing is, I’m a big sister to a (Somewhat Alternative Southern Town) hipster. And I have had to lay out my opposition to Suicide Girls out pretty strongly, because my sister and her friends? They are all turning eighteen right now and they would do it for no money at all, just the pink panties and the hipster points. I am not particularly pro- or anti- porn – hell, I read the kind of porn written by nerdy internet women – but I resent SG for capitalizing on the teenage craving for status like that. What I’ve told people thinking about doing it is not that it’s bad to take your clothes off on the internet but that it’s bad to go into an exploitative industry without knowing exactly what your conditions of work will be and how much control you’ll have over your own image. Treating participation in the sex trade – even long-distance through a DSL – as a prank or fun or rebellious and not as _work_ is a pretty serious part of the exploitation, to my mind.

  41. MedeaOnCrack

    You won’t be able to do it unconstrained at your place either. They’ve bought brand Bitch PhD.

  42. Shannon

    “Suicide girl” is actually a reference to a Chuck Palahniuk novel, not referring to the models themselves being suicidal.

    For what it’s worth, I don’t know of any other similar site that has not only un-size-0 models (the tag ‘voluptuous’ turns up 2 pages’ worth of models my size and bigger — and I’m not small!) but disabled ones as well (SG Amina is missing a leg, for example).

  43. Spinning Liz

    Fetishizing “diversity,” whether it’s size, disability, ethnicity, age, subculture, or whatever, doesn’t make exploitation and objectification ok.

    I once had a blog with the word “Granny” in the title and my hit counter was inundated daily with several hundred sicko searches for incredibly violent degrading “granny porn.” I had no idea such stuff even existed, but boy oh boy I lost my naivete fast. Not a day went by that these ultra chilling creepy fuck-beat-kill granny searches didn’t bring armies of pervs to my site. And yet: somehow all this attention didn’t make me go all giggly and weak in the knees with gratitude that at least some men find older women “attractive.” The hell with that. That’s not what porn is about.

  44. Niki

    I’m 31 but I work in the SF club scene (read: discotheque, not stripper) so I have a lot of young, scenestery friends and have watched the goth/punk scene morph from Vampiresville into Porntown along the way.

    Seriously. Back in the day of my gothy glory years, nobody wanted to be a porn star – the goal was androgeny, vampirism and crappy Ren. Faire based poetry. The ‘coolest’ scenesters were running about sniffing speed, changing their hair 20938 times a week and playing dorky live action role playing games.

    About the same time SG rose to fame, the goth scene quickly became about wearing as little as possible, go-go dancing (or stripping, or hooking) and making the SG cut. Now the majority of the (younger) goth girls I know spend their club time trying desperately to empower themselves via increasingly alarming levels of degredation. Where did all the dorks go?

  45. Niki

    (pardon all the spelling errors, I’m running on vicoden and 3 hours of sleep.)

  46. bitchphd

    Mysisterwouldkillme, I think, gets right at what the problem with SG is. I realize everyone’s going to read this as me defending SG, here, which it isn’t, but anyway: I wonder how this is different than MySpace or any other social networking space where young women who are looking for attention (which is a perfectly fine thing for young women to do, btw) put up sexy pics of themselves. The obvious differences are the bribes (pink panties, some money) and the ownership issue; I think it’s important to focus on that.

    MedeaonCrack, nope: didn’t sign anything that says they control my pseud, and never would.

  47. Hattie

    Heh. I get googled a lot for “Aunty” porn, mostly East Indian addresses.
    I don’t take porn lightly. But there’s not much we can do as long as there is money (so much money!) in it.

  48. Shannon

    Point taken, Spinning Liz, but in my own personal life (your mileage may vary and I know this viewpoint is not a popular one, especially here), I would rather have my [male] partner reading a site like Suicide Girls where there is a wide range of colors, sizes, etc than some “big-busted-blonde-bimbos-only” photos-only site without any context or additional content (like the newswire, the discussion groups, etc).

    Of course that still begs the question “why should anyone look at these sites at all”? I’m not my partner’s mother. I don’t restrict what he reads or looks at, nor should I. And despite what you might think about him from this tiny window into his reading list, he’s actually one of the most women-positive, feminist men I know. (Not faking the Sensitive Nice Guy act, either, I’ve known him 17 years).

    There are, believe it or not, quite a lot of feminist, LGBT-allied, intelligent thinking women at SG — I’ve read some really fascinating discussions on public policy, politics, same sex marriage, (you name it) on the boards over the years. Many commenters are there for the community, not the nudity.

    Take the naked women out of the equation — what’s SG then? It’s grownup MySpace.

    I really respect Twisty and the commenters at IBTP. I learn a lot here, and enjoy it immensely, even if my views are not always the same on certain topics. I’d like to hope that having a strong voice like Bitch PhD’s over at SG will ultimately be a positive thing, and if anything, get a more feminist viewpoint in full view of their (sizeable) membership.

  49. Twisty

    “I’m running on vicodin and 3 hours of sleep.”

    My world for the past year. You get to where you get used to eyes that don’t focus and bowels that don’t, uh, bowel.

  50. Shannon

    And, on post I see Bitch PhD and I were having the same thoughts re: “grown up MySpace” — funny.

    So, what about MySpace? What about all the attention-seeking young women there? (Added points if you can work in something about their Fox-ian corporate overlords).

    What is it about social networking sites that make young girls throw caution to the wind and post the kinds of things that will come back and Marcotte them someday? The prevailing culture, sure, the one that makes all those horrifying “Sexy!” glitter shirts for preteens. But how could you use the tools of that MySpace-ian culture to reach out to them and educate them about feminist principles without being preachy? Is there a subversive way to use the system against itself?

  51. Shannon

    Poor Twisty — I was doing the Percocet no sleep thing after my surgeries last month. I thought I’d never “bowel” again.

  52. curiousgyrl

    Hmm. Its closer to gothy-all-porn myspace plus gothy-girls-gone-wild events and parties.

  53. Jess2

    As Niki and others point out, the SG site just seems to reek of The Man co-opting yet another ‘alternative sub-culture’ (the goth scene) and putting it through the Megapornocorporacratic meat-grinder. The whole ‘hipster’ scene these days is such b.s. anyway; in New York at least, it’s a whole lotta consumeristic yet hipper-than-thou trust-fundies slumming it in Brooklyn with their tattoos and faux-distressed t-shirts (hello, by now we all know that ‘vintage’ Coco-Puffs t-shirt was wade in China last month!). They hold themselves up as more socially conscious than McMansion dwellers as they acknowledge their white privelege over microbrews at house-parties, but take away the carefully arranged bed-head and ironic-ugly thrift shop pants and you still just have a bunch of elitist whiteys who essentially cling to the same values, mores and dreams of their suburban upbringing, even if they hope to live out those dreams more stylishly than their parents. No matter how many tattoos, piercings or supposedly iconoclastic opinions, once they start having kids, by the way, all that liberal gender neutrality goes right down the tubes: it’s all about daddy bringing home the bacon and mommy doing the drudge-thing at home. Most ‘hipsters’ I know are downright traditional, even if they do have alternative bands on their iPods. No surprise whatsoever that they have their own specially branded ‘hipster’ porn.

    Sorry, as the daughter of a feminist single mom raised as and among actual poor people in the rural south, nothing gets my goat more than “socially conscious” elitists who think that re-stylizing their materialism and fetishes makes them any better than your average southern Boss Hog Republican. Prime example number one is that sickening mysogenistic asswipe Dov Charney, owner of American Apparel, who thinks that paying his workers a living wage gets him a pass for sexual harrassment and using porntastic lolitas to sell his goddam t-shirts to hipsters! “Hey, look at me, I’m socially conscious. Forcing journalists to watch me jerk off in a hotel room makes me edgy, not a creepy raper.” WTF!?

    Whew. Sorry. Guess I had to get that off my chest.

    In any case, let us all hope that Dr. B can sew the seeds of discontent from within. Wonder if any Suicide Girls or the pornsick ‘hipsters’ that patronize the site will actually read her posts? Here’s hoping it doesn’t turn into one more grody co-option of something good.

  54. cycles

    The prevailing culture, sure, the one that makes all those horrifying “Sexy!” glitter shirts for preteens.

