Can I get a f**k you? Why erections are always right and feminists are always wrong.

Oh y’all, it has been a magical week for the menz. And in case you’re wondering, they are right and we are all very, very wrong. About everything.

Especially the sex industry.

Because you see, men are ‘normal’. Everything they do is ‘normal’. If they do it, it’s ‘normal’. And who can argue with ‘normal’? Certainly one can’t argue with nature? And, conveniently, anything that happens is somehow ‘natural’ (and therefore, immune to critique) simply because it exists.

It’s strange because I don’t see people giving up on war and murder and, like, cancer. But those things happen, right? According to the logic of everything-men-want-and-do-and-think-is-fine-and-good, these are simply natural things that happen to human beings and, therefore, are perfectly fine and everybody just sit down OK?

As such, there seems to be a little bit of confusion out there on the interwebs about the difference between male sexuality and misogyny. I feel like it’s intentional. Mostly because it’s so idiotic that I have a hard time believing that people could believe such things with sincerity. But then again, it isn’t exactly uncommon to hear some version of the “stop hating on my sexuality” response from various directions whenever feminists are critical of porn, strip clubs, or prostitution.

Last week, The King’s Tribune published a piece by Justin Shaw called Porn is Bad. Yes, you’re right! It is a hilariously witty title. Because HAHA that’s what feminists think! What a bunch of idiots.

Essentially, Shaw argues that feminists who are critical of porn are hysterical, screechy, and, generally, stupid. Did you know that what our arguments all boil down to is that “porn is bad”? Yep! It’s that easy, ladies. Forget violence, objectification, oppression, feminist film theory, powerraceclassgendersexism, because all we’ve really been saying, all this time is: bad. Men are bad. Porn is bad. The end. No wonder they hate us so much, y’all! We are a bunch of stupid, simplistic, misandrist, jerks.

Strangely, Shaw picks, specifically, on an article written by Dr. Meagan Tyler, called: “Porn: just a bit of harmless fun?” which argues that much of dominant discourse on pornography in Australia (where Tyler and Shaw reside) revolves around setting up a “straw-man version of anti-porn campaigners as ideologically driven, extreme feminists or religious loons.” So I don’t know. I guess Shaw was inspired by the piece…He appears to simply reinforce all of Tyler’s points.

Shaw does what so many people do when presented with a critique of systematic oppression. They remove all context and make it AAAAALL about them, as individuals who exist inside social bubbles, far removed from the influence of society and culture and governments and media. There were dinosaurs and now there’s porn. It’s called evolution, folks.

Rather than understanding feminist arguments based on what they actually say, based on the idea that, rather than individual men or men’s “natural desires” necessarily being the problem, rather, the problem has to do with privilege, socialization, media, imagery, blah blah blah, dude manages to boil it all down to this:

Everywhere I look, women are telling me that I’m bad. Well not me, personally, I don’t think, but men in general. Our sexuality, at its very best, is bad and, at its worst, is monstrous. Men and our sex drives must be guarded against because we are made even more dangerous to women by our consumption of any kind of porn. We must be controlled, because female sexuality is the only right moral way to be, we are just penis-driven morons.

Um. Ok. You are SO right! You were born with an all-natural love for fake boobs and rape fantasies. You were born a sexist and there’s nothing you can do about it. OH and also? Women are all born with some kind of innate, perfect, “moral” sexuality. “WE” (the great, big WE who represent all women) are good and you (men) are bad. That’s totally a feminist argument! Feminists are all about sweeping generalizations and gender binaries.

This goes on and on. Women see porn through “women’s eyes” (which are not as trustworthy as men’s eyes, by the way, what with being so clouded by morals and all), and cannot possibly understand that men are simply different-brained and, therefore, naturally inclined to be turned on by sexist imagery.

Shaw proceeds to explain to all of us idiotic women that there are actually different kinds of porn. And that the porn he likes is ok. So we’ve gotten our panties in a wad for nothing.

Since Justin has helpfully explained to us the facts and truths about porn (because your lady-brain simply can’t grasp such a thing), he moves along to answer the question that, supposedly no one has ever been able to answer in the history of feminism or academia:

The bigger question, one that the female academics seem unable or unwilling to answer is Why Is Porn?

I’ll let you in on a secret. Men like looking at it because, and here’s the kicker: we masturbate. I’m guessing that the same is true of women who watch it, but not being a woman I wouldn’t presume to speak for them.

Move along, folks, nothing to see here.

Men masturbate, ergo they watch porn. One can only assume that, before porn, men didn’t ever have orgasms alone and one can also go right ahead and assume that women who masturbate also only figured out how to enjoy themselves once industrious men invented pornography. You’re welcome, ladies!

Based on Shaw’s argument, I think we can reasonably conclude with this: feminists hate masturbation. THAT’S why they hate porn (and men. and sex. but mostly penises. badwrongyuck.).

But wait! Understandably concerned that we’re still unclear on these simple, straightforward, and true-fact points, Ben Pobjie felt obligated to write pretty much the exact same article the next day. So you don’t need to strain your special and delicate lady-eyes, I will summarize the key points for you, in a non-offensive and femmy way so the womenz can read too (we like lists, yes?):

1) Feminists hate porn because they’ve never watched porn. Sorry to break it to you, porn-researching feminists, all those images of objectified female bodies and cum-shots you think you saw? Wrong-o. You didn’t see anything.

2) You just don’t get porn. As we learned from helpful Justin, feminists don’t understand porn. We don’t get that porn is just people having sex! BOOBS YOU GUYS. Boobs.

3) Porn opens minds. Because fake lesbian sex. Without porn probably no one would even know that some women like to have sex with other women. Thanks, porn! And naturally, lesbians have sex with each other so that men can have orgasms.

Now, both these men will likely tell you that HAHA they’re joking, get it stupid? Because the best way to deflect criticism and deny misogyny is to respond by saying something creative like “feminists don’t have a sense of humour” or “oh haha, but that rape joke was a rape joke.”

But the thing about this kind of humour is that it isn’t funny. Or rather, it isn’t a joke. This is actually what people who support the porn industry believe. This is what the men who wrote these pieces believe. This is what dominant discourse tells us: pornography is a ‘normal’ part of male sexuality and because it is framed in that way – as definitive of sex and sexuality — we can’t criticize it. It’s like criticizing people for breathing. I mean, it’s just what humans DO.

Whoops! Not what ‘humans’ do, actually. It is, of course, largely, what men do. Regardless of the fact that some women watch porn, the sex industry is largely driven by men. Men make up the majority of consumers and makers of pornography. And, therefore, it has come to define male sexuality. Not only that, but because men (specifically, white men) are still viewed as ‘the norm’ in society, pornography has come to, simply, define sex.

It isn’t that pornography actually equals male sexuality, it’s that our culture has been so saturated by porn and pornographic imagery that we have learned to view sex through a pornified lens.

Yesterday morning, on CBC Radio’s Q, Susannah Breslin was interviewed by Jim Brown about her project, Letters From Men Who Go To Strip Clubs, which asks men to write in anonymously to explain why they go to strip clubs and what their experiences are like (listen here). The project takes this almost pitying approach to the men; Breslin providing an examples of men who view it as a form of therapy or who say strip clubs are the only places they can go for human contact. And it isn’t that I don’t feel bad for lonely guys, but it’s that both the interviewer and Breslin can’t seem to be able to move beyond the idea that the only possible reason people wouldn’t like strip clubs is because they are “taboo.”

Well, first of all, I don’t think strip clubs are taboo. I am pretty positive that every man I know has been to a strip club (probably more than once). Hey, even I’ve been to strip clubs enough times to know that I really, really, don’t like going to strip clubs (but boy oh boy did I try!). We live in a culture that sees strip clubs, simply, as something men do (and something that women should also do in order to prove they aren’t ‘uptight’ about such things – but that’s another blog post…).

The only other thing the interviewer can come up with is that maybe people just think strip clubs are “inherently wrong,” which Breslin dismisses on the basis that, to view strip clubs as “wrong” is to view women’s bodies as “wrong”. This massive oversimplification and erasure of of feminist critiques of the sex industry really makes it easy for the opposition, hey? To summarize: we hate naked ladies, we hate sex, we hate masturbation, and we hate men. Oh, and also? We have never seen porn or been inside strip clubs so we know not what we speak of. If we did, we would be happily masturbating away just like everyone else in the world.

While the interviewer points out that, generally, we assume men go to strip clubs to see naked ladies, he goes on to say that it is “surprising” that some men actually go there for other reasons. For example, to be able to hit on women without being rejected.

Uh. Ok. Isn’t that kind of the whole point? That men watch porn, buy sex, and go to strip clubs in order to reassure themselves that, yes, they still do have the right to access women regardless of whether or not those women actually want to be with them? Isn’t that the deal? Women have to be nice to you because they’re getting paid? They have to pretend to be turned on by your creepy ass because they’re on the clock? We know this. We know it isn’t just about female bodies (though, of course, much of it is about female bodies), but that it is also about power and privilege. Men who dig the sex industry dig it because it reinforces their sense of power over women. It’s not ok with them that they aren’t allowed to sexually harass and ogle women on the street (though, of course, many of them go right ahead and do it anyway), so they want to go somewhere where it is, indeed, perfectly ok. Don’t worry, guys, you can be yourselves here. Never you mind those ladies who want to walk down the street or go to work or sit on the bus without being propositioned or masturbated at. They’re a bunch of spoil sports.

According to Breslin, these imaginary taboos around strip clubs are the faults of feminists who aim to “police male sexual desire”. And there we have it again. Feminists just hate all things “male”. So long as we position male sexuality as naturally misogynist, it isn’t patriarchy or violence or objectification that feminists critique when they critique the sex industry, it is simply that we hate men in their natural state.

Breslin says it all outright: “At a strip club, it’s ok if you’re sexist, it’s ok if you objectify women. That’s part of the reason why you’re there.” And yet she doesn’t seem to be able to separate behaviour that is learned behaviour, the product of socialization, something that is systematic, from something she sees as being “natural” and therefore unproblematic. Being sexist actually isn’t a problem, in this context, because it’s just how men are. “That [behaviour] doesn’t mean you’re disrespectful…It’s a place where men can go to get what they want and not have to negotiate for it or feel like they’re going to be charged with sexual harassment if they flirt.”

Breslin’s conclusion, that men actually go to strip clubs because they want intimacy, seems to exist in opposition, though, with what both she and the men who write in say. “We want to be free to be sexists and to objectify women and feel ok about that,” doesn’t really speak to intimacy. It speaks to a desire to dominate.

We are working so hard to normalize sexism as something that is an innate part of masculinity and I’m just not quite sure why. If we can imagine that it’s possible for people not to murder one another or imagine that there be an end to war or child abuse or whatever other kinds of behaviour we’ve agreed, as a society, is unacceptable, or, at least, undesirable, why are we so avidly working to preserve sexism?

Why are we so unwilling to see porn or strip clubs or prostitution as something invented by a society that is not egalitarian? Just because you get an erection when you see a woman being objectified onscreen doesn’t mean women deserve to be objectified. And I don’t say that because I have a hate-on for erections, or masturbation, or penises, or even sex (though some women hate all those things and that’s perfectly fine). But because I can separate men from misogyny. I don’t believe that your erection is dependent on my subordination.

And you know why? Because I don’t believe you were born an asshole.


Meghan Murphy
Meghan Murphy

Founder & Editor

Meghan Murphy is a freelance writer and journalist. She has been podcasting and writing about feminism since 2010 and has published work in numerous national and international publications, including New Statesman, Vice, Al Jazeera, The Globe and Mail, I-D, Truthdig, and more. Meghan 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.

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  • Yellowmarigold

    Great post, Meghan. I am new to this blog, so forgive me if you’ve already addressed this, but why did you go to strip clubs and try so hard to like it?

    • Meghan Murphy

      Well, for starters, I hung out with a lot of dudes…Who went to strip clubs…

      • Denzil

        I find the discussion interesting… but I am not sure where I stand on it all.

        For example I think that porn could be ok in theory – but in reality it usually not only objectifies women but the actresses will have had faced abuse that would be considered unthinkable in any other profession.

        On the other hand I think you should be able to make porn films, be a stripper or a prostitute (although it should be licensed and controlled). How do you begin to try and handle this? I can only think that education is the key.

    • Kris

      It kinda took a while to get to a point, but seems like you thought out what you wanted to say as you wrote it. I guess I still don’t understand some of your points. Some women want to be subjugated, some women have fantasies about being raped. All the girls I have had sex with like it when I pull their hair. My ex girlfreind liked it when I pretended to choke her while having sex. I have never had sex with a guy but I would wager there are few hetero guys who truly enjoy having their girlfreind pretend to choke them or pull their hair. I don’t know I guess you can make anything seem bad or evil depending on how you put it. We are thinking animals, but I can’t think my way out of enjoying watching boobs. I doubt it is the same for women who want to be fucked from behind and have their hair pulled. Can they help what they like? It’s evolution. Isn’t that subjugation? And please don’t insult me for saying that, unless you can come up with another definition for your girlfreind saying, “pull my hair baby, fuck me from behind, I like it when you choke me”. I’m not making this stuff up, I am just exasperated when women over think all of this. And women do the same stuff guys do, they make booty calls, objectifying men! They have sex with multiple guys, they go out with guys JUST to have sex with them. Women are just as naughty as men are. When will feminism acknowledge this? It is a woman’s world today, they can’t see this? It is women who have the power in the sex relationship. The average woman could make a booty call and she’ll get the first guy she calls. You really thinknits the same for a guy? You think the first woman he calls, “hey sure lets have random sex ill be there in 5 min”, he’ll no! Some guys maybe brad Pitt, normal guys, no way.

      • Aims

        Kris, you are so right, because your girlfriend liked her hair pulled when you f*cked her from behind and I can make booty calls, it’s a WOMAN’S WORLD. Case closed.

      • Grackle

        “The average woman could make a booty call and she’ll get the first guy she calls.”

        I love this kind of brainless argument, which sort of confirms the fact that to some men, women who aren’t conventionally attractive–or are downright “ugly”–don’t actually exist.

      • Candy

        I actually agree with your post. I don’t find a little rough sex degrading. Humiliation sex is degrading. Spitting on women is degrading. You’re right, hetero guys do request that- my boyfriend loves nails down his back and bites on his nipples. I don’t think he’s internalized hate, I think it feels good. Having my hair pulled is a good sensation. Gagging on a dick while a guy says suck it, slut is not. I agree that we’re animals and that isn’t degrading, but know the difference between what is and what isn’t.

  • Wow. Just wow. those two brahs you read from are ridiculous and ridiculously predictable. I have heard this crap over and over, the denial and dismissal of EVERYTHING feminists say – not to mention the sheer misrepresentations of our arguments and critiques. So sick of it.

    As for the Q interview, I heard about it on a commercial and said, “Hell no, i’m not listening to this shit” and from what you wrote, i’m SO glad I decided not to !!! How can that woman say that it’s OKAY to treat strippers like shit? Just because they are strippers, you can treat them like sex-objects and like they shouldn’t require consent to “flirt” with these women (i have heard a lot of stories of men groping, spitting and barfing on the women who are stripping. Why so many women are interested in saying that “feminists are denying men’s sexual desire” is beyond me – why not even QUESTION why male sexuality is constructed on the notion that women are for sex and nothing more. So enraging.

    Thank you for this post, it’s comprehensive and solid.

    • Josh

      You know there are male strippers too, right? Or don’t you care?

