Hannah (never finished story)

from August 2004. I know I wrote more of it since then, but couldn’t find it. It’s about prostitution, and is graphic. Trigger warning.
On a tape recorder.

Look, I’ll try not to bullshit you, so just listen. Please. I won’t take up too much of your time. I’m just really, really tired. And cold. And sad. Yet words don’t even begin to describe what happens to a poor, strung-out, cheap whore. Yeah. That’s what I am. When a chick’s poor and hungry and hurt it’s easy to get her to sell herself.
I’m not exactly what you’d want your kids to be associated with. Who wants to know a virtual sperm bank?
Your sons, that’s who. And your fathers. And your husbands. And your boyfriends. And your male friends. They like it dirty and cheap. They like me dirty and cheap. A lot of them hurt me, you know, beat me and tie me up and shit. But there are really sick motherfuckers out there. Like last night. This trick wanted me to pretend I was his freakin’ daughter. His 12 year old daughter. Here’s what happened:
We was standing on our corner – me and my friends, Evelyn and Zach. They fuck for cash, too. Evelyn got into it when she was sixteen by her boyfriend, Jeff. He fucked her on their second date – and I mean fucked, not made love or any other flowery bullshit. He tore her up inside. Made her suck his cock. Ignored her tears. Guess he was training her. Then her made her quit school when she was on the honour roll and get a job in some sleazy strip joint. That’s where he got her into it. First he had a bunch of guys pull a train on her for cash, which he got, of course. Then he put her on the street on her own. She ran away, but the bastard found her and laid a beatin’ on her she’d never forget. Now she’s only 17 and she been tricking for a few months, but she’s really fucked up. If you’re willing to listen and she’s willing to tell, she’ll tell you her story.
Zach, on the other hand, is less likely to tell. I think guys are like that, they don’t like to tell nobody what happens to ’em, not even themselves. Shit, he hasn’t told me what the fuck happened and what goes on with him. But can’t say I blame him. Whoring isn’t exactly something to be proud of. You get treated like shit.
Anyhew, we were standing on the corner hooking. We had noticed that this car, blue, was driving ’round a few times, as if he weren’t quite sure he wanted to stop. Anyway, after a few times, he did. He rolled down his window. “Are you working?


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Published in: on November 28, 2008 at 8:00 am  Leave a Comment  

Women’s Rights: 1950s-onwards

From June, 2004.

I See Progress
Some important events that occurred because of feminism are:
In 1950, Ellen Louks Fairclough was elected to the House of Commons and introduced a bill requiring “equal pay for equal work.” In ‘52, the legislation was put into effect in Ontario.
In 1955, restrictions on the employment of married women in the federal public service were removed.
In 1966, more than 2 million women represented by 32 organizations lobbied the government to establish a Royal Commission on the Status of Women in Canada. It was established in 1967 and chaired by Florence Bird. The commission found that 2/3 of all welfare receivers were women and that in 1971 women working full-time only earned 59.7 cents for every man’s dollar.
In 1969, the Criminal Code was amended, making prescribing and giving information on contraceptives no longer illegal. Also, same-sex sexual acts between consenting adults was no longer illegal. Abortion was legalized in instances of rape and incest.
In 1974, “[t]hirty-two women from across Canada hired as officers in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) arrive at the RCMP Training Academy to become the first female troop in the history of the Force.” (Status of Women Canada)
1975-85 was declared the Women’s Decade by the United Nations. It held the first World Conference on Women in Mexico. The Royal Commission on the Status of Women in Canada became a federal department in 1976 under the name Status of Women Canada.
In 1977, the Canada Labour Code was amended to provide 17 weeks of maternity leave. In ‘78, it was amended to prohibit dismissal or lay-off because of pregnancy. Also in ‘78, Air Canada hired their first female pilot.
In 1982, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms came into affect. It has been interpreted to require that women’s equality rights be promoted by the government.
In 1983, the Human Rights Act was amended to prohibit discrimination based on pregnancy and marital or family status and sexual harassment. Also, the federal government adopts Bill C-127 which recognizes “spousal rape”, thereby criminalizing it.
In 1985, the Indian Act was amended to return status and the right to band membership to Aboriginal women who had lost these rights by marrying non-Aboriginal men.
In 1988, abortion was totally decriminalized.
In 1991, December 6th was declared a National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women by the federal government in remembrance of the 14 women brutally murdered by Marc Lepine at L’Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal.
In 1993, United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of all Forms of Violence Against Women was declared. Kim Campell became Canada’s first female PM.
In 1995, Bill C-72 changes the Criminal Code, making intoxication a no longer accepted defense in cases of sexual assault and battery. The Fédération des femmes du Québec initiates a Women’s March Against Poverty (the Bread and Roses March) where three contingents of 850 women marched for 10 days to the Quebec Legislative Assembly to win action on demands related to economic justice.
In 1996, the Canadian Human Rights Act is amended to include sexual orientation as a prohibited ground of discrimination.
In 1997, the Supreme Court unanimously affirmed that “no means no” (R. v. Ewanchuck). To paraphrase Status of Women Canada, the decision held that the idea of “implied consent” to sexual assault does not exist in Canadian law. The decision sent a strong message that consent to sexual activity cannot be given by a third party or motivated by fear or abuse of authority.
On March 8, 2000, the World March of Women in the Year 2000 commenced.

