A Riff on AntiPorn “Feminist” Fascism (or Brenneman vs. Lavigne, Redux)

Forgive me for not posting as much as I should again…but between work and Holy Week and doing the planning of my new blog and forum, time has not been the best friend of mine.

But it finally took something that really, really pissed me off to finally get to the keyboard.

You remember that Jill Brenneman of the organization Sex Workers’ Outreach Project-East signed her name to an open letter protesting the antiporn feminist conference that Gail Dines set up at Wheelock College??  The same conference that managed to feature the same old antiporn "feminist" rhetoric about how porn must be banished from this earth because it leads to mass rape and "degradation" of women??  The conference that keynoted the legendary Robert Jensen (unctious self-described gay man who still manages to lecture women on what their sexuality should be) presenting a slide show of some of the more gruesome sex acts as representative of all porn??

Well, guess what happened when Brenneman decided to use Ann Bartow’s Feminist Law Professors blog  (as well as her own MySpace place) to vent her feelings about the lack of balance in that conference.

You guessed it…the purveyors of the MacDworkinite cult circled the wagons as only they could do…and whipped out all the usual adhonimens and saw stories and whines about "patriarchy" and how they are being "censored" for their beliefs…..even while they continue to smear and distort and censor anyone who dares to criticize them.

If you want a perfect distillation of the madness of antipornradicalfeminist theory, just take a gander at this response to Jill that was posted by an Andrea Lavigne; this was part of the thread that was posted at the FLP blog.  Apparantly, Bartow wasn’t too keen to submitting an attack herself (probably because she’d rather out her opponents the old fashioned way, I guess…right, Queer Dewd??); she simply allowed her associates to do the dirty work for her. (The exchange is also archived at Jill’s MySpace blog; and this particular exchange was saved by the irrepressable Renegade Evolution and posted at her own blog as well.

Jill Brenneman writes: “We are deeply concerned by the rigid ways in which the complex issues of feminism and pornography are portrayed. In the broader society as well as within academic and feminist frameworks, there is a lot of disagreement about the extent to which pornography reflects and promotes sexism and violence.”

Andrea Lavigne writes: You mention the broader society as if this broader society is some gender neutral egalitarian international community.

Anti-porn feminists are against rigid sex roles bestowed upon us by the patriarchy, the broader oppressive, male chauvinist society in which you subscribe to, Jill. Sex roles are rigid for the fact that they are patriarchally based on private ownership, class division, hierarchy, male supremacy, inheritance via the male line, a male God, sexual discrimination, etc…. It is the anti-porn feminism who maintain non-rigid sex roles. In fact, any deviation from anti-porn feminism’s non-rigid sex roles toward patriarchal sex roles is a direction toward the most extreme rigidity. Anti-porn feminism is to non-rigidity what patriarchy is to rigidity. Any deviation away from anti-porn feminism is a move away from true sexual liberation, toward sexual repression/oppression. The disagreement in which you speak about is really a disagreement between anti-porn feminists and so-called pro-porn feminists. The disagreement is amongst those who claim to be feminists, but are really sex liberals who really are not feminists, but people who have co-opted feminism. These “pro-porn” feminists really subscribe to traditional patriarchal standards of female sexuality. Amongst true feminists, there is no substantial disagreement. The so-called pro-porn feminists are really the lackeys and apologists of the patriarchy.

Furthermore, I should not have to put the words anti-porn in front of the word feminism to distinguish me from so-called feminists. To be a feminist is in part to be anti-porn amongst other elements that make up feminism. Within true feminism, there is no room for pro-porn. For the sake of the feminist movement being high-jacked by “pro-porn feminists”, “pro-sex feminists, or sexual liberals, I will make the distinction and keep the anti-porn words in front of the word feminism. A person can’t be a pro-porn feminist anymore than s/he can be a pro-meat vegan.

Jill writes: “Though this conference is about pornography, none of the presenters on the agenda are performers in the pornography industry. Various important voices are excluded from the list of presenters, such as sex workers, feminists and scholars with opposing views about pornography, and advocates for the legitimization of consensual sex work.”

Andrea writes: One doesn’t have to be a “sex worker” to have an objective opinion on the oppressive influence patriarchy has on our sexuality. Secondly, you don’t know whether or not the conference presenters ever performed sex work or intimately know someone else who has. You don’t know the historical plight of those who presented at the conference. Thirdly, all of us women are seasoned into the sex trade to some degree whether entered into the sex trade or not at some point or degree. You can’t say a “sex worker”, is going to be more objective about pornography, than a non-“sex worker”. An objective interpretation of the sex trade by a “sex worker” or other, no matter what, requires in someone a high degree of liberation from internalization of oppression. This would be someone most likely in a refuse and resist mode. There is no such thing as legitimate consensual sex work under patriarchy. Consensual implies making a decision free from coercion. When a human being is reduced to a body, objectification to sexually service another, whether or not there is consent, violation of the human being has taken place. In the American legal system, consent has become the defining factor in determining whether violation has occurred. In this way the human experience and self is reduced to will, intent or consent, as if that is all that is involved in violation. In this way, liberal legal theory does not consider the oppressive condition of class domination which invokes consent.Anyway, “sex worker” implies a simplistic employer / employee relationship. Just like you would not reduce the relationship between a domestic batterer and survivor of domestic violence to one of employer / employee relationship, you would not be correct to reduce the pimp/prostitute relationship to a simplistic employer / employee relationship.

