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Category Archives: Feminist blogging

Comment of the Month II

You guys remember Brody, right? Good times. Apparently March is when the trolls come out, because just over a year later, Peter wants us to know he agrees with Brody about how much we women suck.

It’s a shame “Peter” isn’t more original, because a quick Google shows that he cut and paste his (long-winded) comment from noted Pick Up Artist and MRA “Roosh”. (To whom I am not linking because I am not sending even one person his way. Feel free to Google the first couple of lines of Peter’s comment – you’ll find it pretty easy. Disclaimer: The Lady Garden takes no responsibility for personal injury or property damage caused by the rage that will ensue.) (Incidentally, “Roosh” is one of the people behind the Reddit “victims of feminism” fund, and yes, Googling that will result in some impressive head-desking.)

Anyway. If you have the stomach for some mind-blowingly poor logic and some incredible misogyny, here it is. Be entertained. Trigger warning for…well, massive douchbaggery, I guess.

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I completely agree with Brody. You see, the problem with modern feminism is that it has disrupted a gender equilibrium that has existed for millenia. And yes, that equilibrium had men exerting their control and superiority over women, but it was an equilibrium nonetheless that has helped the human species perpetuate and colonize the Earth. Feminism’s successful foray on mainstream culture has destroyed that balance and made it increasingly hopeless for today’s man to land a decent woman who cherishes him, let alone one who can be a suitable mother to his children.

I will concede that some aspects of feminism are just and proper. Women should have some say of how many children they want, if they want to work, and if they want to get married (and with whom). They should not be held as sex slaves against their will. They should be rewarded based on their skills and accomplishments just like a man should, and equal pay for equal work is reasonable. However, today we have women overreaching and demanding more than their fair share. They want high positions not based on their skills but simply because they are female, continually shoving false “glass-ceiling” and unequal pay myths down our throats. They want courts to subjugate men they divorce for the most trivial of reasons, and they want to put-down and play any man who attempts to form a connection with them using a provider (beta) game that has worked for his most recent ancestors.

Unfortunately there will be no setting back of the clock. As long as women retain suffrage, our politicians will continue to appease them for votes by refusing to scale back anti-man laws. Unfit mothers will continue to keep custody rights while fathers pay support for a child who is brainwashed against him. Single motherhoodwill increasingly be glorified. And as long as American-style capitalism provides decreasing job opportunities for men, women will continue to excel in mundane office jobs that better suit their social, emotional brains instead of the factory and engineering jobs of the past that provided men with a fair income for his entire family.

I believe that today’s man can still restore his dominion in a world that is skewing against his favor by doing one thing: becoming a sexist. He must possess sexist beliefs for three reasons:

1. To have sexual relationships with women who are at least as pretty as he is handsome.

2. To assert his superiority over his female competitors in the workplace by playing the office game as well as they do (e.g. constantly bringing up accomplishments to managers, being outspoken, being two-faced, ass-kissing, and backstabbing).

3. To get laid at all.

In the past you didn’t have to believe that you were superior to women. The system was set up so that all you had to do was go to school, get a good-paying local job, and ask your mom to put in a good word with the neighbor’s cute daughter. The first girl you fucked would probably be your wife, you’d have your two kids, and you’d live the so-called American dream. Today this is not possible. Your father’s father would be unsuccessful at mating in today’s climate of feminism which has allowed a tiny percentage of alpha men to monopolize the best women. As American women become more obese and gross, there are fewer desirable women left outside of the alpha males’ harems. The nice guy is left with nothing but scraps—and those scraps have attitude.

While it doesn’t look good for you in terms of marriage, at the minimum any educated, employed man in a first-world nation should be able to sleep with a handful of decent women a year. But without having sexist beliefs, he will wholeheartedly struggle in that front. Here’s what it means to be a sexist:

Having a low level of respect for women.

Having the belief that the genders are not equal (you should nod or smile at the following quote: “A woman can do anything a man can do, as long as a man first shows her how”).

Not listening to them about anything.

Studying flavors of game based on the alpha-male model, an effective countermeasure to feminism.