We Still Have a Long Way to Go…
“In 1997, 18.3% of adult women were living below the poverty line; the average wage of a woman working full-time was equivalent to 72.5% of the wage of a man working full-time. That figure dropped to 63.8% if all working women are taken into consideration (including those working part-time and the self-employed).” (Status of Women Canada)
53.5% of females and 30.6% of males under 21 have had a sexual offence committed against them. Almost half of child sexual assaults are committed by relatives. Approximately 85% of adult sexual abusers of boys are men. Between 94-100% of the abusers of girls are men. (Anne Duffy and Julianne Momirov)
Fathers are the perpetrators of 59% of physical abuse of children by parents and 99% of parent-child incest. (Duffy and Momirov)
29% of ever-married women have been physically abused by a partner. (Statistics Canada; cited by Holly Johnson and John F. Conway)
About 75% of (female) prostitutes have been sexually abused as children. In Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, 98% of the prostitutes have had a “bad date” (abusive customer). 16% of men have used a prostitute. (Trevor Greene)
A random sample by Diana Russell of 930 San Franciscan households found that 92.2% of females have experienced rape, sexual assault, and/or sexual harassment.
Over 100 million women worldwide have undergone female genital mutilation, and over 2 million more undergo it every year.
Women work 2/3 off all the world’s working hours, receive 10% of the world’s income, and own less than 1% of the world’s property. (Nikki Craft)
The World Health Organization estimates that 200 000 to 400 000 women die each year from illegal, poorly performed abortions. (Craft)

Published in: on November 24, 2008 at 5:36 am  Comments (2)  

Sexual Exploitation Violates Women’s Human Rights

From May 2004. I’ve posted the two comments I got this time.

Various forms of sexual exploitation violate human rights. I come to this subject as a radical feminist (radical meaning “to the root,” not “extremist”). Child sexual abuse, prostitution, and pornography are all violations of women’s human rights.
When children are sexually abused, it is not just the sexual acts committed that harm them. The main harm comes from the breach of trust. Most abused girls are victimized by male family members. Diana Russell calculated that 1 in 6 girls are the victims of incest by the time they reach eighteen. An additional 1 in 6 are victims of other sexual abuse. When I was molested, what hurt the most was not what he did to me, but the fact that he betrayed me. He was supposed to be my friend, not my nightmare. I told, which is surprising to me even today because he threatened to kill my dog and me if I did, and was lucky enough to be believed and supported by another. Unfortunately, many are not so lucky.
When girls are abused, their senses of self are shattered. They have no belief in themselves as human beings with the right to not be harmed and used by others. Those girls may grow up believing that.
When girls run away from home to escape being “Daddy’s girl,” they face people who are eager to force them into prostitution. The pimps won’t have to work very hard to break them in; they already believe themselves to be pieces of meat. Contrary to popular opinion, this is a common paradigm in prostitution because approximately three quarters of prostitutes have been sexually abused as children and many prostitutes are “owned” by pimps. The violence in prostitutes’ lives are by no means limited to their “bosses.”
A great deal of the violence against them is caused by customers. Studies on prostitutes have found that as many as 98% of prostitutes have had “bad dates”–abusive johns. Prostitute women are commonly called vile names, beaten, raped, tortured, even killed. I find that people think that for higher-class “call girls” or escorts”, it is somehow different. It’s not. The $200 per hour escort can end up raped and butchered as easily as the $20 street prostitute.
But even without this overt violence, prostitution is violating women’s human rights. It doesn’t matter whether she’s held captive and beaten by pimps or she’s selling herself to support her children–using a prostitute is, ipso facto, wrong. Even if the customer is not overtly, sadistically abusive, renting the body of another human being is violating any reasonable standard of human rights. Renting the videotape or buying the magazine of another’s naked body is just as wrong.
Pornography is much the same as prostitution, except for one crucial difference–there are documents of the women’s abuse being sold as entertainment. I can only imagine the pain and humiliation experienced by women in pornography. I am horrified knowing that in many countries, pornography, even if it depicts rape, is constitutionally protected as “speech.” Even in pornography where the women are presented as willing aren’t truly. What rich woman without a history of sex abuse says “Gee, I’d really like to have humiliating sex with total strangers in front of a camera for men’s sexual pleasure”? I don’t think a single one does. Not that someone would think that by viewing pornography. Do the surgically enhanced 20 year olds ever say “be gentle”? Do they even say “no,” or Heaven forbid, “I am your equal so treat me as such”? No. The women in pornography–from the Playboy centerfold to women viewed as eager to have every orifice filled with a penis to the woman raped–all are portrayed as insatiable for the use and abuse heaped upon them. All are treated as less than men.
In these institutions, a very important, male-supremacist message is communicated. It is that men are more important, more deserving of respect than women. If these institutions do not violate women’s human rights, women are being denied basic human rights.


