All porn is revenge porn

internet porn

In recent years, there has been growing media coverage, academic research, government interest, and public anger about what’s known as “revenge porn.” But a false separation between “revenge pornography” and the proliferation of commercial pornography undermines existing analyses.

The basics of revenge pornography are often understood to involve “sharing private sexual images and recordings of a person without their consent, with the intention to cause that person harm.” That harm is largely enacted through “degrading women sexually and professionally.”

Despite its definition, “revenge porn” is almost never used to describe commercial pornography. Indeed, the rush to decry “revenge porn” implies that commercial pornography is somehow not about harm, degradation, and humiliation.

It is taken for granted in many of these public discussions that all women in commercial pornography have freely and willingly consented, not only to the sex acts that have been recorded, but also to their global distribution. Beyond that, the stories of abuse from within the commercial pornography industry are largely ignored.

Women involved in all aspects of the porn industry, from the so-called “soft porn” of Playboy and the “free choice” of amateur, to the harder forms of gonzo, have spoken publicly about violence and coercion. I also recount a number of their stories in Selling Sex Short. The filmed recordings of these assaults and abuses of trust are still in circulation for a mostly male target audience to access for the purposes of sexual arousal.

Even the inclusion of specific abusive incidents in the commercial industry as “revenge pornography” is still very limited. The analysis remains stuck on an individual level and offers no meaningful context of consent. Most understandings of “revenge porn” hinge on the idea that the person in question — almost always a woman — has not consented to the distribution of her image and that the purpose of publishing the image is to degrade or humiliate her in some way.

We need to understand that questionable consent, along with humiliation and degradation, are hallmarks of the pornography industry itself. Firstly, women’s inequality — economically, socially, political and sexually — contributes to a kind of cultural coercion into pornography production in the first place. There is little sense in suggesting that commercial pornography is all about “free choice,” as though consent exists outside the context of a capitalist-patriarchy or pornified culture.

Secondly, there is the representation of women in pornography. Sexual violence and sexual aggression against women in mainstream, commercial pornography is extremely common. The ways in which particular groups of women are depicted in pornography also shows that humiliation and degradation exist outside obvious sexual violence.

Racism, too, is pervasive in mainstream heterosexual (and gay male) pornography. As Gail Dines explains:

“Hiding behind the façade of fantasy and harmless fun, pornography delivers reactionary racist stereotypes that would be considered unacceptable were they in any other types of mass-produced media. However, the power of pornography is that these messages have a long history and still resonate, on a sub-textual level, with the white supremacist ideologies, that continue to inform policies that economically, politically and socially discriminate against people of colour.”

Dines demonstrates how sexism and racism intertwine with common tropes such as Asian women constructed as petite and submissive and black women constructed as poor, or “ghetto,” and easily pimped. Pornography not only reinforces male dominance and white supremacy, it sexualizes them: it makes inequality something to get off to.

Furthermore, the pornography industry fundamentally requires sexual objectification in order to function. As Kathleen Barry argues in The Prostitution of Sexuality, the increasing proliferation of pornography has been, at least in part, about publicly reducing women to sexed bodies for the male gaze. She states that, in post-industrial societies:

“[W]hen women achieve the potential for economic independence, men are threatened with loss of control over women as their legal and economic property in marriage. To regain control, patriarchal domination reconfigures around sex by producing a social and public condition of sexual subordination that follows women into the public world.”

In this sense, at a class level, all porn is revenge porn. Instead of an individual man benefiting at the expense of an individual woman — as in dominant understandings of “revenge porn” — this is men, as a class, benefiting at the expense of women, as a class.

The situation is similar with other aspects of the sex industry, as Sheila Jeffreys explains in The Industrial Vagina:

“The boom in strip clubs can be seen as a counterattack, in which men have reasserted their right to network for and through male dominance without the irritating presence of women, unless those women are naked and servicing their pleasures…[Strip clubs] provide an antidote to the erosion of male dominance by institutionalizing the traditional hierarchy of gender relations.”

As women have increasingly asserted their equality with (and autonomy from) men, the sex industry — including its most pervasive and profitable arm in pornography — has become a form of patriarchal compensation, or even revenge. It is a way of reclaiming hierarchies founded on racism and sexism.

We’ve had several decades worth of feminist theorizing and activism about the harms of pornography. It is 24 years since the Dworkin-MacKinnon ordinance put forward the idea that women should be able to hold pornographers who profit from their abuse civilly accountable. It is an ordinance that would have been well suited, in many ways, to addressing revenge porn today.

