“I don’t know which one I am — the “mainstream feminist,” the “public feminist,” the “career feminist,” or the “thin-lipped censorius” feminist. I don’t care. These labels are meaningless and yet are tossed back and forth with zeal online, in an effort to win at the game of “step on someone else’s neck to make yourself taller/gain Twitter followers” that internet feminism seems so fond of. Why are you playing that game, Laurie? It’s a bad game. The ones who lose are women.”—Laurie Penny, you’ve lost me
“Laurie Penny. You know better than this. You must know that feminism’s fight against pornography and prostitution is about opposing sexism — not about opposing sex. This is the game that anti-feminist men play. “Oh you hate watching gang-bangs? You must hate sex you ugly prude!” “Oh you think prostitution exists because of patriarchy and colonialism and exploits the most marginalized members of our society? WHY DO YOU HATE BONERS? Put your bible away, Jesus!””—Laurie Penny, you’ve lost me
Pistorius has taught abusers everywhere that they can come up with the flimsiest of lies and will be believed. Women everywhere have learned that their partners can terrorize and abuse and and even murder them and get away with it.
You can bet Palmer feels empathy and sympathy for Rice. She probably does love him. She more-than-likely hopes and believes he will change. He has probably promised to change many times. This is old hat. Women who have been in abusive relationships know exactly how it goes and how it feels. It’s not easy to believe that someone who claims to love you and who you feel love towards would hurt you. Of course we hope they will stop. Of course we want them to change and want to believe they will. Abusive men aren’t all abusive 24 hours a day. We hang on to the good moments — that’s why we stay.
Abuse is a mindfuck. We are made to feel dependent on our abusers. We feel embarrassed and ashamed at what we’ve been put through, what we’ve “put up with,” at the verbal and emotional abuse we’ve been subjected to. At the reality of our lives and the crazy, humiliating, inexplicable behaviour we’ve witnessed. How can you tell someone those things? Surely no one will understand… Our self-esteem deteriorates. We become isolated from our support systems. We feel we can’t ask for help because we’ve left and gone back so many times over and we know our friends and family are sick of it. We feel judged and we feel stupid and we feel weak. We are strong women and we know better. We feel like we can take it. We can cope. We compartmentalize — shutting the bad stuff out. We tell ourselves it isn’t so bad. We really, really want it to get better. He says he’ll go to counseling. He says he’ll stop drinking. He says if only we’d change our tone of voice or our body language or be gentler or kinder or more thoughtful… If only. We stop trusting ourselves. Is it our fault? Is this normal? Maybe I did provoke him…
Abuse isn’t as simple as you want it to be. It isn’t clear cut. It isn’t easy to leave. It isn’t easy to give up on someone we care about and have invested time and energy and emotion into. But no matter what Palmer does, no matter what she feels or says, it doesn’t make his actions ok. And it doesn’t mean she deserved it.
The idea is that johns will not want to get caught buying sex therefore everything moves “underground.” However, johns already don’t want to get caught buying sex, and sex workers are able to screen them. (Half of them are married for heaven’s sake. Getting caught by your wife is as bad as getting caught by the cops. Either way you’re in deep shit.) The passing of this bill isn’t gonna make it impossible for a woman to ask for a john’s ID, talk to him over the phone first, or look him up on a “bad date” list. If he’s not planning on violating her boundaries, he doesn’t have to fear her calling the cops. Why would a woman call the cops on a man who she considers to be a “good” client? Obviously she doesn’t want to lose him as a client if he’s helping her pay her bills. But he SHOULD fear her calling the cops if he DOES violate her boundaries, and she should feel comfortable calling the cops since she is not doing anything illegal.
The “dangerous areas” thing doesn’t make a lot of sense, really. Every area is dangerous when there’s a rapist present. It’s not the “area” raping women, it’s men raping women, and they’ll do it anywhere, even in a hotel or apartment, it doesn’t matter to them where.
