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Pre-2008 Posts

Carnival of Radical Feminists = Anti-Pornography

I didn’t realize until this evening that the most recent Carnival of Radical Feminists included a link to a pro-pornography article.   I am so sorry!   It isn’t Femtique’s fault– I supplied her with the articles submitted for that carnival (late), and I wasn’t careful to read and evaluate what I was sending along to her.  Our carnivals have been so consistently radical feminist, I think I trusted that everyone submitting articles knew what the Carnival of Radical Feminists stood for, to wit:

We define radical feminism as follows:

  • We believe that women are oppressed worldwide by patriarchy, the “rule of the fathers”;
  • We seek to abolish patriarchy;
  • We understand patriarchy to be a system of structures and institutions created by men in order to sustain and recreate male power and female subordination. The structures of patriarchy include, but are not limited to, the law, medicine, religion and the traditional family;
  • Women’s oppression is rooted in both the structures of our society and in capitalism and white supremacy.  Patriarchy includes not only male rule but also heterosexual imperialism and sexism (Charlotte Bunch);
  • In order to abolish patriarchy, we must challenge its root components and causes which we locate in oppression of females by males;
  • We believe that the uprooting of sexism simultaneously inaugurates the uprooting of racism, class hatred, homophobia, lesbophobia, transphobia, ageism, ableism, competition, hierarchy, ecological disaster, and economic exploitation of all kinds;
  • The revolutions, so-called, which the world has known to date, have been coups-d’etat between men which have pruned certain branches but have left the root embedded for the sake of preserving male privilege over all women (Robin Morgan);
  • We are a journey of women becoming.  We do not seek reconciliation with the fathers; rather, we affirm our original birth, our original source, movement, surge of living.  We Re-member our Selves (Mary Daly);
  • We are woman-identified and woman-centered.  We put women first, not only in our politics but in our personal lives;
  • The expression of our politics is concrete:  we oppose pornography, prostitution, the institution of marriage and the traditional family, sadomasochism, compulsory heterosexuality, gender coercion, and dominance hierarchies of all kinds; we endorse, support and work to envision and create peaceful, respectful, noncoercive, relationships, structures and institutions which affirm the importance of all human beings, all creatures, and the earth;
  • We affirm lesbianism and lesbian separatism as revolutionary paths for all women who choose them.
  • We understand gender as a structure and system of subordination, and as such, we seek its eradication.
  • We pursue and celebrate sisterhood.

The pro-pornography article will not be included in the carnival posted to the Carnival of Radical Feminists blog.   I’m sorry for this inclusion and want everybody to know it was unintentional on my part and was not Femtique’s fault.

It won’t happen again.  You have my word.

Heart

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Discussion

85 thoughts on “Carnival of Radical Feminists = Anti-Pornography

  1. “The anti-pornography article will not be included in the carnival posted to the Carnival of Radical Feminists blog”

    Do you mean pro-pornography? I hope so! Thank you so much for this post, Heart, I think the inclusion of a pro-porn article caused quite a bit of upset.

    It’s funny, the author of the pro-porn article said in a comment on my blog that you had personally emailed her saying how much you liked her article!? (I’ve deleted it now, as she is banned)

    Anyway, thanks for clarifying this – looking forward to the updated edition! :) x

    Posted by Debs | January 27, 2008, 8:51 am
  2. The *anti-pornography* article will not be included in the carnival posted to the Carnival of Radical Feminists blog.

    I think you meant *pro-pornography*.

    Thank you for this beautiful, timely affirmation of Radical Feminism.

    Posted by allecto | January 27, 2008, 12:19 pm
  3. I’m sorry, I am really confused, re: “The anti-pornography article will not be included in the carnival posted to the Carnival of Radical Feminists blog.”

    Do you mean the “pro-pornography” article? Is it the article about how people shouldn’t turn to porn to lear about sex?

    Posted by Mary Tracy9 | January 27, 2008, 1:03 pm
  4. PRO-pornography article will not be included, GEEZ. Fingers, meet brain. :/

    Debs, I did e-mail the author of the pro-porn article saying just that! So she is right to be confused, anybody would be! The reason is, she shares the same first (real life) name (which shows up on her e-mails) with someone else and I had her confused with that person, who had also submitted an article for the carnival (not this one, the next one).

    I am very sorry for this confusion and feel bad for the woman who submitted this article as well because I am sure she is a good woman and wasn’t trying to pull a fast one or anything like that at all. I went back and looked at her original submission and she states right up front and center in the comments section of the blog carnival submission form that although she identifies as a radical feminist, she is not anti-pornography. That’s right there in black and white, but in my haste to get the carnival to Femtique, I read right over it.

    Argh. :(

    Last week on several different days I pulled the Green Tara card from my goddess oracle deck, the overweening message of which is, “DELEGATE. GET HELP.” (!!) I think I need to get some help with the Carnival because it can be a bit of work and I am consistently seeing that I didn’t update here or fix this over there or add something I should have, and when it has been late, it has usually been my fault.

    If someone wants to help out with this, e-mail me, maybe we can make it more of a community effort and hence avoid these debacles.

    I would like to apologize publicly to the author of the pro-porn article, too, for this confusion. She was very above board and honest about everything, she had received my affirming e-mail, she didn’t know I thought I was e-mailing with someone else with her same name, and I know the whole thing has to have been hopelessly confusing for her.

    Sigh. :(

    Posted by womensspace | January 27, 2008, 3:16 pm
  5. Mary, I don’t think the article you’re referring to is the one at issue, but April has taken the Carnival down and is reworking it, so it’s not up there anymore in any event.

    I apologized to Femtique on her blog.

    Geez.

    I feel so bad.

    Posted by womensspace | January 27, 2008, 3:30 pm
  6. Don’t feel bad, Heart, it’ll all be sorted soon. I would offer to help out, but I’ve just set up a carnival of my own, so that will be keeping me pretty busy I’m afraid.

    Personally, I don’t mind the carnival being a little late, or things not being updated immediately. I hope someone offers to help, we don’t want you running yourself into the ground! xx

    Posted by Debs | January 27, 2008, 3:40 pm
  7. I have also now apologized via e-mail to the woman who submitted the pro-porn article.

    If I should apologize to anyone else, let me know!

    Argh.

    Posted by womensspace | January 27, 2008, 3:46 pm
  8. Thanks, Debs. What’s your new carnival about? :)

    Posted by womensspace | January 27, 2008, 3:47 pm
  9. Never mind, I went over to your blog and looked, Debs, and go you! Carnival Against Pornography and Prostitution, YES!

    Geez, I felt bad more so though, seeing that I completely missed the discussion of the problems with the Carnival of Radfems.

    Well, I have to beat myself about the head and neck for a while more, then I will let it go. Thanks for being understanding, everyone.

    Posted by womensspace | January 27, 2008, 3:53 pm
  10. If mistakes are the price we have to pay to enjoy Blog Carnivals of Radical Feminists, I’ll take mimstakes any time!

    Posted by Mary Tracy9 | January 27, 2008, 4:09 pm
  11. no, no! no beating yourself! it was an honest mistake in an otherwise fabulous carnival, and you’ve set it right and apologized. no need for self-flagellation! :)

    Posted by ladoctorita | January 27, 2008, 4:17 pm
  12. Wow…

    I can only say that I am incredibly disappointed that the carnival cannot display the diversity of opinion amongst radical feminists on how to approach pornography. In fact, I would go so far as to say that I am dismayed by it.

    I agree with every single thing on that list. Except for opposing completely and outright pornography as a concept. I oppose many things about it, and advocate in my piece for changes in it (dare I say? Radical changes. Woman-centered changes). And in fact due to the discussions had with Debs and her blog (don’t worry Debs, I won’t be back, even that last comment was only meant for you) I have planned a piece discussing exactly all my problems with porn as well as an examination of why I am a radical feminist, which should prove interesting.