[info]interjections
2004-05-31 06:07 pm (local) (link) DeleteFreezeScreenTrack This Select
I wish I was as cool as you when I was 16.

(Reply to this)


[info]little_emsy
2004-06-03 06:29 am (local) (link) DeleteFreezeScreenTrack This Select
This is a great essay.

I hope you don’t mind, I added you 🙂

Published in: on November 24, 2008 at 3:42 am  Leave a Comment  

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My take on “pedophiles”

I’m posting old entries, because I’ll be deleting them from view on my lj. From April 2004.
This is my second message i posted on the ACLU NAMBLA rage page (the first was way back in Sept. 2002). It was done quickly, so may not make the most sense:

I agree with the previous few posts. Children do not have enough life experience to give informed consent to having sex. In the case of similarly situated, similarly aged kids, they are not “mutually raping” each other, they are innocently (meaning non-predatorily) exploring their sexuality. However, if an adult (or significantly older kid) has sex with a kid, the same motives may be operating, but it’s one sided. “Pedophiles” is an inaccurate word because pedophilia literally means love of children. If they genuinely cared for kids they would give them the information they need on sexuality, not “teach” them about it through imposing themselves sexually on kids. So-called girl and boy “lovers” (non-sadistic pedophiles) know full well what games they are playing, while their victims don’t. A child may say “yes”, even seek out sex with adults, but a child isn’t aware of the motives of their molester. They may even say “Oh, he isn’t a pedophile – he really loves me” only to find, when they outgrow the pedophile’s prefered age bracket, that they are dropped like a sack of hot potatoes. Men (and women) who molest children want to have sex with them for one of two reasons: they are sexually attracted to kids and/or children are easy targets because of their powerlessness and naivete. Once they lose their youthfulness, neediness, become empowered, the pedophile is not interested. He moves on to the next easy target to control. Also, once a child matures and hopefully recovers their Self, they no longer want to be involved with their molester. They realize that he used them, toyed with their emotions, lied to them, manipulated their sexuality to suit his. If the molester leaves before this happens, the child is let even more devasted than before he came on the scene. It’s like pulling a child away from a cliff only to shove them off it once you tire of them and seek greener pastures. When a child realizes their molester didn’t think they were special enough to respect, stick with, and help grow to adulthood without taking advantage of them can be the final nail in the coffin – possibly literally.

Notes: If a child does seek out sex with an adult, that is a sign of previous abuse.
I only refer to pedophiles as males or parenthically as females becasue women are only about 8% of pedophiles. I have used the gender neutral term “they”, “their”, etc. because about 70% of victims are girls, 30% boys.

Published in: on November 24, 2008 at 3:35 am  Leave a Comment  

Andrea Dworkin Presentation

Childhood
Andrea Dworkin was born in 1946 and grew up in Camden, New Jersey. Her parents, Sylvia Spiegel and Harry Dworkin, were of Jewish ancestry. Some of her family members had experienced the Holocaust. Her aunt survived it and told her about the rape and forced prostitution. She had a younger brother, Mark. Sylvia had heart disease and was often ill in the hospital, and as a result, Harry had to work two jobs. She didn’t get along with her mother because she was always rebellious, but loved her mother dearly – “[s]he was my first great romance.” She got along really well with her father because of his kindness. He was stigmatized because of his empathy, “called a sissy and a fairy by my buddies on the street who no doubt heard it from their parents.”
At the age of nine, she was raped by a stranger:

This breach of a child’s body does count. It does register. The boundary of the body itself is broken by force and intimidation, a chaotic but choreographed violence. The child is used intentionally and reduced to less than human by the predator’s intelligence as well as his behavior. The commitment of the child molester is absolute, and both his insistence and his victory communicate to the child his experience of her – a breachable, breakable thing any stranger can wipe his dick on. When it is family, of course, the invasion is more terrible, more intimate, escape more unlikely.