      • Meghan Murphy

        The fact that male strippers exist doesn’t erase the fact that stripping objectifies women

      • Aims

        I spoke to a male stripper here in Sydney, a city of 4 million people, and he told me there’s only about 4 of them working full-time and they struggle to make a living.

        You’re a joke Josh, a classic what about the menz.

        We’ve heard it all before.

  • There is a refusal by the pro-porn lobby to hear the realities for the women inside porn, a refusal to allow that exited women from hard-core porn can have a voice.
    Instead there are terrible myths spread – such as

    It must all be fake or just acting.
    If it is real then all the women inside porn are sex-crazed or loving it.
    That is never rape or sexual torture, even when she looks in pain or terrified.
    Drugs are rare in porn, for why would they be needed.
    Porn has no connection with prostitution – even when many of the women inside porn have been moved from other aspect of the sex trade.
    There is little or no force or trafficking in the porn industry.
    Women inside are made to sign a consent form, so in theory they will do sexual acts they don’t want to do.

    It is real “sex”, rather it is real violence and degradation – it is not acting. If there is acting, it is the terrible act of having to appear happy and sexually fulfilled, when in pain and terror. To make commercial hard-core porn, you must be prepared to be raped/sexually over and over and over and over – as they take many takes, or the crew just enjoy watching you suffering.
    Consume commercial and so-called amateur porn and you are more than like watching real rape or sexual torture – unless you can 100% be sure it is fully consensuous.

    As an exited woman from prostitution, and made to be inside hard-core porn – I am sickened by the justifications for consuming porn.

    There is no concern for the conditions the women inside porn have to exist.
    This is because we are viewed as sub-humans – as plastic women, as women who feel no pain, as women who so sex made we don’t what happens to our bodies, as women too dumb to care about whether they are being hurt or not.
    Believe the woman inside porn has no real human feelings, no desire to be more than a fuck-object – then you can watch porn without the inconvenient concern that she is being hurt and destroyed.

    Mustn’t let her human rights get in the way of your wanking

    • Josh

      You have no evidence to back up any of the claims you made here. Every single point is in blatant ignorance of the fact that we have police in this country that are not so inane that they can’t control the type of blatant criminality your discussing here. Rape on tape and sold? That’s what your proposing?

      Face it: these women and men are fucking for money. The end. The only extrapolation you can draw here is that our society should not encourage or promote or “brainwash” (because no one is responsible for what they do let alone think) towards the goal of prostitution or pornography.

      But on this same page there’s posts about polyandry. What is to say that some of these situations aren’t controlled by women? That there isn’t porn for women or women porn directors or maybe situations where women mistreat men in porn?

      You don’t care. You’re a feminist. Your here to fight for your sex and that is all.

      • Aims

        WHAT ABOUT THE MENZ!!!!!!!!

      • Kirsti

        Josh has a point. So does Meghan. If performers are paid to do this, their argument about being used loses some of its power. But, just attacking and dismissing Josh (or any presumably male commentator) when he makes a polite comment on here that disagrees with you won’t change anyone’s mind and undermines the valid points Meghan is trying to make.

        How about just address his point in a respectful way as he did on his original post?

        • Me

          You mean “the point” he has down in his pants? That seems to be about the only point he’s addressing.

        • Me

          Honestly, what Josh wrote above was wildly offensive, just off the chart imo.

        • Grackle

          Every point that Josh has made has been addressed over and over and over again, and what’s more, he was not even remotely polite. How is it polite to assert that Rebecca Mott is lying and refer to her as blatantly ignorant and inane? How is it polite to finish his little rant by sniffling that feminists don’t care about how men are treated?

          He insists not only that there’s no evidence of women being raped for pornography when there’s actually plenty and that the police in this country not only have control over the entire planet, including the internet, but never get anything wrong. Hm, I wonder if he was referring to the 15 VPD officers who were caught last year for circulating porn at work, or maybe he meant the multiple sexual harrassment charges laid against the RCMP. Perhaps he was thinking of the widely-criticized lazy policing that resulted in 49 prostituted women being murdered at the Pickton farm over a period of decades or maybe he was thinking of the RCMP officer who worked on that very case and was later found posing for pornographic photos where he staged a knife attack on a bound, naked woman.

          Your smug assertion that commenters will shoot down “presumably any male commentator”, regardless of how polite he is, is absurd (though it’s pretty standard anti-feminist tripe–would you like to throw in something about how we’re all bitter, fat, ugly, hairy lesbians?) as there are a number of men who comment here regularly without managing to be assholes.

          • Kirsti

            You know,Grackle, I understand that you feel free to say whatever you want since you are anonymous, but my point is that you will never win the heart and mind of anyone by being dismissive or rude to them. As a matter of fact, I posted this particular article by Meghan on my Facebook page where it engendered some spirited discussion, which is always a good thing, especially if it is a two way street in the exchange of ideas.

            Even in internet forums, we need to be respectful of one another’s view. Also, here’s an an article that might interest you since I noted you misrepresented my simple argument in your response (“feminists are bitter fat, ugly, hairy lesbians”). Look under “Strawman.”


            Take care.

          • Aims

            Kirsti, first, Josh was not respectful, he was blatantly rude and scornful.

            “Every single point is in blatant ignorance,” says the “respectful” Josh.

            Second, you are condescending and mansplaining. I have no doubt at all that you are a man posting under a female name, thinking you’re very clever. You’re not.


          • Grackle

            Um, no, Kirsti, that’s not actually how the strawman fallacy works, though I appreciate your providing a link for me as if I hadn’t finished the first or so year of high school. When you make a statement straight off the “Anti-feminist bingo” scorecard, it’s pretty logical for me to suggest that you might go with another standard anti-feminist stereotype that we hear a lot. If anything, that’s called a reductio. You can look it up, and afterwards you can respond to my actual comment rather than just repeating what you said the first time around.

  • Natalie Hill

    I listened to the Breslin interview on Q.

    She had a very twisted ‘understanding’ of feminism – I believe she referred to it as just a bunch of academics thrusting their ideas onto the greater population, from which they are completely removed. While there’s a nugget of truth in the criticism that some feminist researchers are disconnected from the community, it is downright insulting to suggest feminism isn’t thriving outside academia. Um, hello? Ever heard women’s centres, women’s shelters, grassroots activist groups, anti-violence campaigns, and so on and so on….. that’s all feminism in action!!

    Basically I figured out by the end of it she’s just outright anti-feminist. So it’s hard to take her seriously.

    That said, here’s another thing I took issue with (I wrote this in a letter to Q): As the host pointed out, Breslin’s research has serious methodological flaws. Not only is the anonymous letter-writing system narrow because limits the experiences to those men who read her work on the Forbes website, it is also narrow in that it will inevitably attract a certain type of strip-club patron (or John, or porn-user).

    Her project explicitly aims to reveal some ‘untold’ stories about these industries, to capture some alternate characterizations aside from what we understand to be a typical user. Ergo who writes her? Men, as she says, who have intimacy issues, or men with some kind disability that leaves them lonely and un-loveable. Of course these are the letters she’s getting! These men have something to prove, maybe want to assuage their own guilt, and probably want to defend themselves. She is never going to capture the experiences of what we know to be the common user – the true majority, I would argue, of strip-club patrons. These are men who DO go just to look at boobs, men who want to objectivify women without recourse, and who feel entirely entitled to do so! These are often not men with paralyzing social anxiety or tiny penises – these are men who have money, often have wives or girlfriends, and are otherwise very “normal.” Pretending like this isn’t the reality and worse, presenting her research as groundbreaking and paradigm-shifting is not only delusional, it’s injurious to women.

    And I know because I too have been to strip clubs, back when I was 18 and desperate to be seen as a “cool” chick and awesome girlfriend. I even dropped off my guy friends (and boyfriend) at a strip club and hung around in the area until they were done, picked them up and drove them home (I KNOOOOWWWWW, so ridiculous). But that’s how desperate I was to get on board with this pro-erection-at-any-cost ‘appreciation’ for sex and the female body.

    So young….. so naive. Thank goodness I woke the hell up, looked around and said “wait a seeecconnndd……”

    • Meghan Murphy

      I went to strip clubs for similar reasons, Natalie. I think there is so much pressure on young women to pretend like they are toooootally cool (just like the guys!) with strip clubs. That nauseous feeling will just go away, right?

      • Blujay

        You guys should read “Female Chauvinist Pigs”…A bit simplistic as it’s written by a woman who is primarily a journalist, but it’s a good read that discusses the phenomenon of why women are trying to be “one of the guys” 🙂

        • Meghan Murphy

          I agree. I recommend that book often.

  • Ciara

    Great article!

  • Why do these kinds of idiots keep getting so much attention and then really smart people get hardly any? These guys are saying the same old stupid shit that’s been said a gazillion times before, and it was never smart or correct in the first place.

  • kathy

    Great post Meghan! but goddess, this is tiresome. how long can we argue against the same zombie-brained apologists with their same zombie-brained “logic”? Maybe we need to move on to theorizing pornography– like beyond a basically defensive position, and try to get more complex about our own critiques. they are already complex but could always use more development- as can any theory.

    • Meghan Murphy

      I know, it does feel frustrating dealing with the same old crap all the time, doesn’t it. It never seems to go away.

  • S

    I am not an American (or Canadian, or Australian). In fact, I am from one of those European countries that don’t fetishise and sexualise nudity (though not perfect, it is far from the North American mentality) by default. Hell, even the concept of “nudity” being notable strikes me as ridiculous, let alone the idea paying to see humans in their natural state. So to have the people (mostly men) who exoticise nudity, to the extent that they are prepared to pay to witness it, get on a high horse about how liberated and/or in touch with their sexuality they are is pretty mind-boggling. *facepalm*

    • S, no porn or strip clubs in your country? Would like to hear more…

    • huha

      I agree. It’s so ridiculous. Most men think that nude women = sex. It’s so annoying. They can’t imagine seeing a nude woman without objectifying her.

  • Radfem

    Excellent post as usual ! The F world articles should be published in an anthology , so well articulated and “in your face” , so to speak. I don’t know how long it’ll for people to actually understand and act against women’s oppression in a feminist way . There’s still so much denial , especially since we’re in an era that claims sexual freedom and gender equality.
    And we need to hear more radical feminists !

  • Prostitution and porn markets are big because of the repression of female sexuality. I find bogus that you didn’t mention that.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Can you expand on that, David?

      • The goal of the capitalist system is to create false scarcities to increase the value of any action.
        So, the repression of female sexuality, which exists until a very long time in our patriarchal society, creates a false scarcity in the supply of sex.

        • Meghan Murphy

          Because female sexuality = supplying men with sex?

        • kurukurushoujo

          The assumption that prostitution is the result of repressed female sexuality is shady. Most men who purchase “sexual services” have girlfriends or wives. Often they state that they use prostitutes to engage in sexual practices their partners do not want to engage in. Are you implying that all those women are sexually repressed and if they weren’t they would agree to everything a man wants to do?

          It’s about entitlement and the devaluation of women. In the firm belief that they are entitled to get sex when they want to they choose to rent a prostitute. At the same time, the company of a woman is not worth the amount of time spent on charming and seducing her. Women are basically seen as dispensers of a service- they are seen as having a function and nothing beyond.

          The capitalist system is really not the body which governs all social interaction, especially not in this case.

          • John

            ‘In the firm belief that they are entitled to get sex when they want to they choose to rent a prostitute.’

            You could easily turn that around and percieve that women DO get sex anytime they want, as society has made women the gatekeepers of sexual activity, and that men are beggars in this regard. Makes a mess of your entitlement argument.

          • copleycat

            What you’re calling sex is actually abusive treatment. That is what women can get pretty much any time they want. The type of sex that men have at this point largely come to expect as a result of being conditioned by porn is by its very design unpleasant and very often outright painful and damaging (physically and psychologically) for women. Can you honestly say that you really would be eager to engage in an activity that hurts you?

          • John

            I have not mentioned abusive treatment. I was talking about the ‘entitlement’ for men to be able to have sex in a monogomous romantic relationship.

            As I said before I was censored, I believe my partner is entitled, yes ‘ENTITLED’ to expect that since I am in a romantic monogomous relationship with her I will have sex with her. Otherwise what is the point, we could just be friends. I would also be happy and willing to attempt to please her sexually, purely because I want her to have a fulfilling sex life with me. That may even include things I am not really much into, I would still enjoy giving her pleasure.

            I’m sorry you find sex unpleasent, painful and physically and psychologically damaging with the men you have encountered. All I can say is you mustn’t meet very nice men.

          • Meghan Murphy

            This is off-topic. We aren’t talking about “romantic monogamous relationships”. We are talking about the male entitlement that is inherent to men buying sex from women. And no one is “entitled” to sex. No one should have to have sex if they don’t want to. The reference to abuse is in regard to prostitution. You claim to be staying on topic. Try harder.

          • John

            I am trying believ me. I am replying to ‘Most men who purchase “sexual services” have girlfriends or wives. Often they state that they use prostitutes to engage in sexual practices their partners do not want to engage in. ‘

            SO if I am off topic, it is only by response to the other poster.

          • Meghan Murphy

            Because if men want something, sexually, they are entitled to have it?

          • John

            Either gender in a relationship is entitled to expect the other partner
            to want to please them sexually Meghan. If not then the relationship may
            or may not want to continue with the relationship, depending on how important it is to their sex life and how important their se life is to them. I perceive married men going to prostitutes to be the nowhere land of men who haven’t the guts to leave their partners over the issue.

          • Meghan Murphy

            That’s ridiculous. All intimate relationships are not defined by intercourse.

          • John

            ‘All intimate relationships are not defined by intercourse. ‘

            Not all, but the majority. Without the monoghamy, what then does define the relationship as being different from close friends?

            Anyway I said it depended on how important it was to each individual.

          • Meghan Murphy

            If you start arguing that women *must* perform sexually for men, simply because they are married, you are treading on dangerous ground. Yes, communicating about sexual desires is important but I don’t think it’s reasonable to argue that women are obligated to have sex with their partners. If you want a divorce because you aren’t getting your sexual needs met, then great. Otherwise, I don’t know, talk about having an open marriage. But no one is “obligated” to do anything. Have you ever had sex when you didn’t want to? It’s gross. Potentially traumatic even. Like I say, treading on dangerous ground.

          • John

            There is a difference between obligated and entitled. I am not near your dangerous ground. Al I have said is that my partner, female, is entitled, and I use that word deliberately, to expect there to be sex in ou rrelationship. I am not obligated, but she is entitled to expect sex.

          • John

            In fact, looking up obligated, I am obligated. I am ‘morally compelled’ to please her sexually. I’m naturally inclined to anyway, and if I wasn’t, luckily I have made no vows, being an athiest an all. But I am still of the belief it would be immoral to not attempt to please her and to want to continue a relationship where I expected her to remain monogamous.

          • Meghan Murphy

            Buying sex from a prostituted woman does not = sex. Stop conflating the two, John. It is about one-sided MALE privilege.

          • John

            I see it as a business transaction. Not one I would be interested in as like you say the mutuality of the expereince would not be there, so it wouldn’t be something I’d enjoy. I’m not conflating, I have explained above.

            If historically a MALE privelege, but with the financial liberation of women, it is just as available to women. Which goes to my earlier point about why women don’t feel the need to pay for sex. They can rely on men being willing and available at any bar in the country. Just for sex that is, not for a loving relationship. With the associated risks in being less physically strong,

            If society was different and women were approaching men for casual sex there would be no prostitution aty all.

