Christina Hoff Sommers, for example, claims that in the US women have achieved ‘equality of opportunity’ and that anything further is an attempt to rig up some sort of ‘equality of outcome’. She focuses quite a bit on educational opportunities, gender quotas, female centered programs and the like, saying that because men and women are different and make different choices so much effort is an attempt to encourage women into fields they may not be interested in.
I’m not even going to bother arguing that topic, but what I will say is this: When it comes to the ability to earn an income women can never be considered to have achieved ‘equality of opportunity’ in a country where prostitution is in any way criminalized. CHS and her ‘gender feminist’ counterparts can argue all they want about the importance of ‘equal gender representation’ on academic panels, and on those panels they can argue all they want about how much women earn in comparison to men and how that effects that status of women, but until they recognize that the criminalization of either the buying or selling of sexual services is inherently discriminatory against women they just sound like a bunch of self-interested privileged hypocrites to me.
Examining some radical feminist tactics of intimidation, silencing, and bullying:
Jill wrote a blog post titled Supporting Sex Workers’ Rights, Opposing the Buying of Sex. Reading it, I once again did that thing where I start arguing with an online article in my head, and then I realized this is blogging material. So here you go:
I am an anti-sex-trafficking feminist. I think sex work is incredibly problematic. And I also support the rights of sex workers.
There are a few groups, generally speaking, that follow / subscribe to my various social media stuff. There are MRAs, Anti-Feminists, Feminists, Sex Workers & Advocates and I think those groups are mostly in equal parts, and there is some cross-over as well. Lots of them are atheists, which of course is becoming quite fashionable these days, but there are of course some cool non-atheists in there too. I dunno, I’m pretty mad at religion, but I understand faith, so I guess that’s where all the atheists come from, but I try not to be too rude about that stuff most of the time. … there are a few anarchist-types too, and they seem pretty dang cool… Anyway…
It’s really the MRA/Antifeminists vs. Feminists that get me, that scare me. These are two groups that generally don’t like each other, to put it mildly. There is so much stuff that I want to say, almost need to say, but I know it’s just gonna be hell to pay from both sides here. So just wanted to let y’all know that you scare the fuck right outta me. Not good for bizness. Lol Prostitute humor. The sex worker types? They fucking rock and you should all pay more attention to them, they know some serious shit.
This was part of a longer entry from a couple years ago, for some reason I’ve decided to repost it with some cleaned up formatting. When I wrote it, I was mostly imagining the ~Responder as being Catharine MacKinnon. :D
Dialogue’n yer ass:
The hypocrisy is that women have a right to autonomy – except the intersected sexual and economical autonomy that is prostitution.
And that’s FEMINISTS saying that?! Wha?! How does that make sense?
~Because it hurts women.
~Trains men to expect sex.
What? You mean trains them to pay for sex?
~No it trains them to take it.
Wait. What? but….
~Yes, they get used to just being able to go have sex whenever they want to.
And that’s bad for who?
~It’s bad for women.
~All women, everywhere.
~Because it trains men to think they are entitled to sex.
Oh. But wait, I’m still confused…
~That’s what they do, they confuse you. They are smart that way.
Ah. I was thinking it was YOU that was trying to confuse me….
~I only want to help you understand. Even you do not really do these, we call them ‘performances’, because you want to do them, you think you do because it’s natural for you to want attention or to be loved or valued, but men, this male culture of ours, has so convinced you that the only way – or the easiest way – to do it is by using your sexuality. It’s what we’ve all been taught. But, you see, because it’s been going on for so long, when you reward men with your sexual performance, it re-inforces the culture that allows them to do that, you reward them for their hard work of training women to use their sexuality to gain approval. Women are starting to wake up and notice this.
Ok, well, that actually makes a lot of sense…
4 months later…
Ok, ummmm, remember you were saying how we’re all trained?
~Yes, yes, have you been noticing it now?
I sure have, all over the place. But…
~It’s overwhelming isn’t it?
