Jun 08 2010

As is her wont, spinster aunt continues writing about yesterday’s post

No time to post this morning, so I thought to mildly amuse by publishing a selection of reject-pile comments from the post I wrote yesterday. These were all authored, if you can believe it, by people who did not read the Guidelines for Commenters!

Yesterday’s little fillip of blaming rapture, you may recall, concerned an essay written by Scienceblogger Jason G Goldman in which he summarized, without “taking sides,” some studies on pornography. According to Goldman, the studies found that porn’s effects on its consumers isn’t really so bad.

That’s right. Dudes have actually conducted studies that show how oppressors don’t really seem to suffer too much from consuming the “product” (Goldman’s term for the graphic representation of women’s subjugation) of their oppression. No way, really? Privilege is totally awesome? Who knew?

Combining my analysis of the tone of Goldman’s essay (if it walks like an endorsement and talks like an endorsement …)* with the fact that he’d cherry-picked only “porn is pretty benign” studies, I concluded that this was yet another blob of misogynist science-prattle demonstrating the distressing degree of obliviousness that even educated men present when it comes to the meaning of ordinary patriarchy, men’s role in the oppression hierarchy, and their deficit of empathy with the oppressed classes. I also took the opportunity to openly mock one of Goldman’s commenters, a dick who exemplifies total dickness with his stated conviction that, because he likes consuming the graphic representation of rapes, there simply cannot be anything wrong with porn.

Meanwhile, other bloggers agreed. Goldman has since cracked under pressure and removed the post, which is too bad, since many of us have put an effort into making an example of it, pointing at it and laughing, focusing the rage of an angry mob upon it, etc. Goldman has since suggested, here and at Zuska’s (and maybe elsewhere, but how should I know; what am I, Google?), that his post was just an off-the-cuff little tiptoe down Sexology Lane, that he was completely unaware that pornography is a “divisive issue,” that he never intended to offend anyone, and he’s sorry.

“I haven’t yet – anywhere – stated what my opinions are, until now: I think that any normalization of the objectification of women or violence against women – even if the women portrayed are doing so ostensibly consensually – is not okay.

I, further, thought that it was reasonable to ask questions about the effects of a certain product, separately from the whether or not that product should be made in the first place. And I thought I could do so objectively. But, as Pal says, perhaps that is naive.

This is an incredibly divisive issue, for many reasons, and I unwittingly walked into a major battlefield without, as Pal says, the proper flashlight. And in doing so, I (unintentionally) offended a handful of people I care about, as well as many others, and for that, I apologize.”

Imagine inhabiting a universe where you are oblivious to the fact that pornography is controversial! Wait, is that it, up there? There, in the clouds! If I squint through my bile-colored trifocals, I think I can glimpse that happy world’s champagne waterslides and gumdrop toadstools and rainbow tacos and rape-free society! Scotty, beam me up! What’s that? It’s dudes-only? Blarg!

By the way, this blogger (who you can tell has been reading PZ Myers, because she uses the word “woo,” and also because she links to PZ Myers) thinks that, because I outed the deeply embedded antifeminist mores demonstrated by a dudely science blogger, that I am anti-science! Me! And after all I just went through to try to sell a skeptical faction of the Blametariat on the superior number one-ness of the scientific method! Some days it just doesn’t pay to turn off the Ab-Fab DVDs and get out of bed.

Anyway, I promised deleted comments, and deliver them I shall. And yes, I realize that when you publish deleted comments, they aren’t technically deleted anymore. So, without further ado, check out these psychotic remarks from “James,” some self-styled science-knob inquisitor:

I’m curious about this sentence: “There is a difference between banning porn and eradicating the demand for porn, a delicate nuance that no dude ever seems able to contemplate.” I assume you’re working from an assumption that the desire to see porn in men is largely, if not completely, fabricated by society? So then your objective would be weaning males of porn or the desire for visual sexual stimulation, which is a very invasive course of action regarding a group you don’t belong to. Obviously predicated on the idea that porn is entirely negative towards women, even when representing acts of consensual sex.

So I suppose my ultimate questions would be: what evidence you have that porn is negative? How you would design future double blind studies (longitudinal if you wish) that could demonstrate whether porn was ultimately good, bad, or neutral?