          • Meghan Murphy

            Here are some more in-depth conversations about prostitution, for your interest:

          • copleycat

            Between this

            ” the financial liberation of women”

            and this

            “They can rely on men being willing and available at any bar in the country.”

            It’s apparent that you really don’t get it. Women still make less money than men for the same amount and quality of work. We do not have parity, which is a huge part of why we still have prostitution. Men use prostitutes when they want to hurt someone not for “casual sex”. And what you’re failing to realize here is that what is currently considered casual/normal now days is not enjoyable for women.
            I met a college prof who told me about talking to a room full of female students about what’s known as “hook-up culture” which is young kids meeting, having a sort of sex and then not relating to each other in any other way, you know “casual sex”. She asked them what usually happens and was told that most often it’s the girl performing oral sex on the boy (ya the terms are appropriate these are undergrads). She asked what the boy does for the girl and got blank looks. She asked directly if it was normal to expect the boy to reciprocate and got a gale of giggles. She asked if they got any orgasms for themselves at all and there was more laughing and a series of “OMG NO!”‘s And then she pointed out that all these girls who had been calling themselves sexually liberated and insinuating that she was prudish for suggesting that they establish some kind of relationships with their sex partners were considering they’re own pleasure a joke.
            Now this ideal society of yours where women just randomly hand out sexual services for men does seem to be manifesting in the demographic that’s been exposed to the most porn. However, these girls though they might seem to laugh a lot also spend a lot of time with school counselors talking about how miserable they feel. Eating disorders are a huge problem and now there’s a new disorder among young women that’s on the rise – self mutilation. These are girls from middle class homes in private colleges. They’re starting out with all kinds of advantages and yet the beating this hook-up culture is giving them has them on the ropes. What do you think it’s doing to girls who don’t have any economic advantages?
            What a woman can get when she goes out to a bar (as I said before) is abusive sex because that is what porn has trained men to expect. That you don’t see this suggests that you don’t think callous treatment of the human body ie acts which can cause tears and prolapses and pretty much guarentee infections, is abusive. A healthy human capacity for empathy should tell you otherwise but an indoctrination with porn tends to wipe that out. What was it you said earlier about men having their minds controlled?

          • John

            ‘We do not have parity, which is a huge part of why we still have prostitution’

            But women have financial independence. They have their own money. You’re saying women cant afford to pay for sex due to a 15% discrepancy in average pay rates? Or that 15% difference has to be made up via prostitution?

            ‘Men use prostitutes when they want to hurt someone not for “casual sex”’
            This is laughable melodramatic hyperbole. Men visit prostitutes because they want sex. The odd guy is no doubt abusive but to say the aim of sex with prostitutes for all or even most men is to hurt women is plainly ridiculous.

            ‘Now this ideal society of yours where women just randomly hand out sexual services for men’
            Um, I did not say that. Is it impossible for you to imagine men and women partaking in a mutually enjoyable sexual relationship instigated by the woman.

            ‘That you don’t see this suggests that you don’t think callous treatment of the human body ie acts which can cause tears and prolapses and pretty much guarentee infections, is abusive.’

            Well that’s a long bow!. Perhaps I just don’t accept your anecdotal evidence. Perhaps even we live in different cultures. It’s quite an astounding conclusion you have made. I also find it amazing you promote porn and mens bedroom expectations as the major cause of women’s mental health problems. Do you have any studies to back this up.

            I find it interesting you don’t seem to think women capable of asserting themselves in relationships and saying what they want in sexual relationships. This is very different to my experience. As I said before, if you think all guys are abusive and want to hurt women, perhaps you should look to find a nice shy guy rather than an alpha-male player. The majority of guys just want a relationship or mutually enjoyable sex.

          • livenlearn

            You are assigning feelings and opinions on others that simply are not there. Of course men go to prostitutes because they want sex. Do they want sex because they lack affection? Maybe. Do they want sex because they feel powerless in other areas of their lives? Likely. “The majority of guys want a relationship or mutually enjoyable sex.” Mutually enjoyable sex without some kind of psychological intimacy is something men dream of, but women find unsatisfying. Also, this is a general discussion. Telling someone they should find a “nice shy guy instead of an alpha-male player is not only completely out of context, it is condescending.

          • copleycat

            @ John
            “But women have financial independence. They have their own money.”

            That really bugs you doesn’t it? We don’t have parity and that all in itself is a male generated source of problems for women. To say that someone’s work is worth less than another person’s when the two bodies of work are in fact equivalent is to deem the first person essentially worth less than the other person. It’s more than a 15% difference and even if it was only 15% anything other than 0% disparity is wrong. You’re like the guy who expects a pat on the back for not assaulting women.
            Ultimately you are demonstrating the problem that Megan’s post is about. There are pro-porn, pro-prostitution men who absolutely discount the actual testimony of women about the effects of porn in their lives. Would you dare to go to any other group of people and tell them they are completely wrong when they speak from the authority of their experience? Would you insist to them that your perceptions of them are the truth and that their experiences of their own lives are not? Would you conclude your argument with a recommendation to them that they just need to get laid? Your blatant disrespect for women demonstrates your bias and your willful ignorance in the service of preserving that bias is essentially proof of cowardice. Your behavior illustrates misogyny as a developmental failure to appreciate the realness of others who are not like you.

          • Aims

            “With the associated risks in being less physically strong.” This is not just an irrelevant little aside – women can’t SAFELY engage in casual sex with strangers, without the risk of being sexually assaulted (eg rough blow job, forced anal) without recourse, as if you go home with a guy and engage in sexual activity you are pretty much considered to have consented to whatever happens after that by society and the legal system.

            So no, John, women find it just as hard to get their sexual needs satisfied, and spend just as much time frustrated when not in a sexually active relationship.

          • “You could easily turn that around and percieve that women DO get sex anytime they want”

            In what world do you live in?

            This is a serious question. You seem to live in never-never land! Have you ever talked to
            an actual woman??

            In case you are that deep in denial, NO, women can’t get sex any time they want!

            “as society has made women the gatekeepers of sexual activity”

            What in the holy fuck are you talking about? BIOLOGY has made women the gatekeepers of
            sexual activity. The vulva is always receptive to penetration, but the penis has to be
            erect before penetration. How can you not know this??
            (not to mention that reducing “sexual activity” to penetration is pretty dang ignorant)

            “and that men are beggars in this regard. Makes a mess of your entitlement argument.”

            Wow, you mean men have to get permission before having sex with someone else?? What a
            revolutionary concept! Next you’re gonna tell us Santa Claus is not real????

          • John

            Well I’ve answerd this angry little rant quite politely and been censored. Not sure if any other attempts would get through.

          • Meghan Murphy

            Quit spamming the comments and stay on topic and I will publish your comments.

          • livenlearn

            The point is that nobody is entitled to sex whether they are married or in a committed relationship or not. It is handy when both partners want to have sex at the same time and on occasion, one or the other may start out somewhat less enthusiastically, but it is never an obligation. Not that I’m big on marriage, but even marriage vows talk about “love…cherish…in sickness, etc..” Nothing about sex.

          • MissFit

            Please, tell us where you got the fact that women DO get sex anytime they want ( and by sex, I mean sex they will actually enjoy, I do not mean sucking a stranger’s dick in a night club bathroom because no matter how it looks like in porn, women do not orgasm from that, and by women, I mean all women, from all age/size, not only bimbos).

          • Some Dude

            Whoa hold on a second. I agree totally that there are women who can’t get sex when they want it(I’ve had female friends complain about this from time to time), but where do you get off setting these arbitrary standards for sex? And while women do not have orgasms from giving oral sex, I can say from personal experience that some women get very turned on by it, and not because they are “bimbos.” Let’s try to find a middle ground before “sucking some stranger’s dick in a club restroom.” Sometimes a woman wants sex without a relationship, and it’s ridiculous how men are admired for their sexual exploits of this nature(even by women sometimes), whereas a girl is always expected to be in love with any man she sleeps with.

            But generally yeah, the guys who complain that girls can get sex whenever they want are usually the types that can’t get sex at all(or extremely rarely), and yet if they took time to examine their lives they might find several women who they “friend-zoned”, often for shallow or arbitrary reasons. These tend to be those “nice guys” who are terribly manipulative, immature, and later turn into raging misogynists as time goes on.

          • MissFit

            No matter how a woman can be turned on by giving oral sex to strangers, this alone can not be the basis of a fulfilled sex life, and I do not think I am being ‘arbitrary’ here, just being realistic and using some judgement. However, if your definition of sex is limited to that,than I guess yes, every woman can have sex whenever they want, and even if they are not bimbos.

          • John

            ‘However, if your definition of sex is limited to that’

            I think you’re the one who defined sex as oral sex in night clubs…

            While I agree totally with Some Dude’s post, it is still undeniable, generalising of course, that it is vastly more likely if a woman approaches a man in a bar and straight out says lets go home and have sex, that the man will agree, than a woman would agree if it is the other way around. Which is the point I made about why there are so many more female prostitutes. I understand why women don’t do this so often, but the point remains that if they did men wouldn’t as likely go to a brothel, they’d just go to a bar.

          • MissFit

            I said IF your defnintion of sex is limited to that (please, read carefully and try to understand…).

            Again, prostitution has nothing to do with a ‘mutually enjoyable sexual relationship’; seeing a prostitute is about having selfish sex. Women usually just don’t go ask any guy if they want to have sex with them because the risk is too high to end up having male-centered porno-inspired sex with the chance of ending feeling used and unsatisfied. You are right though that if women in bar accepted to have that kind of sex, without asking anything in return, not even money, there might be less demand for prostitutes.

            Many men who go to prostitutes have wives (who probably complain about the absence of satisfying sex in their life). Men go to prostitutes because they think they are entitled to access young ‘sexy’ girls, even if they are old and unattractive, who will give them orgasms without demanding anything in return beside money (no orgasm of teir own, not even respect…). I guess women do not go for male prostitutes as much because they were not trained to objectify men in that way (many also think that the man’s pleasure is more important than their own).

            Anyway, why on every feminist blog I go, there are always ‘some dudes’ who argue as if they do not understand what we are talking about and without actually adressing the main issue being discussed? Now can you tell us why men enjoy so much seing girls being humiliated, degraded and violated?

          • kurukurushoujo

            Women are not gatekeepers – instead men are violators (not beggars, seriously now). The gatekeeping myth was constructed by men* to shirk responsibility for their sexual decisions. If women are the gatekeepers they are always responsible. If I have been entrusted to guard a door against an infiltrating force I will be expected to withstand it and if failing to this will have to explain myself. This is something that female victims of rape have to do all the time.

            It would be most beneficial if you stopped using the word “society”. Society is not an amorphous mass that willed itself into existence. It is continuously created by the people who live inside of it. People have responsibility, not societies. And among people some benefit more than others and therefore have more responsibility.

            *The chance that this was constructed by women is pretty much nil seeing as being gatekeepers does not benefit us. We are rational human beings, we would not have agreed to take on responsibility alone. That some women emphasize gatekeeping in the present has something to do with the expected advantages they hope to get by being in agreement with norms benefitting men.

          • John

            ‘the company of a woman is not worth the amount of time spent on charming and seducing her.’

            Again, what time spent on charming and seducing do women need to do to have sex? Sure it’s disempowering for women to have to wait to be asked or labelled a slut if they ask, but the way you are describing the dynamics is so one-sided.

            You cant just ignore the way society has been set up, and then hate on men for daring to find a work around. Do you hate on prostitutes for daring to find a way to make money? Do you think they have a sense of ‘entitlement’ to be paid hundreds of dollars an hour, and so objectify punters? Punters seen as having a function and nothing beyond – A wallet?

          • kurukurushoujo

            Again, what time spent on charming and seducing do women need to do to have sex?

            Seeing as women are individuals it depends. You only might need one sentence in some circumstances for some women. Sometimes you might need hours, weeks, even years. If you are willing to sacrifice that much time and energy, that is.

            Sure it’s disempowering for women to have to wait to be asked or labelled a slut if they ask, but the way you are describing the dynamics is so one-sided.

            It is one-sided because I was trying to argue from the viewpoint of the johns. If you want sex and sex is something that you get out of a woman you might come to the realization that it is more advantageous to pay for it. I did not need to take the viewpoint of the woman into account because it was not necessary for this discussion.

            You cant just ignore the way society has been set up, and then hate on men for daring to find a work around.

            Society has been set up by whom?

            Do you think they have a sense of ‘entitlement’ to be paid hundreds of dollars an hour, and so objectify punters?

            I am pretty sure that not every prostitute is paid hundreds of dollars an hour. Prices depend on the worth of the individual to the john. The prostitution market is not controlled by prostitutes seeing as they would disappear the moment customers would disappear. Prostitutes also cannot force johns to pay them. If a man is already willing to spend vast amounts of money on sex no force is involved to get him to spend it. Therefore prostitutes do not have power over johns. Therefore they are not entitled albeit sometimes desperate to get the money they need to have a living.

            And money always means objectification to some extent. I am not talking about what I’m talking about in a capitalist framework; I’m using a feminist one.

            Prostitution is just one facet of the role women are supposed to play. If men do not like this attempt to change it and do not complain about hating. In patriarchies the worth of women is established by what work they can do for men. Because of this, men used to have a wife to produce an heir, they had prostitutes to get sex and courtesans for intellectual & erotic stimulation. Many men are still not able to talk to their wives about certain sexual acts because a wife is not supposed to fill the role of prostitute. Many men still categorize women according to whether they are prostitute/wife/courtesan.

            Punters seen as having a function and nothing beyond – A wallet?

            Seeing as prostitutes have less choice to engage in prostitution than johns I do not see how this compares.

        • Celeste

          I do think there’s a valid point to be made in that a pornographic culture may repress the true expression of female sexuality. Not in a supply/demand kind of way, but in a way that we don’t really know what men and women’s sexuality would look like without it.

          • MissFit

            Yes, I think pornographic culture repress the true expression of female sexuality as you said. However, David seems to think that pornography is a direct result of it while it is rather a direct cause of it.

        • Immir

          I actually think I know what you mean, David.

          Women are shamed if we do have sex by being called whores & sluts etc so we avoid actual, real-life sex with partners.
          Also, we do not know how to express our own desires because we have been trained to have a porno-centric sexuality which is divorced from our own so we also do NOT even LIKE sex and therefore possibly avoid sex. I know plenty of women who say they find it difficult to be aroused due to self-esteem issues and not knowing what THEY themselves want in bed. After a while, sex becomes a hassle, something not enjoyable, like a chore.
          Thusly PORN KILLS WOMEN’S SEX DRIVES and creates that ol’ chestnut: men just LIKE sex more than women etc

          And vio-la, there is now a ‘need’ for men to have a sex industry.

    • Porn represses female sexuality. Anyways, you’re an anti-capitalist anarchist. What is your point? Porn and prostitution are worth defending…?

  • Jasmina

    After I read this, I literally stood up & clapped. Sheer brilliance.

  • Oh, Meghan, this is so hilarious! I laughed and laughed until I cried. “There were dinosaurs and now there’s porn” OMG! LOL!!!

    I wish men would understand this one small thing: that it’s PRON and PATRIARCHY that hate men’s bodies, their sexualities, their erections and their penises. NOT FEMINISTS. PATRIARCHY. PRON. Those are the big haters of men’s sexuality. THE SEX INDUSTRY HATES MEN AND THEIR SEXUALITY. Is that clear enough?

    I mean, why on EARTH would the sex industry even exist if it didn’t depart from the idea that men are so unattractive/undesirable/yucky that women wouldn’t touch them UNLESS they were paid to do it?


