«

»

Feb 16 2012

Spinster aunt prattles on about pornography

Metal Teapot, in the comments to a recent post, sez:

I have grown up to believe that if a man says he doesn’t watch porn he is lying to you. I think, I’d rather a partner didn’t watch porn, but I’d also like several million dollars and to never have to work again. I certainly get the impression that men just tell you what you want to hear then continue to act the same. I guess that is where trust comes in but once again my cultural programming tells me that I’m not meant to see a guy lying about porn use as a violation of trust because I was being unreasonable.

Convincing women that they are being unreasonable, that dudely porn use is natural, normal, and even necessary-for-his-health behavior, and therefore you should support his porn use, and by the way you’ll never even find a dude who doesn’t use porn — this is one of the most successful misogynist campaigns of the modern megatheocorporatocracy.

The truth is that if you’re with a guy who uses porn, you’re with a guy who at his core believes that women are subhuman fucktoilets.

Women never want to believe this, for about 386 reasons. The idea of being objectified by the entire ruling class of default humans is too awful to contemplate. The implications are unthinkable. Women disdain to consider that life under the auspices of a culture of domination inexorably taints all relationships. But mostly they just don’t want to have to confront the porn-usin’ dude they love, the dude who will think they are being unreasonable, the dude they know will dump them before he’ll give up his porn.

So they think maybe their Nigel is different. A dude who believes that women are subhuman fucktoilets would have to be a mean, nasty sociopath, right? But their Nigel isn’t that guy; their Nigel is nice and smart and funny. He’d never dream of being violent. He makes great hummus. People like him. He’s a progressive. Sometimes he even does housework. He voted for Hilary. Yes, this Nigel uses porn, but he’s a great guy, so his porn use cannot possibly indicate that he eroticizes misogyny. And even if he does eroticize misogyny, that must mean that the eroticization of misogyny is no big whoop, or possibly even a swell thing for all concerned, because a guy as great as Nigel would never do anything to hurt anyone.

Nope, sorry. I will now unleash the aphorisms.

Pornography is the graphic representation, not just of violence against women, but of male supremacy. It degrades all women. It erodes the humanity of all women. Porn use fetishizes violence and supports male supremacy. Porn is the expression of patriarchy. Porn use is the practice of patriarchy.

You get the gist.

Nigel, in other words, gets off on practicing patriarchal oppression. He is actively antifeminist. He is actively wielding privilege. I don’t give a shit about this Nigel’s feelings, so I am free to assert that his indulgence in this entirely voluntary behavior somewhat mitigates his greatness. Proceed with caution.

Many women would sooner run me through a cheese grater and call me a man-hating prude who is too ugly to get laid than consider this: that global patriarchal oppression has effected between Nigels and women an intransigent opposition of interests. Women’s health and well-being depend on our acquiring fully human status, whereas male privilege depends on confining women to the sex underclass. For women to achieve human status we must dismantle male privilege, not acquiesce to the mania that celebrates pornography as awesome health-giving fun. Sex can never be a politically neutral interaction as long as the interests of one party are by universal decree prioritized over the interests of the other.

181 comments

4 pings

  1. gwyllion

    Women’s health and well-being depend on our acquiring fully human status, whereas male privilege depends on confining women to the sex underclass. For women to achieve human status we must dismantle male privilege, not acquiesce to the mania that celebrates pornography as awesome health-giving fun. Sex can never be a politically neutral interaction as long as the interests of one party are by universal decree prioritized over the interests of the other.

    lovely this!

  2. gwyllion

    p.s. – you know Twisty oft times i print these exquisite statements out on strips of paper and leave them around for others to find like little epiphanal leaflets – hope you don’t mind – haven’t credited you – you want me to?

  3. Julie

    I am a bisexual woman, and I enjoy reading and watching porn. (And it’s slightly more respectable cousin, erotica). Where do I fit in to this argument?

  4. Mujerylegs

    Say I convinced people to let me paint on their naked bodies, and got them to stand around a gallery one Friday night. Would that be art or porn? Some people would think sexay thoughts about the sexay sex, but I would find it beautiful for aesthetic reasons. (But the things I find beautiful turn me on intellectually, which is a necessary condition of being turned on physically.)

    My point: there is a danger in condemning all porn without defining obscenity. Because condemning inappropriate shit is how godbags have traditionally legitimated censorship.

  5. tinfoil hattie

    There is a danger in condemning all porn without defining obscenity. Because condemning inappropriate shit is how godbags have traditionally legitimated censorship.

    Under patriarchy, there is only obscene, demeaning, degrading porn. Post-revolution-that-I-believe-will-never-happen, nobody would care if the bodies with paint on them were naked. There might not even be a reason to show a naked body in any form, even to show how it would look “painted.”

    Deep shame-admittance time: Many eons ago, when I started dating Nigel, I thought there was something wrong with him. He hated porn. Wouldn’t watch it, wouldn’t read it. Wouldn’t play “sex games” with me. I thought he was so f-ed up. YEARS later, I realized: Ugh. I was the one who was f-ed up. I have no idea how he came to the viewpoint that porn is degrading to women. Maybe he slipped off an assembly line in the patriarchy factory.

  6. tomecat

    Encore, encore! Reading these plain truths of yours elicits spontaneous exhalations of pent-up anger and frustration.

    After reading about nine thousand articles (just today) about the panels of men voting on whether or not women should be allowed to have any bodily autonomy, it really helps to know that somebody out there gets it.

    So, thanks.

  7. Fede

    What you are describing, Mujerylegs, is disparate from porn, and I see no basis for comparison. It is not nudity that characterises porn, but the eroticisation of disdain for women (and everything that Twisty said so much better than I ever could).

    Porn is art, by the way. It’s despicable, hateful, disgraceful art, but it’s art. The body-painted nudes you had in mind would be beautiful art. I have no problem with both being art; they are still extremely easy to tell apart.

  8. Hari

    gwillion–I’ll see your Twisty quote and raise you one:

    “The idea of being objectified by the entire ruling class of default humans is too awful to contemplate. The implications are unthinkable. Women disdain to consider that life under the auspices of a culture of domination inexorably taints all relationships.”

    Inexorably taints, yes. 40yrs of feminism later, after countless attempts to fix this in my own relationships, rationalize it away, adjust to it somehow in the belief that love would conquer all, recover from the latest round only to try it again–40yrs of feminism later, it has finally sunk in. Womyn seem only to accept this either by virtue of one too many hospitalizations-due-to-assault, or from sheer fatigue once beyond fertility years, like me. The truth of this inexorable tainting of all relationships hunted me like a tireless young dog all these years, til I finally stopped in exhaustion and let it lay it’s head in my lap.

    Turns out that truth is a fine companion–awful to contemplate from afar, but so down-home honest and helpful once accepted up close.

  9. Embee

    Twisty, I love you. I love you for paragraphs like this:

    “Pornography is the graphic representation, not just of violence against women, but of male supremacy. It degrades all women. It erodes the humanity of all women. Porn use fetishizes violence and supports male supremacy. Porn is the expression of patriarchy. Porn use is the practice of patriarchy.”

    I adore when you distill something as broad and varied as porn into prose that is simple, communicative, instructive and logical. Thank you. Also for the term subhuman fucktoilets.

  10. soup karma

    This is a wonderful post that makes me hate the world a little bit less today, thank you.

    As far as painting on naked people goes: on the one hand, we have a philosophical discussion about what it is that pornography entails, how it fits in with our concept of art, etc. On the other hand, we have an industry which fetishizes and legitimizes the rape and degradation of women. In the fantastical post-patriarchical landscape, the rights of persons to not be systematically abused trumps the rights of persons to engage in their systematic abuse under the guise of free speech.

  11. otoc

    Porn is a product sold by a multi-billion $$$$ industry. A can of coke may be art, or speech, but it is also a product. Just as Rihanna is a product being sold by a multi-billion $$$$ music industry. The lines between what is art, or product, or speech, or social harm are not always perfectly clear and the law should reflect that, in my opinion.

  12. Scrappy

    Mujerylegs, “art” doesn’t get a pass. What you describe might be porn; it might not. Depends. For instance, on the sex of the naked people. Also, on the compliance of their bodies with P2K standards. And how they’re posed.

    As Fede points out, it is not nudity that characterizes porn. But it’s hard to see how nudity can escape the context of our pornified patriarhcy. Just like how it’s hard to see how women can escape being the sex underclass, or wear high heels mereley because we think they look nice.

  13. Embee

    Hari that was a lovely post. At 36 I’m snuggling up to that truth as well for all the reasons you mentioned.

    My ex literally snapped in the delivery room. Where before he had been an open-minded egalitarian, he morphed into a beast, insisting on random things like having the name band on our daughter changed because it listed my last name (it was my insurance). He proceeded on a tirade that culminated with him attacking me and our 6 weeks old daughter one evening, and my having him arrested and jailed. Since that time he has contributed exactly nothing to my daughter’s emotional, financial or physical well-being. I’m exhausted, I am bitter, and I won’t ever try again.

    Your words painted a lovely picture for me, so I thank you!

  14. TotallyDorkin

    An attempt to take a discussion of porn into a theoretical discussion of “obscenity” is a common and effective derailment tactic that allows people to ignore the reality that the porn industry is horrifying and misogynist.

    Dudes love to point at The Birth of Venus and pretend that it has something in common with their porn. In actuality, they do have something in common: They’re both misogynist portrayals of women’s bodies by men. Men just like porn better because it’s more graphic and more violent.

  15. Fictional Queen

    Men don’t lie about their porn use, they just directly or indirectly tell you they’re gonna watch it anyway whether you like it or not.

  16. Frumious B.

    Wow. Just 3 comments to the Godwin’s Law of Pron.

  17. Twisty

    gwyllion:

    – haven’t credited you – you want me to?

    No.

  18. susanw

    It may be worth considering that males don’t invest sex with eroticized dominance, but that Power/ Status/Dominance is the main heading under which sex a subset used primarily against women. Given the sexual posturing and mounting behavior used by our fellow primates, acquiring and maintaining power is the real goal of human behavior, and sexual expression is only one tool in our kit. We are spinning our wheels as long as we see sex as an essentially egalitarian act that has been polluted by dominance and submission. The entire patriarchy is built on the exercise of power, and sex is only one expression of it. Men use sex to express dominance in the bedroom and language to do the same job in the boardroom. We see patriarchy everywhere in culture because it’s there, using every facet of life to exert Power Over.

  19. GinBerlin

    Beautifully said. Thank you for giving me this post to point people at when they ask what’s wrong with the industry. And why my Nigel, who never had any interest,should be the norm. (Btw, he thinks he is- he (and I) still have trouble understanding why anyone would think viewing demeaning of women, sexually or not, on a regular basis should be a norm).

  20. Twisty

    Mujerylegs:

    condemning inappropriate shit is how godbags have traditionally legitimated censorship.

    Censorship is not the goal of the Twisty Anti-Porn Platform. Here’s the theory: the audience for — and consumer of — pornography will die out naturally when the culture of domination is dismantled by feminist revolution. Absent a culture of domination, there is no sex class, therefore nothing left to be fetishized, therefore pornography ceases to exist. Naked people with paint on them, no more within a context of patriarchal oppression, would just be naked people with paint on them, precisely as titillating as a plate of asparagus or what have you.

    Obscenity and pornography are different, by the way. Obscenity is merely shit that offends the daintiness of the party of the first part. Pornography, as I may have mentioned in my post, is the graphic representation of fetishized violence against women.

    Also, there’s no Art Law that says art can’t be pornographic (or obscene, for that matter). One may (and I do) question the philosophic value of pornography-as-art, but they’re not mutually exclusive enterprises, and in fact have a long and gross history of conflation, juxtaposition, and co-option.

  21. Twisty

    I see that all the points in my preceding comment have already been made by alert blamers who are quicker on the draw. Pardon the extra redundancy.

  22. susanw

    “…when the culture of domination is dismantled by feminist revolution.”
    What Twisty said.

  23. Judi

    Lately I’ve been concerned that I may be turning into into a sour-pussed, crotchedy old crone, because so many very ordinary cultural images make me feel offended to the point of rage, all day long. Every time I see an advertisement which uses an image of a beautiful woman, I want to spit. This happens even with very routine, relatively tame images, like ads for coffee or sneakers, and with things like movie trailers, even when they superficially have nothing to do with porn or even sex. It happens even when I watch the news, and the female newscaster (oh yay! we’re liberated now, right?), who is clearly very smart and talented, is presented in a tight, low-cut dress and her hair is so gorgeous.

    Now I’m starting to understand my disgust. Virtually every image in our culture is pornographic. Twisty’s statement about porn –:

    “Pornography is the graphic representation, not just of violence against women, but of male supremacy. It degrades all women. It erodes the humanity of all women. Porn use fetishizes violence and supports male supremacy. Porn is the expression of patriarchy. Porn use is the practice of patriarchy.”

    – is just as true of almost every image in our culture. In this sense, most of advertising, most of entertainment, is pornography. If A = B, then B = A; if porn is the expression of patriarchy, then the expression of patriarchy is porn.

    Twisty’s observation isn’t merely true, it’s deeply and widely and testably true. You can take out the word “pornography” and substitute “advertising,” or “American popular culture,” or any number of other things, and it would be as true. You can chop up the sentences, put them all in a bag and shake them up, and no matter how they fall out: still true.

    I wonder what it would feel like to live through a day without the pollution of this perpetual disgust, without feeling degraded, and objectified, and hated, and without feeling angry at (almost) the whole culture all the time. Will we ever get to know?

  24. otoc

    I would take the outrage about censorship more seriously if the same people showed the same level of outrage and fear about the board that censors movies and TV and sets the ratings, etc. Why is Freedom of Porn the only thing holding up our frail democracy?

  25. VibratingLiz

    Lundy Bancroft (author of Why Does He Do That?) and JAC Patrissi have a new book out called “Should I Stay or Should I Go?: A Guide to Knowing if Your Relationship Can–and Should–be Saved” that’s very sound in its condemnation of porn use and why it’s a good-enough reason to leave a relationship. Nice to see this kind of blaming being published in a mainstream self-help book aimed at women.

  26. Framboise

    “Every time I see an advertisement which uses an image of a beautiful woman, I want to spit. This happens even with very routine, relatively tame images, like ads for coffee or sneakers”

    I have always found these sorts of things to be the most perpetually upsetting. Seriously, can we not even sell coffee without pornifying women? Is the claim “hey this tastes good and will wake you up in the morning” not compelling without tits? The very banality of the use of women’s bodies as fetish objects should really be astounding. I find myself wishing I could get so angry at it, but I just don’t have the energy most days. IBTP

  27. FemmeForever

    @ Jill

    Applause. And more applause.

    @Hari, @Embee

    I was 34 when I made the decision and I hadn’t needed physical abuse of any kind to convince me. Just the emotional abuse from random, even unimportant men, as well the small number of important ones that caused me to realize – I am NEVER going to get what I seek from them. That was enough for me to shut down the love train permanently.

  28. AlienNumber

    (apologies for breaking some commenting rules)

    Something terrible got into me yesterday – I don’t know why but I decided to give salon.com another chance. Turns out they have this article about a gay male p8rnstar and he’s just SO GREAT that they have to interview him.
    Read the interview, when to the poor guy’s blog (he haz a blog! he haz thoughts too, not just pictures of his peen, on the blog!) and decided, although it was already looking bad, to click on a video link. Because somehow, I was still thinking to myself, that because it’s on salon, it can’t possibly be that bad. Well, it is THAT BAD.

    The horror was just starting though, because while the gay dudes were doing terrible things to each other that looked quite violent and reenacting the domination/submission paradigm just fine, I didn’t care that much because it’s men’s bodies and really I don’t care what the men do to each other as long as no women and children are harmed in the process. However, on the sidebar of that video page, they had all these other videos: the straight version of what I was seeing on the main page. The straight version was horribly horribly horribly violent, I won’t even start to describe. I clicked out, but the 2 seconds were fatal to my wandering retina and now I can’t get those horrific images out of my head.

    The point of my story is. Well, I don’t have a point. Except, whenever you think that hey, maybe porn is becoming less vile, this is why you see it in the malestream, well, No! It turns out the malestream is becoming more vile and this is why you see the porn in it.

    [How do I get over the PTSD from watching that woman get destroyed like that? Why are those pornographers allowed to do that to women without any repercussions]

  29. Kathryn

    I am a queer-identified person with lady parts under my knickers, just so’s you know.

    What if I draw graphic porn of gay couples from, say, Harry Potter? I mean, why was Snape so conflicted over Harry? Is it because he loved Lily, or is it because he loved James? When he sees Harry and Draco making puppy-dog eyes at each other, doesn’t he know that Harry will inevitably betray Draco, and doesn’t it make him that much more conflicted? But then he is comforted by Professor Lupin, and hot sex ensues. That sort of thing.

    So what if I draw queer fantasy porn, and what if I draw it for an audience that consists primarily of other women? I’m not saying that the Harry Potter books (or Star Trek, or the new Avengers movies) need to be read as homoerotic porn fests all the time, but it’s fun every once in awhile. Besides, a world in which Snape and Lupin can end up together is a world in which Hermione doesn’t have to end up heteronormatively shackled to Ron, and it’s a world in which Ginny and Luna can ride off into the sunset together.

