Learning Feminism

June 10, 2009

Talking to sex pozzies

Filed under: Uncategorized — Joce Claire @ 11:41 pm
Tags: , , ,

I’m found that some radical feminist positions are really obvious if you think about them, but few women ever get exposed to them. I was fully in the liberal, sex-poz camp before a game of link leapfrog introduced me to radfem writings online. I think a lot of liberal feminists could be converted to radical ideas if they were exposed to them.

I’m now working on converting some of my friends. “Susie,” a friend since childhood, is engaged to a man and very much a liberal/sex-poz feminist. She’s also always had an aversion to pornography that she couldn’t pin down. 

This is a conversation we had online today.

Susie: hey, help me out. i’m talking to my fiancé about porn and i can’t articulate my issues.

Me: well it’s very male centric, and almost all the acts in it are solely for male pleasure

Susie: my fiancé says, “I would say women are probably less exploited in the field of high-production value pornography than they are in most others. Most fields of employment discriminate against women, but porn discriminates for them. Female porno actors make many times more money than their male counterparts.”

I told him, “yeah but i can’t see how it wouldn’t fuck with your head or why you’d get into it as a woman if you weren’t fucked up. i know that there are some who do and are just fine, but i think the chances are extremely high that any particular woman in a porno has serious issues”

the fiancé says, “Which part is the fucked up part, the part where you think sex is fun, the part where you make tons of money, or the part where you get to be a star?”

I said, “the part where you think your body is the only thing you’ve got going for you”

The fiancé says, “Who said they do? You’re projecting an awful lot. Does a basketball player think the same way? Or a construction worker? You can undertake a physical profession without thinking of yourself as less than human.”

Me: but money is a form of coercion

in psychology ethics, you’re not allowed to pay someone enough to make them do something they wouldn’t want to do otherwise

and what makes him think it’s fun for the women? i never see/hear them make any actual enjoyment noises, just really really fake ones

having a dick shoved up your ass and then having to suck on it is degrading!

they don’t even do that in gay porn (i’ve actually researched this), but it’s really common in straight porn

Susie: huh, interesting

Me: it’s like suicide food, have you heard of that?

Susie: no

Me: like the BBQ franchises with a smiling pig mascot, like, “Oh boy, i can’t wait to be eaten!”

so they make this whole thing in porn of women smiling as they’re choking on a huge cock

or making all these really fake enjoyment noises

to lessen men’s guilt about them being exploited, but that doesn’t mean they enjoy it 1

also women in porn don’t seem to get hardly any foreplay, which is necessary for sex to be unpainful

the fact that we can pay people to pretend to enjoy something means nothing

and honestly, i think porn/prostitution only seems “empowering” to women who’ve had a lot of unwanted sex in the past and feel like at least if they’re getting paid they get something

and not necessarily unwanted sex as in rape, but as in feeling obligated or pressured or like they can’t say no

Susie: you make very good points

i can’t google it from work, but i know there have been studies done about the percentage of women in the sex entertainment industry who have been sexually abused, and it’s high.

Me: yep. 60-80% according to various studies 2

oh, that’s just childhood sexual abuse, so probably more who have been raped as adults

and lots more who have been pressured or coerced into unwanted sex, which is practically all women

Susie: yeah, it’s obscene. i don’t see how that could be arousing

“gosh, i hope this hot chick is one of the 20% who are okay!”

Me: watching women reenact their own childhood rapes isn’t arousing to you?

Susie: wow, goddamn, well said


I think a lot more women would be open to radical feminist ideas if we gave them a little more credit and kind of “eased” them into it. And I think a big part of Women’s Liberation is reaching out to other women and educating them. The first liberation has to happen within women’s heads, right?



  1. The first liberation has to happen within women’s heads, right?

    YES! Yes! YES!! One head at a time! Keep talking, sister!

    You might also direct your friend to Nine Duece’s Porn series, which I just read yesterday. It’s an awesome analysis of the inherent DISCONNECT between personhood and physical pleasure that the USE of porn inevitably creates. People can argue all the live-long day about the “consent” and “agency” exercised by the willing participation of sex workers. At least in your friend’s case, though, it might more persuasive (to her fiance) if she addresses the immediate emotional results of his USE of porn—rather than discussing the creation of porn and whether the “actors” are actually enjoying themselves or not, you know?

    Comment by undercover punk — June 11, 2009 @ 9:13 am | Reply

  2. See, I agree that you have to ease women into it and all, but I stop pouring my energy into women who take my words and use them to try to get their boyfriends and husbands on the bandwagon. That’s a complete waste of time. I mean, I can’t help what some eavesdropping bystander takes from my writing/speaking in order to help her man, but in real-life face-to-face situations, I shut up like a clam in front of women who think they can give my words to some man to any good end.

    Comment by Margaret — June 11, 2009 @ 11:20 am | Reply

    • You make a good point, Margaret. Men are so used to being “right,” to believing (and being told) that they’re intellectually superior to us emotional womenz, that it’s nigh-near impossible to talk to them. Especially when they don’t want to hear what you’re saying. Even when they pretend to be listening (as I believe you said just yesterday to womanvsfeminist) , they’re really just waiting for you to shut up so they can contradict whatever you’ve said with their “free-speech” wisdom. For example, when it comes to their beloved PORN. They’re gonna do what they wanna do anyways—they’re “entitled” to it, you know!
      I have never ONCE had a man come up to me and say: “you know that feminist talk you were spewing last week (or yesterday or whatever), well I was thinking about it and you’re right–thanks for enlightening me! No, that has NEVER happened.

