SlutWalks and blanket bans on porn/sex work

22 Aug

I just found a male feminist’s blog. His name is Hugo Schwyzer and he is a liberal feminist (not what he calls himself, but how I see him). In one post, he takes on Meghan Murphy, a female radical feminist (again, this label is attributed by myself).

Murphy, in response to a question about how she feels about the SlutWalks, says:

This so-called ‘movement’ is embarrassing. There is no cohesive message, no collective demands, and there is an unwillingness to name the problem, to address the root of violence against women. What will we gain from Slutwalk? The freedom to call ourselves sluts? The freedom to have sex with whomever we want, whenever we want? Well, we already have that.

[Really?! Female ‘pick up artists’ and players have it easy? Women don’t gossip behind your back if you pick up a different guy every other night or brag about your conquests? Men get called easy, whore, and slut? Girls whose parents are immigrants/Christian or who live in the U.S. South don’t face pressure to be abstinent more than boys?]

The fact that a movement which I had originally assumed to be, in the end, a protest against sexual assault and violence against women has somehow been conflated with sexual liberation is, well, confusing.

[It’s not confusing; it means we can protest rape while asserting our right to be sexual without fear of rape. Historically, only virgins could legally be raped. I mean, the law only recognised rape as rape if the woman was a virgin, not that it was legal to rape virgins. Historically, a rape victim’s sexual history was allowed as evidence in court. In the UK in 2008, a rape victim’s pants were shown in court as evidence that she had consented – the pants had the words ‘little devil’ printed on them. In 2008. SlutWalk’s message is clear – no more using shame-words to control women; no more rape. Women have the right to enjoy sex and be sex workers without being raped or being seen as “inviting” rape, a phrase which is of course a tautology – or that rape was ‘inevitable’ because of their job or lifestyle. Basically, the message is: no more slut-shaming, no more victim-blaming.]

Then, in response to another question says:

The fact that we do, as a culture, view men as the ‘actors’ and the penetrators and women as the passive receivers of penetration does speak to the way in which male power and domination plays out in the bedroom. And the fact that we have defined sex on that basis speaks to the way in which the world around us has been largely defined by men and patriarchal ideals.

[Yeah…isn’t that kinda what SlutWalk is against…??]

I’m going to stop reading now before I blow through twenty pages’ worth of blog. (That reminds me: Roland said I was good at oral; that is good news since it was my first time!) You may be wondering why I just put that last sentence in there, as it is irrelevant. Well, firstly because this blog is primarily a personal sex diary and therefore very informal with a sexual aspect; secondly, the word ‘blow’ really did trigger that meory of Roland praising my talents; thirdly, because I can; fourthly, I found it slightly amusing to do so; and fifthly – most importantly – I wanted to make the point that you can’t fully separate the politico-academic discourse and the lived experience. Which is what the radfem on that blog does, by claiming all porn and sex work should be criminalized even though some sex workers enjoy their work – because she “thinks” most of them don’t so it’s exploitation. How does she know??

Of course, one would have to be utterly insane to suggest that globally people (male and female, not just women!!) aren’t exploited by sex work. But common sense – as well as studies and academic texts – will tell you that, in Britain (and other similar countries) in 2012, most sex workers aren’t being exploited. Those who are exploited are usually exploited due to addiction or mental health problems (often exacerbated by violent partners)- they have little choice. But you are not going to starve if you do not do sex work. We have the NHS, benefits and council housing. We have agencies, programmes, funds and support centres that to be honest are just pure fantasy to people in other regions of the globe. I’m not saying that we don’t have many social problems or that every victim of everything is guaranteed help, I’m just saying that you don’t have to live on the street if you don’t sell yourself (although you may be harassed by the Jobcentre wanting to see you twice a week and send you off to do courses).