Quite. But… I still don’t really understand how prostitution is the same thing as being convinced to perform, really, I mean don’t they want to perform for the money?
~Well, of course, it’s for the money. How sad is that though? Why should a woman be reduced to selling sex to earn money? If she had another way to earn money, wouldn’t she choose that?
Eh, well, it’s a lot of money though, for the time you put in… I don’t think there are many other jobs that pay that much…
~You can’t measure it in time put in, you have to also measure it in psychological trauma, and wear and tear to the body, and you have to remember that so many of these women are terribly abused, and no amount of money can be worth that price.
Sounds terrible, put that way – but is it really like that? how do you know they get abused?
~We’ve done the research, almost all of them have been abused, or they have drug addictions that their pimps take advantage of, and most of them tell us they’ve been raped – these are the things these women tell us.
Well, I actually know a prostitute, not very well, but she never seemed like she had those problems, and I know she doesn’t have a pimp….
~She’s very lucky then. Many women who were abused as children seem as if they’ve dealt with the trauma just fine, until you realize that they are selling themselves to the highest bidder like a piece of meat.
Hey now, I’m pretty sure she wasn’t abused when she was a kid, I know about her life, just not her life as a prostitute…
~Do you think she would want to talk about it with you? Culture teaches women to be ashamed about their sexuality, so they learn to not complain about their victimization at the hands of men, especially their fathers.
Well, yeah, I guess you’re right about that…
Hi, remember me?
~I sure do.
I talked to my friend, and told her what you said and she got kinda mad about it. She said she wasn’t abused, and even if she had been it wouldn’t mean she sells it because she’s all trauma’d out and stuff.
~Hmm. Like I said, she’s very lucky. It’s rare, but the stereotype is true every now and then, that prostituted women have chosen to do that to themselves.
~Well, we find it helps to get the message across that these women are victims, not criminals, they haven’t chosen that life.
But she chose it, she says…
~It’s really a choice out of no choice, nobody would choose it if there was a better option.
I see. But… well, nevermind…. I wonder though, besides if prostitutes get abused or do drugs, how does that make men get used to expecting sex? Or however it was you put it?
~Well, think about pornography, which is just prostitution on film -
oh, ok -
~Pornography effects many many women, the men, they watch it, and bring those attitudes into the bedroom they share with women like you and me, and they impose those pornography promoted behaviors onto us, in the way they demand lingerie, make-up, even the sex acts they see in pornos.
Yeah, my guy sometimes asks “why don’t you do this or that” it’s annoying…
~See, that is a real problem, it effects us all, average women, women who didn’t make the choice to do pornography, women who have worked hard to be taken seriously for their accomplishments, and we are made to feel as if the most important thing, or the only thing that matters is whether or not we are sexually appealing.
Ok, so yeah, I get that, but what sort of guys are you with that they don’t just respect your wishes, if you tell him not to expect you to be a porn star because you’re not a porn star, if they keep hassling you, they are jerks and you should tell them to scram, right? If he demands porny stuff, you demand respect.
~Ha! You’re quite a dreamer! That’s back to the basic problem – we can’t demand respect, because he can just go out and find a prostituted woman and buy the right to use her any way he wants to.
Ha! well you’re a dreamer too if you think men get to do ‘whatever they want’ even with a prostitute.
~They can. There is no denying that – a man can go out and find a woman who will do anything for him for a sum of money – he can find a child to buy if that’s what he wants to have sex with.
Wow. That’s not even remotely the same thing. A guy going out and finding someone willing to give him a blowjob and he’s willing to give her some money, it doesn’t have anything to do with children.
~You think you can seperate the two things? You can’t it’s all sex, sex that men feel entitled too… The same thing that enables a man to go out and buy a woman for sex, enables him to buy a child.
But what thing is that – what “enables” it?
~The cultural attitude that he can. The attitude that it’s just “no big deal” if a man is able to buy sex, or rape a woman, or beat a woman.