    I dunno, I’d love to see a line of glittery shirts for junior high girls that gleefuly proclaim stuff like “Masturbation!” and “Yep, They’re Zits!” and “Math Geek!”

  55. MedeaOnCrack

    “MedeaonCrack, nope: didn’t sign anything that says they control my pseud, and never would.”

    Yah that’ll work.

  56. SusanM

    The announcement stunned me, too, but Dr. B is very convincing. I won’t read her there, but I do know many more people will be exposed to her great writing on important issues, and that has to have an overall positive impact. I don’t see the MySpace comparison, except maybe in the community sense– can’t anyone have a MySpace page?

  57. S-kat

    “Take the naked women out of the equation — what’s SG then? It’s grownup MySpace.”

    Take the naked women out of Playboy and what do you have then? The Progressive? The Nation?

  58. Twisty

    “Yep, They’re Zits!”

    Har! Sign me up for one of those. Ever since my oopherectomy, the nieces’ve been calling me Aunt Pizzaface. It’s some fucked up shit, having menopause and zits at the same time.

    Have yall had enough of my bodily functions today?

  59. Shannon

    S-kat, while I don’t think I’d call Playboy The Nation sans nudie pictures, they’ve certainly published more than a few major/influential writers over the years. So maybe Esquire or GQ…

  60. Garden Gnome

    A variation of the hipster sexist asshole and his “dream girl” is the anarcho-punk sexist asshole (read Manarchist) and his “dream girl”. The anarcho-punk dream girl engages in “days of war and nights of love” like any anarchist sexbot should. After a raucous day on the black bloc where only the boys got to do the cool things (like smashing corporate windows) she goes home with her manarchist for a heteronormative male-dominated sex-filled evening to celebrate the accomplishments of the day. She hangs on his every word when he waxes poetic about anarchist theory, capitalism, and drops names like Hakim Bey and Bakunin, utterly convinced about how smart and deep he is even though she is twice as smart. Whenever the group of anarchists wants to do anything, it only gets done because the women in the groups handle all the logistics. Manarchists constantly drone on about women’s liberation, often silencing the voices of women. But you know what the BEST part is? Anarcho-punk sexist asshole and his “partner” are totally, utterly convinced that they have a feminist, egalitarian relationship.

    Manarchist boys suck. I blame the patriarchy.

  61. Dot

    So, if I understand all of this (and I’m not sure I do), might going to the SG site to read bPhd on reproductive issues be equivalent to reading Playboy for the critical theatre reviews?

    I’m sorry. I am soooo max’d out on commification and dudism and all such crap. Every time I see one of those damned Bratz dolls I want to slap someone.

  62. Shannon

    Probably, Dot.

    I’m with you on the Bratz dolls, though. Those things scare the living daylights out of me.

  63. Frigga's Own

    “Fetishizing “diversity,” whether it’s size, disability, ethnicity, age, subculture, or whatever, doesn’t make exploitation and objectification ok.”

    Ah, Spinning Liz articulated what I’ve been trying to get across to the fat acceptance people. I have no problem with fat people being depicted as sexual beings with agency, I have huge problems with them being treated as sexual objects without agency. There was a big flap over a YouTube video named “Skinny” not that long ago, because those of us who objected to being objectified and fetishized were shouted down by those who found being objectified empowerful.

  64. Lily Underwood

    Twisty Faster! Twisty Faster! Twisty Faster!

  65. josie my source of most frustration

    Frigga, do you have a link to the video skinny and the accompanying flap going on in the comments at YouTube? If so, please provide it. THat sounds like a discussion that could be worth reading.

    As for Dr. B, I have to admit to being a bit grossed out and disappointed when I heard the news. However, all that I know about SG is the porno part of it. I’m not sure if the community is somehow “different.” I’m not sure that I believe that it really could be too different, but what do I know?

  66. slashy

    my sister would kill me: “hell, I read the kind of porn written by nerdy internet women”- Yeah, me too.

    I do wonder if it’s wildly hypocritical to cheerfully attack visual porn because it doesn’t turn me on, but defend nerdy written porn til I’m hoarse because it does turn me on. Clearly the fact that it turns me on isn’t really a defensible political point, unless on takes women’s independent desire as politically important. Which one may, or one may not.

  67. TP

    I am so lucky that Twisty herself managed to convince me that exploiting women, even in hip trappings, was bad, even though it didn’t feel bad to me because I’m a man. I must confess that I was toying with the idea of some kind of burlesque show at the time. I remember not really being convinced by her arguments, and making all the standard dudely arguments for the idea (ie chicks dig it! and other idiocies).

    But the idea of me putting the show together and hiring women to do it made me feel really bad. There, a man has to be completely deluded to not knowing he’s exploiting women. It was the very start of my understanding that in order to try to understand the position of women in our sex culture I had to somehow see them not as female men with manly desires – most men can’t get past this – but as women who were dealing with men from a position of almost being under attack by the culture and a lot of the time by men in person.

    I do love Dr. B and am glad she’s getting some money. I feel like our culture is drowning in imagery that exploits women six ways to Sunday so I would be the very last to throw a stone.

  68. cycles

    Bart: Pop quiz, hotshot. I’m supposed to be doing my homework, but you find me upstairs reading a Playdude. What do you do? What DO you do?

    Shary: I make you read every article in that magazine, including Norman Mailer’s latest clap-trap about his waning libido.

    Homer: Ooh. She is tough.

    I’m on the edge of deciding that straight-up whack-off mags are slightly more palatable than those of the Playboy or SG ilk, which combine literary articles with nudie pics. If you want to read a thought-provoking piece, you must wade through pages of spread-eagle-but-ladylike lacquered naifs. Objectification is all a perfectly normal and fun part of life. What, you mean naked ladies don’t spring out of cakes when YOUR friends discuss the Iraq war?

    And if such things prevent you from cracking opening the magazine in the first place, you don’t get to join the discussion of the article. Leave that to the boys and their sophisticated tastes in scotch and Drakkar Noir; scurry along, now, I think Family Circle has some cake mix coupons.

  69. josie my source of most frustration

    “I do wonder if it’s wildly hypocritical to cheerfully attack visual porn because it doesn’t turn me on, but defend nerdy written porn til I’m hoarse because it does turn me on.”

    I’d say no, it’s not entirely hypocritical. One major problem with visual porn is that flesh and blood women are being trafficked, abused and exploited in those pictures and movies. Written porn may help to enforce the pro-porn cultural directive. However, the fact that a scared or sad young woman isn’t staring at me from a page of written porn makes me feel at least somewhat better about the whole thing.

  70. hot mess

    so maybe this would be a good time to mention the POSITIVE influences for teens on the web, not the least of which is scarleteen (www.scarleteen.com), which is about to launch a fundraising initiative? don’t work for them, never have, but given comments here about young women’s influences, it seemed germane.

  71. kiki

    Do you think that Dr. B gets a pair of those pink undies to up her hipster cred?

  72. mearl

    “I wonder how this is different than MySpace or any other social networking space where young women who are looking for attention (which is a perfectly fine thing for young women to do, btw) put up sexy pics of themselves”

    Show me a place where hetero guys routinely and in huge numbers seek attention by posing for sexy/naked pics and I will show you equality. There’s a problemo with a society in which all humans are sexual but only the females have to make “their” sexuality the first thing everyone sees about them.

  73. The Hedonistic Pleasureseeker

    Hm. Random musings here.

    As long as humans continue to be humans we’ll love to stare at the pretty people, men and women alike! Being THE Hedonistic Pleasureseeker I always stare at the beautiful people (of all ages). I don’t think there is anything wrong with this (humans can’t help but objectify to an extent). And I especially don’t think there is anything wrong with men wanting to see pretty naked women: In the flesh, in a magazine, on the internet, in a movie. There are plenty of exhibitionist women (myself included) who get a very real charge from showing off our bodies and our sexuality in all of these forums (fora?).

    What frosts me: Female children being set up as the standard for “feminine” (in femininity read: childlike) beauty. Women being kept so poor that they have no choice but to barter their sexuality for safety and (some modicum of) dignity. Young women taught (the hard way) that the only thing society values is their bodies. I have a problem with all of these things, ergo I have a real problem with teens getting naked on the internet. BIG problem.