Jill writes: “Furthermore, the genre called “feminist pornography” is not included on the agenda. This genre of pornography is inspired by feminist principles, such as gender equality, bodily freedom, and mutual sexual pleasure. Women play a major role in producing this genre of pornography, so this genre is not produced just by men for a predominately male target audience.”

Andrea writes: There is no such thing as feminist pornography. The term pornography, porno- means whore. Feminist pornography is an oxymoron. Just because pornography is made by women does not mean that it is feminist pornography. For example, Boink magazine, founded by a “sex positive” woman is suppose to display “egalitarian” sexuality. But, when you do an analysis of the magazine, it has a stark resemblance to the same old tired patriarchal genderistic ethics / portrayals of female and male sexuality. Boink caters exactly to a male target audience, even though it’s founder is female.

Jill writes: “…we contend that conferences such as this one must be more balanced in the name of academic integrity. Though the organizers and presenters of this conference have the right to their perceptions, it is important to understand that their attitudes toward pornography do not reflect the views of all sex workers, feminists, and scholars.”

Andrea writes: You mention that this conference has to be more balanced in the name of academic integrity. Wow. Earlier you had a beef about academia, now you want academic integrity. Anyway, the patriarchal pornographer’s have a long history where only their voice was heard, and heard loud. The voices of anti-porn feminists at an anti-porn conference once a year does not even come near to the loud mouth pornographers that we have to contend with all year around. Even if you wrote to your local pornographers to cut their sexist bullshit in half, their loud mouths would still muffle out the voices of anti-porn feminists. You want balance, go tell your pornographer buddies this. You and your buddies need to stop infiltrating and co-opting the feminist movement once and for all.

 I’ll give you a moment to pick up your jaws off the floor and wonder at the skillful dishing of bullshit…and then the can of SmackDog Whupass comes out.  This nonsense deserves a special fisking all its own…and it will come next post…



3 thoughts on “A Riff on AntiPorn “Feminist” Fascism (or Brenneman vs. Lavigne, Redux)

  1. The case against porn isn’t dismissed as easily as all that. Come look over the 400+ articles at NoPornNorthampton.org. Sex, love, relationships and people can be so much more than the narrow, blinkered version that porn offers. Watching porn instead of seeking a loving relationship with a real person is like being given a gorgeous race car that can go 200 miles per hour, only to drive it backwards down the highway at a crawl and scrape it against railings and bridge abutments.

  2. Actually, NPN, it *is* just as dismissable…and none of your supposed “proof” of the evils of porn against “intimate relationships” justifies the harsh treatment of those who do manage to survive with their relationships intact while watching and enjoying adult sexually explicit material.

    After all, the same senario of the 200-mph race car could just as well be said of traditional romance novels (which have very little, if any, explicit sex in them, but plenty of rhetoric about “love” and “intimacy”.

    Besides…millions and millions of mature, adult people enjoy porn and erotica without any harm or damage to their ability to seek intimate, loving relationships. Please tell me why they should suffer for the inability of a few??

    Nice try, but that dawg just won’t hunt here.


  3. Wow, that sounds a lot like the sort of language the religious right folks tend to use.

    “Your body is a temple…”

    or a car.

    vroom! vroom! uh oh, STRANGER DANGER!!…tsk, tsk, they didn’t buckle up OR listen to Officer Friendly.

    y’know, there is such a thing as indie porn; there is also such a thing as watching porn WITH your significant other(s); the sexual universe is, indeed, full of many things that are not dreamt of in mainstream porn’s philosophy, but I don’t think that means what you think it means.

    it’s movie making with sex in it. It’s making films and photos for the purpose of getting off, yes. Sometimes it can be more than that. The Food Channel exists for the purpose of exciting appetite and selling products; tearjerkers do what the title suggest; action movies exist for the purpose of spiking peoples’ adrenaline and looking at shiny shiny car chases (vroom! vrooooom!) and porn exists for the purpose of getting people sexually excited. There is nothing inherently more sinister or “empty” about that than any other form of media/storytelling/pretty pictures. The reason the genre’s all weird and stereotyped and fixated is because our society is all weird and stereotyped and fixated.

    p.s. you, too, are a member of that society, and speaking of fixated: how much porn do/did you have to watch, NoPorn, before you were thoroughly convinced of -just how awful it is?-

    (“And such small portions!”…)

    Yeah, getting out in the fresh air, meeting actual people, considering other subjects, is a good thing, too. I’m not sure that someone who devotes their life to crusading -against- prawn is in much of a position to be lecturing anyone else on that, however.

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 )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google 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 )

Connecting to %s