What? How can you conflate all those things? And the way you say it, as if everyone already agrees with you? I don’t think buying sex is the same as rape, or abuse, or even buying children for sex.
~Well, it’s not the same really, it’s more of a cause.
Holy shit. Wait, so my friend, who chose to make money this way, for whatever reason – let’s says she’s out of her mind on crack even – that her choice out of no choice to do that causes rape and abuse and child rape too? Lady, you are cruisin’ for a bruisin’.
~Please I don’t appreciate your threats.
~Your threats of physical violence, that you want to bruise me.
Yeah, um, that was pretty much a joke.
~Ah yes, a joke. I’m willing to engage with you, but I won’t put up with threats of violence. I’ve been threatened by people who don’t like what I say for years already.
Well, that might have something to do with your criteria.
~It’s rape culture that creates the criteria, this attitude that violence is ok.
I don’t think violence is ok, but neither is saying that prostitution is the same as rape, or causes rape, or any of the horrible things you said.
~I agree. They are horrible things to say. And to hear, the truth is always hard to hear.
Oh you are good. – It’s not true, I don’t believe it. It doesn’t make sense.
~It’s difficult to come to terms with, it’s such a huge problem that it’s easier to pretend it doesn’t exist.
I say I don’t believe it, you don’t bother asking me why, you just explain to me why I don’t believe it? That it’s hard to deal with? That I’m pretending?
~Well, there isn’t any other plausible reason for it.
Reason for what, even – rape? rape-culture? men expecting, feeling entitled to sex? – you’re accusation that I am “pretending IT doesn’t exist” – what is the “it” there?
~Women’s oppression, all the ways that they are oppressed is the “it” there.
So, prostitution causes women’s oppression?
~In a way yes, it re-inforces it, promotes it, and we won’t be able to liberate women from oppression – truly liberate them – until all the things that promote their oppression are stopped. Ended. Destroyed. Abolished.
Yes, well, that was actually a lot of nothing that you just said there.
~What about it was “nothing”? The idea that women shouldn’t be oppressed? The idea that women being oppressed is unstoppable or natural or “god’s will” or some such other patriarchal nonsense like that.
It’s hard to keep up with you, you know.
~I’ve been told that before – but it’s only that I’ve been working against that oppression for so long, I know the arguments by heart
Who uses the “god’s will” argument to defend prostitution? God’s will types are against prostitution too.
~True, it’s one of the few things they got right. God’s will types think that women’s oppression is “god’s will” not specifically that prostitution is god’s will
I still don’t understand what is supposed to be the cause of it though, of any of it, what makes rape and abuse happen then?
~It’s a cultural conditioning, that tells men it’s ok to take sex, and tells women not to complain about it.
But why? Who first decided to do that? Did men just one day decide to rape all the women and lock us up in a room and we’re all just descendants with stockholm syndrome handed down from our mothers?
~In a way, yes.
What do you MEAN “in a way”? In what way? And why, in ‘that’ way, or in any way? Why did men originally “want” to oppress women?
Ed Brayton published a post, those of you who’ve been following this have probably already read it, and in it he said:
And can we stop all this nonsense about “radical feminism”? There really is such a thing and it is embodied by folks like Andrea Dworkin, second wave feminists who are anti-sex, anti-porn, anti-prostitution. Does that really accurately describe pro-sex feminists like Ophelia, Stephanie, Jen, Greta and Rebecca? If you really think that Rebecca Watson or any of the others he names hates men, you cannot possibly have met them.
First of all, it’s not all about men, you know. Particularly not when you want to invoke the ‘not anti-porn or anti-prostitution’ defense. But, in more detail:
And can we stop all this nonsense about “radical feminism”?
No. Not just yet.
There really is such a thing and it is embodied by folks like Andrea Dworkin, second wave feminists who are anti-sex, anti-porn, anti-prostitution.
Um, Andrea Dworkin probably wouldn’t like you calling her anti-sex. The ‘anti-sex’ accusation is a gross oversimplification of complex critiques/analyses of sexual power dynamics.