    But there is one thing I really have to get off my chest, that is bothering me immensely. I am not “pro-pornography.” I am sex positive. And I am not anti-pornography. But that’s basically like the pro-life people who insist on calling the pro-choice crowd “pro-abortion.” It’s not the same thing and I am incredibly discouraged to see that tactic being used amongst this community, and it has been do repteadely.

    Posted by whatsername | January 27, 2008, 5:53 pm
  13. whatsername, I hear you. The thing is, pretty much ALL of the feminist blogosphere continually talks about approaches to pornography which include some forms of pornography. While there may well be a diversity of opinion among radical feminists as to how to approach porn, there have always been radical feminists, since the 70s, who adamantly opposed all porn, and that’s where my sensibilities lie as well as the sensibilities of most who support the Carnival of Radical Feminists.

    As to your not being pro-pornography, fair enough, that’s a point well taken and I won’t call you pro-porn. At the same time, I could take issue with your wanting to describe your views as sex positive, because the suggestion then is that those of us who do oppose pornography are “sex negative,” which also isn’t true. We like sex as much as anybody else does and view it positively, we just don’t think pornography is positive or has anything to do with good sex.

    And yeah, these words can become weapons women wield against one another, and I hate that. I don’t see any value in women clobbering women, especially women who are committed to their feminist work and simply view things differently.

    I was sex positive once. Most of us radfems were. I regret those days dearly and see them a lot differently now. My own sex positive-ness was something along the lines of, “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em,” my attempt to say something along the lines of, “You can’t hurt me, see, that doesn’t hurt, look, I like it, I like it just as much as you,” out of pride or desperation or exhaustion or weariness or wanna-be badness or toughness, or wanna be look-how-sophisticated-I-am because of what seemed to me to be the unavoidability of pornography, or maybe the inevitability of it. But it DID hurt me. I HAD been HORRIBLY hurt by it. It was my engaging with radical feminists about pornography that changed my mind, and it was such a relief, too, to find that there were many women who were NOT fundamentalists or religious women who opposed porn strictly because of their love for and loyalty to women. (Another reason women turn to fundamentalism: pornography is viewed as bad, even though plenty of men use it.) (And I’m not suggesting you have the views you do for the same reason I did, I’m just offering my own experience.)

    I feel bad that I once (publicly, online) defended pornography and prostitution, but it was part of my own journey, and I had to go through there to get to the next place.

    This is all to say that I’m not at all about clobbering women because they defend pornography and prostitution. I get why they do and I’d rather walk alongside them — if possible, at all — respecting that they have their views and are on their own path and that insisting I’m right and they see it my way is not in the end the best approach or any kind of sisterhood. At the same time, I do oppose pornography and prostitution and I have to be true to myself and my own path, as well, so it doesn’t work for me to participate, either by my silence or more actively, in what amounts to advocacies for some kinds of pornography or prostitutionor whatever.

    What I hate most of all, if you want to know the truth, is the way men gather like vultures wherever women are advocating for porn or just talking about it. Ugh. It’s creepy and vampiric, bunch of freaking pervs, and it brings out the very worst in women, as well, divides us against one another, and I’m not even going to go there, we all know what that’s about. I think if we had more private places where women could discuss their views of pornography and prostitution with respect and real interest in hearing one another, where men were nowhere to be found, and I do mean nowhere, good might come of that. But honestly, given how destructive most online/blogosphere interactions around pornography have been, I wouldn’t expect that most women who oppose all pornography would be up for even this type of discussion. Everybody is just too burned, betrayed. Sadly, you’ve walked into this maybe with little awareness of this history and now all of this debacle! Again, I’m so sorry.

    Posted by womensspace | January 27, 2008, 7:15 pm
  14. “The thing is, pretty much ALL of the feminist blogosphere continually talks about approaches to pornography which include some forms of pornography.”

    “But honestly, given how destructive most online/blogosphere interactions around pornography have been, I wouldn’t expect that most women who oppose all pornography would be up for even this type of discussion. Everybody is just too burned, betrayed.”

    Exactly. We are the ones getting the short end of the stick, at the best of times. And that’s why the tinsy winsy bit of space we have to discuss these issues is so important to us.

    Posted by Mary Tracy9 | January 27, 2008, 9:01 pm
  15. Heart, please stop apologizing to me. :P You don’t owe me an apology, and even if you did, you’ve given it too many times already. Shit happens, life happens, mistakes happen; it’s ok. I still think you’re rad. ;)

    And I’m glad you can take my point about the “pro-porn” thing. Point taken on the “sex negative” implication. For me, the label we choose for ourselves tends to reflect our point of view on the topic (again good examples “pro-life” vs. “pro-choice”). But it doesn’t necessarily reflect our opinion on people on the other side. I don’t by default consider anti-porn feminists to be sex-negative, and honestly I don’t think of them that way. As a result, I would never use that label for someone who was simply anti-porn (similarly to how I am uncomfortable calling pro-lifer’s “anti-choice”). I agree with you immensely, that’s using words as weapons, and while it’s easy and tempting, I try not to do that.

    I can honestly say that my own views do not come out of a “if you can’t beat them, join them” mentality, and since yours did, I’m happy that you came away from them. As you say, we can each only do what we honestly think is best from our own perspectives. Walking together towards the same goal each with our own way of going about it is exactly what I think feminism is (and really, what life is), and (not to be mushy, ugh) I am happy to call you sister on that path. :)

    Posted by whatsername | January 27, 2008, 10:31 pm
  16. pornography, as it is called, is very sex-negative. It constantly debases the sex act as “dirty”, painful, and degrades women.

    Posted by kiuku | January 28, 2008, 12:09 am
  17. “I agree with every single thing on that list. Except for opposing completely and outright pornography as a concept.”

    And except for you don’t oppose johns, but encourage them to affirm their right to buy sex from women, and encourage both women and men to become johns who are rilly, rilly, super duper nice to prostituted women! What a great, radical feminist idea, whatsername! Just brilliant!

    Posted by xochitl | January 28, 2008, 4:27 am
  18. xochitl, do you honestly think that if people like you and me were responsible purchasers of sex services that the sex work industry would not dramatically change?

    Posted by whatsername | January 28, 2008, 6:55 am
  19. Sorry, but I think that “responsible purchasers of sex services” is just what the sex trade wants.
    The sex trade disguises itself as a business like any other business. Part of that is showing that it is not seedy, can even “women-friendly” and artistic. This includes encourages women to make porn.
    But, never forgot the vast majority of money will put into exploiting and degrading women.
    I do not believe the sex trade will allow women to have autonomy, but it will encourage to have a strong public present.
    Men always want to stay hidden whilst cementing their power.

    Posted by rmott62 | January 28, 2008, 7:13 am
  20. whatsername,

    All I wanted to do is to point out that you are not being honest when you say that you agreed with everything on Heart’s list, except for opposing porn. I have no interest in discussing your “radical femist” pro-john position or anything else, for that matter.

    Posted by xochitl | January 28, 2008, 7:20 am
  21. whatsername,

    I don’t think this is the place for a debate on prostitution. You’re not going to find many radical feminists who are pro-prostitution. I hear also that you are dismayed, but there really isn’t that much diversity of opinion when it comes to pornography and prostitution of women, among radical feminists. In fact, you’d be the first identified radical feminist that i’ve met who makes the kind of statements you do about prostitution and sexual slavery (I wont call it work).

