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Sorry, Men and Fun-Fems: All Porn Is Rape, All the Time (Or, If You Are Watching Porn, You Are Watching Rape) October 27, 2009

Posted by FCM in authors picks, entertainment, feminisms, health, PIV, pop culture, porn, rape, self-identified feminist men, sorry!, thats mean.
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i have been on the fence for years about whether porn is inherently harmful, or anti-feminist.  the source of my ambivalence, and how i talked myself down from that particular fence are as important to discuss, it seems to me, as is the anti-porn position to which i ultimately committed.

for years, i felt ambivalent about porn.  it didnt really do anything for me, but i was never inclined to agree with either the old-school radfems or misogynist religious proselytizers putting limitations what i should and shouldnt watch, or enjoy.  i think my problem was a common problem for young women and young feminists:  i was letting men and the male-identified fun-fems define feminism for me, and i was too young and uneducated to really analyze what i was seeing.  not unimportantly, i was afraid of a radical feminist analysis, and what that would mean for me, should i decide i was anti-porn, as a young female, a sister and daughter (of white men), as a heterosexual, and most recently, as a professional in a male-dominated field.  instinctively and intellectually i knew that coming down on the side of anti-porn would cause a problem for me.  i am not a fucking idiot, afterall.  most feminists arent.

i was also screwing up my analysis, in that i was giving too much credence to my own “feelings” about what i saw, and knew, about porn, and consumers of porn, having watched it myself, and dated men who ran the gamut between being literally and problematically “addicted” and “meh” when it came to using and possessing the stuff.  i wrongly believed that my ambivalent feelings were somehow neutral, and unaffected by the culture i lived in–a culture that fully embraces not just porn but rape, too.  i think that too is a common problem for feminists:  an objective analysis that comes down on the side of anti-porn is at odds with how some of us feel, subjectively, about watching it.  in other words, watching other people fuck doesnt necessarily bother me.  i just didnt get that visceral “yuck” feeling like so many feminist women and religious zealots alike claim to get when watching, talking about, or analyzing porn.  and i wrongly assumed that having done some rudimentary analysis and come to a conclusion, that i had done my due diligence, and that i was done.

but for all thinking people, and all feminists, its the objective analysis, not our subjective feelings that takes us into the weeds.  considering that a misogynist rape-culture is the backdrop against which we all live, and against which we conduct all of our daily transactions, we would be right more often that not, if we embraced this credo: our subjective selves are not “us”.  we literally cannot trust our own feelings on this issue, although our feelings are not completely irrelevant.  pro-porn or even ambivalent sentiments are part of living in a rape- and porn-culture, but thats not terminal to a feminist analysis of porn.  at the same time we live in a porn- and rape-culture, we also live in a puritanical and slut-shaming one.  we need to know, objectively, what is informing our opinions, no matter on which side we ultimately land.

what i came up with is this.  you dont have to be skeeved out by porn, to be an anti-pornography feminist. you can be anti-porn FIRST.  in my experience, the ick-factor followed closely behind, once i realized what i was looking at, and talking and thinking about, when i was looking at or analyzing porn.  for reasons i will more fully explain below, it was my objective analysis of the concept of consent that lead me to the conclusion that porn is rape.  to be clear:  i did not use an objective analysis to explain, explore, or justify my preexisting, subjective revulsion to porn.  this is an important point, particularly against the anti-feminist barrage that women and feminists encounter daily, by men who are only too eager to dismiss women and feminists for being overly-emotional about every subject that affects us (as if responding emotionally to emotionally-charged subject matter is ever inappropriate).  despite my ambivalence, i performed an objective analysis of porn from the perspective of consent versus non-consent, and i came to believe that its objectively, inherently harmful, and anti-feminist.  that is, when i realized, objectively, that what i was looking at was rape, i began to feel revolted.  so, while i could have done this sooner, even before the revulsion kicked in, its time, now, to get down off the fence, and get real.  the answer to the question, i believe, is YES.  porn is both inherently harmful, and anti-feminist.  furthermore, i believe that all porn is rape, all the time.  heres why.

in a nutshell, porn = rape because of the consent “problem”.  even at the most basic, non-feminist, penis-loving, women-hating level, the lowest level we can hold ourselves to and still claim to be a nation of laws, and civilized human beings, i think we can all agree that where there is no consent, there is rape.  you do not want to be on the wrong side of the consent problem: if you find yourself there, you are a rapist.  but porn falls on the wrong side of it consistently, and in many ways.

when analyzing the consent “problem,” straight-away, porn-consent and real-life consent are at odds.  firstly, and problematically, in porn, consent is a non-issue.  if its considered at all, its presumed.  for the porn-consumer, the question of consent never even comes up:  a woman’s very presence on film acts as her consent as far as hes concerned.  but in real life, a woman’s mere voluntary presence does not equal her consent to anything except being there.  and for the pornographers, various onlookers, and male porn-performers, the contractual nature of the transaction–and the industry–acts as the woman’s consent to whatever comes next.  except that it doesnt.

although porn presents the opposite picture, just because a woman initially says “yes” does not mean you get to do whatever the fuck you want to her.  the “free-for-all” nature of even mainstream porn is especially problematic, when it escalates, always, to include acts that most people would not willingly participate in, such as gang-bangs, and “rage-in-the-cage” styled death-matches where the woman is presented as being “versus” the man.  both ethically and legally, without a constant negotiation and re-negotiation of consent, there is no consent.  this renegotiation occurs when each party, always, has the option of ending, altering, or decelerating the action, at any time.  consent, by definition, is a living, breathing, thing, and cannot be given prospectively.  the constant renegotiation required in consensual sexual encounters simply doesnt occur when deals are struck, and contracts are signed beforehand.  did you hear that?  let me repeat it:  consent does not occur, in porn.  therefore, porn is rape.

furthermore, if the male performer is legitimately to know whether a certain sex act is wanted, that understanding can only occur through constant communication with his partner.  in real life, these communications are spontaneous, and can take the form either verbal cues (“yes”) or are evidenced by the woman’s enthusiastic engagement with her partner.  but in porn, the woman is acting.  that is, her communications to him are inauthentic.  he should know better than to engage in this act, then, if he doesnt know whether its wanted, or not. is he no longer legally or morally culpable for rape, just because he is getting paid to do it?  in real life, you have to be sure its wanted. in porn, what, you dont? or, it doesnt matter? bullshit. 

what we have in porn, then, on both sides of the screen, are men who dont give a shit whether the sex acts being performed on a woman are wanted.  we have “consent” that was given prospectively, which means quite literally that it wasnt given at all.  in other words, we have rapists raping women, and men watching episodes of rape, thousands in a lifetime, but convincing themselves each time that they are watching “sex.”  somehow, consent has been entirely removed from the equation, but make no mistake.  removal of consent from the sexual equation means we are dealing in rape.

the other problem is in bringing porn-behaviors and porn-mentalities and porn-desires into your real life, and most of us acknowledge that men (including men who are advertisers…and fashion designers….and law enforcement) tend to do exactly that. but porn-consumers appropriating rape-mentalities and behaviors are not the only problem with porn. men who watch porn are indulging rape-fantasies, and can become rapists if they bring these behaviors into the bedroom. but the men who participate in porn really are rapists under a consent analysis. and the female actors really are being raped.

so…where does that leave us, as feminists and women living in a culture that embraces porn so completely?  i dont know the answer to that.  its entirely possible that the entire porn industry is inherently problematic and cannot be corrected, and indeed, thats what a consent-analysis ends up:  if legal and moral consent cannot be given prospectively, then it cannot be contracted for, period.  its quite possible that voluntary sex cannot be legitimately commodified. but the extreme power differentials involved here, driven by literally billions of dollars means that the “right” conclusion will not carry the day. many, many men in our lives will continue to be consumers of porn, or wont see anything wrong with it, and radfems will end up endlessly having to explain ourselves, in the face of self-proclaimed liberal men and the fun-fems who want need their acceptance. 

as far as me personally, i guess i am “lucky” in a way, that i dont have to deal with numerous men in my private life:  i dont have a relationship with my dad; my only brother died 10 years ago; and my partner is on the “meh” end of the spectrum when it comes to porn, having done away with his collection without explanation 7 years ago, and seems to have not looked back. but i still have to rely almost exclusively on men to sign my paychecks, and i will still have to “please” various men in various ways, knowing always in the back of my mind the repulsive scenarios they are likely to find “pleasing.”  and this is the context in which i and other radfems will live our lives, unless and until something changes.  if i seem “upset” about it, i am.

h/t to nine-deuce for her most recent and most-excellent posts on pornography here and here.

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Comments

1. Max - October 28, 2009

You’ve given me plenty to think about.

It seems as if the logic presented here backs up my assertion that the vast majority of jobs are little more than instances of a really fucking effective form of slavery. If I’m understanding you correctly, consent is not given by the normalization of certain types of interaction, or dependence upon said types of interaction by dint of said normalization.

I’m only addressing a small facet of your argument, as there is a lot of intersectionality of ideas that will likely spark changes for the coming weeks to perceptions on subjects that will seem so far removed that people will look at me funny.

I’m in paper-writing mode, and have been partaking to some small extent, so I do apologize if I failed miserably at clearly articulating my thoughts. Some concepts just shake things up so much that everything comes out disjointed as fuck.

2. Rachel S. - October 28, 2009

Model release = consent

3. Laurelin - October 28, 2009

This is a really interesting analysis, thank you. The issue of the wider context in which women ‘consent’ is incredibly important, and usually ignored by feminists and non-feminists alike.

I would also say, re: feelings, that one’s arousal or ‘meh’ reaction to porn is irrelevent to considerations of its harm. Even if one is aroused by it, that does not mean that one should support it- we have to look beyond these things. No-one need feel guilty about being aroused by porn (after all, that’s what it is meant to do), what they should feel guilty about is failing to oppose it.

The testimonies of ex-porn performers, of children whose abuse included the viewing of porn, of prostituted women made into living pornography, of women ‘persuaded’ into performing pornographic scripts by emotionally or physically abusive partners are chilling, and must be addressed with courage. This tells us everything we need to know, and the more that fun-feminists concern themselves with the reactionary propaganda of porn producers and consumers, the more they betray the women who have the biggest claim on their support.

factcheckme - October 28, 2009

thanks for stopping by, Laurelin. i agree that even people who are aroused by porn should continue through to an honest analysis of it. being aroused by it, and continuing to watch and consume it, are two entirely different things. guilt shouldnt come into play, unless someone continues to comsume porn even after they have realized that its harmful. but refusing to do the analysis, because you might have to give up porn (or stop performing in it) after looking at it honestly is also a mighty FAIL. also, i appreciate your mentioning the testimonials of ex-performers. their words dont get nearly as much play as the performers who “love their jobs” but its not because there arent hundreds or thousands of them out there, who feel they were harmed by their work and that we are all harmed by the industry. but even the mainsteam media has become so pornified that even they dont want people to know how harmful it is. they have a stake in all of our NOT knowing.

factcheckme - October 28, 2009

Model release = consent

did you even read the article? consent to sex cannot be given prospectively, therefore it cannot morally or legally be contracted for. it would be more accurate to say that a model release is consent to havng her image used afterwards, and its protection for the pornographers who use the “neener neener, you signed a release” to intimidate women who might have legitimate legal and ethical complaints into not suing them. but as to consent to sex, the “contract” is meaningless. and the “business owners” who dont bother getting meaningful consent later on are really playing with fire for the reasons i state. they think they are protected by the “contract” but in reality, its just an illusion, granted one that they crafted themselves, but their asses are really hanging out. same with the male performers.

i would love to see a legal challenge, not for a breach of contract, but a rape charge in any of these instances where someone claims to have received prospective consent, and thats the extent of the consent given. and see how far that piece of paper gets them in a criminal court. if it wouldnt work in the backseat of a chevy on prom night (with a waiver signed beforehand) why would it work for porn? this is not a rhetorical question. i suspect the “why” has everything to do wih the money and influnence of the pornographers, as opposed to the high school kid with the chevy, and nothing to do with actual differences in these scenarios. porn happens in real life, no matter how badly we want to believe differently.

4. femspotter - October 28, 2009

I guess I’m a “fun-fem.” ?? I think your essay is very thoughtful, but I have a problem with the word “all” because, while there are many abuses to uncover and discuss, “all” implies to me that no porn actresses enjoy their profession. That is not the case and has been documented. I know this is where I break from the movement/wave/party of radical feminism. I don’t mind, and even enjoy, SOME consensual porn. And I think prostitution should be legal.

I love men and I love sex with men. In my experience, women are just as hurtful as men. True, physical violence may generally be a male culpability; but the greatest wounds I’ve endured have been at the hands of women.

Your dissection of consent is very interesting. I will definitely be following how others respond.

factcheckme - October 28, 2009

hi fem

i guess its not pivotal, for me, whether the actresses are “enjoying” themselves or not. as to that point only, enjoyment and consent are often at odds with each other, such as with statutory rape, too-drunk-to-consent etc although those cases are also different from the porn problem in regards to womens agency. i am addresing “enjoyment” only because you did, and i think you can probably see how “enjoyment” cannot be the end of the analysis?

the issue, for me, is that its a legal impossibility to give consent prospectively. thats why its probematic to “contract” for it. consent, by definition, must be constantly re-negotiated, but contracts, by defintion are not renegotiated after they are executed. the definitions are at odds.

not that i expect this to change the way the industry operates, or the way female porn actresses view their own choices. although there are many, many out there who are giving testimonials about how they were brutalized in the industry, and had to “go with the flow” no matter how painful and degrading things got after the contracts were signed. their testimonials frankly illustrate how problematic prospective consent actually is. for example, that there will be “consequences” to her stopping the activity that go beyond STOPPING THE ACTIVITY. the addition of extra consequences to “stopping” that dont exist in real life sexual encounters creates coersion.

factcheckme - October 28, 2009

hi max

i sympathize as a fellow-working class stiff in a capitalist economy with the notion that all jobs are akin to slavery. thats how it feels much of the time. BUT since you gave me the opportunity to clarify my point, i will clarify it: contracting for sex is the problem here. not contracting for WORK. there are wage-and-hour laws that employers must follow regarding all work, and if they follow the rules they are not keeping “slaves” in any legal sense. but my argument is that sex is unique because of the consent problem. consent cannot be given prospectively, so striking deals and signing contracts beforehand doesnt cut it, consent-wise.

pornographers might not be violating any wage-and-hour laws that are on the books…but when sex is involved, there are extra responsibilities. and i dont think they are being fulfilled. certainly not by waving a signed contract at the problem as one commenter has done here, already, without even a hint that consent was given in other ways, or even that the issue of consent was considered after the ink had dried, so to speak. to be clear: pornographers wont end up in jail for wage and hour violations, but they just might be rapists. same with the male performers. and they are so ignorant of the consent problem that they are leaving themselves wide-open to CRIMINAL charges. not civil ones, which are the ONLY issues that any contract addresses.

5. genderbitch - October 28, 2009

Some analysis of your analysis if you will:

There were some troublesome logical issues that were in your analysis establishing that porn is rape. These fallacies are serious enough as to (at least to me) negate your entire premise.

The first fallacy is a begging the question fallacy where you state that because the constant negotiation for consent is not explicitly shown in porn it clearly isn’t there. Begging the question is a fallacy wherein a base assumption or premise is made that possesses no evidence and assumed to apply before the initial arguments are made.

You beg the question, “does all film inherently show things like consent?” Many things are cut out of films, porn or not porn that affect the flow or the take up extra time. So even though the consent negotiation isn’t shown that doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Which means that does not act as evidence of rape.

You make a further “begging the question” assumption regarding methods of consent negotiation. For instance, safe words, safe signals and “dead man switches” are often used in situations where people having sex are trying to create a scene or a simulation. Porn is no exception to this, when done correctly. Dead man switches are a marble or object in the hand that the person drops when they go limp (in case they are unable to use a safe word, the dead man switch shows that consent may no longer be involved, and gives a signal to stop). Safe signals can be a snap or otherwise unusual action not part of the scene. Safe words are quite simply a word that means “stop” without being stop (like when doing forceplay)

In your statements about things like group sex and escalation, One: you assume that the actors are not briefed ahead of time about what’s happening and the previous ways of denoting consent subtly above and Two: You assume that there are not individuals who are perfectly fine with doing this for money or even enjoy it personally (both consenting situations). This is erasing of alt sex individuals which include women and is not just a purview of men. It continues the theme of begging the question fallacies, pushing the seriousness of the holes in your logical analysis up a notch or two.