    Then again I’m the mother of a teenage girl.

    (Come to think of it, given this post my Valentines Day post is going to be especially ironic, cause I’ve gone all pink pinup-girly. Oh well. I’ll try to find a way to make fun of myself.)

  74. The Hedonistic Pleasureseeker

    Oh, and Twisty: Menopause and zits sometimes go hand in hand. Cheers!

  75. Flamethorn

    And randomly: this is supposed to be a joke, apparently.
    http://catmydog.comicgenesis.com/d/20061106.html

  76. Antelope

    Interesting comments about the difference between visual and written porn, and I agree w the distinction.

    When I’m thinking about the female equivalent of porn, though, what I tend to find myself thinking of is vibrators. It’s comparable in the sense that it’s becoming a lot more acceptable and there are a lot more categories of product out there these days. It’s comparable in the sense that it can give you enough of what you think you need to make dating a real person seem less important (which I don’t see as a bad thing, some folks should never date real people, and some should take regular breaks from doing so). What interests me the most, though, is that it’s comparable in the sense that it makes the other gender uncomfortable. Even a lot of porn-loving dudes will get squeamish when the topic of vibrators comes up, because they think it shows a certain lack of respect for teh penis.

    What’s the number one thing that’s not the same about these habits? Women are perfectly capable of understanding that being with a human male will not resemble playing with a vibrator and don’t set our expectations at that level. Yet, a lot of men are not capable of understanding that porn is pure fantasy and that they shouldn’t expect women to look like that, pose like that, or put up with the crap that women in videos pretend to enjoy.

    Setting aside some really huge issues about how porn is produced, men looking at porn, in and of itself, wouldn’t bother me if they had a better ability to tell fantasy and reality apart. It is really strange and incomprehensible that so many of them can’t.

  77. bitchphd

    Do you think that Dr. B gets a pair of those pink undies to up her hipster cred?

    Crap! I didn’t negotiate for undies.

  78. My Sister Would

    Garden Gnome: I think I love you. In a post-heteronormative, post-patriarchial way, of course, in which if you were a dude it would be SHEER COINCIDENCE that I would always be doing your laundry and washing your dishes while you smoked pot and talked about Kropotnik with your dudely friends.

    That guy is EXACTLY the reason that I stopped calling myself an anarchist (well, that, and I’m no longer eighteen years old.) How many times did I look at my watch and realize that some dreadlocked lip-pierced vegan dude had been talking about how gender was irrelevant for half an hour while all the women in the room smiled and nodded and kept their mouths shut?

    Obviously one time too many.

    Slashy, I do agree with Josie, but I also think the fiction to which your pseudonym alludes packs the punch it does because of a whole lot of gendered stuff about personhood and sexual agency and subject/object thinking. I don’t really think it exploits (there are sci-fi actors who might think otherwise) but I also don’t think it’s eroding the foundations of The Patriarchy.

  79. My Sister Would

    that said, as I noted, I sure read a lot of it.

  80. Pinko Punko

    I put up sexy pics of my condiments all the time, but then again I exploit the crap out of them by saucing up my food.

    I just cannot think of anything positive to say about SG. Dr. B I do really enjoy and people make decisions and stuff. There’s theory and there’s reality, but I feel like this would be like me taking money from Exxon to do fun stuff, knowing all the while they are evil f**king bastards.

    Speaking of evil FBs, I just read something at IMAO about Amanda Marcotte and the nature of feminism that made me want to bowel. No link, it was even more execrable as usual.

  81. Frigga's Own

    Ok, this is the link to the video (I don’t know if it’s the “clean version” but it’s borderline NSFW so be forewarned). The dustup over whether or not empowerment leads to actual power went on at the Big Fat Blog forums, for which one must be a registered member (to prevent advertising and anti-fat trolling) but the final blog post on it is here. Additionally it made the rounds on the Fatshionista LJ community, which has since made the entry protected (I imagine to also prevent trolling).

    I hope all my html worked right. I’m really disappointed that I don’t have the original discussions on hand because they were lively, albeit at times frustrating. When I was but a wee and unenlightened onion, I dated a man who didn’t think I was fat enough to fulfill his sexual desires. It wasn’t until my twenties that I realized that the fetish he’d tried to rope me into enabling did nothing to affirm my sexual agency and was damaging my already fragile body image. Since then, I’ve always been suspicious of alternadudes and their turn-ons, as they rarely have anything to do with actual alternatives to patriarchal objectification.

  82. Blamerella

    I’m on the edge of deciding that straight-up whack-off mags are slightly more palatable than those of the Playboy or SG ilk, which combine literary articles with nudie pics. If you want to read a thought-provoking piece, you must wade through pages of spread-eagle-but-ladylike lacquered naifs.

    An edge I went over many moons ago, cycles. As deplorable as is all porn, at least the hardcore variety doesn’t disguise its true intentions. In Naomi Wolf’s The Beauty Myth, she quoted Larry Flynt saying something about how the difference between his publication and Playboy was that whereas Hefner celebrated the Girl Next Door, he was all about the Whore Next Door. To which Wolf observed: Is it any wonder that most ordinary women will struggle to the death to approximate the former ideal rather than the latter?

  83. Blamerella

    Of course, it occurs to me that the increasing prevalance of the so-called Raunch culture may have changed that dynamic a bit, but it was definitely the case back when I was a young naif.

  84. B

    Sex = mutual pleasure

    Sexual actions without mutual pleasure are on a gliding scale from sick over abusive and all the way to rape.

  85. Catherine Martell

    It’s difficult to say exactly where the lines should be drawn in all this. I’m certainly in no position to cast stones, either. And I’m a fan of Bitch PhD.

    Dr B is more than clever enough to have written a convincing argument for her SG paypacket: the Gloria Steinem Bunny defence, the Subverting The Dominant Paradigm defence, the Interesting Project defence, the I Need The Money defence.

    But there is a slippery spectrum between getting inside the system to change it, becoming a cog in it, and becoming a proponent of it. For me, the weakest argument here is the I Need The Money. Needing money does not absolve all responsibility for how one obtains it. Let’s say you’re a jobless southern Polish German in 1940 with a family to support, and someone offers you a well-remunerated job herding Untermenschen into the showers down your local concentration camp. Do you take it?

    Maybe Dr B really can act as a sort of pornoclastic Oskar Schindler, shepherding flocks of Suicide Girls to the safety of feminism. If so, fantastic. But I doubt that Playboy Inc has bargained on that. If Dr B’s new gig inspires much by the way of ‘negativity’, I expect that the pressure will be on from Bunny HQ to tone it down. If, on the other hand, the column doesn’t really have any impact, Hef will probably be quite content to leave her there writing about emergency contraception indefinitely. Because her very existence gives SG the same get-out clause Playboy has always operated: but look! it’s a forum for proper intellectuals! And now they have their very own pet feminist.

    Good luck to you, Bitch PhD. Though I wouldn’t have made the same decision, I really am a fan. I hope you prove me wrong.

  86. JR

    “MedeaonCrack, nope: didn’t sign anything that says they control my pseud, and never would.”

    Just to amplify MedeaonCrack’s point from above: BitchPhD, I understand why you are happy to get a paid writing gig and hopefully you can spread the word about Plan B et cetera in your new, highly problematic role.

    But don’t go pretending that this choice you’ve made won’t seriously affect how lots of us understand your Bitch PhD brand / blog from now on.

  87. Ruth

    “I would rather have my [male] partner reading a site like Suicide Girls where there is a wide range of colors, sizes, etc than some “big-busted-blonde-bimbos-only” photos-only site without any context or additional content (like the newswire, the discussion groups, etc).”

    I’m sure you’d ‘rather’ he hit you with his hand than with a strap, too.

  88. rebecca

    Pertinent to this conversation: These radfems are throwing this anti-porn bash for free in Boston in March.

  89. kiki

    “Crap! I didn’t negotiate for undies.”

    Negotiate? I just assumed that all their girls got them.

  90. Sandi

    a site like Suicide Girls where there is a wide range of colors, sizes, etc

    I browsed the site in search of said “range.” It ain’t there.