    Don’t get me wrong – destroying the foundations of global patriarchal oppression is business of the most serious order, and I say that with a complete absence of irony. But does getting rid of the numerous evils associated with “real life” pornography (of both the “young women performing sex acts for an audience” variety and the “women feeling the need to be attractive for a male gaze even when no overt sex is involved” variety) mean that I need to turn in my license to fantasize about sexual and romantic tension in popular narratives? Does it mean that I need to stop illustrating these fantasies and sharing them?

    Does is mean that, for example, the Lord of the Rings fandom needs to go back to dudes studying Elvish and painting Balrogs, and that all of the women doing those things but also occasionally fantasizing about Aragorn and Boromir snuggling under the covers need to go home? So that fandom can return to the male-dominated sausage party it used to be before the concept of queer shipping helped young female fans bond with each other and carve out their own place before turning fandom into a more gender-neutral space?

    What I’m asking, I suppose, is this: Is all porn all bad all the time simply by default? Doesn’t fantasy have the ability to both subvert and transform both personal awareness and societal pressures, especially concerning issues of identity construction?

    I’m asking this not as some lame attempt to prove you wrong or something silly like that, but rather because I’d honestly like to hear what your thoughts are on this matter. Since it’s my first time posting a response here, I’d also like to thank you for writing so well and so frequently on this blog. You’re awesome!

  30. EmilyBites

    I have to ‘I’ all over this thread now. It’s impossible to stay sane a relationship with a man who uses porn. It crushes your soul to be with someone who, at their core, gets off on the degradation of women. It hurts.
    They say they love you, but…they’re ok with watching videos of women being harmed. More than ok, they *like* it.

    Same goes for men who say ‘Fine, I WON’T watch porn if it upsets you so much, but I don’t see what’s wrong with it. CENSORSHIP!’ (My ex). My minimum requirement for dates is ‘Does he think I’m human?’

    Owly said in the previous thread that she didn’t know if men of our generation are a lost cause (I’m 26). I’m in a relationship with a man (27) who not only doesn’t use porn but finds it abhorrent. Any man can be decent. Most aren’t, but maybe one day they’ll achieve critical mass.

    I live in fucken hope.

  31. susanw

    VibratingLiz

    You have given me an interesting idea. I just downloaded SISorSIG to my nook. Since Lundy Bancroft understands power and control, maybe I can use his approach to marriage by applying it to all women in relation to the patriarchy. I’ve only had time to skim a few pages, but this could develop into a valuable teaching tool, as he is suggesting ways to assess how bad the relationship is. In saying this, I don’t dismiss the value of Bancroft’s work used just as intended, but since I can’t play the home game, I’d like to experiment with unpacking “Married to the Patriarchy”.

  32. rahab

    Just posting that I totally agree. Porn sucks, and thinking about it in terms of the P makes so much freaking sense.

  33. pheeno

    Holy shit Embee, that’s terrible. Mine snapped the second ” I’m pregnant” was spoken.

    I feel horrible when I admit this, but when he died last year it was like a rock was lifted from my shoulders. Since he didn’t really help me support wise (after all, *I* left *him* for the offense of kicking me down a flight of stairs when I was 6 months pregnant) and would often drunk dial me and scream at me, I did ALL the work of parenting. And now? I no longer have to share MY daughter. Plus, his social security has made up for worthless 120 a month child support payments. We get 736 a month now. I almost fainted with shock.

    Even now, I await some horrible type of karma for being happy he died, because a woman isn’t supposed to be happy the father of her child is dead. Our feelings are secondary to men, even when they’re fucking dead.

  34. magriff

    Art, shmart, fart.

  35. Owly

    I meant my post to demonstrate that all men in our generation aren’t hopeless.

    I have a few friends who’ve said that they don’t use porn, and they all seem almost embarrassed about it. They have to list the reasons why, and each was quick to assure us that they totally understood why other people used it and that it was ok. I’ve also heard the same thing about blow jobs. As if you should be embarrassed by something you simply aren’t into.

    It’s like the previous thread where people were making the point that being “vanilla” is supposedly something to be ashamed of. I guess not being into porn certainly qualifies you as vanilla, which is baaaaaaad and totally oppressive.

  36. Framboise

    Owly, I am the same age as you and whoo-boy is it ever true that there is tremendous pressure in, especially in seemingly radical spaces, to claim to like or at least accept porn. Most women I know make this huge distinction between bad creepy porn and “feminist” porn which, from my observation seems to have more or less the exact same scenes on domination and objectification but with more tattoos and less fake boobs. I rather wish that men still felt the need to lie about their porn use because then, while it means that the dudes in your life still believe deep down that, as Twisty so eloquently said, “women are subhuman fucktoilets”, at least you are not called upon to high five a dude over your own oppression. Maybe I’m missing something, but that seems a little bit better.
    I’m glad you’ve found some guys that don’t like porn even if they are deeply ashamed for not wanting to horrifically dominate and objectify women.

  37. TwissB

    Obscenity is a cynical legal tool to allow a little meaningless wrist-slapping when proximity of a purveyor is “hurting” property values nearby, or when it becomes politically necessary to show concern for protecting boys’ minds from pollution, or to counteract feminist demands for tort action against producers or sellers of a product used directly to harm some one. It’s a joke.

    As fot the “difference” between pornography and erotica? Ask Andrea Dworkin: “Erotica is pornography with better production values.”

    Anyone who has looked at pictures of naked Holocaust victims should understand that stripping someone is a universally understood demonstration of power over. The Storm Trooper standing over his stripped victim is armored in clothes from his boots to the top of his helmet. The important man who commissioned Goya to paint his mistress both clothed and naked in order to entertain male guests by displaying the clothed version and then pulling back a curtain to reveal the same woman naked, wearing only the requisite harlot’s bold stare. Photographer Sally Mann won men’s acclaim by posing her small naked daughter confronting the viewer with the same challenging stare.

    See Edward Mullen, “The Painted Witch” for perceptive analysis of sexism and sexuality in art by men (but revealing his own unwitting sexism in consigning all women artists to second-rate status).

  38. Owly

    Framboise, you are so right. I’m so glad that the person I’m with now doesn’t buy in to that crap, and I’m sure of it. The evil feminist re-programming is going swimmingly. He’s very politically aware and now he’s introducing feminism into his college work and our discussion group. For what it’s worth, the last guy I was with went on to write his master’s thesis on Simone De Beauvoir. Not saying that either of these people are perfect, it’s just that what I said really seemed to stick. At least they’re aware of their own behavior and that of the people around them.

    There is hope, I’m sure of it. Or I hope there’s hope, at least. Proof that men CAN be decent human beings, that there’s no excuse for the disgustingly inhumane behavior we’ve come to expect.

  39. iiii

    Julie, if you’ve watched live-action porn, you’ve probably watched someone being raped. The more you’ve watched, the likelier it is. If you’ve seen _Deep Throat_, you have certainly watched a woman being raped.

    So, you tell us, where do you fit in to this argument?

  40. Jamila

    “…and by the way you’ll never even find a dude who doesn’t use porn — this is one of the most successful misogynist campaigns of the modern megatheocorporatocracy.”

    Another part of the misogynist lines is “if you don’t have sex with him in then you have to expect him to be having sex with someone else”. Because clearly, men should not be expected to control their sexual urges and must follow every sexual urge through to it’s natural conclusion, whether their girlfriend/partner is there or not.

  41. Wandering Uterus

    The “fucktoilet” term is to be taken completely literally. Japanese men make porn actually depicting women as fuckable toilets. A safesearch-off Google image search would show you, but images may be triggering and are utterly sickening.

    One of the horrible things about porn is the way it follows you. It can’t be un-seen after one’s seen it, and continues to demean even after it’s no longer immediately visible.

  42. qvaken

    Well shit. I just responded to Metal Teapot in the previous thread, and then I click over and what do I see?

    Time to get a-readin’.

  43. little earthquakes

    Saying “I’m a woman and I use porn – where do I fit in?” is like saying “I’m a woman and I think other women are vapid second-class non-humans – where do I fit in?” Sorry babe, same column as everyone else. It’s easy to be misogynistic as a woman, we’re all rewarded so highly for it. Well, we’re rewarded anyway.

    As for erotic/porny fan-fiction, yeah, sure it’s a grey area. I think there’s more room to engage with notions of eroticization without exploitation in written and drawn mediums, especially if you’re not making any money off it or widely distributing it, but again, it’s a grey area. It could be not-porn one minute and porn the next, if that makes any sense, just based on how many people see it. If you’re a het couple having sex in a private residence, is that porn? It depends! It could be!

    But people who are “genuinely curious” as to what Twisty or any other radfem would say about it are looking for a hall-pass – they want to be told “don’t worry, *you’re* not evil and you can continue to enjoy your hobby guilt-free and, most importantly, thought-free.” It reminds me of dudes in discussions about rape-culture asking “So how can I be SURE I’m not raping someone?” Even if it’s genuine (I dunno, it’s possible?) it stems from a desire to have your cake and eat it too – get off and not have to think about it. Tick a box that makes you a decent human being. Don’t worry about thinking for yourself.

    If what you want is to not have to think about something, you probably shouldn’t have come here.

  44. qvaken

    little earthquakes: “People who are “genuinely curious” as to what Twisty or any other radfem would say about it are looking for a hall-pass – they want to be told “don’t worry, *you’re* not evil and you can continue to enjoy your hobby guilt-free… it stems from a desire to have your cake and eat it too – get off and not have to think about it. Tick a box that makes you a decent human being.”

    Awesome! Awesome awesome! It’s like, “Rape has a broader meaning and occurs a lot more often than you’d think.” “Now hold on there missy – I don’t think that you’ve really thought this through. What about x, y and z? What about meeeeeeee?” Expected response: “Oh shit, no I didn’t mean YOU! YOU’RE wonderful every time that you have sex!” Conclusion: “Good. Glad that I didn’t have to consider whether or not my own behaviour might be hurting somebody!”

    In response to the original post, my point of what I wrote to Metal Teapot in the other thread was that there are some of us out there who aren’t rushing to make excuses as to why Nigel is pro-feminist when he does Nigel-y things. We were always taught that Nigel always does awesome and good things, and Nigel is perfect just the way he is and why would you want to change him anyway?, and woman is angry and difficult and foolish because woman always complain. So we sincerely believe this stuff.

    In my first relationship, it took so much strength to hold back from saying what I truly wanted, until I finally burst and felt like the crazy woman asking for crazy things in a crazy way. Nigel One agreed with the crazy theory, and even accused me of abusing him once after I’d made a grumpy remark during an argument (then I was paranoid for years that I was crazy and also abusive). It’s gotten better over the years, but still I’ll feel horrendously guilty because surely I was “overreacting” when I dumped him for that little, little thing.

    After all, he’s perfect just the way he is, and why do I have to be so angry and difficult and foolish and always complain??

  45. qvaken

    I mean the “overreacting when I dumped him for that little thing” to mean, a lot of Nigels since Nigel One, where I dumped them at the VERY FIRST SLIGHT INDICATION that they didn’t give a shit about my needs. Nigel One dumped my ass after two years of telling me that everything was my fault. Such is life.

  46. JenniferRuth

    little earthquakes: “People who are “genuinely curious” as to what Twisty or any other radfem would say about it are looking for a hall-pass – they want to be told “don’t worry, *you’re* not evil and you can continue to enjoy your hobby guilt-free… it stems from a desire to have your cake and eat it too – get off and not have to think about it. Tick a box that makes you a decent human being.”

    I don’t think this is always true. I think sometimes people are asking because they might not have been blaming for long and genuinely want answers. We live under a patriarchy and the dominant message is that porn is a-ok. You have to actively seek out anti-porn and patriarchy blaming material, whilst pro-porn and pro-patriarchy messages are thrust into peoples faces all day, every day.

    I know this is an advanced blamers blog and we ain’t here to explain this stuff over and over but I think Kathryn was genuinely looking for some guidance. And it’s also worth remembering that unless you’re a hermit living under a rock somewhere then we ALL capitulate to the patriarchy at times.

  47. Hari

    pheeno: “I feel horrible when I admit this, but when he died last year it was like a rock was lifted from my shoulders. Since he didn’t really help me support wise… I did ALL the work of parenting. And now? I no longer have to share MY daughter. Plus, his social security has made up for worthless 120 a month child support payments.”

    For several months I seriously entertained thoughts of murdering my abuser, also the bio-donor of my youngest son. Serious thoughts, wherein he could conveniently die without me getting caught–or anyone else getting hurt. I admitted to certain people that I wished he were dead. Oh the shock and horror! But yeah–social security pmts would have far better covered the costs than his paltry contribution ever did; and since I was doing ALL the parenting work while all he did was make that work harder by being such a fucking entitled enraged/whiney dickwad–duh! Why *wouldn’t* I want him dead?

    So, I hope you learn to fully enjoy your ex’s deadness for all the good it truly does for you and your child, and all the PITA (and worse) it removes from both of your lives, with no accompanying horror to admit it! What, we are supposed to enjoy being the perfect porn-queen/porn-excusing, punching bag, mama, slave, blah blah sickening blah for him? We are supposed to feel somehow bad WHY if such a one gets himself dead without our even having to lift a finger, spend a dime or other be implicated, to accomplish such a wonderful feat?

    No way baby–I’d be going to the funeral and literally dancing on his grave. I got over wanting to kill him (no need to fuck up my own life even worse than he’d done), but I still think the world would be a safer place for all womyn and children without him in it. We weren’t the first, and we weren’t the last he damaged.

    And oh yeah, he admitted to me at one point that he was once really into nasty porn, but he quit when he realized it made him feel dirty and ashamed. Which didn’t stop him from wanting to make me into his porn queen, little by little. The day he left was the day I finally saw all of it for what it was: how he became the Absolute Dictator once we got pregnant, how the porn was more greatly infuencing his bedroom requests, how I was so totally incidental to his life and so utterly usable/disposable–and I said, simply, firmly NO. No more, not again.

    Dance, pheeno, dance! You are one of the lucky ones in the end–and a damn small piece of luck it is, by comparison to the horrors inflicted. You’ve certainly earned the right to celebrate full on.

  48. little earthquakes

    Upon reflection, my comment above is probably not helpful to anyone actually asking the question themselves “but I’m not a dude, is it still harmful if I do it?” so to clarify for the sake of being helpful and opening minds and all that happy crap:

    It’s tempting to think that your identity as a consumer has a meaningful effect on the product you’re consuming. Sometimes it does. But how does your identity as a consumer of porn change the fact that you are consuming oppression and degradation? Yes, it’s uncomfortable to think about. That’s why, instead of asking yourself “but I’m a woman and I use porn, so what does that say about me?” you ask Twisty what that says about porn.

    Yes, women’s sexuality is all fucked up under patriarchy. It sucks! It’s not very empowering to think about! Porn will probably not make it better. No, not even “feminist” porn. “Feminist” porn, and I believe that such a thing is maybe possible, will probably help a lot of women to get off, and that’s great. But things like feminist porn and indie-porn and any porn that supposedly isn’t all yucky and misogynistic make up such a tiny, tiny percentage of all porn that it is basically statistically insignificant. I’m not saying it’s insignificant to the lives of the women making and enjoying it; those are real lives. But they’re not, as some like to say, “changing the face of porn.” It’s like how 95% of people who diet will either not lose weight or never keep it off, but that 5%-percent “success” rate is held up as somehow meaningful. We’ve all known people who dieted and kept the weight off, maybe we even are those people, but just because those people exist doesn’t mean it’s possible for the other 95%.

  49. Lovepug

    Dad gum it! Twisty’s ruined my life again.

  50. speedbudget

    You can tell if a man is lying about using porn because porn warps the way they interact with you. The men who don’t treat you as an object, who can actually communicate with you and keep it all aboveboard, the men who can look at you with genuine respect in their eyes, they are not the porn users. The porn users are the ones who will watch your ass as you leave a room, who will let their eyes glide over your body as they talk at you about something. It leaves its telltale marks on a man.

    Yes, there are men who don’t use porn because it makes them uncomfortable to see women treated that way. As tinfoil hattie said, maybe they fell off the conveyor belt in the patriarchy factory, but they are out there.

  51. Twisty

    When is it OK for women to produce pornography? Is there some special kind of porn that doesn’t violate feminist law? Such as the kind that’s tasteful or made by ladies for ladies? Or the kind that’s in literary rather than graphic form? Or not widely distributed?

    Is this the question?

    Well, if it’s pornography, it is a representation of fetishized domination culture. And any time domination culture gets replicated, it’s a point for the Dark Side. Whether ladies make it, or whether only 3 people see it, or whether it’s Kirk/Spock written by a middle-aged lesbian.

    If it does not replicate domination culture, it isn’t pornography. But recall that all art, fiction, fantasy, dramatic conventions, imagery, this blog, etc is generated under the auspices of patriarchy. It is impossible to prevent culture-of-domination mores from seeping in. Particularly when the subject matter is something as highly politicized as sex.

  52. EmilyBites

    Too right, speedbudget.

    You can actually watch the mechanism in action if you live in the UK: dude in public looks up from his Page 3 and his eyes slide over you/another woman in his eyeline like slime over a freshly caught fish. Women exist for looking at, so they look. It’s that simple to them.

  53. lizor

    What sort of non-point is “porn is art, though!”???

    In our po-mo-blo-fo times “art” is anything you stick a frame around: Fear Factor is art, dog turds in the spring are art.

