"A magazine for everybody" is a magazine for men

“Female friendly” “Porn for women” “Woman-made porn” We’ve heard it all before and here it is again in Adult, a magazine “of contemporary erotics and experience.”

Women have been so indoctrinated by the idea that male sexuality = human sexuality that we can only understand “sexy” though the eyes of men.

Photo via The Cut/nymag.com

 

Adult tries to disguise it’s overt glorification of the male gaze by claiming it is “by women” and “for everyone” but the lazy sexism is impossible to miss.

“I want a magazine that is for everybody but feels like it was made by a woman,” says founding editor Sarah Nicole Prickett (of selfies-are-empowering infamy).

“Who is ‘everybody?'” you might ask. Even Prickett admits that a porn magazine by, and supposedly for, women is no different than any other: “all of the people in the magazine — the subjects in the photo editorials are women.” I haven’t gotten the impression the magazine is being marketed as “lesbian erotica” so what Adult seems to be doing is selling objectified women to heterosexual men and women.

Something new, my ass.

I wouldn’t dare advocate for “equal objectification” — I fail to see how objectifying men will stop us from objectifying women — but to claim the male gaze as our own is foolish, never mind unoriginal.

If all we can come up with, as women, is the same old thing, it should tell us something about the pervasiveness of the notion that male = human, while others can only try to squeeze themselves in, always existing in relation to, but not independent of, men. Prickett passively defends the choice to allow “everyone” to borrow the powerful voyeuristic gaze commonly reserved for men with the same argument the faux-feminist, “good men” do: “We’ve all sort of internalized this idea that the female body is just intrinsically more attractive.” It’s like when men go to the strip club and claim it’s because they love women so much: “They’re just so much more beautiful than men.”

That’s not beauty, that’s objectification. It’s not that the female body is “more attractive,” it’s that we see the female body as something that exists for public consumption. Which is all this new (yet old — retro sexism, anyone?) magazine seems to do: perpetuate the notion that women are things to-be-looked at. Sexism isn’t just for men anymore — now women are “free” to join in on the “fun.” Empowerment™.

“When there was a man in the photo, it didn’t totally work,” Prickett claims. Well no. Of course it “didn’t work.” We’re used to looking at women in this way, it makes us feel comfortable. To objectify a man would be to remove his power. That’s why it feels uncomfortable to us. We are accustomed to women portrayed as powerless. Indeed, to try something new, to challenge that easy-to-digest notion of woman as “thing” is difficult. Easy is easy. Obvious is easy.

How Adult differs from just Hustler for hipsters or Playboy for Terry Richardson devotees, I don’t know. Prickett says the publication is “literary” as well, something she claims to value: “If I’m in too much of a literary milieu, I’ll totally freak out about how unsexy everyone is. But if I go to a fashion party, I’m like, ‘Can anyone here read?’” (you’ll find Prickett quoting herself extensively on her Tumblr page, enamoured); but as we all know, everyone reads Playboy for the articles. Black is the new black. Porn is the new porn. Women are the new men.

“So we have some boring soft-core hipster porn mag,” you might say. “Big whoop.” But this particular endeavour is offensive in a way that goes beyond plain old objectification.

The “for women” argument as a stand-in for progress is trite, but it fools people. Meaningless words are thrown around to create a fog that vaguely resembles intellectualism to those who don’t know (or don’t care to know) any better.

“…it returns to the first meaning of “radical”–the roots of things, traced below the skin…” the descriptor on Amazon states ambiguously. Smoke and mirrors seem to be Prickett’s calling card — “fake it till you make it,” her motto.

To co-opt radicalism in order to market porn might be bold if it weren’t clear that the meaning of the word was lost on the author. The irony of attaching “radical” to “below the skin” in order to sell a skin mag is comical, at least.

That Prickett comes from “a seemingly sheltered background,” as The Daily Beast describes it, is less “ironic” than obvious. She’s still behaving like a rebellious teenager, relating to young women in a way that seems envious: “I’ve written essays defending sexting and the selfie. I’m very on-side with teenage girls and almost anything they do on the internet.” If only we could reclaim that self-exploitative childhood we missed out on, as adults… Maybe it’s not too late.

Pornifying women may feel rebellious when we’ve come from a restrictive background. And calling it “porn for women” is sure to draw attention — as we’ve seen, the magazine has received extensive coverage across the U.S., but as philosopher Drake tells us: “Seek respect, not attention. It lasts longer.”

 

 

Meghan Murphy

Meghan Murphy

Meghan Murphy, founder and editor of Feminist Current, is a freelance writer and journalist. She completed a Masters degree in the department of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University in 2012 and lives in Vancouver, B.C. with her dog. Follow her @meghanemurphy

  • Ash

    I had never heard of this, so thank you for bringing it to light! Also, I couldn’t believe this “: “I’ve written essays defending sexting and the selfie. I’m very on-side with teenage girls and almost anything they do on the internet.”
    So, does she stand with the girls who have their nude images use as a form of sexual blackmail? Does she stand with those girls, too? The fact that she would defend sexting, with kids circulating pornographic images of other kids eventually making their way onto child abuse websites for pedophiles how could she? This idea that children and teens must explore their sexuality via visual technology goes to show that pornography has become a hegemonic form of “sexual expression” despite it having all to do with performance and little do with actual sexual expression or sexuality. This “the internet is always amazing and useful” approach is naive and dangerous.

    Anyway, thanks for bringing this to light, Meghan!

    • Meghan Murphy

      Ah she doesn’t care. She’s in a popularity contest. Nothing she does is about ethics. I had never heard of her until this HORRIBLE WORST EVER interview on the CBC about selfies and was like, this girl must have slept through college and not slept the night before the interview — it was bruuuuutal. Then I come across this “Adult” mag thing and it’s the same person. Funny… ish.

    • Shane W

      The one question I have is exactly what do you think modern anti-porn feminists, rejecting 3rd wave notions of pornography, should do. What should we as a “Modern” society do? Porn is already heavily regulated and taxed, should we make it illegal? What kind of ramifications would this have on women? Don’t you think the same way the temperance movement made alcohol illegal, thus pushing alcohol into the crime market instead of being within the public viewing made the world worse? Wouldn’t illegalizing porn do the same? Wouldn’t making porn illegal only push it into the dark ages where women are subjected to human trafficking, sex against wills, slavery type scenarios, lower wages if any wages at all? Hasn’t the legalization of porn done more to empower women sexually than 2nd wave feminism did? Women have control over their bodies. To say they shouldn’t be allowed to shoot porn because you view it as repressive is like saying “I don’t think women should subject themselves to the oppression of men, instead they should do what I say.” What?

      • Meghan Murphy

        “Hasn’t the legalization of porn done more to empower women sexually than 2nd wave feminism did?” What?!?! No. No it did not. And when exactly was porn illegal?

        “The one question I have is exactly what do you think modern anti-porn feminists, rejecting 3rd wave notions of pornography, should do. What should we as a “Modern” society do?”

        Stop mainstreaming and normalizing porn and porn-use. Start including feminism in public school curricula, ensure women have alternative options so they don’t HAVE to resort to porn in order to make a living (you think these women are there because they love gang bangs??), start educating people about the realities of pornography, teach media literacy. For starters.

      • http://francoistremblay.wordpress.com/ Francois Tremblay

        “The one question I have is exactly what do you think modern anti-porn feminists, rejecting 3rd wave notions of pornography, should do.”
        Keep fighting against the objectification of women in all its forms.

        “What should we as a “Modern” society do? Porn is already heavily regulated and taxed, should we make it illegal?”
        The fuck I care about laws. Laws are written by the power elite for the power elite. Do you think we need to beg our masters to ask them to stop objectifying women?

        “Don’t you think the same way the temperance movement made alcohol illegal, thus pushing alcohol into the crime market instead of being within the public viewing made the world worse?”
        The Prohibition was a good thing in theory, it was just badly implemented. By all accounts producing and selling alcohol en masse should definitely be illegal, but there should be no restrictions on possession or individual use. For example, I doubt having a glass of wine in a fancy restaurant is gonna kill anyone.

        “Wouldn’t making porn illegal only push it into the dark ages where women are subjected to human trafficking, sex against wills, slavery type scenarios, lower wages if any wages at all?”
        First of all, half of prostitutes report being used for porn, so this is already what we have right now. We already have all these things in porn. Do you seriously think making porn illegal will create more human trafficking? How??

        “Hasn’t the legalization of porn done more to empower women sexually than 2nd wave feminism did?”
        Your opinions are stupid and you should feel stupid.

      • Candy

        Of course porn is oppressive in its current form. Explain to me how an industry that refers to women as sluts, whores, and worse is “empowering” to women.

        Women are commonly pressured to do harder and harder porn in the industry. Read the book Girlvert (which isn’t even an anti-porn book, so maybe you’ll relate to it better than, say, the book Getting Off; both are elucidating) and it relays the behind-the-stage filth, girls being broken down, and disgusting men that litter the industry, especially the gonzo porn industry. For a supposedly “civilized” society, it seems people haven’t gotten a grip on their sadistic impulses and racist/sexist tendencies, instead choosing to see others (usually women) presented in a poor light (as worthless whores, of course; why are we correlating “worthless” with whores anyways? One could argue this is a form of shaming women who are promiscuous, as porn scenarios often feature a “give the slut what she deserves” scenario or a similarly degrading variation). Minorities are also negatively stereotyped, e.g. the submissive Asian girl, the African-American slave.