There is little need to reinvent the wheel in understanding the harms of revenge pornography. There is, however, an urgent need to re-engage with feminist critiques of pornography, sexual inequality, and consent if we are to have any hope of redressing such harms.

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  • Nancy Lee Segal

    Brilliantly wrought. Love this: “There is little sense in suggesting that commercial pornography is all about “free choice,” as though consent exists outside the context of a capitalist-patriarchy or pornified culture.” Yes Yes yes. Thank you for this article post.

  • Lucia Lola

    This is why there is such a strong demand for pornography depicting a respectful, reciprocal experience with sex. Oh. Wait.

  • oneclickboedicea

    Great piece, porn is the reestablishment of male supremacy ideology now the Bible is less effective in binding women to subordination.

    • Sally Hansen

      Best comment yet.

  • Meghan Murphy

    None of your comments have been deleted, as far as I know. All comments are moderated on the site. None go up until a moderator checks them and manually approves (or deletes).

    • Jakiri

      Ah, I see it now. Apologies. I take it back. & if this is anything to go by, from your ‘professorial’ tone, (resisting the temptation to become defensive) that’s some fine moderating. As you were.

      I think plenty of other folk got the wrong end of the stick though.

  • Melissa Cutler

    It’s a good thing you’re here to point out where we’re confused and to offer us a suggestion on how to proceed. Here I was, just sitting around feeling angry and marginal…but now I can see a way to make headway with my activism. Phew! That was close. Okay, ladies, you heard Jakiri–let’s get busy!

  • Melanie

    The reason porn exists is because there’s a social and economic imbalance between men and women, not because men’s supposed higher desire for sex magically makes women want to do porn.

  • Rachel

    Problem is Jakiri, you’re not saying anything new. It’s nothing that any of us haven’t heard a million times before about men’s so called “ahem unfulfilled needs”. It’s really boring having to “debate” these sex “imbalances” between men and women. Particularly when no one seems to be interested in women’s needs, unless of course, they’re the ones in pop culture which happen to be defined by men. Perhaps you should take a look around the site first, have a read, then come back and have a “debate” about your precious porn. They say everyone is entitled to an opinion, but that’s not so true. People are entitled to their informed opinion. No one is entitled to be ignorant.

  • marv

    Oh I seeeeee! Men just aren’t getting enough satisfaction so they turn to porn as a dysfunctional solution. And women need to work with men to solve men’s deprivation of sex to restore balance. The oppressed must help liberate the oppressor. Perhaps labourers should also take heed and work harder for capitalists to quench their natural desire for more profits. The whole damn universe is out of whack because there is imbalance between ying and yang. Cooperation is the remedy.

    Who else could have dispersed the clouds in our minds but Jakiri? Thank you ENLIGHTENED ONE for your salvific intervention. May you free the other universes out there too.

  • Spark658

    Perfect response. I saw this yesterday and it pissed me off but I was too exhausted to say anything, came back today to make sure someone responded, and you all did not disappoint!

  • Tired feminist

    The reason why no one wants to “debate” you is not because we’re afraid of you. It’s because all your points have been thoroughly refuted by feminists ages ago. We don’t want to keep educating lazy/ill-intentioned/anti-feminist people again and again, we want to move on. It’s just that. No one is against you. Yet.

    Some useful reading for you, right here on the site:
    http://www.feministcurrent.com/2013/10/10/feminists-are-not-responsible-for-educating-men/
    http://www.feministcurrent.com/2011/02/11/so-you-think-you-want-to-comment/

  • will

    Wow. Five people responded to your boring, ignorant, simple-minded, yet patronizing comment and still you are whining about not getting enough attention. Go away and grow up you narcissistic cry baby.

  • will

    So much great evidence and analysis here that if I start to quote I’ll end up reposting 90% of this brilliant article.

    I learned a few years ago that the first beauty contests coincided with women’s suffrage. It would be interesting to trace the history of women’s public sexual objectification and its parallel with the historic fight for women’s rights in the public sphere.

    • Susan Faludi’s book Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women documents some of what you’re talking about. Dates from the 90s but is not exactly outdated if you know what I mean.

      • will

        “The Terror Dream” is also excellent.