Preferring the company of compliant, feminine women of different nationalities where feminism has not made strong inroads (Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia, South America).

You don’t have to hate women and you don’t have to abuse them. You don’t have to commit any crimes against them. But you must believe that you are superior and deserve more than them. With the addition of game practice, you will then be sexually rewarded for those beliefs.

It’s a sad fact that the modern feminist withholds sex from the nice guy, disgusted with his subservience, while servicing the sexist alpha man, increasing his power and rewarding him with more sexual delights than he could have experienced since the days of Itzcoatl. The nice guy is weak and starved, left sexless and alone, a pathetic specimen resigned to the brunt of jokes in beer commercials and crappy sitcoms. If he wants to be procreate, he has no choice but to rise from the ashes a sexist. The more of those beliefs he accepts, the more he’ll get what he wants in the fucked-up world we currently live in.

Enjoy the comments, darlings.

A Reasoned Discussion of Trans* Issues. Please.

A brief summary. Suzanne Moore wrote a column in the New Statesman. In it she made what I’ll unhesitatingly call a “poor decision” to invoke the image of a “Brazillian transexual”. People objected. Instead of apologising, she doubled down, and some of the things she went on to say on Twitter were… really appalling. Abuse went both ways.

Good things came out of it. Stella Duffy wrote a post which generated a lot of useful constructive discussion. She followed it up with what I found a much better one, talking about what she’d learned. There was this response. And I found it good to be reminded that it actually wasn’t all that long ago that I didn’t know what “cis” meant, and I hadn’t heard of Transgender Day of Remembrance.

And then Julie Burchill wrote a piece [trigger warning for stunning transphobia] that would be in stiff competition for “stupidest most offensive thing ever to appear outside of 4chan”, and The Observer decided to publish it. Today they undecided to publish it, and of course this being the internet, it’s vanished without trace.

I think the Burchill piece is actually hugely useful. It’s the very simple answer to the question, “Why are these people so angry?” Why did people react so strongly to the Moore piece? Because it was written against a background where people feel okay saying things like:

To my mind – I have given cool-headed consideration to the matter – a gaggle of transsexuals telling Suzanne Moore how to write looks a lot like how I’d imagine the Black and White Minstrels telling Usain Bolt how to run would look.  That rude and ridic.

We know that everything we have we got for ourselves. We have no family money, no safety net. And we are damned if we are going to be accused of being privileged by a bunch of bed-wetters in bad wigs.

On the other hand, this is going to be the last website to pretend there aren’t jerks in any demographic, including trans* activists. I’m not tone-argumenting, it’s just a fact from years of experience at web moderation that the best results come when people try to express themselves reasonably even when they’re offended, and people try to listen and respond even when they’re angry.

People like Burchill and Bindell and Greer and our own Rosemary McLeod should be challenged on their transphobia. Their attitude that it’s distracting from the “real issues” and their refusal to acknowledge their own privilege is… well, it’s ironic to say the least.

But there are a whole bunch of other people, people like Stella Duffy, who are prepared to listen and to learn. We all had to learn at some stage, and we should offer others the same patience and help we needed.

Girl on the Net put it better, talking about a time when she was Called Out by a transwoman:

But I promise you this: I will never deliberately say hateful, horrible things that ignore my privilege and make life harder for you. I will always try to empathise and – if you correct me – I’ll try to clarify what I’m saying, or apologise if I’m wrong. If you tell me about my mistakes I can correct and clarify. If you call me a hateful psycho bitch-whore, I’ll never fucking learn.

 

Bisexuals: Doing It Wrong Since Ages Ago

Dear Julie Bindel. Where would we be without you? Oh, yeah: vastly better off.

Yes, in case anyone was getting too complacent, and thinking we were all on board with letting people get on with whatever floats their boat, Bindel is there, still being published, still making sure we realise that our sexuality is

a)      a choice, and

b)      the wrong choice.

Those of us who grew up in a time and context where there was a political analysis of sexuality were able to make a positive choice to be a lesbian. I believed then, and I believe now, that if bisexual women had an ounce of sexual politics, they would stop sleeping with men.