        In fact, many third-wave feminists take issue with porn as well. Being sex-positive does not necessarily correlate with being porn-positive. I don’t identify as a sex-positive feminist, but that’s a bit of a misconception.

        You might say “not all porn is the same,” and that’s surely true, but there’s too much problematic content out there for me to feel anything but vitriol at such an often-vile industry. Porn reflects reality. When people say “porn is just fantasy,” I want to hit them in the face with history. People are sexist, people are racist, and people like their daily dose of privilege and misogyny served up in a steamy dish of porn and other (sexist, racist, even classist) entertainment. It’s not just porn that has this problem, it’s all the entertainment we consume, much of which the average person will not lend an analytical eye to. And there lies the issue.

        Women can do what they wish, but hell, even Stoya came out on Vice and said that she doesn’t think of her career or the industry as supportive of the feminist cause, and she isn’t doing the most degrading porn out there, either. You and I have utterly different connotations of empowerment.

      • lizor

        The alcohol prohibition comparison (that is so often trotted out) is misleadingly framed. Do some research, Shane, into social conditions for women and children before and after prohibition. There was far less abuse, neglect and deprivation when men en mass were forced to sober up.

        But of course, you’re apparently blind to wide-spread gendered abuse of women and children, so the fact of an increased degree of well-being for these human beings will probably make little if any impression on you.

        • Ash

          Oh yeah, the pro-prostitution folks use the “alcohol prohibition defense” a lot, god they need some new tactics.

      • Laur

        “Porn is already heavily regulated and taxed, should we make it illegal? What kind of ramifications would this have on women? ”

        Porn is not currently “heavily regulated” in the U.S. (where I live). Just doing a simple Internet search one is able to find literally any type of porn they want.

        I find the parallel with alcohol prohibition problemtic. DUring prohibition the illegal substance was, well, that, a substance. In pornography, what is being sold? Is it just that women who have pornography made of them, including through what is legally rape, have no way to take it out of existence? Or that some women in pornography worry, with good reason, that any man they meet may have seen porn of them? Where are the women used in porn in your analysis?

        “Hasn’t the legalization of porn done more to empower women sexually than 2nd wave feminism did?”

        I think actual power is more important than an individual “feeling” empowered. Do you think a girl or young woman who has to meet with her male teacher after he has watched student/teacher porn is seen as a full human being? Men love women who are willing to front for the porn industry, including women who say they are feminists and the porn industry is “empowering.” If women have less power than men financially, through our speech, through our positions in government and other parts of society, how are we suddenly “empowered” in our sexual relations with men?

        “Women have control over their bodies. To say they shouldn’t be allowed to shoot porn because you view it as repressive is like saying “I don’t think women should subject themselves to the oppression of men, instead they should do what I say.” What?”

        I am not saying “women should not subject themselves to the oppression of men.” I am saying men should stop sexually harassing, raping, battering, and prostituting women.

        • lizor

          Great points, Laur.

          “Men love women who are willing to front for the porn industry, including women who say they are feminists and the porn industry is “empowering.””

          Dog sits up and begs: receives doggie treat from owner. Dog feels fleeting sense of satisfaction [is “empowered”].

          Power relations erased?

  • http://waittheysaidwhat.wordpress.com waittheysaidwhat

    Thanks for this post.

    It makes me so mad that I can’t actually understand what “sexuality” even is, because these ideas of women’s bodies being all that matters is how I was raised and what I continue to be told. When I was in my early twenties I also used echo these ideas (without thinking)- that women’s bodies are just more beautiful than men’s – because it made me feel special and sexy. After discovering that that is bullshit (and after getting older, I might add not insignificantly), I have ever since been left with the weird position women are put in, of being expected to be the objects of sexuality, and yet not really buying it. I’m sorry, it reminds me of what the “sex work is work” people have promoted since the 60s – that the kind of sex done in prostitution just IS sexuality, ie women performing for men to get the men off.

    As soon as you understand enough to see through it, you are actually left with so little. And that is sad.

    • Grackle

      Just wanted to second your excellent comment. I feel like I’ve been brainwashed and as if my sexuality has been hijacked. It’s very, very depressing.

      • jo

        The propaganda is relentless isn’t it.
        To be able to be true to me and feel that my sexuality is mine and for me I’ve had to actively concentrate and turn away from mainstream media, meditate and focus on my core self, values, and actual feelings, and also try to hunt down some actual helpful info on things like female sexuality.
        It’s sad that it require so much of women, that we have to dodge or clean off all the crap that is thrown at us.
        It has worked well for me as an individual, but the people I interact with will still have their heads full of patriarchal, pornographic propaganda about what sex is and what being a certain sex means.

        • lizor

          Yes jo, I’ve had the same experience – and being a rape survivor makes the toxic messaging even that much more penetrative – if you’ll pardon the term.

          It’s exhausting, especially when people around you don’t support your personal work/journey. I have found though that the more I speak honestly, the easier it is to sort the supportive friends from those who will undermine my sense of sanity and well-being. It’s painful, but at the end of the day it’s really worth it. I think it’s the best investment of time and energy I have made – despite the fact that I deeply resent the demand of energy that it takes to counter the effects of our toxic culture when frankly, I’d rather be doing something else. But this is where and when we are and I think it’s better to deal honestly with what’s going on than drinking to cool-aid and shutting out our souls.

          Keep the faith. There are people who understand and know how important it is that we do this both personally and in the larger scheme of things.

  • TotallyUnsexy

    I don’t understand what the hell heterosexual women are supposed to get out of something like this. How can it be “for everyone” when its content is identical to the porn that’s “for men”. Oh right, because in the eyes of liberal feminism, anything that’s made by some empowered woman (TM) is feminist.

    Maybe she thinks it’s for women, because some liberal can look at it and be like “damn women are sexy, I’m a women, so I’m sexy and sexy is the same thing as sexual, so I’m a sexual being, woohoo”.

    When it comes to men, people understand that being “sexy” and being “sexual” (i.e. having and expressing sexual desire) are two different things. No thinks Twilight or Fifty Shades of Grey are expressions of male sexual desire, because they feature “sexy” men (don’t get me wrong, I’m not endorsing those books or anything, not all expressions of female sexual desire are automatically good.) Somehow when it comes to women, people get confused and think images of butts and boobs are an expression of heterosexual female desire and in particular they seem to think that the women in the images are expressing their sexual desires. Where on earth did they get that impression from?

    • http://francoistremblay.wordpress.com/ Francois Tremblay

      I love this idea that anything made by a woman must therefore be feminist or female-empowering. “feminist porn” usually means “it was made by a woman and it shows a woman actually having fun.” They sure come up with the stupidest arguments, don’t they.

      • Meghan Murphy

        Or, like, the dude is mildly attractive (see: James Deen). FEMINIST.

        • http://francoistremblay.wordpress.com/ Francois Tremblay

          What do you mean?

          • Meghan Murphy

            Everyone was all excited about James Deen (the porn star) and were like, “it’s porn for women,” because Deen was supposedly hot and not disgusting.

          • http://francoistremblay.wordpress.com/ Francois Tremblay

            Well you know, nowadays women read so much porn like wedding porn, food porn. Porn is basically anything women like to read or see (although I haven’t yet seen any mention of “cat porn,” because that would be way too creepy).

          • TotallyUnsexy

            “Cat porn” LOL!

            Good observation, the overuse of the word “porn” to describe everything (I’ve heard terms like “special effects porn”, “costume porn”, etc) probably helps to normalise pornography and give the impression that porn is just part of human nature.

          • Henke

            The use of the word porn in everyday sentences tells a whole lot just how normalized porn has become in our culture.
            Its creepy honestly.

          • http://francoistremblay.wordpress.com/ Francois Tremblay

            I’m just waiting for the term to come full circle and for people to call pornography “sex porn.”

  • joy

    Yeah, I’m attracted to women and I find this relentlessly boring/same-old-same objectifying too, so let’s guess that to anyone resembling an enlightened consumer this doesn’t function as “lesbian erotica” either.

    Besides, is there even such a thing as a hipster lesbian? The hipster subculture is so attached to dick and romanticization of the heterosexual dick’s desires that I think every woman who even admits to any sort of homosexuality chooses the labels “bi”/”pan”/”queer”. The few ‘rebels’ who don’t sleep with any men still seem to side with dick inasmuch as they identify with the het male/misogynist gaze — but all but the most naive lesbians are nonetheless content-savvy enough to identify by-het-for-het material and understand they are not the target audience for this magazine.

    I probably don’t need to ask, but: most of the models are light-skinned as well as of American Apparel-approved physical proportions, yeah? So this sad rag doesn’t even succeed at “equal” (female) exploitation.

    In short: “for everyone”? Blatantly, not so much.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Couldn’t have said it better myself.

      • Lou

        Unfortunately some lesbians seem to have completely accepted the male gaze… And tend to reproduce it. For bi women I don’t know, we’re so invisible anyway, hard to get an idea.
        Even “lesbian porn/erotica” is extremely lesbophobic and biphobic on a thousand levels, its depressing. And very dangerous for Bi and lesbian women.

