Radfem Anti-Porn Sex-Hate: The Death That Keeps On Killing (An Ongoing Series)

If there is anything more consistent that death and taxes, it is the myopia that consistently streams from the mouths of certain antipornography radicalfeminists; and lately, I’ve discovered a much more recent example of their total illogic, bonehead ignorance, willfull neglect, and total unconciousness about men, about sexuality, and about porn.

Recently, I came upon a post from RenegadeEvolution over at The Fine Art of Free Speech and Dissent which linked an essay she discovered at a "male radicalfeminist" site called Adonis Humor, which claims on their homepage to be dedicated to:

"…pro-feminist activism and the habitual self-examination of the male Left as an antidote to liberal vanity.

In short, the Robert Jensen/John Stoltenberg school of male sexual self-hate and MacDworkinite (and yes, Witchy-Woo, in case you are reading this, I use the insult directed at antiporn feminist extremists deliberately) cult worship.

Ironically enough, it is the only piece on the site that is actually written by a woman; the rest are typical "male radfem" analysis written mostly to beat down "liberal" men and the "male Left" for their apparent sins of not following the wonderful theories and practices of MacDworkinite antiporn cultural feminist activism.

I won’t bore you with the full text of Stephanie Cleveland’s essay, though if you wish, you can find it here.  A few excerpts fron the essay should be more than enough to prove my point. 

The title of her smash piece, "Hot Cherry Pies: Pornography and Justice For Women", is actually a oblique reference to a compilation porn video with one scene featuring porn actress/sex educator Nina Hartley [NFSW link alert!!]…..that would be the same Nina who had the unmitigated gall to openly call out one of Cleveland’s main antiporn collaborators, Dr. Chyng Sun, in the pages of the CounterPunch website, on Sun’s gross misrepresentations of Hartley’s profession and of sexuality in general.

Needless to say, Cleveland decides to pull no punches in attacking Nina…but we’re getting ahead of ourselves here. First, let’s begin at the beginning, as it were [Emphasis added by me for the juicier tidbits]:

A few weeks ago, I attended a Take Back the Night rally on campus. The evening was devoted to raising awareness about sexual assault. I was glad to be there, glad to be supporting an important cause, and glad to be surrounded by some incredible women, many of whom were survivors of rape. But even though I felt proud to be taking part, I also felt sad: as I listened to the speakers who had been chosen to address our group, I heard discussion of everything from date rape to harmful depictions of women in the mainstream media. But there was one issue nobody seemed willing to talk about. No one said a word about pornography.

No one spoke about the fact that so many of the women in the pornography and prostitution industries are survivors, too. No one mentioned that over two thirds of them have lived through childhood sex abuse. Nobody talked about how the average prostitute is raped eight times a day and no one dared question whether or not there were similarities between the descriptions often given by porn stars of how filming a scene feels (“It’s like I’m outside of myself, like I’m watching what’s happening to me”) and the dissociation frequently experienced by rape victims. While everybody acknowledged that we live in a culture where men often feel they have the right to take sex by force, no one seemed willing to admit that most men also feel they have the right to buy it, freely availing themselves of the forces perpetrated by capitalism. No one brought up the issue of pornography until I brought it up: as an anti-pornography feminist, I oppose the selling of women for sex, and to me, that seems like the quintessential feminist position, reviled as it is these days.

It really doesn’t take long, doesn’t it?? Right off the bat, Ms. Cleveland (who is described in the article as a senior at the University of Georgia and a collaborator to Chyng Sun (more on that anon), rehashes all the usual boilerplate about how porn actresses (but not the male actors, mind you, since their alleged suffering doesn’t quite fit into her neatly built coccoon of male rapicity and female victimhood) are merely virtual living sexbots who are raised like chickens to be slaughtered for Thanksgiving; to be "raped eight times a day". (Really??? Does that include the times the "pornstitutes" "self-rape" themselves with their sex toys or their own fingers penetrating their orfices??? Or the times when they engage in sex with their own lovers not for pay, but for their own pleasure???)  And what about the idea that the "outer-body experience" of engaging in a totally pleasurable experience has to be the equivalent of experiencing a horror such as rape?? Most thinking human beings would understand that there is a difference between ecstasy and violence, between coercion and willfull consent, between pleasure and pain….but somehow, these concepts manage to escape the synapses of our young crusader for women’s "intimacy".