    Posted by kiuku | January 28, 2008, 7:44 am
  22. Well, I realize this thread has gotten rather side-tracked from the original post, but I thought I’d go ahead and add my two cents…

    whatsername,

    In response to your question to xochitl, from what I understand the difference between liberalism and radicalism is that liberalism is much more in the realm of ideas and individualism. So, it would seem a liberal statement to believe we can each make a difference by being “really nice” to women in prostitution or purchasing “women-friendly” porn. In my view, a more radical stance would be to critique the industry as a whole, with capitalism/racism/militarism and all that other fun stuff (!) that, as a feminist, you’re already intellectually knowledgeable about.

    But some sort of theory-based critique isn’t exactly what we need either, in my opinion; what I would advise myself and other women so obliged to do is to follow Andrea Dworkin’s advice: “resist, do not comply,” when dismantling systems of harm to women.

    We really need to take action. I’m sick and tired of waiting for “the revolution” to arrive.

    Edited to add: whatsername, I began writing this post in response to your brief statements, but I wanted to add that it’s really meant for all readers to take what they can from it. I agree with Heart in that I am very much against women baiting one another, and perhaps this is not necessary to say, but that is not my intent.

    Posted by Laur | January 28, 2008, 8:18 am
  23. Heart, I wrote a rather detailed response, and I don’t see that it is “waiting to be moderated.” Did it go through? Eeek. I hope so. :(

    Posted by Laur | January 28, 2008, 8:20 am
  24. I have a feeling my response did not get submitted, for whatever reason. :(

    A very brief recap: I was simply giving a friendly reminder that liberalism tends to operate in the realm of ideas and the individual. Therefore, choosing “women friendly” porn or “being nice” to women in systems of prostitution (especially while using them) may help us *feel* we are accomplishing something by putting our dollars towards our beliefs (assuming we believe porn can exist in a female-friendly universe) or spending our money and time making sure some prostituted women have a “friendly” john (jane?), but it’s not dismantling the power structures at large.

    What I wrote was essentially based on Andrea Dworkin’s work in that resisting power structures with whatever tools we have on hand is ultimately what will make a difference for women, as opposed to complying with them in any way.

    I’m not here to lecture though, and damn it! I feel such frustration that people aren’t more willing to REALLY stand up to the powers that be and take them on full force. Therefore, I was *extremely* impressed to hear of Code Pink’s Tax Resistance plan, as well as other forms of CD they plan on caring out.

    I do want to add that I adamantly gree with Heart; baiting another woman in any way, shape or form is not something I’m comfortable with, and I really don’t believe it’s feminist whatsoever! So, though I may disagree with your views on porn, whatsername, I am not here to berate you, and you have my full support as a woman and in whatever activist endeavors you engage in that are, in my opinion, women-friendly.

    Thanks–and hope this goes through! :-)

    Posted by Laur | January 28, 2008, 8:33 am
  25. I agree with everything in the above list, Heart, especially “We understand gender as a structure and system of subordination, and as such, we seek its eradication. ” That’s my favorite one! Especially since I read “The Root Cause” essay by Dworkin.

    Posted by Maggie Hays | January 28, 2008, 11:50 am
  26. I’m sure Xochitl will answer you, whatsername, but I just wanted to say something. You ask “do you honestly think that if people like you and me were responsible purchasers of sex services that the sex work industry would not dramatically change?”

    I don’t believe it would change at all. The idea that it would is very nice, and very idealistic, but it would just not happen. While there is any kind of sex service (or any kind of porn, too) men will always appropriate it and make it theirs to use as they wish.

    Men have had such entitlement and privilege for so long – do you think that if “people like you and me were responsible purchasers of sex services” the men who are currently the customers for this type of thing would just say, “Oh, okay” and walk away from it? It wouldn’t happen. We can already see how men cling to their porn when we so much as mention we might want to take it away. They cling as though their life depends on it! A few “responsible purchaser” will not change that at all.

    I honestly believe that trying to change the system from within can never work. While there is in existence any type of porn (no matter how ‘woman-friendly’) or any type of prostitution (no matter how ‘consensual’, which I would question anyway), men will be there just champing at the bit to get their hands on it and do with it whatever they see fit, which you can bet, for the most part, would not be anything ‘woman-friendly’ or ‘consensual’. That is what I believe.

    The system needs uprooting completely, a total overhaul, scrap the whole thing and start again. You may say that’s no more realistic than your trying to change it from within, but as I see it it’s the only way.

    On the subject of “responsible purchasers of sex services” – I have a huge problem with the entire concept of a “sex service”, and with the idea of anyone purchasing that service. Women are not objects to be bought and sold. They belong only to themselves, and I don’t agree with the argument that it’s their choice whether to prostitute themselves and so if they do that makes it okay. Even if a woman does decide for herself, completely without any coersion or financial insentive or any other kind of pressure to do so, to sell herself, that still doesn’t make it okay for anyone to purchase her. It’s a basic human rights issue, for me. Women are not for sale, even if they “want” to be.

    Posted by Debs | January 28, 2008, 12:36 pm
  27. whatsername:

    To echo some sentiments (but not to gang up on you): my position is that I seriously doubt if we removed gender and sexualized power structures and all our various forms of lookism ANYONE would want to purchase sex.

    Posted by pisaquaririse | January 28, 2008, 3:21 pm
  28. Yeah, pisaquaririse, prostitution is about sex as a commodity, a “service”. If we eradicate the power imbalances inherent in gender, and if we also moved in the direction of replacing capitalism/exchange economies/structures with gifting/gift economies, the whole notion of prostitution would become meaningless and irrelevant.

    I also agree that you can’t bracket off pornography/prostitution from that list and say that except for those two, you agree with the whole list. If you want to end sadomasochism, then pornography/prostitution have to go. If you want to eradicate gender, ditto. If you are woman-centered and put women first, double-ditto! So long as the focus is on a few prostitutes having it better in the world, or on having some pornography that is not entirely misogynist, we will also have pornography and prostitution which amount to torture and degradation of women.

    Posted by womensspace | January 28, 2008, 4:38 pm
  29. While I want to respect that this might not be the place for such a discussion, there are so many responses, that I really want to put my own out there anyway.

    First, xochitl, you are correct, my original statement is badly worded on my part, as the point I was making was about my post not necessarily my views on everything. I was so focused on everything I agreed with on the list, and the topic at hand, that I did not address the rest. If I recall correctly there are then three things on the list I do not directly oppose as concepts; porn, prostitution and bdsm.

    However, let me be perfectly clear on this. I oppose both porn and prostitution as they dominantly function today, especially within my own society. I agree with you Debs, that the best course of action (as with society as a whole) would be the tear it all down and start again. However, I also think that if feminist, sex positive women disregard the current system, and build their own whether with porn or prostitution, that that is, if they are successful, tantamount to the same thing. It is our own power structure, not rooted in patriarchy (as best anything can be) and in fact in direct opposition to patriarchy and the misogynistic attitudes everyone here so despises. And Laur, I agree with you that this my opinions in this matter are rather a muddle of both radical and liberal ideas. However radical and liberal ideas working together usually seems to get the women’s movement places, so I don’t necessarily see that as a bad thing. On the most basic level, where my feminism is founded is on radical thought, which is why I identify as such.

    Very basically, the reason I want us to build our own system is complex but rather simple. I want men to see it.

    Most here have mentioned how defensive men get when we start talking about taking away their porn. And that’s true. But many men I have known would be ok with replacing it. In fact, the man I lost my virginity to, when we were teenagers no less, always preferred the woman-friendly stuff. That is what he watched, even on his own time by and large. My husband now, is always searching for stuff that depicts real pleasure, and he hates the overtly misogynistic tone of much of mainstream porn as I do. I guess my point is, if it’s available to them? Men will watch woman friendly porn. And as I say in the post that was the original subject of this, if we can replace mainstream porn with a feminist representation, that will change a lot of issues in our society.

