DONATE NOW TO HELP UPGRADE LIBCOM.ORG

'Anarchism and sex' article

319 posts / 0 new
Last post
arf
Offline
Joined: 25-11-06
Nov 26 2006 15:28
Serge Forward wrote:
Arf, I would never use a term like "real rape" so I don't know why you suggest that this is what I am implying. You will also notice that I do not deny the fact that many sex workers are raped either. I do however think that the kind of reductionist argument which says that anything associated with the sex industry is de facto rape, is utter nonsense which has no basis in reality.

You implied that defining the actual rape of sex workers as rape was "belittling" to real rape victims. The myth of "real rape" is widespread and i caught it in your post.

I never said that anything associated with the sex industry is "de facto rape" and I have never ever heard that pov expressed by anyone, ever. It is certainly not the radical feminist position.

Quote:
John makes a good point about women who view pornography, - and we really are talking many many thousands of women in this country alone. Are they all rapists too? Are men involved in porn also rapists?

Women who watch pornography, just like the men that watch pornography, may be paying to watch rape. Again, maybe there is some small minority that look for "ethical" porn. Other than that, if the consumer has no way of knowing whether there was actual and real and uncoerced consent to do everything that is in that movie, then they are very likely to be supporting rape and rapists with their money. There are plenty of reports and interviews with porn "stars" out there, especially from the more "privileged" end of the market, where they discuss how doing things you dont want to do is part of the job, that there is no choice, that they just have to do what they are told. In a normal job that is bad enough, but if your job is being fucked for a living, then it is rape.

However, despite the fast growing number of women consumers of porn, they do not even begin to approach the number of men consumers. Pornography is mostly made and sold to and between men, and it is therefore the male consumers who need to be approached and made to understand what they are paying for and supporting.

And yes, men and women who are involved in, directing, producing, starring in, porn, where they know that others are being coerced or forced into it, or where they couldnt give a shit and dont bother to find out, are also participating in and supporting rape. The fact that it is their job does not mean they take no responsibility.

Joseph Kay's picture
Joseph Kay
Offline
Joined: 14-03-06
Nov 26 2006 15:37
arf wrote:
There are plenty of reports and interviews with porn "stars" out there, especially from the more "privileged" end of the market, where they discuss how doing things you dont want to do is part of the job, that there is no choice, that they just have to do what they are told. In a normal job that is bad enough, but if your job is being fucked for a living, then it is rape.

but surely the male porn stars are just as much being raped, unless sex is seen as something men do to women?

Steven.'s picture
Steven.
Offline
Joined: 27-06-06
Nov 26 2006 16:34
Serge Forward wrote:
Maybe this is for a different thread, but I'd like to ask what people think. Does anyone here believe that pornography would cease to exist in anarcho-communist society?

Yes that is definitely for a different thread. Feel free to start it though.

Serge Forward's picture
Serge Forward
Offline
Joined: 14-01-04
Nov 26 2006 16:37

Sorry arf, call me a simpleton but I'm working on a definition of rape based on consent or the lack of it. Yes, it's a fact that many women (and some men) participate non-consensually in the global sex trade, no one's aguing about that. To a lesser extent some women and men participate non-consensually in the making of pornography. Of the pornography freely available in adult shops and newsagents in this country, I'd say a small amount might involve people filmed or photographed non-consensually, but the vast proportion is done by sex workers who have made an informed choice to work in that industry.

So on this basis, what definition of rape are you using to suggest that anyone who views pornography is a rapist? If it's because we don't really know whether the people in those images were of the small minority of coerced women or men... that would be a bit like never drinking tea or coffee ever again because it might have been made by a super-exploited peasant (which is actually far more likely to be true), and I don't see many people giving up tea and coffee.

arf
Offline
Joined: 25-11-06
Nov 26 2006 16:38
Joseph K. wrote:
arf wrote:
There are plenty of reports and interviews with porn "stars" out there, especially from the more "privileged" end of the market, where they discuss how doing things you dont want to do is part of the job, that there is no choice, that they just have to do what they are told. In a normal job that is bad enough, but if your job is being fucked for a living, then it is rape.

but surely the male porn stars are just as much being raped, unless sex is seen as something men do to women?