“We, as women, fight for our selves every day. We fight to be ourselves. Not to lose ourselves. We have to fight to tell the truth. Because what we aren’t supposed to do, as women, is tell the truth. We are supposed to be silent — to smile and look pretty. To feel fulfilled in unfulfilling lives. To be happy and cheery and perky at all times, emanating positivity like fucking TV moms and robot cheerleaders. We aren’t supposed to make anyone uncomfortable with things like feelings or reality. Our emotions and our vulnerability are used against us in the most hateful and violent ways.”—Whining about boys in bars: On feminism and loving men
Though Koppenhaver’s stopped whining on Twitter, the 32-year-old’s attorney, Brandon Sua, has taken over on his behalf, stating to Los Angeles television station KTLA:
“The hardest thing for my client is seeing the responses from the media, the public. There’s been a lot of statements on one side. The media has done a good job of painting my client as a monster, but my client is not a monster. He is a good guy.”
A good guy, folks. A good guy who regularly beat his girlfriend, this time within an inch of her life (because he loved her so much — all he wanted was to propose!), who spent two years in prison in 2010 for attacking a female bartender, and who spoke publicly of Mack as “his property.”
It isn’t particularly surprising that anal sex is becoming more and more common among young people, considering how easily and readily they can and do access porn online and how common heterosexual anal sex is in porn. While I have nothing against anal sex if that’s what you’re into — like, at all — it’s worth stating the obvious: in general, anal sex is something men are more likely to enjoy than women.
For starters, as you may or may not be aware, women do not have penises or a prostate and our clits are not located in our buttholes.
A study commissioned by Norway’s government shows that criminalizing the purchase of sex has decreased trafficking and has not caused violence against women to increase, as some have claimed.
Johns have been criminalized in Norway since 2009, following in Sweden’s footsteps.
"The nearly 200-page report is based on six months of research, including interviews with male and female prostitutes, police and support organizations.
The Norwegian law applies to all its citizens anywhere, making it illegal for Norwegians to buy sex even in countries where the activity is accepted.
Penalties for breaking the law are set by local municipalities. In Oslo, Norway’s largest city, convicted sex buyers face a 25,000 crown ($4,000) fine.”
Since criminalizing the purchase of sex in 1999, the number of men who buy sex in Sweden went from one in eight to one in 13.
Opponents of the Nordic model tell us that criminalizing the purchase of sex will make it more dangerous and push the trade “underground.” Despite the fact that there is zero evidence to back up these claims and that, in truth, the “underground”/illegal sex trade thrives under legalization, this myth persists, thanks to this oft-repeated misinformation.
The truth is that criminalizing the purchase of sex makes countries that do so less desirable for pimps, johns, and traffickers. It is no real surprise that organized crime has taken over the trade in places that have legalized — it’s simply easier to buy and sell women in places where the practice is normalized and legal. Women and girls are trafficked because there just aren’t enough of them who enter the trade willingly — demand begets exploitation; reduce demand, reduce exploitation.
Meanwhile, claims that legalizing or decriminalizing the purchase of sex and the exploitation of women would make the trade safer, have not proven to be true. As a result, countries like Germany and New Zealand are reconsidering their laws.
In 2012, New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said that he didn’t think the Prostitution Law Reform Act 2003 had reduced street prostitution or underage prostitutes, stating:
“The argument was that it would eliminate all the street workers and underage people, particularly girls, and the reports that we see in places like South Auckland is that it hasn’t actually worked… I think it’s been marginally successful, if at all.”
The study is timely as the Canadian government has recently put forward a bill that, if passed (which it most-likely will), will target demand and criminalize pimps and johns.
But I am tired of sitting on this information — information many of us have been hearing about for months, years even — knowing that the victims are out there watching as this man continues to move through leftist circles, writing about progressive politics and even rape culture, now at the head of a leftist publication, while they are abandoned. By us – by feminists, by progressives — by the very people who should be supporting victims, fighting male violence against women, and holding sexist men to account. It makes me physically ill, in part because I’ve experienced it (though perhaps on a smaller scale).
There is no doubt in my mind that the women involved with Ricochet — only too willing to trash and attack me because I refuse to pretend that the sex industry is a site of female empowerment or simply “a job like any other” – are fully aware of these allegations and rumours. I’d like to hear from them on this issue. If they are so willing to speak out against other feminists, they should be willing to speak out against rape culture in their ranks.
“Here’s a radical idea: my feminism is one that’s here for women, not abusive men — not pimps, not johns, and most certainly not men who have been accused of abuse and sexual assault. Feminists are free to and always have disagreed on various issues; but the least we could ally on, one would think, is solidarity with women.”—Popular feminism: Allying with abusers and trashing feminists
Tom’s generous praise — that is he willing to consider fucking a 42-year-old woman who looks like Cameron Diaz — tells us much more about feminism’s failures (or rather, patriarchy’s strength) than it does its successes, despite the fact that he claims it is, in fact, “feminism that has made forty-two-year-old women so desirable.”