Now, I’m a bisexual woman who sleeps with men. Ergo, I must have no sexual politics. According to Bindel, that makes me a hedonist, “where the only thing that matters is sexual pleasure and desire”. To which I can only reply, “That’s beside the point. There is no amount of cock I can rub up against that will stop my brain from functioning*.”

There are some things that make this column actually worth reading. Firstly, it makes things like this, and its comments, make more sense. This is the context, of some lesbians being deeply uncomfortable with bisexual women, and making them feel unwelcome.

Secondly, there’s the deep, ironic pleasure of watching Bindel criticise Camile Paglia for doing less than Bindel is doing herself. Paglia says, “You know I’m not telling lesbians to stop sleeping only with women,” but Bindel IS telling bi women to stop sleeping with men. On a related note, that link to the research she quotes? Isn’t a link to the research she quotes.

Mostly, though, there are the comments. No, seriously. Read the comments. Four pages. Not one in support of Bindel’s argument, which is that for me to have any feminist credibility whatsoever, I must have sex in the manner Bindel dictates. To which I can only say, seriously, get fucked. In whatever manner you please.

Desire is not a choice. It’s there or it’s not, it doesn’t confine itself to the politically appropriate. Yes, I could choose to only have sex with women, but why would I? Bindel’s demands make just as little sense as homophobes saying I should only ever have sex with men. I’m not a lesbian, and I can’t see a single reason why I should pretend to be one.

And if the price of admission to Proper Feminism is to never give head again? I’m quite happy outside the tent, thanks.

*Permanently. Obviously I’m not actively thinking about sexual politics during the sexing, but even I’m not having sex all the time.

47th DUFC

The 47th Down Under Feminists Carnival is up at Ariane’s Little World. Ariane has a wide range of posts in the carnival, including several by Lady Gardeners and friends. Pop on over there for some interesting reading.

Today in What The Actual Fuck news

FOTLG Boganette linked to this article on Tumblr last night. I have been mulling it over, and while it’s not the cause, it is definitely not helping this headache I have. So let’s, shall we, take this apart piece by piece. It is brilliant in it’s absurdity. As always, Don’t read the comments.

Is the pursuit for gender equality sucking life out of relationships?

Not mine, but you carry on.

Instead of harnessing the different qualities of men and women to energise us, we are striving to make men and women equal.

More women are joining the battle for the CEO’s chair and pursuing dominance in their homes and communities. But in the process they’re becoming more like men. And men are becoming… well, less like men.

Um, yeah, no. “Striving for equality” isn’t “making women more like men. And cutting off the men’s balls and turning them into namby-pamby apron wearing pantywaists. It means women having equal rights and opportunities and access to services and healthcare, and bodily autonomy, and freedom from fear of violence, and teh right to work or not work. It’s the choice. And if a woman has to “become more like a man” to do that, that’s a sad indictment on this apparently “post-feminist” world we live in. If she does that because she chooses to, fantastic. But let’s none of us fool ourselves into thinking that women wearing boxy pantsuits and drinking beer with the boys after a 14 hour day at the executive table is what every feminist wants.

Renowned Australian neurosurgeon Charlie Teo believes men and women have different roles “set not only by society but set by physiology”.

“The current trend is for dads to be more hands on. But for all we know it may be proven in a hundred years time that that may be a negative thing for the upbringing of children,” he said recently on Seven’s Sunday Night program.

Yes. Parental involvement is such a terribly bad thing. That’s why I just spent ten minutes googling and couldn’t find any study ever saying that. (I’m positive someone will come along to prove me wrong). But what do I know? For all we know, in one hundred years, it may be proven that cigarettes are good for you, lettuce causes heart disease, and bourbon is an elixir. (I can live in hope)

Feminism has achieved victories for women, but could it be at the expense of femininity, chivalry and attributes of the opposite sex that instinctively attract us to each other?