There are medical and legal definitions of rape.

And yes, culturally, and most definitely in pornography, and without any possibility of denial in sex work, sex is something men do, to women, and to men, and to children.

I don't believe that is how sex should be. Sex is something that people should be doing WITH each other and not TO each other. BUT culturally and politically sex is portrayed as something that men do and women have done to them. Are you in denial about this?

Serge Forward's picture
Serge Forward
Offline
Joined: 14-01-04
Nov 26 2006 16:45

Ahhh... I wondered when "children" would come into the argument.

I don't know where you got your sex education arf, but sex is some thing you do with, do to, and have done to you (but I guess it all kind of depends on the mood and the moment).

Or maybe I'm just in denial as well.

Steven.'s picture
Steven.
Offline
Joined: 27-06-06
Nov 26 2006 16:46
arf wrote:
And yes, culturally, and most definitely in pornography, and without any possibility of denial in sex work, sex is something men do, to women, and to men, and to children.

I don't believe that is how sex should be. Sex is something that people should be doing WITH each other and not TO each other. BUT culturally and politically sex is portrayed as something that men do and women have done to them. Are you in denial about this?

So you're saying, of porn actors, that men who get told to do something they don't want to do in a film are rapists, and women told the same are rape victims? Hmmmm neutral

pingtiao's picture
pingtiao
Offline
Joined: 9-10-03
Nov 26 2006 16:49
arf wrote:
Joseph K. wrote:
arf wrote:
There are plenty of reports and interviews with porn "stars" out there, especially from the more "privileged" end of the market, where they discuss how doing things you dont want to do is part of the job, that there is no choice, that they just have to do what they are told. In a normal job that is bad enough, but if your job is being fucked for a living, then it is rape.

but surely the male porn stars are just as much being raped, unless sex is seen as something men do to women?

There are medical and legal definitions of rape.

And yes, culturally, and most definitely in pornography, and without any possibility of denial in sex work, sex is something men do, to women, and to men, and to children.

His point seemed to be that the performers are both performing alienated work semi-consensually (as workers do when "choosing" to produce a commodity in a factory), and therefore both perople present must have to do things they don't want to do as part of the job. Do you extend your definition to include the man therefore being raped as he has sex with the woman?

Quote:
Are you in denial about this?

We tend to say "Do you disagree?"

Joseph Kay's picture
Joseph Kay
Offline
Joined: 14-03-06
Nov 26 2006 16:57
arf wrote:
I don't believe that is how sex should be. Sex is something that people should be doing WITH each other and not TO each other. BUT culturally and politically sex is portrayed as something that men do and women have done to them. Are you in denial about this?

you're claiming ALL sex is something men do to women? sure it's the prevailing cultural norm and for that reason amongst others we shouldn't re-enforce it by saying female pornstars are raped while male porn stars are rapists, if there's rape they're both being raped. where do gay male pornstars stand (no jokes about 'behind each other' please wink)?

arf
Offline
Joined: 25-11-06
Nov 26 2006 17:02
Serge Forward wrote:
Sorry arf, call me a simpleton but I'm working on a definition of rape based on consent or the lack of it.

I wont all you a simpleton but you are doing a grand job of misreading my posts and misrepresenting my position.

Quote:
Yes, it's a fact that many women (and some men) participate non-consensually in the global sex trade, no one's aguing about that. To a lesser extent some women and men participate non-consensually in the making of pornography. Of the pornography freely available in adult shops and newsagents in this country, I'd say a small amount might involve people filmed or photographed non-consensually, but the vast proportion is done by sex workers who have made an informed choice to work in that industry.

You're making the same mistake again. This is why sex workers organising will be so hard to do.

When a person makes an informed choice to work in the sex industry, in whatever capacity, they should not have to accept that rape is a part of that work.

Read interviews with women who appear in pornography. They get paid to be there, and to do certain things, yes. BUT these women, whether they are positive about the porn industry or not, talk about how it never goes that way. A woman can turn up to do a straight vaginal scene with a guy. She gets there, and it's three guys. Oh well, she thinks, it's not what she agreed to but she's here now. They start. Then the director decides he wants an anal scene. This has been previously discussed, and she said she wouldnt do it. Here she is though on all fours and the director is asking for it. She can stand up, get dressed, and walk off set. But if she does she wont get paid, and she wont get more work. This is choice?