    How could it not? Men’s first indoctrination, their first sex ed (and for women too) is often through porn. I mean it’s so easy to find on the internet that when you begin getting interested in sex of course you’re going to look it up. You want to know what people DO when they’re naked together. And just imagine if the images and actions being imprinted where actually healthy, mutual, pleasurable sexuality. How could the fake stuff stand up to that? It would be laughed at. People would know better. And when given something woman friendly to contrast it, I think the misogyny in what is mainstream now would be so glaringly obvious that the vast majority of men would recognize it, and most likely, be appalled (because as I’ve seen, if they are raised right they do tend to be so).

    My “theory” I guess you can call it (though that sounds too important sounding to me, lol) goes to prostitution as well. I don’t agree with the terminology of “selling yourSELF” and I actually have a post up about that too. But basically, theoretically, a prostitute doesn’t sell herSELF. She sells a service she uses her body to provide. But theoretically, why is selling sex any different than selling a massage, or a pedicure? You’re using talents and skills your body possesses to fulfill a need in a customer. Now of course that’s theoretically, the reality is that many sex workers in that industry are not willing participants. But as with porn, my goal is to build our own system, while also tearing the other one apart. I do not believe, as some have stated, that in a woman friendly society the need for prostitutes will go away. There are simply too many different reasons why men go to them, and many of those reasons are entirely benign. Business travelers who simply don’t have time for relationships, men who have fantasies they’re afraid they will be judged for… Any number of reasons. I don’t see any particular reason why willing women can’t service this need, but again, we need to build our own system to do it with the worker in mind.

    For me both of these things are part of a larger vision of bringing sexuality out of the closet our society currently puts it in. People are afraid in our culture. They honestly are afraid of their own sexuality. Of things that live in the deep and dark recesses of their minds. This gets taken out on us as women because women’s sexuality has always been more mysterious and as a result even more threatening. Men and women need to feel like they can talk about what gets them off without feeling ashamed. Even if the fantasy is destructive, better to non-judgmentally get it out in the open and help the person to come to terms with it and understand why they cannot act it out, but without putting the stigma on it that forces it back underneath the surface of the mind to fester and become a compulsion.

    This is getting far longer than I wanted it to be… I could honestly write more, but I think I’ve made my point.

    Posted by whatsername | January 28, 2008, 6:26 pm
  30. Bah, there was one more thing regarding prostitution I wanted to touch on. That is that I have seen structures in which prostitution was more what I have in mind. I am a pagan, and I have a serious fondness for the idea of the temple whore. As transcendent as sex can be, I think that idea was a good one. And I have seen a similar situation in present day, of the Devadasi. I think both are good templates.

    Posted by whatsername | January 28, 2008, 6:31 pm
  31. Heart really hit the nail on the head. IT is women’s economic poverty, desperation, and dependence on men that fuels the type of exploitation required for things like sexual slavery, and pornography. Pretty much all Radical Feminists are sex-positive. I don’t think you can be pro-pornography and sex positive at the same time. While you can be anti-pornography and anti-sex, and anti-women, like the religious right. The problem is that pornography and the idea of “dirty” and shameful sex is linked to the idea that women are dirty and something to be debased. I’ve heard pro-sex Radical Feminists speak about Erotica as opposed to pornography. One of the hallmarks and defining characteristics of Radical Feminism (real Feminism) from the point of its conception onward is its zero-tolerance stance on Pornography and sexual slavery of women.

    Laur, I agree. I think our discussions now should focus on the revolution, and how it can be brought.

    Posted by kiuku | January 28, 2008, 8:46 pm
  32. xochitl, do you honestly think that if people like you and me were responsible purchasers of sex services that the sex work industry would not dramatically change?

    Given the ample demand for prostitutes and extreme lack of willing supply, a more relevant question would be if sex work would change dramatically when every sex positive feminist became a seller of sexual services. Your assistance supplying a prostituted body for others to purchase is needed much more than the added burden of meeting your consumer demands in a market already flush with enslaved youths.

    Do johns only make 13-years-old the average age of entry into prostitution because legally-aged “feminists who do it better” are too prissy to put their mad-skillz sex goods on the market, thereby forcing men to rape children? I don’t believe so, but I’ve been accused of “making” men rape by denying them easy access to cheap pussy so many times I thought I’d try on what blaming feminists for johns’ rapes feels like; the sleeves are too long and the material’s scratchy.

    Posted by Sam | January 28, 2008, 10:33 pm
  33. Women:

    I’ve approved basically the debate back and forth between whatsername and, well, the rest of us, even though I’m not all that keen to have a pornography/prostitution debate in this thread, but hey, if that’s what’s happening, that’s what’s happening, and once in a while it’s good to have our arguments out there in a place like this where trolls, assholes, combative types, and jerks in general go directly to spam and never see the light of day.

    I would just ask that everybody recognize that whatsername is TOTALLY outnumbered here, she stands completely alone. Keep that in mind in your posting. I know we feel strongly about this issue, but whatsername is a real woman, a human being, not just words on the screen, and I don’t like to host women piling on to women and treating one another crappily if I can avoid it.

    Remember that some of you were once sex positive, so-called, and used pornography and thought it was an okay thing for a feminist to do, although you are in a different place now. Try to recall how you might have responded in this situation, put yourself in the other woman’s shoes as much as you are able to.

    Thanks,
    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | January 28, 2008, 11:45 pm
  34. Not to mention, Heart, that it can get quite triggering. Perhaps we could use a debate section, with an open invitation to all women who have dissenting opinions toward the Radical Feminist stance, as well as for the general exchange of ideas and offtopic chats.

    Posted by kiuku | January 29, 2008, 12:24 am
  35. Just for the herstorical record here — I have always been against pornography and prostitution! I thought it a profound degredation of women. I was against all that stuff in the 70s, the 80s, the 90s and today!

    I’m always amazed that women can’t see pornography for what it really is: the exploitation of human beings who engage in it. Those human beings are women, and when you see what women are told to do in those “films” you should realize that this isn’t good for anyone.

    Buying women is always wrong! Men who buy women are slave masters in modern garb! If we don’t advocate the “need” for having black people “service” white people, and we think that white people who bought black people were the great demons of history, then why do we think buying women in the form of porn is acceptable.

    I’ve noticed the pornification of society, and I’ve also noticed that the sleazy attitudes have filtered into younger lesbian communities. I’ve also learned that women who tend to sling this stuff around are often the very women who were sexually abused as young girls or raped by male family members. They then become big advocated for porn.

    Men who buy women should be jailed and hung out to dry. Men who are found in possession of pornography should lose their social position and should be made to suffer for this.

    Long ago, Linda Lovelace wrote a book about what happened to her after she ‘starred” in “Deep Throat.” I have never forgotten that book! Her descriptions of Sammy Davis Jr. and Hugh Hefner using women and viewing ‘snuff” films with glee chills my spine over 30 years later. Read Linda’s book and see if you can still maintain a pro-porn position. Maybe if all porn was NAZIS using Jewish women’s bodies, the “liberals” would think twice about it all. But hey, it’s only women being sexually degraded and used by men so its ok, right?

    I wish women would really wake up to the fact that pornography and its production are basically human rights violations against women worldwide. Porn is used to control women, and to keep rape culture alive and well.

    I don’t know what it’s going to take before feminists really get all this. Men were very afraid of Andrea Dworkin, she had the oppressors ON THE RUN! Her spirit must truly be in pain right now.

    So, for the record, many of us hated this trash and woman hating propganda. We didn’t have to convert to this later in life, we always opposed it, and did creative activism against porn. Most men have yet to hear an anti-porn argument, so women have to speak loud and clear about human rights and women’s right to live in a rape free and porn free world!