      Comment by undercover punk — June 11, 2009 @ 11:32 am | Reply

    • Oh, true, I don’t expect her to change the fiancé’s mind, I just want to get her thinking more about some of these issues. You have to start somewhere.

      Comment by Joce Claire — June 11, 2009 @ 2:41 pm | Reply

  3. Heh, speaking of their pwecious freedom of speech, a while back (yeah, this far back) when I still reading feministing both me and my older brother were at home for a break. I was on the comp and he walked in and started asking me questions about my blog. I mentioned that I moderated comments and the first thing, I MEAN THE FIRST THING! that came out of his little white boy mouth was “But that’s a violation of free speech.” I then mentioned to him about the whole Kathy Sierra thing, and just that weekend feministing had been manually DDOSD *is that what it’s called?*. He blew me off and left muttering about the g.d. constitution. Of course, my mother is exactly like that, but I just couldn’t believe how predictable he was.

    Comment by atheistwoman — June 11, 2009 @ 11:53 am | Reply

    • Oh, right, because an amendment saying the government can’t restrict freedom of speech obviously applies to personal blogs.

      Comment by Joce Claire — June 11, 2009 @ 2:42 pm | Reply

      • OMG, intuitive lawyering! Joce Claire, you’re a genius! 🙂 People who get all riled up about the constitution, but who have NO idea what they’re talking about, get me so HEATED.

        Comment by undercover punk — June 11, 2009 @ 3:12 pm | Reply

      • Well it is the law.

        Comment by Joce Claire — June 11, 2009 @ 8:01 pm | Reply

  4. And I’m not so sure women are that reachable. As soon as you mention that it might not be the best thing for Susie to have her asshole man around in the first place…

    Comment by atheistwoman — June 11, 2009 @ 11:56 am | Reply

    • I agree. I takes a special kind of stupid to compare porn actresses to baseball players and construction workers: the first one is first and foremost valued for her looks (Don’t try to tell me a woman who could do all kinds of sex acts without complaining but is considered ugly would get a job in the porn business) and the latter two are valued for the strength their bodies have. Plus, he was condescending and belittling, at once accusing her of projection without being able to uphold a solid counter-argument. And obviously naive and/or willfully ignorant because he seems to think/implies that being in the porn business will automatically lead to stardom for the women when in reality only a select view are widely known (Jenna Jameson, anyone?) while the rest have relatively short careers. Futhermore, the money women in porn earn is directly proportional to how extreme a sex act becomes so if you only want to do PIV you don’t get that much money, not to mention that your fame will only substantially grow if you are willing to perform in ever more extreme acts (You get more money for having a cock in your mouth, vagina and anus than for having a cock just in your anus)- thereby practically forcing women to escalate the sex to more and more extreme acts so that their reputation increases.

      In short, he’s logically challenged and not a deep thinker- I suppose, he doesn’t want to think any further because it would shatter his conception of what he perceives reality to be. Not the type of man for what I perceive is a much smarter woman. I’d wager that many women in the porn business have a much more realistic outlook on the work they do than this guy.

      Comment by kurukurushoujo — June 12, 2009 @ 4:19 am | Reply

      • Furthermore, the money women in porn earn is directly proportional to how extreme a sex act becomes

        Plus, to stay in porn, women often have to agree to more extreme acts because the women themselves have less marketability when they are no longer new. Can’t really say that about professional athletes and construction workers, who are remarkable for what they can do as opposed to what is done to them.

        Also, while analyzing the “supply” side of pornography says a lot about how we value women and about the effects of violence against women and women’s continuing social and economic inequality, the “demand” side is often ignored. We have to question why men feel entitled to sex and to women’s bodies (that “Would You Date a Guy Who Admitted to Paying for Sex?” article under related links is rife with that assumption). The focus should not be on whether a woman gets paid or how much she gets paid but on why. We need to ask what men get in this exchange and not be willing to accept “the obvious” when men want to claim that they are “simple” creatures in a complex society. That’s not good enough. Human beings are social creatures with lots of social programming, and sex is an inherently social act that is subject to that programming.

        Comment by Caelum — June 12, 2009 @ 5:26 pm | Reply

        • Right, the whole stereotype of the simple caveman who just wants sex, sports, and beer. Or whatever. There’s definitely a meme that men are simple and logical and women are just so damn complicated and unpredictable.

          An ex-boyfriend of mine was totally pornified, and he would walk down the street looking at women and imagining them doing porn things to him. He was also known to grope women when drunk and to “seduce” them into unwanted sex. Porn definitely helps perpetuate the attitude that women’s bodies exist for men’s pleasure. But that attitude is why we have porn … I’m sure it doesn’t help that we get the same attitude in advertisements and the media, but many boys discover porn at a fairly young age (around puberty), and I’m sure with the internet it’s only going to get easier for them to find it. I do really worry about kids today growing up with unsupervised, unrestricted internet access, even though doing so makes me sound old or like a Republican or something.

          Comment by Joce Claire — June 12, 2009 @ 6:43 pm

        • Oh wow, that article is terrible. “I think I’d rather know that my partner paid for casual sex with a professional who fully understood the nature of the situation than find out he’d manipulated some unwitting girl’s emotions just to fulfill his sexual urges.” Great logic there, right? If X is worse than Y, Y must be A-OK.

          Comment by Joce Claire — June 12, 2009 @ 8:21 pm

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