  • calabasa

    *trigger warning…sexual assault/some graphic descriptions…wondering if other women have experienced this in relationships and feel it is due to porn (and just need to cry about it a little someplace I feel safe)*

    I got into a relationship around the time of that Valentine’s article (reasons why not to marry) and felt so safe with the guy, at first. Was very upfront about my history of sexual assault (he had suffered traumas of his own in his life, which mistakenly made me think he was magically erased of white male privilege). He was very supportive. Yes, he did rush me into bed–on our first date–and I was very disappointed (because I did try repeatedly to make him crash on the couch before succumbing to his pleas to get in bed with me); this should have been my first clue, and kind of was (and, tbh, should not bring dates home to my apartment to hang out no matter how much I like them if I don’t plan to sleep with them). We had a lot in common and should have been friends first.

    Anyway, at first I felt very safe with him/sex felt very loving. He claimed to be a “feminist” man who didn’t watch porn. Then all of a sudden the demands started: demands for blow jobs, pornified positions (putting on a show/performing for him), anal sex, tit-fucking, etc. etc. In fact I wrote him a beautiful (but sad) poem that stated it all: that I used sex to keep people at a distance; was disappointed he’d pushed to go to bed with me; and yet it seemed he still “saw” me, as a person; and that I was falling in love with him/liked it that he was not arrogant, a bit uncertain; that both of us had bad conceptions of ourselves we should help each other get past (it was a poem about photographs in which I admitted I still saw myself as “that girl on her knees”–a victim of sexual assault, whatever shiny happy face I present to the world sometimes). We had both been drinking. I started to cry, asking why men had done such things to me. (The poem was also an early declaration of love–it was very romantic). Instead of holding me–as he should have done (or even initiating tender sex, though why be horny at that moment?)–he asked for a tit-fuck. Which, being drunk and like a lot of women in love and wanting to please him, I agreed to. It turned into a throat-fuck, without my permission; he said he saw my face and that I didn’t want to but kept going. He got very upset and wouldn’t talk to me and said he had to think about why he did that. (He asked why I didn’t say no; it was hard to articulate–with a penis thrusting into your mouth it’s hard to get a word in edgewise; and you don’t want to physically struggle with your boyfriend and make him feel like he’s violating you–so though I didn’t like it/never agreed to it I just decided to let it happen. What was more upsetting was that he saw the look on my face and kept going).

    He said something like “maybe this is the beginning of the end.” The next day we seemed okay, but that would have been the time to have a serious talk about sexual boundaries (I know he was drunk but still sort of couldn’t forgive him–not only for the sense of violation but for asking for a tit-fuck after reading him that poem).

    He proceeded to “fall madly in love with me” and proclaim to everybody on FB (red flag) and tell me he wanted children, a family etc. with me. I freaked out and started to push him away, hard, by being passively aggressively weird to him; it was clear he wanted to be single (go out and get drunk all the time and go to shows etc.) and still have a girlfriend. I felt this was a sexual infatuation and was like, “why do I always do this?” (I need to wait to get physically involved with someone so I can feel like they like/see me as a person). I didn’t trust him at all.

    And then the porny demands started. In fact, on Valentine’s Day, when we went out/he’d gotten me a gift, I said, “I’m sorry I didn’t get you anything,” (because I’m broke right now), knowing in fact that wasn’t true; we were planning to go make dinner at my parents’ and the whole reason I wanted to go was to give him a copy of the book of poetry I published with my dad when I was 17…I thought he might be interested to read it, and I only ever mention/give it to people who are special to me (and I wanted it to be a surprise, so pretended I hadn’t gotten him anything when he gave me his gift he’d gotten me). He said (I know he thought “jokingly” but it didn’t sound like a joke at all and made me feel like he saw me as some sort of prostitute), “That’s okay. You can give me anal sex or a blow job.” (He knew perfectly well why I hate anal sex…a brutal rape when I was 17 by my boyfriend, age 24; that subsequently I felt I had done it to demean myself and men had done it to demean me…and I can’t stand constant demands for blow jobs for much the same reason…it needs to be given as a treat when the person giving it wants to, in the spirit of willingness). Asking for emotionally/physically painful sexual favors–what, as a gift? Because he bought me some stupid shit I didn’t ask for? How romantic. I felt physically ill for about 15 minutes after he said that (once again reiterating to him why I didn’t like to do that, to which he said, “think happy thoughts”–right, thanks for reminding me of getting raped on Valentine’s Day! Think happy thoughts!)

