The Lady Garden

Tea and Strumpets

Boo, you whore

OK. Let’s just get the irony of someone complaining that women liking porn turns men into rapists calling said women “whores” out of the way, shall we? HAH! Don’t like violence against women? How about you don’t commit it yourself.

Want to know what I’m talking about? Well. Let me take you on a little journey. But first, a warning. A number of us here at TLG are short of spoons this week. And patience. A number of the things discussed in this post might be triggering. I’m not going to put up with any bullshit in the comments, and that includes rape-apologism, concern trolling, and flat out misogyny. Per the comments policy, don’t be a dick.

So. Here we go. On Saturday, someone tweeted the Garden Ladies to warn us about this article. Rightly. I read the headline, thought, yeah, nah, I’m not reading that. Emma did, and pronounced it bollocks. So did FOTLG Constance. And that’s where all this gets interesting. Constance posted her column on the WYFC Facebook page. To be met with this comment.

Are you fucking serious. If these are the thoughts of the “feminist collective” (what a joke) I am unfollowing you guys right now. Constance i am lost for words. You enjoy your rapey, choking sex, and while you’re at it try to spare a thought for the millions of women (and children) around the world who have actually been raped or choked to death by a man who wouldn’t take no for an answer, because of whores like you make them think its acceptable, fun and sexually stimulating. But, you know, as long as YOU get off, that’s all that matters right? Because the world revolves around your vagina, you selfish bitch.

Well, you know what, love? The world actually does revolve around my vagina. (Though, I’m not Constance.) It’s awesome. There’s entire solar systems in there, also, unicorns and glitter. It’s fucking magic.

And one of the things about my vagina? I only allow the people into it that I want. Anyone touching it, or any other part of me, without my permission, that’s assault. My partner hurting me because I ask him to? That’s not. So when you say

How do we hold the power? A few years ago, men were lucky if they were getting any and there was no judgement about the way your vagina looked, they just thanked their lucky stars to be in your pants in the first place. THAT was when we held the power.

Actually, I hold the power because I know what I want and I ask for it. Also, because I know the difference between fantasy and reality. I know that people watch porn for various reasons, and few of those reasons are as a guidebook for How To Do It. I’ve been assaulted, and I’ve been hurt in the context of consensual sex, and I know what the difference is. One is about someone doing something to me I want, one is about someone doing something to me I don’t want. It’s that simple. And porn isn’t the thing that blurs that line. It’s people like you who do that. Because you’re telling women it’s not OK to ask for what gets them off. It’s not OK to like what you like. What you like is getting other women raped. No. I’ve said this so many time. On the internet. On TV, and in my life. The only thing that causes rape is rapists.

I am not going to link to the studies, because a) not a 101 blog, and b) Emma is significantly more knowledgable about this stuff than me. But porn doesn’t cause violence against women.

Futhermore, when you say this:

Rapists come from all demographics. The one thing they have in common is they don’t respect women. They treat women like objects. Pornography does not portray the act of sex as a loving consentual act between a man and a woman. It most often portrays sex as an act done to a woman by a man, or several woman at once, or an act done by two or more men to a woman, or encourages violence against women. I think women who participate in pornography, and those who condone it are disrespecting themselves.

Actually, you are the one being disrespectful to those women. You’re assuming they are not there consensually, of their own free will. You’re assuming they don’t know better. You’re assuming they don’t like it. Well, frankly, fuck you. You don’t know their lives. I’m not going to say every woman in pron or sex work is there consensually, but a good number are. Oh, and when you say porn portrays sex as something done by a man to a woman (Hi! someone remind the gays they don’t get porn. Ahem), actually, again, that’s you doing it. Because that other quote up there, when you talked about our “power? That was you saying that women’s sexuality is something that is to be taken away from us, something we give to men. That’s you giving all the power to men. When frankly, that’s bullshit.

Men are never going to put a stop to it, they are sitting back with dicks in hand while women are handed to them on a silver platter – brothels, strip clubs, internet porn. Where are the men parading for us? It’s up to women to stand together and say enough is enough. Sadly that is never going to happen.

Yeah. Again, um, bullshit. Emma and I walked with two people on slutwalk. They were both men. But no, you assume that men are all drooling rapey monsters, and it’s just the porn that makes them cross the line. I assume you’re also against women wearing short skirts, because presumably all those men can’t cope with that, either. Nah. Most of the men I know can tell the difference between fantasy and reality. Also, as you were told over on Facebook, and we’ve written about here, one of the great things about BDSM sex is that the people involved (sensibly) in it are really good about negotiating boundaries, having safe words. And I would never let someone I haven’t had that conversation with tie me up and hurt me.