    • Meghan Murphy

      OH OH JOY. HERE ARE SOME IMAGES OF THIN NAKED WHITE GIRLS. FOR WOMEN. I MEAN ‘EVERYBODY’. http://blog.alldayeveryday.com/posts/ade00169-first-look-adult-mag

      • joy

        LOOK! FEMINISM!!

        Seriously though, I am not surprised. Call me the hipster porn psychic or something. Maybe I’ve spent too much time in Brooklyn (answer: yes).

        As a related aside: American Apparel has its own eBay store, and they include a size chart with the disclaimer “[AA] clothing is meant to fit and flatter a youthful figure.” When I read it, my eyes nearly popped out of my head. “Youthful figure”?? Everything about that is wrong and offensive.

        • Meghan Murphy

          Yes. I will call you the hipster porn psychic.

          Re: AA – OH FUCK OFF. Fuck the fuck off.

  • jo

    She wants to make women pay to look at even more objectified images of women?! I want, instead, to be paid for the emotional damage of seeing images of objectified women in ads and media every single freaking day.

    And harr. For everyone huh? God forbid you would actually try to add beautiful photos of men in the magazine. Then it wouldn’t be for everyone because it would frighten away the straight men. But straight women are expected to look nothing but boring-ass images of other women and like it?

    • Grackle

      But we women are just so beeeautiful, which is why, as I’m sure you know, all of us are “at least a little bit bisexual”–or so I’ve been lead to believe. Aren’t we so special and lucky to have been born into the Sex Class?

    • TotallyUnsexy

      They say they’re going to add pictures of men in the next edition. I’m still not impressed.

      I bet they’re all going to have huge biceps and stern expressions that make them look like they want to (and can) beat you (the viewer) up. Because nothing’s sexier than a cold, uncaring man who’s strong enough to pummel you into the ground, right?

      Objectifying men is not the answer. It’s not even beneficial to women (in a long term sense) because it teaches them to chase after aggressive assholes. Furthermore, encouraging the oppressed group to sink to the level of the oppressor class (in terms of behaviour) is never the solution to oppression. Liberal feminists have such low standards when it comes to women’s liberation.

      • lizor

        “Objectifying men is not the answer. It’s not even beneficial to women (in a long term sense) because it teaches them to chase after aggressive assholes. ”

        Excellent point.

        • Henke

          Indeed. And I would stretch this into the the saying that “nice guys finish last”.
          It becomes all so connected.

      • jo

        TotallyUnsexy: I agree, it’s not the solution to add men to the magazine or to objectify men in general. However a complete lack of men in a magazine “for everyone” is just ridiculous, (and gay/bi men also exists!) it has to be pointed out.
        Your description of typical nude/shirtless photos of men is so apt! Media do not usually wish to actually objectify men, but to portray them as aggressive and dominant. If they actually objectified men, they would portray them as beautiful passive things for women to use and please ourselves with. Unthinkable. Photographers are often hesitant to even show men as approachable, sensual or nice individuals who look like they could be nice company for the female viewer. No most of the time it’s black and white, “artistic” frowning muscled stuff. A man portrayed in an actually objectified or simply pleasant way would no longer be seen as domineering. And that is apparently frightening and anti-masculine.

        Grackle: By the way I am one of those who can feel attraction to people of both sexes. It involves feeling real affection for real individuals, and do not involve the male gaze. I do not like such images, because the male sexist way of looking at women is not my view of us.
        How sad for capitalist-patriarchy, they can’t make any money from such feelings, so they want everyone to look at women as mindless objects for men and to consume that type of photos. Not of men of course – that would be degrading.

        • TotallyUnsexy

          “However a complete lack of men in a magazine “for everyone” is just ridiculous, (and gay/bi men also exists!) it has to be pointed out.”

          It is ridiculous, which is why the creator of the magazine is going to “fix things” in the next edition by including images of “sexy” men.

          I am all in favour of pointing out how ridiculous it is suggest that a collection of images of super thin busty women is somehow “for women”. I made my comment about objectifying men because I suspect that some liberal is going to read the article, click one of the links in the article, find out about the creator’s promise to include men in the next edition and post some innane comment that says “they’re going to have sexy men in the next edition so what’s the problem. Haha I owned you, stupid anti-porn feminists”. I wanted to provide a preemptive rebuttal.

          So far no liberal porn lovers appear to have turned up. I guess they’re too busy jerking off/feeling all empowered to porn.

        • Grackle

          Just to be clear: I hope my comment didn’t come off as an argument that bisexuality (in women or men) doesn’t exist. I agree with everything you’ve said!

          • jo

            I understood that :)
            I also hate how the false idea that “all women is a little bi” (but not men) is used to excuse objectification of women. It’s also a very offensive thing to say to lesbians.

    • lizor

      “She wants to make women pay to look at even more objectified images of women?! I want, instead, to be paid for the emotional damage of seeing images of objectified women in ads and media every single freaking day.”

      Seconded.

  • copleycat

    There used to be this bar-b-que place I would drive by and there road side billboard made me feel sick. It was a larger than life picture of a pig, knife and fork in hand, bib tied around its neck, grinning ear to ear, and sitting in roasting pan. This kind of thing makes me remember that billboard.

    • Meghan Murphy

      I hate that! The ads for meat that feature the smiling animals (meat to be)?? Who the EFF came up with that creepy idea?

      • http://francoistremblay.wordpress.com/ Francois Tremblay

        Well, it’s the logical end of the self-victimization thought process: those animals really do want us to eat them, so we shouldn’t feel guilty for raising them in horrid conditions and killing them. Everything is for the best in the best of all worlds, etc etc

  • Missfit

    These kinds of images are used to sell shampoos for women in regular women’s magazines. Heterosexual women are not meant to look at these images with lust but as something to aspire to. All for women!

    This idea that ‘the female body is just intrinsically more attractive’ is putting, again, the hetero male point of view as the objective truth. Heterosexual women and gay men would certainly disagree. I can find a woman beautiful (like as I do a child) but I am not attracted to women (unfortunately, because then I could be a lesbian and I think that would be really great!).

    And let’s not get confused: when we say ‘the female body’, we mean only some, select bodies… Women are so attractive that we constantly ask them to ‘improve’ or alter their bodies.

  • http://francoistremblay.wordpress.com/ Francois Tremblay

    So… serious question. Do heterosexual women really think naked men are attractive at all? I would think that would only apply to the most attractive men such as actors and athletes. Am I wrong?

    • Me

      LOL!! At least *I* am attractive to those who’ve wanted me and loved me 😛

      And in a drama group I’ve been going to, the women have been calling our comic trio of “male belly dancers” to go at it topless. We must be *so* attractive! 😉

      Good energy is incredibly attractive. Also sexy.

      • http://francoistremblay.wordpress.com/ Francois Tremblay

        Maybe they’re just being cheeky.

        • Me

          Well, yes, of course they are also being cheeky and it’s just one short skit. But it’s not like attraction to male bodies is an alien concept or firmly separable from cheekiness and the drawing of humor from it, is it?

          Good energy itself is in some ways erotic, even though what I meant by it being attractive was a broader drawing, much more than “erotic” attraction.

          The problem to my mind is that when we think of eroticism, which I think is instinctive to humans and to life–I think it’s one of the forces that sustains life–we infuse it with this cultural thrust that is domination and submission, linearity and the inevitability of the fuck. But that’s culture, not the nature of attraction, I think.

          Anyway, since I’m not the one trying to direct the show but the women are, I don’t see why have I have to make presumptions about the “attraction” and its meaning one way or the other. Sure, probably just by being there and male I direct the show somewhat and there most likely are things I could also do differently, so it’s not like anything happens in a vacuum, and I would have a problem with the skit if the comic value came from something else than our really trying our very best to do it well, and even that’s a bit questionable taking how belly dancing is. But anyway, the women seem to have a hoot and I’m happy about that.

        • Me

          @Francois, to be clear, I don’t know how attractive naked men are to women in this culture and don’t pretend to. Would probably depend a lot on what the woman had gone through too… It’s not hard to see why both individual naken men and the naked man as a symbol would be repellent to women by now. In that regard, I don’t understand why athletes or actors, given their professions and the attention they’d be used to getting, would be attractive at all? For myself as a man, though, I thought those were not the right questions to ask. I think I have the responsibility to try to become as attractive to women as possible, in the broadest possible sense of the word, and ask myself questions that challenge me to do that. What I mean is similar to how, as a human being and a member of this culture, I can also try to become and live as attractively to extinct and dying species as possible to invite them back home, and I take it as my responsibility to challenge myself to do that as best I can. (I don’t mean to imply that women are somehow extinct, or that gynocide and ecocide are not ongoing and largely perpetrated by men.)

    • lizor

      “Do heterosexual women really think naked men are attractive at all?”

      Yes.

      • Candy

        I absolutely find naked men attractive. A guy becomes significantly more attractive to me when naked, in fact.

        • http://francoistremblay.wordpress.com/ Francois Tremblay

          Do you look at men while going about in your daily life and thinking about their attractiveness?

          • Me

            I don’t understand your line of questioning with this at all. What business of yours or any man’s is that anyway? This whole thing reads to me a like a forced recreation of the classes woman, man and (toxic) heterosexuality on your part, a kind of biologism of heterosexuality and whatnot. What’s the point? Is there any helpful point?