You see, we have not yet managed to understand that women’s power exists outside of fuckability. That a man might be willing to maybe consider a 42-year-old woman attractive enough to fuck is, society believes, feminism’s greatest success. But what Tom understands to be an accomplishment is actually merely significant of the fact that women are still defined and valued based on their relationships to men.
“why we care what men who buy sex from vulnerable women think about women’s liberation or gender equality is beyond me because if they had any understanding or concern for women’s human rights and ending patriartchy they wouldn’t be buying sex from prostitutes. Do you know any feminist men who buy sex? Would you laugh in their faces if they told you they desired an end to male power and violence against women just after they’d gotten a bj from an Aboriginal woman on the Downtown Eastside? I would.”—#Notalljohns: Notes from the hearings on Bill C-36
“Atchison wants the discussion of exploitation and abuse to be about those other johns over there. But too bad! Because prostitution exists upon and because of a foundation of inequality that makes women into things that exist for male pleasure. Some individual johns are more physically violent than others, sure. But we don’t know which ones those are until they become violent, as Trisha Baptie noted in her testimony, nor is physical violence the whole conversation. The fact that prostitutes experience higher rates of PTSD than war veterans do speaks to that.”—#notalljohns: Notes from the hearings on Bill C-36
Oh esteemed readers, apparently we have been so busy over here at Feminist Current that we managed to miss our own bday. But now we are two!
Since our launch on July 1, 2012, Feminist Current has become the most-read feminist blog in Canada, our stats went from averaging 20,000 a month to over 100,000 a month, and we’ve developed an incredible, amazing community of readers and commenters.
I can’t tell you how grateful I am for all of your participation, time, energy, input, feedback, support, and donations. It means so much to me that you would spend your time and energy here and I’ve learned and continue to learn so much from you all.
I’ve said it many times before and it is absolutely no exaggeration to say that Feminist Current commenters are the smartest commenters on the whole internet. I mean, read the comments. Then read the internet. The folks who comment here are truly amazing. I don’t know what I would do without you.
Through the ups and downs many of you have stuck it out here and held me to account as well as offered support. Thank you.
In celebration of our birthday I’m sending you all of my love, respect, strength, and solidarity. We would be nothing without one another.
“There is no single argument that could in any way legitimize the idea that men who buy sex from vulnerable and desperate women are an oppressed minority akin to gay people. Also, buying sex is not a sexual identity. Men buy sex because they want to have sex with someone who they don’t have to consider, know, or relate to as a human being. They want their needs met beyond all else and, often, they want someone to use and abuse in a way they can’t get away with in their homes and intimate relationships. That desire has little to do with “sex” if we are talking about “sex” as a thing that is desired and enjoyed by all parties involved — you know, not-rape sex.”—Johns are now an oppressed sexual minority
Since I’ve been alive and until recently, efforts to disguise and destroy all evidence that women *gasp* grow body hair, just like men, seemed only to increase to points of insanity. Suddenly the only acceptable pubic hair was a creepy-looking Hitler moustache, the merely symbolic “landing strip” – absurd in its purposelessness — or literally none at all, because apparently the prepubescent look is hot (read: men are disgusting).
I’ve announced publicly and privately a number of times that shaving or waxing one’s vagina is gross, unsanitary, and a huge waste of time, money and energy. The upkeep is a daily chore and the results of said chore can result in an itchy, painful, red, ugly, infected mess.
Sometimes when I make such statements I’m told I’m shaming women who shave or that it really isn’t so bad. And honestly, do whatever you want with your body hair. I spend time and money on other ridiculous and unnecessary beauty rituals too, so I’m not here to judge you. But I have to admit that, despite the fact that I don’t think that what women do or don’t do with their body hair should be dictated by fashion or the male gaze, the return of hair feels a little bit thrilling.
We say to the left: in this past decade you have failed to live up to your rhetoric of revolution. You have not reached the people. And we won’t hitch ourselves to your poor donkey. There are millions of women out there desperate enough to rise. Women’s liberation is dynamite. And we have more important things to do than to try to get you to come around. You will come around when you have to, because you need us more than we need you… Fuck off, left. You can examine your navel by yourself from now on. We’re starting our own movement.