This happens all the time. Women in porn accept that whatever they sign up to, whatever they agree to, when they get on set those boundaries will be tested and things will be changed and noone will seek further consent from her. Some directors are much worse than others, of course. Some directors have made a name for themselves doing porn where the women are abused, actually abused beyond argument, way beyond the point where they are saying no, or they are crying, or puking. Is that informed consent?

When a woman signs up to be a porn star, does she officially sign away her future rights to withdraw consent? I dont think so. I think consent needs to be sought at every stage. Porn consumers say it would ruin the mood, just as condoms in porn are thought to ruin the mood, which shows that porn consumers do object to consent and safety in sex.

Quote:
So on this basis, what definition of rape are you using to suggest that anyone who views pornography is a rapist?

I didnt say that. I said people who watch porn without bothering to check whether their porn is consensual are likely to be supporting rape. And I think many porn consumers are turned on by that, judging by movie titles and the writing on the boxes.

Quote:
If it's because we don't really know whether the people in those images were of the small minority of coerced women or men... that would be a bit like never drinking tea or coffee ever again because it might have been made by a super-exploited peasant (which is actually far more likely to be true), and I don't see many people giving up tea and coffee.

I see a lot of people giving up tea and coffee, and a lot more buying fair trade tea and coffee and chocolate. People are becoming more aware of what they consume, and many people are making a big effort to consume as little or as ethically as possible.

There are lots of people who have made an ethical decision not to consume or support pornography. There are some who have made the decision only to watch porn they know is consensual, some people swap their own homemade films with friends, for example.

There are thousands of men who have made an ethical decision not to fuck a traffiked woman. Most men, I would have thought. But that doesnt change the fact that thousands of men are still doing it. Everyone wants to focus on the supply, I say we should focus on the demand.

Serge Forward's picture
Serge Forward
Offline
Joined: 14-01-04
Nov 26 2006 17:06

I think the extent to which people in the trade don't want to do sexual things to each other, is mainly that it's a job, and sometimes they'd rather be somewhere else than at work... down the pub for example. Being paid to do sex with someone when you'd rather be down the pub does not constitute rape, in my humble opinion. And if anyone thinks for one minute that most pornography entails people being forced to fuck, tie each other up, whip each other or whatever, by some dodgy blokes drooling behind a camera with their minders, then you really need to take a reality check. It just isn't like that. Oh yes, the rapidly increasing market for home made porn, made by couples, groups of friends, fuck buddies, etc, who are really into what they do, film it on a camcorder, bung it on a dvd and sell it. Is this rape? Are the people who watch this rapists? Come on!

Serge Forward's picture
Serge Forward
Offline
Joined: 14-01-04
Nov 26 2006 17:30

OK, I see where you're coming from a bit better, arf. I don't doubt that that way of making pornographic films goes on. My experience is exactly the opposite however, there were absolutely no surprises for the people involved, and if new suggestions were made during filming, they were just that, suggestions, and sometimes the participants said yes, other times they said no. But the right to say no was always sacrosanct and everyone was fully aware of that right from the start. Maybe this was what you might term "ethical porn" but no one would have dreamt of using such a term, nor was it promoted as such. It was just considered the proper way to do things.

Yes, I have seen some of these stories from ex-porn actresses and actors. Some of them are probably true, others may well be chequebook journalism. To be honest though, it would be very bad business for these film companies to do that sort of abuse for long because they would very easily end up in the shit, in court, jailed and bankrupt too. By and large, the main gripe people have is not doing something they don't want to, but whether it's warm enough where they are doing it.

dara
Offline
Joined: 16-07-05
Nov 26 2006 18:18

i think arf's points are pretty good, and they point to the necessity of self-organization for sex-workers, and the particular problems of industries which are linked to organized crime. i think Linda Lovelace said that she filmed some parts of Deep Throat at gunpoint, but that might be an exaggeration.

so full legalization would seem like a fairly necessary goal. that or something like the self-running a la Sin City. which would be well cool.

how do you change the mindsets of men who use trafficked prostitutes? sounds like we need a general consciousness shift, social revolution or something.