    Just like anything you can swallow can be called “food” even if it (like the “art” of porn) ultimately kills you.

    The “point” is tedious and insulting to anyone who has actually dedicated their ice to creating actual art.

    BTW – I endured an interview with Max Hardcore on national radio last year and this was his refrain “I am an artist! I make art! Gonzo is art about freedom! “

  54. lizor

    “Every time I see an advertisement which uses an image of a beautiful woman, I want to spit. This happens even with very routine, relatively tame images, like ads for coffee or sneakers, and with things like movie trailers, even when they superficially have nothing to do with porn or even sex. It happens even when I watch the news, and the female newscaster (oh yay! we’re liberated now, right?), who is clearly very smart and talented, is presented in a tight, low-cut dress and her hair is so gorgeous.”

    Yes Judi. I have the same response consistently. It’s led me to reframe my ideas of beauty entirely. Whoever said that “Truth is Beauty” thing, was spot on.

    If it involves makeup, photoshop, surgery, etc, it’s a lie and therefore ugly.

  55. tinfoil hattie

    @pheeno, back in the day of the short-lived and ill-fated IBTP message board, I remember your talking about that asshole scumbag abuser. Here you go: I am THRILLED the asshole scumbag is dead. I can’t imagine any other way for you to feel.

    I’d throw you a victory party if we lived closer. And YAY about the money. Asshole worth more dead than alive, in EVERY way.

  56. tinfoil hattie

    What, we are supposed to enjoy being the perfect porn-queen/porn-excusing, punching bag, mama, slave, blah blah sickening blah for him?

    Got it in one, Hari.

  57. Cyberwulf

    Kathryn – the only concrete plus about written and some graphic porn is that no real people were directly harmed during its creation. Written and graphic porn can still carry damaging messages. If you’re into slash, you’ve come across stories where a canon female love interest is portrayed as a shrieking harpy to clear the way for the male/male pairing. You’ve probably also come across the “seme/uke” dynamic in which the topping partner is forceful and brutish while the bottom partner blushes and quivers and weeps. The content, message and portrayal of men and women depends greatly on the author/artist and what s/he’s been exposed to with regard to sex and porn.

    Does the fact that porny fanfiction and fanart portray specific fictional characters in (usually) clearly fictional settings make it less likely that the reader/viewer’s attitude to women, men and sexual partners will be influenced by it? I don’t know.

  58. Lovepug

    I can’t stress enough how much porn gets socialized into men by other men. I guarantee that every single Conveyor Belt Nigel has about 20 buddies email him porn links and girly pictures on a daily basis.

    Yes, first step is increasing the number of these men in general. Step 2 is to get these men to openly and fearlessly discuss with other men why consuming porn is bad. And having a standard email reply something along the lines of “Dude, quit sending me this crap. It’s infantile and pathetic. I don’t need you to show me where the porn is. I know where the porn is.”

  59. Hari

    Lovepug: “Step 2 is to get these men to openly and fearlessly discuss with other men why consuming porn is bad.”

    Yes, but. No. Men have to be fully human beings themselves, of their own accord. They have to choose on their own to be open and fearless about talking w/other men about why hurting womyn directly, or why supporting the hurting of womyn by other men (watching porn) is bad. Not our job to ‘get them’ to do anything–that is, except to stop hurting us when they do, and stop hurting other womyn directly and indirectly on our watch (don’t accept their porn watching).

    I used to think the Nigels I knew were just cowards about this sort of thing–what with peer pressure being so rough and all, poor nice schmucks. Now I think the reason a Nigel doesn’t speak up of his own accord to his chums about this sexism is that he still likes his privilege. Even if he tries to keep his own in check, even if he truly finds porn and other forms of womyn-oppression too awful to dirty his own self with it, as long as other men are free to use and abuse womyn, then Nigel gets to keep his privilege–all the while pretending otherwise.

  60. RadicalWeasel

    Just another comment saying that asking a partner not to watch pornography is not unreasonable. Well, the question isn’t unreasonable. The fact that you have to ask him is. You don’t want someone who will quit porn because you asked, you want someone who doesn’t consume it anyway.

    Don’t settle for someone who refuses to see women as human beings.

  61. Mildred

    When I worked in Northern England, working class, menial labour HELL my views on porn were famous and one man was particularly obsessed with the concept that I considered porn cheating and he often said to me that I was the most naive woman in the world if I thought my husband didn’t watch porn and I so WANTED to say how I knew that he didn’t.
    Because I’ve fucked plenty of guys and you can tell the ones who watch porn because they think that you’re a constellation of holes, they are obsessed with things like bald vulvas, anal sex, forceful blow jobs and facials, if its degrading it gets them hot! They are selfish in the extreme and even the concept of giving pleasure is boring to them.
    And these men, infected with this porn-sickness have no clue what they are like because women seem to like it (because they’re too scared of being labelled a prude/boring girlfriend and don’t say anything). They don’t care that they’re always replicating the same motifs of humiliation and degradation because it gets them off and they can’t even conceive of going back — supposing they ever had a time of sexual innocence considering they’ve probably been watching it since adolescence.
    And when they say, “What’s wrong with porn, it’s just people shagging,” its because that is what shagging is actually like to them.
    There is no way you can reach them, it would take years of deprogramming to even have a conversation on porn because on a fundamental level they don’t think there is anything WRONG with power dynamics, they are SEXAY!

  62. tinfoil hattie

    [...] as long as other men are free to use and abuse womyn, then Nigel gets to keep his privilege–all the while pretending otherwise.

    Therein lies the crux of the problem with the best of Nigels, even those who fell off the assembly line.

  63. lotesse

    The month before I finally left my ex-Nigel, I found that he’d used my laptop to view porn. We’d had the porn argument several times; he was ostensibly committed to feminism, and I couldn’t really believe that he kept using what were very likely filmed rapes. He smiled and nodded and said he’d look into feminist porn and as far as I can tell the jackhole never did a thing.

    At the time, I didn’t really let myself experience the violation that was seeing that toxic rubbish in my web history. It was like he’d violated ME – I’m an academic/creative type, so my laptop is very much a personal brain extension. He got this nasty smudge of schmutz on my brainspace and when I saw it I couldn’t breathe but then I didn’t say anything because I didn’t know how to express my horror, shame, and rage.

  64. KittyWrangler

    @Mildred “And when they say, “What’s wrong with porn, it’s just people shagging,” its because that is what shagging is actually like to them.”

    True, and women are ALSO taught that that is what sex is. So that when you feel horny, you’re taught that you’re desiring domination. And it doesn’t just start with XXX stuff, it starts in infancy.

    Optimistic type-A feminists will cast a stern eye on Disney princess movies because plotlines where the heroine has to saved by a man don’t teach little girls to be “strong” and “independent,” and “could this be harming their body images?” That’s true but it’s so much deeper: it’s an introduction to patriarchal sex. It is a child’s (possibly) first Patriarchal sexual experience and (hopefully) first porn. The princesses are DRIPPING with sex and kids understand the sexual element on at least some level, don’t try to tell me they don’t. And the sexy “tits on a stick” princess is objectified (by the cartoonists and “camera,”), a spectacle is made of her vulnerability, she’s usually kidnapped (Beauty & the Beast; Aladdin), gagged (Little Mermaid, sort of; Aladdin) tied up (Aladdin, with straight-up BDSM costume and “toys”; Peter Pan, I think; Hunchback of Notre Dame, I think), she may lose consciousness in the presence of the hot man (Sleeping Beauty; Snow White; Hunchback, sort of; Hercules, I think), she is slung around by men (Beauty & the Beast, Aladdin, etc. So whey you’re a two-year-old girl you’re explicitly taught that sex is like BDSM, that when you desire love/sex you desire domination.

    You wrote “supposing they ever had a time of sexual innocence considering they’ve probably been watching it since adolescence.” And I’d say we’ve almost ALL been watching it since infancy. If a non-explicitly sexual depiction of equality and mutual enjoyment were aimed at children, you KNOW it would be censored and decried as, “porn!”

  65. KittyWrangler

    Oh crap, I used all the forbidden words and I’m stuck in moderation.

    @lotesse Yeah, discovering someone else’s pr*n history feels so shocking.

  66. gogo

    @ Pheeno

    *I* am happy he is dead FOR you. So, if guilt or other feelings make you feel like you should not be glad he is dead, just know someone else is happy in your stead.

    Enjoy your child, live a happy life.

  67. Judi

    Mildred says:

    “They don’t care that they’re always replicating the same motifs of humiliation and degradation because it gets them off and they can’t even conceive of going back — supposing they ever had a time of sexual innocence considering they’ve probably been watching it since adolescence.”

    True, yes, except they haven’t been watching it since adolescence, they’ve been watching it pretty much since they opened their eyes. Children learn that there are different categories of people — those who have more power, and those who have less — before they learn to identify those categories with “male” and “female.” For their own survival, they learn that little people like themselves — children — lack power, and that the big people — adults — have it. Then they learn to see, and use and replicate, the gradations of power among the big people — men have more, women have less. Then their nice grandparents give them “action figures” and Barbie dolls to play with. And they watch the Muppets — a bunch of guy-puppets and Miss Piggy. EVERYBODY loves the charming, wholesome, educational Muppets, right? The Muppets is (are?) porn.

    And, they see all those ads that use big breasts and pouty lips to sell coffee and sneakers, and princess toys and war toys. By the time they hit kindergarten, the kids are saturated with porn. They have damn few models of what it would look like to treat a female human like a person. Degradation and objectification are all they know, and all they know how to imagine.

  68. Hari

    Well said, Judi.

    “Degradation and objectification are all they know…” Pretty much all any of us know. By the time the boys are whatever age they can get their hands/eyes on porn, they are ready for it. By the time the girls are whatever age they decide it’s time to have boyfriends, they are ready to play psuedo porn queen. And it’s all thought of as just normal for both.

  69. FemmeForever

    Children learn that there are different categories of people — those who have more power, and those who have less — before they learn to identify those categories with “male” and “female.” For their own survival, they learn that little people like themselves — children — lack power, and that the big people — adults — have it. Then they learn to see, and use and replicate, the gradations of power among the big people — men have more, women have less.

    Thank you for that Judy. I have always known that I noticed the shitty way male people treat female people by the time I hit K. I just didn’t quite know how. This explains it.

  70. Ginjoint

    Alright, I’m going to try posting again, only this time I’ll pay less attention to any html tags I use and more to what I’m actually typing (see previous thread, ahem).

    Onward: You know whose porn consumption affected me the most? My dad’s. Yeah, my dad, a great guy in so many ways, but it just never occurred to him how his porn use would show me his true feelings about women. And therefore, me. This drew a wedge between us that we were never able to overcome (he died 11 years ago). I know he wished we were closer, but I’m sure he had no idea whatsoever the incredible impact his porn use had on me. I didn’t have the words for it then, those came much later. When VCRs came around, my dad’s friend helped him hook up two VCRs to our television – they were connected so that my dad could create copies of porn tapes for his friends. I would find porn tapes in his home office, in the garage. My mother thought this was just something Nigels do, what’s the harm, really?

    Funny yet horrifying story!: My dad once went over to his buddy’s house to watch said “dirty” movies. This was shortly before VCRs, and his friend had an actual movie projector and 16mm movies (I’m really dating myself here). The friend lived in a split-level house, in which the living room was over the garage. The living room had a large picture window that faced the street. Rather than deal with the hassle of setting up the movie screen on a tripod, the friend simply lowered the white window shade on the picture window, and projected the movie onto that. Of course a window shade, however thick, is not constructed the same as a movie screen. A shade is thinner and has no backing, for starters. Therefore, the porn movie was quite visible to anyone on the street, only reversed.

    As it was summertime, almost evening, kids were out playing (kids did that back then), and folks were out watering their lawns after work, etc. To say the least, it did not go unnoticed.

  71. Shiloh

    VibratingLiz — Thank you, thank you for hipping us to the new book. I’ve been reading Should I Stay or Should I Go in every spare moment I’ve got. I’ll be loaning this one out even more than Why Does He Do That. Highly recommended for those even thinking about getting into a het relationship.

    (I miss your blog, by the way, and hope you are doing well.)

  72. qvaken

    pheeno: “when he died last year it was like a rock was lifted from my shoulders.”

    Hari: “Now I think the reason a Nigel doesn’t speak up of his own accord to his chums about this sexism is that he still likes his privilege.”

    There were more awesome comments made, but these were the ones that I could find on a quick scroll-up. By the way, I’ve had those fantasies about raping him back, or conveniently knocking him when he’s at the top of stairs, or just seeing it on the news that he didn’t make it out of a boating accident. Those first two, I could never do, because I don’t want to inflict pain, but the third, I know that it’d make me feel relieved because I’d know that he could never do it to anybody ever again.

  73. Larissa Q

    Reading that comment by Metal Teapot was almost uncanny. I could have easily written that exact thing myself, word for word.

    I have never dated because the idea of being intimate with someone who watches porn terrifies me. And, of course, I’ve been led to believe men who don’t watch porn do not exist. This post gives me a little hope… But radical feminist ideas often don’t travel out into the real world, which holds me back.

    The funny thing is, one of the arguments I’ve heard against women asking their partners not to look at porn is, “You’re trying to control the poor guy’s sexuality!” When I hear that, I get ready to spit bullets, because it flies in the face of REAL sexual coercion that women deal with all the time. How many women have shaved themselves, worn “kinky” clothing, performed sex acts, et cetera when they didn’t really want to, all because their partners coerced them into doing it? Let’s face it: most men get those ideas from porn, where they also get the idea that the woman owes it to them to act out their fantasies. And yet the woman saying, “Please don’t watch disgusting, misogynist crap” is the one controlling the “poor guy” who is of course just doing what all men do. Barf.

    I’m curious about the generation differences other people mention, though. My father is, for all intents and purposes, a porn addict. He has been as long as I’ve been alive. My mother justifies it by saying the same thing as my peers: “They all do it.” I’m 38 years younger than her, but people my age (early 20s) say basically the same thing.

  74. qvaken

    I came up with some feminist erotic literature. Let me know what you think.

    Lil had just started her first job at an office after finishing high school. She felt really shy and unsure of herself. At lunch, she was sitting alone in the lunch room when Rick, a young supervisor who had been working at the office for a few years, approached her, looked her up and down and asked her playfully how she was liking the job. “It’s going well,” she said. He said that that was great, and it was nice for the office too, to have somebody so pretty join the team, and he smiled warmly and held her gaze for a moment and then walked off.

    Lil later approached her manager, Jason, and told him what Rick had said and how he had looked at her. She told Jason that she is just at work to work. Jason booked a meeting with Rick and got his side of the story and decided that it wasn’t good enough, so he issued Rick with a formal warning and had him transferred to another floor in the building so that Lil would never have to feel uncomfortable at work again. Jason also informed Rick’s new boss, Andrea, of what had happened. Andrea said that she would keep an eye on it, and though she did for years, it turned out that she never had to act on anything because Rick had felt unanimously unsupported in his behaviour, and so he never did it again.

    The night after speaking to her boss, meanwhile, Lil went home and relaxed in her bedroom all night. It’s nobody’s business but hers what she did, because she’s entitled to her privacy.

  75. SS

    It is practically impossible to find a male with access to internet who doesnt use porn. I doubt this means that such men necessarily believe women are subhuman fucktoilets, simply because we cant find any other examples in history where a bias like that has been so universal.

    The Nazis, for instance, officially believed that Jews were subhuman. however, we know for certain that substantial numbers of people in the Nazi empire, even Nazi officers, did not exactly share that belief. Likewise, there were many who doubted slavery, colonialism, imperialism, etc, etc.

    Since all men use porn, what you really said is that 100% of men think women are subhuman. Not one man doubts this belief in any way. Seriously, how can that be? Is it really possible that the hatred men have for women is much much more than what Nazis felt for Jews? I somehow dont think that is the case.

  76. TwissB

    @Hari – playing porn queen. That training is what lets the loathsome PETA get away with a whole new utterly hateful ad campaign at “BWVAKTBOOM” (Boyfriend Went Vegan and Knocked the Bottom Out of Me) on YouTube Is there anything more fun than presenting intimate partner violence as the greatest sex ever for a girl? Since PETA has been steadily notching up its misogyny for years, it is impossible for me to understand how anyone can delude themselves that has anything to do with stopping abuse of animals.

  77. Shelby

    Pheeno it’s called empathy. In your highly irrational state of being a wimminz you are able to fathom that although Nigel’s passing is a blessing to you, there’s no doubt some poor schmuck in the world who might miss him. Maybe his mum or his dog. The disability unfortunately renders you able to see The Big Picture and means you are capable of seeing things from another’s point of view. Patriarchy frowns upon this and calls it emotional reasoning – the domain of women – and you can’t build a civilisation on that.

  78. TwissB

    Oops. Read:..that Peta has anything to do with stopping abuse of animals.

  79. Alouette

    Another female porn user here. Then again, I’m a lesbian, so I’m not watching m/f rape. Financially coerced f/f isn’t any better, though. I know why I use, but I don’t kid myself into thinking it’s for feminist reasons.

    That said, a similar argument could be made about economically independent straight and bi women that choose to live with Nigels. None of it’s feminist. There’s no way to live by feminist ideals all the time without ending up dead under patriarchy. Even separatists have to deal with property laws and such.

