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Why radical feminism is itself anti-feminist

This post is not going to name names or tackle particular books, academic articles or blog posts. I am tackling the entirety of radical feminism, which for the purposes of this post I am going to define as a political agenda or set of beliefs which is anti-porn, anti-sexwork, anti-PIV [penis-in-vagina] sex (or considers all sex to be rape), and identifies itself as “feminism”. Basically, the agenda that Andrea Dworkin started and that Kat Banyard inherited.

First, let’s look at what the goals of feminism are: gender equality, in all aspects of life from family life to career prospects to salary, media portrayals, political power, education, healthcare, quality of life, freedom to make choices, opportunities…the list goes on. The important thing is gender equality, and on that all feminists can agree. So let’s look at what the radfems are doing and how this achieves (or destroys) gender equality.

Anti-porn

I’ve already covered this in more detail in my post on the No More Page 3 campaign: https://diaryofavirginwhore.wordpress.com/2012/11/04/how-no-more-page-3-harms-feminism/  so suffice it to say that the anti-porn stance:

Assumes women do not consume porn; is harmful to women whose careers involve creating porn – either by being porn actors or porn directors, producers, scriptwriters, marketers etc (there are a LOT of roles involved in the porn industry – who do you think designs porn websites, manages sales teams and negotiates advertising deals, for instance?). The anti-porn stance also assumes that pornography causes rape, something which has never been proved and, as I said in my Page 3 post, is debunked by this blog, in which I have posted pornographic fiction about an underage boy being raped twice yet simultaneously posted criticism of a lenient sentence given to a woman who had sex with an underage boy. Inconclusion, the anti-porn stance just digs out the tired old stereotype of the pure woman who would never consume porn, and ultimately brands women who work in the porn industry as traitors to women (at worst) or misguided and exploited (at best). All this achieves is the bolstering of the sexual double standard and the silencing of womens’ lived experiences – both of women working in the industry and of female porn consumers and female amateur pornographers (women who regularly write or draw porn and put it online, or who post their sex videos or nude photos online).

I feel like adding this little anecdote in here: A few weeks ago I came across a blog that supported No More Page 3. It was badly argued, drawing a cause-and-effect between pornography and rape. I made some sort of short, on-the-fence sort of comment, to which the author replied; it was not exactly an interesting debate, owing to my reticence about arguing with people on the internet. However, despite not remembering any of what was said, I do remember this: the blogger edited my comments, changing “porn” to “p()rn” to “avoid my blog coming up in any creepy dude searches”. Obviously, she thought porn itself was ‘creepy’ not natural or titillating or entertaining. Secondly, she couldn’t concieve of the idea that half of those creepy dude searches could be creepy chick searches; that women consume pornography. I had asked her whether she thought my BDSM rape fiction about males was as bad as male-created porn about females. No wonder she didn’t respond to this question – the idea of a woman creating porn had never entered her worldview. This worldview smacks very much of the double standard and concepts of chaste women versus predatory men. It is a dichotomy that insults womens’ autonomy and sexuality and also mens’ autonomy and morality. But it harms women more, because of course such a view inevitably means that female porn consumers and creators are deviants and forces chastity on women. And it’s only a small step from this dichotomy to the “all men are rapists, all sex is rape” line of thinking.

The anti-porn stance does not promote gender equality; it promotes the old Victorian stereotypes. Therefore it is antifeminist.

Anti-Sexwork

Criminalising sexwork takes away womens’ freedom to choose their occupation and it takes away their careers. The anti-sexwork NGOs’ lies about the exploitation of all or most sexworkers silences sexworkers’ real, lived experiences. I have been on the recieving end of this – albeit only for about two hours – and no, it is not fun to be told you’re a helpless victim in denial, that your entire blog is nothing but the heartbreaking documentary of your imminent descent into drugs and trauma, that you didn’t really choose to sell sex/virginity and you need help urgently. I put a lot of hours into this blog and a lot of thought into choosing Roland (my client) – including going to a modelling shoot and being paid for spanking just to scope him out as a potential buyer. And sending that message (an ‘invitation to treat’, they call it in Contract Law). So to be told that this is all fake – I’m a tragic victim with no agency, he’s a cardboard-cutout predator with no backstory who simply dropped conveniently into my life to prey on me – well, as I said, it’s not fun. Even for two hours. I mean, I wanted a man who I vaguely know, who has a degree, lives in the Lothians area, likes spanking, doesn’t mind knives/enemas/bondage etc, is a switch, isn’t a rapist, and is rich enough to pay me what I want. And I freaking got it. (Oh, and he likes art and is polyamorous, which are my preferences.) How do I not have agency??