No. Have you not seen the recent retro-crafty-uber-feminine-apron-and-gingham movement.  Or feminist embracing stilettos and lipstick. And I, as a card-carrying feminist (seriously, we need cards, ladies), have never once kicked a man for holding a door open for me. Chivalry is nothing more than politeness, and I expect that from everyone.

“This force of attraction is the dynamism that often disappears in modern relationships. If you want real passion, you need a ravisher and a ravishee. Otherwise you just have two buddies who decide to rub genitals in bed,” he writes.

*snort*. I just…can’t even. Hey, I liked to be ravished as much as any girl, but why is that to say women can’t be the ravisher? Oh. Because he wrote a book called “The Way of the Superior Man”, so he’s clearly the ideal person to quote in an article about feminism.

Earlier this month, TopGear presenter James May…

Noted without comment.

Well into the last century the husband provided his family with a home and food and this sole responsibility gave him a sense of power and purpose. And women didn’t feel pressure to justify their existence with a career. They were proud home makers and mothers.

Until feminism.

That’s right, blame the bitches. We ruined _everything_. Just out of interest, this right you have to express your opinion, to be heard in a publication, that just came to you, did it? No one fought for that right, no one suffered so you could spout your “traditionalist views”? And also, you know there are women who are still proud homemakers and mothers? And the fact that some women feel pressured to stay in the workforce or not stay in the workforce, or wear heels or not wear heels or put our when they don’t want to, is exactly the reason you need to be a feminist.

However, a British survey of 2000 men revealed one-third of men would prefer to be the sole breadwinning traditional father while another quarter would like to be the main breadwinner with their spouse working only part-time.

Instead, men are sporting aprons, doing their own ironing and pushing trolleys down supermarket aisles – roles that don’t exactly exude manliness.

You know, one of the most “manly” men I know does his own ironing. In fact, I’ve asked him on occasion to do mine. Do you know what? Sporting aprons and doing the supermarket shopping is providing for a family. Challenging society’s vision of what makes a “real man” is extremely manly, and if you can’t see that, you are part of the problem.

“Kids, turn off the TV, Buster outside, Dave, the dishes aren’t going to clean themselves.” Dave feels like he’s surrendered his balls.

When a man is stripped of his sense of purpose, it’s more difficult to satisfy that instinctive hunger for power and purpose. Could this be part of the reason why one in eight Australian men experiences severe depression in their lifetime?

Deida describes it as a “weakened impotent existence”.

“Without a conscious life purpose, a man is totally lost, drifting, adapting to events rather than creating events,” he said.

Dave should probably talk to his wife. Of course, his wife is probably working a full time job, and doing the lion’s share of the caring at home, because our society continues to  not value “women’s work”. He might feel like he’s surrendered his balls. She’s probably exhausted.

And you know what? I could care less that the poor delicate flowers that are men are lost, adrift, and confused and impotent. OK, I probably care about that last one. However. I expect everyone – of whatever gender – to treat me like a human being. Frankly, I don’t give a shit if you’ve been taught to hate my gender. Man up, and do the decent thing.

I don’t think that women should surrender their careers all together. But if we allow men to reclaim some power, we women could do more to embrace our femininity.

Would we be happier if more of us accept that men and women are not equal?

Aside from the fact that the first sentence makes no grammatical sense, um, what? I think you mean men and women aren’t the same. I’d argue that people aren’t the same, but actually, I will never, ever, not in a million years, not if you paid me a billion dollars, or gave me 100 puppies, accept that men and women are not equal.

And even if in your privileged life, men and women are equal, it might be worth thinking about the fact that that in a lot of places, women live horrible lives of poverty and violence and fear. And we need to do something about that. With or without aprons.

46th Down Under Feminists Carnival at Chally’s place

Chally has put together the 46th Down Under Feminists Carnival, at her place, Zero at the Bone. There’s lots of great reading in it, including some posts from Lady Gardeners. Thanks for putting it together this month, Chally.

46th Down Under Feminists Carnival

Quickie: DUFC 44

The 44th Down Under Feminists Carnival is up at Hoyden About Town. As always, some brilliant and inspiring reading. Thanks to those who nominated posts from here.