I fly into transports over the notion that redesigning the social order so that males no longer frolick unchecked in a culture of rape is “a very invasive course of action regarding a group you don’t belong to.” Like porn exists in a vacuum. Dude is oblivious that rape culture depends on the oppression of the group I do belong to. And then he demands scientific proof that oppression is bad! God, is there anything sexier than a domineering science-knob? I’ve got your longitudinal study right here, douchebag!

I had to chuck out this next comment from “Pearl” for its tragic antifeminist naivete.

Ok, Let me just say that as a woman, I love porn. It helps me get off. And I’m not going to lie, I don’t see it as an exploitation of women. I respect that most women have an opinion, and I’m not any authority to have much of one. All I’m saying is that you can’t tell a person that their opinion is wrong.

If a woman tells a man that his opinion is wrong she’s a feminist. If a man tells a woman that her opinion is wrong, he’s sexist. See the hypocrisy there? If we’re going to play the blame game here, I will openly say that feminists fucked it up for women. I love that we should be equal to men, but god damnit, I love a man who opens doors for me and pays for dinner. In fact, sometimes I expect it. Mr. Goldman here is simply stating a point. I don’t have the expertise to squash or agree with his argument. So women, Love y’all but get off your high horses. You are constantly bitching about how men are sexist, but what about you? You are also pretty fucking sexist.

I know I’m probably going to get bitched out and yelled at for having an opinion, but honestly I’m only stating an opinion. I think being overly feminist can also repress. Just keep it in mind ladies.

Newsflash, ladies! It is no longer permissible to tell a person that their opinion is wrong! I guess the Internet will be shutting down now.

Here’s an oldie but goodie:

Good luck finding a man.

Right back atcha, heteronormative moron dick!

Let us close with a sentiment popular among fucking douchebags, fetchingly and incomprehensibly encased in gratuitious ellipses.

… Well, I see we have the crazy feminist who thinks all men are evil over here, best to disregard…

This shit just writes itself.

Well, hold the fort, crazy feminist sexist ladies! I’ll be back soon with more No. 1 Science Information!

UPDATE: In an interesting gambit, Goldman has put his post back up, but it is not the original; this version is, he says, “stripped of speculation and editorializing” and begins with a soul-searching intro in which the author reflects on whether “the effects of a product can be separated from the question of the ethics of whether or not that product should be made in the first place.”

Referring to the spoils of human oppression as a “product” is a remarkable manifestation of patriarchotoxicity, and sorely chomps the chaps of all of us here at Savage Death Island.

* Q: Hey Twisty, what’s up with the ellipsis?
A: Trailing off into ‘silence’ — i.e. leaving the end of the sentence up to the reader’s imagination — is called aposiopesis, and may be indicated legitimately by an ellipsis. Like any rhetorical device, the use of aposiopesis is restricted to professionals who are trained in its judicious and sparing application.


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  1. yttik

    “Good luck finding a man.”

    Wait, there really is an antidote? I’d just about given up all hope.

  2. joy

    Did you see that? “Too feminist”!

    It seems that in pursuit of ending oppression, we’ve just gone right ahead and become oppressors ourselves.

    By demanding (without any power, institutional or otherwise, to back it up, which renders it all kind of useless anyway) that oppressors stop oppressing.

    Funny, that opinion seems to be [i]wrong.[/i]

  3. wiggles

    I love it when dudes on the internet pretend to be women who claim to be feminist and spout anti-feminist crap about the blistering import of having-doors-opened-for-you privileges.
    Doors have air locks now. You don’t even need arms to open them anymore.

  4. nakedthoughts

    Tomorrow I am wearing my “I don’t hat all men, just you” shirt.

  5. June

    Yes, “Pearl” is obviously a guy.

  6. otoc

    Even the dumbest of anti-feminist women don’t run around telling “ladies” what to do.

    I think being overly feminist can also repress. Just keep it in mind ladies.

    Pearl is not part of women, see? Women are you, not we or us, for “her”.

    So women, Love y’all but get off your high horses. You are constantly bitching about how men are sexist, but what about you? You are also pretty fucking sexist.

    Had to get “bitching” in, too.

    Also, only a privileged dumbfuck doesn’t get that sexism is a systemic oppression, like all the other ones, so it doesn’t go both ways.