    Posted by Satsuma | January 29, 2008, 12:46 am
  36. Kiuku,

    “IT is women’s economic poverty, desperation, and dependence on men that fuels the type of exploitation required for things like sexual slavery”

    I totally agree. And one element I didn’t get to in my incredibly long post is the economic one. But, as some of you I’m sure have seen on my profile the labels I fall under are “radical, socialist, sex positive eco-feminist” all of these positions strongly inform my framework of understanding and applying feminism. And the economic situations cannot be over looked in this topic. While we’re at tearing down our current society, I absolutely believe, that capitalism (as currently practiced) needs to go with it.

    Posted by whatsername | January 29, 2008, 3:45 am
  37. Satsuma, that comment ROCKED. THANK YOU!!
    I miss you when you aren’t around. :)

    Posted by Heart | January 29, 2008, 4:38 am
  38. Satsuma said: “Just for the herstorical record here — I have always been against pornography and prostitution! I thought it a profound degredation of women. I was against all that stuff in the 70s, the 80s, the 90s and today!”

    Me too.

    Posted by Debs | January 29, 2008, 4:42 am
  39. That’s so weird about both my longer posts going through! They totally didn’t show up as “waiting for moderation,”–they just weren’t there.

    Weird.

    Heart,

    I appreciate what you said re: whatsername being outnumbered here. It’s so easy to write a comment in a hurry, without considering that this is an actual human being that you’re talking to.

    It is true I feel very strongly about the subject of pornstitution, but it is equally true I feel strongly about not piling up on women (at minimum).

    Re: the idea of a debate section…that gives me an instantaneous uncomfortable feeling; I really HATE arguing, and there really is enough of it on the ‘net and in the blogosphere.

    But, obviously this is not my site (and, honestly, I’m glad it’s not! It’s got to be terribly stressful–though rewarding–to run!), and I have faith this site will remain a safe place…as safe a place as any on the internets can be. (yes, that was a bushism for ya! :P ).

    Whatsername,

    I do agree with what you said re: building another society while dismantling the mainstream one. But, we who build this new world are directly coming out of our old prejudices, oppressions, and fears, so (sadly) it seems it would be very hard to eliminate hierarchies when we’ve been so deeply entrenched in them.

    I personally would want a world based much more on shared connection than the one we now inhabit. And producing photographs of women to jerk-off on (to, whatever), is going to promote intense loneliness in viewers, even when in couples who view porn together. So, even if there was some porn produced under “acceptable” conditions, would what it brings to society be acceptable?

    I hope I am able to create time to read your blog one of these days, whatsername! :)

    Posted by Laur | January 29, 2008, 10:35 am
  40. Laur, I’m very curious about this statement: “And producing photographs of women to jerk-off on (to, whatever), is going to promote intense loneliness in viewers”

    Intense loneliness? What do you mean here?

    I’m hesitant to keep using Heart’s blog now that the discussion seems to have died down, perhaps we could email?

    Posted by whatsername | January 29, 2008, 5:43 pm
  41. “Intense loneliness? What do you mean here?”

    The photograph is not a real woman. The photograph sells to the viewer an unrealistic – and often misogynistic – image of women. Will this boy be satisifed with a real woman? A woman who isn’t eager to please him (and only him) 24/7? How will he treat these real women? How will he interact with them? WIll he be able to when what he wants doesn’t exist? And how many real women will suffer for it?

    Posted by Renali | January 29, 2008, 7:21 pm
  42. Hi Heart! :-) Good to be back!

    Economics — a big one. The amount of money to be made through a trash culture in the U.S. and worldwide now is part of the problem.

    Porn and its consumption have a lot to do with human disconnect — men disconnecting from women, men being programmed to like this stuff. Don’t forget, feminism in its second wave incarnation protested the Miss America pageant, and I think that tells it all.

    Whatsername is critiquing economic structures as well as the pornography itself. I know everyone is enchanted with the end of capitalism here, but really, I see the position of women worldwide — ask the Dalai Lama about the position of women in Tibet, for example. Why this “holy man” gets such a free fundraising ride in America is beyond me?

    Then let’s take a trip to Somalia — hardly a bastion of Wall Street… On our tour of women’s lives worldwide, we come to a fork in the road to the socialist utopia of the once mighty eastern block countries…

    It’s not economic systems, it’s about male supremacy. It flourishes in every land that I know of. I have never been to a country that treated women well. Whether it is China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Argentina, the U.S. or Mexico the same patterns play out.

    Recently Mexico City created female only bus lines, so that women traveling on the buses wouldn’t have to put up with sexual harrassment from men as they rode at rush hour. So now women get buses all to themselves. They finally realized that the men were such animals that they had to kick them off certain mass transit lines entirely. What does this say?

    I know I know, we think it is about capitalism. But it’s not really. It’s about men and women in the world. It’s about a gender that is wracking havoc on the world and getting away with it. It’s about women who are afraid to face this reality and deal with it.

    I believe it is about the global collective consciousness of women that we need to focus on here. We have a very hard time doing this, but we should all try harder.

    Can we do it? Can we really share information here, and then take it out to the world in our daily lives? Does the power of feminism really go somewhere in the world after we are done writing here? I think it does.

    I can tell you quite plainly, that I feel more energized to do more in the world after reading all the posts here since October or November of last year, when I came across this site to begin with.

    The challenge for me here, is that I am never completely sure what the education or life experience level is of all the women who write on the blogs in the first place.

    What amazes me is the passivity of a lot of women today. It is like they are living in a lotus eating culture, completely cut off from the common good.

    Over the weekend, I ended up in a bridal store with my brother and his friends. It was one of those weird moments, and just sitting on a couch watching all the customers in that store was a real revelation of how role playing between men and women is still going strong! We’re still at square one in terms of consciousness.

    Posted by Satsuma | January 29, 2008, 8:03 pm
  43. Perhaps a “contentious discussion” area then? lol

    There is less wrong with the idea of producing images for the sole purpose of people getting off, for instance is the concept of Erotica. However, images that encourage the abuse, or that debase or degrade a certain group of people, whic is the case in Pornography, should not be tolerated. We oppose Pornography because it harms and depicts the harm of women.

    Posted by kiuku | January 29, 2008, 8:21 pm
  44. whatsername, you are a fellow womyn and I respect that and I certainly also respect the wide range of opinions that we as wymmyn have on all subjects. You’ve told us why you are in favour of pornography. Now let me tell you why I am against it.

    There are a number of reasons, but there’s one in particular that’s inescapable: Men are the purchasers of “sex services.” Sex inherently creates a power inequality in relationships. As does the transfer of money. When you put the two together, the man becomes completely dominant over the womyn. This is unacceptable.

    My partner and I have been together for over 20 years and we have never had sex. We discussed this early and we both agreed that the potential for power imbalance was far too great. Rather than weaken our relationship, we feel it has made it stronger; we have an emotional and spiritual connection that goes beyond friendship and beyond family. These are the kinds of relationships all wymmyn can and should share.

    Posted by Hecate | January 30, 2008, 1:26 am
  45. Wow, Hecate, that’s a really inspiring comment! x

    Posted by Debs | January 30, 2008, 1:25 pm
  46. Another wow, Hecate.

    I see it as a minor miracle for any woman to be able to find and develop such a relationship with any person of either sex. I sure wish womyn didn’t live under that imperative to “provide” sex as the deal-breaker for any primary relationship.

    Mary

    Posted by Mary Sunshine | January 30, 2008, 1:40 pm
  47. Hecate,

    Have you had sexual relations in other relationships?

    It seems like in most relationships there is a certain amount of of exchange of powers that happen, usually revolving around or at least most focused in/experienced through the sexual life shared by partners. With one being dominant and then the other being so, back and forth… How has that played out for you without the sexual element?