  91. Shannon

    mearl: Show me a place where hetero guys routinely and in huge numbers seek attention by posing for sexy/naked pics and I will show you equality.

    Actually, there’s a group on SG of guys who does this, with over 5000 members.

    Ruth: I’m sure you’d ‘rather’ he hit you with his hand than with a strap, too.

    That’s an unfair comparison, Ruth, especially when you don’t know either him or me personally. I don’t deny that there are women who are abused in or forced into the porn industry. But to take my words — in which I was expressing my preference for more inclusive sites — and extrapolate that my boyfriend is somehow abusing me, perhaps physically? That’s over the line, not to mention untrue.

    Unless, of course, you subscribe to the notion that I don’t have the right to make such distinctions, given that I’m completely under the patriarchy’s sway and therefore incompetent to judge. Twisty says that “women do not have agency in a patriarchy.” Guilty as charged, then, I guess. It still doesn’t make my partner abusive.

    Re: My Sister Would’s comment: “I also think the fiction to which your pseudonym alludes packs the punch it does because of a whole lot of gendered stuff about personhood and sexual agency and subject/object thinking. I don’t really think it exploits (there are sci-fi actors who might think otherwise) but I also don’t think it’s eroding the foundations of The Patriarchy.”

    Ok, serious question. What are we supposed to think or do about “text-based” pornography? I don’t think that we’re going to be getting rid of it any time soon — hell, in the “image-based” porn department we’ve got the Venus of Willendorf carved 20,000 years ago. Our means of reproducing the images have gotten better, not changed the underlying images being represented.

    (Also, has been argued that the Venus is essentially fetishized pregnancy porn and perhaps was even designed as a male masturbatory aid. No kidding. $10 says some male anthropologist came up with that one to counter all the pro-matriarchal-society theorists, methinks).

    Twisty says “because beauty practices exist only to advertise sexual availability, I contend that all beauty ideals begin with porn” — j’accuse, Willendorf! But if beauty ideals are hardwired into the human species (there have been a number of studies done which proved that babies prefer regular, symmetrical, “beautiful” faces to unusual or “ugly” ones), what’s the point of fighting biology? To me that argument is as crazy as the “de-gaying” process crazy right wingers promote.

    Sandi — a few examples — Wendy, Anarchie, Eliska (all plus-sized). I don’t have time to search right now but there are definitely black, Hispanic and SGs of other races as well. It’s just harder to find them given the sheer number now on the site, though there is a tag-based search system.

    And hey, look! They blogged Marcotte-gate! interviewed Al Franken and Kinky Friedman! Maybe liberal subversive writers invaded long before the Bitch after all.

  92. kiki

    “Maybe liberal subversive writers invaded long before the Bitch after all.”

    Subversive? I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but “countercultural rebellion” has become corporate ideology in this country. There are very few truly dissentient or subversive voices because they are immediately co-opted by the establishment rendering them toothless. These “subversive writers” are no different than the culture they are supposed to subvert and they have not “invaded” but been absorbed as just another element in the hipster juggernaut. The cool hipster vs straight laced joiner dichotomy is a fiction created to sell you products that make you feel part of something dangerous, rebellious, counter-culture but partaking in this fiction actually makes you the ultimate rube.

  93. Twisty

    If the mainstream would only co opt the Twistolution, we could all go home.

  94. B

    Shannon,

    I don’t have any trouble with written or drawn pornography unless it’s child porn or snuff porn or all about hurting and humiliating uppity women or something in that vein.

    Porn involving actual humans on the other hand – who are there doing their stuff for your pleasure while, at the very very best, feeling nothing themselves. That I find abusive and I wouldn’t want any man doing that for a partner.

    Any consumer of porn or buyer of prostitutes shows that for him sex isn’t about mutual enjoyment. One in four men says that they would rape if they knew for certain that they would get away with it – I bet all of those 25% are consumers of pornography.

    I am sorry but I have a more positive view of sex than that and believe that it’s only sex if it is mutually enjoyable for all involved. Otherwise it’s just masturbation with someone elses body.

  95. kiki

    “If the mainstream would only co opt the Twistolution, we could all go home.”

    Hehe..sounds good as long as it doesn’t render you toothless.

  96. Shannon

    Twisty, I think you should have some “Co-opt the Twistolution” bumper stickers made up. I’d buy one!

    (Wait, if it’s a Twisty-product does it fall under the anti-consumerist movement or no? I’m so confused!)

    Kiki, I don’t have to “buy into” the countercultural stuff. I read, watch, and absorb things from all across the spectrum. Boyfriend’s got a subscription to Reason, I’ve got The Nation and the New York Times. We both read the same art magazines. I write knitting books for a living, so I stay up to date on that stuff. We watch everything from Firefly DVDs to Serious Art Films. Boyfriend likes to turn on Bill O’Reilly just to torture me (there you go, Ruth — if that isn’t abusive, I don’t know what is).

    That I was raised by parents who met in art school (and not just art school, but the “hippie art school” alternative to the Art School Turning Out Drones For American Greetings) is not coincidental, either. I was brought up to experience culture of all kinds and question it afterwards. So I have a hard time automatically assigning a value judgement to anything just because I “should,” be it porn or a painting. Everyone enjoys different things in this world. And things get labeled countercultural when they’re not identical to the mainstream, whether they’re “actually” countercultural or not.

    I enjoy reading IBTP because it’s another viewpoint I may not necessarily share 110%, but one that I respect. That I don’t agree with everything said or commented on here doesn’t make me a tool of the patriarchy, it makes me human.

    B — isn’t “text porn” masturbation with someone else’s body, too? To choose an example, let’s say the wide, wide range of online Buffy the Vampire Slayer fanfic, some of which gets pretty darn graphic. If you’re reading a story about Spike and (no doubt visualizing the character of Spike during whatever you may choose to do while scanning the text), are you taking advantage of James Marster / his image?

  97. habe

    But if beauty ideals are hardwired into the human species (there have been a number of studies done which proved that babies prefer regular, symmetrical, “beautiful” faces to unusual or “ugly” ones), what’s the point of fighting biology?

    Biological reductivism? Seriously? Most “sexual difference” and “desire” studies tend to confuse behavior/function/expression (which is shaped by language, experience, and ideology) with “natural” biology. There is no methodologically sound way to determine what is “hardwired” into the human species.

    What is considered desirable is considerably plastic. What most of these studies claim is “innate” or “ideal”, is really, really normative.

    People can get off with shoes or farm animals, and some actually have such a preference.

    Porn is able to shape what’s desirable. SG does considerable work towards that end. I think it’s important to critique the manner in which it does so and the consequences of it.

  98. slashy

    Aha! The long-awaited Twisty-comments thread about nerdy written internet porn begins at long last! I have been hoping for this moment since about my second martini last night, and I shall be back to debate it (with some lucidness, hopefully) some time this afternoon (being after morning but before dinner-time).

  99. Amaz0n

    I would rather have my [male] partner reading a site like Suicide Girls where there is a wide range of colors, sizes, etc than some “big-busted-blonde-bimbos-only” photos-only site without any context or additional content

    Shannon, why do you think that the important factor in this discussion is your male partner’s experience of consuming porn, rather than the experiences of the women in the porn themselves?

    You seem, here, to have completely missed the boat. We’re all very proud of your boyfriend and/or you for not hurling at the sight of teenagers and 20-somethings who dare to get naked on the Internet while weighing more than 90 pounds, but aesthetics are a paper-thin slice of what makes most porn problematic. The bulk of the problem with porn, including Suicide Girls, is the fact that it commodifies the bodies, images, identities and sexualities of the women it uses to produce its product. “Porn” as nothing but sexually exciting pictures and/or words is a definition that exists only on paper. In reality, the reality inhabited by porn producers, porn models and porn consumers (whether they realize it or not), porn is an industry selling the entire experience of aquiring and/or purchasing, looking at, using, thinking about, owning and discussing sexual images of human beings, and real human beings for the most part.

