Shelley Lubben’s “Lived Experience” as a Sex Worker and Porn-Actor November 24, 2009Posted by FCM in authors picks, entertainment, feminisms, health, liberal dickwads, politics, porn, prostitution, thats mean, trans.
Tags: anti pornography, buck angel, sex work, shelley lubben
here is a video of ex-porn actor and anti-pornography crusader shelley lubben, sitting in the lobby of the los angeles hotel in which she had turned her first trick (and unintentionally conceived her first child) as a teenaged prostitute.
part 2 is below.
i post these here because, for one thing, i wanted to point out to all the sex-pozzies who frequent my blog that not all sex-workers’ “lived experience” jives with a liberal/libertarian sex-positive agenda, although they really like to pretend otherwise.
but my main point is in regards to personal testimonies, and the fact that many liberal and so-called “fun-fems,” including transpersons and transactivists give tons of credence to sex-workers’ and others’ personal experience, (you know, when this self-reported “lived experience” supports their agenda) and value personal narratives over feminist theory. they also claim that personal narratives of sex workers and transpersons are inherently feminist, and should be deferred to by feminists in lieu of a critical analysis or examining lived experienced in context.
but feminists who favor theory over experience, or who dissect and examine lived experience in context of feminist theory are the only ones who are being honest, here, arent they?
for example, shelley lubben is an outspoken, anti-pornography and anti-prostitution crusader, who reveals the horrors she experienced while working in the industry for many years. in a series of video testimonies, she reports that she became impregnated during her first experience with prostitution, and contracted genital herpes on the porn set, among other things.
to a radical feminist like myself, shelley lubben’s story appears to be consistent with my own anti-porn, anti-prostitution stance. and i was moved greatly by her words, and by her experience of an industry that i fully agree is harmful to women, and anti-feminist. i have watched these videos over and over, and have been moved to tears, and to write. were i a fun-fem, my analysis would stop there: shelley lubben is a feminist, and her testimony is unproblematic! except that in many ways, thats not the case. not at all.
because shelley lubben, in addition to whatever else she might be, is also a born-again christian, and therefore anti-feminist by definition. and indeed, her testimony is anything but feminist. for example, she uses a racist, fake asian “accent” when describing the encounter in which she became pregnant by a “half-chinese half-japanese” john. and inexplicably, although she herself was a vulnerable teenaged stripper and prostitute, and admits to years of abuse at the hands of men in an exploitative sex industry, she underscores her adoration for her daughter who was conceived during one of the most traumatic experiences of her young life, in a sex-work transaction gone horribly, horribly wrong, by stating that her daughter is “hot!” how could she refer to her daughter in sexually-objectifying terms, after she had just described the experience of her daughters’ conception in excruciating detail on the video, and her own years of victimization in an industry that sexually objectifies women? (answer: because shes not a feminist).
she also invokes a decidedly christian sense of guilt and shame for what she “has done”, and for what her daughter experienced early in her young life, when pornographers and boyfriends would drive her daughter to school, as she was too “messed up” on drugs and sleeping too late to be much of a mother to her. in other videos, she repeatedly refers to herself as a whore. again, rather than twist the definition of “feminist” to fit shelley lubben and her experiences in the sex industry, where its clearly not warranted, i think a feminist analysis of the female gender role, forced motherhood, anti-abortion and religious rhetoric, and internalized misogyny would be helpful here.
but when it comes to the personal testimonies of sex-workers and transpersons that could be read as favorable to a pro-porn, sex-positive, or other (questionable)agenda, radical feminists and others are expected to accept these stories at face-value without examining them further, and as inherently feminist to boot! (although it occurs to me that the transactivists and fun-fems would probably have no problem dismissing shelley lubben’s testimony out of hand, because it doesnt jive with their sex pozzie, pro-porn agenda. and they are the ones who supposedly believe that “lived experience” is so important.)
but how does, for example, FTM transsexual and porn-actor “buck angel, the man with a pussy! TM” support specifically feminist ideals (rather than sex-positive ones) when he acts in porn and tells male porn actors and porn consumers to “fuck my hole!” similarly, how are sex-positive MTF transsexuals who do not have female reproductive function unproblematic to feminism, when they support born-womens right to “fuck our way to freedom” in liberal, sex-positive fashion, but they themselves dont suffer the consequences we do to having sex with men, because unlike born-women, transwomen cant get pregnant, and have to constantly penetrate their post-operative neo-vaginas or suffer grave consequences to their health?
radical feminists are bravely examining these personal narratives in context, and are not shying away from a feminist analysis, even when it brings us down on the un-fun side. anti-porn, anti-sex work radfems might be taking the fun out of feminism, but i personally question when and who decided that feminism should be “fun” in the first place? somehow, i strongly suspect it was men, as sex-positive, pro-porn fun-feminism benefits only them, in the end. call me crazy, and call me mean. but thats not *my* feminism. it never was.
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