'Anarchism and sex' article

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georgestapleton's picture
georgestapleton
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Nov 23 2006 22:34

You might want to look at sex worker sites. I mean I know talking about sex workers as workers and not as hapless victims is terribly economistic but, you'll have to forgive me and I guess the sex workers.

The International Union of Sex Workers

The International Committee on the Rights of Sex Workers in Europe

Network of Sex Work Projects

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Serge Forward
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Nov 23 2006 22:47

I reckon it'll be water off a duck's back, george, because I really get the impression that james isn't too interested in anything that that might go against his personal concept of "anarcha-feminism" (whatever that might be).

James Woolley
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Nov 23 2006 23:03
georgestapleton wrote:
Jesus, I'd almost think you were taking the piss.

Did you just write off someones experience of exploitation and alienation in the sex industry because that someone is 'male' or because he pretended to be a woman? Jack's explanation of what his experiences were are, according to you, not an explanation of 'the true nature' of jack's experiences were because.....
a)he's a bloke so what he says doesn't matter
b)he's a bloke and bloke's can't experience being treated as 'sexual objects'
c)he's not you and only you can tell him what the true nature of his experiences were
d)this undermines your neat 'poor innocent virginal women being exploited bad man-cocks' analysis.

I mean where do you get off saying that someones discription of their work in the sex industry doesn't depict the true nature of the sex-industry? Surely you see how unbelieveable arrogant that is?

Next are you going to tell me that all hetero sex under patriarchy is rape? Jesus. It'd make my head explode. wall

Jeezus man... you sound like some American neocon who calls anyone who, for instance, wants there to be an American NHS, a communist...

One of the fundamental tenents of anarcha-feminism is that the experience is UNIQUE to women.

I never said anything along the lines of 'poor innocent virginal women being exploited bad man-cocks'. I never said what he says doesn't matter, but then again, I doubt that he really understands how oppressed a woman can feel - it's tantamount to an aristocratic person pretending to be part of the working class. Yes, it is understood on a certain level but then again it cannot compensate for a whole life time of oppression and the deep psychological effects it produces.

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Serge Forward
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Nov 23 2006 23:10
James Woolley wrote:
I doubt that he really understands how oppressed a woman can feel - it's tantamount to an aristocratic person pretending to be part of the working class. Yes, it is understood on a certain level but then again it cannot compensate for a whole life time of oppression and the deep psychological effects it produces.

So how come you understand it all so much better then? Surely you wouldn't be tantamount to an aristocrat pretending to be working class as well?

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Nov 23 2006 23:11
James Woolley wrote:
One of the fundamental tenents of anarcha-feminism is that the experience is UNIQUE to them.

who? women as a biological category? [edit: yep, you amended the post to clarify]

patriarchy also reifies male gender roles, albeit in generally more 'priveleged' terms which are no less alienated. I mean you, presumably a man, are telling us we can't possibly understand the oppression women feel - how do you know better than i do? i have close female friends, some political some not, i'm not claiming to speak for anyone else, but i listen to those who speak for themselves - including the sex workers union etc linked to above, friends etc - and form an opinion. I won't just take someone's opinion on patriarchy as gospel because they've got the right 23rd chromosome pair, or not in your case :?

James Woolley
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Nov 23 2006 23:12
Serge Forward wrote:
... seems to me to be little different from unreconstituted early 80s Spare Rib type politics... which was anything but "anarcha".

Please excuse my ignorance, but I do not know what this is.

James Woolley
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Nov 23 2006 23:15
Serge Forward wrote:
James Woolley wrote:
I doubt that he really understands how oppressed a woman can feel - it's tantamount to an aristocratic person pretending to be part of the working class. Yes, it is understood on a certain level but then again it cannot compensate for a whole life time of oppression and the deep psychological effects it produces.

So how come you understand it all so much better then? Surely you wouldn't be tantamount to an aristocrat pretending to be working class as well?

No. I am not claiming to understand it either. I merely am recognising that the subjugation of women can only really be understood at its most fundamental level by women themselves.

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Nov 23 2006 23:16

so we should listen to sex workers then? even those whose views are 'typical marxist economism'?

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Nov 23 2006 23:18

Spare Rib was the main British feminist magazine in the late 70s/early 80s. There was a fair bit of sisterhood/victimhood in it, anyone with a dick was a rapist (or a rapist waiting to happen), porn was EVIL, Lesbian fist fucking was maybe ok, while hetero penetration was oppression, etc, etc, etc.

OK, so I've exaggerated somewhat.... just not very much.

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Nov 23 2006 23:22
James Wooley wrote earlier wrote:
My position is that it objectifies women and is demeaning and encourages a bad attitude in men.