The worst begging the question fallacy by far is that a woman (or man, or androgyne) acting in porn means their consent is inauthentic. No, all this means is that you can’t see their consent. In porn done correctly on a safe set, an actor can pull a safe word, safe signal, dead man switch or even just say stop and filming will stop, and if they can’t resume, it won’t hit the shelves. You assuming that automatically it’s not consent because you don’t see it underneath the acting is also a begging the question fallacy (possibly an argument from silence but that’s a bit more iffy).

It’s also a Non Sequitur (“Does Not Follow” a fallacy wherein the logic you use does not justify the claim you make) to claim that the attitudes created by porn mean the actors are being raped. The attitudes created by porn have nothing to do with what safeguards are or aren’t on set and whether consent is present on set. It’s another begging the question fallacy too (and quite possible Hasty Generalization Fallacy), since it assumes that all porn has similar content and ignores the concept of consent.

There’s no argument that many instances of porn companies and porn don’t have the safeguards necessary to protect their actors. Reform is certainly needed on all levels. And certainly many instances of porn create an attitude that consent is secondary (because it is not shown) which is a serious problem for people watching and the attitudes it may create in them. But to claim that the very concept of pornography is in and of itself causing rape of its actors due to the logic you used above is intensely flawed, due to the holes in said logic.

Sources for fallacy calls:
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/non%20sequitur
http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/

As a note: I feel that it’s a little… arrogant? Ignorant? Both? To call individuals that don’t consider porn in the same context as you Fun Fems, especially when your arguments (and presumably the arguments of the rad fems you’ve read the materials of) are so flawed. That really assumes that we’re all out there to be more fun and appeal to the mainstream. I can guarantee that the major reforms I’d like for porn to go through are not gonna be appealing to the mainstream.

6. berryblade - October 28, 2009

This is bloody brilliant.

7. Megan - October 28, 2009

I have done porn (and prostitution, as well). In no instance did I feel like I was raped, because I’ve never felt pressured into doing something I don’t want to, I’ve always given my full consent, and (here’s the most important thing) there is no problem with the consent I give when I am doing sex work. Consent isn’t automatically negated by the exchange of money, which, as far as I can tell, is only thing I can see that differentiates my work sex life from my personal sex life. Furthermore, while you are certainly entitled to her opinion, but I find your dismissive characterization of any woman who doesn’t think porn is totally irredeemable as a “male-identified fun-fems” extremely insulting and dismissive of my opinions as a feminist. Nobody appointed you to judge who is “ideologically pure” enough to call themselves a feminist. Isn’t one of the main goals of feminism to liberate women from the social strictures of the kyriarchy? I don’t see that exchanging one set of strictures for what women are supposed to and aren’t supposed to do for another set of strictures on women’s behavior is progress, even if the new set of strictures was created by women.

Besides, you’re painting pornography with an awfully wide brush here. Not all porn is made by men for a male audience, and not all porn is heterosexual (I’m dying to know how, say, gay porn degrade women when the whole point of it is that there aren’t any women in it?). Sure, most mainstream porn is pretty bad, but there is plenty of porn out there (particularly in the “indie porn” genre) that isn’t.

factcheckme - October 28, 2009

megan,

i have also worked in the sex industry, and i felt largely ambivalent about it. some days i felt good about it. but as i said, its the objective, not the subjective analysis of porn that brought me to my conclusion that porn is rape. so while your feelings about what you do for work arent completely irelevant in a discussion of sex work, they dont go a long way in refuting (or even addressing) my point.

my point is that there is a specific problem with consent here that makes it LEGALLY IMPOSSIBLE to consent in the instance of porn, or any sex work hat includes sexual contact for that matter, where deals are struck beforehand. its similar to other types of sexual activity where legal consent is impossible, like in cases of underage or intoxication. regardless of whether the underage or intoxicated girl “feels” violated, or not. its not exactly the same as far as womens agency goes, but i use the example to address your very specific point about your own “feelings.” clearly, that cant be the end of the analysis, when 12-year old girls might also have positive “feelings” about sex. it doesnt equal legal consent, just like “enjoyment” doesnt equal legal consent in many cases.

and nowhere did i mention “degredation.” this is strictly about legal consent. thats why i dont include other potentially “degrading” images like playboy or maxim here: theres no conset problem in playboy because theres no sexual contact. i also never argued that its only male-oriented porn thats problematic from a consent-perspective. its a problem across the board, where consent is presumed during the act because “she said yes” last week, or an hour ago, or whenever the contract was signed or the deal was struck.

i would also add that we dont often consider whether victims of crimes “feel” violated or not, in our analysis of whether a crime occured. when someone broke into my car and stole all my change, i didnt really care, as it totalled about $1.50. and they didnt cause any damage to my car. i didnt report it, and i went on with my life and my day as if it didnt matter, because it didnt. doesnt mean that whomever did it wasnt a thief, and doesnt mean that a crime hadnt occured. also doesnt mean i was not a victim: i most obviously was.

8. femspotter - October 28, 2009

But I think the other problem with this logic is the use of the “rape” term…doesn’t rape have nothing to do with sex outside the fact that sex is rape’s milieu?
Isn’t rape about violence? Perhaps there’s a better legal term than “rape” to describe questionable consent in the aftermath of contractual consent?
I understand what you are saying. But what would you do if somebody contractually agreed to sell you something, like a house or car, for instance; and then, after a time lapse but before the closing, told you that he was not going to consent to the transaction just like porn actress can (in your perfect world) decide not to go through with a sex act in breach of contract without repercussions? Doesn’t one standard of contract have to apply to all contracts? And in the case of filmmaking like property closing, time and money are of the essence and breach of contract is therefore detrimental to the final product.

9. Loretta Kemsley - October 28, 2009

With the advent of amateur porn on the Internet, the porn industry has had to change their tactics to keep their profits up. They are focusing more on violent, gonzo porn, an area where amateurs who film in their bedrooms are unlikely to venture. Here’s quotes from a couple of gonzo porn actresses:


Roldan would endure numerous penetrations by various men
in a shoot, most of them “super-rough.” As she talks of her career in porn, her eyes take on a dead, faraway look. Her breathing becomes more rapid. She slips into a flat, numbing monotone. The symptoms are ones I know well from interviewing victims of atrocities in war who battle posttraumatic stress disorder.

“What you are describing is trauma,” I say.

“Yes,” she answers quietly.

Shelley Lubben, who also worked as a porn actress, agrees.

“You have to do what they want on the sets,” she says. “There’s too much competition. They can always find other girls. Girls bring in their friends and get kickbacks. They feel like stars. They get attention. It’s all about the spotlight. It’s all about me. They have notoriety. They don’t realize the degradation. Besides, this is a whole generation raised on porn. They’re jaded and don’t even ask if it is wrong. They fall into it. They get into drugs to numb themselves. They get their asses ripped. Their uterus hemorrhages. They get HPV and herpes, and they turn themselves off emotionally and die. They check out mentally. They get PTSD like Vietnam vets. They don’t know who they are. They live a life of shopping and drugs. They don’t buy real estate. They party, and in the end they have nothing to show for it except, like me, genital herpes and fake boobs.”

This is the side of the industry that no one wants to talk about, in part because the porn industry is good at covering it up, in part because porn makes billions even for mainstream businesses like hotels, and in part because no one wants to talk about gendered violence. If our society was to actually acknowledge the horrors of gendered violence and the celebration of it in our media, we would then be compelled to actually do something to stop violence against women, including media that thrives on violence against women as entertainment.

Thanks for injecting the added dimension of consent. The actresses quoted above certainly did not sign prior consent to torn anuses, hemorrhaging uteruses, genital herpes or AIDS. No court would honor such a contract, even if it existed, nor would it honor a contract that specified rape as a condition of employment.

Arguing that once the contract is signed, all consent is a given is illogical for these reasons. It is also opposed to criminal law that provides for the constant renegotiation of sexual consent. Criminal law does not say “unless you’re working as an actress in porn.” Arguments to the contrary are akin to the invalid claims that a prostitute cannot be raped. Prostitutes and porn actresses are protected from rape by penal law just like every other woman.

factcheckme - October 28, 2009

hi fem…let me try and respond to your post. i am not quite sure i understand what you are saying, so let me know if i dont get it. LOL rape has everything to do with sex, in the legal world. and legal consent is what i am focusing on here, and the problems with trying to “contract” for it. in terms of legal culpability, consent is all there is separating sex from rape. “questionable consent” lands you squarely within a rape framework, so rape is the perfect term for it. because thats what it is.

its been explained to me that the saying that “sex is violence” originated with feminists in the 60s, who were trying to make rape-victims feel better about not being virgins anymore and the shame that came with that. they were kind of trying to emotionally re-virginize raped women who had intended to save themselves for marriage, by telling them that they hadnt had “sexual” contact, theyd had “violent” contact. its also a good way (IMO) to underscore the difference between sex and rape, or at least why women “feel” so violated by rape, when many men dont see much of a difference between sex and rape. being violently victimized is something that most men can identify with, more so than the concept of being sexually violated.

but these are not legal distinctions. they are sociological ones, and pretty questionable ones at that. as far as “all contractual principles applying to all contracts” my point is that, because of the consent problem, its entirely possible that you cannot unproblematically contract for consensual sex. sex is different from other kinds of work, or other subjects of contracts due to the consent problem. and i am not sure it can be reconciled due to the natures of both: contracts are not renegotiable, but consent has to be.

10. femspotter - October 28, 2009

But if I agree to anal sex with a specific man at a specific time in a specific film in front of a specific crew today, and sign my name to it in a contract…why wouldn’t I be prepared to “consent” to that act at the time of the filming? I guess I’m disputing your notion that “sex is different from other kinds of work.” It can be a service for hire in my book. Do it, you get paid, you’re done. How do you verify that consent is absent during the act? Does a woman “have a headache,” or “just not feel like it” and that means no consent in your book? How many instances of “no” have been reported during the sex acts of porn?

factcheckme - October 28, 2009


why wouldn’t I be prepared to “consent” to that act at the time of the filming?


as to the “why.” any number of reasons, that you couldnt know beforehand, and that i cannot list here, because they are infinite.


I guess I’m disputing your notion that “sex is different from other kinds of work.” It can be a service for hire in my book.


its different because of the consent problem. wage-and-hour laws cover all other kinds of work, but sex work has the additional legal requirement of consent, which doesnt fit neatly (or at all) into our notions of an employment contract, for the reasons i have noted.

11. femspotter - October 28, 2009

I have to plead ignorance. I don’t agree with you, but I would have to hire an attorney to successfully explain why. It’s frustrating not to be able to clearly express myself! :(
Perhaps you could oblige me (and Meghan) with an explanation of what “fun-fem” means. I imagine it is derogatory against us and others who don’t have contempt for sex trades.

factcheckme - October 28, 2009

fun-fems means liberal feminists, as opposed to radical feminists. liberal feminists are generally positive towards sex work due to their belief in womens agency…and rad fems generally find sex work problematic due to power differentials within partiarchy while trying to be supportive to all women who do that kind of work (which is easy to do and not contradictory conceptually, but difficult to convey). as far as whether the term is derogatory….i dont know. its a catchy phrase that looks good in a headline….and its about as cliche as fun-fems telling radfems that we are too “paternalistic.” LOL i try not to take it personally.

12. Undercover Punk - October 28, 2009

Hi. I’m a licensed attorney in the state of Massachusetts. Under most contractual arrangements a certain kind of consent IS given prospectively. That’s your end of the bargain, in exchange for which the other party is expected to fulfill theirs. In addition to covering one’s ass, the function of a contract is to map out and plan for unpleasant, but foreseeable, eventualities. Including breach by either party. There are innumerable defenses such as “reasonable reliance” and the duty to mitigate damages. There are also different KINDS of contracts. Generally speaking, contracts CAN be altered/renegotiated but only if BOTH parties change something in the terms of their contractual responsibilities.

FCM, I think you’re saying that sexual work SHOULD be in a different CLASS than other kinds of labor-for-money exchanges. And that different contractual provisions SHOULD apply. Most employment contracts are fairly coercive to the extent that they’re “contracts of adhesion”–take or leave it with no wiggle room for negotiation (except for VERY skilled workers). That’s why UNIONS are so important; because the workers of the world have so little power! Many “contracts of adhesion,” such as the one your cell phone services, have been been found “unconscionable” DUE to the extreme power differentials between the parties. However, the court will usually strike down some PART of the contract (such as mandatory arbitration in the event of a dispute), while leaving the rest of it in tact. SURVIVAL clauses are standard fare; they state that the INTENT of the contracting parties shall prevail in the event that any OTHER part of the contract is found unlawful.

There ARE certain kinds of consent, as FCM mentions, that fall under the STRICT LIABILITY umbrella. This includes statutory rape. It doesn’t matter if “consent” has been secured, there has still been a crime.

For me, the most important aspect of this debate is the coercive social circumstances surrounding the act. First of all, women feel uncomfortable saying NO in the middle of a sex act in general. This is true when there is NO contract involved! And even more so when monetary gain and professional stature are riding on (no pun intended) the completion of the contract.

I find the *historical context* of women’s sexual labor, with women’s social utility being predicated on their sexual value (see dowry, wife-beating, marital rape becoming “illegal” less than 30 years ago in the US!!), to be the most compelling reason to re-think the STRUCTURE of CONSENT to the sale of female bodies for sex. I think there’s strong feminist reason to put special protections in place. (Especially since male demand for sex work + unequal earning power will ALWAYS create a willing female supply.) Obviously, women are opposed in this fight by big business wielding incredible wealth and political power.

Thanks for outing yourself, FCM. :)

13. Undercover Punk - October 28, 2009

PS. I’m not a rad fem. I’m too post-modern for the old school sisters. But don’t you dare call me a fun-fem either! …although I do like fun. And sex. But only with women. Oh, feminism! So many factions. So little time.

factcheckme - October 28, 2009

hi undercover punk! i have officially “outed” myself as a radfem. LOL wheres my cake? you know, the one that says “good for you, youre RAD!”


Under most contractual arrangements a certain kind of consent IS given prospectively.


but sexual consent is different than other kinds of consent is my point. in fact, the kind of “consent” you are talking about, and the kind thats normally contained in contracts of any sort is more akin to ASSENT. legal consent to sex is very different, and requires renegotiation. assent and “normal” contractual bargains dont.

14. femspotter - October 28, 2009

I am not a liberal feminist or a radical feminist. I’ve never been able to fit in. :( I’m a “do whatever you want and whatever feels good for you, Gore Vidal-kind-of feminist.” I guess fun-fem works better than what I just wrote.

15. Megan - October 28, 2009

factcheckme:

Thanks for your response to my comment…it did clear up some misconceptions that I had about your original post. However, I still don’t get why you think that looking at things subjectively is of little use when it comes to the subject of pornography and consent. After all, isn’t consent subjective to some degree (that is, you can decide to draw a sharp line between consent and non-consent, but where you draw that line isn’t always obvious and involves a value judgment)? Sure, in some cases it’s possible to look at consent objectively, but I don’t think that it’s possible in the case of sex work. If I consent to engaging in sex work and nothing happens that would make me feel violated, how can the experience be non-consensual?

Regarding your statement on the impossibility of truly consenting to porn, I don’t see why striking a deal beforehand negates consent. Sex work just doesn’t operate on the “she said yes an hour ago, presumption of consent” you mention. Yes, there are contracts (written or unwritten, depending on the nature of the activity) that govern sex work, but what that contract is is the exchange of money for an increased opportunity to NEGOTIATE sexual contact with the worker, not the unlimited use of their body for the client’s sexual purposes. Agreeing to the contract isn’t like bargaining with the devil; no porn contract is written with a clause negating the ability of a performer to back out if the producer wants them to do something they find objectionable. So is your problem really with the fact that consent is given by contract, or is it something else?

Furthermore, I don’t buy your comparison of sex work that involves sexual contact to sexual contact with an intoxicated or underage person. Even aside from the fact that I never work while intoxicated and that I’ve been of age for quite some time now, the thing is that consent isn’t LEGALLY negated by one’s involvement in sex work like it is by intoxication or underage status, so I don’t think that this comparison is valid from an objective point of view. Also, from a non-objective point of view, I find this comparison insulting; what purpose does it serve than to deny the agency that sex workers have over their own bodies?