    This was a man very similar to me–five years older, also a writer, similarly educated with similar job experience, someone who wrote very movingly about the death of his son; someone who himself suffered sexual trauma at the hands of a woman (a 16-year-old girl that took his virginity when he was 12, and he didn’t understand what was going on; he had issues with sex after that for a while, he said); someone who had (according to him) been physically abused as well by a former girlfriend, who used to smack his glasses off and pushed his arm through a window (after which he came to his senses and broke up with her). I have also been in a relationship with someone who physically abused me–whom I was in love with, when I was very young (a long relationship)–and felt sympathy, and empathy, and was glad to see the male viewpoint; for some reason I thought both his experience and his knowledge of what I had shared with him about my own painful past would cause him to treat me better.

    Maybe in a sense I do this to men? Lure them in, then don’t trust their professed “love,” then push them away? I don’t know; but I know that apart from the fact that we rushed into it very fast, I felt very safe with him, sexually, in the beginning; and then suddenly he began to ask for more and more, and continue asking no matter how many times I turned him down (I mean, he’d ask again at another point when we were fooling around), which made me feel I had to do them (though some things I refused point blank to do); I felt like he started to see me as some kind of sex toy. I felt these demands came straight from porn (which he claimed not to watch, as a “feminist”). Then–after all his far-too-fast, alarming declarations of love, he abruptly broke up with me after one stupid fight (in which I asked him to stay in with me instead of going out, told him he went out too much, and suggested gently that he was acting a little manic); we went out constantly–at his behest–I didn’t have the money, he was putting money on credit cards, and it was bad for my health (I got very sick from all the drinking/smoking we were doing went to the ER with pharyngitis); I was sick of drunk sex/of his laziness and increasing roughness. I wanted to stay in and cuddle. He called me “controlling” and rushed out. He got increasingly drunk at the bar while apologizing to me via text/FB messager…we didn’t see each other for a week, during which time I tried to get him to talk to me and felt like I was going crazy and was mad at him for ignoring me (and angry with him generally for his recent behavior)…then he suddenly decides he “has to be single.”

    So. I need a man who a)doesn’t watch porn (truly) and b)is kind to me, and c)isn’t afraid of me and e) really wants a relationship with me and d)sees me primarily as a person and only secondarily as an object of desire. (I would far prefer to have so-called “vanilla” sex go on for a while, while building trust, before proceeding to anything that might feel more triggering for me; I see nothing wrong with romantic–yet still passionate–sex. I think it’s not so much that he got bored with it as that it made him feel very vulnerable to me–he said as much to me–and he felt the need to then reduce me to an object/turn our sex pornographic, rather than loving).

    Obviously I am better off without him. We are both messed up and not in the right ways to complement each other. I am less upset about his ridiculous infatuation and love declaration followed by “need to be single” and freaking out over one fight/over my natural suspicion of his weird behavior than I am by his sexual treatment of me at the end (I think I had some angry woman-dominating sex with him the last time to get him back, which I feel bad about; I wish it hadn’t ended that way).

    Am I right to feel this way? Are men/relationships being ruined by pornography? Do other women feel this way? Do other people have experiences like this they feel come from a partner’s use of pornography? (Feel reduced to objects/like otherwise decent men have come to view women as objects/like men expect sex to be rougher than it should or accelerate sexual activity without sufficient trust/like men objectify women to avoid “making love”–i.e. being truly vulnerable to them–or maybe they actually *can’t* make love after so much pornographic male-centered male-pleasing sexually impersonal conditioning)?

    I know this is long, but any answer would be a help. I feel completely demoralized by this relationship, and I went into it with the opposite intent (I did not mean for it to be self-destructive or repeating of old patterns). And he was so gentle and supportive…at first. (Again. Clearly I either attract the wrong types/have bad judgment, and I really need to be friends with someone first…someone trying to sleep with me right away should be a sign, maybe; but sometimes you’re both just horny and it works out perfectly fine! It’s frustrating).

    Also: he is insisting we be friends. Should I forgive him/be his friend? Should we talk about this? I am torn between forgiveness and understanding for another human being and writing him off as an asshole (which makes me feel worse in a way…like an idiot for not seeing it at first).

    • Meghan Murphy

      I’m so sorry about your experience, calabasa. His behaviour towards you is completely fucked up and selfish. I’ve certainly been through similar things and relate to your confusion.

      My opinion is that, yes, men who use porn see women as objects. My experience has not necessarily been that porn-users all want rougher sex, but I definitely think that men who demand it (and things like anal, ‘tit-fucking’ etc) do so because they’ve been schooled by porn and, therefore, feel entitled to porny sex themselves.

