RSS

Tag Archives: feminist

How not to get raped

Don’t dress like a slut. Whether you’re going to work, walking the dog, nipping out to Tesco’s, jogging, going out for a walk, to a friend’s house, a night out, your boyfriend’s house, the cinema, the gym, the doctor’s, make sure you aren’t dressing like a slut, you slut. (Even though there’s no evidence that seeing an inch of cleavage turns a normal dude into a rabid monster who will attack you.)

However, research has shown that attackers go for women whose clothes can be easily removed (like loose, baggy clothes or clothes with zips.) So, don’t wear loose clothes either – wear tight clothes. Which may look slutty. You slut.

Don’t walk alone at night – are you an idiot as well as a slut? Get a man to walk you home because women aren’t able to fend for themselves and should rely on men.

However, most rape victims are raped by friends, acquaintances, family and partners. So don’t ask your friend or date to walk you home, or they might rape you. Which would be your fault, you brazen whore.

As we’ve already learned, you are in danger from family, friends and acquaintances. You can protect yourself by:

Being born to a lone mother with no male relatives or other male children. This takes care of possible paedophilia or incest from your family.

Not talking to any of your fellow male pupils, students or coworkers so they don’t become friends or acquaintances and rape you. You might get referred to psychiatric services, lose all your friends or get fired, but it’s a small price to pay for being safe

Another risk comes in the form of date-rape. You should avoid this by not dating, and instead having one-night stands with strangers.

An important thing to remember is that although most victims are attacked by someone they know, you can still be attacked by a stranger. So don’t go out anywhere, because anywhere you go, you could meet a stranger.

However, if a rapist breaks into your house they could attack you there. Living with your partner or parents is no help either, as it is common for women to be attacked in their own homes by friends or family. So, really, you shouldn’t have been born female.

Though transitioning to being a man isn’t any help, because men get raped too – by women and by men.

So there is absolutely NOTHING you can do to prevent rape. Everything you do to avoid it brings its own risks.

Above all: be ready to shag absolutely anyone, because if you’re consenting then it isn’t rape so you can’t be raped. May the sluttiest woman win.

And remember, if you do get raped, it’s your fault for being a slut and you shouldn’t be ruining the rapist’s life by daring to out him or report him to the police. Because it was all your fault, slut.

***There is nothing you can do to avoid it, and why should you even try? It’s the rapist’s responsibility to ensure he doesn’t rape.***

 

 
3 Comments

Posted by on November 30, 2012 in Feminism

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

How No More Page 3 harms feminism

Yeah, NoMorePage3 hurts feminism and feminist goals, and here’s why:

Firstly, the campaign founder’s statement that sex is something “beautiful”, “blissful” and “loving” between “two people”. Now that’s a huge no-no right there. It excludes poly people, swingers, kinky people, etc. The word “loving” could exclude ALL sex outside of a committed relationship. In fact, there is nothing I can recognise in her description that would apply to my own few experiences and especially to my own desires, which are rarely limited to two people. As for “loving”, education and career often delay middle-class womens’ search for love. And of course I have found no use for love in my adventures.

This is just positing a static right way of doing sex. Which is what the patriarchy, the Catholic Church and certain UK and US politicians have done and are doing. This is not feminism. It is nothing but the repression and sexual restriction of these institutions masquerading under the name of “feminism”. The campaign and this statement is aimed at women, so it is telling women that there is a right way of doing sex which society and page 3 have “debased”. Telling women that there is a right way of excercising sexual expression is a very old patriarchal device used to control women. Along with it come strict gender roles, the virgin/whore dichotomy and the double standard.

And the implicit assumption is that women, like me, whose idea of sex doesn’t fit in the Christian-esque box, are debasing this beautiful thing called sex that was “given” to humankind (another little flashback to the Bible).

 

Secondly, the campaign and its discourse ultimately takes away the models’ agency and stigmatises them as victims or gender traitors. By stigmatising these womens’ jobs and choices, the campaign impinges on womens’ freedoms and creates an anti-modelling, anti-sex industry, anti-sexwork ethos that is just patriarchal sexual repression and Victorian prudery in a new guise. Women should feel free to model and work in pornography (whether as actors, scriptwriters, models or directors) without fear of shaming and judgement. This campaign is the antithesis of the fight against slutshaming, the fight for women to be equal to men and the fight for sexworkers’ rights.

Thirdly, the campaign assumes that only men objectify women and only men consume pornography. This view degrades female sexuality by assuming that women are inherently less sexual than men, or that they shouldn’t consume porn. Again, these are patriarchal ideals of the ‘good’ asexual woman.

If women consumed and created porn, this campaign would be hypocritical, right? So to support it, it is necessary to believe that women don’t create or consume porn, or at least that women shouldn’t do so.

Spreading this idea that women don’t like, consume or create porn is very damaging to attitudes towards womens’ sexual expression. This view only makes society feel that women naturally aren’t sexual – great fodder for slutshaming attitudes. And perhaps even increased objectification, because women will be seen as sexually passive, something to therefore be chased or approached, something to get sex from. Instead of the reality that women aren’t passive objects, they too pursue desired mates and are sexual; they are also out to get sex from men.

Fourthly, the campaign makes a very dubious connection between hardcore porn and softcore porn, and also between page 3 and violence against women. There is absolutely no evidence for this and no study has ever been done on the effects of softcore porn on behaviour or on rape. (For more details read The Sex Myth by Dr Brooke Magnanti).

Just because a man views porn doesn’t mean he will then rape. This is just making excuses for rapists and abusers. It’s their fault, no one else’s – not the director, producer, actors, models or scriptwriters. It’s just porn – a film or a photo. It’s not a gun to your head and a person saying “Rape or I will kill you.”

Let me illustrate this with examples from my real life and this blog. In the Fiction section of this blog, you will find a story that depicts a 15 year old boy being raped by a same-age girl and an adult man. Yet, writing this story doesn’t mean I want to rape underage boys, and I can prove it: under the Feminism section, you’ll find a post about a woman who had sex with a 15 year old boy. In that post, I do nothing but express anger and disgust that her sentence was far too lenient and that the article and comments were insensitive and victim-blaming. I also have a story on here about the government torturing and spanking everybody for protesting and a rapid descent into a dictatorship. Yet surely you don’t all think that I want to live in a dictatorship, or be tortured by David Cameron? I have several notebooks filled with stories, some of them about myself being raped. But being raped is actually my biggest fear – or one of them – and surely it is clear to anyone who reads this blog that I am against rape.

Fifthly, given the fact that women do watch and make porn, this campaign makes no sense. It’s unfair and hypocritical to not want men to look at porn when women are free to do it. Also, if models lose work then how do those models benefit from the campaign (which has goals beyond just page 3)? It is just taking their income and careers.

Sixthly, the campaign is sex-negative, and sex-negativity usually does far more harm than good.

Seventhly, without challenging the attitudes of misogyny, sexism and objectification, even if page 3 was stopped forever, nothing would change because the attitudes would still be there. Just like criminalising drug use or sex work doesn’t stop it happening. The cause, not the effect, should be targeted. The campaign is trying to target what it sees as an effect of sexism – page 3. It fails to target the attitudes which caused page 3 and allow it to flourish. Also, the fact that other, much more hardcore porn would still exist would make the eradication of page 3 quite pointless.

 

In conclusion, the NoMorePage3 campaign takes away womens’ rights to choose their careers, ultimately shames women for their choices, prescribes a narrow Biblical model of sex, is not evidence-based and makes no logical sense. It is against feminist goals of women being allowed to express their sexuality as equals.