Finally, while it is true that you didn’t explicitly use the word “degradation,” how else am I supposed to read your characterization of gang-bangs, “rage-in-the-cage” match-ups, and “things that most people would not willingly participate in” as representative of mainstream porn? (For the record, I wouldn’t call such pornography “mainstream.” Also for the record, just because MOST people wouldn’t willingly participate in these activities doesn’t mean that there aren’t people, men and women alike, who would jump at the chance to do so.) Furthermore, since you claim to be looking at pornography from an objective point of view, I find your assertion that female performers can’t give their consent while male performers have the agency to do whatever they want in the shoot to be rather non-objective, especially since everybody in the same production signs the same contracts regardless of their sex. In all, I find your analysis to be both inaccurate and unfair to the people who work in the porn industry.

16. Undercover Punk - October 28, 2009

I meant outing yourself as a HET! ;) I do not disagree that sexual consent is contextually unique as compared to other kinds of consent.

Maybe the contractual arrangements would be ideally structured more incrementally, similar to the stages of a project, rather than all-or-nothing. But of course, this puts more RISK of loss on the porn-maker. And you KNOW that’s not going to be popular.

17. winter_lights - October 28, 2009

Megan has covered some of the same ideas, but you may also be interested in Ernest Greene’s comments here.

Basically, contracts don’t give the production company as much power as you thought they did. (For that matter, they don’t give as much power as *I* thought they did.)

18. pmsrhino - October 28, 2009

Thanks for your post. I saw it cross-posted on Womanist Musings but wanted to comment on the actual post itself too. And I feel many people who have problems with the anti-porn debate because they feel it is always a debate about censorship. I guess to some anti-porn people it is about censorship, but for me it is much more about educating the public about porn and the women in it. Like sex workers. You get sex workers who love their work and chose it willingly and you get the sex workers who are forced into it or you have to chose it to survive. People are all different and choose to do different things for many different reasons. But I feel it is important for people to hear about the damage porn (especially violent gonzo porn) has on (some of/most of) the people who view it and the people who participate in it. Maybe a discussion like this could create a better working environment for all women involved in porn, or change the economic choices for women so they are not forced to work in porn just to pay their bills. But I think it’s a discussion that should be had and it doesn’t necessarily have to work towards censoring all porn.

factcheckme - October 28, 2009

genderbitch

it kind of made me laugh that you accused me of making logical fallacies, then proceeded to equate porn to BDSM, and argued why BDSM is unproblematic from a consent-perspective. did you intend to illustrate the very strawman concept that you went out of your way to define? clearly there are differences there, and within those differences lie the problems of which i speak. if i had a problem with BDSM, i would have made a post about it. not that i didnt appreciate your response, i did. here are my initial thoughts.

this safe-word/dead mans switch stuff “might” work in BDSM, but the “acting” part of porn adds another layer to the consent problem that isnt solved by a safe-word. in porn, but not in BDSM, her actions, as well as her words, are inauthentic, or they at least are ambiguous as to her real feelings. the woman is acting, so how are you truly to know what her “will” is? should you ever stick your dick in someone when the circumstances are ambiguous as to her will/intent? perhaps her character would want it, but she doesnt, but she says “in character” because shes trying to be a good actor?

theres also a problem with adding additional “contractual” and other consequences to her saying STOP, conseqences that dont exist in real life sexual encounters (including BDSM) where a woman is presumably free to renegotiate her consent at any time. like…if she stops the action, will she be sued for breach of contract? will she not get paid for the services that shes already provided? will she be blacklisted in the industry? these additional consequences add a layer of coersion, so her continuing with the action may or may not really signal her “will” to engage in a particular sex act. isnt that what we are talking about? her WILL to engage, or not engage, in any particular ACT at that time and place with that person in those circumstances?

i feel like the consent problem is really being swept under the rug, as if we are just discussing any old wage-and-hour labor issue. when there are potential CRIMINAL LIABILITIES at play here, that arent even addrssed by a contract that only deals in CIVIL law, not criminal. sex work is NOT like other kinds of work. and clearly there are serious problems in making parallels between porn and BDSM.

factcheckme - October 28, 2009

pmsrhino

thank you for making the effort to post here. its appreciated, and i am glad that you enjoyed the article. its funny, i never thought about the “censorship” issue until you brought it up, but thats precisely where these discussions do end up, in my experience, when discussing anti-porn sentiments in liberal (not feminist) circles. its as if (pretend-shocked) the guys are really freaked out by the very thought of losing their porn. LOL it gets in the way of the real issues and the real problems with porn, consent, masculinity, entitlement etc. none of my readers went there, and i am glad for that. it makes me even more aware of how liberal circles and feminist circles are different, and while the liberals claim to be intellectually curious and sensitive to gender issues, they really have very different focuses and agendas, altogether.

19. Laurelin - October 29, 2009

” appreciate your mentioning the testimonials of ex-performers.”
Yeah, their words nearly always get ignored in favour of listening to the testimonials of porn producers- like they are going to advertise the harm of the ‘profession’ from which they derive kicks and money! It’s like going to the boss at a multinational to check on the conditions of their employees- what nonsense, what dangerous and cowardly nonsense.

I’d like to advertise here the ‘anti-porn’ links on the right hand side of my blog to everyone here.

20. Ren - October 29, 2009

I’m not sure, as a woman who does porn, whether or not it is up to you to decide how valid my consent is or if you get to decide if I am or not being raped when filming. The idea that negotiations are not on going or consent is not reinforced in the course of a shoot is completely alien to my experiences in the making of porn. I have a list of things I am willing to do, I sign a contract, yet thus far, at any time, when I have said “no” to something, it has not been done. I still get paid for what I have consented to do. I have yet to run into a situation where- even if I have said I would do something and changed my mind- I have then been forced to do it because my contract or list says I will.

And I really do not like it when arguments like yours more or less render my power to consent- initially and in an on-going fashion- null and void. No one should have the power to judge when I am or am not being raped besides me. Same goes for other women in porn.

factcheckme - October 29, 2009

ren

i ask you, in all seriousness, to consider what you are saying regarding whether or not “you have been raped.” consider your own words, but in the context of other crimes to see how ridiculous your arguments are:

“No one should have the power to judge when I am or am not being **ROBBED** besides me.”
“No one should have the power to judge when I am or am not being **CRIMINALLY NEGLECTED** besides me.”
“No one should have the power to judge when **I AM TRESPASSING** besides me.”
“No one should have the power to judge when I am **COMMITTING A CRIME AGAINST SOMEONE ELSE** besides me.”

you dont get to decide, EVER, whether or not a crime has been committed. there are very strict, written rules that apply, and if the legal standard for a crime has been fulfilled, the crime has been committed, regardless of how the victim (or the perpetrator for that matter) “feels” about it. in fact, criminal laws are in place largely to protect the PUBLIC from people who commit crimes: criminal laws dont really protect victims, per se. when criminal charges are filed, they are filed by “THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF X” and the vicitm is merely a “witness.” the witness doesnt get to decide whether or not to “press charges” if the state wants to proceed. its the state’s decision.

when someone broke into my car and stole all my change, i didnt report it, and i didnt particularly feel vicitmized: it added up to about $1.50, and there was no damage done to my car. but the person who did it committed a crime, and that person was a thief, and i was the victim of a crime. whomever did that probably did it to other people, too. theres a thief in our midst. regardless of whether i cried about what he did to me, and my car. when a rape occurs, theres a rapist in our midst. the public should not have to deal with men who have sex with women without their obvious, unambiguous, and voluntary consent. period. and porn, pornographers, and male porn actors dont fit this bill. porn comes down on the wrong side of the consent problem repeatedly.

21. winter_lights - October 29, 2009

“you dont get to decide, EVER, whether or not a crime has been committed.”

That’s an amazing thing to hear someone say about a crime that is essentially defined by the lack of consent.

Doesn’t the part Ren said about how, when she has said no to something, it doesn’t happen suggest that she actually has had the ability to consent?

22. recursiveparadox - October 29, 2009

I would appreciate if you’d stop laughing and realize that you are still committing a strawman fallacy here.

For instance, I didn’t /equate/ porn to BDSM in any way. I did make several analogies regarding methodology of checking consent that aren’t readily apparent to outsiders. But that was merely a way to show that hey, just cuz you don’t see it, doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. Very much a one context analogy, not meant to be extended anywhere else.

Regarding acting:

Her actions and words are only inauthentic to you, the viewer. You are not on set. You are not the director or the other actor(s). If a consent issue arises (and the set is not a dangerous set), /filming will stop/. You as the viewer will not see it because a lack of sex is not porn and clearly they aren’t going to film a lack of sex. She’s not acting for the other actors, she’s acting for the viewer. Also, character actors are often instructed to be mindful of not getting too caught in the character. Even in regular film, it can cause problems for a person to immerse so much that they start internalizing the things the character is doing. Of course, porn doesn’t usually have this kind of depth. The acting tends to be fairly shallow, usually cuz the story is secondary to the sex. So it is highly unlikely that character actors are going to achieve immersion or even act in porn.

Regarding contracts and coercion:

The contract stuff is certainly a problem. I don’t remember if I went into it in depth when I discussed the problems I had with the implementation of porn, but that would certainly be subject to the reforms I would hope for. Any porn company that would say, sue her for needing to say stop or some such is a dangerous company. Same for not paying her for the service provided (one can likely fill in using a lookalike or something to continue the film). Blacklisting as well would be a sign of “doing it very wrong”. All of this establishes that porn should be regulated and that things like this should be made the norm, instead of the exception. But the fact is, you have yet to establish that contractual coercion is characteristic of porn. Perhaps porn created in the factory of kyriarchy and not influenced by the marginalized populations it uses, but to claim that this is characteristic of the concept of movies and media that contain sexual acts for the consumption of the masses is simply absurd.

The consent issue isn’t really being swept under the rug. Porn has an intense potential for abuse, if coercion through contract or no safeguards for consent are in play. Certainly, any porn company that has such things in play is a serious offender and one should not buy from them. But the fact is, porn can have these things removed. Porn can exist with consent safeguards and can have soft contracts that don’t coerce. Paid for your filming time only, no consequences if you need to stop, no lawsuits. Porn can also be made self employed style, where the actors control every aspect of the porn and control what they do in the situation. This is probably the ideal, self employed porn artists who control what happens to them and filming has safeguards. This is not common but it does exist. I’ve actually been discussing with a few people the viability of creating a porn company in which the actors control their own filming. I know that such would be the only context wherein I would actually act in porn, despite my exhibitionism, the primary industry is simply too dangerous of a place for me. But to claim that the very concept of porn invariably is rape of the actors is simply not logically supportable.

Rather, I would claim (and I feel you should as well) that porn’s implementation right now is fraught with fatal mistakes and patriarchial control and that major reform is needed to make porn viable as an industry. And that also, those who purchase porn from the mainstream companies are doing so without knowing whether they are safe guarding consent nor whether they are avoiding coercive contracts. Which means that they could be supporting a high risk for rape environment (or rapes that have already occurred).

Sure it doesn’t have the same ring as “All Porn is Rape!” but it is actually accurate and it doesn’t deny the self determination of the women (like myself) that would be happy with being in pornographic film or are already acting in porn and are happy there.

Now if that’s what you meant to say and we simply misunderstood each other (or you were shooting to create discourse by using a blanket statement title), then by all means, let me know.

23. recursiveparadox - October 29, 2009

Correction: Where I said: “All of this establishes that porn should be regulated and that things like this should be made the norm, instead of the exception.”

Should instead be “All of this establishes that porn should be regulated and that things used to prevent issues like this should be made the norm, instead of the exception.”

I apologize for any confusion.

factcheckme - October 29, 2009

winter lights

it really bothers me when people make the argument that just because the women are OK with what might have occured, that it wasnt rape, and the guy wasnt a rapist. my concern is that society has to deal with the affects of men who stick their dicks into women in circumstances that are questionable, as to the womens consent. WE have to deal with these assholes. its not necessarily about the victim, and frankly when its another crime we are talking about, and not either rape or DV, we dont really care if the victim “feels” violated, or not. a robbery is a robbery, and we have to catch the robber so he doesnt to it again. a vandalism is a vandalism, even if you didnt really care about the property that was destroyed. etc, etc.

theres a pornographer over at ren’s place who is literally laughing at the very notion of prosecuting anyone for rape on a porn set, becuase he “knows” that the actresses and everyone there would all agree that it was all consensual and would say so if asked by the police, no prob. but they would all say the same thing if she was on dope, or if they all were, wouldnt they? THEY DONT GET TO DECIDE if a crime has occured! god! why not just walk into an old warehouse where everyone is suspected of stripping-down stolen cars and selling the parts and ask “hey, are you guys committing a crime? no? ok then!” this makes me so angry.

i also have the terrible feeling that giving too much credence to the womans “feelings equal consent” feeds the notion that a woman will “cry rape” the next day if she “feels badly” about what she has done. what do you think about that? she feels fine about it = no rape? she feels badly about it = (WHAT?) more on that train of thought later.

24. Random Observer - October 29, 2009

Factcheckme -

Even putting aside your clearly dubious understanding of both rape law and how porn contracts work, I’m struck by what a fundamentally authoritarian social philosophy you have going on. So consent is not between two individuals, but between individuals and the state? Who presumably should be micromanaging every aspect of out lives.

I’ll simply note how well such paternalistic, authoritarian approaches to law and consent worked for gay people, who even in the US were often thrown in jail for consensual sexual activity with members of the same gender up until less than 10 years ago (until Lawrence v Texas) and in many parts of the world still are subject to terrible persecution. In your book, I guess, this is legit, since its ultimately up to the state to determine consent, not individuals.

factcheckme - October 29, 2009

random observer

So consent is not between two individuals, but between individuals and the state?

all criminal laws are in place to protect the PUBLIC, not individual victims. if there are men walking around free that have no problem sticking their dicks into women when they arent 100% absolutely sure its wanted, society is at risk. and i believe that porn sets up that exact scenario. he cant be 100% sure, or even reasonably sure that her real, true, authentic desire is to particpate in any particular sex act with him, at that time, based on the circumstances. therefore, if he proceeds with the act, he is a rapist.

25. Laurelin - October 29, 2009

…and, I’ll say it again coz I love repeating myself, there is all the testimony from ex-porn performers detailing the sexual violence that was inflicted on them.

My blog, right hand side, anti-porn resources.
Educate thyself; become an Informed Observer!

factcheckme - October 29, 2009

hi again laurelin

i checked out your blog today. i just emailed you.

26. Laurelin - October 29, 2009

Love the buzzword ‘authoritarian’ btw. Calculated to induce the other side to gasp, and say ‘no I didn’t mean that!’ Very… predictable rhetoric.

Laurelin’s authoritarian pronouncements of the day:

-Don’t have sex with anyone unless you are 100% sure they have consented *AND WANT* to have sex with you

and

- Don’t contribute to an industry whose ex-workers report rape and sexual torture as standard

Human decency, and conscience. It’s easy when you try.

27. factcheckme - October 29, 2009

LOL as i said above, calling a radfem “paternalistic” is a cliche. calling one authoritarian…also cliche. d’oh!

factcheckme - October 29, 2009

random observer: you are on warning. one more abusive post and you will be permanently spammed. thanks.

28. Random Observer - October 29, 2009

“i believe that porn sets up that exact scenario. he cant be 100% sure, or even reasonably sure that her real, true, authentic desire is to particpate in any particular sex act with him, at that time, based on the circumstances. therefore, if he proceeds with the act, he is a rapist.”

I’m not sure what in your book constitutes “real, true, authentic desire is to participate in any particular sex act”. What I am sure about is that the definition of “rape” that you’re using has nothing to do with any legal definition that I know of.

29. Random Observer - October 29, 2009

“…and, I’ll say it again coz I love repeating myself, there is all the testimony from ex-porn performers detailing the sexual violence that was inflicted on them.”

Actually, I’ve read quite a bit by current and former porn performers, including those who don’t always have a sunny take on everything that goes on in the porn industry. And I’ve read precious few claims of anybody being raped on a porn set, Factcheckme’s rather rarefied definition of rape notwithstanding. If you have some specific “testimonies” in mind that I might have overlooked (and, yes, as a matter of fact, I am familiar with the Linda Borman story), why not post some links or at least name some names, rather than just state “read my blog”. (Actually, I have read your blog, and generally, I think your self-righteous arguments aren’t even worth engaging with.)