    In sum, what a fucking (MALE) dumbfuck. I mean, we’ve all seen some seriously dumb dumbfucks pretending to be female on the internet so they can argue antifeminist sludge, but they’re usually slightly less obvious.

  7. Foilwoman

    Why can’t these knobs figure out that what they want isn’t what everyone else wants? Or that the vaginal — or better yet, anal — orgasm is a mythical event. Oh, they do know, they just don’t care.

    Working here on my obstreperal lobe — it still needs some development.

  8. Ashley

    ““the effects of a product can be separated from the question of the ethics of whether or not that product should be made in the first place.””

    It kind of sounds like he rethought his dumbass article a little bit.

    Thank you for acknowledging that ellipses are of some value. Like when you use them. There are times when you need to trail off, for example:

    Wait, now are Danish people from Denmark or the Netherlands…I need to get back to school, yo.

  9. Foilwoman

    Ashley: Danes, my ancestors, are from Denmark. The Dutch are from the Netherlands. These countries are different countries, with different capitals, languages, histories, and locations on maps. Even google will show you.

  10. sargassosea

    To “squash”, quash or knosh?

    This is the question!

  11. Pansuit Sally

    Jill, are you just heartbroken by Pearl’s devastating insinuation that you will have difficulty finding a man? That you might have to stretch out your own arm and grasp the door handle and pull all by your lonesome?

  12. janicen

    If Pearl is willing to forfeit twenty three percent of her income to have doors opened for her, she should do that without imposing it on the rest of us.

  13. Summerspeaker

    This neatly illustrates how appeals to SCIENCE can be used as a bludgeon for political purposes. As Firestone writes, we need to wrest science and technology from the hands of the oppressors and put them to positive use.

  14. yttik

    There is something to Ashley’s observation about Danes (males of course) suddenly being some sort of character reference for all that is good. I have no idea WTH that is about. On the internet you don’t even have to be from Denmark to be labeled “Danish.” You can also be from Sweden like the chairman of BP is. So if there is any confusion, blame the patriarchy and the especially the fauxgressive dudes who seem to believe that stamping “Danish” on something makes it okay.

  15. Jill

    stamping “Danish” on something makes it okay.

    I will spare yall the pastry joke I was about to make.

  16. wiggles

    yttik – Sweden was also mentioned on the last thread on this subject. I know Sweden has a history of porn-sickness, but I thought they had some cool John-and-pimp-prosecuting prostitution and anti-trafficking laws – unlike the U.S., which counterintuitively prosecutes the victim, like she doesn’t have enough problems.

    Sweden’s rape stats are pretty sucky though.

  17. Bushfire

    So I suppose my ultimate questions would be: what evidence you have that porn is negative?

    Yes, what evidence do we have that exploiting, raping, hurting, humiliating, dominating and oppressing women is bad? If we do a douchesciencey study, maybe we’ll find out that women like being raped/humiliated/oppressed etc.

    Also, what evidence do we have that water is wet? That fire is hot?

  18. Pantsuit Sally

    So I suppose my ultimate questions would be: what evidence you have that porn is negative?

    I assume our own experiences interacting with males who have grown up being socialized to believe that porn is a totally normal, healthy part of human sexuality wouldn’t count, since our emotions would preclude us from forming an objective assessment.

  19. ew_nc

    Ah, I’m disappointed that no one thought to tell us that we hate porn because we’re all fat, ugly, and have hairy legs. That’s usually the first one out of the gate.

  20. nails

    Man, I think I have to blog about this.

    Isn’t blaghag the boobquake blogger?

    Zuska’s thread shut down early, because it was understandably really upsetting. A bunch of knobs there said something like “So what? Your shoes are probably made by slaves too!” As though the enormity of oppression is a reason to stop trying instead of a reason to try harder. That was some of the most anti social shit I have ever read.

  21. Ash

    Pearl’s opinion is wrong.

  22. Gayle

    I agree the Zuska thread became very disturbing very fast. Not that that surprised me at all. I’ve been around long enough to know any criticism of porn is met with denial, anger and, finally, violent threats.

    They were demanding proof, as in stats and hard numbers, that trafficked women and girls are in some porn. And they demanded to know the percentages, as if slavers and pimps publish public records.