In junior high her best friend and she were lovers, but she left Andrea for a man. Andrea also had an “affair” with a teacher in high school. She would also prostitute herself (which was advised to her by her teacher). After graduating, she went to Bennington College.

Early Adulthood
In 1965, at the age of 18, she was arrested at an anti-Vietnam war protest and sent to the Women’s House of Detention in New York City, where she was brutalized by two male doctors with a steel speculum – they tore her vagina and sexually harassed her. She bled for weeks. She was kicked out by the two men she was living with, and turned to Grace Paley, who convinced her to come out with her story. She went to her family doctor. He cried, because he had never seen a vagina so ripped or a cervix so bruised. She was sexually harassed by men over the phone and in letters who found a bruised and bleeding vagina titillating – men who would say how they’d love to rub their penises against the bruises, do with their penises what the speculum had done, and the like. The media had a field day. To escape the publicity, she left for Greece. (The prison, which had a history of abusing women, a disproportionate number of them black, was exonerated. It was torn down in 1972.)
She has also been a battered wife. What she, and other battered women, went through defies our sense of logic, of safety, of sanity.

…I was hit, that I was kicked. I do not remember when or how often. It blurs. I remember him banging my head against the floor until I passed out. I remember being kicked in the stomach. I remember being hit over and over, the blows hitting different parts of my body as I tried to get away from him. I remember a terrible leg injury from a series of kicks. I remember crying and I remember screaming and I remember begging. I remember him punching me in the breasts.

It got to the point where she wanted to die, hoping the next beating would kill her. She left, but didn’t get far – she had no money, no permanent place to stay. He found her. He beat her. Finally, in fear of her life, she left the country toward the end of 1972, with the help of a drug dealer.

Woman Hating
After escaping her abusive husband, she turned to Ricki Abrams. Ricki introduced her to feminism. Andrea especially remembers the books Sexual Politics by Kate Millett, Sisterhood is Powerful edited by Robin Morgan, and The Dialectic of Sex by Shulamith Firestone. Together, she and Ricki planned to write a book about misogyny. In 1974, that book became Woman Hating, which Andrea Dworkin wrote herself. It was her second published work. (The first was Child, a book of poetry which was published in 1966 in Greece).
Soon before it was published, she met John Stoltenberg, who was to become her life-partner. They were first introduced at the Gay Academic Union, but met again when they both walked out of a benefit for the War Registers League because it became misogynist. He was one of the first to read Woman Hating because she gave him one of her first author’s copies:

…I read it immediately, enthralled and laughing out loud with joy. I especially remember where Andrea writes that “‘man’ and ‘woman’ are fictions, caricatures, cultural constructs” and that “we are…a multisexed species”…[T]hat liberating recognition saved my life…

In August of that same year, they moved in together, and are still together today.
In 1976, she published Our Blood, a collection of speeches. The year after, she made a speech in NYC at a panel on “Lesbianism as a Personal Politic” during Lesbian Pride Week. She received a lot of harassment from “200 sister lesbians, as angry as I have ever been” because she was apparently still sexually involved with men, who were the natural enemy to these women. In a piece inspired by the panel called “Biological Superiority: The World’s Most Dangerous and Deadly Idea”, she clearly repudiates the theory that men are biologically inferior to women and natural predators.

Pornography: Men Possessing Women
In 1978, she wrote First Love, an unpublished novel. In 1980, Andrea published the new womans broken heart, a collection of short stories. In 1981, Pornography: Men Possessing Women was published. She had already written and spoken out against pornography, but became more convinced that pornography contributed to women’s subordinate status in society as she did research for the book:

In writing my new book, I experienced the most intense isolation I have known as a writer. I lived in a world of pictures–women’s bodies displayed, women hunched and spread and hanged and pulled and tied and cut–and in a world of books–gang rape, pair rape, man on woman rape, lesbian rape, animal on woman rape, evisceration, torture, penetration, excrement, urine, and bad prose….
Under the best of circumstances, I do not have pleasant dreams. I work while I sleep. Life goes on, awake or asleep. I spent eight months studying the Marquis de Sade. I spent eight months dreaming Sadean dreams. Let the men joke: these were not “erotic” dreams; dreams of torture are dreams of hate, in this case the hate being used against female bodies, the instruments of hate (metal or flesh) being used to maim…
The photographs I had to study changed my whole relationship to the physical world in which I live. For me, a telephone became a dildo, the telephone wire an instrument of bondage; a hair dryer became a dildo–those hair dryers euphemistically named “pistols”, scissors were no longer associated with cutting paper but were poised at the vagina’s opening. I saw so many photographs of common household objects being used as sexual weapons against women that I despaired of ever returning to my once simple ideas of function. I developed a new visual vocabulary, one that few women have at all, one that male consumers of pornography carry with them all the time: any mundane object can be turned into an eroticized object–an object that can be used to hurt women in a sexual context with a sexual purpose and a sexual meaning…
…A doorway is a doorway. One walks through it. A doorway takes on a different significance when one sees woman after woman hanging from doorways. A lighting fixture is for light until one sees woman after woman hung from lighting fixtures. The commonplace world does not just become sinister; it becomes disgusting, repellent. Pliers are for loosening bolts until one sees them cutting into women’s breasts. Saran Wrap is for preserving food until one sees a person mummified in it.
Again, the nausea, the isolation, the despair. But also, increasingly, a rage that had nowhere to go…

That rage found somewhere to go.