30. Random Observer - October 29, 2009

Is raising a point that you can only respond to by dismissing as “cliche” constitute abuse? If your arguments aren’t paternalistic and authoritarian, then perhaps you can provide an actual argument as to why its not.

factcheckme - October 29, 2009

LOL random observer, you are a dick. i didnt even approve your abusive post. and now that you have as much as admitted that all you want to do is “argue,” i will no longer approve any of your posts. this is not a debate. bye now.

31. Laurelin - October 29, 2009

It’s not that hard for you to find the links on my blog, RO. I’m not your mother or your teacher, and so I’m not going to baby you. I already signposted you, and my blog layout is very clear. Sort it out yourself.

But thank you for reading Laurelin in the Rain, where ‘self-righteousness’ is taken as a compliment.
Fanmail is always welcome.

32. Laurelin - October 29, 2009

Wait, those were RO’s ‘nice’ posts? Holy moly, someone needs to get some manners! :)

33. factcheckme - October 29, 2009

porn actors and pornographers do not get to define the issues, or set the parameters in any discussion of rape or porn, on my blog. this is not a democracy. and its not a debate.

people who literally depend on the sex industry to survive (and others who exploit it to get rich) are not able to be honest about the negative aspects of the industry. they are not going to bite the hands that feed them. i get that, but their denials and justifications and rationalizations will not be published in this space.

factcheckme - October 29, 2009

random observer: i spammed your comment, and didnt read anything beyond where you said “i know you are going to read this.” i didnt read it. you are presumptuous, abusive, and now you are spammed. bye.

34. redmegaera - October 29, 2009

Interesting analysis. I agree with a lot of what you’ve written.

I don’t know where to start when it comes to my own objections to pornography. I think pornography is a form of sex-trafficking and sexual slavery. Even if we grant that women’s participation in pornography is consensual, the majority of pornography ‘actresses’ have little or no control over the circulation, profits, and use of their film and photographic images. Even if we grant that one might consent to having sexual intercourse for the purpose of making a pornographic film- one can’t possibly consent to all the sexual acts by proxy that flow on from the cirucaltion of that film and one is certainly not renumerated for them. If consent did not or cannot take place, than pornographers can be described as profiting from the proceeds of crime and consumers as complicit rape.

I also have a problem with the ways in which pornography sexualizes misogyny, racism, children etc. If anyone’s unconvinced that pornography is a tool for perpetuating the subordination of women, I suggest they read some of the reviews at the Adult Video News website or listen to Victor Malarek’s discussion of his recently published book Johns and Prostitution here:
http://go2.wordpress.com/?id=725X1342&site=redmegaera.wordpress.com&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.rabble.ca%2Fpodcasts%2Fshows%2Ff-word%2F2009%2F06%2Fvictor-malarek-johns-and-prostitution

I also recommend Gail Dines and Robert Jensen’s 2005 article “Pornography is a Left Issue” which you can read here: http://uts.cc.utexas.edu/~rjensen/freelance/pornographyisaleftissue.htm

Such a huge topic…

Megan: There’s a lot of literature written by feminists and pro-feminist men that critiques gay and/or transgender pornography and prostitution. You just have to go looking for it.

factcheckme - October 29, 2009

FYI to my readers: someone found my blog by keyword searching “rape porn.” there are also literally hundreds of sites that come up when you google “rape porn” and they are all advertising what they call “violent, brutal rapes” and some claim to show “real” rapes, and rapes of “young girls.” thats a whole other issue…but not an unrelated one.

redmegaera

thanks for commenting. i agree that porn is a tool used to “subjugate women.” it subjugates female actresses (and all women) through economic coersion, and elevates men and male sexuality generally so that women are subjugated by proxy, if not directly, across the world. in relationships, i think it subjugates women also, again by elevating male status and male desire so that women are subjugatd by proxy, as well as in other ways that their male partners abuse them, and abuse their male privilege. anything that elevates men over women is inherently abusive, and individual men will use their elevated status to gain power over women, always.

as far as the female actresses being “remotely” victimized by men beating off to their images later…thats not something that i had considered. certainly its not a legal issue (ie. i dont think that qualifies as any sort of recognizable crime, or a literal rape) but an ethical and moral one? you bet it is. because its about control: who has control over the images, and for how long, and who is getting rich off of them (as opposed to just getting by)? although they werent porn actors, i am reminded of the brady bunch kids and other child actors who have said again and again that they do not get royalities off the syndication of thier TV shows, all these years later. many of them are now dirt poor, even as the producers and “owners” of the shows continue to get rich. this is absolutely an ethical and moral issue: who has the power, including economic power and economic wealth, and who doesnt.

35. redmegaera - October 29, 2009

FCM:

I’m no lawyer (can’t over-emphasize that!)but I think it could be legal issue- at least in cases where rape can be established. For instance, in some countries non-consensual voyeurism is a sex crime and pornographers might be prosecuted under the Proceeds of Crime Act(s) in countries where they exist- like Australia and the UK. But you’re right- it’s definitely an ethical and moral one.

Anyway, great post. There are so many dimensions to this issue. The more posts the better.

36. hexy - October 30, 2009

I have no idea if this will be published or not, but it’s worth a try.

I have, personally, withdrawn consent in the midst of a sex work scene, and in the midst of explicit photoshoots (never worked in video), on a number of occasions. I stopped the activity, left the room (when relevant), and informed the director/manager/receptionist what was going on. In the sex work instance refunded part or all of the clients money and either showed them out or put them in a waiting room while I checked if any of my co workers wanted to see them. In the photoshoot instance, I renegotiated to be paid only for the work I had done.

This is not an unusual experience for a sex worker. Sometimes, scenes don’t work. Sometimes, you don’t feel comfortable. Sometimes, the client crosses a line, deliberately or accidentally. In these instances, as consent IS a dynamic and ongoing thing that must be able to be withdrawn for the scene to be considered consensual, I withdrew my consent and stopped the scene.

If a woman is coerced into a situation she cannot withdraw consent from, whether or not she’s being paid and/or videotaped, that IS rape. But it’s not rape because it’s sex work, or because it’s porn, it’s rape because it’s just plain rape.

factcheckme - October 30, 2009

hi hexy

you have described several different kinds of sex work here, and none of them address the instance i was thinking and writing about, which was pornographic videos. so now its gotten a little more complicated, which is a good thing. here are my initial thoughts.

firstly, and most problematically, if the client or actor “crossed the line,” he crossed the line *into what?* crossing the line from something you consented to and wanted, into something you didnt, is rape. he is a rapist because he did that. and we, as a society, have to deal with him walking around, free, when he feels its perfectly fine to stick his dick into someone and do whatever he fuck he wants to do to her, whether she likes/wants it, or not. thats a big problem. in the instance of the sex work you described, it really bothers me, too, that you checked to see if any of the other women wanted to take these men on as a client after the line was crossed, when you already knew what he was capable of, and in fact what he had done, to you. did you tell them that he was a rapist, and that he had just violated you? i doubt it, since you arent even framing his behavior as rape here, when discussing it. not that you were/are responsible for his behavior, but i think this kind of mentality amongst sex workers is problematic, in that you arent calling a spade a spade, even to the point of protecting yourselves and each oher from demonstrated rapists. were you free to call the cops, if things got really bad? how did it benefit your employer, and your clients, that you were framing these instances as “not that bad” so that the cops were never involved, even though what these men did “crossed the line” into rape? why did you feel that this *wasnt* rape? how is it *not* rape, in your mind?

framing what you did, after you were violated, as “withdrawing consent” is also problematic, because thats not what happened. you cant “withdraw consent” to something that you had never consented to, in the first place. you are painting a picture thats exactly as i thought in fact: you gave “prospective consent” to let a client do whatever the fuck he wanted to you. you are demonstrating, here, why thats not possible. if you had negotiated a very specific scenario and he crossed the scripted line you had both agreed to, whether accidentally or on purpose, then thats very clearly rape, and i dont know why would wouldnt just say that? so which one was it? or, was it something else? i would really like to know.

as for the photo shoots, there is still the acting component that bothers me about porn, although i am not sure its as big of a problem in photographic shoots as it is on video, since there are no unbroken continuous scenes in which the woman’s communications to the male partner are inauthentic. but again, my problem is with the men in these situations, not with the women. it bothers me, a lot, that there are men out there who are perfectly comfortable sticking their dicks into women under circumstances that blur the line (or erase it) as to whether she is giving authentic consent to individual sex acts. that mentality amongst men, i think, is dangerous, because it normalizes and includes behaviors like having sex with intoxicated women, underage women, economically coerced women, and even scared or injured women.

and the men consuming these images dont give a fuck about consent at all. they want to experience a sexual scene that does NOT include negotiating consent with an actual woman. thats why they choose porn over real sex, in many cases, becuase its just “easier” than dealing with a real woman on many levels. but experiencing sex completely removed from consent is problematic. they also dont know, and cannot know, what the situation really is, because they arent there. they very well might be watching an actual, violent, coercive rape where the woman is intoxicated, or shes a victim of human trafficking, or all the doors and windows are locked, or, or, or. when men consume porn on those terms, its because they dont CARE whether its rape. and that in itself is a rape mentality.

factcheckme - October 30, 2009

in case anyone is confused about why i banned/spammed “random observer”

the last straw was his last post, which i didnt approve, when he said “i dont care if you publish this or not, because i know you are going to read it, your problem is…..” and i didnt read anything further becuase of the AUDACITY! fuck him, and assuming that he could get a jab in because i couldnt NOT read his post. i thought it was funny, (in a bad way) and TYPICAL that someone who was arguing with me about “consent” would so clearly push his will on me like that. like, you WILL read, this, bitch, and i dont care that you dont want me to post here anymore, i am GOING to get the last word. ironic, no?

37. hexy - October 30, 2009

Uh, wow. You really leapt to a conclusion there. If a client had raped me, I would have said that he raped me. There’s a world of difference between a client crossing a line (intentionally or unintentionally) that makes a particular worker uncomfortable, and a client raping that worker. I would most certainly not have checked to if co-workers wanted to see that client if he’d crossed THAT particular line. I thought YOU were the one who insisted that rape was only penetration and could never be anything else?

Yes, since you ask, I could have gone to the police if a client violated me. I can do that because I work somewhere where sex work is decriminalised, and yes there are precedents where sex workers have successfully pressed charges against clients. Not heaps, and it’s not perfect, but it’s better than most places.

And I say “withdrawing consent” because the situation I’m thinking of goes like this: We agree to do acts A, B, C, D and E. Money exchanges hands and we enter the room. At some point between B and C, I become uncomfortable and do not wish to continue. I withdraw consent (or, if you insist, I do not consent to the rest of the activities discussed) and the session goes no further.

You made the point that consent is rubbish if it can’t be withdrawn. It seems like goal post shifting to then say “Aha! But the word WITHDRAW implies badness!” when someone uses your own terminology to describe a situation in which she did exactly what you were saying was impossible.

factcheckme - October 30, 2009

i am moving the goalposts?? you are creating a strawman, by coming into a discussion about PORN, specifically video is what i was thinking about although i didnt deliberately exclude other types, and you are equating prostitution (legalized prostitution no less) with pornography and then arguing that legalized prostitution is unproblematic from a consent-perspective. if i had a problem specifically with legalized prostitution, i would have written a post about it. i am engaging with you because it brings up interesting issues, and theres some intersectionality there. but its not the same thing, and i am not moving the goalposts. ok? really. i think its an interesting discussion, and that its interesting to note the similarities and the differences between porn, and legalized prostitution.

you very aptly demonstrated my point, that you cannot unproblematically give prospective consent: you can do ABCDE with me. because you very well might change your mind, or get uncomfortable, somewhere between C and D. you are demonstrating exactly how and why the people that are claiming that “the model release is her consent!” are wrong. thats an important point to be made, because thats where the analysis of consent often stops, and it shouldnt. if that analysis and conclusion alone gets out into the mainstream, i would consider this article a success! ren (and her supporters) very disturbingly do not have a problem with the “release as consent”, but you clearly have experienced problems with it. you have to be able to renegotiate, and the “model release” is meaningless if you cant renegotiate consent on an ongoing basis, from start to finish. im happy for you, truly, that you seemed to be in a position to renegotiate. but…you also werent acting in porn. so its different.

but it also has some of the same problems, because there was money exchanged. so now the question of your consent becomes blurred, by differentiating between sex acts that are “wanted” and those that are “tolerated, for money.” do we want men walking around thinking that if a woman is tolerating what he is doing to her, that its the same thing as her wanting it?

ren is a porn actress. does it bother you, at all, that SHE thinks that the release she has signed equals her consent to whatever comes next? (she said so on her blog, and her supporters have said so here, with her cheering them on the whole way).

factcheckme - October 30, 2009

PS. hex, it also occurs to me that what you are describing is not a “contract” in any legal sense of the word. what you are describing does seem like consent, because it was renegotiated, but contracts are not renegotiable after the fact. i still believe, therefore, that voluntary sex cannot be contracted for. and you didnt contract for it, under the scenario you described.

factcheckme - October 30, 2009

@ genderbitch

from the time you first commented here, something bothered me about your tone, and your approach. it seemed WAY too academic, for example. and it was condescending as hell (you thought to had to provide LINKS and DEFINTIONS for the concept of “logical fallacy?” seriously?)

now i get why. you were born a man. see, you came into my space, and whipped out your male privilege, and thought you could spray the place down with your manly essence. well what part of “radfem analysis” did you not understand? i dont play that game. misogynist attitudes and behaviors are not tolerated, in this space. and being condescending and big-brained is misogynist, when its used by a man. taking an overly-unemotional, academic “tone” when dealing with emotionally-charge subject matter, such as rape, is also misogynist, when it comes from a man.

the trans-infiltration of feminism is something that has bothered me greatly. in fact, i am starting to think that this is one of the reasons that feminists have started acting so misogynistic to one another. for example, i noticed in the most recent “dustup” between the black radfems and off our backs magazine that we had black feminists saying things like “when white feminists abuse their white privilege, they are just as bad a rapists.” HUH? not only is it abusive to equate any woman to a rapist, its simply NOT an accurate comparison, at all.

IMO, only a fucking born-man would come up with a concept so idiotic! because born-men cant get pregnant from rape, men and transwomen think its just like getting beaten up, or otherwise generically “oppressed.” well guess what? rape is its OWN THING, and only born-women can be thoroughly vicitmized by rape. transwomen dont get to appropriate that, and black women know better!! so where did they get this language that rape is just-like being, you know, oppressed? from transwomen, is my guess. and white women are just so traumatized by being treated like, and called “rapists,” that these trans-concepts and misogynist language is going unchallenged.

another example of transwomen acting like fucking misogynist dicks is YOUR BEHAVIOR, “genderbitch”. you came onto MY BLOG, into a discussion of rape and porn, and challenged my article with concepts like “begging-the-question-fallacy” (and DEFINING said concept for me, and providing links, oh thank yoooooouuu, i’s a fucking idiot, i dont understand logical fallacies, and i dont know how to google!). and telling me that pornography is, you know, not really a problem, you know, it can be fixed real easily by XY and Z. oh great! like i couldnt have gotten that perspective, and the links, and the condescending tone from any old fucking MAN. you also appropriated/reclaimed the word “bitch” but guess what? born-men do NOT get to reclaim the word bitch, okay? and especially not in a discussion of porn, and rape, where that term is used almost every single goddamned time a woman is raped, and in nearly every goddamned piece of porn i have ever seen.

38. Megan - October 30, 2009

You’re complaining about genderbitch’s “overly academic tone” and logician’s arguments when you’re the one who insisted that we look at the subject objectively in the first place?

As for people acting like dicks in this post, I think you need to look in the mirror.

factcheckme - October 30, 2009

what i said, megan, was that its inappropriate for MEN to do it, when they are talking about issues that dont even affect them. transwomen often “forget,” it seems to me, that they are “trying” to act like women, and let their male-privilege shine through on issues like this one. genderbitch did exactly that, and i dont appreciate her coming in here and spraying the place with her male privilege. i didnt appreciate it when random observer did it, either, and thats why he is banned.

39. winter_lights - October 30, 2009

There have been many things posted while I was at work, so this will be a long reply.

As a side note, it really bothers me when people compare rape to property crimes.

“theres a pornographer over at ren’s place who is literally laughing at the very notion of prosecuting anyone for rape on a porn set, becuase he “knows” that the actresses and everyone there would all agree that it was all consensual and would say so if asked by the police, no prob. but they would all say the same thing if she was on dope, or if they all were, wouldnt they?”