 
16 Comments

Posted by on November 4, 2012 in Feminism

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Why some sexist jokes cause harm and some don’t

Just because I’m a feminist doesn’t mean I believe that ALL sexist jokes cause harm to women.

 

I’m guessing that some feminists left after reading that. For everyone who has stayed on this page, I thank you, and here is why:

Some sexist jokes are too full of hyperbole and carry such controversial or very generalized messages that they have little effect on attitudes to women. For example, “Why did the woman cross the road? Never mind that, what’s she doing out of the kitchen!” is unlikely to significantly affect attitudes because our society does not believe in making all women housewives, and we know that doing so would affect the economy and create many other problems. Also, there is no real threat of men suddenly making all women housewives.

However, “Why do women have boobs? So you’ve got something to look at when you’re talking to them!” is more harmful because women are being objectified by men more than they are being forced by men to be housewives. There is a real threat of such objectification increasing (I blame lad culture, media and advertising more than pornography for reasons I’ll discuss in another post). Also, the message here is more specific and also more subtle: that women are meant to be objectified or that breasts exist for male pleasure.

Lastly, “What did her right leg say to her left leg? Nothing, because they never met!” is even more harmful because slutshaming is rampant and this joke is not only encouraging slutshaming, it itself is a form of slutshaming material. There is a real threat of slutshaming increasing due to the speech and rhetoric of certain politicians, radfems, prolife NGOs and anti-sexwork NGOs. The message is also subtle – that women are not supposed to express their sexuality, and that doing so is deviant and worthy of mockery. Who knows, perhaps this “joke” or something similar was used to bully Amanda Todd in any of the schools she moved away from. It’s a popular joke and has been used to shame and bully girls and women for years now. I dream of a slutopia where this joke would make no sense.

The most dangerous and offensive jokes are the ones that help perpetuate rape culture. Jokes about rape – of either men or women. The only way a rape joke could ever be funny was if the joke was about the rapist and portrayed the rapist as evil, inept, cowardly, etc. The joke should make the audience laugh at the rapist. Sadly I don’t know of any jokes like this. We don’t joke about murder or serious assault, so why do we even joke about rape? That’s a disturbing question right there. I also find objectionable jokes about accidental sex or jokes which do not make clear if it was consensual (“she said ‘that’s not my [object]’. And he said, ‘well that’s not my [object]’.”)

On a personal note, I don’t believe my tolerance of some sexist jokes to be that surprising, given that as someone who’s half Asian I like Asian jokes and the way L;u Kim is drawn in South Park. It’s hilarious to me and my Asian relatives. If racist jokes don’t inspire racial hatred and aren’t used in a hateful way, they’re fine by me; perhaps if South Park didn’t mock white males the most I wouldn’t approve. Family Guy is similar: “I’m standing outside the Park Barrington Hotel because they don’t allow Asians inside.” “When [an Asian guy] comes in I’m going to blindfold him with this dental floss. Nah nah nah nah nah nah, racial slur.” And I think this is absolutely hilarious, because these two shows mock every other race, so why should Asians be exempted? That would just be treating them differently.

And it’s the same with sexism. If we joke about men, gays, alcoholics, vegetarians, Jews, nationalities, race, rich people, poor people, politicians etc, why exempt women? Wouldn’t that be treating women differently?

 

 

 

 

 

 
1 Comment

Posted by on October 18, 2012 in Feminism

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Rape the sluts: the ‘Men can’t control themselves’ excuse

The clothes that a woman happens to be wearing at the time of an assault are often used against her in court, in the media or in her own social circle. I remember as an 18 year old being told by a girl I knew about a newspaper article which reported that a rape victim’s underwear was shown in court to prove that she consented. This was because the underwear had been manufactured with the words “Little devil” printed on the fabric. More recently an article in the Daily Mail sparked outrage for claiming that rape laws were too harsh and were catching innocent men; an example used was that a 19 year old attacked by two footballers had been drinking and had the top three buttons on her blouse undone, so it could not possibly be rape.

Another tactic in using clothes to victim-blame is claiming that if a man sees a woman wearing revealing clothes, he cannot help not raping her, or that the clothes themselves confuse men or constitute consent (a dress is a ‘yes’).

However, the assertion that all men are filthy, sexualised animals who can’t see a bit of cleavage without attcking a woman makes no logical sense. Firstly, men (and women) tend not to commit sexual assaults when there are witnesses around. This is why most attacks on women happen in the victim’s own home, in a dark or secluded area (an empty classroom, a car, an ambulance, a quiet street), in the attacker’s home or are perpertrated by the woman’s partner or family member. So, if men are really beasts who can’t control themselves, why can they control themselves when they know they’re likely to be caught? Why don’t we see men committing rape in malls, busy classrooms or crowded streets? Even when they do abduct victims from crowded places, how are they able to control themselves long enough to get their victim into a secluded area (remember the 14 year old boy abducted from a mall and raped in a toilet in Marks and Spencer’s?) How can Daddy control himself in the street and when Mummy is around, but suddenly he can’t control himself if his wife leaves the house? The myth that men can’t control themselves is just a nonsensical excuse.

A disturbing fact is that we don’t accept the ‘I couldn’t control myself because of my gender’ for any other crime or for any other gender. Try telling a judge that you couldn’t help knifing that person or nicking that wallet because you’re a man. Try telling anyone that you couldn’t help sexually assaulting that man because you’re a woman. So why accept that excuse for men who rape? The excuse should either be valid for all crimes and all genders, or it should be invalid for all crimes and all genders.

Another fact: we don’t accept the excuse for men who molest children or have sex with underage girls. But it seems that if you’re over the age of consent, it’s all your fault for leading him on and he couldn’t help it. If he really can’t help it with girls over 16, why is he able to control himself with a 15 year old? Why is it all his fault if you’re 15 and consenting, and all your fault if you’re 16 and not consenting?

Yet another illogical aspect of this excuse is: If men can’t control themselves, wouldn’t that mean that women also can’t control themselves? So why are only men deemed to be animals, and not women?

The tactic of using clothes to victim-blame, or even just to slutshame women ordinarily, is a dirty trick. You see, that outfit that Jenny is wearing that seems slutty to you isn’t Jenny – it’s an outfit. You’re judging Jenny based on what she’s wearing. If you had met her two hurs earlier she would have been wearing a business suit. If you were to meet her two hours later she’ll be wearing a frumpy, mumsy cardigan and worn baggy jeans.Later, when Jenny’s wearing her fleecey PJ’s, you might be wearing a short see-through nightie. So if Jenny is attacked at 4pm, she will be wearing a suit and will be seen as a victim (unless she knows the attacker). But if her attacker decides to lie in wait for her until 5pm and stalk her, by the time he attacks her she might be wearing a ‘revealing’ outfit. So it’s her fault for being dressed that way. And if the rapist instead chooses to follow her home and then break in, she’ll be wearing her mumsy outfit and be seen as a victim. Women have no control and no choice over when they are attacked or what they’re wearing when they are attacked. We don’t dress in the mornings or change our outfits in the day thinking that we might be raped, any more than men dress to be raped. We don’t think that men are dangerous animals who will leap at the first chance to attack us; we’re not paranoid. Neither are men. Judging women and victim-blaming on the basis of dress puts victims under the power of their rapist. The attacker chose when to attack; he has that control. The victim doesn’t. By victim-blaming, you are giving the rapist the power to make his victim endure shaming and make her testimony less believable. You are giving him the power to negotiate and influence the wider disourse around rape, as well as the opportunity to escape prison if the victim isn’t believed. By assuming womens’ dress causes them to be raped, we might even end up with a society in which men try to attack women who are dressed a certain way, so that they will get away with it – a self-fulfilling prophecy.