James Woolley
Offline
Joined: 18-11-06
Nov 26 2006 21:42

I second everything arf has said.

James Woolley
Offline
Joined: 18-11-06
Nov 26 2006 21:54
Joseph K. wrote:
James Woolley wrote:
By female autonomy I mean female self-sufficiency and independence. What else could it have meant?

well just that, but that's plural and ambiguous, to me at least. i see the following problems;

- it assumes there is a delineable group called 'female' with a common interest
- yet self-sufficiency and independence in any meaningful sense requires the end of alienated social relations, i.e. control of productive activity and it's products
- thus your statement simultaneously implies a cross-class 'female' autonomy and an autonomous (self-abolishing) working class (broadly understood), a contradiction that could only be reconciled with the abolition of capitalism, a process that presumably requires the participation of men.

I mean the womens' emancipation should be immanent to anarchist/communist politics, and in real struggles gender roles and binaries are often overcome as 'from each according to their abilities, to each according to their needs' becomes the praxiological axiom (eughh sorry embarrassed ). however despite anarchism/communism's failings, i think struggles against patriarchy neccessarily involve men because it is gender roles we are seeking to abolish, me having a dick in patriarchy does not give me the equivalent power and class interest as having a factory in capitalism does, anti-patriarchy isn't just for women because men's roles are also prescribed by it, something which attacks mens autonomy too even when there is notional privelege, imho.

The way I see it many women have been used, warped and contorted to such a degree by males that they don't need any more 'help' with men, even with 'good' men. I feel women should find freedom on their own terms and that they can only do this by themselves, in the same way the working class can't be helped by capitalists.
This is feminism. I think we should distinguish this between what men should do but at the same time men should take note of what radical feminism propounds and endeavour to not act in a patriarchal way. So they should listen to women, yes: but not take part in this female decision making, which can only ever mean coersion.
Furthermore, I'd like to point out that when we talk about literally anything other than feminism, we are, by definition, talking about it within the realm of a patriarchal doctrine. The 'male' issue has never been addressed as a 'male' issue simply because it was tacit knowledge that everything revolved around men anyway - it was the default way of thinking (as you can see from language - the default 'he' to refer to the 'sexless' third person). This is what history has been like and I frankly welcome anything inveighing against that.

Serge Forward's picture
Serge Forward
Offline
Joined: 14-01-04
Nov 26 2006 22:34

Fair enough James. But in what way is any of this "anarcha-feminism"? Sounds just like radical feminism to me.

James Woolley
Offline
Joined: 18-11-06
Nov 26 2006 22:53
Serge Forward wrote:
Fair enough James. But in what way is any of this "anarcha-feminism"? Sounds just like radical feminism to me.

They're closely related.

Anarchism is radical. Many radical feminists have been anarchists.

To put both in a microcosm, they're both against the patriarchy. All I can say is that 'anarcha-' feminism implies feminism within the anarchist movement (which by its radical nature is going to end up as 'radical feminism'), whereas radical feminism simply exists by itself, albeit closely related, like I said.

arf
Offline
Joined: 25-11-06
Nov 26 2006 23:01

Radical feminism and Anarcha-feminism have an awful lot in common, imo. It's just a question of emphasis, and how people personally identify. I know radical feminists that also identify as anarchists, or as socialists. I know socialists and anarchists who also identify as radical feminists. People tend to carry several 'labels' with them, not just one, it's just that maybe they wear one more obviously than others. Radical feminists tend to be anti hierarchy, anti authority, and anti capitalist, as well as anti patriarchy and anti racist. It's all seen as being different sides of the same evil, really. It's just that they feel that their primary 'label' is as a Radical Feminist - it's not that everything else is necessarily secondary to them but it's the label they choose to wear most obviously. Just like some of you here id as Libertarian Communist first, although you may also be feminist, and anti racist, etc.