Are you really surprised that someone who thinks they’d win is eager for a confrontation? Though really, I think he’d be just as happy without it.

But it’s not just his say-so, or that of anyone else there. It’s also that this renegotiation process that you say doesn’t happen, the absence of which is your basis for declaring all porn to be rape? He says it does happen, and he has the unedited recordings to prove it.

As for who decides what’s a crime or not, are you suggesting no one should express their opinion on whether something’s a crime or not, based on their beliefs and understanding of the law?

“i also have the terrible feeling that giving too much credence to the womans “feelings equal consent” feeds the notion that a woman will “cry rape” the next day if she “feels badly” about what she has done. what do you think about that? she feels fine about it = no rape? she feels badly about it = (WHAT?) more on that train of thought later.”

I think in this case it’s not so much about ‘feelings’ as about vocal statements of consent. But still… You’re worried that people will think women lie by saying they did not consent. So, you’re going to use a working assumption that women will lie by saying that they did consent? I’d rather start from the assumption that women won’t lie about what they did or did not consent to.

“people who literally depend on the sex industry to survive (and others who exploit it to get rich) are not able to be honest about the negative aspects of the industry.”

They can’t be honest on the internet? Home of the Anonymous?

Beyond that, why even say anything if that’s the case? Are you suggesting that people like Ren and hexy are paid to spread porn-positive messages in places that are probably the least likely to be receptive to them? What about when Ren has traveled to showings of The Price of Pleasure in other states to speak out against it’s various issues?

“ren is a porn actress. does it bother you, at all, that SHE thinks that the release she has signed equals her consent to whatever comes next?”

I’d have to ask her to be certain, but I’m pretty sure that’s not what she said or meant. In fact, all she said in her comment here about contracts was that she signed one. Where the specific details of porn contracts was discussed, it was said that they only cover the rights to record things and to use the recordings, and neither specify nor have the power to force any sexual acts.

Oh, and Ren also said she could say no to things, and have those things not happen. That hardly sounds like “consent to whatever comes next”.

Also, I’d still like to hear what position you consider transsexual performers in. It’s not the most common thing out there in porn targeted at straight men, but it’s not minor either, and there’s material involving both male and female partners. So, are transsexuals always rapists, always rape victims, or does it depend on the sex of the other performer?

40. Megan - October 30, 2009

Logic is logic no matter who uses it; stop shifting the goalposts. Even if we are to accept your double standard, and your definition of trans WOMEN as men, you’re doing an awfully bad job of staying objective yourself. Or do you have special status in that your own subjective feelings to not demolish your arguments like you claim mine do?

factcheckme - October 30, 2009

winter lights

maybe this will clarify my position. i am troubled by the men in these films, and their behavior (their penetrating women under these conditions) because i think that the porn-situation blurs the line for the male performer regarding what are actual, wanted sex acts and whats unwanted; meh; or “tolerated for money.” i think that the entire set-up blurs the line, inherently. because its for money/fame/reputation; because shes acting; because there are other people in the room; because there were deals struck beforehand. if there are ever drugs/alcohol/sleep deprivation etc involved that makes it even more problematic, but my problem isnt with intoxication. thats just another aspect of the industry that further blurs the line between consensual “sex” and rape. it bothers me that there are ANY men, anywhere in the world, that would put their penises in women under circumstances that werent entirely, 100% clear as to what SHE wanted. i might even settle for “reasonably” clear, since reasonably-clear intent/consent is often what we all deal with in real life. but porn isnt “built” that way. i think the porn-situation is UN-reasonably likely to be unclear, or confusing, TO THE OBSERVER. to the man. both to the male performer and to the male consumer.

it also bothers me that the men consuming this porn are never asked to consider consent, at all. as far as they know, no consent was given, becuase it wasnt shown. the fact that they would watch it anyway, when in actuality it COULD be a violent rape, and they dont care, is in itself a rape-mentality.

so, regarding the sex (or trans-sex) of the actors involved, in straight male-oriented porn, whomever is in the position of penetrating another person under these questionable circumstances would be my focus, and thats who i would have the problem with. if they were all women, my problem would be with whomever was supposed to represent the “male gaze” because thats the mindset that i find problematic. another way to look at it would be, who is the male-viewer supposed to be identifying with, here; and is that person sticking his dick (or “dick”) into another person under circumstances that arent 100% clear as to that person’s consent.

as for gay-porn, same problem. my problem is with anyone who thinks its OK to go around sticking his dick in people when he doesnt know if its wanted. but frankly, whether gay men go around raping each other isnt my main concern.

factcheckme - October 30, 2009

FYI to my readers: the rape-apologists have found this post, and (surprise!) they support the pornographers, and porn-actors’ view on the subject. i just spammed someone from “the false rape society.”

41. hexy - October 30, 2009

I may not have worked in video porn, but I know and have worked with a LOT of people who have. And this idea you have of contracts being signed that then force the performer to do everything in the contract even if she changes her mind is simply not the way these things usually go.

Contracts for performance are always negotiable after the fact. You can refuse to perform the agreed upon acts, you just can’t refuse to perform the agreed upon acts and still get paid the promised fee in full.

A model release, incidentally, is legal consent to the distribution of your image. Not legal consent to engaging in specific sex acts.

FYI to my readers: the rape-apologists have found this post, and (surprise!) they support the pornographers, and porn-actors’ view on the subject. i just spammed someone from “the false rape society.”

Oh, ew! I’m so sorry you’re picking that shit out of your comment thread.

42. hexy - October 30, 2009

I’m not really comfortable participating in this discussion after the way you’ve spoken to genderbitch. I just saw it, and I’m kinda stunned at the venom. I think I might back out, as you’ve declared my comments to be largely irrelevant anyway.

factcheckme - October 31, 2009

hexy

Contracts for performance are always negotiable after the fact.

then they arent contracts, at least not in the united states. this is not how we do things here: true contracts cannot be “unilaterally renegotiated” where one party just decides not to do its part. unilateral renegotiation = breach. i have stated repeatedly that my position was that consent cannot be CONTRACTED FOR, and you have repeatedly supported my point, whether you like it or realize it or not. there are too many people, INCLUDING porn-performers and their fanboys/fangirls (because for some reason, porn actresses always have groupies following them around…gee, i wonder why that is???) who believe otherwise. your next point is exactly what i mean:

A model release, incidentally, is legal consent to the distribution of your image. Not legal consent to engaging in specific sex acts.

ren thinks it does. she is telling her followers that this is, indeed, the case. her followers believe her. now…knowing her opinion on the topic, would you want her for your boss? would you want her as your competition, knowing that her standard-operating-procedure is to contract away her consent, and that customers and pornographers might prefer HER methods, and HER interpretation of what her rights are, to yours? knowing that SHE wont stop the action and ruin a days/weeks/months shooting, but you might?

factcheckme - October 31, 2009

well, i am sorry you feel that way hexy. but i am not going to tolerate exhibitionist, porn-friendly, rape-apologist transwomen on my blog, in a discussion of rape, and porn. and not ones that refer to themselves as “bitch.” this is a common point of contention between radfems and fun-fems, and i have already made my position known (particularly on the issue of porn) by declaring myself a radfem. she should have known how i would feel about her commenting here just based on that alone, and she commented here anyway. that smacks of male privilege, and entitlement issues. standard issue for people who were born male.

i wouldnt have as much of a problem with it if transwomen said upfront, “i am a transwoman, if my male privilege shows through in my comments i am sorry, but i cant help it. please feel free to call me on my shit.” but they never do that, you know? they make you figure it out for yourself, and i frankly can usually spot this a mile away, and i did have my suspicions about her from her first post. i didnt disengage until i was sure.

43. Intermission: Rad Fem Cissexism Fail? Really? How shocking! « Genderbitch: An Angry Trans Girl's Blog - October 31, 2009

[...] I was silly and I decided to engage civilly with a rad fem who was claiming all porn is rape.. Things started out fairly well, we analyzed each other’s points, the conversation went [...]

44. Eli - October 31, 2009

Could you help me to understand how it to feminist to belittle other women based on what their genitals look (or looked) like?

factcheckme - November 1, 2009

genderbitch has posted a response to me over at her blog that she describes as “tearing me a new one.” thats rape-language. and its not surprising, at all, that someone born a man uses rape-language against women she wants to harm. i am toying with the idea of making a seperate article addressing the problems with “sex positive transwomen” and male privilege. stay tuned.

factcheckme - November 1, 2009

eli

it has nothing to do with genitals, and everything to do with male privilege. people who were born male were socialized as men for decades, before they transitioned. and their male-privilege makes them feel entitled, and embues them with misogynist attitudes, inherently. not surprisingly, transwomen are often misogynist, and behave in offensive and entitled ways towards born-women. its a real problem.

45. Laurelin - November 1, 2009

‘tearing you a new one’???? What on earth makes her think that sort of language is okay, in a disagreement about a post on rape??! That’s vile.

factcheckme - November 1, 2009

What on earth makes her think that sort of language is okay, in a disagreement about a post on rape??!

her male privilege and misogyny, of course. you know, the part that *doesnt* get cut off and reorganized in the sex-reassignment surgery. and the whole time, she is denying that she has male privilege, just because she cant find a fucking job. in this economy! what a bunch of shit.

46. eVa - November 3, 2009

Yes yes yes.
I agree. I am willing to bet a kings ransome and my best panties that all these rampant child molestors, gang bangers, and women chokers which have been flooding society lately are all addicted to porn.

The sex drive is the easiest thing to influence, and probably the most powerful instinct we have.
I personally don’t appreciate pornography because it hijacks our hormones.

You can’t be an avid consumer of porn and think it will not change the way you react, respond, and relate to the world around you.

I abhor pornography and do not find it empowering in the least. I believe it to be a mockery of sexuality, not the celebration it’s shilled to be.
I feel so goddamn sorry for the younger generation that are basically being born already exposed to porn…It seems anyone I have talked to who is even just a few years younger than I am have all said their first sexual experiences were from viewing porn…
fuckin lame.
and now they’re unsatisfied because somehow real life just wont match the lie that porn is.
burn that bitch down.

factcheckme - November 4, 2009

hi eva

i find it disturbing that the pro-porn set are happily convincing themselves that porn isnt “real” (as in, its just a fantasy) and that it doesnt influence peoples thoughts or behaviors when they arent viewing it. for one thing, its very real: every time you watch porn, you are happily removing “consent” from the sexual equasion, because you arent there: you might very well be watching a violent rape, where consent wasnt given. the not-knowing, and the not-caring about the well-being of the real women in porn is going to have an affect, as well as being a symptom of some lack of empathy thats already there.

and every advertising firm on madison avenue knows that what people watch profoundly influences them, to the tune of billions a year. to claim otherwise is delusional, and indulgent.

47. Undercover Punk - November 4, 2009

and every advertising firm on madison avenue knows that what people watch profoundly influences them, to the tune of billions a year. to claim otherwise is delusional, and indulgent.

Riiiight?!? I COMPLETELY AGREE. It’s willfully ignorant (and deceptive) to claim that the images and we’re bombarded with by the media (read: big business/MALE INTERESTS) do not affect our consciousness, our sense of normalcy, AND our emotional well-being.

Porn. Becomes. Reality.

48. Orlando C - November 4, 2009

FCM-
I’m confused about the way you are defining consent. It seems like you’re saying that it isn’t possible to manifestly consent to something you dislike or have reservations about. But most consent forms are for exactly that situation: surgery, for example. Is sex a special category?

Also, unless I’m mis-reading this, it seems like you are saying that you can’t contract for consent, or consent to something in advance. Here again, this just doesn’t seem to jibe with the way we usually use consent forms. I’ve signed a contract which is implicitly a consent form giving someone FRoR on my house, if we should ever sell it. It’s a counterfactual situation maybe decades in the future, but the contract would be legally interpreted as my having consented to such-and-such terms.

Again, is sex different? Or are you saying that most stuff that we normally consider consensual isn’t? Or what?

factcheckme - November 4, 2009

hi orlando

my premise is that consent to sex is different than other kinds of “consent” or in contract-law parlance, “mutual assent.” so yes, sex is a different category, a category unto itself in fact. because by definition, consent to sex must be renegotiable up to and through completion of the encounter. whereas contractual “assent” by definition is nonnegotiable, once the contract is executed/signed.


Also, unless I’m mis-reading this, it seems like you are saying that you can’t contract for consent, or consent to something in advance.


yes, you cant contract for consent to sex. the definition for “consent” in a sexual context, is not reconcilable with the definition of “contract.” because of the renegotiation problem.

49. Orlando C - November 4, 2009

OK, got it. But it seems like even with that definition, there’s still a possibility for consensual sexual contracts. It’s simply a matter of creating a technical protocol for the sex act to be renegotiated at any moment…a word or signal, perhaps. Yes?

I’m not saying that this is typical of real-life porn shoots or prostitution. I’m asking because I wonder if this capacity for renegotiation-during-the-act is really the only way in which you think sexual consent is special. If a masseuse, for instance, agrees to masturbate a client for a sum of money, but agrees to stop immediately if the client asks them to, isn’t that a consensual contract by the definition you’ve proposed?

factcheckme - November 4, 2009

orlando

i am not sure what you are asking. are you suggesting that two people can agree to change their agreement at any time in the future? or, that they will agree to agree? or, “lets see what happens?” because thats not a contract, in any sense of the word. you seem to be describing a voluntary exchange, where either party can change his/her mind at any time, decelerate or stop the encounter without any negative fallout/consequences. but thats not a contract. and thats kind of my whole point.

it bothers me, too, that even in your “masseuse” example, that “not saying no” equals consent. is that what we are willing to settle for, in this day and age? is that the legal standard, that will keep you out of prison for rape? are you sure? (i’m not).

if consent to sex cannot be legitimately contracted for, and i think thats pretty clearly the case, there has to be some other way to know whats wanted and whats not. for example, the “model release” in porn is assent of the model for the pornographer to use her image later. but consent to sex has to be communicated during the act. its not taken care of by the release. is that communication taking place, and considering the circumstances, are those communications likely to distinguish between wanted and unwanted sex acts? considering that everyone is actng; there will be negative consequences to her stopping; and many people in the industry are stoned the whole time, this is a huge problem. obviously, my conclusion is that sex acts taking place in pornographic videos havent been properly consented to.

50. Laurelin - November 4, 2009

Shameless self-promotion time, on consent:
http://laurelin.wordpress.com/2009/03/01/thoughts-on-consent/

factcheckme - November 4, 2009

thanks, laurelin. thats a great article.

51. Laurelin - November 4, 2009

FTR: Orlando’s site has a picture of a chained naked woman on the front page.
I confess that I cannot take your comments about consent as neutral or disinterested if you think that a chained woman (a woman constrained, turned into a thing, imprisoned) is sexy or appropriate. This is a thread about sexual violence after all.

(Factcheckme, if I’m being overbearing at all, please do tell me! I recognise that I have a tendency to barge in at times, and this may be one of those times!)

52. Laurelin - November 4, 2009

Uh, I mean that it is not appropriate either for you to link to that image on a thread about sexual violence, Orlando (my words were unclear before, just clarifying). You have been perfectly polite, but putting that image and your words on consent together makes me feel very uneasy.

factcheckme - November 4, 2009

i know, i went to his blog too. you arent being overbearing. carry on!

53. Orlando C - November 4, 2009

Sorry, I wasn’t trying to direct anyone to the site, (which is flagged for potentially offensive content). Your website wanted me to put in a URL…oh, and now I see it isn’t required.

it bothers me, too, that even in your “masseuse” example, that “not saying no” equals consent. is that what we are willing to settle for, in this day and age?

Wait, I’m not saying I would settle for this or that. I’m trying to figure out what you mean by saying that a sex act can’t be renegotiated (and therefore can’t be contracted for). I don’t think stopping-immediately-when-asked is all that weak for a single sex act (i.e. masturbation). It would have passed the old Antioch guidelines, which only required verbal affirmation for each subsequent action.

But if you prefer, let’s say the masseuse and the client have a protocol where each of them has to say “continue,” at intervals of a second or two, and if either of them doesn’t do this, the deal is off. And this is in writing, and money is changing hands.