  80. iamlegs

    Whoever said that “Truth is Beauty” thing, was spot on.
    If it involves makeup, photoshop, surgery, etc, it’s a lie and therefore ugly.

    So right!

    In order to teach the words ‘beautiful, young, old’ to Taiwanese kindergarten kids, we were instructed to find magazine pictures representative of such. So I found: pictures of made-up women from a fashion magazine, pictures of an old couple from somewhere and a picture of a five-year old girl looking at the camera.

    The instructions were to ask, “Is this beautiful/old/young?” randomly and they were to answer yes or no. You can guess where this is going, because, yep, the only one they found ‘beautiful’ was the picture of the five-year old. Kids, they know a think or two, before they’re all programmed and stuff.

  81. Hari

    iamlegs: “Kids, they know a think or two, before they’re all programmed and stuff.”

    Don’t they ever. The main reason why I prefer people under the age of about 7, more than most others!

  82. lucida

    @Vibrating Liz thanks SO MUCH for the tip off to the Lundy Bancroft book. I nearly fell out of my chair! “Why does he do that” saved my life, literally. I was the victim of DV for 3 years. I’m with a well functioning Nigel now but the bullshit-slicing skills I learned in WDHDT apply to abusers and non-abusers alike. The clumsy ones hit, but all yield the P. As for men with empathy… sexual politics of the X-files aside, God help me I still feel like crazy god damned Agent Mulder with a poster in my room that says “I Want To Believe… Any new tool to help me slice through their BS like a hot knife through butter is more than welcome in my kitchen.

    +

  83. Boner Killington III

    Recently, a campus newspaper i sometimes gawk at, always fails to put anything other than porn and sadomaschism shit in the “sex” column of the paper…this month, she (the writer) has taken to discussing how so many of us just watch porn (especially with our horny Nigels and especially the BDSM kind) but also, near the end of the article, that “porn addiction” may cause your Nigel to lose track of his time…
    Basically, her column, like her others, suggest that this is just a dudely condition that cannot be cured, but just “dealt” with by hopping on board with his porno-viewing.

    Then her most controversial column, in which professors and students alike wrote letters of rage, even went so far to ask about students porno viewing in a poll, even if they would rather, as she put it “poop or pee on someone”

    Anyone wants to read this “controversial” misogynistic porno-fest nonsense that appeared in my campus paper, feel free!

    http://www.thereflector.ca/2012/02/09/sex-column-an-overview-of-loves-underview

    copies of this trash all over, and that is how you know rape culture and porn culture are not near extinction, not even close.

  84. stacey

    Love this post, Twisty. It never can be said enough.

    My $0.02CAD about fandom, fanart and fanfic porn: Oh, if only it were really a revolution. There’s something very freeing, of course, about writing sexual fiction, and I think it has allowed many young women and men a valuable arena in which to explore their own orientations and characters. Not to mention developing and honing their writing skills – as a wanna-be writer, it warms my heart to see people crafting stories, entirely on their own, with no remuneration expected (or allowed!).

    However.

    I’m sorry to say that it’s just the same-old, same-old. Harry and Draco fight for dominance! Draco gets raped and Harry comforts him! Teacher has sex with sexualised student! Multi-character orgy! Blah blah. Same patriarchal set-ups, different characters – doesn’t matter if it’s slash or het porn, the script remains the same. There is a lot of feminisation of the male characters, and a lot of wish-fulfillment “Mary Sue” writing, which all plays to the same heterosexual romantic tropes.

    @Kathryn, I find it amusing that you use this phrase:

    Besides, a world in which Snape and Lupin can end up together is a world in which Hermione doesn’t have to end up heteronormatively shackled to Ron [...]

    …because poor Hermione usually ends up forgotten in the corner, diddling herself while spying on the hot!boy!action. There’s a lot of misogyny in the HP fandom, in the attitudes of writers relegating the girls to minor accessory roles and very few long-format stories focussing on the female characters. (An inherent problem in the books, but that’s a different rant.)

    It’s also interesting to note that there’s very little lesbian porn in HP fic. The women and girls who are “queer identified” are rarely attracted to their own sex – again, it’s all about the hot!boy!action. So it’s not really that transgressive and counter-culture to say that you’re a slash-fanfic writer, if all you do is write about feminised male characters in pedantically rigid patriarchal roles.

    There’s also the culture of big-name writers and their fans to consider… they face constant requests for “special scenes” or fantasy-fics of their favourite characters engaging in sex. The big-name writers want to please their fans, and so write ever more graphic scenes, each becoming a little more kinky, aggressive, violent, etc – the typical escalation of (fans’) porn use. It becomes a competition amongst the writers themselves; “Oh no, SparkleGinny did some sensory-bondage, I’d better write some whipping and caning.” Gotta keep that readership satisfied!

    Oh dear deity, I know entirely too much about this stuff.

  85. Le Chat Noir

    This is a good anti-porn website:
    https://www.againstpornography.org

  86. rootlesscosmo

    Book recommendation: Diana Russell, “Pornography: The Evidence of Harm”

    Warning: includes VERY horrible images.

  87. Nadiah

    Above, Twisty writes “If it does not replicate domination culture, it isn’t pornography. But recall that all art, fiction, fantasy, dramatic conventions, imagery, this blog, etc is generated under the auspices of patriarchy. It is impossible to prevent culture-of-domination mores from seeping in.”

    And Stacey gives an example of how Twisty is right. She points out that even fan-fic, which is free to be about anything it wants to be really, is still trapped with the usual patriarchal narratives.

    But is it possible to fight fire with fire?

    Pornography is powerful. There is some terrifying evidence of how it’s shaping women’s and men’s sexuality, changing for example how teens have their first sexual interactions, changing their expectations. It’s not just replicating patriarchy, it’s strengthening it.

    If pornography is such a powerful means to shape even people’s subconscious sexual responses – to make women get turned-on by their own oppression even! – couldn’t this weapon be used for good instead of evil? Everything, including this blog, is generated under the auspices of patriarchy, but this blog still fights patriarchy.

    Would it still function as porn, to turn-on people, or would the patriarchy just regard it as strange art? Or would it be too dangerous to engage because of the potential damage it could do?

  88. Hari

    Who would pay for porn that portrayed sexual encounter without extremes of pain and dom/sub dynamics?

  89. qvaken

    stacey: Oh dear. You crack me up.

    But I also learned something!

  90. JR

    It seems to me that often discussion of porn stays on these points of “is it degrading to women who are not being used up in the making of it, merely by virtue of the men with whom they are associated viewing it so often and getting ideas about how they should look and behave?”

    A few lucky, prominent, privileged “sex workers” aside, porn is certainly degrading and abusive to the exploited women who are depicted in it. That alone should be enough to give any person with a conscience pause before getting their jollies. Any brief perusal through the swamp of the internet quickly brings one to sites showing women in various states of undress, in attitudes ranging from the merely demeaning to the outright tortured, screaming in pain, with hate language scrawled in bright letters across their naked bodies. The real, live women from all over the world who are used in porn are actually raped, actually tortured, in between play -acting at times that they are being raped and tortured. The consumer does not ever know the difference. In this case, should anyone ever consume porn? Liberal dudes quail at the thought of buying sweatshop goods, yet happily pick out their favorite “brand” of women by race, age, body type, genre; never caring or wanting to know or knowing and then denying that they work under conditions worse than any sweatshop. Bringing up a few happy sex workers from California to excuse the porn industry is like showing the CEO of a clothing manufacturing company to deny the existence of sweatshops everywhere.

    At any rate are there actually dudes, outside of a few pro-feminists or extreme fundies, who don’t use porn? I must confess my skepticism, having been indoctrinated quite young by a “male friend” who handed me a extremely violently misogynistic porn novel and told me “All guys read these. Even nice guys. You should know that. It’s perfectly normal.”

  91. Saurs

    Although I’m the right generation for it, never dipped so much as a dainty, carefully manicured and hairy toe into the steamy, unhygienic waters of slash, meself, for all the reasons stacey has brilliantly and concisely outlined above. I always suspected it was summat like that, faintly lesbiophobic (sic?) and hardly subverting any paradigms: pretty white boys get all the best roles and women are left to occupy the sidelines. The gaze hasn’t even been properly switched, because while women may be creating these situations they conspicuously write themselves out of the storylines; their very best fantasies don’t involve them at all. Historically these kinds of non-threatening outlets for women and girls’ sexual desires–writin’ about Brooding Violent Hunks (tm K. Beaton), arrangin’ vulva-shaped flowers, having a pash if you can get away with it and so long as your partner is similarly well-bred and you’re both still in school–were accepted if not outwardly encouraged because the activities themselves are mostly passive, emphasize the unique aspects of “female beauty,” don’t involve any Real Fucking (no one’s virtue is being compromised because dicks aren’t involved) and if anything acting them out tailors down young women’s fantasies to conservative, heteronormative practices (cf the heavy emphasis on BDSM, rape, and voyeurism in slash).

  92. Nadiah

    @Hari: Yes I take your point. Patriarchy-smashing sex isn’t going to work as well to turn-on people sensitised to the patriarchy-affirming stuff.

    Though above JR mentioned liberal dudes who shun sweatshop goods. One could also ask, who would pay twice as much for a t-shirt? Yet they do. Maybe the same dudes would pay for a kind of fair trade porn too, if their denial about the 99% of porn can be shocked out of them first.

    If the Fair Trade analogy is a reasonable one, then providing the product will create the demand, and even open people to the message. With FT, when people don’t have an option they go into denial. No one wants to believe they’re part of something monstrous, and if they can’t change their behaviours then they’ll just invoke a bit of cognitive dissonance to change their reality. But if you provide the option, then there’s a way for people to clean their hands a little, and then they become more open to the message.

  93. Laurie

    @ Nadiah: I’m confused by the concepts of fair trade porn and patriarchy-smashing sex. There’s already a lot of indie women-made, women-focused, nonviolent (and otherwise) porn, both lesbian and straight. But no matter how “empowerful,” this stuff has minimal market appeal and range compared to the huge, increasingly vicious mainstream porn market and its toxic influence.

    I guess I don’t understand overall how porn can be “fair.” As Twisty says above, “For women to achieve human status we must dismantle male privilege, not acquiesce to the mania that celebrates pornography as awesome health-giving fun. Sex can never be a politically neutral interaction as long as the interests of one party are by universal decree prioritized over the interests of the other.”

    In the patriarchy, the male gaze sees women as sex tools, and men tend to avoid or have no interest in products, people or ideas that might imply otherwise. I wish I thought otherwise, but most dudes get off to see us dominated, hurt and threatened. I’m not sure how a “kinder, gentler porn” — an oxymoron, for sure — could wean people away from the more violent shit they’re addicted to, when the general pattern of porn use heads in the opposite direction, into ever-more degrading territory.

    And your statement “With FT, when people don’t have an option they go into denial” sounded a little like the old “We need porn to provide an outlet so guys don’t rape more.” Whether it’s true or not, regardless of degree, both porn and rape are repellent expressions of oppression. And why expect women to take on the responsibility of trying to “fix” the pornsick masses by creating more, however gentler, stuff they can jack off to? We already squander too much of our energies in the futile chore of transforming men into human beings.

  94. Fictional Queen

    I want to know something: Is there ANY non-misogynist porn? (No matter how indie, small, or unpopular). One time this guy who tries to convince me that not ALL porn is bad, only most of it is, gave me a link to a woman-run site that was supposed to be for women too. Not only were many of the links on her site the usual porn sites for men, but her porn clips there were recommended with texts like “s l * t gets f * c k ed!” etc. So, same misogyny men make for men to see, but under the name “for women” and that is my experience with supposedly by-woman-for-women porn.
    This is ruining my life. I don’t wanna love any guy, I don’t wanna date anyone and I have a general hatred for men. I imagine what they watch when they’re home.. They’re intolerable to me. I hate all of them. And I disagree that men lie to you about their porn use, nope. They tell you they use it whether you like it or not.

  95. Fictional Queen

    And then there’s this huge and outrageously dehumanizing problem: even when a woman wants to express her sexuality the way SHE wants, once it’s an image or a video it becomes just another objectifying tool of the man. Or should I say, once you exist as a woman you’re objectified. That’s why so many women are in denial about the patriarchy and the male gaze and wear these stereotypical sexy clothes to assert their independent sexuality, at core we resent that we can’t escape the sex class no matter how boldly and assertively we want to express ourselves… No matter how much you’re covering up or not covering up, you are in that sex class prison and it is SUFFOCATING.

  96. Hari

    Laurie: “We already squander too much of our energies in the futile chore of transforming men into human beings.”

    You said it. Here’s what I learned the hardest of all possible ways: only actual children can be formed by parents (and society) into full human beings. Once people are adults, it is all on them to choose, and act, toward becoming fully human. It truly is futile to try to mother men into humanity–it doesn’t work, one’s energy is truly squandered because the well we pour it down is bottomless.

    If a womyn wants to mother, she should have a kid or 2, or work in a daycare setting for little ones. If she wants to be therapist, she needs to get a degree and get paid for the work!

  97. Hari

    Get paid for the work, that is, rather than doing that work and being made to pay the steep costs of being so close to a man who is not, and does not want to be, a full human being, partner, lover.

  98. Framboise

    Yeah, I don’t see how porn could be truly feminist. It could, of course, be made under conditions less horrific for the women involved, and that would be a material improvement not to be sneered at (less violence against women is always good). It could also be made to depict less horrific acts, with more focus on female pleasure, etc, but I don’t think it can be truly feminist. For one, there is no way to make porn that doesn’t endorse the rape myth that women always want to do whatever weird sex thing the man wants. A video where some dude asks his lady friend “hey, want to sex?” and said lady friend says “nope, I just got to a really good part in Sister, Outsider” isn’t porn. Porn necessarily shows women always willing to have sex, otherwise there is nothing to show. Porn also makes the women in it subject to male (or viewer) gaze and is inherently voyeuristic. It also allows the viewer ultimate control as a video can be paused, looped, played over and over; not only used on certain times when the porn actress is feeling sexy.
    I’m pretty sure the only way for men to sexually engage with women in a pro-feminist way necessarily involves men engaging with actual real women in the real world on equal terms.

  99. Fictional Queen

    Why not? It doesn’t HAVE to be always a man asking or telling a woman to do something. It could be the other way around. It could be all about female horniness and females wanting to screw men for pleasure. It’s not that it can’t be that way, it’s that people choose to make it about male dominance. It could be about the female gaze, focused on sexualizing the male body for our enjoyment instead of the female’s. Catering to female sensations instead of male misgoyny. I think this is also something patriarchal that whenever a woman says yes to sex, it must be because of compliance! The same thing also happens with misogynist who can’t possibly conceive of a woman screwing because she’s horny, it must be either because of love or marriage, or she must be prostituded or traumatized or something. I have argued a lot with a guy over this and he insists this sort of porn-for-women exists. I have never seen any such thing. Tell me precisely why supposedly for-women porn has a pornified female body at the center of its attention. Exactly why the same rapist language is used in them. Basically why there is no difference between this supposedly non-misogynist porn and the regular porn. Plus, I can’t subject myself to clips of barf-inducing porn in the hopes of finding one that is for women! I can’t physically bear porn! It makes me nausious!

  100. stacey

    Quoth Framboise:

    I’m pretty sure the only way for men to sexually engage with women in a pro-feminist way necessarily involves men engaging with actual real women in the real world on equal terms.

    That reminds me of some pron I once saw a few years ago, that was actually not so bad. A documentary-making couple approached other couples (hetero and homo) about “making love” on camera. They interviewed them, asking about how they met, then (graphically) showed a typical lovemaking session. Completely uninteresting for the hard-core porn-lover, of course, since there was no dominance bullshit or coercion, but rather sweet otherwise, if you like to watch couples in love having sex. There was also no “positioning” of the women, i.e. giving the best camera angles to show the pistoning action in her orifices. The camera person had to get whatever shot he or she could, without disturbing the action.

    Boring? Maybe. Erotic? I thought so. Porn? I suppose. But it’s by far the porn I’d rather see all over the internet, rather than what’s on now.

  101. Ginjoint

    Pheeno, you wrote of worrying about bad karma coming to you for being glad that your abusive ex is dead. Who says that his death isn’t the work of karma? You know, for pushing a pregnant woman down a flight of stairs, maybe the universe actually meted out a bit of justice. Anyway, I’m glad to be happy for you.

  102. tinfoil hattie

    It could be about the female gaze, focused on sexualizing the male body for our enjoyment instead of the female’s

    But what is the “female gaze” under patriarchy? How does a woman “sexualize” the body of a member of the dominant class? I think both are a contradiction in terms.

  103. Hari

    tinfoil hattie: “But what is the “female gaze” under patriarchy? How does a woman “sexualize” the body of a member of the dominant class? I think both are a contradiction in terms.”

    Yes. And besides, I don’t imagine a better world where womyn are equally as able to objectify men and sex, as men are presently objectifying womyn and sex. The most damaging aspect of patriarchy is objectification–heartless, and individualistic in only the most dead and deadening way.

  104. FemmeForever

    @ Laurie

    We already squander too much of our energies in the futile chore of transforming men into human beings.

    I’ll take that on a T-shirt, a hat, and a garage door banner.

    @Fictional Queen

    I want to know something: Is there ANY non-misogynist porn? (No matter how indie, small, or unpopular).

