“ 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.”
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.”
“ 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.”
“ 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.”
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.
- Shulamith Firestone
“ If you can’t imagine a world without prostitution, then you can’t imagine a world without colonialism, poverty, misogyny, and racism. And what the fuck kind of socialist utopia is that?”
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.
- Joy Wagner