Guest Post: Dear Rosemary

Many people linked us this week, to this delightful piece of commentary from Rosemary McLeod about sex work.

My own response was, oh, shut up. Oh, and Don’t Read The Comments. But I thought someone with more knowledge and experience than me might have a somewhat more eloquent response. So I asked the wonderful Dorothy Dentata if she would consider guest posting for us. She’s amazing, and here it is.

—–

Hi Rosemary! I got told yesterday that you have some words in your recent article dedicated to little ol’ me, so I thought I’d sit down and type you this reply.

Now, as articles are prone to do, Michelle Cooke in her recent article on sex work conditions combined aspects of two seperate stories into the information about me. You mention in your diatribe against us dirty-footed dupes that you wondered how my mother reacted. Let me tell you!

When I told my mother I was a sex worker, she told me she thought I was about to tell her something bad. She then hugged me and told me how she loved me, how she trusted me to make my own decisions about my employment, that I owed her nothing in terms of divulging this and that she felt honoured beyond belief that I would be vulnerable and share such information with her.

When I told my dad the same information, weeks before my 21st, his response was to tell me he loved me and that he had never paid for sex but didn’t see an ethical problem with anyone doing so now that it was decriminalised. He also said he was happy I was working somewhere safe and supportive, and then he hugged me. That sort of emotional openness from my father about how he personally saw paying for sexual services was really meaningful to me. I thought it was amazing that my dad would even discuss the possibility of being a punter with me.

Of course, you probably don’t think so. You probably think that my parents are ignorant of the fact that “nothing could be quite as soul-destroying as performing fellatio for a living” and you probably include my dad in your stereotype of men as weird, lazy, and driven by their dick.

Well. Let’s talk about my side of the story, huh?

I started sex work at 19 years of age. I have worked in several different brothels and agencies, both here and in Melbourne. I have worked privately. I have had experiences with clients I didn’t enjoy, I have had mostly experiences with respectful and generally considerate clients. I have made some of the greatest friendships in my life with both punters and other working girls. I’ve had a year off. I’ve had a mixture of clients, both in terms of background, age, and genders. Whilst the majority of clients have been male, white, and wealthy, there has also been more diversity in my experiences than I think you could fathom.

The clients who come to see me, including the men, sometimes ask me questions about my opinions, they listen to my stories, they often share with me their innermost vulnerabilities (whether they mean to or not). Sometimes these vulnerabilities are unsettling or confusing or unattractive to me. Sometimes those thoughts are sweet and endearing and make me feel great about my job for weeks at a time.

Sometimes the clients who come to see me truly don’t care that much about knowing what’s going on in my brain. And you know what? That’s okay! Because with boundaries negotiated and a safe premises, I am totally happy to fuck and be fucked for a booking without any pretense of conversation or deeper connection. Sometimes, Rosemary, people just want sex without fuss. Sometimes people want sex that is good, easy, and completely without a relationship. That’s pretty normal.

Yes, as you snidely added ‘brains are a selling point’. Journalists aren’t often in the habit of interviewing inarticulate workers to quote about a specific industry. Brains are a selling point in more ways, though, for example my ad. The fact that ads highlighting a workers intelligence, personality, and strengths work much better than ads simply highlighting physical assets might disprove your little theory that clients don’t care about what’s going on behind my eyes.

So that’s how I see my job. Sometimes I love it, sometimes I’m frustrated or aggravated or anxious about it, and sometimes it’s just a job. As a colleague of mine said in response to your article “I fully stand behind my right to hate my job and do it anyway” and I feel that cuts to the point I actually want to make today.

Sex work is WORK. Your title, declaring “prostitution not just selling your body” is misleading in itself. For me, you see, prostitution ISN’T selling my body. The same learned colleague of mine states “when you pay someone to give you physiotherapy for an hour, you do not buy the physiotherapist. When you pay someone to cut your hair for an hour, you do not buy the person who cuts you hair”. The same rings true here. When you decide to come to Funhouse and fuck me senseless (or brush my hair or wrestle me or eat my pussy) you do not buy me. You negotiate such services and I either agree or decline, based on my own boundaries and personal preferences. At any stage, any stage of the booking, I have the right to declare a certain activity is not on offer anymore. It may mean a partial refund, but more usually it means we just do something else. You know, like I talk to my sexual partners who aren’t paying me.