And criminalizing all sex work – thereby putting all sex workers in increased danger of violence – is not proportionate action to help the few streetwalkers who want or need help. Exiting strategies, rehabilitation programmes, training and the like are being used in Scotland right now. And they are dealing directly with the customers/sex workers who want out. Not like blanket-banning prostitution, which wouldn’t have such a direct impact on their lives/get them healthcare, off drugs, into work, teach them skills/SVQs, treat any mental illnesses…

And banning porn because it makes men rape? Women watch porn too, idiot. Women also rape; they may do it less than men, but it happens (remember the woman in Germany who locked a man in her house for three days and raped him over and over until he escaped and collapsed on the kerb outside her house?)  – and, if anything, men are probably even less likely to report rape/assault by a woman than a woman is to report rape/assault by a man.Maybe more women should be directing and scriptwriting porn, and owning porn companies. And more women should be watching porn – the only reason men watch more porn is because they’re expected/allowed to because of the double standard, which SlutWalk is trying to erase. Anyway, porn actresses get paid 10 times more than porn actors…so who exactly is being exploited? Porn films need men too, and most pornos feature a roughly equal number of men and women, but somehow the radfems are always silent about male porn stars being exploited.

The link to the blog post is here:

And this is the general link to Hugo Schwyzer’s blog, it’s great! You should visit it. (Do I agree with everything he says? Nope. Does it matter? Nope; it’s really, really in depth and well-written.)


Posted by on August 22, 2012 in Feminism


Tags: , , , , , , , ,

7 responses to “SlutWalks and blanket bans on porn/sex work

  1. Adam Benton

    August 22, 2012 at 11:09 am

    A word to the wise: the quote button is your friend. It makes it a lot easier to read if you put in quotes of what you’re talking about and separate your commentary on it.

    • fieara

      August 22, 2012 at 6:20 pm

      Thanks for the tip 🙂

      • Adam Benton

        August 22, 2012 at 7:38 pm

        It certainly looks nice now. At any rate I would like to see 20 pages criticising her claims. There are some aspects of radical feminism which really irritate me and she seems to be those aspects made human. Don’t get me wrong, I can kinda see why she’s saying some of the things and laud her goals in principle, but it’s taken to such an extreme that just seems absurd. I mean, she talks about redefining sex so she can say she’s having sex without actually having sex. I’m not saying you can’t do loving intimate things that aren’t “VIP penetration” (a phrase which would be hilarious in most other situations) but that if it isn’t sex don’t call it that.

    • fieara

      August 23, 2012 at 11:50 pm

      Yeah, I can’t help but grin at “VIP penetration”. And Meghan has got it all wrong; she wants to change the act itself to another act and label it “sex”, but it’s not the (natural reproductive) act that is the problem, it’s how we see it.

      She should instead try to get people to see it not as subject-verb-object/”man fucks woman” but as both genders being active/dominant. Which is true, because it was recently discovered that the chance of conception is increased by the female orgasm, which pushes the sperm into the ovulating ovary (saw this on a science program on Nat Geo). So I guess the historical idea that conception was impossible without female pleasure wasn’t that far wrong (but still wrong obv). And of course both genders are dominant anyway, because both are involved in the act itself, except in cases of rape/assault. She is an idiot. The problem isn’t men (doesn’t she have a father?) or sex (how was she born? Even sperm donation still needs a sperm, from a man!) it is perception! And you can’t even blame only men for perceptions, we are all to blame. It’s like blaming Christians/conservatives for stigma against single mums or sex workers – sure, they’re leading the charge, but they only have as much power as our attitudes give them. That’s why Santorum wouldn’t make it in Britain – he’s too extreme for our attitudes, which can’t even cope with Dorries very well. It’s why Silver Ring Thing (abstinence movement) never had much success in Britain compared with its presence across the pond. Ironically I see Meghan Murray as much more of a problem than the patriarchy. Men aren’t the problem, attitudes are!

  2. BroadBlogs

    August 23, 2012 at 6:25 pm

    I get so annoyed when it’s the less powerful members of society who get punished in so many situations.

    • fieara

      August 23, 2012 at 11:35 pm

      Me too! It’s like we all know the less powerful are blamed and disadvantaged, but we can never really turn the status quo around and make society truly equal. Still, we’ve come a long way since 1912, so maybe in 2112 the world will be a better place…? Here’s hoping…

      • Adam Benton

        August 24, 2012 at 12:04 pm

        I certainly think it’s telling that domestic abuse is considered actual abuse and not just property damage. Don’t get me wrong, there’s still a long way left to go but the fact remains we have already come a long way as well.


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