Ed doesn’t seem to understand much about radical feminism. There is more to it than just having some sort of blatant ‘anti-porn, anti-prostitution’ stance. He doesn’t seem to understand that the ‘rape culture’ theory and the ‘patriarchy theory’ – in particular the way these concepts are talked about and used by his feminist friends these days – those theories are the foundations of much of the anti-porn and anti-prostitution positions and are radical feminist in origin.
Does that really accurately describe pro-sex feminists like Ophelia, Stephanie, Jen, Greta and Rebecca?”
Greta – is the most ‘not anti-prostitution’ of the bunch. She’s a former sex worker herself and she came out swinging during the Tasleema Nasrin sex slavery thing, but other than that she hasn’t written anything about sex work issues in a long time. What she does write isn’t really about the current policy issues, some that are urgent, that sex workers are trying to address. It’s ironic that Greta has ignored the end demand statutes considering I’ve read things from her that were very pro-client. She doesn’t seem to have noticed that clients are being criminalized all over the place. I’ve never even seen her tweet or even RT anything about any of the legislative battles that have been waged in regards to prostitution in recent years.
Jen – Well she wrote a post making fun of the anti-porn people once, so there’s that. And she once wrote a post about how Belle Du Jour turned out to be a – gasp – scientist. In that post Jen said her position on prostitution was that it should be ‘legalized, regulated, with background and std checks’ – which, um, ok, is technically ‘not anti-prostitution’ but it’s definitely not a ‘pro-sex worker’ stance. I’m not even sure who is supposed to be getting the background and std checks? The clients or the workers? I have a feeling she was thinking ‘the workers’ because that’s what everybody always says. It’s more the sort of stance that some MRAs have, actually. Her main concern though was that the whole Dr. Brooke Magnanti thing might reflect badly on other ‘women scientists’. Dr Magnanti, btw, is still out there fighting the actual anti-prostitution movement. As for Jen, other than those couple of posts I haven’t seen her do or say anything in reference to these issues.
Rebecca – She also has not actually said much of anything about these issues. She used to have those ‘bordello’ parties at conventions?… It was really just an appropriation of the prostitute identity, meanwhile she did nothing to raise awareness of sex work or ‘not anti-prostitution’ issues/stances, and she hasn’t since from what I’ve seen. I can only remember seeing one or two threads ever on skepchick about prostitution/porn and one I remember was about whether you can do that stuff and be a ‘feminist’, – nothing she’s ever written/published has addressed the real policy related issues. I’ve seen more on skepchick that helps the anti-prostitution positions actually…. Sure she did the pseudo-nude calendar thing, but has since learned the error of her ways and says she thinks that women should not do such things. She’s similar to Jen with boobquake here – basically, these women did something a tad risque and when people used it against them they turned tail and ran right over to the ‘I learned my lesson, other women who do such things just don’t understand the real risks!’ position.
Ophelia – Pretty sure she is actually anti-porn and anti-prostitution. She’s pretty slick about it, and I’ve never seen her blatantly admit it, but she’s said/written lots of things that add up to enough that it makes it clear to me. It’s too many things to even try to list. There was even a thread on the Atheism+ forum where people had noticed her ‘anti-sex positive feminism’ rhetoric. And she lets her commenters attack sex workers on her threads without ever seeming to notice or care. It’s ironic here because Ophelia herself seems very concerned about what other people allow on their own comment threads.
Stephanie – I tried to introduce a document about the problematic anti-trafficking legislation during a discussion of ‘gender feminist vs equity feminist solutions’ (I didn’t choose that terminology, mind you) on her blog and it was ignored. Stephanie has no interest in these issues and so when I finally got her attention she ends up basically telling me ‘gee criminalization doesn’t seem to help but this conversation isn’t really about that’ – even though the conversation actually was specifically about, and inviting, criticisms of ‘gender feminist solutions’. She might not think ‘criminalization’ makes things better but she, like everybody else, has not once written anything about the nitty-gritty-it’s-happening-now movement of further criminalization.