The Minneapolis City Ordinance
In 1983, Andrea and Catherine MacKinnon, a feminist constitutional law lawyer/professor, created an ordinance that recognized the fact that women’s equality rights were encumbered by pornography. In the Ordinance, pornography is defined as the sexually graphic depiction of women in scenarios of pain, degradation, rape, dismemberment, bondage, and the like. It gives women the right to civilly sue pornographers and stop the sale of a specific piece of pornography because it was used in an assault against her (assault), she was forced into appearing in it (force), or it, as pornography, harms the equality rights of women (trafficking). A child, man, or transsexual can also sue. It was passed, but later struck down by Minneapolis’s mayor. Andrea and Kitty took it to the U.S. Supreme Court, where the court agreed that pornography caused the harms they said it did – encouraged the trivialization of women, sexual harassment, rape, lower work wages, etc. – but that only proved it being speech worthy of constitutional protection. The Ordinance has been passed and vetoed in various other cities. This lead to Andrea and Kitty writing a book together, Pornography and Civil Rights.

Israel
In 1983, she published Right-Wing Women, an analysis of women in the right. In 1986, Ice and Fire, a novel, was published. In 1987, she published Intercourse, a book that had her detractors thinking, “A-ha! This proves that the bitch is a man-hater who thinks all intercourse is rape,” disregarding the fact that she was analysing what others said of intercourse and incorporating her own experiences, not at any point saying what many interpret her to be saying. As she explains in the ’95 introduction to Intercourse:

…If one has eroticized a differential in power that allows for force as a natural and inevitable part of intercourse, how could one understand that this book does not say that all men are rapists or that all intercourse is rape? Equality in the realm of sex is an antisexual idea if sex requires dominance to register as sensation.

In 1988, she went to Israel, where she experienced the status of women there. There she met with women who told of having to stay in shelters for battered wives under lock and key to protect them from the husbands and partners that were refusing to let them go, marital rights, abortion rights, what one woman called the Holocaust pornography, etc. (READ QUOTE FROM LIFE AND DEATH)

Mark Dworkin
In 1990, Mercy, a novel, was published. In 1991, her mother died of heart disease, which she had had since childhood. On April 30, 1992, Andrea’s brother, Mark, died of cancer at the age of 42. He was living in Vienna with his wife of ten years, Eva Rastl. He and Eva had worked together as molecular biologists. At the time he became ill, they were doing research on the metabolism of cancer cells.

When my brother died, part of me died. This is not hyperbole or cliché. I could feel some of the light that is life going dead inside me and when he died, it went out. He was a gentle boy, the one life I knew from infancy. I had a utopian memory of loving him, a kind of ecstatic love for him that was nonverbal, inexplicable, untouched by growing older…
He was the kind child, the nurturer of my parents. As they grew older, he took care of them, with his company, his true concern. My mother died a year before Mark and I don’t believe he recovered from her death before his own. Like my father, like John [Stoltenberg], he was a good and giving man.

Andrea’s Rape
In 1993, Letters From a Warzone, a collection of speeches and essays was issued in the U.S. (It was originally published in 1988 in Britain.) In 1997, Life and Death: Unapologetic Writings on the Continuing War Against Women, another collection, was published.
In 1999, Andrea was probably raped. She doesn’t really know because she passed out, probably because her drink was drugged. When she woke up, her vagina ached and she found blood. She had gashes on her legs and was bruised on her breast. She showered (mistake). She couldn’t really remember what happened. She called John (her partner) and told him. He advised her to call her gynaecologist. She did, but her gynaecologist said that an internal exam wouldn’t find anything.

I started hating every day. I hated seeing the sun rise. I couldn’t put one foot in front of the other and I wanted to put a butcher’s knife into my heart behind my ribs. I was very lonely. I was consumed by grief and sorrow until I was lucky enough to become numb…My body was a curse and had betrayed me. I couldn’t figure out why they would want to do this and why they would want to do it to me.
I couldn’t be consoled. I couldn’t talk to anyone. How could I say the words to the people I loved, most of whom work precisely to stop violence against women: this is what he, someone or they, did to me. Yeah, I know I represent something to you, but really I’m a piece of crap because I just got raped. No, no, you’re not a piece of crap when you get raped, but I am. John looked for any other explanation than rape. He abandoned me emotionally. Now a year has passed and sometimes he’s with me in his heart and sometimes not.