The larger question I’m posing isn’t “did Conor Oberst do it?” — because in the end, sorry not sorry, Conor Oberst himself isn’t particularly important. I’m asking the classic feminist question: “do most people truly think women are human?” Evaluating the evidence right now, I’m not getting an encouraging answer.
“The photos are still out there, but I have never seen them. I would have come out with the story when the incident happened, but – as pathetic as this sounds – didn’t think anyone would give a shit about a non-model getting a dick, albeit a famous fashion photographer’s dick, shoved in her face without any proof whatsoever. I seriously regret just pushing it aside, as I have done time and time again when it comes to incidents involving myself and sexual assaults, a history that goes back to when I was a young teenager. But hearing that New York magazine is going to publish a story absolving the sleazebag of a load of sick, sordid stuff he most definitely, obviously did to multiple women is enough to finally incite me. The guy shouldn’t just be locked out from the fashion photography world, he should be in jail. Add another girl to the list!”—More from the Terry Richardson sexual assault files
Oh so I read James Franco’s essay about Lindsay Lohan for you.
Here is what I have gathered:
1) James Franco is bitter that Lohan said she slept with him and wants to punish her because he is a childish, petty little jerk.
2) James Franco thinks that he can fool us into thinking he isn’t a terrible writer by being as incoherent as possible. But he can’t fool us! We are not fooled.
Please do not bother reading his essay. I do not want you to waste any minutes of your life on it. Not a one.
Mostly what you need to know is that Franco’s entire objective is to insult and publicly humiliate Lohan while kind of sort of but not really pretending that he feels sorry for her:
“I ran my fingers through her hair and thought about this girl sleeping on my chest, our fictional Hollywood girl, Lindsay. What will she do? I hope she gets better. You see, she is famous. She was famous because she was a talented child actress, and now she’s famous because she gets into trouble. She is damaged. For a while, after her high hellion days, she couldn’t get work because she couldn’t get insured. They thought she would run off the sets to party. Her career suffered, and she started getting arrested (stealing, DUIs, car accidents, other things). But the arrests, even as they added up, were never going to be an emotional bottom for her, because she got just as much attention for them as she used to get for her film performances. She would get money offers for her jailhouse memoirs, crazy offers. So how would she ever stop the craziness when the response to her work and the response to her life had converged into one? Two kinds of performance, in film and in life, had melted into one.”
Oh you hope she gets better, huh. Oh she’s so damaged, huh. You know everything about her, huh. You understand her. And it’s just soooo sad, huh Franco. You’re so fucking sensitive.
Of course his concern is feigned. What’s incredible is how transparent he managed to be about that.
Painting Lohan as a sad, desperate, damaged victim in a rambling essay you kind of sort of but not really pretend isn’t only intended to embarrass and punish her isn’t what you do to help people you are worried about. It’s what you do when you have an ego the size of house made out of tissue paper.
“I dreamed about vampires, and a voice came to me. It was a demon. The demon said, ‘I live on the power of celebrity, and I am celebrity. I am the power bestowed on people like you by all the myriad reflectors of your celebrity: the tabloids, the blogs, the fan pages, the way we sit in fans’ minds, the way people read us through your roles in films, etc. This is our public persona, partly created by you and your actions, and partly by these reflectors that act in concert and become me.’ It was a voice of permission, a voice of castigation, a voice of supreme supreme.”
Yeah you know what else that demon does, James? It tells you that you should write things for magazines.
“Every night Lindsay looked for me. My Russian friend, Drew, was always around like a wraith. He, like the blond painting, was my doppelgänger, writing scripts about rape and murder. A Hollywood Dostoyevsky, he had gambled his money away. We played a ton of ping-pong. My room was on the second level, the exterior walls hugged by vines. Every night Lindsay looked for me, and I hid. Out the window was Hollywood.”
She looked for him every night. She was obsessed with him. He wouldn’t sleep with her because she’s oh-so-sad. She looked for him and he hid. She’s desperate, he’s not. He’s just a nice guy trying to hide from this crazy cray.
Anyway, there’s no real reason I think any of you should care particularly about this news apart from being able to add it to a growing list of nasty, sexist, douchey behaviour from a pompous tool.