    • That’s a good comment, but don’t dismiss the fact that female sexuality is repressed.

      • Meghan Murphy

        No more comments from David on account of (unpublished) name-calling and trolling.

        • Sorry about that, I am the one who introduced him to radfem blogs like yours. I think he is well-intentioned but should have gotten more of a feel for these comment threads before commenting himself.

          • Meghan Murphy

            Ok. Thanks for letting me know. He is welcome to come back if he stops the name-calling and pays closer attention to thoughtfulness and productive conversation instead of trolling.

      • Hari B.

        Hmmm…. “female sexuality is repressed”…no, I would say, it is oppressed in the same way that all things female are oppressed in patriarchy. Easy for a man to say this is about womyn being repressed, but this is not the case. It’s about men’s domination of sex in every way–defining what it is, how it should look and feel, what it’s ‘goals’ are. Very difficult indeed for womyn to freely explore their sexuality, when from earliest times we are programmed to accept male ideas about sex, and to seek acceptance by male sex partners via clothing, posturing, blah blah blah. I could not help but notice, for instance, when having male lovers who seemed ‘adventurous’ sexually, that their idea of ‘sexual adventure’ was firmly glued to variations on control games and more firmly glued still to genital contact and orgasm. No adventures allowed outside of those boxes! Heck, if not in those boxes, it’s not even sex! To suggest otherwise was to be considered at best, just kiddin, and at worst, a crazy man hater. Before giving up on the male/female pair bonding altogether, I had quite a few men lovers over 30some years…and not a one of them was sexually free, although a few of them claimed to be ‘adventurous’ but were not.

        I think sex has become what it is in this culture–so pornified–not because womyn are repressed but because patriarchy renders men a) so generally numb and b) so tuned to violence It takes more and more stimulation, and that stimulation hinged on violent control (if only in ‘soft’ form), for them to get a thrill at all. And too many womyn have bought into it, in some form, because unless we will spend time exploring our sexuality thoroughly on our own, being with men requires our acceptance of their terms.

        Great piece, Meghan.

  • Is women’s sexuality “repressed” or are women refusing to happily give in to men’s sexual advances because men want to objectify them and dominate them during sex? ‘Cuz let me tell you, I know for a fact that if men were wililng to actually enter into a relationship with a woman, sexual and otherwise, as opposed to “masturbate with a woman’s body instead of your hand”, there would be plenty of women jumping at the opportunity.

    And as an anti-capitalist, I disapprove strongly with reducing human relationships and interactions to a matter of “supply and demand”.

    • Shae Filbert

      “Masturbate with a woman’s body instead of your hand”.
      Wow. I think you just described my marriage. My ex spent more time at the tittie bars (his words) than he did with me. I can’t fathom the idea that a man would go to those bars for “human contact” when he has a wife at home. That’s all it is: masturbation. Doing what he wants. Making himself feel good. Never having to put forth one bit of effort to accommodate others. Because, after all, he’s entitled to everything he wants. He’s white, he’s male, he’s American. Therefore he can have it all.
      And that’s what he was taught, all his life. You’re a boy, you get the biggest piece of cake. You get the most money. You get to be in charge. You can tell your sisters what to do, and even your mother and later your girlfriends/wife. You exist; that is enough.

      • Immir

        True that.

  • manuella

    nice post ^_^ and very intriguing/strong points to be questioned: we don´t accepted many bizar stuff as normal,including salavery,but when it comes to us women,everything is justified as “natural”.We are not considered human beings as i can see…

  • “Porn opens minds. Because fake lesbian sex. Without porn probably no one would even know that some women like to have sex with other women. Thanks, porn! And naturally, lesbians have sex with each other so that men can have orgasms.”

    This made me LOL. Brilliant take down of these moronic, woman-hating, sludge-producing men. Seriously, the stupid shit that gets published while women’s intelligent analysis goes unheard. Makes me mad.

  • “We are working so hard to normalize sexism as something that is an innate part of masculinity and I’m just not quite sure why.”

    That sentence really gets to the pith of the matter. So much resistance to feminist thinking seems to revolve around the idea that feminism is somehow an assault on men’s inherent traits. Essentially the argument is that oppressing women is an intrinsic part of being male (although those specific terms are never used, that’s what’s being said).

    Porn =/= male sexuality.
    Strip clubs =/= male sexuality.

    But opposing porn and the sex industry = an attack on male privilege. So privilege/dominance becomes synonymous with masculinity, male sexuality, innate “maleness.” And therefore you are attacking men for being men.

    It’s a lovely sort of (il)logic.

    • Jon

      “But opposing porn and the sex industry = an attack on male privilege. So privilege/dominance becomes synonymous with masculinity, male sexuality, innate “maleness.” And therefore you are attacking men for being men.”

      That sums it up for me. But reinforcing that is another, more innocent factor: opposing porn is attacking a habit. God knows I argue and argue and argue (and ignore, ignore, ignore) when people tell me I shouldn’t eat biscuits between meals, shouldn’t sit at the computer for all hours, shouldn’t bite my nails et cetera. Changing habitual behaviour is hard work, and porn is an (inter?)national habit.

      Maybe so-called free-range porn is the best reply to/weapon against asinine commentary like the ‘Porn is bad’ article?

      • ema nekaf

        I agree, much of what makes the porn industry so pervasive is its druglike and addictive quility. And because people cant see the harmfull effects, they dont see it as an addiction. And while some people might be motivated to break an addiction like smoking or drinking once they see the harmfull effects, the psycologicle issues that porn create are very, very subtle. So its hard for them to even see a problem with it. and, like you said, once somthing becomes a habbit, its hard to break it. And once somthing becomes an addiction, especialy when its one as sublte as porn, it becomes nigh on impossible.

      • Omnia Vanitas

        “Free range porn.” Nice meat-to-be-consumed analogy. *SIGH*

        Or maybe men could finally grow up and start viewing women as whole human beings, and take the initiative to detach themselves from the alien “sexuality” that’s been indoctrinated into them. It’s really about stepping back, pulling out the drip feed and reflecting, being willing to see things for what they are as they are presented, what they are behind the scenes, and what they are in societal/historical context. It’s a lot about growing up. See, the men who have already done this don’t view porn as sex or sexy. They realize that sex is not porn. They see it as it is: the dehumanizing, the manifestation of misogyny and a multi-billion dollar industry that feeds on the idea that men will just continue to remain babies attached to the patriarchy-teat who won’t grow up and take responsibility for their lives and actions. Christ, it’s insulting to you as a man, never mind the human rights abuses and misogynistic mindset perpetuates against women.

      • Meghan Murphy

        What is “free-range porn”?

        • I pictured free-range eggs and chicken…weird. Probably some new-agey progressive dood-approved porn genre.

          • John

            What if all porn was computer generated? Would it be acceptable if mens fantasies could be indulged in without women even being involved?

            Or maybe that isn’t good enough? Are men still objectifying when it’s a computer generated image, an actual object? Should their thoughts be controlled as well?

            Then what of erotic or romantic literature that women seem to enjoy?

          • MissFit

            Do you think a cartoon can be racist?

          • John

            Yes, I do. What does that have to do with mens fantasy? Is mens fantasy necessarily sexist?Is women’s romantic literature sexist?

          • This entry is about pornography, not romantic literature.

          • S. Hurley

            If you honestly don’t believe that a majority of romantic literature is pornographic in nature, then I’m sorry to say you’re kidding yourself.

          • Aims

            Women’s romantic literature is created in the context of the patriarchy and is therefore problematic.

            But if you honestly don’t believe there’s a difference between written words and real human beings being prostituted for the camera, then I’m sorry to say YOU’RE kidding yourself.

          • MissFit

            ‘Is mens fantasy necessarily sexist?’

            Not necessarily, but too much of mens fantasy depicted in porn is misogynist.

            ‘Is women’s romantic literature sexist?’

            I never saw any romantic literature that was degrading towards men.

          • Its an interesting idea – whether you can produce sexually explicit imagery without exploitation using technology, I do think its possible, but the problem really is the reasons behind why men want to view porn which are generally misogynistic.

            It eliminate the harm done to women in the industry, but not the harm done to the viewer, and that harm ultimately feeds straight back into society and onto women’s experiences of sexual relationships with men, in the same way that traditional porn does.

      • NitroGirl

        Free-range porn?
        Let me Guess
        The (your) male (wank) entitlement is supported by women who “Choose” sex-work,have not been abused (raped), not a child (teenagers are children too), in Non-gonzo fashion? Did you…did you just try to make a bargain so you can keep your wank fodder..a patriarchal male bargain? You know, it’s all still bad and a product of male-entitlement & male supremacy, right?

      • ned

        Jon, that is some of the most unsophisticated moral thinking I’ve ever seen.

  • Julie

    This is everything I’ve been thinking about porn but haven’t been able to properly articulate. THANK YOU!!!!!!!! <3

  • davdevalle

    Porn is bad for you.

    An erection often means you need a piss.

    It always about context.

    A dick head is a dick head

  • Allie

    As a person who worked in the sex industry for many years I can say that porn, prostitution, strip clubs and suchlike are mainly a way to exploit men.

    The amount of cash I earned for doing next to nothing was mind-boggling at the time. The level of pity for the punters was even higher.

    I have done it of my own volition, met many girls who have done it out of their own volition, and the worst part of the job was actually the boredom between clients…which I dealt with by enrolling on a business course 😀

    Now, working for a multinational company in a quite prominent position – I feel much more exploited than before, working as a prostitute. At least then I didn’t have to be nice to complete arseholes.

    • Parure

      As a person not born yesterday, I say Allie is a man an awful liar.

    • You didn’t have to be nice to assholes as a sex worker? I call shenanigans.

    • Okay…so if the pay was great, you had to do next to nothing to get that money, and you didn’t have to be nice to assholes, why aren’t you still a prostitute? And why do you feel so exploited in your “quite prominent” position in multinational company? The most important question of all is did you really think we’d fall for this shit? You could make your lies a lot more believable if you just said you worked as an executive assistant. Plus, they wouldn’t be so condescending to the people who really do struggle to get by in less “prominent” positions.

    • “As a person who worked in the sex industry for many years I can say that porn, prostitution, strip clubs and suchlike are mainly a way to exploit men.”

      I don’t really understand that attitude. Is it like how MRAs claim that women are exploiting men because they get the “privilege” of spending their husband’s money? Or is it a result of you believing that men can’t help it and have to see naked women, so you’re like exploiting their addiction? What is your reasoning here?

      • Omnia Vanitas

        As Victor Malareck succinctly puts it in response to the empowerfulment argument:

        “Please. I’ve got the money; I’ve got the power.”

    • Immir

      Or an MRA pretending to be a chick 😉

      Seriously, they do that. [url=”http://”]Check it out[/url]

      “On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a saboteur. We are naturally smarter than the feminists (in fact, objectively better in every conceivable way)… it’ll be a piece of cake for us to mimic their arguments and appear to them as really smart girls who really know their shit

    • Aims

      “At least then I didn’t have to be nice to complete arseholes.”

      No, you just had to have sex with them.

  • @Gynostar,

    Are men formed in bubbles that are not influenced by society or culture? Are men just “born” to look at pornography and purchase women’s bodies? Simply because they are men? That sounds like biological essentialism to me, and a straight up denial and dismissal of men’s choices – they DO make choices. It’s actually insulting TO men to assume that men cannot control being exploitative or sexually entitled. There is no “men being men” as that would assume that gender is some essential truth – something you are born with, not something you learn – and that’s just failing to question things that we are told are simply “natural” when they are everything but.

    • Well said. The whole idea is deeply insulting to men.

    • John

      ‘Are men just “born” to look at pornography’ I thin kit is hardwired for men to be attracted to women yes. And the natural stats is naked. So I would argue that part is pretty natural.

      ‘they DO make choices. It’s actually insulting TO men to assume that men cannot control being exploitative or sexually entitled’

      And yet we hear when women choose to be a prostitute, it’s not a real choice? Are they financially entitled, to want to earn hundreds of dollars an hour?

      • copleycat

        “‘Are men just “born” to look at pornography’ I thin kit is hardwired for men to be attracted to women yes.”

        Being attracted to women and enjoying seeing women being hurt and / or demeaned are two entirely different things.

        • John

          Yes they are. But a lot of porn is just pictures of naked women.

          • Meghan Murphy

            Dude. You’re wrong. And you’re erasing a bazillion relationships. Asexual people have intimate relationships, fyi. Also, porn isn’t “just pictures of naked women”. I’m not going to do feminism 101 with you here. See here for more info:

          • John

            I said a lot. Not all. Not even most. But a very substantial part of it for sure.

            This blog seems to define porn as purely violent degrading content? If so I’ll just have to stick with that definition.

          • Meghan Murphy

            Porn sexualizes inequity and objectifies women. It is degrading to women, yes.

          • John

            I cant agree. It’s a matter of context. It is possible to appreciate a beautiful naked woman without objectifying her. In fact the old playboys used to even put a speel next to the pictures so people could imagine they were getting to know more about the person (sorry object). It was contrived, but obviously the intent was there and the demand was for something more than just the physical beauty.

            Even discounting that, admiring visual asthetics does not even necessarily corresponed to the concept of an inter-personal relationship. So it cant in any way affect the subject. Nothing is denyed from the person when the context is all about one aspect of them over another. It has it’s place. If I talk about a sports persons athleticsim in the ontext of a sporting magazine I am not denying their other personal qualities.

            Are we objectifying sportspeople?

            I think it’san issue only when a woman is objectified out of context, when the
            context is to do with another part of their person and it is overidden by sex appeal.

          • livenlearn

            If you are talking about a simple picture of a naked woman (or man,) then I would have to say that it is not porn. Art museums are filled with nude bodies which are in no way considered porn. As we know, there are cultures where nudity is not even viewed as sexual. Porn and nudity are simply not the same.

          • Meghan Murphy

            Exactly, livenlearn.

          • John

            So David Hamilton’s stuff isn’t porn? You’re on a slippery slope.

            What about photographic artists like Roy Stuart?

            The difference between porn and erotica is in the lighting.

            I’m happy to conform to the definitions here but is Pat Rafter modelling underwear porn? Is he being objectified?

          • Meghan Murphy

            I’m sorry but I think you’re a little naive on this whole issue of erotica vs art. Exhibit A: you can’t understand how the objectified image of a female body is different than the image of a man in an underwear ad.
            Naked bodies don’t = porn. Porn = porn.

          • John

            Oh come on if it was Maria Sharapova in an underwear ad I bet it would be classed as objectification.

          • Meghan Murphy

            Yes! I think maybe you are starting to get this after all!

          • John

            So men cant be objectified.

            Pat rafter parading in his undies when he is known for tennis is not objectification, but Maria doing the same is. I think I am getting this now. It’s all one big double standard.

            Two famous rich people making a choice, and one is being objectified and the other isn;t

          • Meghan Murphy

            Sexism is frustrating. I hear ya.

          • John

            Is that why they call it victim feminism?

            A women is considered a victim in the very same situation as a man
            is not considered a victim?

            I cant subscribe to this victim feminist notion that women never have any agency and men always do.

            And I still think pictures of naked women can be porn or not porn depending on the picture and the context. And the lighting and the reputation of the ‘artist’.

            ‘porn’ is used in all these arguments but it’s definition is defined by the agenda of the author.

          • Meghan Murphy

            And I’m sure you will find many who agree with your imaginary non-gendered world on MRA threads. They are all over the internet! Enjoy!