    No. I started a You Tube channel a while back just for some simple G-rated fun. The videos I upload only show my hands. How long do you think it took before my viewership went from 0% men up to 30 or 40 percent men and I started getting sexually suggestive, filthy comments from men about what they wanted me to do for them? I had to take one video down because of it. Again entirely innocent, non-sexual material. There’s nothing misogynist about simple images of a woman’s hands, yet to my horror men still used them as porn and even embedded them on pronified sites all over the net (until I put a stop to that, of course). From this I learned that ANY image of the female, in whole or in part, will be pronified. The pornography is not just in the images it’s in the mind of the viewer.

  105. nails

    Can’t you tell if a dude watches porn? Its like a psychic infection or something, they really can’t hide it. They begin to have expectations that cannot reasonably said to have their origins outside of porn. When you get down to it pornography is some weird shit, really, it is so departed from an authentic person-oriented sexuality that it is impossible to mistake for anything else. No one mistakes food from their garden with mcdonalds for the same reason. Trust your gut.

    There are dudes that don’t. Unfortunately the majority of men who don’t watch porn seem to be really religious. I know two right now who aren’t religious or porn watchers, and they both get called gay by other men for not watching pornography.

    Robert Jensen said that watching porn, even in a research setting (to check boxes if certain things happen, count aggressive actions, etc) messed with his mind and caused him to objectify women. He quit watching it for research even because the benefits of proving that certain things happen in pornography was outweighed by how it made him feel about the world.

  106. nails

    “I am a bisexual woman, and I enjoy reading and watching porn. (And it’s slightly more respectable cousin, erotica). Where do I fit in to this argument?”

    I just read a book by a black mormon, back when blacks weren’t allowed to be priesthood members (and therefore couldn’t reach the highest layer of mormon heaven). Where does she fit into the argument that the church was racist?

    Is oppression a matter that can be discerned by informed individuals or it is something that can be vetoed by one of the oppressed people deciding otherwise?

    The reality is that what any individual woman says or does cannot negate the fact that women are oppressed by pornography. I know dudes are eager to point out tokens as a trump card over any argument against social problems, but it doesn’t prove much of anything. You will always find someone willing to get social approval in exchange for confirming oppressive notions about their own. I don’t doubt the authenticity of the tokens, but the dynamic at work is hard to ignore.

    I would urge you to look into what women in pornography go through, how many of them would not be doing it if they didn’t have drug problems or mental illnesses. Then think about if there is a way for you to tell the difference between a woman who has to do porn because she is being pimped out and one who has many other opportunities- how could anyone tell the difference from watching the porn? Perhaps you could contemplate why the lesbian sexuality in pornography is treated as a show for men instead of an authentic sexuality, and how that affects real life bisexuals and lesbians such as yourself.

  107. nails

    “I want to know something: Is there ANY non-misogynist porn?”

    Do you mean in intent, or effect? A small number of people set out to make porn with the intention of doing something non-misogynistic, but like empowerful burlesque, the effect is the same. Misogynistic men just interpret it as another woman doing what is natural for us (whoring). You can’t make your oppressor see your humanity by giving them a boner. It just doesn’t work, I wish “transgressive” pornographers would understand that.

    Someone, somewhere is saying “GAY PORN” to your question. Gay porn is hung up on so many patriarchal notions about domination and submission that it is hard for me to call that non-misogynistic as well. Why does so much gay porn feature masculine authority figures (cops, marines, cops, drill seargants, cops) treating some other dude like women in porn are treated?

  108. KittyWrangler

    @nails

    I was (hesitantly) going to answer the question with a gay male porn film I once saw (really just the very lengthy trailer, since I’m a straightish woman and I’m not going to shell out that kind of $$). I’m happy to slog through my vintage browser history to find it if Twisty doesn’t mind me posting a link.

    From what I saw (the trailer was a 15-minute section of the film) the premise was that two boyfriends spend the night talking in one’s room then have sex. The filmmakers spent the first third focusing on character-building and the relationship, using eye contact and intimacy to build tension and set a loving mood. The acting was fantastic, better than most actual movies. The camera angles and lighting were conversational and intimate, not objectifying. Then when they started the sex it wasn’t glamorized at all. But their facial expressions actually made it beautiful. Seeing someone receiving a BJ with a loving, respectful look on their face while they gaze into the eyes of the BJ-er was completely shocking. I’ve never seen that on film before. The fantasy was clearly that the viewer is imagining themselves as part of a loving relationship and everything about the production supported that fantasy.

    If gay porn-makers are making this stuff there are probably straight porn-makers doing it too but I’m not about to go fishing for it in the great ocean of nasty porn, as most links I follow to “feminist porn” leads to misogyny + tattoos.

    Still I doubt this particular film would change any opinions for many Blamers: I didn’t do my research to see if the actors were enthusiastically consenting in every way possible, it doesn’t address the mountain of misogyny that is 99.999999% of porn, it doesn’t exist outside the Patriarchy. But it made me consider the possibility of non-misogynist porn.

  109. Nadiah

    @Laurie: Yes, I take your point about it having low marketability. In the initial comment I wondered whether it would function as porn or if most people would just regard it as some kind of strange (unarousing) art involving naked people.

    Then again, we’ve got Stacey saying that she thought the love-making doco was erotic, KittyWrangler who was shocked (in a good way) to see a respectful and loving BJ scene, and Julie it seems is seeking ways to watch porn without betraying women and feminism altogether. Again, with the Fair Trade analogy, in the beginning it was only a few social justice types who’d go out of their way to find it and pay extra to support it. Maybe women like Julie would be those early-adopters. But FT grew from there, the consciousness grows as well as the capital raised by the FT businesses. So the argument that hardly anyone will buy it is not necessarily a good one, not in the long-term.

    It looks like there are people who want feminist porn, and people who are trying to make it, however impossible that is from within the patriarchy. Perhaps it depends upon whether or where a feminist is willing to compromise. Do those examples above count as feminist porn? Are they close enough to be worth supporting, or would a compromise be a betrayal, missing the bigger picture? I like how nails put it “You can’t make your oppressor see your humanity by giving them a boner.” The answer to these questions isn’t clear to me.

    “why expect women to take on the responsibility of trying to “fix” the pornsick masses by creating more, however gentler, stuff they can jack off to?”

    Yes, you’re right. And Hari makes the same point, that my argument slips dangerously towards the idea that it’s somehow women’s job to mother adult men back towards their humanity. And in this (potentially?) self-defeating way, of all things.

    When I wrote about the denial issue, I was thinking specifically about Fair Trade. Ideally people *should* say “Well if I can’t get sweatshop-free shoes, then I’ll just go barefoot until I find a way to address the systemic causes of exploitation and poverty in the global economic structures!” but only a few people are like that. What people usually do is become disheartened and then just try not to think about it too much. And keep buying the shoes. But if you give them an alternative then you can meet them part way, and strangely enough, the customers of the alternative become noisy advocates for the message as well, free of charge.

    So it’s true that I do want men to have an alternative, and I do want to make it easier for them, but for pragmatic reasons not for their edification. The horrific conditions alone are motivating enough.

  110. Le Chat Noir

    Diana Russell’s book, Against Pornography: The Evidence of Harm (explicit) is available for free download here:
    http://nopornnorthampton.org/2007/01/25/free-book-download-diana-russell-against-pornography-explicit.aspx

  111. Le Chat Noir

    I also recommend this video about the content analysis of pornography presented at the National Feminist Antipornography Conference at Wheelock College, Boston March 24, 2007:
    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-4489853897776743667&q=feminist+antipornography+conference#

    This study sampled popular pornography. To find what was popular, they went through Adult Video News which publishes a monthly list of the top 250 best sold and rented “adult” DVDs. Surprise, surprise, the majority of these videos featured verbal/physical aggression and most of the aggressors in these films were, shockingly, men 73% of the time. And by far the most common recipient of aggresion was a women. Even when women were aggressing, they were generally aggressing against other women.

    This is what porn is about for male porn viewers – sexual aggression towards women. I don’t think you can make “feminist porn” because the misogynist nature of porn is what turns on male porn viewers, hence its not feminist.

    What needs to change is the whole concept of manhood/manliness which is heavily associated with domination and aggression as well as the notion perpetuated that women are passive and inherently masochists who enjoy being dominated, a message which of course, porn promotes. Porn is a propoganda machine reinforcing this message over and over again.

  112. Le Chat Noir

    Also, check out:

    Pornland: How Porn has Hijacked our Sexuality
    http://gaildines.com/excerpts/

  113. Hari

    Kind of tangential, I suppose, but all of this discussion has brought to mind a major beef I have with sexuality in general, in the P: that it’s been so objectified and commodified, in general. Everyone’s sexuality has been hijacked by consumerism over the past 50yrs or so.

    By consumerism, I mean that the way we are all viewed as objects of capitalism who simply exist to buy products and services. Of course, this is cleverly disguised by way of advertising that leads us to believe we are actually powerful subjects who can enhance our experience of living through our personal control over objects (products and services) applied to our bodies, homes, etc. Yet it is all just clever disguises, because in capitalism (a logical extension of patriarchy), the whole world and everything/everyone in it is an object existing solely to produce profits for the only actual subjects–the capitalists.

    This has always been true of capitalism; it is since the sexual revolution of the 60s-70s that sex itself became wide open fair game for profit. Our most intimate and private of exchanges have been completely invaded and violated–most horribly by porn, yes, but also via all kinds other intertwined productions from ‘special-sauce lubes’ (to make sex more of thrill than nature allows, presumably, thank dog for technology!), to Victoria’s secret special sexxxaayy underwear, surgeries, sex books/workshops/therapies blah blah blah.

    This is what I think: objectification is a deadening process. Our (unwitting/unwilling/enforced) agreement to be objects in capitalist patriarchy, our agreement to treat each other and the whole fucking planet as a giant warehouse of objects existing to make our lives more comfy and ‘fun’ while we kill off and pollute whatever we need or whatever tries to get in our way, has gradually desensitized all of us (at best) and made us all extremely unhappy/enraged/depressed at worst. Which means it takes more and more to feel a thrill–and we just reach for more of whatever, to try to feel that thrill. And/or to distract us from our pain.

    I’m going to leave out the more direct patriarchy-as- violence-against-womyn stuff–don’t want to write a whole thesis here–but I’m not forgetting how this plays it’s huge part; I assume we all know that. My point here is that extremely few of us have the least idea what ‘normal sexuality’ actually is. We have been taught to value, normalize and want a whole lot of stuff that I doubt womyn, anyway, would have thought up on our own if we lived in a world where it was ok to follow our sexual urges without so much training of various sorts. I even doubt men would have, but this isn’t about them.

    Which is to say that I don’t believe there is any such thing as feminist porn, or really any kind of healthy porn at all. The whole notion of even the most ‘innocent’ porn–of expressing personal sexuality by watching other people do it– has been taught to us, and it is at it’s core a lie. A highly toxic lie that is an expression of our existing desensitization, which also further deadens us emotionally and even physically (which is one reason among several why one might even need ‘special sauce lubes’). Yes, 99.999% of porn is nothing more than reiteration of misogyny, reiteration and expansion of the linkage of sex/violence–and sick as all fuck.

    But I say, on the whole, everyone’s sexuality has been hijacked totally without our really knowing it, and that is the biggest crime against us by patriarchy. Sexuality, which can be argued as among the human acts with greatest potential to engage us physically, emotionally and spiritually–its pleasures with the potential to facilitate our greater sense of unity with another/others (even one-time deals) to evoke more love in us and the world–has been relentlessly re-created by the P into a merely object/object dance, a mere transaction in the most banal of ways. That is where the fundamental ripoff and violation is. I hate that I have been sexually abused in various ways in my life. Even more do I hate that my sexuality in general, along with everyone else’s, has been so thoroughly hijacked by the P. And I hate this fact with a deep hate indeed. So-called feminist porn, ‘loving porn’ cannot begin to address this violation. IBTP.

  114. lizor

    @ Hari “My point here is that extremely few of us have the least idea what ‘normal sexuality’ actually is.” Yes. Yes. Yes. Your entire post is spot on.

    FTR – my comment about calling porn “art” was meant to read : “insulting to anyone who has actually dedicated their LIVES to creating actual art.” – Not “dedicated their “Ice”". Bloody auto-spell.

  115. ma'am

    Hari

    I loved your comment “Inexorably taints, yes. 40yrs of feminism later, after countless attempts to fix this in my own relationships, rationalize it away, adjust to it somehow in the belief that love would conquer all, recover from the latest round only to try it again–40yrs of feminism later, it has finally sunk in. Womyn seem only to accept this either by virtue of one too many hospitalizations-due-to-assault, or from sheer fatigue once beyond fertility years, like me. The truth of this inexorable tainting of all relationships hunted me like a tireless young dog all these years, til I finally stopped in exhaustion and let it lay it’s head in my lap.

    Turns out that truth is a fine companion–awful to contemplate from afar, but so down-home honest and helpful once accepted up close.”

    I’m not there yet. But I’m plotting and planning to get there very, very soon. Thanks for your inspiring comment.

  116. lizor

    @ qvaken –

    Your feminist erotic literature really turned me on! Thanks!

  117. ma'am

    @ tinfoil hattie

    “But what is the “female gaze” under patriarchy? How does a woman “sexualize” the body of a member of the dominant class? I think both are a contradiction in terms.”

    Something I’ve noticed about my own female gaze. I discovered I also felt free to oggle women, much in the same way as men. Looking at people is interesting, and I am very visual, but I realized that my gaze was nearly always on women. Not because I am sexually attracted to them, but because they are beautiful, or even if they are not, and just because it was interesting to do so. But therein lies the transgression — a woman is her own person, and I do not have the right to consume her with my eyes. We are taught from the beginning that women are there for us to look at. This I found was a deeply internalized symptom of the P.

  118. Bushfire

    “@ Hari “My point here is that extremely few of us have the least idea what ‘normal sexuality’ actually is.” Yes. Yes. Yes. Your entire post is spot on.”

    Me too– I learned the dominant culture’s idea of sexuality and I’ve been trying to unlearn it, but I find it really difficult because the P is right in my head and I can’t see beyond it. I want to express a natural, egalitarian sexuality but I can hardly even picture what that would be like. Beyond the idea of enthusiastic consent, it’s just a big fuzzy grey area.

    BTW I see that Le Chat Noir posted Gail Dine’s book. I wrote a review of it on my blog, basically saying that it’s a decent book but falls short of Dworkin-style awesomness. It’s an especially good read for those who aren’t sure what modern porn is really like- she definitely lays it out in plain view.

  119. Hari

    Bushfire–consent, yeah. Thing is, I gave up when I couldn’t get *men* to consent to free and openhearted exploration, leaving all the scripts behind. People programmed to particular activities, sensations and goals have a hard time stepping out of that. And no man I ever met could begin to see any reason why they should.

  120. stacey

    How could I miss qvaken’s erotic literature? Was it held up in moderation? It’s wonderful!

    Here’s the anchor link if you missed it too: http://blog.iblamethepatriarchy.com/2012/02/16/spinster-aunt-prattles-on-about-pornography/#comment-192122

  121. TwissB

    What is the point of the red herring search for “feminist pornography” or any other delusion of redemptive sexual objectification that draws the individual away from relating sexual enjoyment to human interaction real or imagined? Better sexual objectification is like better sex discrimination.

    Re Gay male pornography, the best analysis I’ve seen is in John Stoltenberg’s “Refusing to be a Man.”

  122. Fictional Queen

    Why should the way men interpret it be the important factor? Why should men’s boners be so important? Why should I care about what MEN feel and think and interpret and get boners for?! I am so sick and tired of men’s boners being the most important thing in life. They tell us to wear hijab because we might titillate some man otherwise. So I should change my wardrobe because of what some man might think. Now I should not want eye candy because of how some man might interpret the content. Denying there’s a female gaze is suffocating and misogynist. I get a sort of sexual enjoyment from looking at men who I think are handsome and sexy and I wouldn’t mind that being available to me the way whatever men like is available to them in huge amounts. Am I human or am I not? I like my feelings and gaze to be catered to as well and I do not give a shit about how a man might interpret that because I hate this prison we’re in where what men feel about us is the determining factor in how we act.
    By the way you know what the male equivalent of “not my Nigel” is? Not my porn!!

  123. Doctress Ju'ulia

    There is no “female gaze”. Not when women are so devalued and dehumanized and hated. We don’t get to “gaze” at shit.

    And, after having a d00d recently tell me I was “objectifying him” by complementing him on his pants (and how they fit), my response was “I DON’T GET TO OBJECTIFY YOU. YOU ARE A MAN, THUS YOU GET TO BE A HUMAN. ALWAYS AND FOREVER.”

  124. Carpenter

    There is a difference between saying “there is no female gaze” in the sense that an individual female has subjective feelings and desires, and saying “there is no female gaze” in terms of the cumulative power relations of all women and all men. The thing is I wouldn’t know how to eventually create a cumulative ‘female gaze’ without acknowledging and expanding the individual female gazes of each woman. In that sense I don’t know how useful it is to immediately smack down some individuals use of the them, though the cumulative reality has to be acknowledged.