“There are very good things in the bill and there is a potentially bad thing in the bill. It isn’t, in my opinion, accurate to say that Canada has adopted the Nordic model, though we are much closer than we were previously. The Nordic model does not include a provision that could potentially criminalize prostituted people if in a a public place “where persons under the age of 18 can reasonably be expected to be present.” But the reality is that we are in a better position to advocate for what we want now than if, for example, the proposal were to fully decriminalize or if it weren’t so specific in its intention to target demand and support women. I would like to see a commitment to reeducating the police in order to ensure they actuallyfocus on the johns and both leave prostitutes alone and support them if they need support. This is a key part of the Swedish model. It’s also, of course, important to remind ourselves that Sweden has stronger social safety nets and a better welfare system than Canada does and so we need to keep the pressure on in regard to all of these aspects.”—C-36: Some initial thoughts on Canada’s new prostitution bill
Were you guys all wondering what Lana Del Rey thought about feminism? ME TOO I KNOW. I know.
Well you can all go back to bed now because the space queen hath spoken. In an interview with Fader magazine she says:
"For me, the issue of feminism is just not an interesting concept. Whenever people bring up feminism, I’m like, god. I’m just not really that interested. I’m more interested in, you know, SpaceX and Tesla, what’s going to happen with our intergalactic possibilities."
This is actually my favorite game though. Let’s play.
“Whenever people bring up muffins, I’m like, god, I’m not really that interested. I’m more interested in, you know, pigmy goats.”
“Whenever people bring up drones, I’m like, god, I’m not really that interested. I’m more interested in, you know, the radical possibilities of juicing.”
“Whenever people bring up lunch, I’m like, god, I’m not interested. I’m more interested in, you know, Nazis.”
“Whenever people bring up dinosaurs, I’m like, god, I’m not really that interested. I’m more interested in, you know, internet.”
WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT AND ALSO WHO CARES.
You could literally say that about anything. Also, you aren’t interested in feminism because you don’t know what it is. Why don’t you just say that? If someone asked me what I thought about SpaceX, I wouldn’t say, “Oh god, who cares.” I would obviously stall them while I googled “SpaceX.”
The interviewer went on to ask Del Rey on how she would define the term “feminism.”
She answered: “My idea of a true feminist is a woman who feels free enough to do whatever she wants.”
Gosh that’s weird. Because to me “a woman who feels free enough to do whatever she wants” sounds “very wealthy,” not “feminist.”
The trouble with celebrities is that sometimes they talk.
Anyway, I’m bored of this now. Who wants to hear about my nail art?
Porn teaches men they are gods. Pop culture teaches men that the epitome of success is to be surrounded by naked women, fawning over you. Prostitution exists because we, as a culture, very much believe that women exist to pleasure men. We tell women that they have to “work” in marriage, to keep their men happy, to keep them from straying — buy sexy lingerie, try threesomes, try anal, perform every porn fantasy he has — he needs it, he deserves it, it is your job.
We can continue to skirt around these truths — that the sex industry and our patriarchal culture breed men like Rodger — but expect more violence, more deaths, more rape, and more abuse. Our world is rife with Elliot Rodgers. We create them every day. They aren’t going anywhere.
I would ask that as feminists, we take into account that inequality between men and women has been foundational to the model of sexuality that is normal for our society and that internalization of such a norm is unlikely to lead women into making sexual choices that are good for women, however “free” they may be.
I’ve watched my abusive ex continue to thrive in his community — join all the boards, the parent-teacher groups, spearhead community initiatives. What a guy! And hey, he didn’t abuse you, so WHO’S TO SAY. And who cares when there’s progressive work to be done! Real progressive work. Work that matters. Not just the girl shit. They’re all crazy anyway — the girls.
So keep starting your startups and having your protests and your meetings and keep writing your articles and having your very important discussions about climate change and poverty and union politics and Donald Sterling is such a racist, isn’t he. We’ll all support you, I guess, because we have no other choice. Because where do we go? Where is our community? Where is our Next Top Progressive Website? Where’s our Jacobin? When we launch it will we get profiled in The New York Times?