Then, Cleveland breaks out Anti-Porn Meme #2: "Bust the Liberal Men":

I oppose the businesses of pornography and prostitution because both hurt me, and both hurt other women. As a woman, I would like to be treated as an equal human being. I would like equal treatment for all women, but I don’t see how we can reach that goal as long as some of us are being bought and sold as fuck objects. Not surprisingly, my feelings about pornography do not make me popular with men. I can count on one hand the number of male friends I have who support me. I am not a closet-conservative, but am strongly pro-choice, pro-environment, and anti-capitalist. Most of the men I speak to about pornography agree with me on these issues. They identify themselves as liberal and feel that the subordination of human beings is wrong. They believe that massive corporations do not have the right to exploit people in the name of global capitalism—unless, of course, those corporations are part of the porn industry.

The porn industry is the epitome of capitalist greed. It is a ‘service’ industry, ninety percent of which markets women to men. Yet, most of the liberal men I know staunchly defend their right to use pornography despite their supposed commitment to social justice. They defend pornography despite that the fact that in the most popular pornography women’s humiliation is glorified. We are depicted as enjoying rape, being fucked by strangers, and performing oral sex on large groups of men until they cover our faces with semen. A glance around a typical porn shop will tell you that’s a description of mainstream porn.

These films feature real violence passed off as ‘speech,’ but pornography is neither speech nor fantasy. Pornography is made by doing real things to real women. Many of these women might choose not to be fucked on film, contrary to popular belief, if they were not physically or mentally coerced. But a lot can happen to a woman, if her boundaries are broken down early; and if she is poor enough to lack other options. A lot can happen in a culture that still teaches us sex is the most valuable thing we have to give.

Often liberal men remind me that pornography is not the only problem facing women. They suggest I focus my energies on more ‘important’ issues, like sexist depictions of women on television. The porn industry however, claims to have a 10 billion dollar a year profit margin. It is as mainstreamed as TV commercials, sitcoms, or any other media that might degrade women. More importantly, pornography fuses men’s orgasms with women’s dehumanization. At best, it connects male sexual pleasure with the belief men have the right to buy sexual access to women; at worst, it lets men jerk off to images of physical violence against us.

Notice how Cleveland really tends to focus her ire toward the "liberal men" who apparantly are so controlled by their erections that they just can’t see the innate harm that their desire for watching women engage in sex does to "us" radicalfeminist women.  (As opposed to conservative or even right-wing men, I guess, who apparently are given the benefit of the doubt even with their proven misogyny in other matters mostly because they at least attempt to play the role of protecting women from the evil "male gaze" and preserve the purity of the sexual pedestal.) Of course, the fact that there are actual WOMEN who happen to defend their right to view, consume, and even produce such sexually explicit material (and those many more women who don’t happen to be into porn, but defend the traditional feminist principle of "her body, her choice, her rules") does not even register a pulse in her ideological microcoding, since that would kinda mess up her Ponzi scam of thought. Obviously, such women are merely paid dupes of the Patriarchy, or mere slaveholders and "house n—-gers who side with the masters", to use Catherine MacKinnon’s deft phrase….or just plain mindless sluts who don’t know any better.

Most of the men and women I know who use pornography believe sex is naturally about domination and subordination. They feel sadomasochism is an inherent part of sex. Any critique of sadism, they say, is ‘puritanical’—the rougher and more brutal the sex filmed in porn, the realer it must be—since human sexuality is coercive at its core. Anyone who thinks sex could be about tenderness, caring or respect, is kidding herself. Thus, pornography is about offering women sexual ‘choices’ just as long as we don’t choose something other than a cold hard fuck.

For defenders of pornography, filmed violence against women is ‘natural,’ and cannot constitute sexual abuse. Violence in porn doesn’t matter because the woman in porn ‘consented.’ The underlying assumption is, deep down, some women just like to be hurt. What does that say about women’s status, or men’s view of us in general? Those who critique pornography are told never to think about what the woman being fucked might be feeling. We are told not to consider whether or not her ‘free choice’ hurts women exposed to pornography or women as a group.