    Re. fanfic, I don’t see what everyone’s problem is when het women write stories about two men. I agree tons of said stories reproduce stupid power dynamics esp. about who is getting it in the butt. However, the fact that there are two men and no women seems like a typical supernumery fantasy, 1 man equals hot – two men equals hothot. One can argue about if it is feminist at all to have voyeuristic fantasies, and how much the idea of a gaze for anyone is irreducibly objectifying and dehumanizing but I don’t get the hate on the two guys scenario.

  125. qvaken

    Hari, lizor and Bushfire, thanks for bringing up the idea, “If porn doesn’t exist anymore, then what IS sex and sexuality?” (my paraphrasing). I reflected upon my own sexual history recently, and even in the non-violent, non-creepy, non-coerced situations, I know that I was just wearing the right underwear, pulling the right faces, positioning my body so that it looked “sexy”, making the right noises… I even recall feeling embarrassed a number of times because I accidentally continued my act for a few seconds after he was finished (which always signalled the end of lovemaking for me). Not to mention all of my daily artificial displays of sexuality. I realise now that it was all just constructed, and intended to please others rather than myself, but it leaves me empty-headed: With what do I replace it?

    Larissa Q (upthread): “One of the arguments I’ve heard against women asking their partners not to look at porn is, “You’re trying to control the poor guy’s sexuality!” When I hear that, I get ready to spit bullets, because it flies in the face of REAL sexual coercion that women deal with all the time.”

    It’s ridiculous, isn’t it? First of all, that’s privilege for you: Anything less than constantly having their sense of entitlement vindicated, and they’ll feel victimised. Second of all, “sexuality”?? Sex is about people. Porn is pictures and sound! Porn is an item! Porn isn’t sex or sexuality! He might as well be enjoying himself while staring at a pair of sneakers or listening to the wind blow. And regarding your take on it: Yes, I’m surprised that they don’t feel embarrassed when their hypocrisy is showing!

  126. qvaken

    lizor and stacey: Glad you liked it!

  127. Hari

    qvaken: “I know that I was just wearing the right underwear, pulling the right faces, positioning my body so that it looked “sexy”, making the right noises…”

    Yes, this. And pushing the right buttons, saying the right words, learning how to ‘enjoy’ the right activities (with both verbal persuasions along the lines of “relax and you’ll see how GREAT this is!” and physical tactics/warm ups to overcome the natural revulsion/gag-reflex or pain). I so clearly remember being in early teens–a couple years before even being ready to get sexually active–and reading the ‘right books’ to prepare myself to be a properly fun/exciting/willing partner to the eventual man of my dreams. At the time, I didn’t even question the idea of needing all those lessons–I was determined to become sexxaayy. Coming from a place of feeling I was a plain-jane who wouldn’t have a chance of attracting partners with my small breasts and so forth–so I’d better be able to give signs of being a rock (porn) star between the sheets.

    At the time, I was already losing the makeup and other feminine performances, as a budding feminist, too. Oh the irony of wanting to be ‘free’, and never suspecting that all those books were strictly about sex as objectification, as merely dead-yet-power-driven physical transactions between 2 object/bodies–my own body being the sacrifice to male power because all those techniques were about pleasing men. All the while along the way, that material was promoting female ‘pleasure’ too–but of course, strictly how to manage to get some pleasure while letting men be the center of it all. Learn to enjoy subjugation to the max! Took me another many years to see that…oh, I was so proud of my sexual prowess, daring, blah blah gag me blah.

    And this: “Sex is about people. Porn is pictures and sound! Porn is an item! Porn isn’t sex or sexuality! He might as well be enjoying himself while staring at a pair of sneakers…” (I cut “listening to the wind blow” because that kind of simple, natural sensuality can be participatory and enlivening). SEX IS ABOUT PEOPLE. People–physical, emotional, spiritual beings who, in terms of any activity or relationship, are healthiest and happiest with that which touches and nourishes them in a whole way. I think the reason for so much porn, sex addiction and general dis-ease among us that brings us to so much unhappiness, is that at this point in the history of the P (capitalism and all), we are desperately trying to scratch an itch that just gets worse because so damn little about living is allowed to be about PEOPLE, as whole beings. We are dead objects in the P, applying ‘pleasures’, medicines, products, extreme experiences of all sorts at a furious rate–all of which fail to touch us at the deep level we need, to feel ok.

    I don’t know what sex could be. I do know that nothing in the P teaches us anything at all about it (or about much of anything at all) besides dangerous lies served up with deadening poisons that kill the heart and soul of people.

  128. Mar Iguana

    Twisty,

    I know I’m banned for life here, but I’m hoping you will overlook that it’s from me and post this article about the evil of the male gaze, especially the part about it being addressed in the Talmud, especially this paragraph “The Talmud tells the religious man, in effect: If you have a problem, you deal with it. It is the male gaze — the way men look at women — that needs to be desexualized, not women in public. The power to make sure men don’t see women as objects of sexual gratification lies within men’s — and only men’s — control.”:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/20/opinion/ultra-orthodox-jews-and-the-modesty-fight.html

    Lechery, Immodesty and the Talmud
    By DOV LINZER
    Published: January 19, 2012

    IS it possible for a religious demand for modesty to be about anything other than men controlling women’s bodies? From recent events in Israel, it would certainly seem that it is not.

    Last month, an innocent, modestly dressed 8-year-old girl, Naama Margolese, living in Beit Shemesh, described being spat on and vilified by religious extremists — all men — who believed that she did not dress modestly enough while walking past them to the religious school she attends. And more and more, public buses in Israel are enforcing gender segregation imposed by ultra-Orthodox riders in and near their neighborhoods. Woe to the girl or woman who refuses to move to the back of the bus.

    This is part of a larger battle being waged in Israel between the ultra-Orthodox and the rest of Israeli society over women’s place in society, over their very right to have a visible presence and to participate in the public sphere.

    What is behind these deeply disturbing events? We are told that they arise from a religious concern about modesty, that women must be covered and sequestered so that men do not have improper sexual thoughts. It seems, then, that a religious tenet that begins with men’s sexual thoughts ends with men controlling women’s bodies.

    This is not a problem unique to Judaism. But the Talmud, the basis for Jewish law, offers a perhaps surprising answer: It places the responsibility for controlling men’s licentious thoughts about women squarely on the men.
    Put more plainly, the Talmud says: It’s your problem, sir; not hers.

    The ultra-Orthodox men in Israel who are exerting control over women claim that they are honoring women. In effect they are saying: We do not treat women as sex objects as you in Western society do. Our women are about more than their bodies, and that is why their bodies must be fully covered.

    In fact, though, their actions objectify and hyper-sexualize women. Think about it: By saying that all women must hide their bodies, they are saying that every woman is an object who can stir a man’s sexual thoughts. Thus, every woman who passes their field of vision is sized up on the basis of how much of her body is covered. She is not seen as a complete person, only as a potential inducement to sin.

    Of course, once you judge a female human being only through a man’s sexualized imagination, you can turn even a modest 8-year-old girl into a seductress and a prostitute.

    At heart, we are talking about a blame-the-victim mentality. It shifts the responsibility of managing a man’s sexual urges from himself to every woman he may or may not encounter. It is a cousin to the mentality behind the claim, “She was asking for it.”

    So the responsibility is now on the women. To protect men from their sexual thoughts, women must remove their femininity from their public presence, ridding themselves of even the smallest evidence of their own sexuality.
    All of this is done in the name of the Torah and Jewish law.

    But it’s actually a complete perversion. The Talmud, the foundation of Jewish law, acknowledges that men can be sexually aroused by women and is indeed concerned with sexual thoughts and activity outside of marriage. But it does not tell women that men’s sexual urges are their responsibility. Rather, both the Talmud and the later codes of Jewish law make that demand of men.

    It is forbidden for a man to gaze sexually at a woman, whether beautiful or ugly, married or unmarried, says the Talmud. Later Talmudic rabbis extended this ban even to “her smallest finger” and “her brightly colored clothing — even if they are drying on the wall.”

    To make these the woman’s responsibility is to demand that Jewish women cover their hands, and that they not dry their clothes in public. No one has ever said this. At least not yet.

    The Talmud tells the religious man, in effect: If you have a problem, you deal with it. It is the male gaze — the way men look at women — that needs to be desexualized, not women in public. The power to make sure men don’t see women as objects of sexual gratification lies within men’s — and only men’s — control.

    Jewish tradition teaches men and women alike that they should be modest in their dress. But modesty is not defined by, or even primarily about, how much of one’s body is covered. It is about comportment and behavior. It is about recognizing that one need not be the center of attention. It is about embodying the prophet Micah’s call for modesty: learning “to walk humbly with your God.”
    Eight-year-old Naama could teach her attackers a thing or two about modesty.

    Dov Linzer, an Orthodox rabbi, is the dean of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School in the Riverdale section of the Bronx.
    (*(*(* (*(*(*(*(* (*((*(*(*(*(*

    From IBTP:

    EmilyBites
    February 17, 2012 at 8:18 am
    Too right, speedbudget.
    You can actually watch the mechanism in action if you live in the UK: dude in public looks up from his Page 3 and his eyes slide over you/another woman in his eyeline like slime over a freshly caught fish. Women exist for looking at, so they look. It’s that simple to them.

  129. Hari

    Edit for clarity: “porn, sex addiction and general dis-ease among us that brings us to so much unhappiness”

    should say….that is the EVIDENCE of our great unhappiness.

  130. Hari

    Though it certainly seems to bring us only greater unhappiness!

  131. Aizenald

    I linked to Twisty’s original post on Facebook and quickly received this unique male perspective from my mansplainin’ “friend”, my comments in brackets:

    “I started to write a longer commentary on this [but decided I didn't need to because my dudely word should be considered fact implicitly, so why bother?]. Instead, I’m just going to say that this is an uneducated, unenlightened, and actually very sexist article [a dude said it, it must be true]. I understand she wanted to point out ‘Pornography degrades women,’ and then realized that we figured that out twenty years ago [apparently I agree with this raging vagina, but I sure don't like her TONE]… actually, I just read the rest of this chicks site [yes, the ENTIRE site. Within an hour of you posting this link].”

    “Seriously, THIS is the stuff you choose to post? [You should only post nice ladies!] There are plenty of intelligent females [FEMALES] with feminist viewpoints on the internet, and you choose to let this idiot represent your viewpoints? I hate to say it, but it’s shit like this that does the most damage to feminism [shrill bitches are the reason women are oppressed!]. Posting an article from someone who is impossible to take seriously makes it difficult to take you seriously [you weren't nice, so I'm going to continue to consider you subhuman!].”

    “Well, I’m sure that’s going to have an adverse effect on our friendship. But as a fellow intelligent human being, I’m far too offended to not say anything.” [HAHAHAHAHAHA]

    Thought I’d share.

  132. lizor

    @qvaken, ma’am, Hari and others here who have brought up the occupation by the P of our minds. Yes, I have had the same experience of performing sexuality – it is so conditioned into us! And similarly looking at women – I don’t find that I look at them because they are “beautiful”, but some piece of me is running the training messages “Those pants don’t do a THING for her” – that kind of sick shit. Appraising and critiquing. Having these thoughts alone, reinforces the outlook and regulations of the P. I feel poisoned by it and try as much as I can to do some self-CBT, re-scripting every time I catch myself doing it.

    I actually loath the notion that women are physically beautiful and men are not. I have heard that excuse over and over for the objectification of women and I think it’s horse shit. We need a major overhaul in our aesthetic conditioning. And frankly, I have enough women’s faces and bodies served up to me, as entertainment or to sell me some crap I don’t need, to last three lifetimes.

    Also, TwissB, I agree with you regarding the red herring of a quest for feminist pornography. It presupposes that we feminists are feeling terribly short-changed that we don’t have some porn to use.

    Seriously, does anyone experience this as a real need, or is it more often an acquiescence to the pressures that tell us if we aren’t reading about or watching someone else performing horniness or humping or otherwise getting off, then we are missing out on something REALLY IMPORTANT and terribly hip?

    I have actually got to a point in my life where I enjoy sex with my partner. (It was a long road to get here). I don’t feel any need to watch other people at it, thanks. Don’t need to watch them chew their food or take a dump either, thanks. No one needs porn. It’s a piece of privilege and perhaps a symptom of some kind of existential boredom. It certainly is not anything close to a need for any sane human being.

  133. Mildred

    The queer porn I’ve seen looks the same to me as that ‘curvy girls are hot too!’ thing. It feels like marginalised people fighting for their right to be sexually objectified. Because anythings better than being ignored!
    Same shit, more tattoo’s. I looked at that no faux site, I was surprised by how BDSM-y it was and how gendered the scenarios were… 1 butch with a strap on, 1 femme taking it. I suppose at least it looked like the kind of thing no straight man would go for.

    Side note: type in “stuck in mud” in GIS and guess what comes up? pornolated babes covered in sexayyy mud! WTF eh, I couldn’t think of anything more frustrating and less sexy than getting bogged in mud, but its got all the elements of sexy times right there; helplessness, vulnerability, allusions to ‘dirtiness’!

  134. Cyberwulf

    Carpenter: The theory has been put forth that one of the reasons straight women write male/male erotic fanfiction is because it allows them to vicariously experience no strings attached sex without the attendant sexist bullshit that occurs if a woman has casual sex with a man in real life.

    On fanfiction in general: there is hetero fanfiction out there in which the man is a generous, considerate lover who takes the time to fulfil his partner’s needs and makes sure she’s completely comfortable and happy all the way through the experience. These fanfics tend to be devoid of “facials” and “hurr take it betch”. I don’t like to assume gender on the Internet, but I can guess who writes those fanfics.

  135. Saurs

    Aizenald, so what did you write in response? Or did you just allow his big fat turd of a comment to sit there, exposed for the mansplain-y victimized nonsense that it is?

  136. Maria

    I am reading an interesting book called ‘Gender Outlaws’ at the moment which describes how pornography made one trans lady feel far more comfortable and at peace with her body. So, it’s not all just frustrated housewives or desperate-to-be-accepted third wavers. I would say.

  137. stacey

    How can anyone read Twisty’s site in just one hour? Oh, right, he only read the posts, not the edifying discussion.

    Aizenald, send him his bingo score: http://g.virbcdn.com/_f/files/70/FileItem-217337-mansplainbingocopy.jpg

    (That’s my personal dropbox-like place, so it’s safe to click.)

  138. Twisty

    It is unlikely that anyone — particularly a liberal-douche-dude — has read the all my posts in the space of an hour, even without the comments. There are over 1500 of’em.

    The tiresome dudecomment quoted by Aizenald pales in comparison to the ones I delete outta this mofo every flippin day. Here’s the most recent one:

    Sorry, but you are wrong about this. Men doesnt objectify women in general. Only the hot ones. Im not a hunk that Will have any?e whith a hottie so I use pornografi.
    Im representativa for most dudes.

    Or this.

    For the most part,I find your comments and prognostications,considering the state we’re in,extremely depressing in a superficial way-superficial,I mean,I have studied a lot of psychology and philosophy.So I understand the psychology of people.Also,that people can rarely be helped due to their insistence on believing lies/absolutisms and disbelieving relativity/truth.The best thing I could advice you people is to study Tibetan Buddhism.Cheers.

    Thanks, man. That was really meaningful.

  139. Cravo

    On the subject of “feminist porn”, there is a very interesting analysis here: http://rageagainstthemanchine.com/2010/12/20/get-on-the-fucking-ball-janitors/

  140. naomi

    It pisses me off that porn only counts as “bisexual” if it includes man-on-man action. Woman-on-woman counts as straight so long as there is a man in the room, and sometimes even if not. I guess it is seen as normal because it does not “threaten” (whatever that is supposed to mean) teh menz.

    I think there is such a thing as non-misogynistic porn but it is not easily found. The “bisexual” category is a reasonable place to start looking for it.

  141. Hari

    So, Twisty–are you meditating yet? After all, that nice man just told you to.

    Just for counterpoint, I discovered that my ex/abuser took up Tibetan Buddhism soon after we parted and apparently he’s after it still, 15yrs later. Didn’t stop him from continuing on his merry trail of womyn hating, somehow. Maybe the poor dear just really needs his meditation to get a moment’s rest from all the tears and rage that get turned his way?

    I say, we all take up navel gazing with incense, chants and gongs (oh my!). After all, that really nice guy just suggested it so cheerily!

  142. Cootie Twoshoes

    The dudecomments are comedic gold. A parody would just be a straight-up copy. Even though these two examples are fekking hilarious, I second stacey’s heartfelt thanks to you, Twisty, for holding back the raging river of stump-dumb misogynist commentary. Savage Death Island is the best place on Internetia.

  143. Tiakristi

    @ Stacey & Twisty…I discovered this site over the holidays this past year, & was so hooked that I did read all of the blog posts. It took me at least two weeks, and I did not read most of the past edifying discussions.

    That said, I will confess to being a former sex-poz empowerful fun-fem. Which still led to my ex-Nigel watching loads fo degrading porn behind my back, emailing escorts, cheating, blaming me for his sexual issues, not being supportive enough, etc etc. I am at a stage in my life where I seriously doubt the possibility of having a relationship with a man & remaining an authentic feminist. I’m also quite exhausted by the many so-called progressives, who advocate for justice and compassion on so many issues, who are porn & prostitution apologists.