Anyway, the anti-sexwork stance puts sex workers in danger of rape, jail, having their children taken away and having their identities revealed. Criminal records also make it harder for them to exit the sex industry if they want to. Under criminalization, the sex industry goes from cottage industry to criminal underworld where sexworkers are controlled by pimps instead of working independently or with escort agencies. (More details and references in my post on decriminalization here: https://diaryofavirginwhore.wordpress.com/2012/08/05/why-decriminalization-is-best-for-sex-workers-and-society/ ).  Criminalization also leads to increased sex trafficking; there has been increased trafficking in Sweden since clients were criminalized. Criminalizing sexwork might mean criminalizing the creation of pornographic films also.

Putting women at risk like this and enabling clients to rape them without fear of it being reported is not helping women. This isn’t feminism – it is anti-feminism. The Ruhama Agency ran the Magdalene laundries and uses false statistics to push for criminalization; so does Rhoda Grant MSP who is also attempting to criminalize sexwork with her consultation paper. The anti-sexwork NGOs frequently confuse sex trafficking with sexwork (which annoys the real anti-human trafficking groups). Other less disturbing consequences of the anti-sexwork stance is, again, the silencing of womens’ lived experiences and stigmatising them as exploited victims (if they’re “sex slaves”) and gender traitors (if they’re “happy hookers”). Yet again, patriarchal norms of the “good”, “pure” woman and whorephobia are the only gems that emerge triumphant from this mess of an ideology. On that note, it has been proven that most anti-sexwork NGOs receive huge amounts of funding from a single Christian organization (The Sex Myth by Dr Magnanti…I can’t pimp this book enough. I reckon I should put an ad banner on this blog; I might as well get paid for advertising it in just about every non-Diary post. Seriously, though, read it). So being anti-sexwork harms women, leaves them vulnerable to rape and violence (two big issues for any feminist) limits their choices, is conducive to whorephobia and therefore also slutshaming (something feminists want to eradicate) and is therefore antifeminist.

Anti-PIV/All sex is rape

Aside from being an absolutely insane idea, this is contrary to the nature of our species. Let me explain: homosexuality/bisexuality/BDSM/being genderqueer is natural because it’s so common and is found in other species (many species exhibit homosexual or bisexual behaviour, change their gender at will, and exhibit ‘masochistic’ sexual behaviours). However, rape isn’t natural because if our species was meant to reproduce by rape then women would not need to have any sexual desire, arousal or ability to love or form committed relationships with men. And not doing PIV while being heterosexual is very rare, so it is unnatural.

More relevantly, the idea that PIV sex is degrading or that all sex is rape depends on the assumption that the man (or the party who penetrates) is dominant and active, while the other is submissive and passive. This only bolsters the idea that sex is something that men do to women – the hallowed ‘subject verb object’ of ‘man fucks woman’.

My pet peeve with the active/passive duality is that it is the reason behind rape-as-a-weapon (the most famous instance of this was Muammar Gaddafi’s use of rape against the rebels (and anyone who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time). Although rape was used against men as well as women, its “justification” as a weapon comes from the belief that sex/rape is not equal; the active person is forcing submission or humiliation on the passive person. If this duality was not believed, rape could not be used as a weapon because both sides would be equally dominating and equally submitting. Similarly, this duality enables rapists to believe that they caused humiliation to their victim by committing the rape. Sometimes rapists will show photos or videos of their crimes to boast about the “humiliation” they think they caused.

A less disturbing aspect of the duality is that it reduces the woman to an object, to be pursued and enjoyed like a product. This is not the reality of human sexuality, where both genders equally desire the other.

And of course, if being passive/recieving is humiliating or, well, passive, then it means women who have sex with people who don’t love/value/cherish/insert-meaningless-word-here them are being used, are being objectified. While f penetrating symbolises dominance and power, men are dominating women every time they have sex, which means it is a good thing for them to have sex with lots of women. You can see where this heads in terms of the double standard, slutshaming and whorephobia.

Refusing to have PIV sex only legitimizes and encourages the duality. We should be trying to dissassociate dominance from penetration and passivity from receiving.

In conclusion, this just undermines feminist goals of equality.

 

Trans women

Excluding some women from the feminist movement isn’t very feminist, is it? Not a lot to say on this, because it’s so, well, simple.

 

CONCLUSION

In conclusion, the radical feminist movement is itself antifeminist.

 
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Posted by on November 22, 2012 in Feminism

 

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BEST post ever on anti-sex work radfems’ tactics in silencing sex workers.