So, this morning, you asked why is it OK to simulate rape? Because, between two (or more) consenting adults, everything is OK. Because “consensual rape” is an oxymoron. Because what I do in my bedroom (and my living room, and my backyard) is none of your fucking business.

I see this woman is now off to find some “actual feminists”. Cool. Those ones who love to judge other women for what they do, who assume all men are evil, and who think it is completely OK to call other women whores and bitches. They’ll embrace her.

13 responses to “Boo, you whore

  1. Constance Cravings November 23, 2011 at 10:54 am

    I’m really happy you have a new “Oh just fuck off” tag now. I just cannot believe that the difference between consensual acts and “rapey” sex is lost on her. Her discussions around how women allowing men to pursue their deviant fantasies will lead to those men raping is so disgusting – the Emma Agnew example was horrendous. Someone who is unwell, bullies women into doing things they don’t want, and then goes on to rape is NOT someone who enjoys engaging in consensual BDSM.

    The hilarious thing is I think she assumed we all have no problems with the porn industry. I have huge problems with the industry, but very rarely are they around content. I learnt a long time ago (and I’m only 25 so FUCK the idea that this is difficult, advanced shit to grasp) that condemning someone’s consensual sexual preferences just because I personally can’t understand the appeal is further alienating people who have already been told by society that they’re disgusting and wrong for liking what they like.

    My issues with porn are things like working conditions, the saturation of acts which normalise some sexual preferences over others, the saturation of body types which normalise some bodies over others, the idea that women are doing stuff they don’t want to be doing in ANY job, the fact that women’s pleasure is still seen as an afterthought in most mainstream porn, and the fact that porn producers still see women as a risky audience to target their films to compared to the faithful legions of men so porn for women is seen as a niche. Basically it’s all about equity – more porn relevant to more people, to normalise the amazing array of sexualities, bodies and fun you can have with consensual sex.

    I refuse to feel that pornography is inherently bad, it’s been around since humans figured out how to draw, it pulls on our imagination and our love of pleasure (however that might be derived) and as long as it’s between consenting adults my issue is not with the content, but with making that content more representative. I actively support producers and companies whose ethics and priorities align with my own – for instance kink.com who have a commitment to demystifying alternative sexual preferences, promoting bodies of colour, queer sexualities and fostering a community of people who have had their preferences judged and erased by society for long enough. Do I get off on everything they do? Fuck no. Are their still problems in their company? Yes. But are they trying really hard? Yes. Read this response from their head honcho when he got called out on heteronormativity: http://www.jezebel.com/5733838/pornographer-never-meant-to-offend-with-hymen-cam

    I will never cease to be amazed that someone promoting the rights of women can make so many women (as evidenced on the WYFC thread) feel like pieces of shit because they like things this woman has decided directly correlates to men raping. It’s pretty fucked to be told that the stuff you want is selfish, called a bitch and a whore, and have some stranger tell me the stuff I have done with men who I cared about and who cared about me is hurting people across the world.

    • tallulahspankhead November 23, 2011 at 11:03 am

      Yeah, I think that was my main problem – in the act of “representing” “victims”, she’s negating the choices of a whole bunch of other women. And in the process, calling them whores.

      And yeah, I was really offended by the Emma Agnew example.

      • Emma November 23, 2011 at 11:31 am

        Um. yeah. That’s actually where I lost my rag. We knew her, we knew her family. How fucking dare that woman use her murder to score points, and then blame it, not on her killer, but on his girlfriend!

        So, I ran her through Talking About Talking About Pornography. She broke rules 2, 3, 7, 9 and 11. She is, yet again, someone perfectly happy to talk at length about something she’s completely ignorant of.

        Still, it’s nice to have this argument, this kind of person, demonstrated so clearly for the next time someone claims they don’t exist.

        • tallulahspankhead November 23, 2011 at 11:37 am

          You know, when I read it in depth this morning, that’s exactly what I thought. Next time someone wants to negate us being called whores on the internet, well, I can just link them straight to that thread.

  2. LadyNews November 23, 2011 at 11:53 am

    I admit to getting sucked into commenting when I knew it would make me very annoyed and angry. But I, like you Tallulah (and Constance, and the others defending people’s personal sexual choices) have no tolerance of people who aggressively (and usually ignorantly) denounce what other people do in their own private sexual lives. I feel like I (we) get enough of that from regular society, and for me feminism should be a place where we can step away from all that shitting judgement and shaming. And I hate when people misrepresent what seems “obvious” (to them) as actual fact; e.g. I can see why someone who is uninformed might put forward the idea that watching certain types of porn might bleed over into real life actions, but to represent that as actual fact rather than subjective opinion made me very angry, because I would really want some actual evidence to back up such a bold claim before I could take it seriously (and, as far as I know, there isn’t support for the claim that rapists are raping because they’ve escalated from consensual rough sex). AND, I loathe when people pull the “real feminist” card, because that kind of thing is used shut people up all the time, and it’s shitty and cheap, and buys into the simplistic logic of “well I’m a feminist and I hate X, so those feminists who don’t think the same way I do must not be real feminists because obviously I know I am a real feminist”.