Oh. No. We don’t get one. We aren’t serious enough. It’s just women’s issues after all. Not Serious Politics. Oh. Because you still want your buddies and your porn and your class of women to fuck and ogle and to listen to your fucking baby-child emotions and to comfort you and support you and be there for you while you work through your fucking damage even though we had to work through ours all on our own. When is it our turn? When will you listen to us?
“We don’t need to show you black eyes or broken bones to prove a man is abusive. We fucking know. Abuse is psychological, verbal, and emotional just as much as it is physical — if not moreso. We know what abuse is. We know because it happened to us. And you don’t get to decide whether or not it’s real.”—Here’s what I want from progressives (some fucking solidarity)
“hooks says she asked Janet Mock if glamour was a source of power, and Mock responded “yes,” immediately. Mock explains that, to wear makeup and heels, to “pretty [herself] up,” to “claim [her] body” and to “prettify” it in the way she wants, constitutes power. Mock sees it as claiming space. As claiming power. “This little space is mine,” she says, referring to her body. “I will do it for myself. Not for the pleasure of or for the gaze of a man.” Does she gaze at herself, I wonder? Through whose eyes? Where did these images of glamour and female beauty come from?”—BELL HOOKS WILL SAVE US ALL FROM THE LONG, SLOW DEATH THAT IS POPULAR FEMINISM
“One of the greatest failures of the first episode is Everett’s unwillingness to acknowledge that which is most evident. The first episode asks “why people sell sex,” but avoids the most obvious answer: demand. “People” (the vast majority of whom are women) sell sex primarily to men. If there were no male demand for paid sex, there would be no prostitution. Another unaddressed truth is that prostitution is not and has never been about female desire or fulfillment. Rather, it exists because of male power and entitlement. We, as a society believe not only that men have the right to access women’s bodies, but that buying sex doesn’t simply fulfill a desire, but a need.”—Rupert Everett’s prostitution documentary, Love for Sale, seeks a fantasy, not reality
“Everett wants to sell a notion of prostitution as glamorous, sexually liberating, and economically empowering, but reality gets in the way. “A teacher can nearly double her weekly take-home income with just a good day’s work with this agency,” Everett proclaims. As though living in a world wherein a teacher must resort to selling sex on the side in order to survive is a great social achievement.”—Rupert Everett’s prostitution documentary, Love for Sale, seeks a fantasy, not reality
“The leaked conversation between Sterling and his then-girlfriend, V. Stiviano, wherein we learned that the owner didn’t want his girlfriend (who reminds him that she is, in fact, “mixed” race) publicly associating with black people, also made public his sexist views about women: “I don’t want to change. If my girl can’t do what I want, I don’t want the girl. I’ll find a girl that will do what I want! Believe me. I thought you were that girl—because I tried to do what you want. But you’re not that girl.””—Do women matter? Donald Sterling has a long history of sexism too, but few are angry about it
“Fans, players, and the media like objectifying women. Sexism is a-ok as far as they’re concerned. Male supremacy is all part of the game. And when the entire league accepts or even perpetuates misogyny and violence against women, it’s unsurprising that it goes unaddressed when owners turn out to be sexists. What’s Kobe going to say? “I couldn’t play for him… because he treats women like objects?” Somehow I doubt it.”—Do women matter? Donald Sterling has a long history of sexism too, but few are angry about it
“A lot of people learn that men and women should have different roles in this world in order to create “balance” and, therefore, end up with this idea that feminism is not only “anti-man” but “anti-woman” because it’s “against” femininity (or masculinity). If you think that masculine and feminine gender roles are not only innate but good, then you’re likely to see critiques of those gender roles as attacking actual males and females, rather than attacking those socialized roles and behaviours, as well as the hierarchy that is attached to said roles. This leads women to say things like “No, I’m not a feminist, I love being a woman” because they believe their womanhood is attached to a subordinate gender role which they have been told is not only natural, but empowering.”—Should we stop asking celebrities about feminism?
“After Daytona Bitch was fired, Toronto Prides’ executive director Kevin Beaulieu said about the performance: “It doesn’t meet our mission or our mandate, which is to celebrate the full diversity of Toronto’s LGBTQ community.” The statement begs the question: where are women in that “celebration” of “diversity?” Do we matter at all? Or are we just a joke?”—Why has drag escaped critique from feminists and the LGBTQ community?