Feminist Ire

The feminist movement really is in a pickle these days. It used to be a given that things like prostitution, pornography and stripping were bad, but nowadays there’s some resistance to these time-honoured notions. Women are increasingly coming out as sex workers and demanding rights. As feminists seek to shut down strip bars and criminalise clients, those women are complaining not just that they’ll lose their livelihood, but that they’ll be at increased risk of abuse and violence if their industries go underground! You can’t let such trivial concerns get in the way of your crusade, so below are some handy tips for discrediting these pesky meddlers. Remember: being an actual sex worker doesn’t entitle her to speak about sex work!

I don’t believe you; you don’t realise the harm you’re doing to yourself

This is generally your starting point. There you are, explaining that no woman…

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Posted by on September 25, 2012 in Feminism, Sex work

 

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If you’re a happy hooker you must be in denial: my rambling thoughts

I just really need to post this before I get onto posting the next part of the Diary. And after that, I’ve got an ex-call girl’s blog to read. It’s important to me that I read it, as she regrets sex work and if I’m to regret it, at least this is a last-minute chance to stop it, though of course I doubt I will. But it does pain me to know there are others who regret it, it always did even when I studied prostitution at uni. And she sounds quite like me – formerly proud to be a prostitute and charging up to a thousand or two for a few hours.

Anyway, this post is not directed at anyone; that much will hopefully be obvious by the general/non-specific nature of the writing, but I just want to get that out of the way before some random person comes along and thinks the post was aimed at them (which has happened to me in real life, with talking). This post only contains my thoughts and is not meant to be factually-based, reasonably argued or carry a message unlike other posts on this blog, nor does it represent my views on anything.

The post

I’ve seen some shit in my time – stuff I can’t tell you guys, because you wouldn’t believe it. Professionals – teachers, social workers, police – I’ve seen them lie. I’ve seen them surveillance, make up horrible accusations behind peoples’ backs and write them down and tell other professionals, discriminate certain family forms, and nobody can stop them because there are no laws to stop them. It’s all council or department policy. The Ombudsman, MSPs, the General Teaching Council, the police complaints commission…you can complain but you can’t do much to stop it happening. I’ve seen them do it to others. And to me. My life wasn’t sad or tragic. It was happy and fun. But it was more unbelievable than the most tragic stories I’ve read. Speaking of tragic stories, read the wordpress blog ‘Bipolar for life’ if you’ve got a strong stomach and some tissues handy…and yes, it’s triggering.

So, yeah. I’ve seen stuff. I’m tough. Bad stuff is just normal to me. I grew up with it. I had a loving family and a wonderful childhood, but I knew there wre evil people out there – people I should’v been able to trust. But even with the constant monitoring, observation and lies, there was one thing that remained inviolate: my personality. My sense of self, my experiences, my emotions, was never touched. It was never cast into doubt. Oh, my intelligence was – I was autistic and had learning difficulties, they lied, even though I was top of the class. But they never said I was depressed or attacked my personality. And it was a unique personality. Yeah, I’m bragging, but I’m not asking anyone to read this. This is for me, written for me because I don’t know if anyone else understands or wants to know.

Anyway, it was a unique personality. I’ve never been like other people; people say I think outside the box, am quirky or crazy, and will do anything. And I know I don’t react to things in the usual way; I don’t feel sad or stressed very easily, for one thing, and I’m weirdly confident. I sometimes have to mimic emotions, because although I’m capable of more empathy than most people, I do not naturally show it in facial expressions. And I’m tough because Asians don’t have much emotions; they don’t feel as sad. I was raised by an Asian mother and taught not to cry or be cowardly. And I’m tough because of what was done to me by those professionals. Once you’ve been through the fire, the flames are powerless to burn.

They couldn’t harm me, because I had a family who loved me. But the last few hours, for me, have been stressful – something that does not happen to me often. Usually, things are just irritating. A few things are annoying. I am not my usual carefree happy self, and it was to be expected; I knew this journey might make me a bit weirded out or stressed. I thought it would be the sexual stuff, or my friends’ reactions, or religious people hating my blog, but it’s none of that. It’s people being so sure that I’m a victim, or in denial, or not doing this by choice (and these statements didn’t come from the same person, so please nobody comment claiming I’m talking about them. I’m not even going to say whether the statements were tweeted, texted, comments, Facebook messages, emails, whatever. Because, you see I’m not talking about these particulat individuals. Who they are doesn’t matter even 1%, and I’ll tell you why: it’s the whole attitude that’s damaging. When you think that just because some sex workers didn’t choose it, or regret it, and force that story into the mouths of all sex workers, you take away their personality. You devalue and eradicate their story. You make their job, blog, views, writing, sex activism, etc worthless and meaningless.