    Example: article from yesterday on Alternet http://www.alternet.org/sex/154266/why_porn_can_be_good_for_you_and_society?page=1
    Completely glosses over the conclusions of the studies it cites at the beginning, several of which actually point to dubious consequences of porn, ignores the human rights violations implicit in the production of porn and goes back to the ol’ “but we’re breaking taboos! Our society is so repressive about sexuality!” line of reasoning that ignores every ad put on TV for the past 15 years, not to mention the proliferation of craigslist ads, youporn, adult friend finder, etc etc. In true-believerism fashion, it ignores all of the empirically validated studies that show that porn use leads to objectification of women, that regular porn users are less likely to believe claims of rape, or even the timely article recently posted by Twisty referencing how porn users are being operantly conditioned to pre-pubescent genitalia. In short, a shining example of how progressives/liberals/Dems also routinely uphold the patriarchy.

    I know who to blame.

  144. Hari

    This is a quote from an article about prostitution, but it could as well be speaking of porn on the point you make, Tiakristi:

    http://www.feminisms.org/4611/who-is-the-real-enemy-in-the-prostitution-debate-a-response-to-one-argument-against-abolition/ Meghan Murphy

    “The Sex Worker as “Transgressive”

    An argument commonly made by women who discovered feminism within the third wave or through post-modernism is that sex work is somehow “transgressive” – that somehow, sex work defies norms and challenges dominant ideology or cultural expectations of women. To frame sex work as “transgressive” presents the act of commodifying one’s sexuality as a radical act. But what is radical about the selling of sex?…. Haven’t men long used female bodies to profit or to sell products?”

  145. Tiakristi

    Thanks for the link Hari…refreshing to read an essay about porn that *gets* it. Whenever I speak of the problems that porn & prostitution cause for women, not to mention the root cause of porn & prostitution existing in the first place, I get accused of being anti-woman, right wing and/or hopelessly naive.
    I wish all those of the “sex work is transgressive” school of thought would take the advice of Mark Twain: Whenever you find yourself with the majority, stop and reconsider.

  146. qvaken

    naomi: All images of people in porn are really products rather than people, in my opinion, though women are products their whole lives, in just about every situation. So it’s okay to move them around as you desire, even so they’re touching each other, because products don’t have agency or personal boundaries. So really the best label for women’s sexuality is “expectosexual”, rather than “asexual”, “heterosexual”, “bisexual” etc.

    Tiakristi: “I will confess to being a former sex-poz empowerful fun-fem. Which still led to my ex-Nigel watching loads fo degrading porn behind my back, emailing escorts, cheating, blaming me for his sexual issues, not being supportive enough, etc etc.”

    Yeah, being a feminist won’t stop them.

    “I am at a stage in my life where I seriously doubt the possibility of having a relationship with a man & remaining an authentic feminist.”

    Oh, you got it already. Don’t mind me then.

  147. Mildred

    That Buddhist pap reminds me, at a feminist conference in Sydney about 3 years ago I went to a talk about prostitution, one of the speakers said that in ancient Greece they had religious prostitution as an example that prostitution can have many meanings in different cultures, like religion made it legitimate, like religion has never been a tool of the patriarchy!

  148. Hari

    qvaken: “All images of people in porn are really products rather than people, in my opinion, though women are products their whole lives, in just about every situation. So it’s okay to move them around as you desire, even so they’re touching each other, because products don’t have agency or personal boundaries.”

    Ahhh, priceless!

    I couldn’t quite get with ‘expectosexual’ as a term, but I see what you’re getting at and love the concept totally.

  149. Tiakristi

    qvaken: “All images of people in porn are really products rather than people, in my opinion, though women are products their whole lives, in just about every situation. So it’s okay to move them around as you desire, even so they’re touching each other, because products don’t have agency or personal boundaries.”

    No doubt. Every time I set a boundary with a male, like say a random at bar who doesn’t get that I don’t want to talk to him, or be touched, or a drink or whatever; then I’M a bitch because clearly only an unreasonable bitch would set said boundary. The bafflement that these douches display that a woman actually says, and means, “no” never ceases to amaze me. Ditto for when I’m with a table full of ladies, so often we get the “why are you ladies out alone?”.

  150. iorarua

    Has anyone ever wondered how men obtained their pornography in the 80,000 years or so of human history before it got invented?

  151. qvaken

    Tiakristi: How about when a guy has a crush on you and tells you that you’re just saying no because you have a fear of relationships? (Same with guy friends; fear of people caring about you.) Or when you want to break up with him and he tells you that your decision is ridiculous and you’re acting too rashly?

    iorarua: *sarc* Venus statuettes!

  152. nails

    “Has anyone ever wondered how men obtained their pornography in the 80,000 years or so of human history before it got invented?”

    It seems like in a shitload of human history men could just rape women whenever they felt like it, certain women anyway (their wives, prostitutes, their daughters, etc). I firmly believe the rise of pornography is related to the successful struggle to make rape illegal (on paper at least). Men have found an alternate way to have constant access to women without *any* legal risk, and young women growing up in the heavily porn-exposed generations have internalized the idea that they owe sex to dudes. The entitlement didn’t dissapear, pornography is simply the new medium of mens collective entitlement to women.

  153. Hari

    Tiakristi: “when I’m with a table full of ladies, so often we get the “why are you ladies out alone?”.”

    Riigghhtt–I guess we’d be ‘alone’ because there are no humans present at that table? No huMANs around to validate our existence and bring some huMANity to the table?

    Qvaken: “How about when a guy has a crush on you and tells you that you’re just saying no because you have a fear of relationships?…”

    Riigghhtt–because womyn can’t possibly understand our own confused ladyminds without men’s help. It took me awhile of hearing just such bs (what, do they get special lessons together?) to see that such statements were just more ways to exert control, disguised as ‘concerned insight’. Ick.

  154. Tiakristi

    qvaken: You must be psychic, as I was dealing with that very situation last night with a very drunk, but clearly entitled, male “friend”.

    I think nails makes an interesting point, but I also think technology plays into it. The Venus statuettes, etc, are used as examples of how porn has *always* existed, and is therefore *natural*, and the rad fems who say otherwise are just shrill shrieking crazy ladies who can’t get a man. I think we’re all familiar with that argument. What I find amazing, not in a good way, is how porn is credited with the advancements in technology in the past century…moving pictures, VCRs (remember those?), the Internet, DVDs, 3D etc. It’s like dudes, who command much more financial power to purchase said technology, can’t get behind the tech to, I don’t know, document their children’s lives or make an independent art film or something that may actually have value & not exploit anyone, but will totally throw money down to watch women being degraded. And it’s so universal, at least in American culture, that anyone who questions the legitimacy of it is immediately dismissed.

  155. Sniper

    Following Judi’s and Framboise’s posts regarding commercials:

    When they’re not pornifying women, they’re highlighting their inferior status. Every commercial for any form of over the counter medicine has a woman as the sufferer. Their rational? Women are prettier to look at and hence it softens the blow of an icky topic like constipation. Butt blockage is an awful mental image but, ah!!! look at the pretty lady.
    The reality is that they’re reinforcing the notion that women are defective and more likely to require fixer uppers to indigestion, blocked nose, migraines, heart burn [etc]. No idea if this is the same in your respective countries, but I can vouch that this is what I observed here. The only add where I remember a guy is featured, is in this pain killers commercial. He’s hit with a headache at the office and has to rely on his lady co-workers (hence: women are still included in the short) to provide him with the sponsored product because you know, as the typical guy he never remembers to buy pain killers. Aww, ain’t he cute?

    I’m not amused.

    Then you have a similar phenomenon going on with baby products. For diapers and diaper rush you get baby girls, cue in the obligatory baby butt shot too which I‘m sure many peados are grateful for.
    For anything else typically the more ‘fun’ or nurturing type products you get baby boys.

  156. stacey

    Tiakristi, I don’t think it’s necessarily so that pornographers are “responsible” for tech advances, but rather they are always early adopters of ever-cheaper technologies that allow them to maximise profits. Movies allowed repeat performances; videotape then digital recording provided a cheaper media; websites allowed them to not manufacture physical products. The same has happened to the film and television industries, although they were much slower to adopt the technology.

    Re. ancient porn: as far as the Venus figures go, current art history theory does not regard them as fetish objects (i.e. idealized views of women” but rather as “mother” objects – the miraculous phenomenon of a woman’s body swelling and producing something. Because they are almost always shown as a figure with a swollen belly, it seems plausible they were used in fertility rites rather than “sexual” rites.

    I think everything probably fell apart when the menz realised that their precious seed was responsible for pregnancy. When they realised that a child only results when a woman has sex with a man, they could deduce that therefore *particular* men were responsible for *particular* children, and the whole matrilineal system was doomed. Fuckers.

  157. Kea

    Stacey, the idea that men only discovered paternity around 4000 BC is just ludicrous. In a small tribe, it is pretty effing obvious when a boy looks just like his father, who was ‘friendly’ with the mother, and not like the other men. Marriage was common in many prehistoric societies, as was the idea of ancestry, both male and female. The mother figures often occur where there were mother godesses, and/or other godesses. Its all about Dogs.

  158. stacey

    Kea, I was speculating about the paternity thing. I have no clue about the evolution of patriarchy. Where does the figure “4000 BCE” come from (what does it refer to)?

    As far as “doggesses” go, I also speculate that pregnancy/birth begat the goddesses, as an explanation of the process.

  159. lizor

    Nails is right “pornography is simply the new medium of mens collective entitlement to women” and so is Tiakristi is correct in pointing out the role of technology in cinching the whole thing.

    Neuroscientist Norman Doidge wrote extensively about how the electronic medium supports and exacerbates the compulsion to watch porn. He takes a scientist’s view and does not supplement his reporting with much social analysis, but it is a book about neuroplasticity, not social behaviour.

    http://www.filestube.com/c1PzNrKLfzgi58IkDPFwHP/Norman-Doidge-on-Pornography-and-Neuroplasticity-by-Marnia-Robinson.html

    I hate when those venus statuettes are described as ‘early pornography’. It really shows how pornifying all things female is embedded in so many people’s heads, doesn’t it? “Woman’s body must equal jack off fodder” And no one has proposed that male figures were constructed for women’s enjoyment? Because throughout history our number one preoccupation has been boffing. Like we have nothing better to do. IBTP

  160. thegu

    Alien Number writes earlier on this thread

    [How do I get over the PTSD from watching that woman get destroyed like that? Why are those pornographers allowed to do that to women without any repercussions]

    I’d like to know too. Via porn I’ve seen such terrible harm done to women and children and I’m traumatized and haunted by it. I saw this stuff (not by choice) at an early age. Is there someone, perhaps Twisty or other knowledgable person, who can address the issue of such “indirect” trauma?

  161. Razzby

    Pheeno, I know it goes against everything we’re told to demonstrate emotionally, but yeah, I’m so glad for you that he’s dead – like Gogo and Hari said.

    I have one of those ex’s. I even pay for his life insurance policy still, which lists me as the beneficiary, on the off chance that he does die. Which, frankly, would be awesome. The kids and I wouldn’t have to worry about university fees or lots of other big costs that he isn’t helping with, even being alive. He’s not even a normal Nigel, but one of those Nigel breeds that has been forced to go to a psychiatrist and is a diagnosed psychopath. He’s pretty much Patriarchy-zilla. Or Psycho-Nigel. The Nigelator?

    He also loved porn. Was obsessed. And his behavior with us got worse as his tastes in porn got darker. Though people loved to tell me it was coincidental. Yeah, acting out exact violent replicas was a coincidence.

    Twisty! Your site is new to me and I am beyond impressed. Kudos to your brain, your morals, and your wit. Just amazing!

  162. lizor

    @ thegu and AN – I wonder the same thing. I also wonder about the broader effects of this sort of trauma to the general population when our culture denies that there is anything traumatizing to watching porn.

    Don’t know if this is way uncool but I’m reposting a comment by Immir over at RATM which nails the hypocrisy:

    “Immir
    March 6, 2010 at 11:32 AM #
    You know, if men started get butt-raped suddenly overnight, to the same degree as women (what is it, something like 1 in 4 women?), and they found a strong link between man-on-man porn & guys getting raped…. you can fucking BET they would do something about it by dinner time.

    And what is this, “we can’t do anything about it, we can’t censor art” or whatever? Child porn is illegal. Why can’t women be afforded the same protection?”

  163. Mictlantecuhtli

    Another great post. I am interested in all the comments and trying to figure out how it is that I agree with this on porn and yet am incredibly irritated at my students who cannot tolerate any kind of nudity, references to sex, etc., in any work of literature or film. How do I define the difference between sex and porn for these people who see them as one and the same?

  164. Boner Killer

    Mictlantechuhti

    I think people become uncomfortable with nudity because everything is sexualized – people can’t separate nudity from sexuality because our culture puts the two together constantly and only shows one form of nudity (which is almost always impacted by the male gaze). It’s pretty difficult for people who are coming of age in this time to not associate nudity with objectification or sexual conquest – how are kids supposed to see someone as fully human when they are constantly portrayed as body parts all over the media? For my generation – we don’t know anything else, i saw hardcore porn for the first time when i was about 7, my girflriend’s father left it out — most of my peers have had similar experiences with nudity – all of them were set up under a male gaze and as objects for sexual conquest rather than humans with bodily autonomy (as in pictures from playboy calenders, centerfolds, or softcore and hardcore online porn etc) So i think it’s difficult, for people who are younger, to separate the two – and who is shocked? Look at Western culture, especially popular culture….we have sex imagery everywhere, it’s inescapable. It’s like this image of sex and sexuality that has become so mass-produced and reduced that people can’t understand how sex isn’t porn, or how sex is something that people can discover on their own terms, not something that has to be a performance for the pleasure of dudes. We’ve been sold something for so long, many people in my generation have just succumbed to the idea that sex and sexuality are akin to what is portrayed by the ruling class, and that’s truly a shame.

  165. quixote

    Mictlantecuhtli: The big difference is: Who’s hurt? If it’s a dude-pleasure-performance thing, then women. At this point there’s even good old scientific research showing the depressive, stupefying effect on women and girls, it’s so obvious.

    Venus de Milo, on the other hand, is breathtaking. It hurts no one. That’s art. (Well, it’s also not nude, but you know what I mean. Michelangelo’s David is another example. And, yes, I do know M. was gay.)

    (Disclaimer: I’m a scientist. I know nothing about art, really.)

  166. Mictlantecuhtli

    Thanks, y’all. Quixote, these are the things I try to say to said students but they do not believe me.

    They seem to be more like what Boner Killer describes – sex *is* porn.

  167. stacey

    Well at least you don’t have me in art history class, giggling every time my professor said “phallus.”

  168. erinyes

    Not sure how to do quotes or other things yet, please excuse the lack of formatting.

    Boner Killer: For my generation – we don’t know anything else, i saw hardcore porn for the first time when i was about 7, my girflriend’s father left it out — most of my peers have had similar experiences with nudity – all of them were set up under a male gaze and as objects for sexual conquest rather than humans with bodily autonomy (as in pictures from playboy calenders, centerfolds, or softcore and hardcore online porn etc) So i think it’s difficult, for people who are younger, to separate the two – and who is shocked?

    /THIS/

    I don’t know how old you are, but I remember the first time that I saw anything pornographic was in my friend’s father’s work area out in a pole barn. Not six feet away from a hanging deer carcass and right next to some kind of buzz saw. I didn’t know exactly what to make of it then, but that image (and the scent of freshly cut wood, and raw meat) have been embedded in my memory forever. I had completely forgotten about it until reading this. It makes me so pissed off that that is how so many girls are first introduced to their sexuality – through the stupid fucking male gaze that just cuts right through our humanity.

  169. Razzby

    There’s a movie I love: A Room With a View. Lots of “screw restrictive propriety” in that film.

    Anyone seen that recently? There’s a scene where the main protagonist (Lucy), where her brother, her love interest, and their religious leader bathe in a pond and horse play around.

    STARK NAKED.

    And I mean full frontal, in motion, multiple men at a time being on screen, etc.

    It’s completely charming. Not sexualized. Just bodies without clothes out in nature, being comfortable with each other.

    The first time we watched it, the kids started to duck their heads, and I said, “Hey, they’re fine. They’re swimming! That looks like fun, yeah? Bodies aren’t embarassing. They aren’t doing anything uncomfortable.”

    My sons and daughters (aged 6-16) looked at me, looked at each other, then relaxed and watched the scene with smiles. Ditto for appreciating paintings/statues at the museums.

    Why is it so rare to have bodies displayed, outside art, that aren’t about titillating men? I hate that we can’t even be free with ourselves without it seeming to paint a bulls-eye on us for fear of how the men will take it.

    I hate pornography for the overwhelming regularity of objectifying domination and dehumanization of women. I hate that our bodies have become “shameful,” because of that.

  170. ljdugan

    I caused an uproar in my writer’s group when I called a dude out for submitting porn. He wrote a sickening story of a drug-addicted woman who is kidnapped, tortured, raped repeatedly, shot up with drugs, with great detail being given to what “sexual” position she was placed in. I went ballistic. I went berzerko. And then I quoted Twisty:

    Pornography is the graphic representation, not just of violence against women, but of male supremacy. It degrades all women. It erodes the humanity of all women. Porn use fetishizes violence and supports male supremacy. Porn is the expression of patriarchy. Porn use is the practice of patriarchy.