I realize this is ridiculous, but you seem to be saying that the reason sexual contracts aren’t consensual is basically a technical one. So I’m proposing a technical solution…but I expect you have other reservations about sexual consent.

factcheckme - November 4, 2009

orlando

i said that CONTRACTS cant be unilaterally renegotiated. and they cant. i am not going to keep explaining it, or repeating it.

factcheckme - November 4, 2009

oh, and this made me LOL


I realize this is ridiculous, but you seem to be saying that the reason sexual contracts aren’t consensual is basically a technical one.


yeah, its the “technicality” known as the law. i love it when people say, for example, that someone was let out of police custody/prison “on a technicality.” its THE LAW! god. that just makes me writhe in pain, knowing that people think that the law is just, you know, a little thang.

and for the last fucking time. (sorry, orlando, youve been polite, but its time for you to start reading what i wrote…and leaving evidence of that in your replies to me). i did NOT say that “sexual contracts arent consensual.” i said that its legally impossible to contract for consent to sex.

the releases signed by porn actors are permission to use her image. THATS ALL. and its not re-negotiable, but thats ok. the signed release is NOT consent to sex. that consent has to be articulated, elsewhere. and the circumstances of the porn set make it unreasonably likely that the man is going to stick his dick into someone where what SHE WANTS is unclear. that means its rape. if you stick your dick into anyone when you arent 100% (or even “reasonably”) sure its wanted, you are rapist.

54. Orlando C - November 5, 2009

I am reading, I’m sorry if my comprehension is bad. You wrote:

The constant renegotiation required in consensual sexual encounters simply doesnt occur when deals are struck, and contracts are signed beforehand.

This sounds to me a lot like saying that “sexual contracts aren’t consensual.”

I have no idea what is or isn’t covered in the paperwork that porn actors are asked to sign, but I’ll accept that it doesn’t and/or couldn’t explicitly give consent to any sex act. Still, that doesn’t preclude the possibility that those acts could be taking place consensually. If I sign a photo release at a private event, it doesn’t mean I consent to anything that happens to me at that event. But I don’t see how the release becomes evidence that I could not possibly consent to those actions.

55. Laurelin - November 5, 2009

“I feel so goddamn sorry for the younger generation that are basically being born already exposed to porn”

Same here. I see it everyday, and it breaks my heart. I’m sort of in the middle in terms of porn-saturated generations (I’m pushing 30), and the difference I see just in what people five years younger than me are exposed to in terms of media glorification of porn is horrendous. Not that that misogynistic shit hasn’t always been there (it has, and many women in the ‘sex industry’ attest to the existence of degrading and abusive ‘sex’ acts before they were everywhere in porn), but escape is virtually impossible and dissent in women is mocked and derided.

It’s absolutely terrifying how pornography blunts human sympathies, how women and girls are attacked in it and by it, and how abusive men use it to suggest their behaviour is normal and acceptable.

We must challenge this, must not turn away.

56. Stef - November 5, 2009

Reading the article, there is a basic premise that’s incorrect about the porn industry and that injures the argument, that being that consent cannot be re-negotiated.

I’ve watched a few documentaries on the porn industry and one thing is brought up again and again; the women in hetero porn have the power. They decide what is and isn’t okay in a scene and get to say this because they are the main draw, whereas the man is almost a prop.

Also, it’s not like most porn scenes are done in one take. There are camera angles that are changed, there is a separate shoot for softcore distribution and stills. The opportunities for an actress to look up and say “I don’t like this” or “I want to stop the scene” are manifold.

This also ignores the fact that there is girl-girl porn, both aimed towards men and aimed towards women (one company even run by a lesbian who wanted to make more realistic lesbian porn and did so by hiring real, non-lipstick gay-for-pay lesbians).

Now most of what I’m talking about here is on the high end of the industry. On the low end, I do have my questions about how much negotiation goes on, but I think it’s a bit presumptive to say that a woman has no right or means to stop a scene or renegotiate, especially just based on watching porn not actually connecting with the production aspect.

And last, I’m a guy and I watch porn. I have never, once, had a rape fantasy. Nor do I devalue the women in my life thinking they are just walking sex toys. Porn has minimally informed my sex life and where it has, it mostly has been trying to find a practical application for some of the awkwardly posed acts I see on the screen.

While I do think that there needs to be better porn out there, stuff that objectifies women less and displays real sex more, the idea that “all porn is rape” is akin to the idea that all hetero sex is rape, a gross over-generalization made only by stretching each of the words in the phrase to it’s breaking point and beyond.

factcheckme - November 5, 2009


And last, I’m a guy and I watch porn.


oh, color me shocked, stef LOL i dont doubt you are a “good guy” and all that. and i believe that you dont think you have ever had a rape fantasy. but consider this: when you watch porn, you simply dont know what you are watching, and whether its consensual, or not, because you arent there. that should bother you, alot. the fact that you dont know whether its rape, and you watch it anyway, means you dont CARE whether its rape. and that in itself is a dangerous, rapists mentality.

factcheckme - November 5, 2009

orlando, think of it this way. men shouldnt go around sticking their dicks into women, when the men arent 100% sure its wanted. can we agree on that much? there are problems with porn, and the way its set up, that make it likely that whats wanted and whats not will not be entirely clear to him. if he proceeds anyway, he is a rapist, and he is demonstrating a dangerous rapists’ mentality that we all have to live with, because he is walking around free. you have to take your own experience with BDSM out of it, because i am not talking about BDSM. if i had a problem with BDSM, i wouldve written a post about it. there are additional problems with the way porn and sex work is “built” that exist IN ADDITION to any possible problems with BDSM and other kinds of sex, because “sex work” isnt like other sex, and its not like other work. when you are doing a BDSM “scene” you arent acting; you arent being paid; there are no negative consequences to stopping; and many BDSM practitioners wont let drugs and alcohol into the mix for the consent-problems it causes. porn is different, and more problematic. there are additional layers of coersion there, that make it unreasonably difficult to distinguish whats wanted and whats not. “tolerated for money” is whats passing as consent, to the extent that consent is even being considered at all. but is that what we are comfortable with, as a society? women tolerating what men are doing to us sexually, so that XYZ bad consequences dont happen to us? is this the 21st century, or the 12th?

as your your repeated (incorrect) summation of my argument that “sexual contracts arent consensual” i will clarify one more time. sexual “contracts” arent contracts. if theres no other communication of consent after the ink has dried so to speak, then there is no consent. the people who say “the model release is her consent!” are wrong, and there are several people here who at least agree on that point, which is a good sign. because thats often where the analysis of consent in porn stops, and it shouldnt.

57. Stef - November 5, 2009

“the fact that you dont know whether its rape, and you watch it anyway, means you dont CARE whether its rape. and that in itself is a dangerous, rapists mentality.”

And that is conclusion jumping.

factcheckme - November 5, 2009

ok, stef. why not enlighten me and my readers as to YOUR conclusion: why would anyone watch porn, when they dont know whether there was consent given between the actors? i think its because you dont care. i am not even saying its because you WANT it to be rape…i thought i was being generous.

you watch thousands of sex acts on screen in a lifetimne, that are completely devoid of consent (so far as you know) because you DO care whether there was consent…and you are doing sociological research into the problem? LOL right.

58. Laurelin - November 5, 2009

Stef- by whom was that documentary made? I will bet anything it was made by, or at least with the approval of, the porn industry: that is, pornographers who have an interest in making their violence look harmless. It’s very dangerous to take these things at face value.

Go to my blog, on the right-hand side bar there is a category labelled ‘Resources: Anti-Porn’. Click on the links under it. You will find references to accounts of ex-porn performers who reveal the truth about porn, about the violence and rape endemic in it. Porn is also used by abusive men to coerce (emotionally or physically) women and children into sexual acts.

Also, stop watching porn. Please. You are contributing to the continuation of an industry that thrives on acts of violence against women and girls. It is in your power to do the right thing.

59. Stef - November 5, 2009

FCM:

“Why would anyone watch porn, when they dont know whether there was consent given between the actors?”

Well, first off, there’s no reason to believe consent is not given. Aside from that, I prefer porn companies that say, upfront, that their actors are of age and have some form of public presence. Either that, or I prefer amateur porn.

There is no more reason to assume that the actresses (or actors for that matter) in any given clip are under duress than there is any reason to assume that people on daytime soaps are under duress or that I’m only writing this because there’s a man standing next to me with a gun to my head.

It also assumes that the viewer doesn’t care. I don’t keep porn if the women don’t look like they’re okay with what’s going on. I’ve seen some amateur porn that looks like the lady is just trying to get through with it and that gets deleted pretty quick.

Also, as I mentioned, from what I’ve seen when porn actresses are interviewed, they point out they can stop scenes. There’s nothing to suggest they can’t. It’s less logical to make that assumption about porn actresses than to make that assumption about women in movies that have rape scenes in them.

Again, I’m not saying that all porn is hunky dory. I’m saying that the generalization relies on assumptions which simply don’t hold up to scrutiny.

Laurelin:
“by whom was that documentary made?”

HBO.

“Also, stop watching porn. Please.”

I can’t promise this. I will check out your links. I am interested in the back end of the industry, both the pretty an less pretty parts.

What I’d like to do is start my own porn company and entirely feature people who really are in love doing what they really do in bed rather than the exaggerated acrobatics we see on the screen. I think there would be a huge market for this and would be a considerably better influence for those that use porn as part of their sex education. But then again, I don’t know the first thing about making films so I doubt it’s likely.

60. Laurelin - November 5, 2009

“Laurelin:
“by whom was that documentary made?”

HBO.”

You need to look deeper than that. Who was in it? Who did HBO contact to find out about the ‘industry’? Did they find out from ex-porn performers who report abuse? Did they find out from pornographers? Was it financed just by HBO?

Don’t take it at face value.

I’ve added some more anti-porn links now.

61. Laurelin - November 5, 2009

Or did HBO buy the documentary? If so, who from? Who benefits from the documentary?
[Just giving you an idea of the questions you need to ask]

factcheckme - November 5, 2009

some other sick fuck found my site using the following keywords: “xxx porn of raped girls by men”.

62. Laurelin - November 5, 2009

oh god, yeah, I get tonnes of those searches. It’s fucking sick. I feel nauseaous (spelling?) when I look at my searches now.

factcheckme - November 8, 2009

another keyword search used to find this blog: “rape porn.”

63. femspotter - November 8, 2009

But that could be a good thing. That could be somebody looking to educate themselves rather than someone actually looking to watch “rape porn.” I google strange things all the time. Sometimes I take out verbs, etc.: like somebody who agrees with you may have been looking for “rape as porn,” but with our short attention spans these days, shortened it. And here’s a recent sampling of how people find my blog. Bizarre!

sara paxton feet
rape scenes in movies
great legs women
“violence against women overblown”
insect rape (daily ???)
forced fem stories step mother
vaccination, nurse, baby, picture
penis split
model rape violence
forced fem stories
feminism against nurse ratched
gynecologist fondles

64. berryblade - November 9, 2009

@Stef

I love how you assume that all people involved in amateur pornography are
a) aware that they’re being filmed,
b) aware that their image is being used that way,
c) okay with the fact they’re being filmed
d) okay with the fact their image is being distributed e) not being raped
f) in a sound mindset

and the list goes on.
BUT OH you’re such a *nice* guy that you delete ones where:

‘I’ve seen some amateur porn that looks like the lady is just trying to get through with it and that gets deleted pretty quick.’

How kind and considerate of you.

“What I’d like to do is start my own porn company and entirely feature people who really are in love doing what they really do in bed rather than the exaggerated acrobatics we see on the screen. I think there would be a huge market for this and would be a considerably better influence for those that use porn as part of their sex education. But then again, I don’t know the first thing about making films so I doubt it’s likely.”

yeah good luck with exploiting more women. jerk. Also, one of the reasons the acrobatics in pornography is so ‘acrobatic’ is because it works well for the angles of filming.

Porn should never be sex education. ever. ever. ever. ever. I can’t believe you’re even suggesting this.

@ laurelin & factcheckme

I get people finding my blog who are looking for footage of my rape. It makes me fucking sick. Or the wonderful ‘sexy 12 year old girl rape’ terms. Fuckers. I hope they choke on ice cream.

factcheckme - November 9, 2009

all good points, berryblade. the problem with amateur porn is the same as with industrialized porn, in that you dont know what you are watching, or whether consent was given, because you arent there. if you are watching any porn, its because you dont care whether you are watching rape, or not. that in itself is a rape-mentality.

the fact that there are at least theoretical legal “regulations” in industrialized porn, but not in amateur porn, certainly does not make amateur porn any *more* credible, or less likely to be rape. the assumptions that would lead anyone to that conclusion must be numerous, and problematic in themselves. to me, it just sounds like the boilerplate rationalizations of an unapologetic porn-consumer, who has no intention of ever giving up his porn, no matter how problematic it is. as i said, i think all porn-consumers have rape-mentalities inherently, because they dont care. this one is no different, even though he self-identifies as “mr. nice guy, TM”.

that doesnt make it so.

65. berryblade - November 10, 2009

If anything I think amateur porn is even more problematic than “industrialised” porn because of the consent issue being even more hazy. Not only that but when I was a moron who watched porn on xtube and shit like that you notice that the most popular search terms include things like “revenge” “ex-girlfriend slut” and “i taped my cheating whore of an ex girlfriend”

I really wish Dworkin and MacKinnon’s civil suit thing got passed. I would be so fucking rich if it I did and I bet a LOT of women would be as well. Maybe even enough to totally disrupt and mess with the economy…

66. Violet - November 11, 2009

As someone who has actually done porn I need to speak up here. At no point have I ever signed a contract saying that I would have sex. Never! I have never proactively consented to sex. The contract does not say “We will pay you $$$ to do xyz and then we will publish photos/video of it.” It says (more or less) “You consent to having any pictures/video we shoot today published.”

I, and everyone else I know who has done porn (I worked as a counselor at a sex worker clinic for years, I’ve spoken to dozens of people who’ve done porn), got paid afterward. Once, a friend of mine wanted to try doing porn. I was at the shoot with her because I was going to go right after her. She took off her clothes, looked at the cameras, and then decided she wasn’t comfortable with it. The pornographers (one of whom was female) said, “Oh, okay. It’s important to take care of yourself. Here’s $50 for your time. Let us know if you change your mind.” That’s it. She put her clothes back on. No consequences. No breech of contract.

factcheckme - November 11, 2009

violet, i am happy for you that you and your friend had a good experience. however, what you are describing is not a contract.

67. Nom Chompsky - November 12, 2009

I read through the post and the comments, and I didn’t see this point made; if it has been, I apologize.

All of this talk of how the industry is legislated, and all of the anti-porn stories, and everything about the HBO documentary seem very much to me like red herrings.

The assumption of the post wasn’t that porn can be rape, or is often rape, or is terribly regulated. It was that all porn is rape. I know, because it says so in the title.

This can’t possibly be correct.

A self-shot, male only solo masturbation video distributed personally would certainly qualify as porn. And I can’t think of a scenario, even stretching the definition to its limit, under which it qualifies as rape. There’s obviously a vast gulf between that admittedly extreme example and Gang Bang III, but to paint all of it with the same rape brush is intellectually dishonest. Especially for a word so nebulous as “pornography.”

I’m inherently skeptical of people who seem unwilling to engage with viewpoints that contradict their own.

68. Laurelin - November 12, 2009

“All of this talk of how the industry is legislated, and all of the anti-porn stories, and everything about the HBO documentary seem very much to me like red herrings.”

The anti-porn ‘stories’, as you so delightfully put it, are tesimonies of torture and rape.
Priorities: human rights and dignity.
Show some respect.

69. femspotter - November 12, 2009

Laurelin et al, there has been a pervasive strain of disrespect shown to willful porn participants and interested porn consumers in this discussion as well. Reductive comments like “if you are watching any porn, it’s because you don’t care whether you are watching rape, or not” imply that porn consumers, even feminist porn consumers such as myself, are dismissive of human rights. The problem with both sides of this discussion is that they seem to be rigid, all or nothing attitudes to an issue that has many gray areas: porn is rape. Now, I agree wholeheartedly that all porn should require consent of ALL participants, but I don’t agree that in all cases of porn performance, consent is missing. Be careful not to demonize the good stuff: the stuff that celebrates great, healthy and happy sexuality!

70. Laurelin - November 12, 2009

There is no ‘good stuff’ when it comes to pornography. There is nothing ‘healthy and happy’ about ‘graphic depictions of the whore’. Maybe you want to go on about erotica as the good stuff- I don’t.

The worst thing that has been done to porn users here is that they have been criticised.

The worst thing done to survivors of rape and torture in porn is that they have been ignored and belittled, and probably triggered by the attitudes shown by the pornsick.