James Wooley wrote:
I never said what he says doesn't matter, but then again, I doubt that he really understands how oppressed a woman can feel - it's tantamount to an aristocratic person pretending to be part of the working class.

Yeah it's like an academic telling sex workers that they are being objectified in ways that they don't understand. And indeed their understanding of it is so bad they we needn't listen to them. And worse not only are they being objectified in ways that they don't understand, they are objectifying women in general and encouraging a bad attitude in men.

Didn't dworkin say something like pornography, and sex work should be banned because they are majot contributing factors to rape and sexual assault?

James Woolley
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Nov 23 2006 23:25
Serge Forward wrote:
Spare Rib was the main British feminist magazine in the late 70s/early 80s. There was a fair bit of sisterhood/victimhood in it, anyone with a dick was a rapist (or a rapist waiting to happen), porn was EVIL, Lesbian fist fucking was maybe ok, while hetero penetration was oppression, etc, etc, etc.

OK, so I've exaggerated somewhat.... just not very much.

I haven't said anything like that.

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georgestapleton
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Nov 23 2006 23:28

He was saying what spare rib was like, not what you have said. Never seen the magazine so i couldn't say myself.

James Woolley
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Nov 23 2006 23:31
georgestapleton wrote:
Yeah it's like an academic telling sex workers that they are being objectified in ways that they don't understand. And indeed their understanding of it is so bad they we needn't listen to them. And worse not only are they being objectified in ways that they don't understand, they are objectifying women in general and encouraging a bad attitude in men.

Didn't dworkin say something like pornography, and sex work should be banned because they are majot contributing factors to rape and sexual assault?

@ your first point: I never said anything about telling sex workers they're objectified. And I most certainly did not say 'in ways they do not understand'.

@ your second: sex work and pornography certainly do dehumanize and objectify women, and if this is all a man knows of women, then I can certainly see that it may influence rape - because it encourages men not to view women as humans, but as permissive things waiting to dominated by means of defilement. These sorts of things are easier once someone has been inculcated with the idea that women are not humans, merely objects.

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Nov 23 2006 23:31
James Woolley wrote:
I haven't said anything like that.

I did say I exaggerated somewhat wink

But there's a similarity in that you seem to be assuming that the role of porn and the sex industry is to demean and exploit women. It isn't. The big businesses do it to make loads of money pure and simple, some of the smaller concerns do it also to make money, but often because the people involved get something positive out of it other than money.

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Nov 23 2006 23:33
georgestapleton wrote:
Yeah it's like an academic telling sex workers that they are being objectified in ways that they don't understand. And indeed their understanding of it is so bad they we needn't listen to them. And worse not only are they being objectified in ways that they don't understand, they are objectifying women in general and encouraging a bad attitude in men.

Didn't dworkin say something like pornography, and sex work should be banned because they are majot contributing factors to rape and sexual assault?

Yep, she was a cretin. And James you're still being really patronising. You're not even paying attention to the words of female sex workers. Look at those union links, or read some of http://spreadmagazine.org/ (sex workers mag) or something. Don't start whiny stuff like "there are no anarcha feminists here" just because we don't agree with your non-anarchist, liberal, anti-worker "feminism".

James Woolley
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Nov 23 2006 23:34
georgestapleton wrote:
He was saying what spare rib was like, not what you have said.

He was:

Serge Forward wrote:
James, I'm not really sure what you mean by "anarcha-feminism" because what you're suggesting seems to me to be little different from unreconstituted early 80s Spare Rib type politics... which was anything but "anarcha".

But then again he just said he was exaggerating.

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Nov 23 2006 23:44
revol68 wrote:
BTW i'm deliberately being reductionist here, as I'm merely trying to hold a mirror of James's own reductionist account of sexual politics.

My arse! You're a reductionist wee shite grin

James Woolley
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Nov 23 2006 23:46
John. wrote:
georgestapleton wrote:
Yeah it's like an academic telling sex workers that they are being objectified in ways that they don't understand. And indeed their understanding of it is so bad they we needn't listen to them. And worse not only are they being objectified in ways that they don't understand, they are objectifying women in general and encouraging a bad attitude in men.

Didn't dworkin say something like pornography, and sex work should be banned because they are majot contributing factors to rape and sexual assault?

Yep, she was a cretin. And James you're still being really patronising. You're not even paying attention to the words of female sex workers. Look at those union links, or read some of http://spreadmagazine.org/ (sex workers mag) or something. Don't start whiny stuff like "there are no anarcha feminists here" just because we don't agree with your non-anarchist, liberal, anti-worker "feminism".

I'm not patronising.

What you're saying is the same as a capitalist saying that 'workers don't feel oppressed'. And then quoting workers saying that they do not feel oppressed. Which I'm sure you could do, because if they all did feel oppressed, then surely we would have a revolution?