          • http://francoistremblay.wordpress.com/ Francois Tremblay

            It’s okay for me to point out other men’s phallacies, but the second I ask women a question, you jump all over me. If you had read my blog, you’d know I’m a pretty rabid anti-genderist, and it’s not my intent to recreate any class. I was just asking! If it’s unwanted, I’ll stop, but there’s no reason to jump all over me like gee golly on a cheese cracker.

          • Me

            My intended tone was quite different. I have sometimes visited and read your blog and I’m in no way trying to put you down as a person. From my point of view it might help if you weren’t so terse in expressing these questions yourself.

            It has seemed to me that you’ve acknowledged only a part of, or a certain perspective into, the answers you’ve got, and that there’s a certain framing to your questions that I don’t agree with, or at the very least I would like to raise as a point in the discussion. In other words, perhaps you’ve forced the answers to your question into a mold that I don’t see as serving any helpful purpose, not through any ill will, but by acknowledging only the parts of the answers that make sense from a certain perspective? I’ve tried to talk about that difference in perspective.

            For instance, I realize that there is such a thing as everyday attraction or how should I call it, that can be quite healthy and doesn’t need to be analyzed to exhaustion. I mean, what does heterosexual mean anyway? I think lizor’s “Yes” above was beautiful. Yet somehow the reality and the practice of that healthy attraction escapes most men. Women show it willingly and men can’t bring themselves to reciprocate without distortion and insisting on *some* level of objectification and whatnot. And I’m not exempting myself here, I’m just trying to get clear about this. In the group I mentioned, taking my shirt off I get cheered and joked about in a good way, yet no woman, them being my friends, would even think of looking at me anywhere but in the eyes talking to me. I’ve been objectified by gay men when younger, and the difference is immense. To me, the question you first asked, “Do heterosexual women really think naked men are attractive at all?”, the internalized doubt, and the reference to the actors and athletes would imply that men can do something else in return, even when I don’t think you’re trying to condone it.

          • Me

            I would also expect of men a certain level of maturity about our sexuality, instead of an expectation to be mothered.

            Sexually abusive relationships often have elements both of abuse and infantile nurturance as far as I know. A pedophile may abuse a child as well as enact his own fantasy of being cared by the child at the same time, sick as that is. Perhaps there’s a line running through masculinity from that to rape, to objectification, and all the way to “normal” sexual relationships that are to the women both frustrating and unfulfilling because of the expectation of mothering instead of mutuality between true partners.

  • Henke

    *sigh* more porn.. why am I not suprised. The world is drowning in porn.
    And one after the other these days claims that their porn is in fact good and healthy. I say there is no healthy porn and it never will be.

  • T.

    I’ve watched and enjoyed pornography. That being said, there is a lot of “professional” pornography that I found to be extremely objectionable (dominance/violence oriented.) So, I simply don’t watch that sort of pornography. Nor do I make consumption of pornography a daily, or even monthly, habit.

    That being said, I’ve seen amateur pornography – even professional pornography – that simply shows two people enjoying sex with each other.

    Perhaps the issue is that one (the former) is pornography, and the latter is not. The former displays sex in a specific context, i.e. quasi-violent, “themed,” or domination oriented. In other words, pornography that appeals not to the sexual desire or expression of the consumer, but to their desire of a particular world-view about women etc. The latter is just sex on film.

    I think going down the road of “objectification” might not be the best course of logic. Perhaps I’m not the enlightened yogi I’d like to be, but almost all of my personal sexual encounters had an element of objectification – in the context that the person’s body was sexually desirable to my senses. Their personal levels of intelligence, attitude, and person-hood made their body attractive even if their body was less than the social ideal. No doubt too, in those instances, there was an element of objectification of my body as flawed as it is. But is this, in and of itself, “bad?”

    I suppose the real issue then is it possible to have a pure non-objectifying sexual encounter? Is it possible to present sexual images that do not appeal to the innate quality of objectification inherent to the act itself? Is oppressive to be attracted to a woman’s body that I do not know and will likely never know?

    One time I saw an attractive woman on the street and attempted to make eye contact. When we got into relatively close proximity she got very close to me screaming at the top of her lungs “what are you staring at!” Putting aside that her conduct amounted to criminal (at common law) and tortious assault I realized years later that she was likely attempting to publicly shame my “male gaze.” Okay, fair enough…I guess…but this is a prime example of what the problem is with pornography. How do you create an objective standard for what is essentially a subjective issue? In the case of the gaze, 5 seconds was apparently too long. In the case of pornography, what is objectively vile and what is merely subjectively vile?

    • http://francoistremblay.wordpress.com/ Francois Tremblay

      “her conduct amounted to criminal (at common law) and tortious assault”
      Nope.

      • t

        Yup. And your response is conclusory.

        Both common law and tortious assault are very similar in definition which is(tort):

        An intentional act which creates in another the apprehension of an imminent harmful or offensive touching without consent or legal privilege.

        Apprehension does not mean “fear.” It means awareness. The actor must have the present ability to carry out the harmful or offensive touching. Further, actual proof of damages is not required.

        There is a public sphere exception which essentially says that people should expect to be slightly touched or “jostled” as they go about their daily lives.

        However, the actor in this circumstances 1) went out of her way to single me out, invading my space 2) creating an awareness of an imminent harmful or offensive touching 3) with the present means and ability to complete the touching 4) without my consent or legal privilege.

        A criminal assault can basically be redefined as an attempted battery.

        This is the development of common law in the states. Perhaps the Canadian approach has evolved differently.

        • http://francoistremblay.wordpress.com/ Francois Tremblay

          How in the fuck does a woman screaming “what are you staring at!” at you “create in another the apprehension of an imminent harmful or offensive touching without consent or legal privilege”?

          • T.

            Good question. I’m afraid I left you at a disadvantage by not reciting all of the facts – I didn’t think this would become a discussion of law

            Another exception to the common law of assault is that words, by themselves, are not enough. The words must be accompanied by an overt act of some kind. But this doesn’t make the words irrelevant.

            Further, the apprehension must be considered reasonable under the circumstances

            In this case, the woman was on the opposite side of the same sidewalk. At no time did she break my “gaze,” she maintained eye contact with me up until she was approximately a foot or two to my left. At which point she suddenly and without warning leaned in and screamed, “what are you staring at!?” It took me aback, so much so that I instinctively flinched away. Frankly, her behavior was patently unreasonable under the circumstances. To test this theory, attempt to do the same to a random stranger on the street, or even a police officer. Would you feel strange to do so? Would it feel odd to you? If so, that’s probably a big sign the conduct is unreasonable.

            Because tortious assault – in fact all assaults- are considered dignitary torts, the motives of the actor are mostly irrelevant. All that is relevant is that she intended to create an apprehension of an imminent harmful or offensive touching.

          • lizor

            It is rather difficult to scream and produce articulate words at the same time. Did she yell perhaps, but you prefer to use inflationary language like “scream” to describe cases where women do not comply to your presumed authority?

            Also, did she scream “at the top of her lungs” as you claim above? Or did she just respond to you with disgust in her voice and you have distorted the facts, as so many whiny entitled men do when they don’t get their way, insisting that the voice of the female was higher and louder than it actually was during the event where she was resistant to your gawping at her with an expression that communicated your presumption of access to her as a sexual commodity?

            You state that “the woman was on the opposite side of the same sidewalk” and she “leaned in” (and “without warning” – you poor little waif!). How would a woman leaning from the opposite side of the sidewalk constitute any sort of threat to you? She did not utter threatening words. She merely posed a question: “What are you staring at?”. It’s likely she posed her question rhetorically in order to make the point to you that what you were staring at was a human being, not a two-dimensional fuck toy like the beings performed in the pornography you explain that you enjoy.

            She was telling you to back off and she was posing no threat to you. You know it. Everyone who has read these pedantic narcissistic rationalizations that you have posted knows it.

          • T

            I’m sorry you feel the need to justify this person’s actions. It’s not an embellishment or an exaggeration. Sometimes people are assholes – even feminists.

            “Comply to [my] authority?” Maybe you can expand on what you mean by this given the context. How do you feel I was attempting to get her to “comply” with my authority? In other words, what apparent authority did I have to get her to do what?

            Yes. She screamed. Loud enough that various people turned to look at the commotion. Which was presumably the point.

            I’m also very interested in the level of presumption you’ve made about my motives – “fuck toy?” As I said, she maintained eye contact the entire time. You have absolutly no idea that were she to engage me in conversation, we wouldn’t have ended up having a coffee or lunch or something.

            What’s even more absurd about your post is that as it progresses, you write like you were actually there.

            Here’s a piece of advice that may or may not have been given by Freud:

            “Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.”

            The extreme ranting being thrown in my direction is exactly why extreme views – no matter how potentially sound or valid they are – never make the mainstream i.e. the culture refuses to budge in the direction you feel it should.