      I don’t know that it’s always wrong to sleep with someone right away. Sex, in my opinion, is not the problem here… The problem is that men are entitled, sexually selfish, emotionally stunted dickbags. And no, I don’t think you should try to talk to him about it or be his friend. He sounds like he needs therapy, and trying to talk with him or be his friend is likely to cause you emotional strife you don’t need or deserve. You have better things to do with your energy than comfort sexually abusive, childish men. imo.

      • calabasa

        Hey thanks Meghan…I deleted the original comment, I felt embarrassed.

        I need therapy for my trust issues and definitely need to get to know someone before I sleep with them, I think…(or at least, I think I need to know *myself* better before I sleep with someone right away. I’ve done it before and it’s been fine, even if the relationship didn’t work out…but I felt sad he pushed for it despite the fact we’d spoken openly about our issues beforehand–mostly because of some weird coincidences where he knew some of the same people I knew, including people who knew me when I was going through a terrible time after a rape in college…he began his MA at my alma mater about two weeks after I left town and became involved with some of the very same people).

        I’ve been mixed up about these issues again because of this novel I’m working on, which I’m at impasse with, because it’s emotionally hard. So that was also why I was open when I met him (we are both writers and he asked about what I was writing). He has gone through some very hard times too, and is mixed up (he is in therapy), but I don’t think that excuses his behavior; however, I think that yes, he was schooled this way (he denies he watches porn but men who demand blow jobs/ask you to moan during them!/pester you for anal sex etc.–this is not something that comes from normal relationships). I doubt he will admit it to me (he knows I am a feminist and I am sure that is why he lied about it; he maybe even feels bad about it).

        The truth is, I forgive him. He was mixed up and confused. He was afraid of me as a person (when drunk he would say “you’re the smartest woman I’ve ever dated” and “you’re smarter than me”–I’m not sure how true either of those things is; he could be quite condescending to me in daylight hours, but as they say, in vino veritas). He also said “you’re so much more attractive than I am” (and “women are more attractive than men anyway”) and just seemed all-around insecure with me, and I think, in a sense, that I gave him the impression I was only in it for the short-term, for company, sex, and safety–or maybe even that I was using him for therapy–and he was really angry about it. But truly, had he continued to treat me well and respectfully as he did in the beginning, and shown me some reliability and a continuing devotion, I would have been devoted to him (respectfully–sexually as well as emotionally–being a big part of that). I could be a loyal and caring partner to someone who treated me well, one day (and, at least I know I want a relationship with someone kind, sometime; and what I need to do to get there; and more about how to avoid red flags/go with my gut, etc.).

        I think he is insisting we be friends and acting all contrite because he wants to show me he can change (and maybe, yes, to help him “feel better” about acting like that or like he didn’t act like that or something, or to show me he can be my friend and see me as a person, I have no idea, tbh…we had a conversation when he abruptly broke up with me over the phone which went like this: “You know I have trust issues concerning men.” “But I’m not like those other guys;” something he said early on, too, insisting he was different, before this behavior started; “I’m not a rapist” and I kind of just went, “mmm”… “well, I didn’t make you do anything you didn’t want to do” and I just said, “hmmmmm”… and then he got pissed off and ended the conversation). We are meeting tomorrow and I think I will let him down about being his friend, very kindly (and maybe will only address these sexual issues if he brings them up, asking forgiveness…he knows how I feel). But yes, I need to make my way to Minneapolis where I have a good friend waiting (who is loaning me her condo), I need to hang out with my friends, I need to go to therapy, I need to get back to work on my writing, go biking, go hiking, go swimming, listen to other people’s problems, talk about stupid shit, laugh…not spend time being his “friend” while I’m here in my hometown.

        I know that’s going to make him very sad. I feel very sad for him. I think this relationship was very confusing for him too. (He told me he fell way too hard too fast and didn’t usually act like that…I think he feels resentment in some way, like I tricked him). I wish only the best for him.

        Apart from watching porn, that is.

        (Thanks, again, for your support…I’m sorry men have treated you that way, as well. How long did it take to get good at saying “no” and then realizing that if you had to say “no” repeatedly there was a problem? I need to get much better at navigating these things…I imagine you must be pretty much a rock star, by now).

        No more screeds, I promise…but I do appreciate this community of women for being there, for all of us, in our times of need. And “sex is not the problem here..the problem is that men are entitled, sexually selfish, emotionally stunted dickbags” made me laugh. 🙂
        Here’s hoping I meet one someday who is not. (I mean, they exist, right? They’re not just magical beings other women insist exist, much like unicorns?)