    One woman politely explained why it is impossible to give percentages involving illegal, underground crimes. Of course that didn’t stop their insane demands. One guy went so far as to claim sex trafficking itself is a myth. But when that one commenter brought up the child- laborers-made-our-shoes justification, not one of their friends insisted they pony up some proof. Hmm.

  23. Hedgepig

    Foilwoman, I believe Ashley’s remark was a bit of self-deprecating humour, based on an incident in the comment thread of the previous post. She doesn’t need a snarky lecture about your ancestors.

    I just have to say, isn’t it an absolute joy to be able to get up in the morning and find a new Jill Psmith post to read?

  24. JetGirl

    Ashley, it was not my intention to shame you in the last thread. It’s just a pet peeve of mine when folks mix up one country with another, especially when they’re saying something negative. I’m not Danish, I’m Swedish, and I always get annoyed when people tell me they love my country because it makes such great chocolate and watches (umm, that’s Switzerland!).
    I agree with you though that it’s annoying when people hold up Scandinavia as some paragon of liberal virtue. Women may be better represented in government, business, etc. in Sweden and Denmark (I don’t know about Finland and Norway) than in other countries, but that doesn’t mean sexism and violence against women have ceased to exist there. It’s just a good start, and they still have a ways to go.
    Frankly, the whole “Scandinavians are so liberal sexually!” trope has hurt not just me, but women I care about, in the past. When I was a teen, I was an exchange student in France. About two seconds after telling some dudebro I was Swedish, he would take it as an open invitation to sexually assault me. Because Swedish = slut. This happened several times. IBTP.

  25. Helen Huntingdon

    JetGirl, according to the woman I worked with for the past year, stranger rape is at epidemic proportions in Norway, and the police do nothing.

  26. JetGirl

    Ugh, that sucks, Helen. So much for porn is awesome because it leads to lower rate rapes, huh?

  27. Jill

    “Isn’t blaghag the boobquake blogger?

    By gum, you’re right! I was wondering why she seemed somewhat familiar. I had this vague sort of jaundiced sensation when I read her name and I just couldn’t put my finger on it. Thanks for coming to the aid of my chemo-brain.

  28. Alexa

    The deleted comments were so flat. Although Pearl did his best to sound like a neurotic loser in need of a labotomy. And the evil in me finds it hilarious how they just get deleted lmao! I imagine the effort, the sly undermining digs, the bouts of ugly male narcissism – all deleted. Or put up here for our entertainment.

    As for us being sexists, that would imply men with pouty lips are an oppressed class.

  29. humanbein

    Trailing off into ‘silence’ — i.e. leaving the end of the sentence up to the reader’s imagination — is called aposiopesis, and may be indicated legitimately by an ellipsis

    Come for the blaming, stay for the grammar lessons.

  30. Protagoras.

    Well, this post certainly had a wonderful footnote.

  31. Ashley

    I get the difference, and i actually knew the difference yesterday. I was just tired. Today i was trying to make myself look less stupid. But thank you for the further elaboration!

  32. Ashley

    oh Jetgirl, I just saw your comment. No, you didn’t come off rude at all. I was just trying to make sure the Blametariat knows that I’m not a doucheling. No sweat sister.

  33. RKMK

    Finally was able to sift through the trainwreck at Zuska’s, and while there was plenty of horrifying dreck littering the place, I think my “favourite” douchetastic d00d was Joshua Zelinsky and his REPETITIVE INSISTENCE that Zuska admit she is WRONGWRONGWRONG about pornography because she is just TOO EMOTIONAL about the subject (“ADMIT IT! YOU ARE TOO EMOTIONAL! ADMIT! IT!”), without the slightest trace of irony.

    I submit the following to the Blametariat: Men should not be allowed to discuss pornography as they cannot possibly be impartial on the matter, due the operant conditioning involved in the consumption process. Their self-professed addiction to orgasm-via-rape-representation renders them completely irrational, like rats who electrocute themselves in order to get cheese dropped on their heads.

  34. nails

    The dudes seem to have an emotional attachment to their porn that makes them freak the fuck out if anyone says anything negative about it. The idea that people making criticism are ’emotional’ was kinda hilarious because of that.

  35. AileenWuornos

    Hah, well, if he’s sorry he offended anyone it’s got to be a okay, oh those silly ladies and their incessant bitching about oh that ridiculous emotional womonly stuff.