    More to the point, Suicide Girls is a great small-scale example of the unethical business practices and human rights abuses that are endemic throughout the entire industry. In the site’s brief history, the site’s majority owner (Sean Suhl) has, along with other members of managing staff at SG:

    - Misrepresented the “origin” of the Suicide Girls website, painting it as the sexxxy story of a lady photographer who wanted to look at other naked alterna-ladies, when the site was founded and is owned by Sean Suhl;

    - Used underaged models (“Katie,” originally “Chloe,” was underage in several of her first photo shoots, and the images still appear on the site);

    - Silenced the “free expression” that models supposedly have by banning them from the site (and, in some instances, threatening them with legal action) if their views on a variety of topics don’t toe the line with management;

    - Taken advantage of the financial circumstances and/or legal naiveté of their models through contracts and business practices that make it difficult for models to pursue other avenues of employment outside SG;

    - Threatened former models who criticize SG business practices with legal action;

    - Sold the images of former models who criticize SG business practices to hardcore pornography sites, who re-use the images of those models with accompanying text that is abusive and defamatory;

    - Tactically blackmailed the rest of their models with the same treatment, were those models to fail to toe the line;

    - Engaged in harrassment and blackmail of former models;

    - And so on.

    What is interesting, Shannon, is that many of these complaints about SG’s business practices were mentioned in Twisty’s original post, but you have all but ignored them in your defense of SG. Why is that?

  100. norbizness

    But think of the paper cuts!

  101. My Sister Would

    Amaz0n, thanks for the quick summary. I’d heard about most of this before (usually from the ex-SG lj community). This is what I mean: it isn’t a fun internet prank, it’s a _business_. It just gets sold to young women as a fun internet prank.

    To be honest, what really turned my stomach (and is totally uncorrobated rumor. Again: RUMOR) was the discussion of how many of the models Sean Suhl has slept with. To me the line between getting paid for pictures and getting paid to sleep with the boss is pretty damn important. (Incidentally, also something that pisses me off about Dov Charney and his models.) Again, if sleeping with the boss is part of the job it’s not a giggly lark, it’s business, it’s labor, and it deserves to be treated seriously.

    Slashy: \o/ to the fanfiction thread. I’m not sure how to debate it without using a lot of subculture-specific language, though. I sort of agree with Shannon that James Marsters didn’t agree to be the gay porn avatar of the female internet, but then, I, well. Don’t intend to stop writing the stuff.

  102. B

    Mm

    Well the difference between being James Marsters and being in porn is that Marsters doesn’t actually have bodily re-enactment of our fantasies as his job. Regardless of the debauchery fanfic-writers decide to put poor Spike through, Marsters isn’t being penetrated for their enjoyment.

    And who can say thay your neighbour isn’t thinking of you while having sex with her husband? My primary cocern is actual persons actual physical working environment. Those you see in porn aren’t just objects there for your satisfaction – they are living, breathing, feeling persons just like you.

  103. josie my source of most frustration

    Thanks for the links, Frigga. I couldn’t get the link to YouTube to work. The user removed the video.

    However, I read the final blog posting and it made me think about one of the many things that bugs me about porn featuring fat women or older women or women who aren’t otherwise conventionally desirable. Not only does that type of porn objectify and humiliate women (like all other genres of porn), but members of the community being objectified in that porn are supposed to be grateful for it. They’re supposed to be flattered that they too are deemed fuckable by the patriarchy, if only conditionally.

  104. shannon

    Amaz0n, can I repost that on my blog with credit? I’m shannon, egotistical whining, not bitter girl shannon

  105. mearl

    Shannon: I meant in the millions, not the low thousands. I’m aware that tiny little pockets of society objectify men, but the comparison is trite and really not on the same scale (the comparison, not your comment!:)).

  106. Garden Gnome

    My Sister Would: Awww, shucks! You made this lawn-dweller blush. I still call myself an anarchist (when I think it is going to be useful/productive; otherwise I say I am a libertarian leftist, and ALWAYS a feminist) even though I am no longer 18 either. However, I have absolutely no use for anarchist “dudes”. Anarcho-punk culture is not dissimilar to frat boy culture, just the aesthetics are changed. My experiences with these dudes is that ideology means nothing; one has to change the conditions under which women live.

  107. kate

    There are, believe it or not, quite a lot of feminist, LGBT-allied, intelligent thinking women at SG — I’ve read some really fascinating discussions on public policy, politics, same sex marriage, (you name it) on the boards over the years. Many commenters are there for the community, not the nudity. Take the naked women out of the equation — what’s SG then? It’s grownup MySpace.

    yes, but naked women aren’t there to sell MySpace. What gets in my craw is how these types of sites love to show how they are so modern and edgy in a feminist sort of way by saying, “Hey look, our girls think!” While they take their clothes off.

    Women have for centuries had to take their clothes, lay on their backs and accept penetration to earn their ‘right’ to be heard – to be legitimate, with the patriarchy its ‘fuck me first’ or ‘show me how hot you are’ , then I’ll deem you worth listening to.

    Also, I highly doubt that the entire readership of SG is composed of alternative boys. When I was a young punkster in the old days (’79 – ’81) before I co-opted to the patriarchy, I was hounded by older men more than men my age. They were turned on to no end by my tragic, self loathing, lost little girl front. “Wow, you are like so-o-o-o cool with your punk hair cut and that attitude!” Nothing spells easy pickins to a 25 and up loser than a nubile young woman with low self esteem and an ‘unconventional’ view of the world — she’s an easy fuck.

    Porn lies to women, it has to. SG uses the same old tired line they all do, “C’mon honey, take your clothes off! Be free! Look how free you are!” Free for the taking, free as long as that freedom fits within the narrow scope of the man running the camera and the men buying the image.

    If the mainstream would only co opt the Twistolution, we could all go home.

    Right now there’s an overworked minion in an ad agency turning over and over in his/her brain how they’ll package Twistolution it and sell it as a new perfume, possibly with a line of “I Blame the Patriarchy” underwear and velour jogging pants with the words emblazoned on the ass end. So edgy and all you have to do is buy it and your in! Modern revolution has never been so easy.

    I don’t begrudge the Bitch Doc and I’ll tell you right now that I’m not about to get all sniffy about the need to make a buck. There’s a big difference between making a few bucks to feed oneself until something else comes along or stepping on a stone to get across the river and co-opting all your principles entirely to make a fortune. Mind you, it ain’t ideal and I’m hoping that its short-lived (in a positive growth sense) and brings her somewhere higher to be heard.

    I’ve had it about up to here (hand up to eyebrow) with middle class people getting all high and mighty about how someone might need to make a dollar here and there whilst they sit comfortably on their cog-in-the-wheel jobs. When I was a welfare activist, the common assumption was that I’d lose my cred if I did my activism for a legitimate living, or that asking for such was an indication of groveling self interest. This most often came from those living quite splendidly on grants or husband’s paycheck.

    and Jess2: They hold themselves up as more socially conscious than McMansion dwellers as they acknowledge their white privelege over microbrews at house-parties, but take away the carefully arranged bed-head and ironic-ugly thrift shop pants and you still just have a bunch of elitist whiteys…

    Absolutely, everything you say, you say so well and so true. My son brought one of those home one year, met her while at Job Corps. By the second evening I was yelling at her and I told my son to never bring that arrogant middle class racist girl in my house again. Being repeatedly told by a 19 year old snot that I ‘don’t understand’ told me all I needed to understand.

  108. Patti

    I am so not surprised to hear the news. I stopped reading Bitch of Privilege a long time ago. Her voice reminded me too much of a very arrogant domme I know, and the comments all sounded like her subs.

  109. edith

    This is the best fucking website ever. No I am not drunk at all. I seriously love you all. And I don’t mean that in a let’s-make-out way. The Twistolution is on.

  110. Ruth

    Sharon

    My comment did not imply that your boyfriend actually hit you. It was intended to make the point that unacceptable behaviour, e.g. looking at Suicide Girls type porn OR hitting someone with ones hand, does not become acceptable simply due to the possibility of worse alternatives, such as looking at more extreme porn or using a strap.

    If your boyfriend hit you, thus proving his contemp for you, you would dump him. Why do you not dump him when he uses porn, thus proving his contempt for women in general, and, by extension, you?

    Basically, if the only man you can find is one who is sees women as objects to be used for his gratification, perhaps you ought to consider the possibility that (horror of horrors!) you can survive without a man.