    • Jakiri

      Respect for sharing that. That was wrong what happened to you and the guy sounds like a total **** end, who most likely cannot bear to spend enough time with himself to realise that he is living as if the world (and the people/women in it) are a mirror for his damaged, self-absorbed psyche. All you can do is try not to make the same mistake (new mistakes are entirely acceptable) and try not to let it ruin your confidence in yourself.

      If in doubt, find someone you know (and who has proven trustworthy) with a bit of empathy to run it by them, or a good professional. In either case, not a tw*t who thinks they have all the answers, but one who is able to help you to think about the situation in a different way (applying your knowledge and experience constructively), focus on your goals, the benefits of being you and to reduce the problems to the things that you can do to help protect your valuable emotional sensitivity.

      i would be skeptical with this guy. You don’t have to be friends, or feel guilty about your decision. Until you have moved from the place you are at with him, he might just look at you as a resource, he can ‘exploit’ when he wants to, so I personally wouldn’t risk it. but whatever you decide to do, All the best.

      • calabasa

        Thanks Jakiri…you are very kind. I think being damaged does make us self-absorbed (David Foster Wallace’s “The Depressed Person” comes to mind; the protagonist is a monster of selfishness, even if it manifests as self-hatred; depression traps a person in their own mind, in their own hell, and they cannot see or help anyone else…I think I lifted that for him briefly, but only briefly).

        I am obviously damaged too (as evidenced by my long self-absorbed rant and long response to you and Meghan!!!) but I am trying to get over it. When I am happy I help others more, and when I help others more I am happy. And maybe I will meet the right kind of person in the right kind of headspace. I do need to get therapy for my issues with past sexual abuse in general (I have used FC’s pages far too much as therapy in my anger in months past when doing soul-crushing research about the sex industry in near-total isolation for a book I’m writing). I have decided not to be friends with him, but to let him down very gently…I did hurt him too, even if not intentionally (I mean, even if I didn’t know going into it I wouldn’t want to stay with him; I think he thinks that, or feels used or tricked in some way, though that’s not fair to say about either of us, love and relationships are always a risk).

        He did say something very nice to me: I said that I felt that, if I had not been so vulnerable in my teens and early twenties (because of some early non-sexual trauma I won’t go into), which resulted in me attracting a lot of predators who somehow knew I was not good at resisting (I tend to freeze up, even if I say “no” or “stop;” this still happens even after learning judo), and I hadn’t been so damaged by those things/by abusive relationships as well, I could have done so many great things with my life (and the truth is it’s not like I haven’t–I’ve lived and taught all over the world, had adventures, made tons of friends, dated people, got a scholarship and went to grad school, etc.; but I just feel like I could have had a real relationship/had kids/been professionally successful, etc., by now, if I weren’t so damaged and down on myself). He said, “who knows? Maybe without any of this strife you would have just been aimless and drifting. Maybe all of this has driven you to try out new things in defiance, be more adventurous, and has helped you be more sensitive to other people’s plights in other places and will help you become even greater.” I thought that was a really nice thing to say. We all need to re-frame our narratives, especially when they’re undeserved and negative ones.

        Thank you for calling it a “valuable emotional sensitivity.” I am very sensitive. It’s maybe not always a bad thing…anyway, I will be kind to him; he is very sensitive too. But no, we can’t be friends…I think he wants to show me he can be that better guy; but that would just be very distracting for me with all the things I have to do now; and I am not sure he can, not once that trust is gone. For someone else, I hope. But not for me.

        P.s. I do have lots of very good friends, fortunately. Their advice ranged from “tell that guy to fuck off” to “send him a three-line email telling him you left his stuff in a box outside your door.” I had a long talk about relationships with a close friend tonight…women tend to talk about this stuff in the aftermath to understand it (as far as I can tell, he is going out every night to distract himself…though I think rather than getting drunk and going to concerts he is at least trying to meet people and go to writing events). You’re right, I think it’s too distressing for him to be alone with himself right now (and maybe in general, and is why he’s always in and out of relationships with women); he claims he wants to be “single” and get his life together (I think in hopes of dating me again once he’s settled down)…but it’s not going to happen (I mean, he broke up with me, and it was for the best, definitely; I was pushing him to do it). I hope he learns from this brief, intense relationship–I certainly have–and does better next time–I certainly will! I think he should follow his own advice and stay single for a while while he sorts stuff out in his head, and try to avoid using women until he knows he’s ready to consistently treat someone well and not be so insecure…but that’s for him to decide, of course (and another person can’t make you happy…I hope he finds his happiness, somehow).