          • sporenda

            Museums are full of nude bodies, yes. But 95% of these bodies are women’s, painted or sculpted by men.
            These works of art are not pornographic in the modern sense but this endless display of nude, offered female meat, painted by (clothed) males for the enjoyment of (clothed) males is not just “artistic”, it’s definitely another form of male eroticization of the subjugation/objectification of women.

      • tick tack

        “I thin kit is hardwired for men to be attracted to women yes” I guess all those gay folks are wired the wrong way huh?

  • This “we need pornography because we masturbate” argument seems to be very common, and rather outlandish. Obviously that’s not true, and it’s obviously a rationalization for the fact that their sexual fantasies come almost entirely from pornography. Maybe they just can’t imagine anything else. After all, using one’s imagination in sexual fantasies has been categorized as a female trait, and so any man who did that would be “abasing” himself to the rank of a woman… So maybe they just can’t get rid of pornography because of their sexist beliefs. Maybe I am off base here, I dunno…

    As for your optimism about men’s objectification of women being constructed, well, I don’t really think so… at least, I don’t think it explains why 12 or 13 year old teenagers will readily rape little girls. I think that has to do with hormones, not indoctrination, and hormones can’t be changed with social deconstruction. So yea, I think men will always be assholes, even if their assholish actions were suppressed by the social context. But I don’t think that means men must watch pornography or rape prostitutes… obviously men can still be objectifying assholes without either of these things.

    • copleycat

      @ Tremblay, I agree to a large extent with your first observation about the absurdity of the porn-is-needed-for-masterbation arguement, I don’t agree that the culprits in cases of teenager rapists are hormones. By 12 years old a lot of socialization has occurred and hormone levels themselves actually vary dramatically and rapidly with social circumstances, they are responsive to one’s social circumstances. There is a social psych concept called “frustration-aggression theory” which basically states that the more someone thinks they’re entitled to get something the more likely they are to become aggressive and even violent when they don’t get it. This idea explains one of the biggest dangers of porn. It gives a gigantic boost to the idea that men are entitled to get sex from women. This is something even the most supposedly innocuous forms of porn do – not that I believe any porn is innocuous but the people who try to defend it always reference this.
      I think a sort of public awareness campaign illustrating how proven social psych theories relate to porn would be helpful at deconstructing what is really going on with it. That’s to say just how damaging it is.

      Megan thank you for this article it, like all your others, is fantastic

      • Sorry, but I don’t buy it. I didn’t watch porn when I was 12, and I wasn’t taught to feel entitled to sex. Yet i still had strong, desperate impulses to have sex with women, and I observed this in other males I knew as well. It doesn’t really jibe with my experience, and, I am sure, the experience of a lot of males in the pre-Internet years.

        Also, if it’s constructed by society, then why has there never been any matriarchal society in history? Again, that doesn’t really jibe with the facts. Sure they had porn, but not porn as we know it.

        I agree that modern porn is very damaging, but it’s not the single answer to all sexual dysfunction and sexual crimes. Neither is hormones. But both are involved.

        • copleycat

          Strong, desperate impulses to have sex with women or to attack/hurt/denigrate them? I’m not saying porn is the cause of misogyny. I think misogyny is sadly something that all humans are prone to hence the appalling number of women who collaborate with sexist men.
          I’ve been reading Dorothy Dinnerstein’s “The Mermaid and the Minotaur” which is an incredible book and based on what Dinnerstein brings to light, I think misogyny is a vice; it’s a syndrome comprised of developmental failures. There’s the failure to deal with feelings of ambivalance about one’s body (it’s needs and limitations) which induces a preoccupation with bodies in general, there’s the tendancy to overcompensate for feelings of vulnerability with attempts to dominate and control others, there’s a lack of appreciation of the realness of others and with this a corrosponding feeling of isolation which also increases the tendancy to try to control others and all of these problems get directed mostly at women, in part because for a long time we’ve been the most available targets but also because we tend to be the ones who dominate early child care.
          Most likely the first person to make you aware of most the physical limits of your world was a woman. The person who witnessed many of your most degrading moments was probably a woman and maybe most importantly the person who you had most of your first clashes of will with was probably a woman. I’m not saying you personally can’t get over it but a lot of people can’t. They equate all struggles for autonomy and liberty with struggling against things they identify as stereotypically female (ie, weakness, prudery, cowardice, puritanicalism). For them the struggle to break free of inhibiting limitations becomes equated (and erotically charged) with the breaking of women’s wills. Porn is both a manifestation of misogyny and a very powerful positive feedback loop that propagates it.

          • livenlearn

            Very interesting. Do you think that there are women who respond the same way to their sexuality and other men and women for the same reasons? I ask this because I have known women who seem to enjoy being objectified and actually believe they have power over men because they can easily get men to get infatuated with them. IWO, they flaunt their sexuality in a porn kind of fashion. It actually looks like some kind of self-loathing to me, but I really don’t get it.

          • copleycat

            Here’s a quote from Dorothy Dinnerstein’s “The Mermaid and The Minotaur” that I think gets very deeply into why so many people have misogynist impulses and consequently why sexism and porn flourish.

            “Woman, by and large, meekly carries this burden of shame and sacredness, relying on man to represent matter-of-fact spiritual self-respect, clean* world – conquering humanity. Man’s hungry, worshiping enjoyment of her body, his dependence on her presence and on her comforting physical services, allow her to relive vicariously through him her own old love of the maternal flesh and her own old, luxurious dependence on physical care, while he relives his directly. His contempt for and cruelty to her body allow her to relive directly, with masochistic pleasure, the fleshly humiliation that both endured as infants, while he relives it vicariously through her. At the same time, through identification with his impulse to punish her she can vent vicariously – while he vents directly – vengeful anger at the mother for this early humiliation.
            If there were no longer a special category of person available to absorb our split – off feeling of love and anger toward the flesh – if man could no longer rely on woman to absorb them and woman could no longer rely on man to embody for all of us a humanness spuriously free and clear of the aura of instability and contradiction that they carry – these feelings would have to be integrated within each individual person.”

            I have met some women who seem to desperately need to believe the notion that it is possible to enslave men with sex appeal. I do not believe this myself and it’s possible it is a manifestation of self loathing in a sense or maybe it’s more accurate to say it’s a desperate attempt to invoke some kind of powerful archetype? It’s something done out of fear, despair and desperation which I think is evident in that it’s over-done, hence it’s an attempt at compensation and consolation. It’s a futile one though and yes many of the women I knew who did this were not exactly filled with good feelings about themselves and sadly were very likely to take snipes at other women.

            I think this sort of three part model of the emotional / psychological dynamics of sex between the sexes that Dinnerstein proposes accounts for the relative sense of impotence that plagues many women. Experiencing sex in this manner is like playing a game where you are always going to loose. And not just loose in the sense of you’ve been denigrated but also you loose your connection to this idealized (albeit also hyper-sexualized) image of yourself as a woman. I don’t think you can denigrate any image of yourself (ideal, hyper-sexual, etc) and feel OK afterward.

            By contrast in this three part model of sex between the sexes it seems very important to note that men are able to not simply experience the above mentioned sensations “directly” but that these experiences are in fact actualizations of impulses and plans made early in life. How can these actualizations not be surging with the satisfaction unique to manifesting one’s will? More importantly with every sex act (loose term here) where these plans are actualized a man affirms to himself the force of his will. He convinces himself that his will is more powerful than what he once believed (and subconsciously still believes) to be God (“Mother is the name for God on the lips and hearts of all children” – The Crow 1994). Surely people have noticed there are similarities between the ritualistic, compulsive nature of porn and many patriarchal religions. In porn the individual will of each man is God and tribute is constantly demanded – because again here this too is an attempt at compensation. How can these repeated ritualistic sacrifices to individual desire not lead to solipsism and then subsequently nilhism? It certainly explains the insistent belief in war that so many people have.

          • copleycat

            Actually I was thinking a little more about your question because I keep running into women, many who claim to be feminists, who want to believe that beauty is nearly all powerful and as a result tend to be pro-burlesque, pro-porn provided it’s somehow that contradiction in terms woman-friendly porn. I spend a lot of time trying to understand where these women are coming from. They really want to hold on to this detrimental notion of beauty as power and consequently a complement or equivalence to the power that men as a group have.

            So I think the issue is that beauty has some power but not the power they want to credit to it. Beauty fills your heart not your stomach. This is a significant reason why people rage against beauty (an essential theme in porn) it has this limitation when once it seemed to not have it; once the mother fed the child. Given this, then whatever is perceived in adult life as beautiful is at some level expected to be omnipotent when in fact nothing is and the inability to provide omni-potently is often seen by people as deliberate, mean-spirited withholding.

            When the beauty is an aspect of others this situation results in a tendency to vilify them and when it’s an aspect of the self, the inability to omni-potently provide can be felt as a deep personal failing or inherent flaw on the part of the individual which they will often try to keep hidden from others and from themselves. The need to hide from these feelings of inadequacy can lead to futile attempts at compensation via the overt exertion of the supposed omni-potent power of beauty. Usually too the fact that people around women like this are often vilifying and / or betraying them doesn’t help them to realize that what they’re trying to do is not possible. If anything it just scares them (rightfully so) and makes them try harder to manifest omni-potent beauty.

          • livenlearn

            Thank you for your thoughtful responses. The dynamics you describe make a lot of sense and beg to open further considerations about our own sexual identities.

        • sporenda

          “Also, if it’s constructed by society, then why has there never been any matriarchal society in history?”

          There are 2 biological reasons for that:
          – the fact that men are generally physically stronger than women, and can therefore win any argument and force them to do their bidding with physical force.
          This is the core of patriarchy, and laws were only created by men to give a semblance of legitimacy to this basic fact.
          – up to recently, women could be kept pregnant during most of their lifespan between puberty and menopause. If you are pregnant every year anda half or so, there is not much else you can do, and usually you are quickly worn out by serial pregnancies and may die at an early age.

          Women’s rights have been made possible by 2 evolutions taking place recently in history:
          – birth control
          – societies were things are settled less by violence and physical force, and more by negociation and contracts. Physical force being also less useful and valued due to the development of machines and technologies.

          Without these changes, we would still be living like most of our grandmothers, who married at 14, had 8 kids in a row, and at 45 were worn out or dead (before the development of birth control, women died younger than men).

  • MissFit

    This guy justifies the use of pornography with the fact that men masturbate without even discussing to what they masturbate, which is the whole issue. What men do not explain is why they are masturbating on images that dehumanize and humiliate women (maybe not all men but a very large number of them, considering how these pornographic images are widespread).

    Masturbation is normal and ‘natural’, so is sex. Women do masturbate; I masturbate myself almost daily since the age of 4. I like sexual pleasure. I don’t like pornography. I can understand that men and women, and men/women amongst themselves, can be aroused by different things. I cannot understand, however, why so many men, who otherwhise claim to respect women, are so aroused by images of women being direspected and humiliated. The fact that you have an erection does not negate the misogyny.

    It is not true that pornography is merely about looking at naked female bodies or people enjoying themselves having sex or ‘making love’ (as many men want to make us believe). Too often, degrading women seems to be the major turn on. Oterwhise, how would you explain the prevalence of such degrading? Is it also part of male natural inborn sexuality? If so, why nature would have intended it to be that way, how is it beneficial to humans as a species?
    Do you also think that ‘nature’ intended females to be sexual playthings for men? It is not because this is what your male created God intended that you should confound that with nature.

    The porn that is being promoted and widely consumed on the internet is something that should be relegated to the margins, alongside white supremacists psychopaths and the sort (there will always be sickos and weirdos), somehow, it turned out to be what is now mainstream porn. Men would be outraged if women treated them half the way they treat women, if women were masturbating on images of men being called derogatory names (the words ‘bitch’ and ‘slut’ is always use in porn to identify the female being in the videos) or violated (hey men, you too have an ass and a mouth, so we could violently introduce objects in your anus and deep down your throath so you can see are enjoyable it is!). We have been call man-haters for less than that!

    And for the poor guys who feel lonely and need to go to the strip clubs or prostitutes to have human contact… nice try. And we women should feel sorry for them? And what about all the lonely women? Well, society does not care for lonely women and women’s sexuality.

    • Wiggsy

      You are aware that male escorts also exist? I find your general lack of care for lonely people to be cruel.
      I wasn’t going to comment, but I’m curious, where does everyone here stand on the rise of amateur porn?

      Personally I think the idea that somebody would volunteer themselves to be viewed for the enjoyment of others is a kind gesture, and while I whole-heartedly agree that the culture of dominance and abuse prevalent throughout the sex industry is abhorrent, I don’t think there is anything wrong with the idea of paying for any kind of legal, consensual sexual gratification.

      Just for the record I’ve only ever been to one strip club, on a friend’s stag do and I certainly didn’t feel entitled to behave like an ass-hole, nor did I behave in anything less than a courteous and respectful manner. Truth be told I didn’t really enjoy being crammed in with a bunch of leery blokes.

      • “where does everyone here stand on the rise of amateur porn?”

        It’s porn and follows the same standards than all other porn.

        “Personally I think the idea that somebody would volunteer themselves to be viewed for the enjoyment of others is a kind gesture”

        So what? No one is blaming the women for doing it. We’re blaming the men for using it.

        “I don’t think there is anything wrong with the idea of paying for any kind of legal, consensual sexual gratification”

        Easy for you to say, when the laws are written by men and consent is defined by men.

        • Wiggsy

          “Easy for you to say, when the laws are written by men and consent is defined by men.”

          Well, I can only apologise for having been born male. I’m not at all averse to having the laws re-written to a mutually beneficial standard, preferably by a multi-cultural, multi-gender team working together with a sense of understanding and mutual respect. In those circumstances, how could you in all good conscience disagree?.

          • Meghan Murphy

            How about, instead of apologizing for being born male, you apologize for sexualizing inequity?

          • “Well, I can only apologise for having been born male.”

            Dude, who asked you to apologize for anything? I sure didn’t. Because I point out you’re wrong about something doesn’t mean I want you to apologize.

            “I’m not at all averse to having the laws re-written to a mutually beneficial standard, preferably by a multi-cultural, multi-gender team working together with a sense of understanding and mutual respect. In those circumstances, how could you in all good conscience disagree?”

            Well, that’s a political issue, and I’m not gonna debate that because I know I am in the minority on that topic. I’m just pointing out your hypocrisy, that’s all.

          • Wiggsy

            Noted. That was rather flippant of me.

        • John

          ‘No one is blaming the women for doing it. We’re blaming the men for using it. ‘

          So then women don’t have the same control over their lives, or aren’t expected to be as responsible for their own choices?

          Lets assume the former. I don’t think it can be taken as a granted. It’s definately not universal. The sh1t kickers of the world under patriachy are also male. I think class trumps gender in the heirachy of things. SO if a doctors wife is getting her kicks by showing off for a cleaner, why is the cleaner the bad one? Is there even a bad on to be chosen when all is consentual and enjoyed by all? Who decides this morality?

          It all seems a bit paternalistic anyway.

      • MissFit

        Strip clubs and prostitutes are no cure for loneliness. Truly lonely men can find activities where they can bond with people. There are plenty of women looking for male companionship and/or seeking sexual encounters. However, these women might wish for mutual respect and pleasure (sadly though, some women will think that the man’s pleasure is more important than their own, which is a symptom of how sexuality is being socially promoted). To meet those freely consensual women, men might need to make the effort of being gentle and show genuine interest in the other person. That is what lonely women are doing. I do not deny male escorts exist but they are much rarer (there are pages of escorts advertising in my local paper and the few male escorts advertisments are aimed at men customers).