    Forgive me, please, if I am too inquisitive, but I’m very intrigued.

    Posted by whatsername | February 1, 2008, 7:26 am
  48. Hecate shares a valuable point of view here. There are other ways outside the “sex system” we just don’t know about this stuff because sex itself dominates the discussions.

    It’s what I love about this site the most, the assumption that pornography doesn’t do women any good! The respect for women so that we don’t have to read the sex posturing that is rampant on “feminist” sites on the net.

    Buying and selling images of women is questionable. Men have used pornography to degrade women in the work place — think of all those Playboy photos that were put in firehouse lockers to intimidate women breaking into that profession, for example. Think of what images were used in court to prove “sexual harassment’ in the first place. Think of the pornographic movies Clarence Thomas “consumed.”

    Women often feel presured by men to go along with porn — oh my boyfriend likes it… etc. But really, do women have that much choice? A lot of stuff is forced on women, but they are so accustomed to being bossed around that they don’t notice this. Examples: men who come up to you and say “smile,” men who buy women drinks that they don’t want, men who think women like all kinds of things that they secretly hate. Men coming up to women in deep discussion to “interrupt.” Men who butt into discussions, men who interrupt… I get really sick of this!

    This is a common thing. Pornography just represents an extreme, but a lot of women are weary of it and suspicious of it, but again, it’s not cool or hip to say this out in blogland.

    The most radical positions are often the ones people like Hecate are living. Sex positive often comes off as forcing women to discuss sex when they don’t want to. I often feel offended by the “sex’ thrown at me, so I really honor women who step up and say we hate the male centered perverse world that’s out there. We are sick and tired of it, and we want spaces where the purient and pornographic draws no quarter.

    Posted by Satsuma | February 1, 2008, 9:51 pm
  49. Whatsername,

    I have. In fact the relationship I have with my current partner is the first one where we have not been physical. And in fact, it’s the first relationship where I have known true intimacy. What the patriarchy thinks of as intimacy is only a shadow of what my partner and I have. More is conveyed in the simple touch of a hand or in a look than can ever be done with genital contact.

    My previous sexual experiences can best be described as a series of rapes. They were with men who all were completely dominant over me. The sex just reinforced that dominance. That’s what sex is: a means to control and subjugate wymmyn. It’s a form of abuse, plain and simple. The worst part is, they were all rapists and didn’t even know it. My heart weeps for the wymmyn those men ended up with. They’re rape victims. All heterosexual wymmyn are.

    Posted by Hecate | February 2, 2008, 8:20 pm
  50. Yes, I believe that’s true. All heterosexual women are rape victims. I never put this thought into words, but now that I read Hecate’s post, it makes perfect sense to me.

    Posted by Satsuma | February 2, 2008, 8:32 pm
  51. Wow (again) Hecate’s words make perfect sense to me too. Hecate should get a blog and write about this stuff, I want to read more!

    I believe that too, “all heterosexual women are rape victims.” It’s so hard to say, but that’s probably because it’s true.

    Posted by Debs | February 3, 2008, 3:15 pm
  52. Hecate has a kick-ass blog. :) It’s listed under “Hecate” in my blogroll!

    Posted by womensspace | February 3, 2008, 4:17 pm
  53. Oh thanks, I’m going to have a look now!

    Just wanted to say, in kind of in keeping with the “all heterosexual women are rape victims” thing, I have a quote from Robin Morgan on my site where she says, “I claim that rape exists any time sexual intercourse occurs when it has not been initiated by the woman, out of her own genuine affection and desire.” and I am 100% with her on that.

    Posted by Debs | February 3, 2008, 4:22 pm
  54. womensspace,

    That’s not me. I didn’t realise there was another Hecate. I apologise and didn’t mean to confuse people. Since she was here first, I’ll choose another name.

    Posted by Hecate | February 3, 2008, 5:07 pm
  55. Yes, I did look at Hecate’s blog the other day! It was incredibly beautiful. Wonderful poetry and photography, and it was so uplifting. She’s a treasure in the universe that’s for sure!

    Posted by Satsuma | February 3, 2008, 6:35 pm
  56. Oh, that’s funny! All this time I thought you, Hecate, were the blogger Hecate! :)

    Posted by womensspace | February 3, 2008, 6:52 pm
  57. Hecate,

    I’m very glad that you found a partner who matched you this way. It’s rare enough as it is, but especially when one is “unconventional” in some way. And no one deserves to be mismatched in such as important way as we’re talking about now.

    Posted by whatsername | February 4, 2008, 3:42 am
  58. Well Hecate IS an unusual name :-) Good laugh over this confusion

    Posted by Satsuma | February 4, 2008, 7:44 am
  59. to be a woman is to be unconventional.

    Posted by kiuku | February 4, 2008, 8:59 am
  60. Hi all,

    I haven’t been around blogland much recently, and missed the controversy over the carnival entirely. Someone linked me to this post, and after reading there’s something I wanted to address:

    kiuku:

    I don’t think this is the place for a debate on prostitution. You’re not going to find many radical feminists who are pro-prostitution. I hear also that you are dismayed, but there really isn’t that much diversity of opinion when it comes to pornography and prostitution of women, among radical feminists. In fact, you’d be the first identified radical feminist that i’ve met who makes the kind of statements you do about prostitution and sexual slavery (I wont call it work).

    I don’t in any way want to argue with your definition of radical feminism, either for yourself or this community you have found. It’s not my place to do so even if I wished to.

    I just wanted to point out that there are a great many women worldwide who identify as radical feminists/feminists who are radicals/radicals who are feminists, but who do not embrace every point on the list given by Heart at the beginning of this entry. In fact, it was not until I found the online radfem community that I realised there were radical feminists who considered the definitions of their label to be so closed. The radical feminists I know in real life are a wonderful, powerful, group of women, but their political beliefs are diverse. Within the umbrella of women centered life and activism, they are incredibly varied, and the vast majority of them are informed and educated to a humbling level on each facet of their beliefs.

    Again, not attempting to insist that anyone change their label of beliefs about that label. I do not label myself as a radical feminist of either stripe. I just felt the need to comment on something that’s been worrying me for a while, and that was summed up in that comment. Heart, feel free to tell me to bugger off if this is an inappropriate place for it.

    Posted by hexy | February 4, 2008, 11:59 am
  61. Hexy- I’m wondering here if there is a difference between ‘radical feminist’ and ‘radical and feminist’. Many strands of political theory that do not condemn pornstitution refer to themselves as ‘radical’ theories, but that doesn’t make them radical feminist.

    (This is not directed at anyone in particular…)
    Okay, at the risk of sounding like the hiveminded dictatorial individual I have been falsely accused of being, I don’t see how or why radical feminism can or should embrace pro-porn attitudes. Third wave feminism does that just fine- let us have our own space and for once not have to read pro-porn/ pro-‘feminist’ porn articles. We are entitled to our own space, and as far as I am aware that is what the Carnival of Radical Feminists was created for (Heart correct me if I’m wrong!). The normal Carnival of Feminists usually has ‘feminist’ pro-porn articles in it- one of the reasons I agreed to host it was because I wanted to introduce readers to radical feminist politics, and I make no apology for leaving out ‘pro-porn’ stuff I was sent. It is not a matter of censorship or meanness- many of us find pro-porn articles extremely upsetting or triggering- particularly survivors of the industry, and we should be able to be free of them in our own space.

    I’m not trying to suggest that all radical feminists have exactly the same ideas about how to deal with pornstitution, but as far as I’m concerned anyone who thinks that porn is okay/ can be reformed with some cuddly pictures is not a radical feminist. There is a whole blogosphere out there for that stuff- we just ask one little carnival.