Moreover, capitalism is an economic system that requires people to work in order to make money. Many people have jobs that require using their bodies in ways they wouldn’t normally, extra labour or occassional unpleasant aspects or things that sometimes just suck. People are generally required to work due to economic need. The same is generally true of sex workers (who, by the way, are not just ‘women’). As through all of society, you see negative aspects of sex work. As with doctors and lawyers, there are sex workers who are addicted to drugs. As with nannies and couriers and plumbers, there are sex workers with mental health problems. As with pilots and retail assistants and journalists, there are sex workers who are exposed to sexual abuse. As with politicians and teachers and CEOs there are sex workers who are unhappy in their job.

I was even going to put in a touching and endearing ramble about how clean my feet were, to disprove the evident assumptions that sex workers are dirty and degraded, but I decided not to. You know why? Because people from all walks of life sometimes have dirty feet and split toenails. I don’t need to try and convince you how ‘nice’ and ‘safe’ parts of the sex industry are, because that is true for me but it’s not true for everyone. Being poor, or sad, or drug-addicted, does not make anyone nor their life deserving of vitriolic attacks by ill-informed journalists. Having dirty feet is not a reason to write off somebody’s entire lived experience, Rosemary, coz here’s the thing about lived experience: you cannot know what it’s like until you’ve lived it. You are not allowed to tell hookers what we should be doing with our lives without actually knowing our lives.

When sex workers are finally able to stop having to defend our industry and our work from bigoted hooker-haters like you, maybe we’ll be able to start directing our energies towards discussions on how the industry can be improved. When it’s no longer a matter of ‘positive’ vs ‘negative’ accounts of the sex industry, and we can realise every experience is more nuanced and more conflicting and that what should be happening is work towards improving working conditions for ALL sex workers.

I realise this has been an INCREDIBLY long ramble and I hope I haven’t bored you. I also hope I haven’t antagonised you so much that my invitation to you to come and have coffee (off the record) with me and some sex worker friends and learn a little about our lives will be ignored.

Come again?

I am a big believer in reform. I think given the right impetus, opportunity, and support, people can change. They can get better, improve, and come to regret things they’ve done. Naive and idealistic, maybe, but sometimes I am, darlings. I also think you can really dislike a person, but agree with something they say.

Which is why I was willing to give Hugo Schwyzer the benefit of the doubt when he wrote this piece. Because this is all very true.

It’s a key anti-feminist strategy, even if that isn’t the actual intent of the men doing it — it forces women to become conscious caretakers of their male peers by subduing their own frustration and anger.   It reminds young women that they should strive to avoid being one of those “angry feminists” who (literally) scares men off and drives them away….

This doesn’t mean that a “good man” is always in the wrong when he’s arguing with a woman.  It does mean that when men and women argue about gender justice, women are more likely to have insights that men have missed.  Here’s the basic axiom: power conceals itself from those who possess it. And the corollary is that privilege is revealed more clearly to those who don’t have it.  When a man and a woman are arguing about feminism – and the women involved happen to be feminists and the man happens to be an affluent white dude – the chances that he’s the one from whom the truth is more obscured is very high indeed.   That’s as true for me as it is for Tom Matlack.

So, when the furor at Feministe (one of my favourite feminist places) happened, I was a little nonplussed. Here was this guy, who seemed to get it. Sure, problematic relationships with his students – but who hasn’t done things they regret? We grow up, we move on. Oh. He tried to kill himself and his girlfriend? Huh. Well…he was an addict, we all do things…and…. I am increasingly on thin ice here. I can’t justify that, especially in the terms he describes it – he was trying to take care of her, she was broken, only he was strong enough to do what needed to be done. And you know what? Part of reform is admitting what you’ve done, and paying the consequences. He freely admits he hasn’t done that.