None of these women, or PZ, Ed or any of the rest them have done, said, written, tweeted, mentioned, or seemed to notice at all any of the ‘not anti-prostitution’ issues happening out there. None of them mentioned the International AIDS Conference or the sex worker protests that were happening, just as a small example, and that was huge news in the ‘not anti-prostitution’ circles I run in. It’s all so ironic considering the huge influence of religion in regards to these issues, and considering how much money religions make with the anti-porn anti-prostitution movements, and how they use that money to spread intolerance of all kinds across the globe. You’d think such dedicated ‘pro-sex feminists’ would care about these things.
Just saying, for people who want to use the “we’re not anti-prostitution” defense they sure don’t seem interested in speaking out against the actual anti-prostitution movement.
ETA: Here’s a video I made a couple months ago covering some of the things I mentioned above:
“If you drive it underground so no one can find it, it wouldn’t survive.” - Rhoda Grant, 2012
In many ways, Dana fits the profile. She’s a twentysomething woman with a drug addiction. She was abused in childhood and her partner is occasionally violent towards her. They’re in and out of homeless accommodation, and she works on the street to fund both their habits.
For those not familiar with it Reclaim the Night has a long and not particularly glorious history when it comes to the treatment of sex workers. The early marches deliberately went through red light districts, preventing women working. In the UK there is a history of confronting and in some cases abusing street workers. Which is a pity because the underlying idea, that women don't need to police their behavior, rapists need to not rape, is a good, strong , powerful message.
In no particular order,
1) Stop having those endless feminist discussions of whether choosing to do sex work reinforces ‘partriarchy’ – you want to talk about that? Ok fine, but not in the context of ‘social justice for sex workers’ you won’t. Most sex workers don’t give a fuck if you think they reinforce patriarchy or not, and most of the ones that *DO care* only care because they know you are wrong.
2) Stop categorizing criticism of feminist theory or policy as a criticism of some ‘out-of-date’ thing. When a sex worker says ‘feminists are oppressing me!’ your answer should be: ‘I’m not surprised, what can I do? Let’s put a stop to it!’ and NOT ‘no way, you gotta extra-hard prove that cuz all the bad radical feminism went away 30 years ago!’ and you also should NOT demand that they define ‘what sort of feminist?’ before you are willing to believe them. Feminists who are calling themselves feminists are oppressing sex workers, that’s who.
3) Stop thinking that you have to determine what ‘the majority experience’ is before you can decide what policy is best. The best policy is NOT prohibition. Ever.
4) Understand that those oh-so-unhelpful ‘end demand’ policies where they ‘don’t’ go after the sellers, and only the buyers are criminalized are still prohibition and there is not one single recognized sex workers rights organization that endorses them, and neither does the UN.
5) Be prepared to lobby mainstream feminist organizations to support sex workers rights and for them to extricate themselves from the anti-porn/anti-prostitution alliance with conservative christians.
6) Understand that the anti-trafficking industry that has sprung up in the last 10 years was created by and backed by people who profit off of the cheap labor of desperate people. They focus on ‘sex trafficking’ and work to ‘rescue’ prostitutes because they know that when the prostitutes send that money back home, those communities become less desperate and they are no longer able to profit off of them as much. Be VERY careful and apply MUCH skepticism to anti-trafficking orgs – there are some good ones, but they are few and far between. Anything founded after yr 2000 is HIGHLY suspect.
8) If you’re in California, vote No on Prop 35:
Here is a small out-take of a much larger piece in which Dr. Brooke Magnanti totally fucking nails it:
Prohibition never works
There is a lot of talk in the political sphere about the need for “evidence based policy”. This means rejecting approaches that are moralistic and manipulative. Sex workers have suffered the tragic consequences of prejudicial social attitudes that lead to bad policy. The prohibition approach has not worked. It will never work. The people who endorse this view are putting people in danger and should not be guiding public opinion any longer. Disliking sex work is not a good enough argument to justify criminalising it. Is there any public interest served by preventing adults from engaging in a consensual transaction for sexual services? No, there is not.