I’m not trying to be rude to you, Femspotter, but I have probably come across that way. The point is that the rights of women not to be tortured, exploited or abused are paramount. The feelings or desires of porn-users and makers are nothing compared to that.

I have to say that, for one, I am sick of being told about ‘grey areas’. Rape is not a ‘grey area’, and all this discussion of ‘Well so-and-so says porn is great’ does nothing to solve the problem, and only pushes porn survivors further out into the cold.

Comments from chaps such as the fellow above are dismssive and cruel.

71. Laurelin - November 12, 2009

Oh and btw Femspotter, I am by NO MEANS suggesting that you personally do not care about human rights; I am taking aim at the pornsick men on this thread.

factcheckme - November 12, 2009

i would like to know, though, how “people who are concerned with human rights” is somehow a special class of people who are able to do no wrong when it comes to porn? as forrest gump said “stupid is as stupid does.” concerned-is as concerned-does. have you taken some kind of special precautions to ensure that what you are watching *is* consensual? i would really like to know.

also, the problem with porn-consumers is only one problem i described and discussed in this article. the other problem i have with porn is the male porn-actors who are penetrating women under these circumstances. i think these men are rapists, by definition. thats kind of my whole point. they do not, and indeed CANNOT KNOW what she wants, under these circumstances. the fact that they would stick their dicks in anyway makes them dangerous.

72. Laurelin - November 12, 2009

“i would like to know, though, how “people who are concerned with human rights” is somehow a special class of people who are able to do no wrong when it comes to porn?”

Good point. Being concerned with human rights on some level does not mean that you are not fucking up with regard to human rights on another level – the point is to be prepared to listen and have your mistakes pointed out to you. That’s how we improve as human beings.

As factcheckme has said, you by definition do not know, and cannot know, that the actress in the porn movie you are watching has consented. That inevitability, combined with the endless testimonies from ex-porn performers about the rape and abuse they endured should make it clearly indefensible for anyone concerned with human dignity to be watching porn or contributing to the industry of which it is a part.

Don’t take the chance; women’s lives are at stake.

factcheckme - November 12, 2009

one sub-set of porn that perhaps doesnt fall under my blanket statement would be “porn” that you made yourself, of yourself, having consensual sex. it wouldnt have the same problems for a few reasons (but it also might not be proper “porn” either, as opposed to a home-movie or a videotaped sexcapade). when you watched it, you WOULD know that the acts on the video were consensual, because you were there. does this make you a porn-consumer? i dont know. not in the way i had initally conceived of it, as in purchasing porn and watching other people on the screen for your pleasure.

and the man in the video…well, if its a home-movie there arent the kinds of circumstantial indicators of nonconsent (like money changing hands, or nengative consequences to stopping). thats more like real-life sex, on camera. very, very different from “porn” proper though isnt it?

the reason i bring it up is that there are people who do this very thing, call it “porn” and then use *their* kind of porn as an example of why porn as a whole is unproblematic, or why *some* porn is. trouble with that is, its not really porn, which makes it a straw man argument. saying A is just like B and then arguing for the merits of B. when the post is about A, and A and B arent the same.

73. Laurelin - November 12, 2009

“the reason i bring it up is that there are people who do this very thing, call it “porn” and then use *their* kind of porn as an example of why porn as a whole is unproblematic, or why *some* porn is. ”

Yeah, the same sort of straw man argument is used in discussions of specific sex acts. So if Sex Act X is undertaken in a pornographic scene in which it is clearly meant to demean the woman (abusive language, violence, nonconsent, that type of thing) and this is discussed in a thread, *immediately* someone pipes up with ‘well I like Sex Act X and don’t find it demeaning so there’, and the original context is forgotten, and the abuses ignored. Sex Act X in the comfort of your own home and sexlife is likely to be different from Sex Act X on a porn set with verbal and physical abuse.

Like you, I really don’t care about people at home with their consensual cameras, tbh. Even though I have the reputation of being the oppressive prude who wants to tell everyone how to have sex, I really don’t care about mutually chosen BDSM *even though* I think it deserves critique and is morally problematic. What I DO care about is the presentation of BDSM as healthy and cool, the constant pushing of it onto women, particularly vulnerable women, and the constant promotion of it. I also despise ‘consent’ being used as a yardstick for acceptability with BDSM stuff, being someone who has been damaged by consenting out of ignorance, emotional blackmail and fear. And when threads that are about abuse devolve into self-obsessed indidviduals defending their petty little sex games I (infamously) lose my rag.

74. Laurelin - November 12, 2009

Also, things one ‘consents’ to freely can still damage a person, or can not turn out the way one expects, or can become vile, damaging experiences, whether one liked the idea to begin with or not.
This is another reason I despise the promotion of BDSM, and believe it fundamentally harmful.

Sorry, slight thread-jack (just after I criticised others for thread-jacking!)

factcheckme - November 12, 2009


Also, things one ‘consents’ to freely can still damage a person, or can not turn out the way one expects, or can become vile, damaging experiences, whether one liked the idea to begin with or not.


yes, this is a good point, i think, because it highlights the way these issues are almost always framed. basically, “consent” and therefore “rape” hinges on whether or not the MAN “deserves” to go to prison for what he did. more specifically, “consent” is framed in a very male-friendly way and is specifcally designed to keep men OUT of prison for rape, even when they are rapists. for example, theres a “reasonable man” standard in california that allows men off the hook even where the sex act was unwanted and even when it was forced…if the “reasonable man” would have believed that it was wanted. WTF? its things like that that make it perfectly obvious that consent LITERALLY has nothing to do with what the woman wanted. it has to do with men, and prison. thats not really a surprise, since the rules were written by men, who dont want to go to prison for rape.

so…we dont care what the women want, its all about TEH MENZ. right? ok fine. in this article, i suggested that we can leave womens feelings out of it when it comes to rape on the porn set: would a reasonable person think that individual sex acts were wanted by the female actor, based on the circumstances? if not, its rape. well, now all of a sudden we care very much about how the women felt! how convenient! the porn-actress is fine with it, therefore…(what?)

we only care about keeping men out out of jail. this is not an appropriate framework for any feminist discourse, and its particularly inappropriate when it comes to discussing rape.

75. Bee - November 12, 2009

Hi, I am not going to lie, but I have not read thoroughly every single comment but still wanted to hear your opinion on this subject. I apologize if I missed this addressed elsewhere.

Do you have share the same ideas on consent in hetero porn for female on female porn or even male to male porn?

76. Nom Chompsky - November 12, 2009

In the comment above, I should have written “bear with me.” Don’t know why I didn’t see that.

“As factcheckme has said, you by definition do not know, and cannot know, that the actress in the porn movie you are watching has consented.”

This applies to every situation in which you are not personally involved. If you watch a mainstream film where people are kissing, or a play, or even if you see two people canoodling on the street, you have no idea whether consent is given. Such is the nature of watching, well, anything.

Am I ok watching a production of Hamlet without worrying that I’m tacitly supporting regicide?

factcheckme - November 12, 2009

hi, bee. glad to see you are working your way around the site! yes, i think that the consent-problem exists in all porn. thats why i made the blanket-statement, i really meant it. the consent-problem is the same in regards to the porn-consumer in every case, because the consumer doesnt *know* whether consent was given because he/she wasnt there. and regarding the porn-actors, the circumstances make it impossible to know whether the person beng acted-upon *wanted* the sex acts or not. i replied to winter-lights above with a pretty detailed reply about this very thing, the male-gaze etc. a find-word search on that term would probably bring it up.

77. Laurelin - November 12, 2009

“Am I ok watching a production of Hamlet without worrying that I’m tacitly supporting regicide?”

Did you miss the part in which I mentioned the myriad tesimonies of women abused in porn? Or was that just too much reality for you?

78. Laurelin - November 12, 2009

And, NC, you’re still not showing any respect.

factcheckme - November 12, 2009

nom chompsky, consent to sex is different than any other kind of consent, or assent. if you watch two people making cookies on film, theres no danger that you are watching rape. ok? the worst-case scenario is that you are watching someone make cookies, against their will. dont discount rape, or pretend as if its no worse or no different than any other human interaction. oh, and you are TOTALLY on moderation, for using dictionary-definitions and the term QED in a discussion of rape. (that post was spammed). thanks.

79. Laurelin - November 12, 2009

Some of these chaps will say anything to justify their porn consumption. It’s vile.

factcheckme - November 12, 2009

FEMSPOTTER ASKED ME TO POST THIS FOR HER BECAUSE SHE CANT ACCESS THE SITE AT THE MOMENT: THESE ARE HER WORDS:

If the “rapist” on the film doesn’t know it’s rape and the audience doesn’t know it’s rape, then – again I harp on the violence issue – it isn’t rape. If I decide in the middle of having sex that I just don’t feel like it and I don’t speak up – that isn’t rape. Rape victims must declare their unwillingness to move forward so that everyone knows. If I have a son, what do I tell him about sex with girls if I can’t distinguish how he’s to know a girl isn’t interested in having sex? Let’s say they start making out and he wants to go farther but she doesn’t. How should he know? How do I tell him to know to stop having sex unless there’s a “no” or a slap? In other words, unless he’s being violent toward the girl, how is he to know he’s raping her? Furthermore, this idea that we can never really know if people are consenting during porn really means that we can never really know if people are consenting during sex that isn’t filmed too.

And with regard to porn being “graphic depictions of the whore,” WTF? If that’s true, who is the whore in my home-made porn? Me, my husband? Doesn’t the word ‘whore’ again fall back to the misconception that all women hate sex. In the case of “whores” of porn, doesn’t that imply that all porn actresses hate their jobs, which we know is false?

Instead of viewing sex as a case wherein women can be only victims, I prefer to think of sex as a place where we can triumph too.

And who said that people who are concerned with human rights do no wrong?

And why should people have to justify their porn consumership if they simply don’t agree with you that porn isn’t ALL bad?

80. Laurelin - November 12, 2009

“And with regard to porn being “graphic depictions of the whore,” WTF? If that’s true, who is the whore in my home-made porn?”

The word pornography means ‘graphic depiction of the whore’ in Greek.

grapho = I write, I depict
porne = slave prostitute in the brothels of Classical Athens

My point is that nothing designating women as ‘whores’ can be feminist or acceptable. ‘Whore’ is a misogynist word used to denigrate women, a term of abuse. It is used on women for showing sexual interest; it is used on women for not showing sexual interest. It is never ok that we sanction it. I was not using the term myself, or calling a woman that (I NEVER do), I was referring to the meaning of the word ‘pornography’. Meanings are important.

As for homemade films, I already expressed (in my previous comment) how much I do not care about them- you mutually desired to make them, so what’s the problem there? You don’t need to defend yourself; I am not attacking you.

But don’t let your interest in home movies blind you to the very real torture and rape in pornography, and please don’t delude yourself that you can quite happily divide the ‘good’ from the ‘bad’- this is wishful thinking, and very dangerous wishful thinking at that.

One has to justify one’s consumption of porn just as one should be ready to justify any other acts one undertakes. It doesn’t matter whether you personally believe that porn is bad or not; that won’t stop the rapes and torture endemic in it. Whatever you *think* won’t change the reality until the demand for porn is halted.

As to what to say to your son: well I would tell him to ask the girl in every circumstance. Then he can be reassured that what they do is mutually chosen, and will never have to worry that he has unintentionally hurt a woman.

As for ‘she should have said no’, well that’s all very nice in theory, but many women and girls find it hard to say ‘no’, hard to find that self-assertion necessary to do that. While that may not be the individual chap’s fault, it *is* the result of male privilege, in that women habitually fear male violence and so may well not say ‘no’ if they fear negative consequences. And this again, has nothing to do with the individual chap himself, but he has the duty to allow for that possibility and make damned sure that his partner is happy. That’s the price of male privilege- and hardly a very large one.

There are other reasons for *not* sying no: not knowing that one can, thinking that one has ‘led him on’ and so must continue, being afraid, not being asked.

81. Laurelin - November 12, 2009

“If the “rapist” on the film doesn’t know it’s rape and the audience doesn’t know it’s rape”

How does the audience’s ignorance make it ‘not rape’? What has their perception got to do with it?

82. Laurelin - November 12, 2009

“Instead of viewing sex as a case wherein women can be only victims, I prefer to think of sex as a place where we can triumph too.”

A few points:

1) Porn is not the same thing as sex. Pornography is a cultural depiction of sexual activity predicated on the subordination of women. It is *not* ‘sex’. I am not saying women are always ‘victims’ in sex, I am responding to the widespread reports from ex-porn performers that rape and torture were part of their experiences in that ‘industry’.

2) Triumph? Over what? What is this triumph, why do we need it, and what does it require of us?

3) We can ‘view’ porn however we wish; how we view it does NOT change the reality for others. The reality of porn for many actresses is rape and torture- our wishful thinking won’t make it otherwise.

83. Laurelin - November 12, 2009

I’ve just re-read what I wrote, and I think my words sound very abrasive towards you, Femspotter, and I’d like to apologise for that.

My aim is not to upset you or anger you in any way; my only aim is to make clear what porn means for many women and girls, and how it is the responsibility of all of us to try and stop this.

Best wishes to you.

84. femspotter - November 14, 2009

Thanks for the apology and the best wishes! I wish you the same.

I didn’t have access until just now; here’s what I had written down to post:

Triumph? Triumph over this romanticized notion of male privilege. What about female privilege? What about men holding doors for us, pulling out our chairs, going off to war, etc. Being a man is not always easy. Men aren’t culturally permitted to cry or have weaknesses the way we are. I am a feminist and I believe that we need to and can elevate the status of women without tearing down men. Triumph? Triumph over sexuality by enjoying it rather than fearing it. Get what you want out of it. Don’t settle!

Sex isn’t gross or wrong. It’s necessary for survival of the species and it can be lots of fun for everyone!

Words morph over time and when I use the word porn I don’t think about its Greek origin. The word gender means masculine/feminine but people use it incorrectly all the time and now it has come to mean sex (male/female) in the vernacular. We don’t commit to the ancient Greek roots of the words we use daily. We commit to each word’s current meaning.

Thinking more about the “depictions of the whore” term. Brothels stood at almost every corner in antiquity. It was commonplace to stop in and get a “quickie” on your way home from work. In each room, there were frescoes above the bed rack depicting the position or act offered in that room. This sped up the service to the customer – not to mention that the prostitutes didn’t always speak the same language as their customers. You can still see such depictions in Pompeii. It’s really fascinating that sexuality hasn’t changed over the years. Madonna didn’t invent sex, that is! :D That might be the context for the origin of the term, but that doesn’t mean that the word “porn,” which we apply to all depictions of sexuality today means that the people therein are trading sex for money without regard for personal satisfaction. I think porn can exist without being harmful to its participants, and yes, that should be the goal.

You are lecturing me as if I am in denial that women have ever suffered from rape. I am not. I am simply not a radical and I want a happy medium for all people. Men collectively are not the enemy. And women hurt other women. Don’t reduce me to my sex and say that’s that! I am a person, unique and special, just as you are!

And if some women have trouble saying “no,” what good will my fictional son asking her if they can make love do in preventing the rape that you would say occurs when she says “yes” but doesn’t really want to have sex?

As to why it’s important what the porn viewer knows (whether there’s consent or not), the owner of this blog has said multiple times that viewers are reprehensible if they don’t care about the rights of the women on screen. You yourself has said that porn is a “cultural depiction,” and in saying so you are implying that the culture that makes and watches porn is reprehensible. A culture is made up of many people. It is universal in its locale. Therefore, we the viewers are accomplices and our knowledge is key.

When you and FCM et al. use hateful terminology like “fun fem” for me and “pornsick” for porn-friendly men, you are doing the same thing pro-lifers do in labeling pro-choice supporters as “baby killers.” Neither term is entirely accurate, are they?

85. Lauri - November 17, 2009

All porn is rape for there is no propper consent – the consent used is money. By this principle – is all work slavery?

86. factcheckme - November 17, 2009

consent to sex is not “money.” consent to sex is saying yes, and meaning it. and the situation has to be such that whomever is penetrating you knows that your “consent” is representative of your actual desires, for each and every act. i suggest you read the article and the comments therein, before commenting again lauri. thanks.

87. Cjay757 - November 18, 2009

I’ve read most of the comments and the entire article and i have a question.