“When we talk about war and the casualties of war, women are rarely discussed. Wartime stories are heroic battle tales, fought among men; or they commemorate the suffering and deaths of soldiers. Never do we hold nation-wide days of remembrance for the women and girls who were brutalized and killed during wartime. Yet the tragedy and injustice of war makes women and girls its victim daily. The comfort women are symbolic of this erasure and it is our responsibility to acknowledge and address the way in which women and girls are sacrificed by our nation’s wars.”—70 Years Later, Japan Is Still Denying the Systematic Sexual Slavery of Chinese ‘Comfort Women’ | VICE Canada
“Sex negative” and “sex positive” are relatively useless terms with regard to discussing feminist approaches to issues of sex and sexuality. The terms convey the message that “sex positivity” equals support for a vision of sex and sexuality that is defined by patriarchy and one that is primarily libertarian. What’s defined as “sex positive feminism” tends to translate to: non-critical of the sex industry, BDSM, burlesque, and generally, anything that can be related to “sex.” “Non-judgement” is the mantra espoused by so-called “sex-positive feminists,” which is troubling because it ends up framing critical thought and discourse as “judgement” and therefore negative. Since I tend to see critical thinking as a good thing, the “don’t judge me”/”don’t say anything critical about sex because it’s sex and therefore anything goes” thing doesn’t sit well with me.
“Sex negative,” on the other hand, tends to be ascribed to feminists who are critical of prostitution, pornography, strip clubs, burlesque, BDSM and, really, sex and sexuality as defined by patriarchy and men. The reason that feminists are critical of these things is because they want to work towards a real, liberated, feminist understanding of sex and sexuality, rather than one that sexualizes inequality, domination and subordination, is male-centered, and is harmful and exploitative of women. To me, that sounds far more “sex positive” (from a feminist perspective, anyway), than blind support for anything sex-related, because sex.
“It’s the Belle Knox brand of feminism. It says that if an individual woman consents to — or even enjoys — performing in pornography, it must be ok. It says that if an individual woman likes pornography, it must be ok. And not just ok, but potentially empowering. I have no idea why we would assume that only men’s sexualities can be shaped by porn or why, simply because a woman’s fantasies have been shaped by porn that means those fantasies and that pornography is necessarily feminist. I don’t give a shit how many people like porn. I don’t give a shit if you say you like performing in porn (most women don’t, for the record, but there are exceptions to every rule that you’re sure to find if you look). That changes absolutely nothing about what porn is and how it impacts our lives and society as a whole.”—Feminism is the new misogyny: On ‘Belle Knox feminism’ and the new backlash
“The way in which it has become acceptable in some feminist circles to blackball and tar women who fight pornography and prostitution or to ignore and discredit them by calling them “sex-negative pearl-clutchers” — to claim feminists are the ones doing the oppressing because they criticize selfies or burlesque or, really, anything else one might feel attached to — that’s all part of the backlash. Which isn’t the same as saying women are to blame, but it is saying we’ve been had.”—Feminism is the new misogyny: On ‘Belle Knox feminism’ and the new backlash
“Since when does feminism promote the idea that one should not have “feelings?” My understanding was that to accuse women of being “too emotional” or of letting their feelings get in the way of rational (man) thought was, er, kind of sexist? Beyond that, the reason one would get involved in the feminist movement would be literally because one cares about other women. We cares about women’s lives, rights, well-being, and, more generally, their ability to live their lives free from oppression and violence and with dignity. To demand that we “put our feelings aside” when thinking about feminism and women’s issues is anti-feminist.”—No, I will not stop having ‘feelings’ about women’s lives and human rights
“I do consider “rape culture” to be a useful and accurate way of describing the way in which sexual violence has been normalized and sexualized in our culture. There is simply no denying that, when we see male students “joking” about raping female students, as we did recently at the University of Ottawa, when fraternities are untouchable on campus despite the fact that the “Greek scene” is a cesspool of toxic masculinity and sexual violence, when students at Canadian universities participate in “rape chants” during frosh week while fellow students are actually being raped on campus, when violent pornography that depicts sexual violence is defended as “just a fantasy,” or when we learn that acting out rape scenes is a way for us to recover from our own trauma, when women are afraid to walk alone at night, when women are afraid to be home alone at night in their own homes – this is a rape culture. We’re living it, every day.”—On rape culture and what Heather MacDonald doesn’t understand about sexual violence