          • Missfit

            Feminist views are extreme, says the guy who felt assaulted by a woman reacting to his intense staring and who says he enjoys (the reasonable views, I guess, of) pornography. But since he doesn’t look at pornography he finds objectionable, I guess that makes said objectionable pornography disappears and we can just ignore it. Then we can discuss abstract notions of sex(‘isn’t pornography just sex?’), while the pornographers themselves are admitting that their work has mainly become about finding new ways to degrade women. But T asks what is pornography, what is objectification. This is wanting us to take back the discussion from point zero. People should grab knowledge of feminist concepts before attempting to challenge them. Meghan already posted an article on how feminists should not always be put in the position to educate men. Every discussion can’t be turned into feminism 101. I think the problem for T is that feminism requires men to take a female perspective on things, something he seems to have a problem doing, as his story demonstrates. I mean, why would a woman come to feel highly uncomfortable and react rudely at intense staring by an unknown man in a world where female objectification and violent pornography are rampant?

          • t

            Again, as w/ so many on this board you take far too many liberties with interpreting my internal state of mind.

            I think it’s probably best to let others tell you what they think, feel, and understand – since, obviously, you are not them.

            It’s not an “abstract.” There’s a difference between mainstream media and grassroots media, between commercial journalism, and internet journalism, and between two people having sex, and people producing objectifying pornography.

            I’m not challenging “feminist concepts.” I’m challenging the rational used to get to their conclusions. And I’m challenging feminist definitions. As I said, I support empirically achievable objectives as they do not require:

            1)imputing thoughts, feelings, and desires upon the minds of others and then politically attacking those presumed emotions. Which, in case you didn’t know is utterly oppressive, authoritarian, and jack-booted.

            In free societies people have the negative right to be complete and total assholes.

            2) specialized vocabulary requiring a second (or third) course of university education

            3) the requirement that others fill in the gaps and holes for you.

            It’s pretty apparent that professionally speakiing woman can and do all the things men can do. Therefor, they deserve the market pay for those abilities.

            Pretty. Fucking. Simple. Specialized vocabulary not required.

            If you’re going to use political force to assert your will, then you should expect to be challenged.

            Politics is a euphemism for war.

            Conservatives understand this reality, which is probably why the left-wing has had its ass handed to it while we argue about the “male gaze” and what place porn should have in a free society.

            Further, you are misrepresenting my main argument which is in the age of the internet what exactly is “pornography” and what is two people having sex? Just as we’re asking ourselves what is “journalism” and what is just “blogging.” Is there a difference?

            So, again, please keep your self out of my mind and emotions. I’ll let you know if I’m trying to “fuck” someone.

            deal?

          • http://francoistremblay.wordpress.com/ Francois Tremblay

            Empirically achievable objective: eliminating pornography.

            Are you happy now? Get the fuck out of here.

          • Missfit

            Women are not objects. Women are not sex. Maybe that is what they are for many men but the world is not only composed of men and women should not be forced to see the world and themselves through these men’s eyes (yes, the ‘male gaze’, I am using this concept!). Stop portraying/reducing women to sexy objects. See? Simple. To pretend not seeing how obvious it is that women too often serve a decorative function, that their bodies are used to sell everything and their selves as commodities is, for me, to be of bad faith. Like pretending not knowing what pornography is, as if it was an abstract thought. Pornography is what you find on porn websites. Go look at it, there is plenty of it on the internet. Gail Dines and Robert Jensen (to name only them) have done so and written books about it. About the acts depicted, the gender representations, the escalation of violence, its effects on society, the fate of the performers. To think that pornography is sex is exactly the problem many young people have, as they learn that sex is porn. Maybe you have just been misguided, but I’m going to tell you a big secret then, much of pornography is about women faking. And no, I am not making any deal. You obviously seem like a person who needs to have the last word (sorry, I did it again, making assumptions, based on observations, about you). Goodbye.

          • http://francoistremblay.wordpress.com/ Francois Tremblay

            At what point are you gonna shut up? Because you’re just repeating yourself now. There was no apprehension of harm here. Saying that a woman who is enraged at your gaze is going to assault you is laughable. The whole point is that she doesn’t want any contact with you whatsoever! Don’t you get it, dudebro?

          • T

            “At what point are you gonna shut up?”

            Probably at the point you stop asking me questions.

            “You’re just repeating yourself now.”

            No. I’m repeating the law. And that’s typically what the law does – applies general rules to various fact patterns over and over and over again.

            And why am I repeating the law? Because you keep asking questions about it.

            No. It’s not laughable. It’s assault. Period. The fact that she may have been enraged only confirms the fact.

            “The whole point is that she doesn’t want any contact with you whatsoever!” Correct. Which makes it odd she would then stick her face three inches from mine.

            Yes? No? This doesn’t make any sense to you?

          • Meghan Murphy

            Oh please. Nobody near assaulted you. Don’t stare at women. They don’t like it.

          • T.

            The law is the law. The fact pattern I gave – and experienced – also happens to be a classic law-school fact pattern for tortious assault.

            Would she have been found liable? That’s for a jury to decide.

            But the facts are enough on their face (prima facia) sustaining the elements of tortious assault.

            Criminally liable? In the states, this would have been simple common law assault – a misdemeanor – and I would have had to pursue a citizen’s arrest etc. Which, clearly, I did not.

            I’m still not sure why everyone seems so desperate to let her off the hook. So she assaulted me, so what? What’s the emotional investment here that you have to rationalize why she couldn’t have possibly done so? Why *must* you believe she couldn’t have possibly assaulted me?

            Is it because you think I deserved it? In which case, okay, but if you’re going to encourage people to go about crowding others and screaming in their faces for the male gaze, don’t you think you should be able to define a general rule about what separates a “gaze” from a “look?”

            I’ve asked this basic question, as have possibly thousands of others for over 4 decades of the woman’s liberation movement, and no one – not one of you – can come up with a general rule that people can follow that defines and separates a “look” from a “stare” for the purposes of objectively showing a prima facia case of the male gaze.

          • http://francoistremblay.wordpress.com/ Francois Tremblay

            “Probably at the point you stop asking me questions.”
            At this point I am doing nothing else but pointing and laughing at you. You are a clown.

            “No. I’m repeating the law.”
            You are repeating a particularly abstruse interpretation of the law designed to blame someone you don’t like and leave you scot free.
            Listen, I agree that what the woman did was crappy and would make you feel bad. I know how it is, I am a guy with a weak ego too, and it’s not hard for a woman to make me feel bad. But I don’t march on feminist threads to tell people how a woman hurt my fee fees and how that makes her a criminal. Again, you are a clown.

            “No. It’s not laughable. It’s assault. Period.”
            Fuck you. It is not assault. A woman fended you off verbally. You were offended. The end. Now you want to appoint yourself the fucking fee fee police.

            “Correct. Which makes it odd she would then stick her face three inches from mine.
            Yes? No? This doesn’t make any sense to you?”
            Listen, dude. I don’t trust you and I don’t trust your telling of the story either. Even the most well-intentioned, unbiased third party is a very unreliable eyewitness. That’s just a proven fact. Unless I was able to see a video of the encounter for myself, I’m not going to just take your word for it. Three inches? Come on.

          • T.

            I didn’t “feel bad” about anything.

            What is perhaps the most aggravating part of this entire conversation is that my original post had absolutely nothing (I’ll rewrite this word again to make sure we’re totally clear) NOTHING to do with my emotional feelings about this incident. I mentioned it in passing.

            You taken a very small, and frankly very trivial, part of my original post and made it *the* part of my argument you’ve decided to address – as if that part was my entire argument.

            That, in case you were wondering, is what a straw-man argument *actually* is.

          • http://francoistremblay.wordpress.com/ Francois Tremblay

            Methinks the dudebro dost protest too much.

          • T

            I’m sorry you think so. Thankfully I’m under no obligation to “prove” what I think, feel, or otherwise know to strangers on the internet.

            You win. You are one of the better trolls I’ve ever encountered. I’m taking the hint, I won’t engage with you anymore.

            I’m confident you will take this moment of concession to further your verbally abusive conduct, but you might surprise me.

          • NitroGirl

            T,you’re ridiculous and no woman worth her salt would want you as an “ally”.

            Stop trying to scare women into agreeing with your fucked up views. Most men who threaten to “take away their support” of women’s rights have never really supported women.

            Your type does not give one solitary fuck about women and their rights when you compare someone justly telling you to fuck off with staring like a houndog to assault. I mean ,really? You want Feminists to come and make you comfortable after you stated you made a woman feel uncomfortable by oggling her? What the fuck are YOU doing to make women feel comfortable? Why should ANY woman care about your “support” and your fucking fee-fees when you not only objectified a woman,but had the audacity to claim assault (because someone yelled at you,poor baby!) for a justified response to your lewd behavior?

            I really do NOT understand the men who say they don’t know the difference between a stare and a look is,and insist that,because they don’t know ,their lewd stares at women they deem “do-able” is ok and should be treated as innocent boyish ignorance and met with respect. I know women who speak meekly,hardly want to look anyone in the eye,all because of how they were brought up (or broken down by men). The very women brought down by patriarchy, go above and beyond to not to take up space,not to offend,walk while staring at her feet,seem to be able to tell the difference between a look and a gawk.

            You know where the line is drawn? When she fucking yelled at you, genius. There’s your marker,you entitled dweeb.

          • T

            Your take far too much license with my internal state of mind. How about you let me tell you what I think and feel? And this is where my support of feminism ends. Imputing thoughts and feelings onto someone and then attacking the person for those thoughts is disgusting behavior and worth of counter-revolt.