And if men are biologically compelled to rape if they catch a glimpse of cleavage, leg or belly button, how are they able not to rape when they see women in bikinis on the beach? Or naked women in nudist colonies? Or topless women on the beach? When I was 8 I once saw a naked woman at the beach, pulling her two young children in a rubber ring and covering herself with her other hand. Nobody tried to rape her or even noticed her or cared. In fact, I, an eight year old female, was the one who was staring the most.

This final argument comes with illustrations (yay!). In Britain, it is ILLEGAL to wear clothing in public that would display nipples or genitals. Strip clubs, nudist colonies and BDSM club nights may have different rules, but when you step out of these establishments onto the street, you will be charged with public indecency if you aren’t covering those areas. So how revealing can revealing clothes even be?

This woman is wearing a bralet and short skirt, but all she is revealing is a little of her belly.

This is the most revealing photo I could find of people who appeared on Snog, Marry Avoid. However, the two womens’ outfits, while being as revealing as possible without being illegal, are actually less revealing than a bikini. And neither of them are revealing their nipples or private parts, so the most sexual parts of their bodies are covered. So they aren’t revealing anything at all – the erogenous zones are covered up, leaving only the mundane non-sexy bits showing.

Really, anyone who believes that men are so weak, violent and bestial that they would attack these two women just because their tummies, legs and decolletage are revealed is an idiot.

A man wouldn’t be compelled to attack a woman walking down the street naked any more than a woman would be compelled to attack a naked man, or an adult of either sex would be compelled to attack a naked child.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 12, 2012 in Feminism

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Moulin Rouge!: Smashing the ‘happy hooker’/sex slave dichotomy

Baz Luhrmann’s 2002 movie about naive young Christian (Ewan MacGregor) falling in love with Moulin Rouge dancer and sex worker Satine (Nicole Kidman) tells a nuanced story of love and sex work.

The Moulin Rouge nightclub and brothel is owned by Harold Zidler. The movie follows Christian as he writes a play that is to be performed there and pursues Satine, finally recieving reprocity and having to keep their love a secret from the jealous Duke who wants to marry Satine. All of the characters’ success and happiness (and, for Zidler, his livelihood) depends on Satine keeping the violent Duke happy by ceasing her sex work. This is reminiscent of the great cultural burdens of honour that women historically carried/still carry in some communities; if they lost their virginity it was a betrayal and tragedy to their families.

Although Satine is what we in 21st-century Britain would think of as more of a ‘sex slave’ since there was no welfare state in her time (so if she didn’t do sex work she would starve), she is portrayed as enjoying her work and as having agency. She is capable of building healthy relationships – friendships with the other characters and being in love with Christian. Satine can recognise unhealthy or abusive relationships (the Duke’s possessiveness and, in a sense, Harold Zidler for using her for business).

Best of all, when Satine becomes the victim of attempted rape, this is not portrayed as an inherent risk of sex work or as Satine’s ‘fault’ for being a sex worker. Instead, the Duke’s abusive, insecure, violent character is to blame.

Of the two men interested in Satine, the one with the rescuer mentality (a desire to ‘rescue’ sex workers from their work) is the evil abusive character. Christian, while struggling with jealousy, seems jealous only of the Duke and diesn’t go as far as demanding Satine stop doing sex work, as the Duke does by requiring a contract from Zidler that “binds Satine to me”.

None of the characters are stereotypes. Zidler is both the unscrupulous pimp and the concerned father-figure; Christian is a respectful, loving boyfriend but still toys with jealousy. And Satine says that she must do sex work to survive – “A girl has got to eat/Or she’ll end up on the street” and that she has ambitions beyond the sex industry (to be an actress, the next Sara Bernhardt) but, at the same time, she obviously enjoys her work and is capable of manipulating clients (such as using love, sex or charm to get the Duke to invest in the play). This portrayal seems quite odd to some participants in the current sex work discourse; how can one want to exit sex work, yet enjoy it, be proud of it and not want to escape the industry to a life of luxury by marrying the Duke? Significantly, Satine does not realise her dream of “flying away” and “leav[ing] all this to yesterday” but instead dies in the Moulin Rouge.

The Duke’s possessiveness, Christian’s love, Zidler’s business plans and Satine’s ambitions were really just dreams all along – Satine had tuberculosis and would never have lived long enough for any of this to be realised. All that was real was their love and her sex work.

A good point in the film is when Satine talks of escaping the Duke and the Moulin Rouge with Christian; however Christian isn’t rescuing her, she is choosing her destiny and wants to depart with Christian as equals.

Satine also only began to have wishes of exiting prostitution when she was told of an opportunity the Duke was affording her to become a celebrity, and this feeling only intensified when she fell in love and her relationship with Christian became her priority. So, without these two men entering her life, Satine would have remained happy to be a sex worker.

In addition, Satine is a well-rounded character who has a talent for acting and enjoys socialising – she isn’t a cardboart-cutout prostitute.

Sex work is not portrayed as either degrading or empowering in the film. It seems to be just another job, seen alongside the other characters’ jobs of acting, singing, dancing, writing and the arts – ( indeed, even interchangeable with the arts, as the sex workers dance in the Moulin Rouge and act in the play, and the actors (and writer) date and form friendships with the sex workers. The play itself is about a sex worker, and Christian’s novel, which narrates the film, is about the Moulin Rouge; Satine’s ambition is to act.)) All of these professions are shown as falling under the Bohemian Revolution spirit of Truth, Beauty, Freedom and Love. The Duke, who stops Satine’s sex work, is the one character who is opposed to these ideals – “I don’t care about your ridiculous dogma!”.

In general, Moulin Rouge! does not fall prey to either side of the happy hooker/sex slave dichotomy, but embraces the good and the bad of sex work without demonising, glamorising or dramatising it; it’s just another way to make money in a corrupt and unequal society.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on October 4, 2012 in Film, Sex work

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Chastity’s blog post

“No vows, no sex”

Hello, this is me writing as Chastity White, a right-wing nutjob. I’m here to tell you why just the women you all should be abstinent. By the way, Kalika is not the only virginal slut/slutty virgin. Check out these other abstinent whores…I mean, totally serious photos that prove my points. If you believe in any other so-called religion that is obviously from the devil, leave now stay and be indoctrinated, you disgusting heathens.

“True love waits”

Women can make it easier for themselves to be abstinent by denying their femininty and degrading their sexuality. We must allow ourselves to be dominated by men, and wear underwear that expresses our dads’ possession of us as a commodity valuable only for our hymen.

Daddy owns me. Daddy’s a gun-wielding, violent maniac who’d murder his own daughter’s boyfriend, and he OWNS me. Help. Please. Child Protection servies? Anyone?

Another good tip is to be on your guard against impure thoughts. Never let a man have sexual contact with you – it’s your fault if he does, because you let him. Women are the guardians of sex and it’s our job to tell him no. It’s not his job to tell us no, or to control himself. If you don’t tell him no, that’s a shame on you but fame for him, because boys should have as many girls as they can. Their virginity is worthless but yours is priceless. This is all non-negotiable because it just is. It’s not even in the Bible, but let’s act like  it’s in the Bible and the laws of our country all at the same time.