    I also told him and everyone else that writers get some sense of satisfaction from everything they create, and that he just told me what a sick fuck he was. More appalling? The group–three of whom are women–never sanctioned him, not once.

    Needless to say, I quit. I blame the patriarchy.

  171. Twisty

    Once again, the old adage proves true: as soon as you start quoting Twisty you can expect everyone in the room to turn on you.

  172. M

    My exNigel loved his porn. It got to the point where he wouldn’t even try to hid that he had been watching when I came home. Then, he started questioning my accounts of being raped. A couple of times we went out together, we ran into one of my rapists. At the beginning of our relationship, he wanted to beat him up; towards the beginning of the end, he apparently got his contact information and contacted him. He asked him if he raped me. Of course, my attacker told Nigel -1 that he did not. Nigel -1 started becoming verbally violent towards me (while his porn consumption increased). I dumped him with 2 months left on our lease. He refused to move out. One night he came home from a date and told me that he should have just “stuck it in my ass”. This time, I succeeded in kicking him out, as I had friends in the police department and he had an unrelated warrant out for his arrest. Almost a year later, he’s still trying to dominate me. And still owes me $1000′s I will never see.

    On the topic of rape, I reported the first one the day after it happened. The case was up in the air due to the fact that the city it happened in had just become “incorporated” but didn’t yet have it’s own police department. My file was shifted repeatedly through some 4 departments for a year. Finally ending up in the right jurisdiction, I got a call from a female detective. She asked me if I still wanted to press charges since it have been a year and that my story had probably changed. She also told me that I didn’t sound like a “real” rape victim because I had waited a year to report it. I informed her that I had reported it the day after it happened while still in the hospital for a rape kit and that she could look at the multiple accounts I had given to each police department over the course of the year and that all were exactly the same. She then proceeded to tell me that she was not submitting my case to the prosecutor, as I was drugged and it was my word against his, even though the hospital obtained DNA evidence during my rape kit.. Years later, I’m finally ready to try and get this misogynist woman fired. They are even worse then misogynist men.

    My current Nigel abhors porn. He’s 26. He thinks it’s sickening, disgusting, degrading, and all of that, even though his mother was incredibly abusive to him growing up. He also recognizes, as everyone should, that 100% of women in porn or the sex industry were raped or sexually abused prior to working in that industry. ALL of them, whether or not they remember or repressed the memory. They have all been raped/abused. Some have no sense of self worth as a result, others see it as taking back control of their sex lives. The reality is that pornography continues to exploit and demean them, reduce their self esteem to that of “subhuman fucktoilets”, and prohibits them from every healing and becoming rightfully enraged at their abusers.

  173. Radfem

    Julie (Feb 26th) , your watching porn actually confirms Twisty analysis . Oppression works efficiently if you do take part in its institutions, basically when patriarchy invades your DNA . Every heard of Marilyn Frye ? Give it a try .

  174. Laura

    I’ve just moved in with a friend after leaving the Nigel that definitely was. When I said to her that the breakdown of trust I had (exposure of the trust we never had) was largely inspired by his secret and horrible porn habit she not-so-subtly changed the topic onto how religion makes us ashamed of sex and bodies.
    I am not ashamed of lust or my body or other people’s bodies and naturally I did not like being gently told that my refusal to be in a relationship with a pornsick man was a sad consequence of having grown up in a Christian culture.
    Arg, I understand that she needs to find things to blame and justifications but, oh for a little more real-life support from people who don’t accept porny misogynist boyfriends!
    I’ve started making a count of (grown/teen) male acquaintances of mine that definitely don’t watch porn. Although the ex-Nigel was erroneously labelled as one of these, I have hope. The count is currently at 4, including my stepfather.
    The count of men I know who are troubled by porn is much higher, but “because most women in it are treated as subhuman fucktoilets” comes way lower down on the list of reasons than “because I can’t stop watching it and I want to get my free time back”.

  175. Microcosm

    I stayed up all night reading these comments and those on Rage Against the Man-chine. I really don’t know what to do with myself. I’m in such a state of rage about all of this that I’ve nowhere to go. I am used to trusting men, I’ve frequently sought out men as friends and I put a lot of worth in my relationships with men in general, however, as I read more and more about porn and men’s porn use it’s creating an intense distrust of them that is deeply, deeply depressing to me. Although I haven’t been investigating this thoroughly until recently, I have been anti-porn forever. This hasn’t stopped it from infiltrating my brain, my sexuality, my fantasies. I don’t even know how it’s happened because I’ve never even watched a porn, the mere suggestion or sight of it makes me unbearably angry and nauseous.

    My first boyfriend (at age 17) admitted to me, crying, that he had had a spell of porn use and he was in a fit of anger and despair telling me how horrible It was, how it made him feel absolutely sick with himself, and that eventually he was able to quit, as he said it was very addictive even though he hated it. He was sobbing. He was genuine. My second boyfriend was also against porn and sexism/chauvinism/gender stereotypes. He was a feminist. But ever since our relationship ended (peacefully I might add), my encounters with men have me pretty much thinking they’re largely defensive, ego-inflated, porn-influenced assholes, even if they claim not to be, because I can see it in their behavior towards me in ways that they claim I’m imagining. I know they have been majorly influenced unconsciously by movies, porn, etc. that have sexist views of women.

    I am the kind of person who really needs a relationship…I love love, I love sex, I love relationship, I love romance, I love partnership and all that good stuff. However, I absolutely refuse to be with anyone who is influenced (at least, more so than say, I am) by the patriarchal mindset and porn. Recently, to calm myself down I sometimes go on Facebook to the profile of one of my supposedly ‘GOOD GUY’ friends, and always–ALWAYS–there is something objectifying about women there, something supporting porn culture, etc. etc etc. Even my gay friends. Even my ‘spiritual’ friends. Even my spiritual gay friends. Even on a facebook page promoting conscious/authentic masculinity where the vast majority of posts were very lovely, until one guy said they should create ‘Porn Meditations’ and the group admin was supportive of this. I was dumbfounded. I am a spiritual person but I am fucking sick of all this ‘not judging’ and glossing over my deep anger towards the patriarchy–in the name of peace. I’m especially sick of this new trend of ‘spiritualizing’ hedonism/sexploitation that I’m seeing in the New Age community that I’m essentially a part of. I don’t really know what to do with my anger. If I try to ‘let it go’ I don’t actually let it go, because it’s absolutely justified and it BURNS like HELL. This is real energy, this is real determination to stand strong. Even worse than running into this issue with men (trying to argue with them is pointless, they’re so convinced they’re right and they immediately forget all the sexist crap they love as if it isn’t sexist and it doesn’t reflect badly on them, or they remain in this space of ‘Ohh well that’s an interesting argument’ without actually feeling the reality of feminine degradation) is running into it with women. I feel like most of my friends can’t see eye to eye with me on this, or they want to duck around it, or apologize for men’s behavior with something like ‘That’s how they are.’ At this moment I am seriously pissed off that I am not a lesbian, but I simply do not feel attracted to women. I hate having to feel this way. I hate that nearly all the ‘GOOD GUYS’ are, underneath, hypocritical liars with millions of excuses to defend their porn. I am extremely lucky to have an amazing (male) therapist who is such a genuinely good man he is actually sometimes naive to how much this crap goes on. He assures me that he doesn’t think most men use porn (he never has), despite the internet statistics I pull up. I mean that is nice to believe, I would like to believe that, I would LOVE if that were reality. However it isn’t reality. Even if they don’t use porn, how rare is it to find a man who actually LOATHES it, and criticizes the whole of the patriarchy as expressed in, well, everything? Very VERY few people think critically about what’s presented to them by the media on a minutely basis. And neither do I, otherwise I would be furiously angry 24/7.

    I also want to say that reading about other young women navigating the dicey waters of ‘femininity’ has been therapeutic in the extreme. I was always a tomboy but the past 3 years or so I’ve started to take more interest in my appearance. At the same time I have felt shallow, and have felt that I’m ‘selling out’ in some way to what everyone expects a woman to look like/be. But, I can’t deny it, it feels good to look good, like I am showing a bit more respect for myself in not wearing whatever is lying around but actually considering how I want to present myself. In some weird way, I think I feel more respected or powerful when more feminine and typically beautiful in appearance. Like having all appearances of a lady but still being a fire-breathing dragon of a radical feminist. It’s easier to put men in their place if they feel attracted to you, I know it sounds sick but I’ve noticed this. I am in a situation though where I have all these nice new girly clothes, but am afraid of actually wearing them because I don’t WANT all that attention. I like the clothes, I enjoy celebrating my goddess-given beauty and I enjoy my erotic energy. As an artist, I appreciate beauty (as in REAL beauty, and not makeup beauty) and I would like to reflect this in all ways. However, this does not mean I want guys looking up and down and making comments, or to feel that this is the only value I have to men (and women! Women do it too!). Don’t even get me started on how the patriarchy has infiltrated my brain. And I have ISOLATED myself as much as humanly possible from all media since I was like 14. I’ve gradually been weeding out degrading fantasies as they were making me sick when I started to realize what I was thinking. It’s horrible to have fantasies about things you would never, ever want to happen. It makes me feel like such a hypocritical moron, so I’m being more conscious of them and changing them. Nonetheless it’s really difficult, as someone mentioned ‘What is sexuality supposed to be like without all the patriarchal bullshit?’ Yet another reason I could never be with a man who is into porn in any way shape or form–you never know what filth they’re thinking. I know because I’ve done it too with my own imagination.

    I agree 100% with everything here. I’m so grateful to be able to rant like this and know that people will understand me. I could cry, really. I know I am replying to an old post but I just have to write to someone, somewhere who might hear me. I feel utterly depressed right now even though my life in all ways ought to feel exciting. I feel depressed because I want to love and be loved so much, it is such a deep need for me, and yet I am utterly terrified to trust another man and realize underneath he’s no different from the rest of porn-justifying morons. I’m so so so tired of being the only voice for this view. I am called a prude, I’m told I’m not ‘seeing the whole picture’, etc. In my opinion our culture as a whole couldn’t get any lower. It’s turned into a total free-for-all cesspool of depravity. I am not a ‘Christian fundamentalist’. I simply care about being seen and treated as a complete human being, and I believe that all women (and men) deserve this treatment. That men seem to be able to separate out the porn ‘whores’ from the ‘real women’ they love, tells me that they do not really value the humanity of women as a group. Or, that they see them all as the same lot, erotic beings and that porn is ‘one expression’ of our erotic energy. Puh-leease. It may be an expression, but it’s not one anyone should get comfortable with. I feel utterly ill right now and I wish there were more men I could talk to and not be made to feel that I’m overreacting, or that even if they agree on the surface I don’t actually know if they use it or not. I’m sad that the world has to be like this. I have no hope for my generation. Most people I know don’t even believe in true love or intimacy anymore. It’s all about hook ups. I might have to become a reclusive cat lady far sooner than expected if I don’t meet the miracle anti-porn lover.
    Thanks for letting me rant. So much love to all of you for telling your stories and standing strong. I wish there were more women willing to tell it like it is….but would the men even listen?

  176. Eric26

    “would the men even listen?”
    I did, although I doubt that’s any solace. I don’t think any amount of arguing would have opened my mind, it’s reading about these personal experiences that has actually made me think. As many have said, it’s not the job of women to turn men human. I wonder how many other men will wander over here of their own volition without crossing their arms over their brains. Not many, I should think. I came here from Jezebel (I know, I know. Well, I don’t, but let’s pretend I do) because some people were saying, “What’s a Twisty?” and I was also curious. Radical feminism, you say? A fountain of hateful venom, surely. But I was wrong. I feel kind of warm and fuzzy inside now (try not to vomit) {which is a privilege I think} because now I know that “radical feminist” just means “someone that REALLY cares about women so so so so much, above all else”. It’s amazing how people think “radical” is a bad word. I should use dictionary.com more often too. Who would have thought that knowing what a word means would benefit me?
    I know this was a terribly boring story, especially in comparison to all the others here. It doesn’t really help that mine isn’t really relevant either.
    My brain is broken. I should do that sleeping/eating thing that I’ve been avoiding.
    Thanks for all the words (that are so much more coherent than mine).

  177. Fede

    @Microcosm, I should just copy your entire comment and put it in a blockquote beneath which I would simply state:

    DITTO

    Porn is just another form of FGM. Porn is produced for titillation rather than propriety, and if FGM is (mostly) more physically devastating, porn is even more dehumanising. The fact that people aren’t completely horror-struck by it is maddening; the fact that they are more likely to defend or even celebrate porn is deranged to the point where I run out of words to convey the wrongness.

    The vileness of porn (and other prostitution) has been obvious to me all my life. Sometimes it’s been all I could do not to take a blowtorch to the entire goddamn human race. Oh, the fiery, bloody rage. It is as fruitless as it is painful, and that only enrages me more.

    But, over the course of the years, I have managed to find a few friends who are anti-porn like me. Three people in my circle of friends keep me from turning into an axe murderer. Two blogs, IBTP and Rage Against the Man-Chine, help with further niceties, such as not clobbering clueless people about the head in response to their ‘arguments’ in favour of the atrocities of the porn industry.

    How did I find those real life anti-porn friends, you ask, perhaps? I’m not sure. First of all, I know I’ve been very lucky. If I have done anything actively to be honoured with such friendships, it must have been speaking my mind about the topic of porn whenever it felt necessary, even though that generally earns me nothing but frenzied and/or condescending debate from the hordes of brainwashed zpornbies out there. In my experience, speaking up makes feminists – who are naturally starved for sane discourse – gravitate towards me. So I guess I’m saying, stay true to yourself and don’t hide your opinions. You are the one who’s right, and that’s all there is to it.

    I also know where you’re coming from in regard to being hetero: if I knew how to choose my orientation, I would be a lesbian, and every feminist friend of mine has said the same. But here we still are, hetero and feminist. I’m with a man now who’s a good ally, so I believe they’re out there. But I won’t lie: in my experience they are frighteningly few and far between, and it doesn’t do to compromise, if you ask me.

    Anyway, for what it’s worth, Microcosm, you really aren’t alone.

  178. Michelle

    This question is barely related to the original post, but it is tangential to the vein the comments were moving in:

    Post-Patriarchy, what does a healthy, happy relationship look like? And what role do sex and sexuality have in such a relationship?

    I realize this is a bit like asking “What existed before the Big Bang?” or “If the universe is finite, what exists beyond the edge?” I recognize the difficulty in attempting to predict beyond a system from within that system, but I still think the question has merit.

  179. whatthehell

    Has anyone else encountered the phenomenon by which people who are all in favor of porn and prostitution will throw an absolute shit fit over the term “fuck toilet?” As if by saying it in the context Twisty does here, that makes you worse than any john/punter/porn user?

    I’ve seen it regularly on one of those supposedly “progressive, liberal” (lol) boards and its pretty sickening.

  180. pearlsbeforeswine29

    Please can we stop deifying gay men and the women who write p.r.0.n about them? From my almost forty years of experience, the only difference between gay men and straight men is that the former laughed at us and found our parts smelly and disgusting, while the latter thought the same and still wanted to prong us. I used to write gay slash fiction because any dynamic involving a man and a woman made me sick with its nonstop themes of the macho dominant man and victim woman, and lesbian pairings fit the same mold in their tiresome fifties era butch femme inheritance. To me the only true equality and beauty was between two hot Boys who both got off and loved each other. But after hearing nonstop from men at so called queer night, which might as well be called gay men who call women fish night, while straight women giggle and butches slap “their” femmes while straight men go “derrr hurr hurr, yer not really a lezbo, you don’t got no manwoman with you, don’t yoo like men derr hurr hurr” I hate everyone and wish I could either escape to savage death island or at least be a gay guy, not a man’s slave, a butch ‘s slave, a p2k femmie femme, or called a trout by our city of worshiped gay men and their adoring p2k compliant self described “hoo ha hags”.

  181. pearlsbeforeswine

    Seriously, do any of you hetero radfems believe that it is maybe possible that you aren’t attracted to women and that you find men hot (and this question goes out to gay men too) because the p teaches us all that women are gross unworthy f-toilets? And maybe the reason het men are only attracted to women is so they can dominate us and feel both different and superior? I believe that once the p ends, so will dominance and submission, so will the obsession with penetrative sex, the emphasis on the peeniz (that everyone shares, including lesbians with their precious heteronormative roles and strap ons wielded by the more butch partner) and straight men will stop seeing us as meat socks and gay men will stop seeing us as (and this is a direct quote) “tuna filled gaping axe wounds”. Ibtp, and the gay men, straight women, and funfems of all sexualities who worship them, as well as the butch dykes who try to imitate the p.

  1. QotD: “Spinster aunt prattles on about pornography” « Anti-Porn Feminists

    [...] IBTP, go read the whole whole thing. Convincing women that they are being unreasonable, that dudely porn use is natural, normal, and [...]

  2. Rabbi takes down King Leer « I Blame The Patriarchy

    [...] For the convenience of those who, like me, have already blown through their New York Times access points for the month, banned-for-life Mar Iguana stole the whole article and included it in her comment, here. [...]

  3. My Feelings On Porn, As Expressed by Mr. Dudely Porn-Right Himself | the simple pleasure of saying true things

    [...] themselves) during porn. This was most eloquently stated by Twisty Faster recently on her blog, I Blame the Patriarchy  when she stated that, “Sex can never be a politically neutral interaction as long as the [...]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>