Oh. And then Clarisse shut down the comments? Well, while calling someone a sociopath – if you’re not a psychiatrist, and don’t actually know him – is dangerous, but yeah, that seems extreme.

But Feministe apologised, and all was well. Sort of. However, enter Jezebel, who will do whatever they can to increase pageviews, even if it’s posting a column basically suggesting we women are too wrapped up in the idea of consent.  At Jezebel, Mr Schwyzer has suggested this:

For a young man raised with the sense that his body – and especially his penis – is “disgusting”, a woman’s willingness to accept a facial is an intensely powerful source of affirmation. In my conversations with Glickman and Andelloux, I shared this anecdote. Both agreed that rather than seeing the facial as rooted in the impulse to denigrate, it might indeed be better to view it as longing for approval. Andelloux pointed out that in her experience, many women (often with good reason) have a difficult time believing that degradation isn’t at the root of straight men’s fascination with facials. In any case, humiliation and affirmation aren’t incompatible reactions to the same act; a feeling of indignity when your partner ejaculates on your face isn’t contingent on his intending to demean you.

And, yeah, OK, this is where I draw the line. Flavia has said it all better than me, but Hugo? remember back up there when you said that men should sometimes shut up and listen? It’s time for you to Shut Up. We’re not going to give you cookies for being an ally, not especially when you argue bullshit like this.

I should preface the rest of this paragraph with the disclaimer that some women don’t mind, or even enjoy, facials. For me, it’s entirely contextual on the person I am with, and the situation I am in. But the way they are usually (insert standard disclaimer here) portrayed in porn is inherently degrading. But don’t worry about that! According to the estimable Mr Schwyzer, that doesn’t matter! We women should suffer through a humiliating act because it might make a dude feel better about his cock? Look, I’m all for consenting adults being allowed to do whatever they want, but that? Is bullshit. And in fact, consent is barely mentioned in the piece. It’s much more about we women should “let” men do it, to save their precious egos. There’s lip service paid to the idea that “No one should be obligated to endure humiliation for the sake of someone else’s longing for validation.” Except that the entire rest of the piece makes that statement a lie.

And of course, “At the same time (as perhaps with anal sex), many people struggle to believe that receiving a facial is something a woman could enjoy.” This is something anyone involved with BDSM is familiar with – you can’t consent to being submissive, that’s unfeminist, and also, you like being hurt? What? Weird. To which, you know, shut up, I can’t be bothered with that conversation today.

But, seriously, feminist sites need to stop giving this guy airtime. He’s not a feminist. He wants to believe he is, maybe, as redemption, or just cos it’s a really good way to get chicks. Let him write what he writes at his own place, and people who care can have that conversation there. I’m not someone who believes men can’t be feminists – the kyriarchy hurts everyone, and men should  be a part of the conversation. But when a man consistently fails to take responsibility for his actions and his words, and actively promotes disrespecting women – then, yeah, nah, it’s time to STFU.

[Update: Garland Grey also has a great piece, with my favourite sentence this week: “But still, the memory of his sexism is reason enough for you to reevaluate your flimsy personal objections to this sex act, because if there is anything I know about Feminism, it’s that not nearly enough people are getting jizzed on and this is a crisis.”]

Yet Another Fucking 101

“Ask ten adults to define a slut and you’ll hear things like: a woman who has sex with lots of men; a woman who sleeps around; a woman who has casual sex; a woman who flaunts her body. They’ll probably also use words like loose, easy, trashy, cheap, and desperate. Someone might say: a woman who has the sexual appetites of a man. No one will say: a mythical creature dreamt up by people who are jealous of or threatened by female sexual expression.”
— Emily Maguire- Princesses & Pornstars (via warrioroftheleft on Tumblr)

Happy New Year, darlings! I trust you are recovered from your NYE frivolities and raring to go for 2012. Or, that if you haven’t yet made it out of bed, that you’ve been sharing it with someone nice. Or at least chocolate.