Your virginity is your gift. It’s the greatest gift you have – worth way more than your intelligence, personality, good character, hard work, sports achievements, degree(s), religious or political beliefs…

Another argument is that this is all for your own good. Women get hurt by sex but men don’t. This is true for 100% of women and men even in vastly different cultures and historical periods. It’s just as true for homosexuals and trans people. The reason why women get hurt is that we are inferior to men and have a chemical called oxytocin that releases when we chat to friends or have sex; it makes us feel happy. Somehow, that interferes with our ability to not get emotions all mixed up with sex. Men don’t have this chemical or any similar chemical of course. That’s why men don’t have any friends. Obviously. And why men can separate emotions and sex; this separation is the reason why men don’t have committed relationships or get married. Only women ever enter committed relationships, because women fall in love whenever they have sex, and also they want commitment – men never want commitment, of course.

The hymen/corona is of sacred importance. Everything else is okay because it is the non-existent hymen that is symbolic. We know it’s actually called the corona, which never gets ‘broken’ and the ‘hymen’ is just a myth, but WE DON’T CARE. Seriously. So fuck off, liberals.

When you are abstinent, it is of paramount importance to comport yourself in a decent fashion. The abstinence cult doesn’t harm women in any way, or perpetuate the double standard at all. In fact, giving Daddy complete control over his daughter’s sexual choices in a purity ball or purity pledge is actually empowering for his daughter – even though girls as young as four are forced into these pledges. After all, what could be more self-actualising and healthy than letting Daddy decided who you date, and giving Daddy a key until the day you get married and he gives that key to your husband, symbolising the key to your heart and your virginity? This is very progressive behaviour and not barbaric or repressive at all. And although the fact that boys aren’t made to attend purity balls and pledge their virginity to their mothers, that doesn’t mean that we care more about female virginity than male virginity…it doesn’t…honest!!!! As to why Mommy isn’t the natural guardian of her daughter’s virginity, as she has of course gone through the same temptations and understands the urges and hormonal upheavals a young girl has to face, well…Mommy can’t guard her daughter’s heart. It’s Daddy’s job. After all, Mommy is just a woman…she doesn’t have a penis, which of course means she can’t be trusted with anything. Just look at the wonderful regimes in Iran and Saudi Arabia – they know the score. Just because some women – and men- in those countries vehemently oppose the laws and campaign for gender equality doesn’t mean the governments aren’t totally right. We should use their example in our own society by not having a separation of church and state. That way, we could have abstinence indoctrination – sorry, I mean education – in ALL schools, not just some. Then the virgins will be virgins and the sluts will get pregnant and be shamed by the community as they won’t be allowed contraception or abortion (in my ideal universe). The women would have only two choices: which will you be, slut or virgin? No grey areas, just black and white – if you’re not a virgin, you’re a slut. The boys can do what they like, of course, boys are naturally meant to have lots of sex. And everyone would be a repressed conservative and worship the government.

Women are of course passive and asexual, and we don’t have a right to anything more.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Radical feminism: sex-negativism and an anti-feminist agenda

This was inspired by SCASE (Scottish Coalition Against Sexual Exploitation) outing Glasgow Sex Worker and claiming she is not a real person but an internet campaigns company on Facebook yesterday. (GSW was lucky that Marr outed her by the wrong identity/or deliberately lied what this identity was.)However, this post isn’t about that.

I’m not suggesting that all anti-sex feminists are trying to out sex workers or share exactly the same views as SCASE or can realistically all be lumped into one category of “radical feminists” or “anti-sex/anti sex industry feminists”. That’s ignorant. So let’s be calm about this and stress that SCASE has now deleted Stella Marr’s post and apologised which GSW has accepted. So maybe it would be more appropriate to say that Stella Marr outed GSW, and not SCASE. Regardless, the message – well, threat – was that if you speak out in favour of sex work – i.e. you don’t agree with criminalising it – you risk being publically outed and/or discredited on Facebook by feminists.  What Stella Marr was doing was effectively interfering with the excercise of free speech.

Moving swiftly on from this fiasco, feminist sex-negativism – whether that of the 1970’s as exemplified by Andrea Dworkin or that which still exists now, is not of benefit to women. Here’s why:

Feminist sex-negativism – whether it’s anti-pornography, anti-sex work, anti-the entire sex industry (if it’s even possible to lump women working out of flats, call girls, street walkers, Playboy, internet porn, FHM, porn actors, lap dancing clubs, etc all in one ‘industry’) becomes a position virtually indistinguishable from the Christian moral right. Carol Smart said it in 1985, and she was right.

It strips women of agency, labelling them as victims, trafficked, or exploited. This suppresses individual womens’ experiences and narratives. (Briefly glancing at their Facebook page and knowing that they would consider me to be Roland’s victim and this entire blog either a pro-sex work lie or a sad illusion of a meaningful experience was kind of frustrating). R Matthews and Ann Phoenix are two objective academics who describe the bad experiences of sex workers as well as the fallacy of depriving them of agency, why both legalisation and criminaliation are bad for sex workers and how most sex workers aren’t career sex workers. Some “pro-sex work” organisations are COYOTE, PLAN, and the sex workers’ trade union.

It leads to moral panics over sex trafficking which is actually very rare in the UK;  trafficking for labour is much more prevalent. But nobody cares, because ‘labour trafficking’ hasn’t got the word ‘sex’ in it so it doesn’t sell papers. The moral panics obscure real non-sex trafficking and stop these victims from recieving the help, justice and awareness they really, really need. Right now. They need it.

All that time and taxpayer’s money going into stopping sex trafficking (which led to only 5 convictions in the second nationwide sex trafficking operation) -read Brooke Magnanti’s book ‘The Sex Myth’ – could be better used to increase awafreness of, the conviction rates of and rates of reporting crimes such as rape, domestic abuse, and child molestation.

Criminalizing prostitution only leads to worse treatment of sex workers by employers and the criminal justice system; it also leads to sex workers’ children being taken away. They may lie that they were trafficked to keep their children, which results in innocent people being imprisoned for sex trafficking. Privacy and human rights are often infringed by the police, who can legally break down doors in hotel rooms or pose as sex workers to trap clients. Clients’ photographs and names are displayed on billboards. (America)

Likewise, legalizing prostitution also has problems (Australia, Netherlands). Decriminalization, or R Matthews’ ‘radical regulationism’ is the best way. (Oviously saying ‘this is the best way’ is not an actual argument. I will elaborate on this view in another post.) Decriminalization is what we currently have here in Britain.

Claiming all women are exploited by sex work or pornography diminishes society’s view of female sexual agency and rewrites women as sexually vulnerable and in need of protection and men as sexual predators. This is insulting and harmful to both genders.

Crusading to stop other women selling their bodies or lap dancing and condemning such activities is merely playing the role of enforcer (a female enforcer of the patriarchal double standard. I discused this in my post ‘SM and the double standard’, in the ‘Feminism’ category). This harms women as it teaches them that they are vulnerable to exploitation and can’t take control of their sexuality by sex work – if they do sex work, they’re automatically victims. It also reinforces the value of chastity and the sexual vulnerability of women in the public imagination, perpetuating the double standard and protectiveness of the female body.

Claiming that all women are exploited is a huge generalisation. You cannot make blanket statements about such a varied industry. It would be more sensible to accept that some women have horrific experiences, some women love it so much they spend all their time writing blogs/books about what a great time they’re having, and most women have mixed experiences, just like every other job where you have good times and bad times. Haven’t we all been there.