        Loneliness is a false excuse for easy, domineering and selfish sex. I worked as an escort when I was 22 (while being advertised as 18) and most of my clients were married men twice my age and not the ‘poor lonely guy’.

        “At a strip club, it’s ok if you’re sexist, it’s ok if you objectify women. That’s part of the reason why you’re there.” I think this sentence sums up the real reasons for strip clubs and,partly, prostitution.

        And when you refer to ‘consensual sexual gratification’, whose sexual gratification are you referring to? Where is the gratification when you are paying someone to masturbate into? Women in the sex industry do not consent to have sexual relations per se, they consent to BEING PAID to have sexual relations. Sex work is no gratification. It is unhealthy; it is painful to the body (your vagina is hurting from repeated rough penetrations, your breast hurts from being grabbed roughly, but you say nothing because you are paid for that to be done to your body, and you say nothing when men presses their penis deep down your throat for the same reason, even though you are actually vomiting (it happens to me once, I kept the vomit in my mouth, swallowed it back and continued the moaning; the man had no idea he masturbated in vomit for a while). Sorry to be crude, but I am calling a spider a spider here. As for male escorts (since you seemed to be concerned about them) I am quite sure they are not experiencing the same kind of pain (for those aimed at female clients). It is also pshychologically harmful as you are constantly faking (emotions, pleasure) and become detached from your true self.

        As for amateur porn, there is positive in it as it shows different body genre and there is usually not the coercion of money (however sometimes there is); but most of the time, it just mimics ‘professional’ porn.

      • copleycat

        Possessing someone never cures loneliness. It only makes it worse because by possessing someone (renting them, exploiting them, relating to them with in a dynamic where you are guarenteed power over them) you discount a certain amount of their humanity, of their realness and in doing so you don’t feel like you’re with a real person like yourself. This makes you lonelier so do you seek communion instead of possession? If your answer is no then the next possession you purchase is going to have to be more absolute, which will put more distance between you and the person you’re possessing, which will make you feel even lonelier and then … you’re in a downward spiral.
        Don’t know if you’ve read Robert Jensen’s “Getting Off: Pornography and the End of Masculinity” but here’s something from it where Jensen is quoting a porn producer;

        “Ultra-hardcore leaves the consumer empty, still longing for more degrading product, which gets producers in trouble with the government.” Jensen’s quote from LGI Digital CEO Bo Kenney

        Very telling, and interesting that the guys making porn know what they’re doing.

  • Using the word “wrong” allows them to immediately focus everyone’s attention on the extremely rare outliers where participating in that activity “might not be so terribly wrong” for the perp while the use of “harm” forces them to focus on the harm accruing to the victim. They always prefer to talk about the college educated woman with a trust fund who “freely chooses” to “empower herself” through prostitution, rather than focus on what happens to the entire society when women are perceived as existing exclusively for the pleasure of men.

    So I would mention that refocusing tactic, and then immediately focus on how selfish men are when they disregard the harm accusing to all women. And since men ARE so incredibly selfish, and here we have yet more proof of that, why should anyone care about the humanity of men? It is ludicrous to give more respect to someone than they are willing to grant to anyone else, and we now have a long history of men disrespecting the humanity of women.

    After all this time, it is entirely appropriate to cease giving a shit about men. Forget striving for equality — it’s time to get rid of them.

    • ema nekaf

      Er, how would you go about getting rid of men without destroying our species as a whole? Forget the outrage and the war and the genocide, even if you succeed in getting rid of all the males, Humanity has not yet reached a point where cloning or other technology that would allow for the continuation of our species is viable.

      You know there is an old Naive American story about how a tribe split in two because of all the fighting between the genders. the men moved to one side of the river, and the women to the other. After a few years, both sides realized they were lonely, and sent representatives to work things out. They did, and for a while all was well.

      The way I see it, men and women are like yin and yang. We kinda need each other. So we might as well learn to get along.

      • “Er, how would you go about getting rid of men without destroying our species as a whole?”

        As an antinatalist, I fail to see the problem…

        • ema nekaf

          So, you want the human species to go extinct. Because if we stop having kids, that is what is going to happen.
          I don’t know, “no more children” sounds a bit like an evil scheme one of those saterday morning morning cartoon villains would come up with. Its as horrible as it is laughable.

          • Yea, well… people like you who want to propagate humanity when there’s genocides, horrible diseases, birth defects, widespread poverty, hatred and privilege are the ones who are “horrible” and “laughable.” So don’t look to me as the horrible one.

          • ema nekaf

            You know what? I think you are a pessimist. And I think you have lost your faith in humanity. And I have found That the only cure for pessimism is random positive facts. so here some random positive facts:

            Small Pox once killed millions of people per year, now it has been completely eradicated. It literally does not exist anymore.

            Violent crime rates dropped 5% between 2007 and 2008. And violent crime rates have been dropping consistently every year since 1993

            Rates of cancer have decreased steadily in the U.S. for 20 years and it’s not just because people aren’t smoking as much, though that’s certainly part of it. It’s also because new screening techniques that can detect pre-cancerous lesions in the colon and also because of the HPV vaccine which prevents the virus that causes cervical cancer.

            In the last 100 years, the human lifespan has increased by over 35 years. 100 years ago the average lifespan was only 45 years. Now it’s almost 80. And that number is increasing every year. If it keeps increasing at that same rate, the average lifespan of a child born in 2008 will be 98 years old.

            This one comes from me. Have you ever heard of teleportation? Well we pulled it off. A while ago in fact.
            Quantum entanglement is the proses in which two particles get tied together, and effect each other no matter what is in between them. You spin one particle, and the other particle will spin as well. This proses is going to be vital for when we create Quantum computers. These computers will be anywhere from 100 to a thousand times faster because the information wont need to travel any more inside your computer. This, scientists think, may be what eventually leads to the single biggest deal in history ever,

            The Singularity.

            The Singularity is basically the point when computers become smart enough to re-write their own programming, and become even smarter. No one knows what will happen after this point. Will we become obsolete? Will a true AI emerge? What secrets of the universe will this computer reveal to us, if any? Some people think we will be able to hook our brains up to computers, like in “feed” or “ghost in the shell”. Some people think the computer will became so smart, that its intelligence will transcend ours, and take over humanity. Or maybe it will just try and help us be better people. All we know is that, for better or for worse, The Singularity is going to be a big game changer. possibly the biggest game changer.

            And its coming soon. Technology, heck, human kind has advanced more in the last 100 years then it has in the entire rest of its existence. At this rate we will reach The Singularity in 20 or 30 years. But the rate our tech is being produced is actually increasing, we are entering an age where scientific discoveries are being made minute by minute. And we are not just getting better at science, we are getting better at being good people. Think of all the progresses, scientific or otherwise, that have been made in the last few decades. I could write about them for paragraphs. The world is becoming a better place to live.

            I like to think of humanity as an experiment. The Great Human Experiment. And what you are suggesting is the premature ending of that experiment. But the thing is, I, and many people, want to see where it takes us. Will we discover the secrets to the universe? Will we achieve world peace? Will we destroy ourselves, or will something else destroy us? Will we be destroyed at all? What you are suggesting, getting rid of humanity, is to me the highest act of cowardice. You don’t like what you see, and so you want to get rid of everything. You don’t want to see how things turn out? Fine. You can take the easy way out if you want. But don’t drag the rest of us down with you. There are far to many unanswered questions, far too many things we do not know, and we as a species has come to far for us to just GIVE UP. And that’s what you are suggesting. That we give up.

            I, for one, am not ready to give up yet. And I don’t think humanity is either.

          • Excuse me? I am not to be “cured.” Your diatribe is not welcome. And it is also grossly off-topic. This is after all a blog on radfem, not on natalism. Comment on my blog if you absolutely must, but let’s keep this topic down.

          • Meghan Murphy

            I have to agree with Francois here, ema. You need to stay on topic and stop with the derails or I’m going to have stop approving your comments. Thanks.

          • copleycat

            “And we are not just getting better at science, we are getting better at being good people. ”

            Oh I certainly would not say that! Sure ending humanity probably isn’t a good idea, however, this planet is way too crowded and most of the facts you sighted point out why that’s so and how it will only get to be more so. Most of human suffering is caused by humans and no tech advances have helped to attenuate that, if anything they’ve made it worse. The more distance you put between yourself and another person the easier it becomes to harm and even kill them – drones anyone – what a great advance. Here are some things that I’ve noticed have changed, in just the last 20 years the word “girl” has become a catch all, general insult, openly used with absolute impunity in all public forums. Women’s wages in the U.S. are still less than their male counter-parts, 30 years ago we thought this bullshit would be over by now. The U.S. still does not explicitly protect the rights of women in it’s constitution – the ERA has still not past and there’s no sign that it will. Cases of violent rape which were once considered open and shut automatic convictions are now being defended with the claim that “she wanted it rough” and this is working because the judge and jury apparently have been exposed to something that makes them think this would be so – wonder what that could be. Things are not getting better. The advances in tech will allow for more brutal control and more and more humans are succumbing to what seems to be the rising religion / ideology on the planet which is that love of power is the one true love. I think if you really care about humanity, indeed about children then you’ll put your efforts into fighting against misogyny and do what you can to help the children that exist and the ones that will be born – cause that’s the thing it’s not like a switch that can be shut off – kids keep coming. Birth rates could and really should slow by quite a bit more and we would not be in danger of the human race winking out. We are in way more danger of ending ourselves in a war started in part over scarce resources, but more likely because people are no where near as appreciative of each others humanity as they are impressed with their ever expanding technical capacities to control and denigrate each other.

    • Omnia Vanitas

      So should we get rid of all gay men too? Or does this only apply to het men? Should we have gotten rid of Gandhi and Martin Luther King? How about Andrea Dworkin’s husband, should he have been gotten rid of? What about your friends’ sons? I can only assume you don’t have a son yourself. All of which is to say, it’s obviously not “men” ipso facto; its how they are socialized. That’s the whole point of what we’re arguing about here. It’s the basis of feminist theory.

      • ned

        I have to agree with Omnia here — feminism at its best is a critique of a patriarchal cultural infrastructure, not of men qua men. Inflammatory statements like the ones made above, far from harming men in any way (who will mostly just laugh at them and go on exercising male privilege as before), actually discredit feminism as a movement. This kind of “strategic essentialism” used by separatists is doomed to failure. Like Meghan said, we can distinguish men from misogyny.

        • Wiggsy

          Gotta agree here, it’s the sweeping generalisations and dismissals of all males as selfish and incapable of separating fantasy from reality that caused me to hang around on this comments box scratching my head for so long.

          The “Them and Us” mentality on display here shows as much disdain for men as men are often accused of showing to women, obviously I’m not trying to imply that the few commentators here speak for women as a whole, just as I cannot possibly speak for men as a whole, but the average male passing over these comments will just see a wall of negativity and disapproval that does nothing to encourage discourse or indeed, respect, which is what this should really be all about.

          As it is, I just wanted to present a male viewpoint contrary to that expressed in the two articles cited. I’m also pretty certain that I am not the only fella who shares my stance. I find the ideas put forward and glorified constantly by lad’s mags like Nuts and Zoo to be tasteless and disrespectful, I don’t hold to the notion that women are there for me to ogle or harass, I don’t believe it’s proper to treat anybody in such a manner, furthermore I find shows like Skins to be vile and repugnant, selling teenagers a glamorised, over-sexed idea of what their mid to late teens should be, making youngsters of both sexes feel isolated and alone because they aren’t doing all the drugs and drinking and shagging they see on TV every week. That shit irks me.

          Sorry I seem to have rambled off topic. My point is I agree that the idea of women as property is frankly medieval. Sadly, if people are going to continue to consume the air brushed images in glossy magazines [women, you are equally guilty in this, with your Cosmo, Vogue et al] then this disturbing trend is only going to continue.

          TL;DR: People need to view the world around them with more patience and balance. Gender warfare won’t help any of us.

          • Meghan Murphy

            There is no “us and them” mentality. You’ve missed the entire point of my article, which is that male does not equal misogynist. All males are NOT innately selfish or sexist, but many of them end up that way, don’t they. You get to choose. From the sounds of it, based on your previous comment (which I am not approving because it is triggering – you don’t need to describe porn, we know what it looks like), wherein you argue that you can only enjoy porn where the “performers are genuinely enjoying themselves”, you have chosen “creep”. None of the performers are enjoying themselves. You are delusional.

          • Wiggsy

            I was not referring to your article, but the numerous comments beneath it, I apologise for not making that clear. Still, nice to see that these issues can be discussed without resulting to personal attacks.

          • Meghan Murphy

            I don’t think the majority of the comments here make the argument that it is “us against them”. Maybe one of them does. Stick with what’s actually being said.

          • Wiggsy

            Which is why I agreed with Ned’s comment, but frankly the only reason I stopped to comment here was because I found several comments by Francois, NitroGirl and MissFit really stuck in my craw.

            Again, I’m sorry, I should have given nods to Xentaur, Sue Denim, Omnia, ned and Boner Killer, who all raised excellent points.

            Sue’s experience as a phone sex operator is something that does bother me about common male attitudes, and I think it’s something that can only be changed with education, understanding, patience, and a vastly reduced importance on assigning gender roles to children.

          • NitroGirl

            “Which is why I agreed with Ned’s comment, but frankly the only reason I stopped to comment here was because I found several comments by Francois, NitroGirl and MissFit really stuck in my craw.”
            Well then, that just means I have to comment more often. 🙂 What does my existence (several comments = all three or four comments during my entire visit since 2011) have to do with you commenting here,and how is that relevant to the conversation? If you only like to pick and choose which female voices you want to read & like to hear from (like how men pick and choose to listen to current sex-workers instead of listening to exited (survivor) workers because it hurts their egos),then that’s fine and dandy to me -but just passively calling someone annoying on the sly because they didn’t put powdered sugar on their opinions or don’t approach things with candies and flowers doesn’t mean you should attempt to discourage female voices from being posted her just so your male voice can be heard . If I made you feel uncomfortable … good. 🙂

          • Wiggsy

            The comment you refuse to publish was not designed to be salacious or disgusting, perhaps I should have spoken in colourful metaphor, but the point I was trying to convey is that the there are men out there who find the sight of someone being abused and degraded to be outright disgusting. I am one of them. How you could infer otherwise from it is beyond me.

          • So what? It’s not about you.

          • Meghan Murphy

            I believe you. But the fact that you think that women in porn are enjoying themselves goes to show how little you understand about the industry. Just because no one is being obviously abused or raped doesn’t mean that it isn’t happening, that it hasn’t happened, or that pornography, as a whole, isn’t contributing to gender inequality. Objectification is tied to violence, even when there is no obvious violence. Feminists don’t like Playboy or overtly violent pornography.

          • Wiggsy

            I know how naive that comment may sound, and you’re right, I don’t know much about how the industry operates, but I’m still going to roll with the hope that for an amateur couple, picking up a camera and having some fun with each other can actually be an enjoyable exercise for both parties. My argument is that it’s the attitudes and circumstances that lead to porn performers being abused and degraded that need to be curtailed, and not indeed, the supply of sexually provocative material. Clearly, the way things are now, there are definitely a great many issues to be addressed, as the wholly one-sided nature of the pornography market demonstrates.

          • ned

            Just to clarify, I was only critiquing the statement by one commenter above about “getting rid” of men, not Meghan’s article, which I agree with 100%.