            Also, allow me to clarify: I’m not begging to be anyone’s “ally.” I never used those words. I support equal pay etc because thy are wmpiraclky obtainable. “Ending the male gaze” for instance, is not empically obtainable. You can’t even make a distinction. So, again, why should I o talk to my fellow “dudebros” about stopping the behavior if feminist themselves can’t provide a distinction?

            I suppose I’m to make something up? Even better, I guess I can just mindlessly repeat the definition provided to me?

            Further, I’m a dweeb because I won’t do *your* mental work for you? You want to change te stays quo as you see it? It’s up to *you* to do so. It’s not the job of the status quo to make changes on your behalf just because you want it to.

          • http://francoistremblay.wordpress.com/ Francois Tremblay

            “Also, allow me to clarify: I’m not begging to be anyone’s “ally.””
            No… “begging” does not factor into it. Either you are or you’re not. And you clearly are not.

          • Ash

            I have a feeling “T” stands for either Tom, Travis, Trent, Tyler, Tyrell or Ted

        • marv

          Criminal and tort law have been constituted and interpreted by men through most of law’s history which is both objectively and subjectively vile. You refer to these laws when accusing her of the very crime you committed. You intentionally ogled her, creating “the apprehension of an imminent harmful or offensive touching without consent or legal privilege”. You had the “ability to carry out the harmful or offensive touching. Further, actual proof of damages is not required”. You went out of your way to single her out, “creating an awareness of an imminent harmful or offensive touching” without her consent or legal privilege. Screaming at you was a defensive reaction not an offensive one. I will give you the benefit of the doubt in believing you had no intention of touching her. Nonetheless have you ever considered that the act of men sexually staring at women is violent in itself – sexual harassment? Gestures can be as harmful as words or physical contact.

          “The development of common law” in countries like the United States and Canada a is a patriarchal invention and evolution which you can’t see because of your male biases. Admittedly women have made some inroads into law with the adoption of legislation to combat sex discrimination and violence against them. Nonetheless law and the state remain a male domain in terms of their conceptual framework and hierarchical structures. In that sense the state is a lot like the churches. Many of them permit women into the ministry and have modified some of their misogynist rules but they still are manmade systems of power based on male founders and teachings despite reforms. I am not against law, only what men have made of it. I am for feminist jurisprudence.

          Pornography reflects the same male prejudices. Men produce so called objective sexual reality and women are subject to it and objects of it whether it’s men or women making the porn. It’s a phallocentric world even if we aren’t awake enough to recognize it.

          • T

            Oh Marv, your comments are pure gold.

            So, you’re accusing me of committing assault. Lets run through the elements and exceptions to see if there is a prima facia case for assault.

            Assault is basically defined as: intentionally creating an apprehension of imminent harmful or offensive touching without consent or legal privilege.

            Intent is a volitional act done with a substantial certainly the desired outcome will occur. There is an exception that people impliedly consent to inadvertent touching. Looking is not an “act” in the same way that words do not by themselves constitute an assault. Further, the apprehension must be reasonable. And this makes sense right? Imagine an alternate universe where looking at someone constituted an assault. No one would look at each other. In fact, it’s likely no one would leave there house. Who would want to take the risk? Further, assault can be rdefined as an attempted battery. Which means that I would have had to take a substantial step toward touching her. Very much like she did to me.

            Reason and logic exists independent of one’s genitilia. Rejecting reasonable out comes because those outcomes were created by men is an absurd folly.

            Sent from my iPhone. .

          • http://francoistremblay.wordpress.com/ Francois Tremblay

            You’re straw manning. The point was not that you “looked” at her but that you held your gaze for an undue period of time. Every man knows (or should know) not to stare at women (nor at a man, unless you want to start a fight). You apparently are not aware of this basic fact, maybe because you are a lowly dog. Perhaps you’re an entitled asshole think you hare a right to stare at women. I don’t know what your dysfunction is and I really don’t care, but yes I would say that some idiot like you staring at a woman in such a fashion would create an apprehension of unwanted touching.

          • T

            “You’re strawmanning.”

            I disagree. I’m not sure whose position you feel I’m misrepresenting here. Perhaps you can complete the thought in written form so I can understand what you’re talking about.

            “Every man knows (or should know) not to stare at women (nor at a man, unless you want to start a fight).”

            Correct. But what’s a “stare?” In this instance, we’re talking around 5 seconds of “staring.” You even admit the problem yourself…”the point was not that you ‘looked’ at her…”

            Well, that’s *exactly* the point isn’t it? What is a “stare” and what is a “look?” What is pornography and what is simply two people having sex on camera? Combating this very basic problem of subjectivity isn’t going to disappear with vitriolic insults or rants, or pontifications about “justice” and “revolution.”

            “…but yes I would say that some idiot like you staring at a woman in such a fashion would create an apprehension of unwanted touching.”

            Well as I’ve posted ad nausem the current definition says you’re wrong.

            And this is the crux of the problem with perhaps the entire contemporary left-wing including feminism.

            The movement is expecting, even demanding, a certain world view and social comportment. Okay, that’s fair. Every political movement has a right to assert that. But how?

            In other words, the movement provides no vision of what the end result of their demands would look like. They present no defining boundaries about what acceptable or non-acceptable conduct looks like. It’s just seems to be “well, if my gut says it’s wrong, it must be so.” That just doesn’t do it. It will never do it. No self-respecting critical thinker will ever swallow a world-view, position, argument, or political movement simply because the movement says they should.

            “But we’re right! We’re right!” That’s all I hear. “We want justice!” Okay. What does justice to you look like?

          • http://francoistremblay.wordpress.com/ Francois Tremblay

            “I disagree. I’m not sure whose position you feel I’m misrepresenting here. Perhaps you can complete the thought in written form so I can understand what you’re talking about.”
            The position you are misrepresenting is the one marv put forward. Are you not even following this conversation? Marv was the first person to point out that you are the one who committed the crime you accuse the woman of committing, and you replied that you merely “looked” at her and that (basically) there’s nothing wrong with that. I pointed out that was a straw man.

            “Correct. But what’s a “stare?””
            Do you seriously not know the difference between looking at someone and staring at them? Are you autistic or something?

            “What is pornography and what is simply two people having sex on camera?”
            Mass production and distribution is the difference. You set it up yourself with the question. Are you seriously unable to navigate these very simple concepts?

            “Combating this very basic problem of subjectivity”
            It is very basic indeed. This is why we are all pointing and laughing at you.

          • T.

            Yes. I am autistic. Explain the difference to an autistic person. If the difference is that apparent, it should be pretty easy.

            Showing how marv was wrong in his analysis is not misrepresenting him. I did not commit a crime, nor a tort, because none of the most important elements were present. Therefore it was not, and can never be, a tort or a crime. You may feel differently. Perhaps one day, when you crowd a person’s space while screaming at them in public, they’ll press charges and you’ll finally comprehend the idea.

            “Mass production and distribution.” There are a large number of sites showing nothing but regular non-professional couples having sex for free on camera – produced and distributed to millions with the click of a button.

            Their reasons vary from the “thrill” to the kink of voyeurism. The simple concept here is that the internet essentially makes the distinction between porn and filmed sex even harder to grasp. You run your own website! Certainly you can understand the game changer and democratically empowering technology most people call “the internet?”

            “…it is very basic indeed.”

            Excellent. Then it should be no problem for you to declare to the world how two people, each with their own definition of “staring” vs. “looking,” can come to an objective understanding of the difference.

            Write a general rule, the average and reasonable human being can follow, that notifies the community of the difference between “staring” and “looking.” But please at least make a causal link between the thought and the deed. Outlawing a thought without an connecting it to an volitional deed is nothing more than thought-crime.

            I’m going to assume that a freedom fighter such as yourself abhors the concept?

          • http://francoistremblay.wordpress.com/ Francois Tremblay

            “Yes. I am autistic.”
            I knew you were. How else could you be so socially incompetent? Even an anti-social person like me is not nearly this bad.

            “Showing how marv was wrong in his analysis is not misrepresenting him.”
            No, you did misrepresent. No one here said looking at someone is a crime.

            “Perhaps one day, when you crowd a person’s space while screaming at them in public, they’ll press charges and you’ll finally comprehend the idea.”
            Guess what? I don’t go around staring at people. I follow the three second rule. It’s not my fault you’re an asshole, but don’t project your failings on me.

            ““Mass production and distribution.” There are a large number of sites showing nothing but regular non-professional couples having sex for free on camera – produced and distributed to millions with the click of a button.”
            Of course anyone can distribute stuff on the Internet. So what? I’ve been writing a blog for seven years, but that doesn’t make me an author. I could make a video of me and my wife having sex and post it on a porn video site, but that wouldn’t make me a porn actor.

            “Excellent. Then it should be no problem for you to declare to the world how two people, each with their own definition of “staring” vs. “looking,” can come to an objective understanding of the difference.”
            Again, the rest of the world has no problem with this. You are the only person who is having a problem determining the difference between looking and staring. But if you really need a standard to use in your daily life, use the three seconds rule (although in your case I would make it one second).

            “Write a general rule, the average and reasonable human being can follow”
            You are obviously not an average or reasonable human being, so I am not sure what the relevance is here.