Criminalizing all sex work is not necessary to get a better life and better working conditions for sex workers. Sex worker activist groups like COYOTE in the USA and the sex worker trade union in the UK are already campaigning for better working conditions. By supporting them politically and financially, sex workers will be helped. Trying to criminalize sex work actually disparages and discredits these activists’ experiences, narratives and political efforts by claiming they are exploited or brainwashed. If criminalization were achieved, working conditions for sex workers would be much, much worse and there would be more violence, rape and sex trafficking. Why? Because the workers wouldn’t be able to report it to the police without being charged themselves. Sex work would be the province of a criminal underground, not random citizens working out of flats, unemployed women walking the streets when they feel like it, or students signing up with escort agencies – which tend to be small companies. There aren’t big prostitution corporations out there; let’s not make any. Porn companies tend to be small, too; (see my post about Zada Modelling, obviously a very small pornography company) an exception is of course Playboy, which has branched out into the fashion industry too.

All of the above doesn’t benefit women – either non-sex workers or sex workers and every nuance in between. (Yes, there are grey areas.) Four quick examples: me; sex shop assistants; porn film scriptwriters; SeekArrangement.com; escorts who don’t have sex but only provide an escorting service; phone sex chat workers; erotic novel authors; erotic anime/manga artists; people who sell pornography; people who have sex to get that promotion; people who date someone because they’re rich…(Ok that was more than four, but I couldn’t resist. There are an awful lot of grey areas. I really find it difficult to answer the question: Who is a sex worker?

Since the feminist anti-sex crusade is harmful to women, it is (unintentionally, inadvertently) anti-feminist.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on August 2, 2012 in Feminism, Sex work

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Why this blog/Kalika’s Q and A:your sordid questions answered!

Why this blog?

1. ‘Cause Belle de Jour did it.

2. I wanted to write a diary, then I thought, ‘why not a blog? Then it wouldn’t be so pointless, and other people will see it. And nobody’s done a selling virginity blog before, because most virginity buyers don’t want to drag it out like Roland.’

3. I like writing complete shit and ranting against the homophobes/Ann Widdecombe/Nadine Dorries/Rick Santorum/Rick Perry/the pro-lifers/the conservatives/the Conservatives/the government (which is mostly Conservative)/the conservatives who pretend to be feminists/the Conservative feminists…Is anyone even still reading this? Anyway, I like ranting against all of these loons, so why not rant on the internet, call it “blogging”, call myself “a blogger”, act smug about it and put it on my CV? And I can smear my complete shit all over the internet and act like it’s some kind of socially-worthy activity! (Some have called me an activist, even though all I’m doing is writing down what I say every day. Saying stuff to your friends is just slagging off people, but when you stick it on a blog, it’s activism!)

FAQ

(No-one’s asked me any questions…well, maybe one or two, but I forget what they were. Anyway, here are some questions I think would be FAQs if this morally reprehensible blog had more followers:)

Q. What prompted you to sell your virginity?

A. I’ve always dreamed of prostituting myself and been very jealous of sex workers. I especially fantasised about selling virginity. I love money, and love the idea of being paid for sex. It’s kinky.

Q. Why did you choose Roland instead of auctioning it as you would’ve got more money that way?

A. He was the safest and easiest option, and I liked his personality. I preferred it to be someone I liked and knew slightly. Sacrificing thousands for these paltry preferences was ridiculously stupid, of course – I wouldn’t pay thousands for those things, so why throw away thousands for those things? – however I don’t regret my decision, and I’ve never claimed to be intelligent.

Q.Do you enjoy being sexual with Roland?

A.Yes. I think I naturally am very into kinky sex. I didn’t know that before. I think the moral of this unseemly contract is: love sex. (Durex paid me £562,621,869.74 to say that last bit. The massive but somehow invisible prostitution corporations paid me twice that amount to say the first bit. I actually hate doing anything with Roland, because he forces me at gunpoint to do it, and has cut me with very cool-looking designer knives. On one occassion, he stuck a hot poker up my bum as an experiment, but forgot to record the result so had to repeat the experiment five times, then press a hot frying pan to my bottom as a control study. He then spanked me with it for not staying still and compromising the experiment. He also tortured me with electrodes and taser-like instruments, and has set my butt on fire repeatedly.  I don’t enjoy these things because Roland works for the despotic government of Fantasia and I think government torture is morally wrong. Roland agrees that it is indeed morally wrong, but he counters that it is also sexy, an observation which I find difficult to rebutt.)

Q.Why don’t you have two separate blogs, one for your perverted, badly-written diary, and another for your half-baked thoughts on feminism, BDSM laws, 50 Shades, and other sociopolitical things you obviously know nothing about? Or even a third blog for your kinky fiction that either goes on and on for thirty pages or is total rubbish?

A. I wanted to make the point that sex isn’t a separate sphere of our lives. It’s part of our social life, our family life, etc. We have sex with people we meet socially or through work; we use our social skills to pick up men or maintain relationships. We have sex with people in our family such as our spouses and partners. Our children are (usually) born by sex, or even if they’re not, the method used to create them was a secondary choice because the usual method wasn’t a viable option for us. We have a tendency in the west to segregate sex off from the other parts of our lives, and have distinct attitudes or unease towards it. (The forced therapy on two 6 year olds who had oral sex in an  American classroom proves that while dressing up or playing house is acceptable for children, ‘playing doctor’ or exploring each others’ bodies is not. Worryingly, this exploration used to be shrugged off as ‘playing doctor’ in the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s but now in our supposed ‘freer’ times, it is pathologized and medicalized. Facebook recently banned a user for posting a photo of her 5 year old pretending to breastfeed her two year old, because the photo was ‘sexual’. There are more examples, obviously, those are the first two I thought of.)

I also wanted to make the point that you can talk seriously about feminist issues and issues surrounding BDSM, sexuality and sex work alongside a sex diary – that the academic/political discourse around sex can’t be completely separated from the lived experience itself. When we research, analyse, discuss and legislate on sex – from gay marriage to abortion to the legality of BDSM – we are affecting real individuals’ lives and freedoms. When we don’t legislate on/discourage sexism, homophobia, slut-shaming/stigmatisation of lone mothers/the double standard enough (or, indeed, at all) this affects real people. I don’t think sex – or anything else – can be completely divided into two spheres as the academic-political discourse and the separate private experience. The lines are blurred.

I also wanted to show people that sex workers are well-rounded people who can be feminists – not victims – and do other things like write fiction etc. So I didn’t see a need to have one blog for my diary and feminism and a separate blog just for the few stories I have, especially since those stories are connected to the diary in that Roland and I frequently talk about them and Roland has mimicked the Queen Tut spanking scene/Kemet 1 twice and occassionally calls me by that name.

Q. Don’t you understand that you’re being exploited by that disgusting male who is little better than a rapist?

A. Yes, I feel very exploited. I went to a photo shoot with the intention of giving Roland a trial-run so that if he passed I could initiate a deal to sell my virginity. I’m a kinky student being paid £8,000 to have kinky sex with a millionaire I actually like personality-wise, who looks young for his age, pays for my food when I see him, and is overly concerned about my emotional health/consent issues. I have money saved up anyway from working part-time the last couple of years, I could get a career job as I just graduated; I’m doing casual work now anyway and have student overdrafts so I’m not dependent on him. I can stop this whenever I want. Of course I’m being exploited, please rescue me.This is horrible – I’m oversexed and have too much money.No woman should be treated in this way.