          • Candy

            “I find shows like Skins to be vile and repugnant, selling teenagers a glamorised, over-sexed idea of what their mid to late teens should be, making youngsters of both sexes feel isolated and alone because they aren’t doing all the drugs and drinking and shagging they see on TV every week.”

            Just to stick up for Skins, which I thought was surprisingly realistic in places, there was an unfortunately true to the core sex scene with Effy and Cook with her looking totally bored. There was another scene with Cassie and Sid that was a refreshing and totally non-degrading depiction of consensual sex. I thought Skins got a lot of things right regarding sex and some teenager’s real experiences of it. I could relate.

    • John

      See I would think calling for the eradication of an entire gender ‘hate speach’. Meh.

  • Xentaur

    Thanks everyone for an interesting read. It’s not a debate about which I claim to be well-informed but there are clearly diverse opinions being expressed.

    It does read as though the whole of women is united against the whole of men, and whilst I acknowledge that the argument against porn is valid there doesn’t seem to be a lot of room made for the fact that there ARE men whose erection is not dependent upon the subordination of women. Crikey, I wouldn’t like to think that the human species has survived in totem add a result of non-consensual male-initiated sexual encounters.

    Does anyone on either side make any allowance for the possibility that a man and a woman can actually have a mutually respectful relationship, where each accepts the others needs, wants and desires, including sexual ones, and yet still remain happy and fulfilled individuals?

    I concur with the author’s argument regarding pornography but I do lament the undercurrent of hostility evident on the text.

    • Omnia Vanitas

      BEEP! Patriarchy Computation Error #12: Woman is using he wrong TONE to express herself! Cannot Compute. Argument Invalid. Start over. BEEP!

      • Xentaur

        Thanks for proving my observation correct.

    • “Does anyone on either side make any allowance for the possibility that a man and a woman can actually have a mutually respectful relationship, where each accepts the others needs, wants and desires, including sexual ones, and yet still remain happy and fulfilled individuals?”

      How is that possible when one side will always objectify the other? Seriously, I’d like to know. Maybe there is a way, but I sure as hell don’t know it.

      • Xentaur

        “[…] one side will always objectify the other?”

        Francois, is that not generalising? Is it not in the same ilk as ‘all feminists are man-haters’?

        If I’m allowed to agree with Omnia Vanitas (as my observation met with clear disapproval) viz the point she made on 13jan12 “it’s how they are socialised”, and growing up in a country town it was no different for me. My partner and I have had to work hard – both of us – to address and correct pre- and mis-conceptions that we each brought with us into our relationship as a result of our upbringing and socialisation, which also included some counselling that we both wanted to go to because it was important to us that we were both heard AND able to hear from/about each other.

        I agree that there are men who fit the mould but there are those that dont, who reject the ‘boys will be boys’ philosophy, and who are willing to challenge what is considered by other men as a societal norm. It’s difficult to sustain support when proffering a point of view results in Patriarchy-Computation-Error-#12-type sarcasm (although I think that’s a gem!), which ultimately implies that as I have an appendage between my legs my point of view must be invalid.

        I don’t understand how it is intended to effect change by alienating both those you wish to influence and those who already agree with you.

        Patriarchy Computation Error #72 – Man Thinks He Actually Understands.

        • “Patriarchy Computation Error #72 – Man Thinks He Actually Understands.”

          I am open to the possibility that I don’t actually understand. However, when your only reply is a variant of NOT MY NIGEL!, what am I supposed to think? I think you need to apply your computations to yourself. I don’t deny that one can make an argument against hormonal essentialism, but this is not it. Sorry.

          • Xentaur


            You’ve lost me with the NOT MY NIGEL statement, sorry, I don’t know what that means. And apologies if you’ve mistaken my error #72 as a dig at you, it was actually at myself. I did explain in my first post that I’m not well-informed on this subject and the error message was a self-deprecating acknowledgement of this fact.

            I’m afraid without significant further reading I’m of no further use to this discussion (assuming I was of any use to start with) and for fear of being taken out of context again I’ll simply wish you well in your quest and barrack from the sidelines.

            Kind regards,

          • Not My Nigel argument= “some or most men are terrible, but not my boyfriend! HE understands!”
            By extension, “most men are terrible, but some men are somehow exempted from the way society/reality works”

        • ema nekaf

          LOL. Patriarchy Computation Error needs to become a Meme.

    • copleycat

      Do you have any idea how hostile porn is? Where have you been?

    • livenlearn

      You are missing the point entirely. Meghan rejects the collective “we” in her blog. I think it goes without saying that she is not pointing a collective finger at “you.”

  • Bianca

    Who uses male prostitutes? Not only men?

  • Bianca, women are disproportionately represented in prostitution and sex trafficking – there are women who are on the other side (the “buyer”), but the numbers are quite insignificant in comparison. The larger, overarching fact that prostitution has been traditionally used against women, says something about the political implications of how women are viewed in society at large. That is why this post focuses on women, although I’m not trying to speak for F-word.

  • “Does anyone on either side make any allowance for the possibility that a man and a woman can actually have a mutually respectful relationship, where each accepts the others needs, wants and desires, including sexual ones, and yet still remain happy and fulfilled individuals?”

    Many of us have relationships with men. I don’t understand how it could be gathered that all of the women here aren’t in relationships with men? Or haven’t been? Also, not everyone needs sex to be happy or fulfilled in their relationships with men, just sayin’!

    • Xentaur


  • MissFit

    ‘Does anyone on either side make any allowance for the possibility that a man and a woman can actually have a mutually respectful relationship, where each accepts the others needs, wants and desires, including sexual ones, and yet still remain happy and fulfilled individuals?’

    Yes, it is a possibility, but that is becoming harder and harder to achieve in a pornographic society where respect for women, their needs, wants and desire, are thrown aside.

  • Rebecca

    I loved your post and I live in the US. Here in the states the proportion of industry based on making girls/women into objects is so out of control it makes me sick. We “cannot” breastfeed in public (though I do!) for fear that some idiot, who apparently was never taught what certain body parts were actually FOR, will stare at you in disgust, tell you to cover up, or to “take that to the bathroom”. We have lovely shows like “Toddlers in Tiaras” where little girls (like 3-6 years) are dressed up like pseudo-adult women and paraded around in clothing that it as skimpy as anything one would see on a beach. We TELL our girls they can be anything but what we SEE portrayed on TV and in print differs from that sentiment: you can BE anything you want as long as you make sure you don’t forget that ULTIMATELY it is the male dominated society that must APPROVE of you. Thank you for saying EVERYTHING I have thought over the years.

  • Sue Denim

    Great post- followed it from A Girls Guide To Taking Over The World on Facebook. So much of what you’ve said is true, and verbalises what I’ve felt and though a lot of the time.

    I used to work for an “adult” phone line and your comments about strip clubs are spot on in regards to this arena as well. So many men used that line in order to have contact with a woman like me who was being paid to submit to them. Even the men who wanted to be dominated, really didn’t care if it’s what I wanted to do- or were so deluded that they actually thought that a person being paid to talk to them WAS turned on by them (and only them!)- that’s what I really didn’t get. Did they honestly believe that?

    There was definitely an element of power- I was only supposed to end a call if someone wouldn’t stop talking about ‘taboo’ subjects. I suspect if the line I worked for didn’t have strict rules about discussing illegal activities (rape, racism, drugs, underage, animals, torture) then there would have been even more conversations that turned my stomach.

    Although there were rare conversations that I was treated like a human, flirted with, conversed with, mostly I just started to feel used. It wasn’t empowering to take a man’s money in return for my time and voice. Which is why I don’t buy the whole ‘strip clubs’ are empowering for women. ‘it’s my body i can do what i want’ – well it was my voice but i wasn’t doing what i wanted. I was HAVING to please every single man who called, in any way he wanted, i could have been a sex doll for them to rut against for all they cared. And that’s the whole point of those lines (and i suspect quite a lot of the sex industry) these men don’t want a woman. They don’t want someone with thoughts and feelings and desires of their own- it is quite literally objectification. They want a thing to masturbate to, on, over, in.

    • “They don’t want someone with thoughts and feelings and desires of their own- it is quite literally objectification. They want a thing to masturbate to, on, over, in.”

      I’ve never seen anyone put it as succinctly as this. This should really be posted in every conversation about the sex industry. Sorry about your experiences in the phone sex lines.

      I also think that people shouldn’t brush off the alarming amount of delusional men that seek prostitution services as harmless nice guys who care about their “service provider”. Delusions like these can be very dangerous.

      • Sue Denim

        Thanks No Sugarcoating. What started as a joke between me and my friends, and a way to get some hilarious stories (including a guy who wanted to be my pet chicken that I cooked and ate as part of a roast dinner) didn’t turn out to be so good after all. When you’ve heard an 18 year old ask if you’ve ever been raped by a family member, and describe wanting to tie you to a post naked and shove a baseball bat inside you and leave you there for everyone to see and do stuff to it makes it hard to feel sorry for the men who call these lines/visit prostitutes/strip clubs/watch porn. It didn’t feel very harmless to me.

    • Sue, this was a really well-written comment, thank you!

  • Hold on a second, there are actually people who claim that “lesbian” porn might open men’s minds and help them give up homophobia? So we’re supposed to believe that some “brah” out there is going to be like, “Yeah, after I’m done jerking off to this girl-on-girl clip I’m gonna watch a little gay porn just as a palette cleanser. No homo!”

    This was a very entertaining article and it helps prove that feminists aren’t the ones that hate men.

  • fatascribunda

    the porn industry is remarcably similar to the drug one: we could have a parallel discussion where people say drugs are degrading and exploitative, not to mention deadly, dangerous and addictive, while others will defend their right to get high, and brag about their mind expanding and not being depressed anymore-oops, i mean repressed—-the porn industry realistically REPRESSES women’s sex life, reducing it to intercourse, and negating the reproductive system incorporated in BOTH our bodies. so sexuality is viewed ONLY from a-very limited- man’s perspective: impregnation of the female. a woman’s perspective NEVER forgets what “comes” after, since withdrawl is not an option. so for a woman to choose to have intercourse only for the orgasm means distorting her biological identity. Pornography,far from releasing her repressions, is simply work for a woman, just like pushers would be hardly described as people trying to liberate peoples minds. Men get addicted to sex because their bodies are different. (there is a difference between pot&coffee and alcohol&crack, just as there is between soft and hard porn).WE could also underline that sex is a natural function, like eating, and eating just for the pleasure isn’t healthy, as we will likely make very bad choices for our bodies only because they’re good for our taste buds…and yes, twinkies went bankrupt, as we hope the porn industry will, after reducing men to soulles drooling wankers. loving our bodies means a lot more than pleasuring them. And then the most simple argument, men that resort to porn have no love in them. They will no doubt argue they don’t need it.

  • marv wheale

    Pornography, stripping and prostitution undoubtedly undermine relationships of equality between women and men. However endemic sexual inequality existed aeons before these violent institutions became prevalent throughout society. Marriage and pair bonding were and are also causal factors (many others too) and are themselves products of male regimes. The historical privileging of heteronormativity in every culture suppresses the status of women and of platonic cnnections. Sexual relationship supremacy is based on the learned assumption that females and males are incomplete in their identities without elevating sex or mating. This negatively implies that all other companions do not have as essential a role in our happiness and fulfillment. It is also demeaning to those who prefer animal friends, study, solitude and meditation as their primary sources of personal satisfaction. Moreover, demoting intimate nonsexual friendships to second class rank on the personal and structural levels makes it easier for men to control women since women will be restricted to their proper station not wandering free down their own paths. So by promoting asexual relationships over sexual ones we can actually weaken the edifices of sexism, heterosexism and sex imperialism. Men would benefit immeasurably too. Certainly this has to be done in conjuction with the abolition of pornstitution.

    • copleycat

      ” The historical privileging of heteronormativity in every culture suppresses the status of women and of platonic cnnections. Sexual relationship supremacy is based on the learned assumption that females and males are incomplete in their identities without elevating sex or mating. This negatively implies that all other companions do not have as essential a role in our happiness and fulfillment.”

      That’s really well said, if you don’t mind me saying so. I know so many miserable married people who treat single people with horrible contempt. They should stop trying to force one relationship to be everything when it can’t do that, no relationship can.

      • marv wheale

        Yes misery does love company. I am also convinced that there rarely is such a thing as a “single” person. According to customary thinking you may have many supportive, loving friends and relatives but you are still considered “single” if you don’t have a live-in lover or spouse. How condescending is that? Our concept of family is ideologically rigid and institutionally conformist.

  • Clare Selina

    Thank you for a very entertaining and well written article. I have to say that after reading about Shaw and Breslin’s theories I am a bit concerned for all those poor unnatural, abnormal men out there who don’t use porn or objectify women in order to orgasm or have a fulfilling sex life. Whatever do the poor creatures who have respect for women and view them as equal partners in a loving relationship do to get their jollies I wonder? How do they sleep at nights worrying about this terrible affliction they are burdened with, that of mutual respect? OK my tongue was firmly in my cheek there and I did rather over egg the pudding, but it saddens me that men reading/ hearing those kinds of articles might feel somehow inadequate or less than masculine because they don’t want to treat women as objects. It’s also baffling to me that so many women have decided that porn is harmless. I have had several fierce conversations recently with female friends, both mothers of young children, who think women posing topless in a mainstream British tabloid that is easily accessed by children is OK, nothing to get overly heated up about, after all it’s not paedophilia or sexual abuse is it? (their argument, not mine)I pointed out that the showing of a navel in the media was taboo right up until the 1960’s in Britain and that we have all just gradually become desensitised to the objectification of women over time,but no they stuck fast to what they’ve been brainwashed into believing, that their children finding a semi nude picture of a young (always young, commonly teenage)woman in a paper on the breakfast table is totally harmless. The fact that objectifying a human being is the first step on the road to justifying abuses against that individual, or in this case an entire gender, was totally lost on them. As long as women continue to buy into the harmlessness of porn what hope is there?

    • marv wheale

      I hear a sense of despair in your final words. Indeed there is much to agonize about when we see how the male values of pornography rule women’s lives. But each day there are more warriors joining the resistance movement. Just look at the fighters in this blog for example. The growth isn’t always perceptible yet it is happening nonetheless around the world. With confidence, steadfast resolve and collective activism this war can be won. A little shit luck helps too.

  • Daniel

    I have a question for your rant against porn. What would you propose society does about it?

    On one hand, we have porn legalized and socially acceptable. In this case, only willing people would enter into the field as anyone forced into it would have the law on their side as in any case of slavery. People would get a fair wage for their services based on the laws of supply and demand.

    On the other hand, we can make porn illegal or a taboo. In this case, a black market develops and the market exists without the benefits of law enforcement or safety regulations. Porn is now even worse as the black market drives the price up and thus demands a more desperate consumer.

    My idea about this comes from the illegality of prostitution. It still exists, but a prostitute can now no longer to go to law enforcement if she is raped because she is already breaking the law. How does this empower women?

    Maybe I am too much into the theory of capitalism and markets, but I don’t believe anyone should stand in the way of two individuals making a transaction. If men want to buy sex (either physical or visual) and women are willing to sell it, who are we to stop them?

    • livenlearn

      First, I would seriously argue that porn is not socially acceptable. I can’t say that I know anyone for whom it is socially acceptable, but I suppose it depends on what social network you are referring to. Second, we are not talking about legal or not legal. I think you would probably agree that there are some things that are legal, but that does not necessarily mean they are healthy for society. In fact there are many things that are perfectly legal that are quite unhealthy…an entirely different topic.