Bit like the war on drugs: making the business profitable only to criminals, awaiting the inevitably grim results, then claiming that it’s the drugs themselves, not the laws, wot caused it. Few reasonable people believe that line of argument when it comes to drugs. Why does anyone believe it when it comes to sex?
Moral disapproval is a bad basis for policymaking. I don’t find the idea of taking drugs at all appealing, but I don’t assume my own preferences should be the basis for law.
The condescension heaped on people who do sex work is embarrassingly transparent. All this mealy-mouthed, ‘oh but we want to help them, really’. How’s that again? By saddling people with criminal records and taking away their children? Do me a favour.
As well as the happy prostitutes there are unhappy sex workers in need of support. Society should protect the unwilling and underage from sexual exploitation and provide outreach for those who need and want it. We already have laws and services for that. Maybe the laws should be more intelligently enforced and the services better supported. But prosecuting the victimless crimes does neither of these. It helps no one.
Below is the Diwataman video that I mention, the part with the definition starts around 3:45
There was this video uploaded on the ZJemptv youtube channel.
The most disturbing thing about it is the comment thread where there are actually some people saying “thank you for the balanced overview of the two sides”. Of course it is NOT a balanced overview, it’s a textbook ”radical feminist critique of sex positive feminism” – which should be assumed unbiased about as much as you’d assume that The Joker would offer an unbiased “critique” of Batman.:
I sent a tweet – which is rather out of character for me – which said “Thank you ZJ for giving someone who is not a sex worker yet another chance to speak for sex workers”. You can see the rest of our exchange, and some of the other twitter exchanges involved in the video below. I was pissed and things got ugly:
And just in case you are wondering, as one of the comments on my video says, if “zj had a chance to process everything” you should know that as far as the Love146 charity drive is concerned, it’s unfathomable that zinnia hadn’t heard about it months ago, considering how many people were sending pms and leaving comments about it, including links to the following video:
And also just-in-case, if you’re maybe thinking I was too angry in that video up there with all the yelling, take a listen to my initial reaction to the charity fiasco, where I’m sure a few people were disappointed that I wasn’t angry enough:
Sorry if this has ruined your day, it has certainly ruined a few of mine.
I just read this comment on a thread on Jezebel, and it’s just such a perfect example of the sort of thing that a Tool of The Patriarchy would say:
I know that you choose your choice, but you didn’t make those choices in a vacuum. I don’t think it’s the world’s greatest coincidence that those who like to dress in short skirts and belly shirts and the like almost always identify as women. We do happen to live in a society where women are rewarded for dressing ‘sexily’, and acting in other ways that appease hetero men. The fact that women are willing to risk frostbite to dress a certain way merits discussion, and we’re not doing anyone any favors by saying that personal choices are above critique.
Now this isn’t to say that you deserve to be shamed for what you wear, because you don’t. I too like to wear short skirts, but I’d be stupid to say that it has nothing to do with societal expectations.
“A female does not generally benefit from establishing simultaneous pair-bonds with multiple males because (1) she can only have one pregnancy at a time (so lots of sex with different males does not increase her reproductive success)“
Ah, if only there was some way to receive tangible benefit from each of those males, then multiple partners would very much improve the likelyhood of reproductive success and survival of offspring. Yes, if only…
Oh this is rich. Apparently Ashton Kutcher, idiot do-gooder, tweeted some ingorant bullshit about Joe Paterno of Penn State abuse scandal infamy before he actually heard about all the abuse stuff. I read here that he had assumed Paterno was canned due to poor performance. But here’s the kicker, Sandusky (the actual alleged child rapist) got access to his victims through the charity he founded, “The Second Mile”, which ‘helps’ at-risk youth. Kutcher as celebrity mouthpiece for the rescue industry gets all sorts of insulted and indignant whenever somebody suggests that those charities he stumps for and is aligned with do more harm than good. He believes that anyone who says “I’m here to help these poor unfortunates” actually means it. The suggestion that the rescuers might actually be exploiting and abusing those they rescue is something Kutcher refuses to believe, refuses to even consider it. When people tell him this, that the helpers are actually harming, he turns it around and calls us rape supporters and child abusers. Fucking idiot.