Yeah, right….most of the men and women that YOU know??? Funny, Ms. Cleveland, but since when did your own experiences become so universal that you could speak for every man or woman??? Especially coming from a young person who is only just about to graduate from college??? Not that I as a 42 year old Black man can speak for anyone, either, but I’m not the one making universal assumptions about men who view sexually explicit media, now am I??

"Sadomasochism is an inherent part of sex"?? Me thinks that Ms. Cleveland is mixing her metaphors and her targets…since the overwhelming majority of sex scenes in porn (either on screen or on the Internet) happen to consist mainly of hetero couples doing mostly vanilla sex, then single women masturbating, then sex between women…..most of which contain nothing even as violent as an occasional slap on the butt (for stimulation purposes rather than for pain). Not even the most devout BDSM advocate has ever gone as far as the strawpeople that Cleveland has constructed as the flimsy foundation for her crackpot theories. 

I’ll just leave the "some women just like to be hurt" jab to women like RenEv to dissect, if you don’t mind.

And so, so interesting that she moans about how "[a woman in porn’s] ‘free choice’ hurts women exposed to pornography or women as a group"….isn’t that an implied notion that women shouldn’t even HAVE a choice in the first place; that women should instead only choose to be as opposed to certain sexual expression as certain antiporn activists are…or simply adjust their personal sexual practices to fit her particular ideology??  Gee, that sounds sooooo progressive and radical…as in, radical RIGHT. Just substitute "children" for "women" and "homosexuality" for "pornography", and "Christians" for "women", and you get what should be a troubling similarity…..the attacks on the "(male) Left" and on "liberal men" are more than a bit telling by themselves.

Most women in the sex industry are poorer, have had less educational opportunities, and fewer alternatives, than the men and women who defend pornography. Yet, as a feminist, if I show concern for these women prostituted through pornography, I am usually accused of denying them agency. While liberal men and women agree that the poor are entitled to help and compassion from their governments, for some reason, they act as though women being sold through pornography and prostitution don’t deserve help to leave. I am an anti-feminist, they tell me, if I dare to suggest that all women deserve better than being turned into spittoons for men’s semen. I am the one making women into victims, and not the men who use them. Women in pornography should be unionized and well-vetted, its defenders repeat, but never, ever encouraged to leave.

Oh, really???  I guess that not every young woman has the opportunity to attend the University of Georgia on a full scholarship, to graduate in Women’s Studies courses, and to be able to run with such prominent antiporn feminist activists like Chyng Sun, who manages to charge four- to five-digit honoraria for lectures on the evils of capitalism and pornography…while taking all of the profits from her upcoming "documentary" and the privileges of her tenured professorship.  Yeah, sure….I guess that Nina Hartley really did sleep around to get her nursing degree from San Francisco State (Magna Cum Laude, baby!!); and Keisha really didn’t study hard enough and was waaaay too poor to be able to earn her Masters degree. The idea that thoughtful, intellegent women may actually use porn as a vehicle to finance their education in the absence of other forms of funding might not have ventured far into young Stephanie’s mind yet…but she will probably learn soon enough, if she cares to.

And this just in, Ms. Cleveland….most women in porn do nott need anyone’s permission (not men’s, not yours, not even Nina Hartley’s permission) to walk away from the porn industry if and when they wish; many an actress/model have done that on their own without a mere thought of retribution or loss of face or profit.  One or two even go on to become antiporn activists who badmouth their former profession (Remember the former Linda Lovelace??  Traci Lords??); but the majority of them tend to simply look upon their porn careers as just a phase they went through….and some are even actually proud of their accomplishments.

Oh…and "spittoons for male semen"???  Goodness, enough with the bukkake obsession!! It’s just semen, not battery acid, for Goddess’ sake?? Would you say the same about female starlets who squirt, too…or is female ejaculate considered just as poisonous and nasty??

 [Update: OK, so I fibbed a bit….this is going to take a two-parter, because the mountain of crap continues to build ever so high.  I’ll continue this dissection  anon…. ]

 [Updated to fix the links to the CounterPunch articles by Professer Sun and Nina]

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s