Sadly, it has come to my attention that we have some remedial work to do. It turns out, that there are still some people in the world, in my extended social circle even, who haven’t grasped the concept of slut-shaming. Or rather, they’ve grasped the concept, but not the fact that it’s Not Fucking Okay.

So, my loves, let’s have a little lesson, shall we?

First, I’d like you to write me 100 words, on why you think anyone’s relationship or sexual history is any of your business. With the exception of ensuring that a potential suitor is disease-free, I fail to see how you can come up with a convincing argument for that. Secondly, I’d like you to think about whether discussing that history in public, even as a jokey aside, is an acceptable thing to do.

Because, you see, calling a woman a slut is about the worst thing you can call her. And you don’t even have to use that actual word. Perhaps you’d like to mention the length of her skirts, or indeed, her relationships. Perhaps you’d like to make snide comments about her “habits”. Or, just come out and call her a whore. G’wan.

Calling a woman a slut means she’s somehow less. As if embracing her body and her sexuality is a bad thing. We women, we hold our value between our legs, and everyone we let touch us there is lowering our price. For some reason, society deems chastity as a woman’s birthright. And the patriarchy tells us that it’s the opposite for men (they are meant to sow their proverbial oats), so I ask you – who are they meant to fuck? Calling a woman a slut reminds her that her body isn’t hers at all. It reminds her that she is not deserving of pleasure, that she is only a receptacle for her One True Husband’s sperm.

None of this is new, of course, but it appears some people need a gentle reminder. I can be gentle for once. (I won’t enjoy it, but for you, darlings, I forbear.)

And here’s the thing, and why I am writing this post. I am pretty sure the worst perpatrators of slut-shaming, certainly the iterations of it I’ve seen lately, are women. Not men. Women. Our bodies, ourselves, indeed. Maybe I am lucky that I have a circle of liberal and supportive male friends now. Certainly, I have known men in the past, who have been threatened by my lack of inhibitions, and decided that calling me a slut was a way to shut me up. And sometimes it worked. Now, my standard response to someone calling me a slut is to ask “Really? What makes you say that?” There is nothing like making people own their own prejedices.

But the girl-on-girl crime is more insidious. It’s nastier. It’s policing. It’s dangerous, because it plays directly into “she’s a slut, she deserved it” rape culture. It’s “I don’t feel comfortable behaving like that, and so you shouldn’t.” And it’s “If I call her a slut, maybe I’ll get extra patriarchy points, and be allowed to exchange them for sparkly gifts.” And yes, by sparkly, I mean engagement rings. Because sluts never get married, and that’s all we women want, right? And of course, sluts steal other women’s husbands. When we call each other it, we give men the right to call us it too. And to continue treating us as though our only value is our bodies. It’s pitting women against each other, to be the most pure, the most chaste. While, also, of course, secretly being a demon in the sack. Just don’t tell anyone that. It’s playing into the patriarchy’s hands.

You know what I think? Fuck the patriarchy. Sure, it’ll be dirty, hate-filled sex, but sometimes, that’s amazing. Because frankly, being a slut is fucking awesome. You don’t have to be one of you don’t want to be. I’m not saying every woman needs to start pole-dancing lessons forthwith. We all get to do what we’re comfortable with. That’s kind of the fucking point. Sex is nice. Everyone should get the amount and type of it they want.

Some while ago, I saw a post telling sex-positive feminists to shut up. I can’t for the life of me think where, or I’d link to it. But no, I will not fucking shut up. Because the only way for us to make this OK, for kinks and women who like casual sex, and asexual people, and anything that isn’t “missionary position between a husband and wife where they end up covered in a white sheet gazing lovingly at each other knowing they’ve conceived” to become closer to the norm is for us to talk about it. And talk loudly.  Our asking for the right to engage in those activities doesn’t impinge on your right not to engage in them. And if you think it does – then I would ask you, why is your right more important than mine?

What I am saying is that even if you don’t want to be a slut, it doesn’t give you licence to shame those of us who are. Whatever gender you are.