    (P.S. Love the Mean Girls ref in the title!)

  3. Mozsplainer November 23, 2011 at 1:21 pm

    watching certain types of porn might bleed over into real life actions

    But it does. I watch porn, sometime I see something I haven’t done/ had done to me/ whatever, and it looks fun, so I want to try it. Sometimes I even try to persuade my partner-of-the-moment to try it too. I suspect the original author is the same. If that happens to her with nice porn (a fairy story about princesses, say), then obviously if she watches freaky porn she might want to do some of that too. And lesser people, without her awesome powers of self-control and self-awareness, if exposed to freaky porn, will just start doing what they see on the screen. People like, say, men. Helpless animals that they are, in thrall to their baser impulses. Men. Like me.

    Obviously this means that if I see a snuff movie I will become obsessed with necrophilia and go on a killing-raping rampage. It’s just logical. Monkey see, monkey do. I mean, you should have seen me after I watched Shrek, in a matter of weeks our whole house was so filled with Shrek merchandise that we had to move. It’s simple cause and effect.

    And you wonder why us men had to invent mainsplaining, it’s because some feminists are so slow on the uptake. Did I say men? I meant “superior feminists”. Hmm. What is it when a true feminist mansplains something to lessor feminists – truesplaining?

  4. Max Rose November 23, 2011 at 1:42 pm

    It’s hard to know start with this, but I guess all I can do is add my perspective as one of the many types of people slandered in those comments. As a man who has long enjoyed porn of many types, and who is increasingly including a range of BDSM practices into my fantasies, porn choices and real sex life, I’m supposedly not only exploiting and degrading women and contributing to wider rape culture, but at the risk of reaching “the point where “fantasy” [isn’t] enough to get [me] off anymore” and becoming a rapist. To which I would politely respond: bollocks.

    I used to worry when I was aroused by anything showing female submission, partly because I assumed that the female performers were being exploited and partly because I don’t expect or want women to be submissive in everyday life. But over the last couple of years, partly through reading (Clarisse Thorn, some of the Lady Gardeners themselves) but also through talking to and enjoying real-life encounters with a few pro-sex feminist women who enjoy BDSM, I’ve come to not only get past my ambivalence but to enjoy it for its own sake.

    For a while I suppose I did deserve the label “service top”, because I was mostly doing it at the request of my lovers. But now I’m starting to appreciate the imaginative variety that the multiple dimensions of BDSM can bring to sex, and have experienced the intense openness, trust and intimacy that are not only prerequisites for such play but can for some people be reached more directly and intensely than without it. I don’t think that being a Dom in the bedroom has suddenly made me support patriarchy and rape culture, or that it would encourage me to push a vanilla partner beyond her comfornt zone. And it sure as hell doesn’t make me a rapist.

    The commenter says that “if a guy wants to have rape fantasy sex with you he doens’t respect you”, but that can only be true in one situation: if he is the one pursuing that fantasy, and does so beyond the desires of the woman. But if it is participating in a consensual sexual act that is desired by both parties, then how the hell is that disrespectful? In fact, what could be more respectful than understanding and celebrating the diversity of human sexuality and helping someone you care for to fulfil their desires?

    • Emma November 23, 2011 at 2:15 pm

      Yeah, this is the same as my response to Catherine Delahunty. You know who’s not respecting me? That commenter. No Dom/me has ever called me a “whore”. She shows no respect for me as a person, AND she shows no respect for my consent.

  5. MJ November 23, 2011 at 6:42 pm

    Everyone else has already said it much more eloquently than me, so I will only add that my BDSM lesbian porn is at risk of disappearing in a puff of that commenter’s logic and I am not okay with this.

  6. Deborah November 23, 2011 at 10:51 pm

    Just dropping in to say thank you to Tallulah for the fantastic post. Also, @Constance Cravings, I came up with a label a few months / years back, mostly for my own use: “Fair Trade Porn”.

    Mind you, I’m not really into porn. Just not my scene. But do I ever run with a “consenting adults” criterion.

  7. Pingback: Rape by any other name « LudditeJourno

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