And there are far too many people out there doing that. That’s why it doesn’t matter who these individuals are – one was going to come along someday. Brooke Magnanti got a lot of flak from the radical feminist and the anti-sex work crowd – and no, they’re not the same thing. I know that. It’s just that at the political level, their interests overlap. Like how in Sweden sex work is criminalized for feminist reasons (and recently a student sex worker was suspended from college for sex work even though it was legal as only clients are criminalised, not the sex workers.) (Story on the Harlot’s Parlour, WordPress.)

I guess I was prepared in a way by following other sex workers on Twitter – I realised that their lived experiences were often silenced by anti sex work NGOs and activists wanting to present all sex workers as trafficked sex slaves. And I have been reading Glasgow Sex Worker’s blog since before I started my own, and in it she does express a lot of frustration at this. But I didn’t realise how bad it makes you feel until tonight. Well, I guess I’m a real sex worker now – once you’ve had your story taken out from under you, all your vivid, precious experiences (good or bad) dismissed as denial, as future therapy fodder, sexual slavery, a short-term happiness that will later turn to regret – and (apparently) all for a deal that isn’t a good deal anyway because I’ll get £4k for virginity but other sex workers make £4k in a night – (not that I’ve ever spent the night with Roland or performed a sexual service lasting more than 20 mins, so getting £1,000 each time for a few hours of spanking and 20 minutes of oral seems good to me). And not that I was trying for the best deal (for reasons described in my posts ‘Kalika’s Q and A’ and ‘Selling Virginity: 25 tips’.)

I don’t see myself as a sex slave and even if I did in the future, it doesn’t make me feel good that people call me a sex slave now. Wait till I see myself as a slave before telling me that. When people put words in others’ mouths, they are attacking their personalities, lives and memories – not just the stories. It would be unthinkable to tell an unhappy drug addicted sex worker that they are really happy and enjoy sex work; that their unhappiness and desire to leave the industry is an illusion. You wouldn’t tell a rape victim they weren’t raped. Yet it’s totally normal and accepted for people to tell happy or neutral sex workers that they are really in a bad situation, that they’re victims, not happy or neutral at all.

I heard the other sex workers getting upset and raging over this but I didn’t know it feels so bad, worse than anything, than the professionals’ lies, than being bullied at school. Ironically, sex work made me happy – well, I’m always happy, so maybe it had a neutral effect – but it is their comments that make me feel sad. I felt fine and proud of it until they said their stuff, casting doubt on my emotions, that I’m not really proud, just in a bad place. That later on I’ll regret it and won’t be proud. Which isn’t true, as other ex-call girls don’t regret it, including two of my “favourites” who provide fascinating information – Maggie MacNeill and Dr Magnanti herself. They quit decades and years ago respectively, but they don’t regret it. And lots of other ex- sex workers on the web and Twitter don’t regret it either.

And there are lots of things to regret in life, anyway. Marrying the person you’re divorcing. That one night stand with the fat guy who now won’t stop following you around. Having an abortion or not having an abortion. Dumping your boyfriend. Cheating. And lots of other non-sex related things.

I do feel really bad for those who started streetwalking when underage, or who were pimped out by relatives as young children (it happens very occassionally in America) or do it to feed their drug habit, and all the other situations. But that doesn’t mean all sex workers have the same sad story. Some stories are happy, some sad, most neutral. The same sex worker can have good, bad and neutral experiences. The story of a 15 year old junkie streetwalker isn’t going to be the same as the story of a career woman who does sex work on the side from her house, or a student who works with an agency, or a graduate in a massage parlour. The happy hooker isn’t representative, but the sex slave is not representative either.

Where’s the blue WKD and chocolate when you need it??

Why is the world so complex anyway, and why does it happen? They blamed Brooke for telling her story – for ‘glorifying’ sex work, but all she was doing was telling her story. Freedom of speech. Then she was offered a book deal. And suddenly that was bad. It wasn’t just a book or a blog made into a book, it was an enemy of women. Where’s the line? If I’m just deluding myself, but she’s glorifying sex work, is it because my blog is obscure but her book was a bestseller? Is it how successful your writing is that determines if you’re a gender traitor or merely a sad sex slave?

And when a story about bad sex work experiences is told, it’s ‘raising awareness’ and ‘dispelling myths’. But if it’s a happy or neutral experience, it’s ‘playing the happy hooker’, ‘being a Belle de Jour’ or, in my case, being in the honeymoon phase of my descent into trauma and drug addiction.

I need chocolate. Chocolate makes everything go away. I think if Roland were here right now, he’d write ‘sex slave’ on my chest. I’ve been so horny all day, all the days since two weeks ago. I was going to check out kinky dating sites today. Sometimes I feel like banging my head against the wall out of sexual frustration. I wonder if it’s as bad for boys.

Ok, I’m going to stop now. Diary time! The next installment coming up now…

 

 

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