          • T

            @ Frank Trembley

            Hey, I get it. That’s hard. I understand that it’s much easier to troll, antagonize, and verbally abuse someone into supporting a cause rather than presenting rational reasons for doing so.

            “But we don’t need your support.”

            Uh, actually you do. If you want to change social policy – which in democracies requires coalition building and political support – perhaps abusing those whose vote you need is not the wisest approach.

            See, from now on, I’ll point to the most widely read feminist blog in Canada and the sustained verbal abuse shown on here to others interested in what feminism is about.

            The irony is that I support many feminist goals so long as they are empirically obtainable – equal pay, abortion rights (for both men and women), support woman in combat, a dissolution of domestic child-rearing roles.

            But what I’ve learned today is that there is no reason not to laugh in the face of everyone who talks about the “male gaze.”

            Because if the people on this site – the most widely read feminist blog in Canada – can’t provide a general rule that separates a “look” and a “gaze” then why the fuck should I believe it even exists?

          • marv

            I used to live in an aboriginal community in northern Canada where there were no reserves so white people dwelled as a minority among First Peoples. OCCASIONALLY when I walked by indigenous people on the street and greeted them they would swear at me or extend the bird. Fortunately I was made aware of the reasons for their hostility. They were furious that the “white man” as a social group had colonized their lands and also had the audacity to move into their small and few autonomous spaces left all the while expecting amiable reception. White men’s laws forbid them from evicting us intruders. Most indigenous locals didn’t seem to mind my presence but that was my interpretation. They were likely too afraid or respectful to tell me to leave which I did anyway. Fortuitously I realized my presence was a source of anguish for them because I represented white supremacy despite my public support of aboriginal rights. If I had been attacked by them (which would likely never happen) it would have probably been an act of despair and righteous fury. It would have been wrong of me to complain or use white man’s law to seek justice. I would feel I had no right to confront them or take legal action given the unequal social political environment in which the laws were shaped. It would reinforce the white male established order.

            Women exist in male colonies too. Men built the institutions that govern them (and men). When we invade women’s lives on the street like other places (e.g., this blog) we have to be pretty *men*dacious and sexist to find fault when they retaliate. These are small insurrections against patriarchy, in your case the male liberal intelligensia. CONTEXT, CONTEXT, CONTEXT!!!!! If you can’t face male supremacy as a system and your personal conduct as an illustration of dominance it is time to stay entirely away from women, not even a glance or a stare.

          • lizor

            Thanks for your comments T, it’s been eye-opening. I never knew before reading this thread that it is possible for an autistic person to also suffer from Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Fascinating.

          • T

            1) There is no longer any such thing as Narcisstic Personality Disorder. People who disagree with your political worldview aren’t mentally ill. Thankfully your radical worldview continues to wallow in political obscurity

            2) But I do understand. You can’t define what I’m asking. It’s hard. It’s really hard. Which is why no one has been able to do it. It’s much easier to demand people just believe you.

            3) are you saying there is something wrong with autistic people? You keep implying they’re broken. Has Canada not yet accepted them into their communities?

  • sporenda

    “So… serious question. Do heterosexual women really think naked men are attractive at all?”

    I don’t pretend to speak for all women, but yes, of course.
    Isn’t it the old patriarchal notion of women feeling no desire rearing its ugly head :-) here?
    No women are not just interested in sex with men they love, lots of women like sex just for pleasure and they’d like it more if so much stigma and danger was not attached to it for women.
    Personnally, yes, I love to see good looking men naked, but whereas men can look at tons of naked women, few opportunities to see naked men are available to women: in patriarchal societies, female sexual desire must be suppressed.

    It’s strange because men are always complaining that when it comes to sex, they never get enough and that women are always reluctant to grant sexual access.
    Maybe so, but if they are, it’s mainly due a set of absurd rules that make having sex for pleasure so socially degrading and risky for women.

    So, when it comes to getting enough sex, men are shooting themselves in the foot.

    • http://francoistremblay.wordpress.com/ Francois Tremblay

      It’s a serious question. I’m not trying to impose any patriarchal principle. I just want to know, what’s the big deal? Thank you for answering me anyhow.

      • sporenda

        There was a smiley François.

        But yes, if they had not invented slutshaming, and lots of other ways to suppress female sexuality (fear of men’s physical violence, fear of rape, etc) men would get lots more sex.

      • lizor

        “I just want to know, what’s the big deal?”

        Can you clarify that question? What “big deal” are you referring to?

      • http://ewinsor.wordpress.com lizor

        Francois,

        Seriously, I am unclear on what you re referring to as a “big deal”. Yes, I like men’s bodies without clothes I find many male bodies beautiful and sexy.

        You asked “Do you look at men while going about in your daily life and thinking about their attractiveness?”

        Yes, absolutely. I don’t think there’s much mystery around that and I find Me’s response above re: experiencing the female gaze to be very interesting.

        I’m just confused about what it is you are calling a ‘big deal” and why there is apparently (and I could be reading it wrong) some anxiety for you around understanding the way many (I won’t speak for everyone, but it seems to exist across the board in my experience) het women will feel attraction by looking at men’s bodies, they way they move, etc. On the street, in the grocery store, at the pub – it happens every day.

        I am not at all sure how this compares cognitively with the male gaze – I am not sure that we dissect men and reduce them to parts in the same way men do with us, or how, hypothetically, centuries of socioeconomic dominance and a steady line of pornography in our formative years might shape the way we look at men either. I don’t think much attention has been paid to this question beyond Berger’s work, and of course with such an historic context as patriarchy, everything it twisted and skewed anyway, so comparative studies would be problematic.

        • http://francoistremblay.wordpress.com/ Francois Tremblay

          The “big deal” referred to the reaction on this thread to my questions. Either way, I’m not going to continue the conversation because it’s been made clear I shouldn’t talk about these things.

          • Me

            If you took that from me, I never intended to say you shouldn’t talk about these things. Criticism and questioning what you’re getting at isn’t the same as calling you to shut up.

          • http://ewinsor.wordpress.com lizor

            OK, we can end the discussion, but there was no intention on my part to make you think you should not talk about these things. At all. I have no idea how else I might have answered you without evoking a defensive reaction.

            Honestly, respectfully, as far as this line of discussion goes I don’t see any indication from anyone who answered you, that your question was inappropriate or weighted with some patriarchal principal as you say above. This is what I was referring to when I mentioned possibly detecting some anxiety in your responses. Myself, sporenda and Me have all answered you respectfully and, I think, added to the discussion, but somehow you a) seem reluctant to accept that yes, women do look at men’s bodies and feel sexual attraction and b) seem to have read a rebuff into the responses to your query that I do not see in the posts.

            Personally, I value your viewpoints and contributions to the discussions on this blog. I am honestly quite confused as to why you feel that “it’s been made clear I shouldn’t talk about these things.” I don’t think anyone has even inferred that, let alone “made it clear”.

    • Missfit

      ‘lots of women like sex just for pleasure and they’d like it more if so much stigma and danger was not attached to it for women.’

      Yes. Also, if hetero sex was as much focussed on female pleasure as it is on male’s… Men could have ‘enough’ sex if we made what sex is more pleasurable for women. Girls and boys learn that sex is essentially about women making themselves desirable and pleasing to men. There’s a problem when anal sex is viewed as routine heterosex while cunnilingus is something lesbians do…

      I guess one reason why female desire must be suppressed is that then, there is nothing to satisfy and women can remain in their selfless male-pleasing role.

      • sporenda

        “Men could have ‘enough’ sex if we made what sex is more pleasurable for women. Girls and boys learn that sex is essentially about women making themselves desirable and pleasing to men.”

        Totally.
        Sexual desire for women is limited by society to wanting what men want.
        Women can only say yes or no to what men propose, they are never allowed to draft the proposal themselves–so to speak.
        So called “frigidity” comes from being force fed a type of sex that suits your partner’s desires but not yours.
        It’s amazing that it’s women who are called frigid ,it’s like calling convicts lazy for not liking to work.

        • maria

          @Misfit and Sporenda,
          I just wanted to express my appreciation for your great comments about female sexuality. It’s so difficult to create an authentic sexuality when we’re told that we are things-to-be-looked at, and even when women in mainstream films (not to mention porn) are portrayed as sexually aggressive, it’s still on the man’s terms.

          I wonder if it’s possible for there to be a harmonious balance between feminism and female heterosexuality? Even in feminism, there seems to be only 2 extreme options. Liberal feminists seem to embrace the pornified image of women, and try to naturalize the male gaze, as if all women are born with an innate desire to pole dance. Radical feminists (according to many of the blogs I’ve read) argue that heterosexuality is unnatural, and that all women would be lesbians if it weren’t for patriarchal brainwashing. Any woman who enjoys heterosexual sex is not only deluded, but can’t be a true feminist. I don’t understand either why so many straight women on those blogs say that they wish they were lesbians because things would be “easier”….that’s not fetishy at all. These are definitely generalizations, but I was wondering if anyone else observed this too?

          Personally I don’t understand why a woman can’t be heterosexual and a feminist at the same time. How does a woman enjoying PIV negate her volunteering at a rape crisis centre, for example? I think there is so much internalized misogyny when it comes to sexuality that all feminists need to unpack. What are everyone else’s thoughts?

          • Totally Unsexy

            I’m not a lesbian feminist myself and I can’t speak for them with any authority, but I have studied what they said and I think you’re misrepresenting it a little.