Q.Is there anything about selling virginity that you feel negatively about?

A. Two things – his age, and the hair thing.

Q. Do you ever detach yourself while doing it?

A. Once, for about three minutes, though I didn’t realise other sex workers do that sometimes, I thought it was only me. I did it as a precaution, but it got so hot that I began to like it so I un-detached myself.

Q. Why aren’t the Feminism and BDSM sections of your blog more objective?

A. In this stage that our society is now in, I don’t think we can afford to be objective any more. People’s freedoms and quality of life are at stake. You only have to look across the pond to see that, once a free country is on the way to becoming a theocracy, the slide is difficult to stop and lots of innocent bystanders will suffer a lot (If you haven’t heard of the ‘war on women’, Google it, or Google ‘last abortion clinic Mississippi’, or ‘teen abortion parental consent North Carolina’ – which wasn’t even part of the recent controversies, but an older law.) Who knows how many women especially young or poor women, are, right now, being forced by government (or in N. Carolina, abusive parents) to bear babies as a result of that? How many people got AIDS or pregnant because of abstinence education (which has mostly declined now but still exists)? These are the ‘invisible children’ that we- well, Americans – can actually do something about. The solution is simple – scrap all those newly-enforced laws. It doesn’t take millions of dollars or decades of scientific research to do that. The Americans know this, of course – they aren’t as dumb as they portray themselves in their films- but the loonies won’t let regular Americans put things right and save the children and themselves from unnecessary harm.

We don’t want this stuff to happen here and American abstinence programmes and anti-abortion government control have already been attempted (by Dorries. Most recently in January, which was her 4th attempt).

Q. Why do your posts go off on tangents?

A. They just do.

Q. To you, personally, what is the best thing about free speech?

A. Well we all know why it’s massively important, so my answer is: Being able to write the Santorum gets spanked scene in my story ‘The UK Government Torture Act’ and not get spanked by the police for writing it. Wait, is that actually a good thing?

Q.When did you begin to have BDSM fantasies?

A. 9 years and 2 months. This is also when I began to draw and write kinky stories and comics.

Q. At what age did you realise these fantasies were sexual and accept your desires?

A. 18

Q. Has Roland ever done anything to you that made you feel bad?

A. Woke me up at 5.45 am. In his defence, this was totally necessary.

Got a question? Ask me in a comment! 😀

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Adult cartoons: conservative agenda?

South Park. Family Guy. The Simpsons. They’re ultra-liberal, filled with swear-words, innuendos and sometimes sexually explicit comments. A show like Family Guy, which has the word “penis” in half its episodes and utilises phrases like “your penis would shoot right off your body”, “my daughter’s womb is not a wildfire for you to douse with your adolescent seed” and show scenes of rape, sex addiction, kinky sex, and puppy-babies concieved by bestiality is not usually thought of as furthering the agenda of the religious right. But it does. Don’t get me wrong, Family Guy is my favourite thing on TV, IloveitIloveitIloveitIloveitIloveit. All these cartoons work against the right-wing agenda and mock it in many ways. But here is how it, and other adult cartoons, do further that agenda:

In The Simpsons, Family Guy and American Dad, the mothers are all housewives with no friends.

In all the above shows as well as the Cleveland Show, the focus is on a male character

The father is irresponsible, lazy and doesn’t do housework – especially Homer Simpson and Peter Griffin. The boys – especially Bart Simpson, Eric Cartman and Rallo Tubbs- cause chaos (which is not seen as deviant), while the girls are quiet (especially Lisa Simpson and Meg Griffin) or only cause ‘trouble’ to their parents by parental fear of their sexuality (Roberta Tubbs and Meg Griffin) or political views (Hayley Smith). In contrast, the mothers care for the kids and do not pull crazy stunts of their own – an exception is Family Guy’s Lois, but her stunts (kleptomania, revealing that she was in a porn film) pale in comparison to Peter’s.

In the first episode of The Cleveland Show, the mother is depicted as unable to control her children after becoming a lone mother. Only Cleveland, acting as a father figure, can restore discipline.

This ‘discipline’ includes controlling 15 year old Roberta’s sexuality by physically intimidating her boyfriend. This patriarchal control is juxtaposed with Cleveland’s freedom to have sex with Roberta’s mother at the very moment that Roberta’s sexuality is subject to his control

In contrast, Roberta’s 5 year old brother is encouraged by Cleveland to be sexual. Cleveland teaches him to invent a reason for having to peek up girls’ skirts, a behaviour which resulted in him being expelled in the first place.

Cleveland’s assertion that the kids “need some fathering” – mothering being inadequate

Robert’s absence supposedly caused the kids to misbehave; however, as a drunk who is disinterested in his children, how could he have disciplined them when he lacks discipline himself? The message is that even a drunk dad can parent better than a working, caring, sober mom.

Roberta is portrayed as accepting her boyfriend’s decision to take her home early/not have sex. Cleveland is controlling her through her boyfriend, and likewise her boyfriend is able to control her sexuality.

In one episode, Roberta is almost forced by peer pressure and a TV camera to flash her breasts, along with many other girls, but her stepbrother saves her by pretending to be a girl and flashing his chest. This implies that it is not good to flash your breasts for a TV show and that women are exploited in the adult entertainment industry. Roberta was portrayed as a victim with no agency who had to be saved by a younger male relative. The fate of flashing was portrayed as dire.

 

In Family Guy, Peter is pathologically possessive of his daughter Meg when she dates a trainee doctor – even stalking them in disguise- and attempts to shoot him when Meg is pregnant.

In the current season, both Peter and Lois stop Meg having sex with Glenn Quagmire even though she’s already 18. Meg is portrayed as accepting this.

While Glenn and Herbert are sex predators and Peter frequently uses very sexual language, the female characters are not permitted such expression. Even when Lois is revealed to have starred in a porn film, the revelation leads to her becoming a social pariah which is the main content of the episode. However, when male characters commit rape, cheat, repeatedly attempt child molestation, commit bestiality, abduct people for sex, etc, they suffer no consequences and their actions remain secret. These actions constitute very small portions of the episodes, in contrast to Lois’ porn movie, Lois’ sexy photo, Loretta’s affair, Meg’s boyfriend/subsequent pregnancy, Bonnie’s affair or Peter’s boss Angela sexually harassing him. The mens’ actions are not portrayed as problematic or deviant. They seem to happen as a result of the mens’ libido. However, the womens’ actions are problematized by the community and the family. Their actions seem to come from problems: lack of money (Lois making the porno), unhappy marriage (Loretta and Bonnie having affairs, Lois kissing Meg’s boyfriend) being naive and/or used (Jillian-Brian, Meg-Quagmire and Cheryl Teags-Brian) and being suicidal (Angela). The men suffer no consequences for their actions except Quagmire’s friends being annoyed with him when he is caught spying on Lois, and Lois being annoyed with him for trying to sleep with Meg. By contrast the women get publically shamed on TV (Lois’ porn film), lose public office (Lois’ photo), are discovered cheating (Loretta and Bonnie), have a pregnancy scare, a forced marriage, then lose their boyfriend (Meg) go to prison for harbouring a fugitive (Meg) accidentally make out with their brother (Meg) get dumped, get obssessed, perform a kidnap and get told to wait for the right man by Quagmire, a pervert – double standard much?(Meg), attempt suicide when attraction is unreciprocated (Angela).

When Lois briefly becomes a lone mother in the episode ‘Big man on the hippocampus’, the family’s income drops ridiculously low.