  111. Catherine Martell

    B says: “Well the difference between being James Marsters and being in porn is that Marsters doesn’t actually have bodily re-enactment of our fantasies as his job.”

    Quite. And, furthermore, there is the whole issue of the male gaze to take into account. I’m sure many of us have been confronted with the pro-porn argument that goes “I don’t mind if you look at pictures of naked men. Aren’t they being objectified, too?”

    It doesn’t take a lot of thinking to work out that the power dynamics are entirely different. I have no idea how James Marsters personally feels about being the subject of a million Buffy fanfics. Perhaps he feels terribly violated. On the other hand, it’s not hard to imagine that his phallic legend could be a source of pride. The female gaze has no power to objectify. All it can do is build him up in status.

    A friend of mine was on a bus the other day when a man got out a porn mag and started to read it. She objected; he called her a prude. One of her male friends told her she should have taken out a copy of Playgirl and started to read that. But, if she had, all that would have done is objectified *her*. Again. Most likely, the perv would have taken it as a come-on. There is no way of winning for a woman in that situation. If you don’t like it, you’re a prude; if you join in, you’re an object. Most women will just do what most women have always done, and stay silent.

    The act of a man looking at a pornified woman, and the act of a woman looking at a pornified man, are not equal. Nor is the pornified woman equal to the pornified man. It’s the patriarchy again.

    Incidentally, Amaz0n and kate – superb demolitions of SG. This site is a joy to read. The Twistolution is contagious.

  112. slashy

    Oh dear, I shouldn’t make drunken promises to engage in long, rambling, and probably jargon-filled conversations about the textual sexual representations of imaginary characters and/or the human beings who portray them when I have no time to follow through.

  113. Shannon

    (Just a quick note to say I’ve read your responses to my last post & will respond in kind as soon as I get this chapter off to the publisher — digging out from several feet of snow yesterday kept me from finishing it earlier. Stupid snow).

    However, briefly — I don’t want to be known as an SG apologist. It’s just that I knew several of the women on the site early on (they modeled, clothed, for my shop) and from having a personal relationship with them, I heard multiple viewpoints about the site, how they related to it, what they thought about how it was run, etc. One of them told me that her SG experience was actually a hell of a lot better than her runway modeling experience, which I found both fascinating and terrifying.

    If anything, I’m attempting to play devil’s advocate.

    And probably failing miserably, due to stress about this dumb chapter.

  114. mearl

    “One of them told me that her SG experience was actually a hell of a lot better than her runway modeling experience” Well there’s a shocker. That makes SG about as subversive as saying “my experience with eating paste was a hell of a lot better than my experience with eating bleach.”

    Kate: that was an excellent post!

  115. Sandi

    Wendy, Anarchie, Eliska (all plus-sized). I don’t have time to search right now but there are definitely black, Hispanic and SGs of other races as well. It’s just harder to find them given the sheer number now on the site, though there is a tag-based search system.

    Yes, I saw the handful of “plus-sized” (even typing that bullshit term makes me want to lose my breakfast) and non-white models. This supposed “range” is paltry and pathetic. It is certainly no more diverse than any other porn production.

  116. Carolyn

    I am very concerned about an article published in the November 2005 The Journal of Sex Research with the claims by Alan McKee who wrote The Objectification of Women in Mainstream Pornography which is totally inaccurate bull. He not only denies the sick reality that pornography sexualizes men’s domination,hatred,dehumanization,and objectification of women, in a sexist male dominated society,but he disturbingly normalizes and defends S &M as long as it’s “consensual” and he doesn’t consider men slapping women’s faces with their penis in pornographic videos violence against women when it’s clearly sexualized violence! But of course he can’t see that because of the very sexist male dominated damaging pornography that teaches women do want and enjoy being treated these ways!

    I am a common victim of pornography. When I was 13 and half I was very big busted,and considered very beautiful,and I was the only girl in a classroom full of 14 year old boys.Two of the boys repeatedly molested me by grabbing my crotch and breasts, and one of the boys shoved a pornographic picture from a magazine into my face and said “Here is a girl fingering herself.” The other boy who repeatedly molested me made references to the women in Playboy Magazine. They were treating me *exactly* the same way that Playboy and *all* pornography portrays and teaches boys and men to see and treat females,as nothing but non-human sex objects and body parts to use for their pleasure,and it says we want to be sexually dominated and used,and that this is all we are for,and that they have a right to use and disgard us. And to them I matched the centerfold image. And there are is plenty of research studies and other porn victims testimonies that show my experience and worse is very common. Men often also shove pornography into women’s faces and hang up pictures on the walls as part of sexual harassment in the workplace. There have been studies that found after men were exposed to a lot of pornography over a period of time and then had women interviewed for a job,they didn’t even here what the woman was saying,they just looked at her body. Other studies found that about 70% of men who had believed in women’s equality before they had been exposed to a lot of pornography over a period of time, after they were exposed to a lot of pornography over a period of time now only 30% supported women’s equality.

    And it wasn’t just these two boys either, an adult artroom teacher said to a whole room of teenage boys,that the boyfriend I was sitting next to on the artroom stairs,said it’s his turn after his. I also couldn’t walk past other guys in the hall without sexist dehumanizing comments about my breasts and a few others grabbed at me too. Now this was in 1978 before pornography especially hardcore pornography was mainstreamed and on the internet,and I doubt they had seen hardcore pornography.

    Dr.Gail Dines who is a women’s study professor and anti-porn anti-sexist anti-violence feminist educator at Wheelock college said that many of her female students tell her that their boyfriends are constantly asking them to do the things they see in pornography,she said they have seen it in the pornography and now they want to experience it in real life. She said many women are so afraid of not having a man in their life that they will give in and do these things even though their instincts are telling them don’t do it.

    Dr.Chyng Sun who along with feminist anti-porn educator Robert Jensen made the documentary Fantasies Matter:Pornography,Sexuality and Relationships says that many women have also told her that their boyfriends and husbands are constantly asking them to the things they see in pornography. In this documentary, they interviewed porn directors and producers and stars,and one director said he thinks the reason that sh*thole sex is popular in pornography now is because men like to pretend they are fu*king their wives and girlfriends in the a*s for being bitchy! Another says that when men ejaculate on women’s faces it’s like a cat that left it’s piss as a mark on the property.

    Can you explain and defend all of the typical pornography I have seen including now on porn blogs that rate this sick damaging sexist woman hating degrading dehumanizing sh*t like they are rating songs,that describes women as sluts and bi*ches being fu*ked hard,and pounded banged,and slammed by huge monster co*ks,and videos called This Bi*ch Hates Facials? You see she’s a bi*ch that has to be taught a lesson because she feels like most women do that it’s degrading and disgusting to have men ejaculate on her face,and she’s seen as a bitch because all of the women in porn are portrayed as loving it! So they ejaculate on her face to spite her! And another video describes a woman f*cked so hard in the a*s until she screams,another has a stepfather who video taped his stepdaughter f*cking herself,another is a slut getting a facial in public,another is a slut getting slammed by 2 huge c*cks in her own home after she puts her 2 small children to bed,other videos are throat f*cking and sluts gagging on huge c*cks,a whore sister getting f*cked hard etc etc.

    I really suggest you read the excellent powerful online articles by former porn user Robert Jensen called,A Cruel Edge:The Painful Truth About Today’s Pornography And What Men Can Do About it,and You Are What You Eat:What The Pornography Industry Says About You And Your Desires. Also a report by pro-feminist gender studies professor Dr.Michael Flood of Australian National University co-written with Clive Hamilton in 2003 about the harmful effects of pornography on teenagers in Australia, reviewed a major review of all of the decades worth of research looking at the connections of pornography use and men’s sexually aggresive attitudes and behavior towards women,found a consistent relationship specifically with “violent”pornography use but also just as consistent relationship with “non-violent” pornography use with frequent users. Dr.Flood sent me the whole report and in it it says that many women and some men may feel isolated from the degrading and subordinating representation of women so common in pornography.