Since you believe rape can occur because the person involved has additional negative consequences to saying no outside of stopping just stopping the act such as emotional factors, coercion, and financial losses do you believe it’s at all possible for a man to be raped? (not just in the porn scenario but in general)

factcheckme - November 18, 2009

men are sometimes raped by other men. so, yes. and i appreciate that you read the article and comments before commenting.

88. Cjay757 - November 18, 2009

So in your view it’s not possible for a woman to coerce sex from an unwilling male?

factcheckme - November 18, 2009

stop derailing, and read the conversation between winterlights and myself, where i already go into this. and FYI, “coerced sex” isnt rape. rape is coerced/forced penetration of someone orally, vaginally or anally. if you want to go through your porn collection and annotate the scenes in which women are penetrating men, please do. then, make a note of all of those in which the male viewer is supposed to be relating to the woman, and not the man.

89. Cjay757 - November 19, 2009

You are correct and i was wrong about the legal definition of rape. So i would like to apologize for that, Though i feel it’s a bit presumptuous to say i have a porn collection or anything of that sort because i don’t actually view porn and have only once purchased a magazine and that was the day i turned eighteen which was five years ago.

I would say hough in my understanding of how porn works and i’ll be the first to admit i’m not an expert i’m not exactly sure what inherently makes porn rape. are you saying that since the females motivation for having sex lies outside of the actual desire to have sex (wanting to get paid or not break whatever “contract” she signed) her ability to be one hundred percent clear about her willingness to complete the action at the moment of filming can’t be unilaterally trusted? cause tolerating something for money is not the same as just wanting to do it for doing it’s sake?

also on a side note can anyone elaborate for me what kind of contract porn actors sign. Some people are saying it’s just a model release and some are saying it contains actual provisions regarding the actual sexual intercourse. I personally was under the impression that like any kind of model the don’t sign or deal with contracts for specific shoots but they sign with an agency and then people book them through that agency and all the particulars involving sex are discussed that day verbally on set. but like i said i could be wrong.

90. factcheckme - November 21, 2009

i was linked to as a “transphobic feminist” by the feminist legal theory blog. heres the comment that i tried to post in response to their accusation (thier blog is restricted as to comments…big surprise!)

it bothers me very much that you linked to my blog, and my anti-pornography article, as an example of “feminists furthering transphobia” and in fact accusing me and my work of perpetuating and condoning, literally, murder of transpersons. this is a gross misinterpretation and misrepresentation of my work, and a hilarious extrapolation of my ability to “further” the murderous violence of people who dont even read my blog.

firstly, considering that you are speaking about gendered violence, feminsts are not the problem, so your aim is off; patriarchy, male privilege, and mens homophobia are the source of all gendered violence, a problem that born-women and transwomen must navigate, and survive.

secondly, my blog is geared toward women and feminists: those who would perpetrate gendered violence (men) or support it are not going to find any support from me or my words, even if they come across my blog by mistake. homophobic, entitled, misogynist, violent offenders arent going to be spending much time reading anything i write, although they somtimes find themselves there through disgusting keyword searches such as “rape porn.” as soon as they realize that i dont support or host the disgusting material they are looking for, do you suppose they stick around for a radfem analysis of their misogyny and male privlege? i doubt it.

transpersons have little to fear from women in general, and certainly not from women critical of gendered violence, and supportive of social and legal services for victims of male violence. radical feminists are doing much of the heavy lifting, in point of fact, when it comes to furthering womens interests internationally. the work we have done to protect women from intimate partner violence and rape benefits transpersons as well, although your words belie the truth of the matter, dont they?

as long as you are quoting me, how about quoting this as well, to give a more accurate portrayal of my viewpoint: “i feel that trans-persons deserve human rights, legal rights, and every protection that everyone else deserves, and that they should not be physically harmed or discriminated against.”

http://factcheckme.wordpress.com/2009/11/09/sorry-sex-pos-transwomen/#comment-336

heres the link to their article, which is about the “day of rememberance” of murdered transpersons. how fitting, that they would blame a radical feminist for perpetuating male violence. or, as mr. FCM likes to say: THATS RICH.

http://femlegaltheory.blogspot.com/2009/11/remembering-dead.html

91. Zap - December 2, 2009

Too few capitals, didn’t read.

factcheckme - December 2, 2009


Too few capitals, didn’t read.


HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA oh, you special little petal. what a great reason to ignore an article about porn and rape! loretta would have a field day with this response…i believe this one from the shelley lubben article applies here, so i am cutting and pasting her words:

“The men who are abusive online display the same abusive traits of men who are violent in person. That’s probably why they become more aggressive the less that women want to discuss things with them. The root of domestic violent is the abuser’s feeling of inadequacy. How much more inadequate must they feel when they cannot stop women from expressing an opinion using nothing more than a keyboard.

“They are so used to being able to define and control the women in their lives, that they have a hard time accepting that women on the Internet cannot be silenced. That is why I liked Valenti’s idea that the Internet is the next stage of feminism. It is something I’ve felt for a long while. There are no gatekeepers on the Internet to silence women. Not men who terrorize women in their homes and not men who control the publishing houses.

“Every time I hear about how the media or the publishing industry is in trouble because of the Internet, I cheer. The sooner they lose the dominant control of what we hear or read, the better off women will be.

“In a nominally egalitarian society the ideal situation (socially speaking) is one in which the members of the ‘wrong’ groups have the freedom to engage in literature (or equally significant activities) and yet do not do so, thus proving that they can’t. But, alas, give them the least real freedom and they will do it. The trick thus becomes to make the freedom as nominal a freedom as possible and then-since some of the so-and-so’s will do it anyway-develop various strategies for ignoring, condemning, or belittling the artistic works that result. If properly done, these strategies result in a social situation in which the ‘wrong’ people are (supposedly) free to commit literature, art, or whatever, but very few do, and those who do (it seems) do it badly, so we can all go home to lunch. -Joanna Russ How to Suppress Women’s Writing

http://factcheckme.wordpress.com/2009/11/24/shelley-lubben/#comment-1201

92. Laurelin - December 2, 2009

Write only few words: not make you smart.

factcheckme - December 2, 2009

LOL @ laurelin

93. Amananta - December 8, 2009

Is the issue, and should the issue be, “Is every single woman in porn being raped?”

No, and don;t think anyone here is saying every act of filmed pornography is a rape.

Is it more the issue that many, many filmed and photographed women marketed as “porn” are being raped, and that often those pictures and films are pictures and flms of rape? Yes.

Is it further an issue that, due to the nature of pornography, i.e., it is a kind of acting, you have no reasonable way of knowing if you are viewing an act of rape or a voluntary sex act? I certainly think so.

Given the high number of women and children who are literal slaves (read up a bit on sex trafficking, ffs) and the high number of prostitutes who are children (the average prostitute begins her “career” in her early teens) and the historic crossover between prostitution and pornography, combined with the outraged, incensed reaction by internet pornographers a few years back when they were told merely that they would have to keep an ID on file for their models to prove they weren’t children (TEH HORROR) I think its a fair bet that many, many pictures of purported adults in pornography are actually children, which makes all issues of consent immediately null and void. Moving on to adulthood, economic coercion being the reality it is makes “consent” a frail thing indeed. So while some models may indeed be enthusiastically consenting adults, enough are not that it makes ALL viewing of pornography an act complicit with paying rapists to continue filming and photographing rape.

94. Imaginary - December 15, 2009

Hi. Just started reading your blog, and thus far I like it. It’s a little bewildering how you have to make the same points again and again and again, but you’re quite patient. YAY!

factcheckme - December 16, 2009

thanks for posting, imaginary! stop by as often as you like.

95. Jan - December 19, 2009

Ask yourself the following questions about porn, the online variety, the type that anybody can easily find in 10 seconds without paying a dime beyond the cost of the computer and internet connection.

This is not an easy thing to do, but if you ask and gain enough information honestly to answer the questions for yourself, you will be forever freed of innocence about men and porn. Even Andrea Dworkin did not predict the increasing levels of hate by men against women unleashed into our world by internet porn. I had to see it for myself to understand. Here are the questions.

What does it mean, that in the space of the last 12 months, when you google “bondage photos” the torture and cruelty by men against women has ratcheted up several notches in the video images of men’s sadistic hatred against women (the man-on-woman heteronormative porn torture photos lavishly outnumbering the relatively few man-on-man and the even fewer woman-on-woman photos)?

What does it mean, that in the space of the last 12 months, now there are power tool fittings commonly available by online ordering to change a power drill to a “fu#$ machine” which mechanically ramrods either or both of a woman’s orifices below the waist — and that there also are custom machines to power-ram all orifices, with free, online porn showing men singly and in gangs how to do this to one or more women?

What does it mean to see for free, online, without advance warning, a below-the-waist photo of the bloody, misshapen, orifice-changing results of the above-identified ramming, and wonder with grief for an unheralded sister how any woman would have lived — physically or spiritually — after this cruel wounding?

What does it mean, that in the space of the last 12 months, even when I’m wearing a turtleneck sweater with long sleeves and a bulky jacket with long jogging pants, my body receives that rapist “look,” from groups of men or men singly also trying to catch my eye, more often than I recall ever receiving their looks of appraisal in the past?

96. TBL - December 19, 2009

Jan, I think your post needs a trigger warning. That is fucking disturbing. I hate this stuff so much.

97. Jan - December 19, 2009

A trigger warning, sure, I’m a little new to this so thought maybe that was an automatic moderation function — I’ve seen what looks like standard language “Warning, this may trigger” on blogs and don’t know if that’s something routine through the moderation queue or if I’m expected to do it?

My purpose wasn’t to trigger anybody, however, but to suggest that we get out of the realm of abstraction and really know — by being willing to look at reality — the truth of what we’re dealing with as women in this cowardly but cruel male-made world of online porn. Our lives may depend on it.

This pornified world and its increasing levels of cruelty acted out against women by men, to my experience and knowledge about advertising/imagery impacts, cannot help but increase the levels of global misogyny every woman faces every minute of every day.

98. SheilaG - December 22, 2009

Thanks for this very thoughtful post. I’ve always hated porn from the get go, and come from the generation that detested Miss America contests, and Playboy.

But things are far worse, because porn has become a male rape training course; Catherine Mackinnon talked about porn being used as rape manual in the Bosnian civil war, with hundreds of thousands of Muslim women becoming victims.

Consent for women is a joke. Just think of the times every day, when men invade your space, bore you at parties, or refuse to leave you alone if you want to have a quiet drink at a bar by yourself.

It is literally impossible for men to imagine the damange porn does to women, both the women who are filmed and the men who view it.

The culture has become a sewer of pornification, and young girls are even being targeted with sexy inappropriate Halloween costumes.

That the male left does nothing about this is telling, and that young girls are being targeted by older men to fuel their porn fantasies is a fact.

How can we stop this? I almost think that women would have to refuse to date men until its gone, and I don’t see any of this happening anytime soon.

The article and personal passion in it makes it a remarkable post in every way. For my generation, it was easy, we hated porn, we protested against it, we found men having sex with women horrifying. But for straight women to come to this knowledge I think speaks to the real danger this poses for women worldwide now. And women need to put a stop to this, otherwise we’ll have problematic fundamentalist men taking control, and using porn to scare women in right wing Christianity.

factcheckme - December 23, 2009

thanks for that sheila. i am straight, as you say, and i am also a recovering fun-fem. which means that i having to come to terms with things as they *are* for once in my life, not how i want them to be, or how i wish they were. porn, and the porn-loving males i have experienced are a bad memory at this point, and its more difficult to get it all out of my mind than i had anticipated. i think i am a lesbian seperatist trapped in a hetero (and anti-social) body. but seriously. being a straight woman who hates porn and porn-loving men is a real problem. a really huge, bitch of a mighty problem. and i dont know what its going to bring me, for the rest of my life, but i also cant look back. thanks for posting!

99. TBL - December 23, 2009

being a straight woman who hates porn and porn-loving men is a real problem. a really huge, bitch of a mighty problem.

oh em gee, fcm, I know exactly what you mean.

Jan, re trigger warnings – I didn’t actually mean my comment to sound like a criticism of you – I did find what you wrote really disturbing though. I’ve seen comments before on blogs about porn where the comment was purportedly anti-porn, but described a violent sex act in such detail that it was actually like forcing the women reading to ‘witness’ it. Examples are good and helpful but I’m always wary of how much detail and descriptive writing to go into.

factcheckme - December 23, 2009

i agree TBL. i have seen that type of subterfuge happen too. and i am always wary of posts like that when they occur. thanks for spelling it ou so clearly.

100. Jan - December 23, 2009

Andrea Dworkin had spelled it out clearly for me the first time when I took her book and threw it against the wall in revolt about what I thought at the time was too graphic for words. Now the words, to be true, must describe what’s more graphically torturing than even Dworkin might have imagined, because the ante of cruelty against women in men’s porn is upped every year and Dworkin has sadly been gone for that long.

If it had not been for the hard clarity of Dworkin’s writing, I would never have seen through the man-made mist and understood the risks we all face as women in the world men have made by force.

Today the eunuchs and transvestites of Pakistan are being ceded civil rights (a good thing) while yet another school for girls in Pakistan has been blown up by the Taliban. Both happening, today in news reports linked to my Yahoo email home page. What does this tell us once again? As Yoko Ono and John Lennon wrote and sang, “Woman is the N[they said the N-word, now it's not P.C. to do so] of the World.” The song was on Lennon’s “Shaved Fish” album if my memory serves. Woman’s true status in the world is a hard clarity no longer acceptable to say because the dominator men have said we cannot say the truth by their cultural control.

If we don’t face the reality of porn, and decide what to do about it first as individuals with intelligence and autonomy that men seek to crush, there may be no more women to post to blogs like this one. Lysistrata the situation? It might help. I no longer find the idea of sex with men who trivialize us all as “hot” or not in a pornified culture to be appealing in any measure.

Meanwhile, to save my soul, today I’ll be at the sea watching birds freely fly. Enjoy the Solstice!

101. SheilaG - December 23, 2009

How must women come to terms with porn? I really think women as a group are going to have to refuse to date men who use porn or make porn references, for one thing. And I feel for the women who got roped into funfeminism, or the party life with men.

I feel for the women who waste their youth on too many men, who don’t give a damn about women.

The hatred of women is on malestream radio right out in the open. It could be that most straight women are really in denial about the degree men hate women, and think of them as NOT human.

As lesbian nation rises in the world, maybe a lot of straight women who thought they were straight might turn out not to be. If 50% or more of the world’s population of women did discover its lesbian identity, I think men might think twice about hating women so openly.

It’s a huge problem for straight women, to not be able to trust your partner or boyfriend to NOT be seeing this stuff. And men, who don’t know how addictive is all is in the beginning, soon learn the hard way when it’s too late.

As awful as the porn descriptions are, the bottom line is close to 100% of men on a christian college campus said they used internet porn, for example. It is the very dark world of men writ large.

So if you are a straight woman say age 22 or 25, almost every man out there would have viewed this stuff. You’ll be having sex with a man who enjoyed watching women get gang raped on the Internet. That alone would shock the living hell out of me if I were a straight woman. Reading all this, makes me really feel for all of you these days. As mad as I get about heternormative dominance, especially hetero excess and advertising during “the hellidays” at least I know my partner never views porn, and truely loves me. I know we are equals and true partners, and I know we never knew the hell of even living with men once we left home.

102. Guy - January 1, 2010

I don’t see how anyone wouldn’t be anti-pornography. Especially in this day and age, where porn literally brags about the level of debasement, humiliation and physical abuse they subject the young women to. Violence, aggression, and utter disrespect towards women is a SKYROCKETING trend in pornography as of 2009, and I suspect next year will only seek to “push” that a little further. I’ve watched the level of violence increase in recent years. But again, all of that abuse or mistreatment is warranted, right? Because the women “chose” it? Just like women choose to be emotionally and physically stuck in abusive relationships, marriages, families etc… Where is compassion, empathy, and love? How can people chose to disregard the humanity of these women, reduce them to objects, and self-gratify to their mistreatment? It’s cruelty.

It’s sad how far people will go to defend this cruelty, in any way they possibly can. It’s all about what is in it for them, in the end. When porn boasts about degrading and abusing women, how can people have the nerve to continue defending? Just how bad with things have to get, before (mostly) men and women realize. Some suggest that “torture style” porn is the next logical progression… Will our minds change then? When this comes about will men still say “they chose it”, and continue masturbating as they do now?

People can take a stand against this, but they choose not to. Men don’t want to, and women remain apathetic.Modern porn-culture has poisoned the minds of so many, it’s scary.


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