In South Park, being a slut is linked to being stupid and spoiled, and in a slut contest the male slut (Mr Slave) wins over the female slut (Paris Hilton). It is not suggested that Mr Slave is stupid or spoiled. The girls of South Park then immediately stop being sluts.

The only lone mother portrayed is Eric Cartman’s mother, and her son is completely out of control. She is also portrayed as promiscuos and as not knowing who Eric’s father is.

 

 

 

 

 
5 Comments

Posted by on July 30, 2012 in Feminism, Film, Media

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Why 50 Shades of Grey is anti-kink, anti-sex and anti-feminist

It seems impossible to get away from 50 Shades right now. I can’t go on Facebook, WordPress, to the supermarket, on the bus or train or sometimes even check my texts without hearing about or seeing the book. After I give the evidence/reasons for the claims I’ve made in the title of this post, I’ll copy/paste this conversation so you can get an idea of how I (and apparently some other people) feel about the trilogy:

Evidence that 50 Shades is all the things I claim it to be:

Anastasia is economically dependent; when she does get a career, Grey then buys out the company she works for, making himself her boss’s boss

Ana is virginal in direct contrast to the very experienced Christian who is such a playa that he has never spent the night or done ‘the girlfriend thing’

Christian’s kinkiness is explained as being a direct result of child abuse including sexual abuse, not just his sexuality. I.e. it is unnatural (he was not born with it) and pathological

Christian has a kink-shaming thing going on where tells his therapist that he thinks something is wrong with him (as the therapist explains to Ana)

Ana has a sex-shaming thing going on where she feels that it is surprising or wrong for a 21 year old to want to have sex.

Ana displays the classic traits of an enforcer (female enforcer of the double standard, see my post on ‘SM and the double standard’) by judging her flatmate Kate for sleeping with Elliott

Both protagonists are codependent and appear more interested in having some kind of little boy or sex slave to take care of than an actual sex partner or boyfriend/girlfriend

Christian is abusive, not a Dom. BIIIIIIG difference, James. BIG difference.

BDSM is linked to emotional damage by the title ’50 shades’ which corresponds to Christian’s assertion that he is “fifty shades of fucked-up” due to childhood abuse

Ana is a complete idiot, barely able to ‘research’ BDSM online without Christian’s guidance or find sex tips although she has a degree. Most kinky people were ‘researching’ BDSM online at age 12 or 13. (I started at 14 because we didn’t get internet access at home until I was 14, though my first attempt was at age 9 or 10 on a school computer).

Ana’s passivity, submissiveness and physical weakness are an antifeminist portrayal of women and, as she is well-educated, young, and not overweight, is completely unrealistic.

Ana is portrayed as having extreme physical weakness, i.e. taking four strokes of the crop is too much for her, sex exhausts her and a hand spanking is injurious to her physically (Christian has to use baby oil to soothe her) and emotionally (sje doesn’t want to repeat the experience).

The above portrayals also stigmatise BDSM as a very dangerous and harmful behaviour when actually this level of pain and exhaustion is very rare. Christian obviously was not paying attention/didn’t care (which is another disturbing aspect of this story).

Ana is not only a virgin but also asexual, having manifested no sexual desire before meeting Christian and exhibiting very little desire even after that. She has never masturnated. Even after being spanked she does not experience the spanking in a sexual way (either positively or negatively).

This asexuality is in direct contradistinction to Christian’s hypersexuality and extreme fetishes (no, I don’t think he is either of those – nor would I use ‘hypersexual’ on anyone who hasn’t been clinically diagnosed with nymphomania) but this is how James is presenting Christian. This contadistinction is just the double standard made more obvious and extreme.

Ana’s submissiveness and low self-esteem are portrayed as meaning that she is a natural submissive; similarly, Christian’s billionaire alpha male status mean that of course he is the dom. This stigmatises BDSM and is actually completely false. Sexual kinks and proclivities have no bearing on reality. Gays aren’t all effeminate, are they? Lesbians aren’t all butch, and cross-dressers only cross-dress sometimes. Transgender people can be gay or straight. ‘Tomboy’ girls and sensitive boys don’t grow up to be gay.(As a child I wore boys’ clothes/shoes and refused to wear skirts, dresses or play with Barbie dolls. A family ‘friend’ told my mother I was “a homosexual”.Now I love style and am so feminine that I’m prostituting myself; I love sex and men.)There aren’t any rules. If anything, powerful individuals are more likely to be subs because it’s relaxing for them.

Ana expresses disappointment that she was not raped while asleep by Christian, and questions her attractiveness because of this.

Ana is one-dimensional, superficial, whiny, has low-self esteem, lets herself be abused, has no confidence, possesses a very conservative view of sex, is sexually repressed, doesn’t know how to use the internet, and is stupid. (All unrealistic traits in a young educated American woman).

Female drinking and partying is presented as dangerous, with Ana being sick and having to be rescued by Christian and taken to a hotel

Christian exhibits the traits of a stalker and is overprotective; he buys her a new car because her old one is potentially dangerous (how? Are all poor peoples’ cars dangerous?) and takes her to a hotel when she is drunk instead of just taking her home. Also, he didn’t have to trace her call; she was just feeling sick from drinking too much, hasn’t that happened to nearly every 21 year old student? However, it is portrayed as deviant.

Christian’s character-specific skills are evident at all times (dominance, confidence, clear goals, persuasiveness, taking the initiative both in the bedroom and out of it, etc). As is the money that his skills got him. However, despite having a degree  in English Literature, a part-time job, a possible insight into journalism through her friend Kate’s involvement with the student paper, as well as interviewing Christian, Ana’s skills and experience are never evident. She doesn’t even have any hobbies apart from reading classics (i.e. a hobby synonymous with her studies) or any goals, career plans or interests. Her CV must be pretty short.

Not only is Ana asexual, she has no actual goals or wishes for her relationship with Christian. She just does whatever he says

She is stupid enough to believe that a contract binding her to be a BDSM sex slave would be legally binding in the United States of America in 2011/2012

There is no sex for about half the book. This is not porn. It is not even erotica. If I was buying erotica (which I did, but it was far too mild so I didn’t like it much) I would not expect to read over 200 pages to get to the first sex scene. I’ll bet most Romance genre novels are more erotic than 50 Shades; after all, no self-respecting woman in 2012 is going to read romance novels that end ‘so we finally held hands AND kissed, AT THE SAME TIME! Phwooarr!!!! And rode off into the sunset.The End.’

There is no explanation given for Ana’s sex-repression or willingness to be raped while unconscious/asleep. It’s presented as the right way to think. Given that teens are reading it (it’s socially-acceptable porn, they can read it in school, of course they’re reading it) this is actually very harmful to society.

The message of these two things is that it is acceptable for men (even educated business professionals) to be so bestialy hypersexual that they cannot wait till the morning or even 1 second to wake up a woman and ask if she would like to have sex, but instead have to rape her while she is asleep, like a dog. However, it is totally unacceptable for a woman to want to have consensual protected sex with a hot billionaire in a potentially-committed relationship at above the average age of losing virginity.

Rape is portrayed as totally acceptable and to be expected if you are a female who gets drunk with her friends. (You’d deserve it, because girls shouldn’t drink. That was reckless and wild. Only boys get drunk.)

The lowest, most cowardly form of rape (raping the victim while they are drunkenly asleep so they’ll never know and you won’t be jailed; if they get pregnant they’ll never figure out how it happened or maybe not find out in time to get an abortion) is totally acceptable.