    Also psychologist Dr.William Marshal who works with sex offenders has found that 80% of molesters of girls,and 70% of molesters of boys regularly use hardcore pornography and so do 87% of rapists and 57% admit to imitating pornographic scenes in commiting of their sexual assaults. He also reports on research from the 1980′s that found than college men and women believed rape myths such as the rape victim asked for it,and thought a rapist should get a lighter sentence after they had been exposed over a period of time to typical pornography that portrays women as sexually promiscuous and just sex objects.They also found that many “normal” men who were not sex offenders had their opinions changed about sexual practices,believing that beastiality and sh*thole sex were more common than they had believed before they had watched these pornographic videos,many also said they wished to do the things they saw and typical degrading pornographic videos, increased their rape myths and their desire to rape even more than the overt violent videos. Dr.Marshall explains that erotic videas that are explicit but show both men and women in positions of equal power and affection,are not harmful and can be useful for sex education. As he explains, all pornography portrays sex in a dehumanizing impersonal way depicting women only as sex objects in a non affectionate context. Feminist Psychiatrist Dr.Linnea Smith has an excellent web site called,Talking Trash Another Look at Centerfolds and she has tons of research on there about the harms of pornography.

    Also it’s really unreal that typical common pornography is classified as “non-violent” what would it take for it to be considered violent pornography? Do the men have to stab and shoot the women? Or just f*ck them harder than usual until they kill them? Pornography sexualizes and normalizes male dominance,sexism and woman-hating and portays all or most women as wanting and enjoying being used as nothing but F*ck openings that want to be banged,pounded,slammed,fu*ked hard by all men with huge C*cks all of in every orfice even our sh*thole and ejaculated on and often called woman hating names like sluts,whores and bitch*es ! But if anyone can’t understand that in a male dominated sexist woman-hating society that this is really harmful I really don’t understand that.

  117. thebewilderness

    Carolyn,
    I am so sorry you had such a terrible experience. Many of us have had similar experiences in childhood. That is perhaps why it is so difficult to listen to women argue that the objectification of women in porn is harmless. We know better.

    Some months ago Twisty posted this essay on the male gaze. I saved it to show and tell with my son. Here it is again.

    http://www.uvm.edu/~tstreete/powerpose/index.html

  118. maribelle

    hell, in the “image-based” porn department we’ve got the Venus of Willendorf carved 20,000 years ago.

    Shannon, the idea of V of W as porn is creeping me out worse than hearing Bush talk about Iran.

    Our means of reproducing the images have gotten better, not changed the underlying images being represented.

    That’s a slippery slope. It leads directly to the concession that all female, naked images come under the category of porn. Even images long understood to be sacred, like the V of W.

    And PS if anyone is using V of W as a masturbatory tool, my guess would be a woman, not a man.

  119. Katmaidog

    Flamethorn wrote:
    “And randomly: this is supposed to be a joke, apparently.
    http://catmydog.comicgenesis.com/d/20061106.html

    Dude, did you even think about that comic before you decided what it meant?

    I’m the artist/author, so here, lemme explain.

    The gag is that men have always thought that women would have somehow fucked up the world if they had been allowed to run things from back then. The gag is that the world is a total fucking mess, and men have been in charge and they STILL won’t let women run things, as if the women are gonna “fuck everything up”.

    The fucking GAG is that men are so fucking stupid that they will get us to where we are now, with global warming, people blowing each other up all over the globe, the planet being KILLED by corporate greed, people starving in one country while everyone waddles around in rolls of fat in another, and STILL these same stupid men will keep women out of positions of power.

    as if they would “fuck everything up.”

    as if everything isn’t already fucked up.

    as if women would have done that.

  120. Katmaidog

    oops, a quote mark got included in the copy-paste.

    here’s the comic Flamethorn had a problem with.

  121. Twisty

    Hey, that’s funny.

  122. redhead

    Can anyone direct me to discussion/cataloguing of Dov Charney’s (CEO of American Apparel) behavior, how he treats the models, etc.? I’ve never really seen American Apparel ads, just go by the store on the bus everyday and have heard that it’s overpriced badly made clothes.

    I tried a search on google, but could only find fawning articles about his ‘revolutionary’ business plan. But from what is posted here, he sounds like a dink.

  123. Nathanael Nerode

    “its net effect has been shown by smarter people than me to be globally detrimental.”

    No, it hasn’t really been shown. This is the only major problem with your argument. It’s rather hard to demonstrate a societal cause-and-effect relationship like that at *all*. Among the counterarguments: the detrimental effects are not of porn per se but of misogyny per se and promotion thereof; the misogyny in porn is a consequence of other cultural misogyny rather than a cause of it

    I happen to agree about SG being not much different from mainstream misogynistic porn, and being undesirable for that reason.

    The only thing that can be done in porn which is genuinely transgressive to the patriarchy is to break the sex roles. You can tell how strong the patriarchy is by how hard it is to get any traction for anything which does. Now, you can argue about whether or not objectifying men for women’s entertainment is just as bad, but frankly it hasn’t been done very much, so I think it’s worth keeping an open mind about what effect it would really have if done en masse. It is certain that porn devised on a basis of equality and without a significant D/S element is extremely rare, and may even be hard to imagine, but I continue to believe that it is possible.

    Of course, SG’s biggest restriction is openly sexist, as the site only has naked *women*: Only Objectify Women; Don’t Objectify Men. Even Hugh Hefner was less sexist than that, having founded Playgirl.

    As you say, “The women are all just as skinny, gloppy with makeup, young, hot, and clichéd as any models anywhere”, and “Which is not to say that Suicide Girls management encourages freedom of speech. Punitive action seems to be the result when models express too much “negativity.””. SG isn’t different, it’s a poseur.

  124. Nathanael Nerode

    “venerable porn-generated beauty tortures as the Brazilian wax, hair bleach, dieting, the push-up bra, liposuction, the stiletto pump, and the boob job.”

    None of these originate in porn. Seriously. Look up the history.

    Blame “mainstream” moviemakers in Hollywood if you want to; most of them originated there.

  125. Twisty

    Well, the Brazilian wax originated in Brazil, not Hollywood, but BFD. It matters not who invented this bizarro stuff. The point is that the aforementioned beauty practices are de rigueur in pornography, and the ubiquity of pornography has normalized them in the mainstream.

    Meanwhile, I agree that porn is not the cause of misogyny. However, I’ve read about 437 studies that show pornography to pretty much harsh the mellow, humanity-wise, of both its users and the prostituted women and kids it exploits. I would be interested to read any research demonstrating that porn is harmless; I could use a laugh.

    Your objection to sexism in Suicide Girls is right on; your reasoning, however, is faulty. Suicide Girls is sexist because it exploits human beings on the basis of sex, not because it doesn’t “equally” exploit men. In fact, it is impossible to exploit men on a level commensurate with that of women, because prostituted women, especially prostituted girls, have the lowest status of all human beings.

  126. Twisty

    Oh, and porn could not exist without dominance and submission. As I have repeatedly stated, take away the violence, and sex imagery would have all the naughty appeal of a chicken sandwich.

  127. Mandos

    (I can’t resist.)

    A chicken sandwich would have a lot of naughty appeal to me right about now.

  128. Carolyn

    thebewildeness,

    Thank you for your kind supportive words,and unfortunately my victimization from pornography is not uncommon.

  129. Carolyn

    Twisty,

    pornography certainly is *one* of the causes of woman hatred and it certainly teaches and also adds to and increases the sexist woman hating attitudes most boys and men have already been taught in the patriarchy. But when boys as young as pre-teen and teens are exposed to it over and over at such a young age it is a big factor in their developing woman hating sexist attitudes.

  130. Boris Fidorra

    hi ,
    my name is Boris Fidorra and i am 14 years old now .
    because i started a bet with my best friend (we share the internet-interest) that the google-search for my name will reach at least 10000 entries until the end of the next month .
    so i want to ask you if you could please spread my name on your websites ?

    it would be great if i could win our bet and receive the ipod shuffle of my bestfriend . :-)

    please help me !
    yours boris

  131. EC

    “Show me a place where hetero guys routinely and in huge numbers seek attention by posing for sexy/naked pics and I will show you equality.”