‘Till Now
On December 4 1999, Andrea’s father died at the age of 84. A couple of weeks later, Andrea was hospitalized for bronchitis, pneumonia, cellulitis (an infection of the soft tissues in the legs – lethal if not treated with antibiotics) and blood clots. She was there for a month, and her leg atrophied, but she walks fine now. She has also had two other books published, Scapegoat, about how women and Jews have been used as scapegoats, and Heartbreak, a memoir.

Some Fave Dworkin Quotes
Men who want to support women in our struggle for freedom and justice should understand that it is not terrifically important to us that they learn to cry; it is important to us that they stop the crimes of violence against us.

A child can’t commit suicide. You have to murder a child. I couldn’t watch the children killed; I couldn’t watch the women taken one last time; throats bared; heads thrown back, or pushed back, or pulled back; a man gets on top, who knows what happens next, any time can be the last time, slow murder or fast, slow rape or fast, eventual death, a surprise or you are waiting with a welcome, an open invitation; rape leading, inexorably, to death; on a bare rock, invasion, blood, and death. Massada; hear my heart beat; hear me; the women and children were murdered.

Writing is alchemy. Dross becomes gold. Experience is transformed. Pain is changed. Suffering may become song. The ordinary or horrible is pushed by the will of the writer into grace or redemption, a prophetic wail, a screed for justice, an elegy of sadness or sorrow. It is the lone and lonesome human voice, naked, raw, crying out, but hidden too, muted, twisted and turned, knotted or fractured, by the writer’s love of form, or formal beauty: the aesthetic dimension, which is not necessarily familiar or friendly. Nor does form necessarily tame or simplify experience. There is always a tension between experience and the thing that finally carries it forward, bears its weight, holds it in. Without that tension, one might as well write a shopping list.

On the streets there were women who were both strong and fragile at the same time: immensely strong to bear the continuing sexual invasion, consistent brutality, and just plain bad weather (no joke); immensely strong to accept responsibility as the prostituting persona–I want this, I do this, I am this, ain’t nothin’ hurts me; and much too fragile to face either the cost of prostituting or its etiology. The cost was physical disintegration and mental splitting apart. The cost was getting dirtier and lonelier and anesthetizing pain with more and meaner drugs. The cost was accepting the physical violence of the johns, moving through it as if it didn’t matter or hadn’t happened, never facing that one had been hurt, then hurt again, nor asking why. Some girls were straight-out battered and forced. But even without a violent man in sight, the etiology always had to do with sexual abuse, in the present or in the past; also with homelessness and poverty; with the willingness of men to use any girl for small change; with abandonment–the personal abandonment of family, the social abandonment choreographed by the users. It may be harder to face abandonment than to endure exploitation…

In a system valuing men over women, girls with piss and vinegar carried a heavier burden than girls brimming over with sugar and spice; the stronger were punished more, and still are.

Any man who has enough money to spend degrading a woman’s life in prostitution has too much money. He does not need what he’s got in his pocket. But there is a woman who does.

The heavier the pressure toward conformity–no matter how lofty the proposed final goal– the more one must be suspicious of it and antagonistic to it. History has one consistent lesson in it: one by one, people give up what they know to be right and true for the sake of something loftier that they do not quite understand but should want in order to be good; soon, people are the tools of despots and atrocities are committed on a grand scale. And then it is too late. There is no going back.

We need to end rape. We need to end incest. We need to end battery. We need to end prostitution and we need to end pornography. That means that we need to refuse to accept that these are natural phenomena that just happen because some guy is having a bad day.

The fact of the matter is that if the First Amendment does not work for women, it does not work. With that premise as principle, perhaps the good lawyers might voluntarily put away the dirty pictures and figure out a way to make freedom of speech the reality for women that it already is for the literary and visual pimps. Yes, they might, they could; but they will not. They have their priorities set. They know who counts and who does not. They know, too, what attracts and what really offends.

The homophobe’s citing of actual or potential or projected or feared sexual abuse of boys in particular also functions to sustain male supremacy by obscuring this crucial fact: male sexual aggression is the unifying thematic and behavioral reality of male sexuality; it does not distinguish homosexual men from heterosexual men or heterosexual men from homosexual men. An absence or repudiation of this aggression, which is exceptional and which does exist in an eccentric and minuscule minority composed of both homosexual and heterosexual men, distinguishes some men from most men…

When I was 11, my mother told me that when I played games with boys, I must let them win. But I soon discovered that it’s pretty hard to keep losing at checkers. You really have to apply yourself to lose and I just wasn’t good at losing.