    I’m not trying to bait anyone here, nor am I trying to upset anyone, but I feel it is important that we should be able to be honest about our feelings here. To try and suggest that we are not allowed to say what radical feminism does and does not involve is to prevent us from self-definition, and contributes towards silencing survivors.

    Back to my cup of tea.

    Posted by Laurelin | February 4, 2008, 4:36 pm
  62. oh, one more thing…

    I have too seen the term ‘radical’ used by sex ‘positive’ feminists/ pro feminists on occasion, calling themselves ‘sex radicals’ (excuse me while I piss myself laughing over the idea that pornstitution is in anyway ‘radical’…)… while it is obviously not up to me to tell them which titles they may use, I think this can cause some confusion, and add to the illusion that radfems rejecting pro-porn arguments are somehow excluding less nasty-meanie-hivemindy radical feminists from the party.

    Posted by Laurelin | February 4, 2008, 4:42 pm
  63. Well said, Laurelin. I agree, it is vital, and we deserve, to have a space where we can express ourselves and not be subjected to ‘pro-porn’/’sex-positive’/whatever you want to call it articles. I also believed (and rightly so, it turned out) that the Carnival of Radical Feminists was just such a space.

    To get back to the subject of the Carnival, Heart, do you know what’s happening with the latest edition? Femtique said it would be up soon, but they have posted today announcing a haitus from blogging, and the Carnival is still not up; or, if it is I can’t find it. (?) Just wondered, that’s all! :)

    Posted by Debs | February 4, 2008, 5:53 pm
  64. Not all Radical Feminists embrace every point on there. Pornography is pretty important, though. I have yet to meet a Radical Feminist who is pro pornography.

    Posted by kiuku | February 4, 2008, 8:09 pm
  65. As important an issue as pornography is, has anything really gotten all that better? New technology that makes this site possible also has added to the sweep of the pornography take over in America.

    No matter how many feminists protest this stuff, I believe that the money making machine behind the degredation of women just keeps going on.

    What could we do to help women stay away from this machine in the first place? What kind of economic structure should women be creating that would prevent these “jobs” from being so “attractive” to women?

    I read pro=porn nonsense all the time within so-called “feminist” groups on the bloglands. I often have that feeling that younger women simply don’t know very much about the cost to women of “producing” this garbage.

    Every now and then there is a victory. A group of us prevented a strip join from opening up in a local community. We went to the zoning boards, we did a background check on the owners, and we picketed the proposed strip joint site. It worked. The owners realized that we were going to embarrass their clientel.

    Anyonther thing that has worked is bringing a trusty video camera and just hanging out in front of a porn shop. About 15 of us gather with our cameras and make fun of the men as they go in and out of the shop. “What kind of violent anti-woman garbage are you buying today Mr. Man?” is one chant we use. The men look flumoxed and ill at ease. There are way too many of us. We take pictures, tell them U-Tube is waiting to make them famous at the porn kings they are.

    Women who have boyfriends who read this junk? What to do?
    I can’t imagine actually living with a lizard who thinks this stuff is ok. What about the really sick sex acts straight men seem to “con” straight women into doing these days?

    We are up against a massive system here that is getting worse and worse as the years go by. I do believe women have control over their lives, and unfortunately so many women have to go through some dreadful experience to get out of the mess. How do women get into these messes and think they are ok in the beginning? This is huge folks.

    I meet so many women who are so used to “putting up” with men that it makes my head spin. We can talk about pornography all we want, but it is not going to go away until women simply shun men who are caught using it.

    I make it clear that any man who uses gay or straight pornography will not be a friend ever. And I catch men with this all the time. These sex obsessed dinosaurs love to brag, and if overhear a brag, well that’s the end of them.

    A strong anti-porn stance and a strong anti-drug stance is something all of us can say in public. Women’s favorite choice is silence, silence and more silence. I really believe women’s fear of not fitting it really puts a clinch in all of this.

    I believe men think they can get a free ride from women, and that women simply won’t kick the porn guys out of their lives forever. Perhaps, as a lesbian, I have too simplistic a notion. My extreme view is that all sex with all men is an abomination, a horror, a selling out of the woman’s very soul. It will take more of an extreme departure from anything women have ever done or considered in the past to really deal this sickening anti-woman propaganda a death blow!

    Posted by Satsuma | February 4, 2008, 11:27 pm
  66. Laurelin:

    Hexy- I’m wondering here if there is a difference between ‘radical feminist’ and ‘radical and feminist’. Many strands of political theory that do not condemn pornstitution refer to themselves as ‘radical’ theories, but that doesn’t make them radical feminist.

    Yes, I specifically included all three labels as I understand there are differences between them. “Radical” is a label with a great many uses and potential meanings. Nonetheless, I have encountered women who self-identify as radical feminists who do not necessarily mesh perfectly with the ideals presented by the online radical feminist community, and I’m reasonably sure there are far more out there. I think the label is more commonly used than some think.

    I suppose my stance is that it’s always better to clarify your prefix rather than redefining it to exclude other women who use the same label, although of course that’s just my opinion. I know a lot of women use the label “anti-porn radical feminist” (Biting Beaver comes to mind) which to me is far clearer than the alternative.

    Then again, I eschew prefixes in general. *shrug* It’s not up to me who uses what.

    I had no problem with Heart’s original list, as she specified “we define….” It’s the “if you aren’t anti-porn you aren’t a radical feminist” vein that I find a bit more problematic.

    Posted by hexy | February 5, 2008, 1:11 am
  67. I have only a couple more comments for people who think Radical Feminism is not clear in its political and ideological stances. It is defined, we know how to define it, and we know what makes a Feminist radical. It’s not about being “way out there” and it’s not pro-porn.

    Satsuma,

    I’m not against drugs so your pairing “a strong anti porn” and a “strong anti drug” stance doesn’t make much sense to me. I am atleast not against drugs in the same way I am against porn. Porn is not bad in the way, in an immoral, or drug use way. It is bad in that it is about one group of people subjugating and dehumanizing another group of people.

    Posted by kiuku | February 5, 2008, 7:39 pm
  68. I also strongly object to the calling of Hecate “unconventional”

    Posted by kiuku | February 5, 2008, 7:39 pm
  69. “Women’s favorite choice is silence, silence and more silence. I really believe women’s fear of not fitting it really puts a clinch in all of this.”

    Women are silenced. They are silenced in many ways by men, by so-called “convention”, and by literal brain-washing. They are often so beaten down, isolated, turned against one another. Men often hold the cards, the power for social acceptance that women must pander to, in addition to economic security. What I do agree is that the revolution must come from women, because men AREN’T GOING TO STOP.

    Posted by kiuku | February 5, 2008, 7:43 pm
  70. Drugs will be the one thing that will prevent you from being a clear thinking and sel-directed feminist. Drugs fund the underworld, porn “stars” often resort to talking illegal drugs to get through this ordeal, and they are a scourge of poor communities. Yes, I am against drugs, you better believe I am.

    I’ve met my share of women who lost ambition to heavy pot smoking. I signed on for real political change, not the sex, drugs and rock and roll culture– geez it bores and annoys me to no end.

    Women are silent even when men are not around. It is a cowardly silence. I don’t buy cowardice, you either stand up and speak out or you sleaze by and let women stick their necks out there for freedom. Women’s silence annoys me, because it is built a lot of times on pure intellectual laziness.

    We have got to stop acting as if women are fearful little cowards who can’t speak up, and we have got to stop defending that stupid drug culture that drains the poor of its resources and fuels the men behind pornography as well.

    It is all inter-linked.

    Nobody silences me ever! I chose to stick up for myself and fight back. I will not be silent ever, whether it’s at a high level corporate event or whether it’s in a roomful of very uptight straight women. Never, never and more never.