    If you go to Suicide Girls, click the pics tab, there is a section that says Suicide Boys with lots of naked men from the site. Voila! equality…

  132. Hunter

    I’m pretty insulted whenever an anti-porn feminist tells me that what I’m doing is not a choice I’ve got the agency to make. Being condescending towards other women is not very feminist. I’m so sick of having this conversation with people. It seems pretty obvious to me.
    In a capitalist society, everyone’s labor is exploited to some degree. But I’d rather sell my labor doing something I like (like taking creative nude photos!) than something I don’t like so much (like packing boxes). And in terms of the sex part–if enjoying one’s nudity and sure, vanity, gives pleasure to me, why do you insist on labeling that pleasure as BAD FOR WOMEN?
    I also dislike the cheap shot at “honkies,” which in addition to being racist, ignores all of the different ethnicities (and countries) that are a part of SG. I don’t know if Twisty is simplifying things on purpose, or simply ignorant.
    It’s also not very nice to diss on the community aspect of the site. I’ve met some of my best friends there, both members and models, and that means a lot to me. To put this awesome community in quotation marks is to piss all over a shitload of meaningful friendships.

  133. kiki

    I followed the link to Hunter’s blog and her Thursday June 7 post was particularly depressing especially in relation to what she posted here. As someone who struggled with similar things back in the day, I really hope that she sticks around and reads some more.

  134. Hunter

    Please tell me how what I posted here was depressing. Being sexually harassed by my boss is not at all the same thing as posing on SG. SG staff and photographers have never been anything but professional and courteous to me. In fact, the Feminist group on SG gave me support and advice on how to deal with a situation that had left me feeling rather alone.
    Most of the members of the Feminist group on SG have declined to post here because they don’t think they’ll make any headway talking to rigid, doctrinaire anti-porn feminists. I don’t know that much about this particular group, and I always give everyone the benefit of the doubt. Maybe I’m wrong to do so.

  135. kiki

    I should have realized that you were just seeking a venue for your rant when you chose to resurrect this older thread. My mistake.

  136. kiki

    Let me add that although I do find it ‘depressing’ I was not blaming you. I’ve been in a similar position. Ibtp.

  137. zofia

    Sorry to butt in, but why would your boss want photos of you in lingerie if there are nude ones on the internet? And why would you be dismayed?

  138. NotaLodge

    “I would rather have my [male] partner reading a site like Suicide Girls where there is a wide range of colors, sizes, etc than some “big-busted-blonde-bimbos-only” photos-only site without any context or additional content (like the newswire, the discussion groups, etc)…Of course that still begs the question “why should anyone look at these sites at all”? I’m not my partner’s mother. I don’t restrict what he reads or looks at, nor should I. And despite what you might think about him from this tiny window into his reading list, he’s actually one of the most women-positive, feminist men I know.”-Shannon
    —-Hugh Hefner considers himself a feminist as well, obviously his actions speak differently, and so do your partner’s. Just because the beauty standard on this web site has changed does not mean its principles and purposes have- there is no difference with “Sorrow” girl as Pamela Anderson.
    Would you get mad at your partner for looking at her site? It has a blog and “sexy” pictures just the same? Maybe it just bothers you less because the individuals he would be objectifying (and yes this would be their purpose, like it or not) didn’t fit with the society-structured standard of beauty? -Any kind of exploitation of a woman is still exploitation and by visiting these kinds of sites you only support them. Does a feminist, “Woman-positive”, person really support the exploitation of women? I didn’t get this memo. Obviously you are not your partner’s mother, because that would be incest- I am not my partner’s mother either, but if they ever supported that kind of web site, I would not be with them- how can I support someone who is supporting the oppression of women? And how can you?
    It must be difficult for the select group of males wishing to transcend the patriarchal society and be free of its many toxic agents, but I have no sympathy for those deliberately watching the exploitation and oppression of women (porn).
    —- Also- not only is this site including the “Goth” aesthetic “value” of these young girls as a means of sexual appeal, but those getting off to it are also pleasuring in sad, and unhappy, females—if that doesn’t scream oppressed and perverted, I don’t want to know what does.

  139. Clidna

    “Sorry to butt in, but why would your boss want photos of you in lingerie if there are nude ones on the internet? And why would you be dismayed?”

    Are you serious? So in other words, because she posed nude, she no longer has the right to be treated professionally by her employer? And she should just hand out naked or near naked photos of herself whenever someone asks?

    I suppose those women who dress provocatively deserve to be raped, too…

    Besides, I know a great number of models from the site that are gainfully employed, and I don’t believe any of them went running to their bosses to tell them that they pose nude on the Internet.

    That being said, for the people who keep comparing SG to any other porn site – how many other porn sites have people who pay money to be a member and never even look at the nude pictures? A large number of the people I know from the site go on to rant in their journals, talk to their friends, and participate in groups and discussions that concern things they are interested in. I am one of those people. The reason I joined the site was because a friend of mine showed me some of the discussions and groups, as well as some of the threads and pictures about tattoos and piercing, which I happen to be interested in. 90% of my time on the site is spent in either a Parenting group, or a Literature group. The only time I have looked at nude pictures on the site is when an SG friend of mine had her set put up, and she asked me to check it out. And of all the people I have had contact with from the site, NONE of them were “teenagers”. All were over the age of 20. It sickens me how the words “teen porn site” were used to try and force readers to imagine a bunch of schoolkids looking at porn. Talk about misinformation.

  140. Crystal

    I hope that I’m not just repeateing what others have already said – I didn;t read all of the comments.
    I’ve always hated SG even more than Playboy just because it pretends to be subversive when it isn’t in ANY way.
    While some people have posted here about the positive aspects of SG, i.e. the community, the informed and opinionated members, etc. I personally think that this the most objectionable part of SG; the way that even more supposedly “independent” and “free-thinking” groups have been co-opted by the corporate exploiters. I just have to restate that there is NOTHING subversive going on in SG, the only difference is that the mainstream (or relatively mainstream) has changed so that something that was once somewhat subversive (tattoos, piercings, blue hair) is now commodifiable on a larger, big-business scale.
    I don’t know much about Bitch PhD, but from what people have said here it sounds like maybe she is genuinely progressive, I don’t know. But it occurs to me that perhaps it is the very aim of institutions like SG to recruit such people specifically so that they can use their material and have control over it. I’m not explaining myself well, but I guess what I’m trying to say is that I feel that SG is not so much an example of genuinely alternative and independent viewpoints gaining a place in the corporate porn empire as it is of the corporate porn empire taking over virgin territory (I’m sure you’ll appreciate the use of that term).

    One final (kind of unrelated to this website) aspect of SG that I take offense to is that, as a person who has been clinically depressed, I hate the fact that it’s called SUICIDE Girls, like contemplating suicide is really just some trendy fashion statement instead of a hellish pit of intense all-consuming self-loathing that no one should have to go through. (Wait a minute, maybe this is appropriate, now that I think about it.) Anyway, I’ll finish with a quote from my sister’s livejournal on the topic of SG:

    Let’s see the REAL suicide girls. Yeah, the fat ones with real scars (stretchamrks) on their blemished, moley skin. The ones with saggy although small boobs and dark circles under their eyes. The ones with gap teeth and frizzy hair. The ones who pick at their skin until it scabs and never brush their teeth because it takes too much energy. The ones without betty page haircuts and colorful tattoos. I mean, good old Playboy never pretended to be “real girls.”

  141. Crystal

    oh, and I just have to say that I LOVE this website and have spent the last two nights staying up late into the morning reading your blogs since discovering it.

  1. Porn yet again at I Blame The Patriarchy

    [...] So Amysue checked out the JPG website and you’ll never guess what happened. One of the three main submission categories turned out to be “Beauty Redefined: Alternative pin-ups.” The category is the only one with a sponsor, and that sponsor is — you’ll never believe it! — our dear old drinking buddies Suicide Girls dot com! [...]

  2. Things You Should Read at Faux Real Tho!

    [...] Porn Again: Alterna-chick apologists for SG-style pornulation — who, with their keen hipster’s eye for irony, embrace the lexicon (”pin-up” vs. “centerfold”) of a quainter, Bettie Pagier porn epoch — point to the website’s purported (and invisible) “female-positive” stance as evidence that Suicide Girls models are not exploited like conventional Penthousian objets de smutte. [Lauren sez: There’s always the added insult of some knob conflating your personhood with Suicide Girl or roller derby because you’re a young woman with tattoos.] [...]

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