The reason they don't feel oppressed is by a huge system of indoctrination and ideology put in action by the people trying to prevent a worker's revolution.

It's exactly the same with the women. Swap 'worker' for 'woman' and swap capitalism and the state for 'patriarchy' (even though the patriarchy also works through those two systems of control), and it is exactly the same principle.

Grace
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Nov 23 2006 23:55
James Woolley wrote:
One of the fundamental tenents of anarcha-feminism is that the experience is UNIQUE to women.

In which case then, 'anarcha-feminism' is a load of balls! Of course men don't have the experience of actually being a woman and feeling 'exploited', but I'm of the opinion that feminism is just as much about men and that, as Joseph said, patriarchal attitudes also affect men, even if it is usually in a different way.

In reading your posts I got the impression that you do seem to espouse the whole women as victims mentality, which is pretty patronising to say the least. While no doubt women in the sex industry are exploited by nature of being workers, I don't think it's fair to say or imply that the exploitation is somehow worse because sex is involved. I've no doubt that there are many women involved in pornography, prostitution and so on who are mistreated, would rather not be doing that particular job, who are even forced into it, but to apply that as a rule for everyone within the industry is pretty silly. I doubt if you spoke to women who choose to be strippers, porn actors, lap dancers etc and enjoy their work, and told them that they were victims of patriarchy and their job was degrading and so on, that you'd be particularly well-received. Equally the impact of some male attitudes isn't only felt by workers in the sex industry - having worked in retail and service I know this only too well, unfortunately some people are just sleazy - the fact of not being a sex worker doesn't make anyone immune from sexual objectification.

A feature of life is that everyone's experiences are different and subjective - while some people no doubt suffer great exploitation and oppression in the sex industry just as in any other industry, I also have no doubt that some people must love their work in it, just as in any other industry; after all, people are to an extent free to choose what job they do and sometimes they might even end up doing something they enjoy and want to do. Just because a certain job seems unpleasant or morally 'bad' to some of us doesn't mean the exploitation is necessarily any worse than that suffered by any other worker, and so I personally don't think it's sensible to make a great distinction between sex workers and other kinds of workers. Everyone that works is exploited, it just takes different forms sometimes.

Overall I think you're making far too many generalisations about women, and you're a weeeee bit offensive. And yes, I have a vagina.

Dear me that was too long. I'm avoiding an essay sad

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Nov 23 2006 23:56
Quote:
@ your first point: I never said anything about telling sex workers they're objectified. And I most certainly did not say 'in ways they do not understand'.

So then are they right when they say that their job doesn't involve objectification in the way you are describing?

Quote:
@ your second: sex work and pornography certainly do dehumanize and objectify women, and if this is all a man knows of women, then I can certainly see that it may influence rape - because it encourages men not to view women as humans, but as permissive things waiting to dominated by means of defilement. These sorts of things are easier once someone has been inculcated with the idea that women are not humans, merely objects.

Okay so you are not telling sex workers that that they are being objectified, you are telling me. A secret between men perhaps. I'm not at all comfortable with this human/object distinction. I mean women are sexual objects. Of course they are sexual objects with subjectivity, so they are also sexual subjects. And we shouldn't deny any person their subjectivity. But the question is does sex work deny women their subjectivity in a qualitatively different fashion to other forms of wage labour? Well according to a lot of sex workers no it doesn't.

So do we listen to these sex workers and go okay as a human subject you are telling me about your subjective experiences and you are of course right about what your experience have been. And then possibly say something about what we think about our experiences and what other people have told us about their experiences and about how we can theorise and understand these experiences. Or do we do something else?

Because to be frank in terms of objectification, i think you may be treating 'woman' as an ideological object and not women as human subjects. 'Woman' does not exist women exist.

And err sex work does not de-humanize women, women who work in sex work are just as much human as you are me.

I was going to pick you up on something you said earlier but let it slide I'll mention it now.

Quote:
I can express this simply: men should love women for what they ARE, not what they WANT them to be: powerless, submissive objects. By 'men' I am not talking about all men. I can't say 'most' or the 'minority' because the amount men with patriarchal tendencies is hard to define.

Firstly again patriarchy is a term i don't like. Is patriarchy a social structure, a part of capitalist social structure or something that arises out of male patriarchal tendencies.

Secondly you are again turning men here into an ideological object. 'Man' does not exist men exist.

Thirdly you cannot and should not give ethical injunctions about how to love.

Lastly and this is my real point underlying the first three points: love is when what you want someone to be is what they are. That doesn't mean that what we shouldn't engage in relationship purely on the basis of what we want because often it is out of going for what you want from someone that what you want from that person develops or reveals itself as what that person is. What it does mean is rather that we shouldn't not engage in realtionships on the basis of getting what we want.