    Women, the first step is speaking up without apology to anyone ever. That’s how it begins!

    Posted by Satsuma | February 6, 2008, 12:20 am
  71. “Women’s silence annoys me, because it is built a lot of times on pure intellectual laziness.”

    I disagree. And I wouldnt’ call it “women’s silence” but that women are silenced. I don’t think any Feminist would call it women’s silence, much less a radical feminist.

    Posted by kiuku | February 6, 2008, 3:08 am
  72. My previous sexual experiences can best be described as a series of rapes. They were with men who all were completely dominant over me. The sex just reinforced that dominance. That’s what sex is: a means to control and subjugate wymmyn. It’s a form of abuse, plain and simple. The worst part is, they were all rapists and didn’t even know it. – Hecate

    That’s really the only way I can describe sex with my last two partners. You could look at it and it would seem like good sex, but it was like being raped or something. Something is “off” with men who use porn, and it can be verified in a fuck before bothering to verify his porn use. A 3rd party viewer couldn’t tell the difference though. I really didn’t know how else to describe it except in an oxymoronic way–consensual rape. I wanted to just out and say “it was like being raped” but that trivializes women’s real rapes. The word I want is a failure of the patriarchal English language because the word hasn’t been coined yet.

    Posted by K.A. | February 6, 2008, 5:51 am
  73. *3rd party viewer *WOULDN’T* be able to tell the difference though.

    Whew, we weren’t that kinky! His kink came from his misogyny.

    Posted by K.A. | February 6, 2008, 5:53 am
  74. You know, until women have complete control over their own economic situation, and complete control over their personal lives, the way we set up relationships between men and women really is about “consensual” rape.

    It’s a very good term, because all women like to believe they have choice. They marry rapists, abusers, patirachal dominating pigs by the thousands. Every marriage ceremony today is still about the incredible role playing that is male dominated heterosexuality at its weirdest.

    Just go into a bridal store and look at the role playing attire, the fantasy white gowns of all these gullible women, signing up for yet again another dominant macho porno viewing pig.

    And women just can’t get enough of this sickening wedding cake fake frosting fraud. When they finally get sick of the whole damn thing, and refuse to live with the criminals and the beaters and the rapists, well maybe we’ll finally get somewhere. Until then, just line of for wedding cake!

    Posted by Satsuma | February 6, 2008, 6:36 am
  75. It is rape because it is basically men masturbating into your body.

    Posted by kiuku | February 6, 2008, 7:15 am
  76. I’m wondering here if there is a difference between ‘radical feminist’ and ‘radical and feminist’.

    I don’t see how or why radical feminism can or should embrace pro-porn attitudes.

    Totally agree, Laurelin. Radical feminists have the right of self-definition. There may be women out there that call themselves radical feminists who are for the sexual exploitation of women. I can not stop them from calling themselves radical feminists, but I will not affirm their view of themselves or accept their definition of radical feminism. The definition of radical feminism that Heart has posted here is the one that is supported by all to the texts by radical feminists that I have ever read. It is one that is lived/endorsed by all of the radical feminists that I have met in the course of my activism.

    Posted by allecto | February 7, 2008, 6:00 am
  77. I just want to say that my use of the word “unconventional” was not meant with any negative connotation. In fact for me being unconventional has positive connotations. I simply used the word because Hecate’s belief is, compared to the rest of society, not conventional. But revolutionaries and real individuals rarely are.

    As for not meeting a radical feminist who is, at least from your perspective, “pro-porn”…I’m right here. :) Clearly we each embrace the label “radical feminism” for our own reasons, and those reasons are often going to over lap. It’s ok when they don’t though. That is the very essence of acknowledging a right to self-definition.

    Posted by whatsername | February 11, 2008, 6:14 am
  78. “That is the very essence of acknowledging a right to self-definition.”

    Ah, so that’s why sexual capitalism and transsexualism always go together like peanut butter and jelly.

    Posted by Rich | February 11, 2008, 2:56 pm
  79. I’ve decided to self-identify as a polar bear. Um, you *do* believe that I’m a polar bear, eh?

    (Well, that’s just because the windchill here is -25 so I have to wear 3 pairs of leggings and 3 layers of coats and 3 scarves. So, if all I have to do is self-identify as a polar bear I can save the bother.)

    Posted by Mary Sunshine | February 11, 2008, 5:43 pm
  80. I identify with the ice bears in “The Golden Compass”! :-)

    Posted by Satsuma | May 3, 2008, 8:12 pm
  81. “Radical” and “feminist” might be a good way of looking at this.

    Really, women who sexually degrade other women are beyond the pale of radical feminism, and pro-porn women I think are mostly provocateurs. We get these idiots who mouth this pro-porn party line, and I do believe this in itself is a form of narcissim rather than political activism.

    There has always been something phoney about the pro-porn people. They are insincere and dishonest in debates and commentary. It should be easy to see through, but unfortuntely we as radical feminists, get so sidetracked by all of this.

    I am supportive of women who want to present a purely pro-woman message on college campuses, otherwise they’ll get the idea that transgender MTFs speak for women, and pro-porn women are the norm, and young women will yet again be subjected to really sick choices out there. And I mean sick in that it is never acceptable in my opinion to create a non-feminist environment and pretend it’s feminist.

    Geez, it is so weird out there. Every time I go to a university campus it is about “queer this” and “gender that” but it is not about the power of women. Even lesbian academics seem enthraulled by Foucault, and when I see his name cited, my inner self goes “uh oh spaghetti o’s.” Foucault, by the way, was a decadent gay man who was into S & M, lots of unsafe sex in the San Francisco bath houses, and he died of AIDS awhile ago. His life was creepy and awful, and when his spirit comes into the academy or into women’s anything, you can be sure that feminism and the freedom of women will take a back seat. When you examine the actual lives of these “influential” academics, you really get the idea of where they are really coming from. They aided and abetted the AIDS epidemic, and yet people are still fawning over them. Millions of deaths due to the sexual idiocy of men let loose on the world, with all their sexual entitlement.

    Now women are falling for this bologny! Wake up!

    Queer is all the rage with the next generation of lesbian academics, and I believe this small group is often aiding and abetting the porn people. Sexual radicals are not feminists, and I believe this stuff is really dangerous for women, and needs to be challenged.

    Pro-porn people are liars! They will do anything to get attention and to spread lies. It’s like thinking that it will be “fair and balanced” to have Eli Weisel debate Adolf Hitler, and think that Hitler is using accurate information to describe his attitudes towards Jews. It is always about the big lie — the big lie of Hitler, the big lie of women who claim to be radical feminist pro=porn sex radicals, or whatever dumb phrase they are using at the moment! Sexual outlaws, sexual pioneers… it’s always some dumb use of “sexual” to hijack radical feminism for their own ends. They have no conscience, just a tidal wave of selfish provocative language.

    The provocative language is the key. They use it to shame women, to embarrass women and to manipulate debate. It is a tip off and a tactic. We all have been on the receiving end of it, and should learn to derail it!!

    Meanwhile, ordinary women who long for freedom are getting the short end of the deal yet again. Foucault is the new F word in my opinion!

    Posted by Satsuma | May 3, 2008, 8:28 pm

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Pingback: The Carnival of Radical Feminists is Anti-Pornography « The Burning Times - January 27, 2008

  2. Pingback: Rape « The Burning Times - February 4, 2008

  3. Pingback: “Nothing is going to deter me from masturbation, and prostitution is an extention of that.” « The Burning Times - May 2, 2008

  4. Pingback: “Nothing is going to deter me from masturbation, and prostitution is an extention of that.” « At the Root - May 4, 2008

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