It’s absurd to say that I hate men or that women in general should hate men. After all, we give birth to male babies. We cannot pretend that men don’t exist, but it does seem reasonable to expect that we should not have to live in fear of them.

Statistics
-42% of girls have had sexual rumours spread about them. (US)
-29% of ever-married women have been physically abused by a partner.
-In the U.S., every twelve seconds a woman is beaten. Every hour 78 women are raped.
-In a survey of college-aged men, 91.3% like to dominate women, 86.1% “enjoy the conquest part of sex”, 83.5% think some women look like they want to be raped, and 61.7% say it would be exciting to use force to subdue a woman. (US)
-Approximately 1 in 8 of women will be raped at some time in their lives.
-The false reporting rate of rape is only about 2%, the same for any other crime.
-About 75% of prostitutes have been sexually abused as children.
-In Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, 98% of the prostitutes have had a “bad date” (abusive customer).
-16% of men have used a prostitute.
-Between 1991 and 1994, 70% of murdered women were killed by their male partner.
-53.5% of girls and 30.6% of boys under 21 have had a sexual offence committed against them. Almost half of child sexual assaults are committed by relatives.
-Fathers are the perpetrators of 59% of physical abuse of children and 99% of parent-child incest.

My first post!

…Is also a reposting of my first lj post 😀 I think the only thing that has changed is that I now call “sadofascism” sadopatriarchy.

Pornography: Liberation or Oppression?