    “I submit the following to the Blametariat: Men should not be allowed to discuss pornography as they cannot possibly be impartial on the matter, due the operant conditioning involved in the consumption process. Their self-professed addiction to orgasm-via-rape-representation renders them completely irrational, like rats who electrocute themselves in order to get cheese dropped on their heads.”

    Second this.

  36. Summerspeaker

    The whole “too emotional” accusation is a load of festering refuse in the first place. As Voltairine de Cleyre and Gloria Anzaldúa have said, sentiment has merit. Feelings sometimes yield a quicker path to insight than reason does. A global human rights crisis such as the patriarchy warrants a little passion.

  37. Valerie

    It’s not surprising when these perv science dudes just watch porn to do an experiment. If any of them would trade places with someone in this industry for a year or so, they might have something different to say. None of them are brave enough for that.
    I’d bet they wouldn’t want to share liquids with twenty five strange dudes in a day or even a year.
    Investigative journalism is going down hill.

  38. MPMR

    I’m guessing Pearl sniggered to himself about giving himself a cl*t euphemism name on a feminist blog. So clever!

    So when another commenter comes along named MelonsAndMuffins, we’ll all know who it is.

  39. nicolien

    I would say most days it just doesn’t pay to turn off the Ab-Fab DVDs and get out of bed. At least I know who to blame.

  40. Feminizzle

    It honestly wouldn’t surprise me if Pearl was a female who identified with the male oppressors. Something like Stockholm syndrome. I have met numerous women who have been brainwashed into thinking women deserve less pay because they go on maternity leave. Or that a women is looking for trouble (ie. rape or sexual assault) if she walks through a bad neighborhood or wears a short skirt. If I wear a V neck at work, people ask if I’m trying to seduce my (male) boss in order to get a raise. Yeah, because that’s my only option, apparently! I’ve always felt that one of the reasons the patriarchy can be so hard to crush is that people on our team keep giving in to the patriarchy because it’s easier. It’s depressing.

  41. allhellsloose

    Why the need to ask the question as to whether porn has a detrimental effect or not? Is there a spark of imagination within the patriarchial brain that forms the vague idea that this could possibly be bad? Nah! In reaching the conclusion he has the Jason bloke is as delusional as the Pearl ‘bloke’. And a dangerous delusional to wit.

    An accusation of ’emotional!’ when presenting a counter argument is derisory and meant to be abusive. It’s pathetic and only spews forth from a mind set that is dull, dull, and duller.

    I agree with the belief that men inherently know porn is bad but watch it nonetheless because it cements their dominence over women. IBTP.

  42. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    OK, wait, you mean all I have to do to Find Myself a Man is give up any glimmer of hope at ever obtaining human agency for (more than) half the species? Where do I sign up?

  43. Comrade Svilova

    Having a man is < and /= equal rights, respect, personal autonomy, being assumed to be in an automatic state of NONCONSENT unless otherwise clearly indicated, and, in general, no longer treated as an oppressed sex class.

    There, it's an equation, so it's science-y.

  44. Princess Rot

    I shall reiterate to “Pearl” what I said about cs shelton yesterday: stop confusing your half-baked opinion with objective reality.

  45. Jane Q. Public

    Pearl uses the term “overly feminist” as if there were some perfect balance of feminist to be achieved. Must be those sexyfun feminists who have managed to strike a harmonious accord between too much and too little feminist.

  46. chris

    So given Jason’s reasoning it would follow that if I wrote an article titled “Just How Bad are the Jews Anyway?” on my science blog stating that I don’t hate Jews one way or another, in fact, I don’t really have an opinion about how the Jews have destroyed our country. Then I provided a bunch of “data” about how bad the Jews are for America and then gave a few anecdotes about my unfavorable run-ins with Jews, that I could step away, throw my hands up and defend my statements as, uh, I was just providing information designed to entertain and explore one part of the issue but I wasn’t taking sides one way or another?

    So that would get me off the hook right?

    The only reason Jason took the “anecdotal” info out of his “article” was because he didn’t appreciate being called on his dipshittery, not because he wanted it to be free of editorializing.

  47. RKMK

    Not for nothing, but a quick Google for “coercion pornography” elicited a hit on Ann Bartow‘s academic paper on the subject (vis-a-vis copyright law) “Pornography, Coercion, and Copyright Law 2.0” –


    The article is jam-packed full of references and a discussion on sex trafficking and a whole handy-dandy section on “The Vulnerabiltity of Pornography Performers Aged 18 and Over.”