  • Jakiri

    Never said that. Please, no straw men here. I don’t think it is “right for men to demand access to women’s bodies…..” Never have. The state of men and women are different. *** play violins***

    (Generalisation alert) Men’s problem is how to get attention. Women’s problem is how to regulate the attention they get & ‘discipline’ the disrespectful ones, in a manner which makes the point, but does not put them in greater danger.

    There is a different connection between sex and emotional attachment between men and women. I would believe that though there are many bad, oppressive effects of the greater social constraints which women labour under, but there are some things that one (even a feminist maybe?) can empathise with.

    My interest is in having people (primarily women) safe and able to express themselves (in debates) with qualification from facts and rationally constructed arguments & in public, without being attacked. (am I being biased for privileging stereotypically ‘male’ thought patterns, which devalue emotion and nurturing sentiments, or would another arm of ‘feminism’ argue that rationalism is neither male or female? Doesn’t matter. I’m male, so I’m wrong) Relax please. I am not serious about this last comment.

    You may have heard it before, but luckily I am here to remind you, because you guys seem to jump on the absolutely most negative possible connotation on each occasion. & if I’m pissing u off, don’t worry, I’m on the male sites (pissing them off) too. Or should I say “pissing US off too”?

    • Demanding access to porn *is* demanding access to women’s bodies. Or anyone’s bodies. There is no other kind of porn. Written stories are generally labeled erotica rather than porn, and I think that’s appropriate. “No living beings harmed in the writing of this book” and all that. No “age on file” necessary.

      Enough of the mansplaining. You’re boring.

  • You actually have no idea how much women want to have sex. It is a cultural and political minefield for us to come out and admit that we want to get laid, and that’s in a heterosexual context; far worse if we admit to being lesbian.

    Speaking for myself, I’d love to get laid again, but men are insensitive inconsiderate dickbags in the sack more often than not, and I *am* in a position to say so. Plus I am risking a hell of a lot more being sexual than a man would be risking, know what I mean? Putting my health at risk for nine months and then being responsible for how the kid turns out is way worse than having to write a check every month. I’ve had kids and I’ve written checks and I would know.

    I had a boyfriend once who was an absolute pornhound. He got laid. He got laid pretty much whenever he wanted it. He even liked it. Trouble was he’d rather stay up til the wee hours of the morning downloading free images off the newsgroups when he had a live woman waiting for him in bed.

    So you can take your crap non-analysis and cram it where the sun don’t shine.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Do support banning child porn?

    • Jakiri

      Yes. I should hope that child-porn is already banned. If not it should be.

      • Meghan Murphy

        But you believe we should not ban all porn? Or am I misunderstanding you?

        • Jakiri

          If a woman feels that she has been abused, she should definitely be able to hold the pornographer to civil liability. I know that this in many cases would mean her needing to adopt some serious security as many are unscrupulous operators. Which leads me to another point.
          I also think that law enforcement, should be looking into these groups for evidence of racketeering (using a model based on implicit or explicit violence) and the involvement of organised crime. They are two initiatives I can greatly support. Not all operators of course use these tactics, but those that do, I would wholeheartedly support them being put out of business.

          • Bleep

            Do you think women who are homeless, and/or cannot afford food and basic necessities, face “implicit or explicit violence”?

            Or, have you ever heard of women consenting to stay in abusive relationships so they will not be out on the street? So they are able to eat and have a roof; so they do not have to face, say, unknown abuses, rather than ones they do know? Have you heard of this?

          • Jakiri

            This opens up much wider debate about the funding and prioritisation of these services for vulnerable people (and specifically in this case for vulnerable women).

            I have heard of this, I know this to be the case with a member of my family, a woman I became friends with while studying and a young woman I worked with. As you probably know, it is a very mixed bag and there tend to be many reasons (including these, but not exclusively so) which keep people/women in these types of relationships, but that’s another story.

            The only sustainable solution I can see is to ensure that services are provided for, with compassionate, knowledgeable people working and volunteering there, accessible and promoted.

            Typically the people I am familiar with (who have been through this ordeal) required plenty of information support/encouragement, but only to help them be aware of their choices, and to follow through with them once they had made the decision. The removal of choices, no matter how well intentioned was, in the examples I know of (and I believe pretty typical), seen as further disempowering and another form of imposition.