Ana’s reaction to suspecting that she has been raped (which in itself is paranoia) and subsequent reaction to not being raped is very stigmatising of rape victims and survivors. It suggests that they may have wanted it or not cared very much that they were raped.

Linking being a Dom and being a potential rapist is a misrepresentation of kinky individuals

The ridiculously large gap between the protagonists’ incomes/wealth is hardly conducive to feminism (or realistic)

The unswitchability and extremeness of the maledom and femsub roles is antifeminist; they could have been a malesub and domme which would be statistically more probable for a billionaire. Or one or both could be a switch.

Christian uses more pressure on Ana to get her to sign the contract than the average person would be comfortable with

Contracts aren’t often used by the BDSM community and contracts lasting as long as three months are rare. James has chosen the most ‘extreme’ example of BDSM (the Master/slave relationship) as opposed to much more common forms of BDSM like DD, being switches, doing it for fun, spanking as foreplay, or just doing it for fun sometimes to spice up a vanilla sex life (the most common form). And of course every nuance in between. (Should that be ‘every shade in between’? Ha, ha ha [despairing laugh]). By choosing this extreme form, James has rendered BDSM less acceptable to vanilla people and more scary, as they will assume that everyone who likes spanking is in a Christian/Ana relationship. Woop de doo.

Now, you can’t get any more anti-sex, anti-feminist and anti-kink than 50 Shades.

Excerpt from online conversation:

Me: 50 Shades of Grey is a conservative patriarchal fantasy. It may have been written as the poster child of sexual freedom. It may be being read as the promise of liberation. But it isn’t. It is antifeminist, slut-shaming, and stigmatises kinky people. The fact that lots of women ended up so sheltered that it took this badly-written travesty to make us explore our sexuality just shows how repressive and sex-negative our society really is.

David:There’s nothing sexually free about it. The main character feels guilty for having sex, and for wanting sex, and that’s presented as a good thing; the way to be. Also, I hate the way they try to justify the main male character enjoying BDSM- it’s the result of severe childhood abuse, as opposed  just liking it. Urgh the trilogy is disgusting.

Me:omfg – TOTALLY. And she judges her flatmate too for sleeping with Elliot. The whole juxtaposition of virginal, vanilla Ana (who, unbelievably, seems practically to have never heard of BDSM) with Christian who’s such a slut that he’s never stayed the night with a girl, is very radically-conservative. (i say ‘slut’ ironically; i don’t believe in the concept of ‘slut’ – its just a patriarchal device to control women). Anyways, female drinking/partying is also degraded in the book, as is female sexual agency. Ana is economically dependent. Obv E L James has never tried BDSM, the descriptions are very unrealistic and OTT. And yeah, its verystigmatising, like all BDSM-ers were abused. Lots of abused ppl are into vanilla, maybe NOT liking BDSM is a result of abuse, James? And when she wakes up in the hotel room and is all, ‘why didn’t Christian rape me while I slept? I mustn’t be pretty enough for him’ is very disturbing.

Susan: Or maybe it’s just a book? That doesn’t have to have hidden antifeminist agendas? Maybe just a mediocre but slightly entertaining read? Just saying.

Me: Yeah I hear u, and I’m not saying it has a deliberate antifeminist ‘agenda’ – if anything, I think it was written to be sexy. What I’m annoyed about is that absolutely everyone thinks the book is feminist and helping to give us sexual freedom but it’s not. I can’t get away from hearing about how wonderful and freeing it is, whether its on Facebook or the media or just friends.And women being like ‘oh I never dared to try spanking until I read this book and found out I wasn’t a deviant’ and ‘this book gave me the courage to finally explore my sexuality and tell my hubby what turns me on at age 48’ is sad.

David: @Susan:- Even if it isn’t deliberate, it’s still ingrained. Also if you look up the author, especially taking a read of her Twitter, you’ll see she’s very set with gender roles and Man is Provider, Woman is Nurturer. Which isn’t exactly someone who makes for a great representative of sexual freedom. Also, remember it started life off as Twilight fanfiction. The only difference is the names were changed for publication. Twilight is a metaphor for no sex before marriage, being a subm issive wife before anything else (like being independent, going to college etc) and not having an abortion, no matter how much danger you put yourself in. All written by a devout Mormon.

Emma: A Brigham Young University graduate friend of mine described ‘Twilight’ as ‘Mormon porn’. There’s something in that, I suspect 🙂

Me: Isn’t it interesting how all the teen-aimed billion-pound movie/book franchises of the last decade have dealt with abstinence themes? Even Harry Potter hints at minimal sexual contact in the teen/young adult years and the characters end up married to their teenage boyfriends/girlfriends – Ron marries Hermione and Harry marries Ginny. And 50 Shades has a ‘wait until hot rich traditional gender-role guy’ as its moral. The franhises that were not abstinence themed (I Am number Four, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Hunger Games, LOTR etc) were either not aimed specifically at teens or aimed at teen boys. Whereas Twilight and 50 shades are aimed at women, and Harry Potter was aimed at teens of both genders.Vampires, witches and kinky sex are being tamed down and re-packaged in an abstinence-themed context for teenage girls and young women (judging by the characters’ ages, James probably intended to appeal to young women; it is the media who subsequently dubbed it ‘mommy porn’).

Emma: The Hunger Games is a genuine kids’ book, written by a classicist. Pretty much all of it is lifted from ancient Rome, one writer in particular. It’s well done, but the very different morality had to be dealt with carefully, and Collins does that. She can also write exceptionally well (as can Rowling). The trilogy is well worth a read. I don’t plan to read this 50 Shades book, not because I disapprove (I really don’t care what other people read; I’d rather they read than burn down their local Poundland or whatever), but because if I wish to read smut, I have my trusty classics major in hand 🙂

Calling all parents, teachers, social workers and psychologists: Where swere you when the female children under your care were going through puberty and adolescence? How could you let us get so repressed that 50 Shades is our sexual awakening?
 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

What I learned last Thursday

1. Men can control whether or not they get an erection, unlike women

2. Men (at least that one) do not get turned on by having a knife jabbed into their cock or by needles or the thought of drills being used on them (pity, that) but hot forks are okay

3. I like sucking dick

4. Millionaires are stupid. Force them to eat cream.

5. I can be tricked into thinking that Roland has the key to my handcuffs when actually they will spring open at the touch of a button and I could’ve got out of them at any time

6. It is rare to enjoy knife play (I thought Roland wouldn’t be surprised about the knife since he’s poly and has probably been banged by more cunts than he can shake his thing at, but he was surprised, which means that most other women he has encountered were not into knife play). So it must be more rare than spanking.

7. Cum and urine come out of the same hole, not two separate ones, which makes absolutely no sense since they are two completely different tubes. (I used to think they came out of the same hole but then I reasoned it must be two different ones.) But it isn’t. That totally blows my mind. I think it’s unhygienic. We need to redesign men.

8. The answer to my experiment ‘What happens if you push a penis up and then drop a small needle down the hole’ is that Roland will not let me conduct  the experiment.

9. BMW’s patented ‘easy-shag’ reclining seat design really works.

10.When a man is actually interested in why and how you got into feminism, and suddenly asks you about it so that you have a brilliant opportunity to actually explain this misunderstood and stereotyped position to them, and raise awareness of issues that mean a lot to you, you will feel stupid trying to explain it while half naked and bent over in a studio while he takes pervy erotic photos of you. You will especially feel stupid trying to explain objectification, rape culture and the feminisation of poverty and have to tell him you’ll tell him later.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,