  48. wiggles

    Feminizzle – Pearl’s need to identify as female first-off as though all one needs to gain credibility in feminist discussion is to be female was the first tip-off. The defense of porn wrapped up in cries of reverse-sexism sealed the deal for me that Pearl’s an MRA in drag. All that was missing was a gratuitous and embarrassing use of “You go, grrrl!”

    You could be right though I suppose.

  49. Phledge

    Feminizzle makes a good point. There are plenty of women who, writhing under the heel of their master’s boot, wag their fingers at us for casting a jaundiced eye. Why, my young sister still has to ask me why I’m such a radical feminist, as she laughs at Judd Apatow films and gets paid half of what she was offered by the Democratic Party!

  50. roesmoker

    Twisty, have you seen this nauseating spectre of the patriarchy?

    From Phil Bronstein, Executive Vice President and Horndog-at-Large, San Francisco Chronicle, a charming article called “BP — Beneficent Porn — Can Fix the Oil Spill Crisis. Who’s With Me?” I thought it was “Comedy” at first but no, he appears to be serious:

    “adult business probably still out earns Yahoo, Apple, NetFlix, Microsoft, Google, Amazon and eBay combined. Every second they bring in anywhere from $38 to $3,000, depending on which research you read, and 28,258 users. Now that’s change that matters. And some great mobilization (among customers, not performers).”


    “We need a Franklin Roosevelt, New Deal-style, bootstrapping Public Works Administration. Except it’s the Porn/Private Works Administration.”


  51. roesmoker

    PS. Sorry about commenting off-topic – I am still digesting the various posts & comments on Science!Gate.

  52. Shira

    “Like porn exists in a vacuum. Dude is oblivious that rape culture depends on the oppression of the group I do belong to. ”

    No joke. As I wrote over there, comparing porn to shoes make sense if you don’t consider for a second that filming a crime against a woman constitutes an additional, ongoing crime against that woman, just like child pornography constitutes an additional crime against the raped child. This is exactly the way that a pair of shoes does not constitute an additional crime against a child.

    Now, imagine if they were videotaping the children working, distributing those videos because people got off on the idea of children forced to make shoes. Then add that a huge fraction of the population had been forced to make shoes as children. Many of them had been videotaped making shoes. They’d been forced to pretend they liked making shoes.

    And if their boss or political enemy or parents ever saw those videos, their reputations could be ruined at minimum. They could be labeled “shuts.” Children known for being shuts could be forced to make shoes and videotaped with impugnity. Everyone knows some children LIKE making shoes. My kid likes it so why can’t he get paid for it? He’s really good!

    But oh no, porn is just like shoes. Right.

    The other way these dudes are seriously confused, is they imagine (or expect us to believe they imagine) that most or all porn is performed by paid actors. They insist this despite the huge amount of “cam girl” porn, much of it of underaged, nonconsenting teen girls, that is available and advertised on so many non-porn related websites it makes me puke.

    Many of these girls have been threatened physically if they don’t perform, sometimes even by people they’ve never even met, forced to strip in these videos, which are then labeled as ‘My stupid ex slut girlfriend shows her sweeeet a$$$$$’ and posted on ebaumsworld.

  53. Ciccina

    I’m late to the party, as usual – I just now read the Jason G. Goldman post (redacted version).

    What a piece of crap. He runs roughshod over the distinction between correlation and causality. He draws conclusions that are not well supported by the data to which he refers. He completely neglects to address the issue of selection bias on his own part (why *these* particular three studies?). He doesn’t address the “social desirability” effect (people over- or understating their own opinions and behaviors to conform with social norms) which I guess would be considerable when the survey topic is sexuality. We don’t learn whether a subset of the samples were homo- or bisexual, which could have a considerable effect on the correlation between porn consumption and cross-gender attitudes.

    And these are just the flaws that immediately sprung to mind; I’m sure I’d find more if I gave the post any more thought (which I don’t plan on doing). Its pretty sad that this is the work of a grad student and editor. Maybe his work on other topics is more thoughful – I certainly hope so – perhaps part of his brain shorts out only when the topic has to do with women or sexuality or porn (or some combo thereof).

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