Also saying that men want "powerless, submissive objects" is a total straw man argument and is a really crass simplification of male desire or any subjects desire of any kind, even that of a rapist.

James Woolley
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Nov 24 2006 00:00
revol68 wrote:
eh, no one is saying they aren't exploited or oppressed, infact it would be your relativist nonsense that comes closest to making such a case i.e. how can you tell women they are oppressed, you haven't had their experiance.

Again, you've misrepresented my point. My point is that only women can understand at the most fundamental level the nature of of their exploitation and what it is really like for the unique form of oppression they experience.

All I do is recognise that they are exploited.

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Nov 24 2006 00:05
James Woolley wrote:
What you're saying is the same as a capitalist saying that 'workers don't feel oppressed'. And then quoting workers saying that they do not feel oppressed. Which I'm sure you could do, because if they all did feel oppressed, then surely we would have a revolution?

The reason they don't feel oppressed is by a huge system of indoctrination and ideology put in action by the people trying to prevent a worker's revolution.

And because they don't feel oppressed.

Do they feel exploited though? Yeah. Ask almost any worker: 'should you be paid more for the work you do?' And they'll say yes. Ask any worker would you like to work less and they'll say yes. Ask any worker would they like to have more control over the work they do and they'll say yes. Ask any worker would you like to live a life where you can pursue you interests and develop yourself in the way you see fit, free from the fear of not having enough money to sustain yourself and they'll say ' what are you on about you daft bastard, yeah that'd be deadly but it's not like its going to happen is it'.

It's from these experiences that revolutionary theory and pratice is based and not from some body saying 'oh your being oppressed you just don't know it'.

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Nov 24 2006 00:05
James Woolley wrote:
Again, you've misrepresented my point. My point is that only women can understand at the most fundamental level the nature of of their exploitation and what it is really like for the unique form of oppression they experience.

so do Grace's points trump all of our male ones?

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Nov 24 2006 00:07
James Woolley wrote:
All I do is recognise that they are exploited.

We all recognise that every working class person, male or female, is exploited. Some of us just don't think that there is a qualitative difference in the exploitation of sex workers in comparison to other workers.

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Nov 24 2006 00:09

James, I've just sent you a PM.

Grace
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Nov 24 2006 00:13
Joseph K. wrote:
James Woolley wrote:
Again, you've misrepresented my point. My point is that only women can understand at the most fundamental level the nature of of their exploitation and what it is really like for the unique form of oppression they experience.

so do Grace's points trump all of our male ones?

Naturally wink

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Joseph Kay
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Nov 24 2006 00:18

in the cock's world, the castrated man is king. or something.

Grace
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Nov 24 2006 00:19

As long as you mean that I am king, that's fine by me.

James Woolley
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Nov 24 2006 00:19
Grace wrote:
James Woolley wrote:
One of the fundamental tenents of anarcha-feminism is that the experience is UNIQUE to women.

Of course men don't have the experience of actually being a woman and feeling 'exploited',

... which is exactly what I said.

Grace wrote:
but I'm of the opinion that feminism is just as much about men and that, as Joseph said, patriarchal attitudes also affect men, even if it is usually in a different way.

That is true, the patriarchy does affect men - but that is not a feminist issue.

Grace wrote:
In reading your posts I got the impression that you do seem to espouse the whole women as victims mentality, which is pretty patronising to say the least.

Well, they are victims. Unless you feel that they aren't oppressed.

James Woolley
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Nov 24 2006 00:23
georgestapleton wrote:
James Woolley wrote:
What you're saying is the same as a capitalist saying that 'workers don't feel oppressed'. And then quoting workers saying that they do not feel oppressed. Which I'm sure you could do, because if they all did feel oppressed, then surely we would have a revolution?

The reason they don't feel oppressed is by a huge system of indoctrination and ideology put in action by the people trying to prevent a worker's revolution.

And because they don't feel oppressed.

Do they feel exploited though? Yeah. Ask almost any worker: 'should you be paid more for the work you do?' And they'll say yes. Ask any worker would you like to work less and they'll say yes. Ask any worker would they like to have more control over the work they do and they'll say yes. Ask any worker would you like to live a life where you can pursue you interests and develop yourself in the way you see fit, free from the fear of not having enough money to sustain yourself and they'll say ' what are you on about you daft bastard, yeah that'd be deadly but it's not like its going to happen is it'.

It's from these experiences that revolutionary theory and pratice is based and not from some body saying 'oh your being oppressed you just don't know it'.

No, I believe that most workers have been indoctrinated to the extent that they don't feel that they are exploited.

If they do feel exploited, what more do we need to create a worker's revolution? If they feel they are exploited, they would find some way to overcome this.