I’ve read that only 4 people complained.
“We considered that the length of her dress, her leg and position of the perfume bottle drew attention to her sexuality,” the ASA said.
“Because of that, along with her appearance, we considered the ad could be seen to sexualise a child. We therefore concluded that the ad was irresponsible and was likely to cause serious offence.”
All I can muster is to republish parts of two earlier posts. When I wrote them the suicide of Hope Witsell was in the news.
First there was:
This is about the slut-shaming suicide of a 13 yr old girl who killed herself. Hope Witsell sent some naked photos, they got passed around like naked photos always do, her school, students and teachers alike, slut-shamed her mercilessly.
This is what sex-positive feminism is all about. It’s not about liking sex, it’s about teaching that sex isn’t shameful. Teaching that sex, and that nudity, is “positive” is the opposite of teaching that it’s shameful. We can’t teach “not shameful” without teaching “positive”. It’d be really great if we can, if you know how, please let us know.
This girl got the same shaming in the hallways of her school, from boys and girls both, that so many bloggers heap on playboy centerfolds. I know, we don’t call them sluts anymore so much, we know something doesn’t feel right about that, so we say they promote “rape-culture” and women’s oppression, if the centerfold happens to have said that she feels “empowered” by it, we tell her she is confused, possibly brainwashed. Delusional, stupid, childlike, “doesn’t get structure”, weird. That is shaming.
The idea that sex is not the most important thing is what, I think, all feminists want to teach girls. I understand the perception a lot of people have of what “pro-sex” feminism is; that it’s about liking sex, and thinking that sex is great, but “pro-sex” feminism is just a different way to teach girls that sex isn’t the most important thing.
Then there was:
Among the various things that decorate my walls, is a small unassuming frame with just one dash of color and a handful of words:
Hope. Tomorrow waits with joy.
That’s what I’d like to say to every girl who has to walk down the hall while taunts, spoken or imagined, of SLUT! and WHORE! echo behind them. Tomorrow waits with joy. I won’t tell you it gets better. I can’t make that promise. I can’t promise that it gets easier either, it does for a while, but then it gets worse again. Life is like that.
But someday, beyond the better or worse and easy or hard, comes understanding, and understanding brings joy.
Those people with their taunts, and their justifications for saying them, will never go away. That’s another lie I won’t tell you. No one grows out of it. They use new words, and they construct vast theories of why it is ok to call you a slut. They will twist it and twist it until they have painted you as the one who taunts, and they are the ones who suffer. They may even get you to start believing it, that it’s your fault. It’s not your fault.
It’s not your fault that you took a naked picture of yourself.
Were you proud of your body? Were you trying to prove something? Were you trying to get attention? Did you do it for pride, ego, or loneliness? It’s not your fault.
It’s not your fault that you sent the picture to a boy, or a girl.
Did you want them to like you? Did you want to feel pretty? Did you want to feel wanted? Did you want to? It’s not your fault for wanting to. It’s not your fault.
It’s not your fault that the boy, or the girl, disregarded your wishes and didn’t guard the photo the way you expected it to be guarded.
Were they charming? Did they promise they wouldn’t share it? Did they say you were special? It’s not your fault that you fell for it. It’s not your fault.
But more important than it not being your “fault” – is that the things you did, are no one’s fault. It is all right and good and normal and natural. To be proud, to feel lonely sometimes, to want attention, to be too trusting – all of that is right and good and normal and natural. It’s nobody’s fault that you are a normal person. What blame could there ever be for “normal?”
Only a slut – would be so prideful, so eager for attention, or so easily fooled. If that’s what makes a slut, we are all sluts.