            The reason that is my focus is because if you turn your question around, one could ask if a woman who (as far as anyone can tell) has a high sense of self-regard and none of the desperate circumstances you mentioned, chooses to enter into ‘porn’- (exhibited sex), in a transparent contract and with her eyes open and no coercion, should she be prevented.
            I’m not even gonna ask about men- Many of us would chop off a limb to have that as a job, even though in reality I understand that it can come with a lot of boredom, discomfort, insecurities, superficiality and relationship problems.

            Hope I answered your question (eventually), but if not, please get back.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Ok, so my question is: How do you apply your argument against banning porn to child porn?

    “Banning porn is like banning weapons- the first guy to come out with a rather impressive big black stick can name his price.”

    Does this not also apply to child porn?

    I ask, not because I necessarily think banning porn is the correct way forward, but because generally people who like to pretend they are against what they call “censorship” or say they are against banning porn are not, in fact, against either of those things. They just pick and choose what it is they think should and should not be banned or censored based on their own preferences/ethics.

  • Meghan Murphy

    All I was implying was that your argument against banning porn wasn’t logical if applied to other things society deems unethical or abusive.

    • Jakiri

      To simplify- I agree, in the case of child-porn. This is the case because sex with children (either as participants or viewers), is on the balance overwhelmingly likely to be damaging and disruptive to their psychological development.

      I do not believe that, on balance, sex for (adult) women is necessarily damaging. If you do, then though it would seem counter-intuitive, I would be happy to sift through your sources. Therefore the woman’s decision to get involved or not, becomes one of an adult, subject to ‘capacity’. The argument here is that sex, if filmed or recorded and sold is existentially an attack on or form of exploitation of women. I disagree. I believe that it depends on the agreement made. Vulnerable women may be involved in porn, but equally non-vulnerable women may be involved in porn. If a woman is vulnerable, should that remove her ability to make a decision, (which is possibly the least worst of those available)?

      What I have been consistent about is in providing support to women who are vulnerable, removing the threat of violence (as and when it is there) and removing the social stigma. There is the (rare) case of the woman who at first appeared in porn and is now in so-called ‘Bollywood’ films, calling herself “Sunny Leone” and the stigma that she sometimes faces for having first performed in porn. What do you think of this type of story?

  • Jakiri

    Surely, you are talking about wider structural things. We’ve gone from the ethical principle to the practical dilemma of struggling to earn enough (as a young woman) to pay for college tuition fees (and I guess possible forms of discrimination). It has gone from whether all porn is a retaliatory measure by men afraid of losing their privilege, to whether women who participate in it have the right to go to college.

    If you get rid of porn or stripping, it still leaves the problem of how to earn that money. But that is not (necessarily) an ethical consideration.

    I hope you don’t conflate the condition of those who are physically threatened with those who are anxious about losing a possible stream of income.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Porn is an EXTREMELY short term source of income. Women don’t last very long in the industry. And if there are large numbers of young women doing porn to pay for college that’s yet another reason why we need to push for free post secondary.

      At the end of the day, banning porn wouldn’t have a notable impact on women’s economic agency — it’s not as though porn lifts women out of the lower class and, as I mentioned, it’s not sustainable. There is more than one issue we need to talk about here — one part being social safety nets, universal daycare, free post-secondary, the student loan crisis, better minimum wage and welfare rates, etc. BUT we also need to talk about the fact that it is men who profit and gain from porn, and the fact that porn hurts women — individual women and women as a whole. Your fear that feminist challenges to the porn industry will force women, en masse, into poverty are unfounded. Those women are already financially marginalized and porn isn’t going to resolve that.

    • Bleep

      You seem to be very middle class. That’s about all I get from this reply. You think that people who are “anxious about losing a stream of income” are the only ones going to college, apparently. Not those who are trying desperately to get out of abusive circumstances. Or, I guess, you don’t think that a college “girl” could be from a bad background, because of, oh, how fun and perky college “girls” are?

      I get that to you all of this is a very abstract discussion, you cannot personalize how much fear women, even young, fresh, nubile, college “girl” types, may live with.

      Why don’t women want to be poor, Jakiri? What is it they are afraid of?

  • Meghan Murphy

    LOL. Yeah the multi billion dollar porn industry ‘isn’t very profitable anymore.’ Good one. Obviously when we’re talking about profit/capitalism we’re talking about men’s profit/the owners of the means of production, not the profit of the exploited.