Whenever one discusses pornography, the meaning of the very word is often skewered into something miles from the true meaning of the word. Often the word is contorted into meaning sexual imagery, conjuring up images of people engaged in sexual activity, or even nudity, creating the image of an airbrushed, smiling Playboy Playmate. It’s even been defined as dirty words.
Regardless of all the verbal subterfuge, the word pornography has its roots in ancient Greece, where another of the words we hold near and dear to us comes from, democracy. Of course, being a patriarchal society, women, children, and slaves—or the vast majority of the population—had no part in this governmental system/tyranny, which many educated people are aware of. What, however, seems to draw shock and guffaws by many is that this status quo applied to sex. Women, children, and slaves—all considered deficient, inferior, and sexually desirable simultaneously by adult, free men—absorbed the sexual aggression of these men. Prostitutes were used the most. Two polar classes of prostitute existed, the courtesan—the only educated woman, the only woman allowed outside the home—and the slave-whore, the porne. Pornography is derived from the words porne, sexual slaves and graphos, (to depict in) a writing, etching, or drawing. Cameras and videos had yet to be invented, so no actual raw materials (women, children, and other slaves) had to be used. Even taking that fact aside, the pornography of the ancient Greeks had a particularly nasty character, featuring, for example, the widespread, heavily institutionalized sexual abuse of preteen boys, the gang rape of prostitutes at symposiums, and the rapes, beatings, and murders of women for fun. However, this pornography is by no means unique.
Take, for example, the work and life (they were inextricably entwined) of the Marquis de Sade, who kidnapped, tortured, raped, and murdered people, mainly female prostitutes and servants of both sexes, and wrote about it in novels back in the 1700s. He is often called a hero, a sexual liberator, or a victim of a repressive society who has a stick up its butt about sexuality. He even had Simone de Beauvoir, a feminist, apologizing for and minimizing his ugly life and work.1
Another prime example of the lionizing of sexual predators/pornographers is Larry Flynt, the founder of Hustler. In the 1998 film The People vs. Larry Flynt, Flynt is portrayed as a loving family man, devoted to his wife. In reality he sexually molested his daughters and had four wives, whom he simply abandoned and left in poverty. Also, the movie grossly distorts the pornography in Hustler. According to the movie, his “porn mag” contained non-violent, nude photos of women. However, in reality it contained “pseudo-child porn” (images of women made to look like prepubescent girls and the cartoon series entitled “Chester the Molester”), photos of Asian women bound and gagged, hanging from trees, the cover photo of a woman being fed through a meat grinder, bestiality, homophobia, and anti-Semitism.2
A third example of a pornographer, turned hero is Hugh Hefner, founder of Playboy, and the ensuing “empire”. From its conception in 1953, it has been viciously misogynist, warning histerically3 against the evil, gold-digging woman who would have the gall to request alimony and child support. Then, in the 60s, they began their feminist-bashing: “These chicks are our natural enemy,” wrote Hefner, “It is time we do battle with them…What I want is a devastating piece that takes the militant feminists apart. They are unalterably opposed to the romantic boy-girl society that Playboy promotes…Let’s go to it and make it a real winner.”4 In their nude spreads, women who aren’t celebrities are often just identified by their first name, reminiscent of the ancient Greek tradition of prostitutes only having a nickname based on bodily attributes. Playboy even publishes articles by pedophiles minimizing the trauma of child pornography and sexual abuse. Numerous articles and letters have bemoaned the “invention” of the “date rape myth.”
However, a common belief is that sexual imagery is a form of liberation. According to these sex-at-any-cost proponents, pornography is merely entertainment. But, entertainment for whom? For the woman inserting a 2-litre pop bottle into her vagina? For the woman being forced to say she likes being tied up, dominated, and slapped during sex? For the child being forced to fellate an adult man? For the man in chains, a dog collar around his neck, with another man holding the leash? For the women being called hos, portrayed as so indiscriminate in their choice of sexual partners that they’ll spread their legs for horses?5 It’s not incredibly difficult to figure out who it is entertainment for—men.
Another pro-pornography argument is that it is liberation. Bondage, maiming, sexual mutilation, rape, sex-murder, and so forth are not practices that free people. The chains, whips, and ropes African slaves were tortured with into submission did not liberate them, they enslaved them. The torture practices employed by the Nazi guards and doctors did not free the concentration and death camp inmates, they killed them, tormented them beyond reason, beyond belief. No one says that, except pro-pornographers and sadofascists.6 According to them, the mostly female Blacks and Jews are so voracious for slavery and torture, they will beg white/Aryan men to hurt them, to give them what they deserve, to give them what will cause orgasm. Generally, this type of racist-cum-misogynist pornographic hate propaganda does not hold any credibility, but your apple pie, mainstream variety of porn does.
Why is this? Why when women are harmed because they are women, is nothing wrong seen? Material glorifying the torture of racial and religious minorities are seen for the vicious lies they promote, but mainstream pornography is seen as just sex. All the impersonal sexual activities is seen by Left-wingers as good sex. The Right, of course, is against this on the “principle” that it’s a “sin.” The sin being, of course, non-marital intercourse.7 Right-wingers, strong believers in the validity of the virgin/whore dichotomy, are generally oblivious to the fact that the women in pornography (and any other sex-trade “profession”) are not evil harlots who snub their noses at all that is good and holy. Many of the women in pornography are poor, even homeless. Many have no post-secondary education, some haven’t even graduated high school, a large number are illiterate. But these aren’t stupid women. Sex-trade “work” is one of two jobs where the women make more than men. (The other is modeling.) It takes strength and life-intelligence (not academic-intelligence, though one can find both in one person) to make a living off this work, which few manage to do. It does pay far better than a lowly paid job, but the women’s careers are short lived. Generally, the “performer’s” career in this “business” lasts from their late teens to mid-twenties.
The Left, of course, makes it their goal to find the token women who make a living off “performing” in pornography and exercised some degree of choice in their becoming a masturbatory aid for men. Some, such as Nina Hartley, even call themselves feminists. This has some degree of validity. They have become criticizers of the pornography industry and seek reforms, as opposed to the radical/sex-critical feminist desire to destroy the industry. Whereas liberal or moderate feminists will seek some changes, radical/sex-critical feminists say to hell with the whole institution of male-supremacy (which pornography is a distillation of). With pro-sex feminists, anything goes as long as someone “desires” it.
When men consume pornography, they don’t look at the women in it and think/say anything that recognizes her humanity. One cannot look at pornography with the mindset that it’s speech or says something true about women or any of the other male-centred, sexist arguments for pornography and see someone as human and worthy of rights as oneself. What the consumers are seeing and thinking of is contempt for women.

Endnotes
1 Beauvoir is now deceased. She had written the influential, seminal, “second-wave” feminist book The Second Sex, originally published in 1954. For a short biography of de Sade, examples of his work, and critical acclaim see Andrea Dworkin, Pornography: Men Possessing Women, Chapter 3: The Marquis de Sade.
2 The film was directed by Milos Forman and produced by Oliver Stone, who are quite buddy-buddy with Flynt. See Diana Russell, “The People vs. Larry Flynt: A Feminist Critique and Protest.” at http://www.nostatusquo.com/ACLU/Porn/rusflynt.html.
3 My own spelling of the misogynist “hysteria,” meaning “suffering of the womb”.
4 This was part of a memo leaked by secretaries for Playboy.
5 These are all actual examples of pornography on the internet.
6 Term coined by Nikki Craft as a more accurate word for sadomasochism.
7 The Right believes the only “sinful” vaginal intercourse to be non-marital. Homosexual sex, oral sex, masturbation, and other sexual activities where reproduction doesn’t have a chance to rear its head are opposed, ipso facto, especially by extreme Rightists.

Published in: on November 19, 2008 at 9:57 am  Comments (4)  
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