Been a rough couple of months, dealing with shit I don’t want to deal with. Old death, old worries. Things that couldn’t be dealt with at the time.
Funny how that works. I wanted to get this shit squared away years ago. Could’ve used the money back then. But now? Someone else is ready, so the things I wrote off, the things I had to let go of emotionally, now I have to deal with it all.
It’s too hard to explain, and there’s too much sad in it all.
Feministe’s “Don’t Do This” Thread Actually Teaches That What You Should Do Is Denigrate Choice and Mock Other Women
It’s about labiaplasty, and states:
Surgically altering your labia: DO NOT DO, unless there is some actual medical reason. Also ohmygod forget anyone who tells you your labia are too large or that virginal vulvas look one way and whore’s vulvas look another. They all look really different, I think! But also kind of the same! Also if someone is face-to-face with your labia, everyone involved should be having fun, so focus on that. If someone says something bad about your labia, not only are they terrible, but they really need a new hobby because what? You’re evaluating and insulting labia now? I’m kind of mad, actually, that this is now making all of us think about the relative sizes of our labia, which is not something I had ever seriously considered before, but which I’ve just wasted five minutes of my life considering. (Conclusion: This is a fucking stupid thing to be thinking about).
Hopefully you weren’t expecting any sort of discussion about those medical reasons mentioned in the first sentence. That’d be such a stupid discussion! Stupid to even think about! Poor Jill, so sorry you had to waste 5 minutes pondering something stupid.
Conclusion: I can’t even.
ps: the comment section is a train wreck, bring popcorn.
pps: shoutout to somebody Jill should probably listen to.
Well, that’s a nice way of claiming to be in some way put upon in this conversation, but I think it’s a serious reversal of what’s actually going on here. It is extremely hard to have an honest conversation when both yourself and Terre have been disingenuous in the extreme. Both in terms of trying to reframe what is essentially a political argument between the sex positive movement and the antipornography movement, as represented by Robert Jensen, as simply a case of the former group being a bunch of heartless neo-puritans (huh?) trying to force others into unwanted sexual openness. Never mind that it has in fact been the antiporn movement that has been extremely aggressive in pursuing its ideological and political goals, and that the sex-positive side has simply been trying to *defend* individual rights in the area of sexuality from the moral panic and political onslaught coming from the other side.
You continue to act as though it is somehow beyond the pale to bring up Robert Jensen’s antiporn politics, when in fact this is central to his position. I repeat, this is like claiming you want to have a “non-political” critique of the pro-choice movement while featuring an interview with Randall Terry’s objections to the pro-choice movement.
And there’s the fact you and Terre have been very quick to toss out several harsh, poorly sourced, and inflammatory accusations, namely, that the sex positive movement is the expression of “big money” from shadowy sources and that sexual slavery is the norm for porn performers. If you’re going to drop bombshells like that, Lili, you really should expect an equally strong response, not to mention that you really ought to be prepared to *thoroughly* document such accusations. Instead, you play this disingenuous game that you’re being shamed and that your free speech is under attack. (Because somehow it violates your free speech to be criticized.)
The way I see it, you’ve brought absolutely nothing new to the conversation around the subject of porn and its place in society. Instead, we get the same kind of groundless accusations and guilt-tripping that the antiporn ‘feminists’ have been throwing around now for over 30 years. Talking points that many of us have heard, understand (even if we don’t agree with), have long since responded to, and are pretty sick of, actually.
I would suggest, Lili, that if you really want a conversation rather than a shouting match that you and Terre start engaging with a bit more honesty than you’ve been doing so far. If you’re going to engage in a political antiporn critique, do so openly and in the spirit of debate. It is dishonest to toss out such issues and then hide behind a claim that you are in some way being attacked for being sexually modest. (Which, BTW, nobody is doing.) Oh, and if you or Terre are going to start using Shared Hope International and the *American Family Association* as sources, you have absolutely no place to claim your position is being “co-opted” by the Religious Right.