            “It’s so difficult to create an authentic sexuality”

            If by “authentic” you mean “non-socially constructed” then I dare say its impossible. Our notions of sex will always be shaped by the society we live in. I think we should be striving to create an egalitarian sexuality, whether such a sexuality is “authentic” or not is beside the point.

            Suppose your genes had programed you to be turned on by men sticking sharp knives against your neck (this is a real BDSM practice by the way). Is it a good idea to act on such desires, simply because (in this hypothetical situation) they’re “natural” rather than artificial? That’s not to say that violent sexuality is natural, but rather that “naturalness” should not be the criteria we use to evaluate sex. Equality is a much better criteria.

            “Radical feminists (according to many of the blogs I’ve read) argue that heterosexuality is unnatural, and that all women would be lesbians if it weren’t for patriarchal brainwashing.”

            Have you been reading radical (lesbian) feminist blogs or liberal feminist blogs which claim to be describing radical feminism? This is not an accusation, just a question.

            From what i’ve read, lebian feminists* do not argue that it is unnatural for men to have sex with women. There is more to heterosexuality than women prefering men over women. There is a whole set of cultural behaviours and ideas that go along with being heterosexual.

            A heterosexual woman is supposed to prefer “real men” (i.e. violent, aggressive assholes) over gentle, decent human beings who happen to have penises. She is supposed to prettify herself endless in the hopes of attracting such a man (because intelligence, strength of character and other internal traits are supposed to be either irrelevant or frightening to such a man.) Her life is supposed to be empty and meaningless if she does not have such a man and when she finally does get this man she is supposed to make him the centre of her life and sacrifice everything else for the sake of him and the children she has with him.

            None of this is natural, but all of this is shoved down men and women’s throats from the time we’re very little. It is hard to find a male partner who does not expect women to conform to this formula to some degree or another. A few women did find partners who agreed with radical feminism (e.g. Andrea Dworkin and Samantha Berg) and they were very lucky.

            Lesbian feminist sought to escape the heterosexual female role by becoming lesbians and coming up with a new type of sexuality based on human equality. They wanted as many women as possible to adopt this new sexuality. I think they viewed it as a political weapon of sorts, although in my opinion it wasn’t all that effective.

            “Any woman who enjoys heterosexual sex is not only deluded, but can’t be a true feminist.”

            Lesbian feminist don’t view “enjoyment” as the only criteria by which to evaluate sex. They would argue that heterosexual relationships cannot be egalitarian in a world where men and women are raised to dominant and submissive respectively. Personally I think egalitarian heterosexual relationships are possible, but require conscious effort. Most relationships have at least a minor element of inequality (e.g. the woman does most of the housework, the woman puts more effort into looking pretty for the man’s sake, etc.)

            “straight women on those blogs say that they wish they were lesbians because things would be “easier”….that’s not fetishy at all.”

            I don’t see what “fetishy” about it. They probably just find it difficult to meet men’s demands for super pretty, hard working, docile women and I don’t blame them.

            “Personally I don’t understand why a woman can’t be heterosexual and a feminist at the same time.”

            I think you can be, you just can’t be heterosexual and practise the specific form of feminismm endorsed by lesbian feminists. You also can’t behave in accordance with feminist principals (e.g. refraiming from beauty practices, expressing anti-porn and anti-marriage thoughts, asking men to do half the housework, etc.) and still be appealing to the majority of men.

            Of course there are other non-lifetyle related ways of being a feminist, but if one realises (after reading radical feminist texts such as Shelia Jeffrey’s “Beauty and Misogyny” which I highly recommend) that beauty practices are sexist but then continues to engage in them it creates an unsettling conflict within one’s brain. I think that’s part of the reason why a lot of women go down the “anything-goes” fun feminist path. They’re not comfortable with that internal conflict.

            At the end of the day, you are of course free to do whatever you want with your life, but everything you do will have some consequences of some kind.

            * Note: The term “lesbian feminism” should be seen as a single term (not two seperate words). It refers to a particular type of feminism based around lesbianism. It does simply refer to lesbians who are also feminists

          • lizor

            I don’t have the same experience of a dichotomy in feminism that you describe, maria. I have met women who eschew all relationships with men and also those who will have sex with men but refuse to become involved with one as a life partner. However, the majority of radical feminists I know believe in a healthier happier experience of heterosexual sex for both men and women. I believe Andrea Dworkin held that position.

            I would not dwell too much on the apparent conundrum of enjoying penetrative sex with men and wanting to end patriarchy. While we may critique the problematic way penetration has been socialized under patriarchy and the hierarchy-reproducing meanings that our toxic culture ascribes to it, as well as the inherent risks of allowing a man to come inside your body there are for women, I don’t personally know any women who would tell you not to do it.

          • TotallyUnsexy

            “However, the majority of radical feminists I know believe in a healthier happier experience of heterosexual sex for both men and women. I believe Andrea Dworkin held that position.”

            You’re right. She said the following in a Preface to her book Intercourse;

            “Of course, men have read and do read
            Intercourse. Many like it and understand it. Some few have been thrilled by it— it suggests to them a new possibility of freedom, a new sexual ethic: and they do not want to be users.”

            I’ll admit that the Preface to Intercourse is all I’ve read of it, but that’s more than most people who denounce Dworkin as having claimed that “all sex is rape”. Personally I’d take her call for a “new sexual ethic” over liberal calls for “sexual liberation” any day.

            I think Dworkin thought that society would have to be radically transformed before men and women could have sex in truly egalitarian ways. That’s why some radical feminists opted for lesbianism. But I think that if women in heterosexual relationships demanded to be treated as equals that could play a part in transforming society. Of course it would not be enough on its own and it’s difficult for individual women to put forward those demands for fear of being rejected by men, so I can forgive them for not putting forward those demands.

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  • Voltaire

    I’ve often wondered about the concept of “female porn”. Is it really all that different from typical porn? More going down on women an less blow jobs? It always seemed like an odd concept to me. I have known women who enjoy porn but never asked what they particularly liked about it. Kind of a personal subject that I didn’t push on.

    Is the consensus that porn should be banned outright? That doesn’t seem practical. Men like porn and I do not believe it means that all men who like porn are men who degrade, disrespect or hate women. I agree that degrading porn where the women are treated poorly should be regulated. What about porn where there is no degrading aspects. Where it is consensual and just shows a sexual relationship between adults? Should that be banned?

    • sporenda

      ” I do not believe it means that all men who like porn are men who degrade, disrespect or hate women.”

      Men who like porn that degrades, disrespects or hates women degrade, disrespect and hate women by the very fact they watch it.

      • voltaire

        I agree if you watch porn that is the sort that is hateful towards women then you do hate women. Not all porn is of that variety.

        • http://francoistremblay.wordpress.com/ Francois Tremblay

          All right dickhead, go back in the corner with your abby winters and femjoy videos, we’re not talking about you.

    • Henke

      I’m currently reading a book called The Culture of Make believe, in which there is, at least in my opinion, a very good part in the book that deals with pornography (in a larger context).

      “The other day I was thinking about pornography again, this time as I walked across a college campus. A woman approached me on the sidewalk. It was a warm day. She pulled off her sweatshirt. She smiled. I smiled back. We passed. End Of story.

      But it caused me to reflect on how I perceived her, and WHY I perceived her as I did. Did I flash on a warm conversation concerning the right of the poor ? Did I instead see her remove next her shirt, then bra, then pants, then panties ? Did I simply accept the brief moment of recognition for what it was and move on ? How I perceived her was intimately and deeply determined by the ways I’ve learned (as a white, American male) to perceive women. That though led me back to pornography: If something so obviously objectifying as pornography, and something I took into my body so briefly, could influence how I perceived those around me, how much more so are we all influenced–or beyond influence: formed–by the myriad more subtle and more incessant messages we receive, and image we perceive ? How are we affected by the unquestioned assumption that make our schooling what it is, and that determine for us the words we choose, and that create stories we take into our bodies via movies, books, newspapers, television. If these stories tell us that one kind of violence is violence, and another violence is not (that it is “kinky,” that it is “business,” that it is “science,” or that it is “defending national interest”), we all come to believe exactly that.”

      This is crucial for me what is written here.
      This to me goes with what I claim in that there is no healthy porn, and will never be any healthy porn, because what porn does to me as a viewer (or consumer if you will) goes into how I will perceive others, in this case women. I’m not saying that it turns everyone into rapists, but it messes up our sexual behaviour, it messes up our ways of building relations towards each other.

      I hope I make some sense.

  • Angela

    In our androcentric sphere where all humans and animals are defined by men, I agree with the premise of this article and most fitting is the title; everyone, always means men.

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  • http://gravatar.com/testing2 Thinkpaige

    Oh finally, an intelligent response to this! While I think it’s great for women (well, non-teens) to support and encourage teenage girls, that they do it with a laughably limited point of view, no concept of history or who/what’s come before them… it’s sad. And it is anything but radical. And it can almost only come from a place of privilege – a mediocre, conventionally attractive, young white writer from Toronto. The type who thinks she’s the first person to art direct a Helmut lang-inspired fashion shoot, you know? Sad sad sad. But maybe it’ll push other women to do something better – here’s hoping they have the fund to print it.