      • Daniel

        I never said porn WAS socially acceptable, but that it might be better for everyone if it was. I was never advocating for porn. I think there are plenty of unhealthy things that are legal and illegal. But what I am suggesting is that making something illegal or taboo just prevents us from dealing with the consequences and makes the effects worse. I don’t advocate drug use either, but I do think drugs should be legal because the drug war has worse effects than drug use. I am suggesting something similar for porn and prostitution. They are not good things, but driving them underground doesn’t help anybody.

    • If some cult leader wants to brainwash a bunch of people, and they are willing to be brainwashed, who are we to stop them?

    • Some Dude

      Actually Daniel, Sweden and South Korea have shown that you can easily cripple the prostitution industry by decriminalizing the victims, that is the girls, while penalizing the Johns, the pimps, and landlords.

      As for this comment: “If men want to buy sex (either physical or visual) and women are willing to sell it, who are we to stop them?”

      Modern capitalist society encourages this child-like thinking, whereby the situation is oh so simple. Did it ever strike you as odd that the more economically destitute a region or country is, the more women you find “willing” to sell sex? It’s got to be a coincidence, right?

  • John A

    The only reason I still barely support abortion rights is the right to bodily autonomy. I haven’t yet determined when a separate human starts and how one person’s bodily autonomy can restrict another’s. Bodily autonomy means that you do with your body what you will. In instances where women are forced into the sex industry, I can see your point, but what of Playboy? Many actresses will do Playboy as a boost to their career. Others will do porn for the money. Women either have agency or they don’t.

    One thing I don’t think you’ve considered, which hasn’t changed through the ages, is that heterosexual men like looking at women. We like the look of naked women. Yes, we have fantasies, which for the most part are never acted upon. Some guys even fantasize over being objectified, clothed female nude male (CFNM). Look at your argument in terms of CFNM and femdom (female domination), if men fantasize about being dominated by women, why is there patriarchy?

    Society should explore why some people act in their desires while most don’t.

  • Hey there! I read this with some interest after finding it posted on a feminist facebook page. It seems to me that you’ve rigidly divided men into a lot of groups – that any man that watches porn is obsessed with power over women and loves to objectify them. This is just not true! I’m only 18 and have been with my girlfriend for 2 years, which is a relatively long time for people our age. We have a happy, loving relationship and share the most enjoyable sexual experiences I’ve ever had.

    For me, it’s not only the physical intimacy but also how open and honest you can be with someone lying together afterwards, or even just enjoying the silence together. Here’s the kicker: I also watch porn. I love the female form. I think it is beautiful. I don’t watch tackily-filmed videos shot in some warehouse, I tend to look at artistically shot nude photos. I don’t feel an urge to have ‘power’ over women, I watch it because it’s pleasurable. I hate fake breasts. I think rape fantasies reveal a deeper, darker psychological problem for some people. Of course, there are some undesirable elements in the pornography industry, but I think it is foolish to claim that pornography is intrinsically evil; it is not.

    I am not denying the existence of people for whom their only desires involving women are objectification and control, but it is wrong to paint all men who enjoy porn as this. Some of us are actually nice guys. I believe in equality for all regardless of which race/colour/bits between your legs you were born as/with, but it is very hard to continue to support feminism when ALL men are painted as “not being able to understand”, “you’re subliminally sexist” etc. I feel alienated and confused about it!

    Thanks for reading, I’d really appreciate a reply 😀

    • MissFit

      Hey there! Since you asked, I am going to give you a reply to your comment.

      You mentioned that you share with your girlfriend the most enjoyable sexual experience you ever had. Great! What about her? I am asking because porn users are renowned for being bad lovers, seeing women as a means to their ends. Porn conditions people to view sex’s ultimate goal as providing boners and ejaculations. And some women, especially the young ones, do not feel entitled to pursue their own pleasure, mimicking instead what they see in porn and thus putting men’s satisfaction first and foremost, to the detriment of their own desires. I do not assume that it is the case in your relationship, just making you aware that these scenarios happen.

      Also, you admitted watching porn. Does your girlfriend like that? Maybe she said it does not bother her because she fears appearing uncool if she said it did. If you want to make sure she is really cool with you watching porn, just tell her that you will stop if she prefers and see her answer. I am saying because when I ask men if they would like their girlfriend purposefully searching for images of other men’s naked bodies on a daily basis in order to be sexually aroused, they defensively say that it won’t bother them. But after giving it a second thought, they say that they would prefer she doesn’t do that. Most of them would not like that at all!

      Would you like to live in a world where men’s bodies are constantly displayed and judged on their sexual desirability, with such desirability being defined in very specific, artficial and limited ways? It seems very hard for men to put themselves in a woman’s shoes, in the place of the ‘Other’. Men’s bodies are not objectified like women’s are, men are not being sent the message that their most important value as a human being is looking fuckable.

      You shared with us your personal taste in porn. You know that the porn phenomena is not limited to your personal preferences, right? You have take a look at what is presented in porn, right? You know of what the vast majority of it looks like, right? Most men do not limit themselves to looking at ‘artistically shot nude photos’, most consume material featuring violence and humiliation towards women (the popularity of such material proves it). You said that it is wrong to paint men who enjoy porn as enjoying objectifying women; this is a contradiction in terms because porn IS the objectification of women.

      On a final note, we feminists feel alienated on a daily basis from living under the patriarchy, so the fact that patriarchally trained men who enjoy their privilege feel alienated by our discourse is the least of our concerns.

      Sans rancunes, have a nice day!

  • Shae

    You are right, Happy Dude. We should not automatically say things like “this group of people is always like this” and “that group of people is always like that”. It would be better to say “men who view porn are more likely to be evil misogynists” than “all men who view porn are total losers”.

    My questions here: how do you define porn? Artistically shot nudes may not in fact fall under the category of porn. And how are you defining “artistically shot nudes”? Playboy? Hustler? Annie Leibovitz? Adipositivity? It’s too broad a category and too subject to individual ideas of what’s acceptable and what isn’t to label every single picture of a naked woman as ‘porn’.

  • Jack

    I wonder how many of the women here that are whining about economic parity reach for the check on a date? How many of them want to forego the ritual of the engagement ring because they object to the being symbolized as male property? How many of them turn down free drinks at bars? How many of them never play upon their sexuality to get free perks or even to just grab attention? How many are interested in serving in combat? How many are willing to give up custody of their children to the father, which is a rubber stamp in American Society? How many would like to be subject to a mandatory armed services draft? I could go on. The point is clear: men have some advantages and women have others. Feminism is all about obtaining the same perks that men have without giving up the perks that they currently enjoy. Some of those perks are codified in law, such as combat service or child custody, and others are codified in culture, such as engagement rings and free dinners, movies, and drinks.

    As for porn, why is it OK for women to eagerly pose scantily-clad in softcore men’s magazines such as Maxim but not OK for women to pose fully unclothed in Playboy, Penthouse or Hustler? Does Maxim not objectify women? Is Maxim not selling sex just as the others do? Do the celebrity posers in Maxim not have enough economic opportunities?

    • Meghan Murphy

      Feminism is not about ‘obtaining the same perks that men have’. You are thoroughly confused if you believe that fighting to end violence against women is the same as wanting ‘perks’.

      • Jack

        Feminism should be about true equality, but it never seems to be. Where are all the feminists pushing for mandatory female service in combat? Where are all the feminists advocating for fathers rights? Men have virtually no chance to get custody. Men have no say regarding unwanted pregnancies. If the man prefers an abortion but the woman has it anyway the man gets stuck paying for it. Not much equality in that power dynamic. In America today only a men can become a parent against his will.

        Pornography is not about violence against women. It’s about free speech, which is why it is legal and child porn is not. Women have the power of consent and children do not. If women don’t want to pose naked, don’t. Funny though how women line up to pose in Maxim and Playboy. It brings them fame, money, and opportunity. Murphy portrays women as powerless victims. Erections, however, do not make women pose naked or have sex with each other. (And am I to assume that lesbians do not like to watch same-sex porn? Who gave Murphy the power to speak for all women? My guess is at least some lesbians very much like watching lesbian porn. Is gay male porn also violence against men? Murphy seems unconcernes about that. Guess it doesn’t fit her victim agenda very well.)

        I see women as autonomous actors that are free to make decisions, and, for better or worse, they will be held accountable for those decisions. A majority of freshman in college are now women. They are also doctors and lawyers, pilots and police officers, CEOs and secretaries of state (three of the last four secretaries of state have been women). They are also presidential and vice presidential candidates. Studies have shown that highly qualified women who have comparable resumes to men earn more than 90 percent that of men. They should earn 100 percent and hopefully one day they will. It was either Brown or Steinem who said that women would not reach parity with men when a highly qualified woman becomes CEO of a 500 company. They will reach parity when the female equivalent of a “schlub” becomes one. Well, Sarah Palin certainly achieved that goal four years ago.

        If a woman wants to pose naked for money that is her right. Playing the victim card is not very empowering nor is whining about erections.

        • Meghan Murphy

          True equality = mandatory female service in combat?? HA. And why the FUCK would feminists advocate for men’s rights? Your MRA shit is not going to fly here. No feminist believes that parity has been achieved or that a woman becoming CEO of a 500 company somehow creates equality. You are entirely clueless.
          Go back to reddit, Jack.

        • Aims

          Jack, first of all you ask “I wonder how many of the women here that are whining about economic parity reach for the check on a date? How many of them etc etc”

          Then when I answered you and said that the women here all do those things, you respond:

          “As for the women in this forum not wanting the culturally codified perks of their sex, that may or may not be the case. It is, however, irrelevant.”

          You’re not making much sense, are you Jack?

          “In America today only a men can become a parent against his will.”

          The republican party is actively working to legislate so that women will become forced to be parents against their will.

    • Aims

      Hi Jack, I always reach for the check, turn down free drinks and have no interest in an engagement ring. While I’m not interested in combat, many women are fighting for that right. Are you kidding? Do you seriously think the women here are the same ones who use their cleavage for free drinks and demanding a huge rock? Feminists are not the people you should be angry at. As for the child issue, how many men actually want full time custody?

      • Jack

        “[H]ow many men actually want full time custody?” Wow. Talk about a warped conceptual worldview. Men don’t care about their kids? Sad that this mindset is what actually passes for feminism. As for the women in this forum not wanting the culturally codified perks of their sex, that may or may not be the case. It is, however, irrelevant. Society overwhelming embraces those perks and feminism has no desire to push to voluntarily end them. Maureen Dowd’s great book “Are Men Necessary?” tells of a young man she met that pays for his lawyer girlfriend’s vacations. What, she can’t afford to pay her own way? Not much gender equality there. Men who play Mr. Mom at home do not get respect in society from either men or women. Female Harvard Med School grads marry men who make more money than they do. One would think they would have the financial security to marry for love rather than money. They don’t. Feminism is very much indeed about obtaining perks that men have without jettisoning their own. Pretty sad.

        • Aims

          You are a very disingenuous, emotional arguer Jack. Where did I say or even imply that men don’t care about their kids? I posed the question, in response to questions asked of women, as to how many men want full time custody? Have a look at family court stats and you will see that only a small minority of men request it – hence why only a small minority of men get it.

          And how ridiculous to claim that feminism is invalidated because we don’t actively advocate for men’s rights – you’re having a laugh. Should gay rights advocates be concerned with heterosexual issues. Should Martin Luther King have busied himself with the plight of the working class white man?

          Only the most offensive male entitlement could motivate you to argue that.

  • Alberto

    Great article! At the end I think the answer to equality can be found only by joint efforts of yes, men and women. There is a need for an open dialogue to profoundly analyze our behaviours and understand our attitudes, there are tons of research but somehow the majority of society has been kept blind folded. We need to reform education and law to reflect the findings and knowledge we have about our sexist and discriminatory society towards women.

    Regarding men and porn, seems that the “biology” comes out more often to defend bizarre behaviours than to fully understand that many of our way of doing things, even though propelled by evolutionary biology, are completely learned in our culture and can and should be understood and controlled by way of education and law.

    Violence against women is a terrible and constant reality, starting with the huge historical discrimination in access to wealth, land, education, representation. We live in a men made world and thus is unbalanced we need change, it is time for a different approach, women-men approach understanding that we are not the same but we are equal.

  • Meghan

    “Why are we so unwilling to see porn or strip clubs or prostitution as something invented by a society that is not egalitarian?”

    I think it’s because the men who consume porn and go to strip clubs all have mothers, many have sisters, wives and daughters, and they don’t want to admit that this imagery/these actions performed by “those” women are performed by other mens’ mothers, sisters and daughters. The last thing a guy getting a lap dance wants to think is “this is my daughter/wife/sister” because then the majority of the time, he would look at the dudes sitting next to him and probably want to punch them all, and himself, in the face for belittling and disrespecting her. Our society and mass media work very hard to separate “good” women – moms, sisters, wives and daughters – from “bad” women – strippers, prostitutes, sluts and bitches. If it’s acknowledged that they are one and the same, both good and bad, then we might be able to progress and become more egalitarian society as a whole.

  • Meghan

    Awesome post by the way! I love this blog!

  • cheyenne

    I think there are lots of men who take advantage of their exes’ relative economic inferiority, to get full custody just to get back at them for rejecting them when they turn out to be an abusive jerk.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Indeed. And to further abuse via the legal system. Men with more economic power can hire better lawyers and continue the mindfucking in court…

  • cheyenne

    Also, all those ‘perks’? I take them because my female (small, weak, young & inexperienced/getting old and arthritic) body can’t produce enough money in this ridiculous economy NOT to. Those who can, and share with me, are not going to be turned down as long as there’s no expectation of reciprocity, unless of course I CAN reciprocate.

    Money is the reason anyone goes into any career, including prostitution/stripping/you name it. There often is desperation behind it. Women make less than men, the $$$ are tempting. I’ve had jobs with bad bosses, sexist co-workers and so forth, and yet I prefer a regular paycheck however small, to the risks I’d be taking as a sex worker.

    I noticed several commentors whinging about ALL men being painted with the infamous broad brush. These are generalizations, to make a point, not meant to apply equally to all men. Duh!

  • Krdooo

    Fantastically thought out, well-written, post-feminist post. Was just redirected here from Since You Asked on So happy to have discovered you.

  • Dave

    “Never you mind those ladies who want to walk down the street or go to work or sit on the bus without being propositioned or masturbated at. They’re a bunch of spoil sports.”

    I think you jumped a couple of logic steps to get to “propositioned” here.

  • Mush

    “here’s the kicker: we masturbate”

    Does this mean there’s an invisible shield keeping him from touching himself when there’s no porn around?

  • Heather

    I don’t know if this has been mentioned yet, but check out Make Love Not Porn (, which is not nearly as cheesy as the title implies. The first iteration of the site seeks to distinguish between what porn tells us is “normal” sexual behavior, and the diversity of what people actually experience in the bedroom. The next step is, where people can submit *actual* amateur videos, and finally have another option if they want to voyeur all over real sexy time!

  • Sex Neutral Feminist

    Interesting comments. What do you (all or any of you) think about “Sex Week” at Yale and other universities. I know they invite people from the porn industry to talk. I watched a symposium on youtube where 2 very famous porn actors – one male, one female, were fielding questions from students.

    They made the porn industry sound empowering, safe, glamorous and very lucrative.

    When asked if he would want his daughter going into the business, Ron Jeremy squirmed in his seat, mumbled incoherently and tried to dodge the question. The student pushed him to answer, finally he relented and gave a weak “If that’s what she wanted to do I would support her.”

    The crowd cheered.

    Um, ok.