There are an awful lot of myths around feminism and the various strains of it. Anarcha-feminists can be radical, or liberal, or 3rd wave - the important thing to them is that they want to note that some part of their anarchist identity is also feminist.

It can be confusing, but that's why starting from a point that says "radical feminists are all fucking bonkers" is not particularly useful, especially if one doesnt know any radical feminists. The most important thing to note is that very few people are "single issue", so don't write them off before you understand their politics.

Joseph Kay's picture
Joseph Kay
Offline
Joined: 14-03-06
Nov 27 2006 06:19
James Woolley wrote:
The way I see it many women have been used, warped and contorted to such a degree by males that they don't need any more 'help' with men, even with 'good' men. I feel women should find freedom on their own terms and that they can only do this by themselves, in the same way the working class can't be helped by capitalists.
This is feminism.

It's almost like you didn't hear a word i said :?

Firstly, i don't know any women who think like that, so at the least you're making a bad generalisation from your experience. Secondly, as i said before, possessing a dick in britain today is not analogous to owning a factory (or call centre ...). Men do not have some class interest over women, and patriarchy shapes and limits male gender roles too, in ways that are probably on average be less oppressive but there's certainly overlap between individuals in a way which contradicts the nice simple 'women = good oppressed, men = bad oppressors' narrative you seem to want to weave. it really beggars belief that you can come out with "this is feminism", whilst simultaneously dismissing female posters who disagree, who by your reasoning surely know better than you? :?

James Woolley wrote:
So they should listen to women, yes: but not take part in this female decision making, which can only ever mean coersion.

one of the most patronising things i've read, which takes male supremacy as it's antecedent and runs with it ... sad I mean i'm an anarchist, everyone should be able to make their own decisions, but if a friend who happens to have a vagina asks me for advice i'm not gonna say 'no dear if i say anything i'll overwhelm your evidently fragile ability to think for yourself, my mere speech act is coercive'.

don't get me wrong, your passion for womens' liberation is admirable, i just have quite a different analyisis it seems ... neutral

lem
Offline
Joined: 25-07-05
Nov 27 2006 07:29
Quote:
in the same way the working class can't be helped by capitalists.

That really seems slightly hysterical thing to say on a libertarian communist baord. What women are you currently oppressing, out of interest? You must have some kind of crucifixtion complex going on there, I mean, how do you sleep knowing that there is nothing you can do to stop you hurting and defiling and opressing women. What are you doing trying to convince us of this anyway, your words can't help.

So I won't help then. But I draw then line at people popping up to try and make me feel excluded! I have enough problems in my life, thanks for asking.

PS you are also oppressing me by being, raltively, sane. So will you fuck off, as I don't need any advice from you.

Eta: That probably wasn't very productive. But I think your probably wrong.

lem
Offline
Joined: 25-07-05
Nov 27 2006 07:45

Lol.

I don;t think thats a ad hominem, for the reason that youy cannot actually be the person you are trying to come across as. I mean, are you, James, wracked with guilt every step you take? *Insert rant here*

Its like a capitalist with a sudden pang on conscience, but he/she can't shut their factory down. He/she is forced every day to go into work and fuck with the employees miserable lives, all the while believing that what he/she is doing and what he/whe is is terrible and secretly praying for the workers, eventhough he/she knows that he/she will have to take to the other side of the barricades when the day comes.

HOW DO YOU SLEEP JAMES!

roll eyes

ticking_fool
Offline
Joined: 12-03-05
Nov 27 2006 09:12

I've just read the first two pages and I've lost the will to live. I hereby renounce all pretence at engaging with radical feminism and all attempts to try and pull something decent out of the swamp because clearly I'm running the risk of my brains turning to absolute shit.

There is an awful lot to take away from radical feminism and a lot of it is pretty uncomfortable and doesn't readily lead to a coherent politics. It's difficult but potentially very useful and needs to be worked with. But we do not need the kind of dogmatic crap being spouted on here.

ticking_fool
Offline
Joined: 12-03-05
Nov 27 2006 09:30

I got to redtwister's post on page 4. Thank fuck for something sensible.

James Woolley
Offline
Joined: 18-11-06
Nov 27 2006 13:02
Joseph K. wrote:
... but if a friend who happens to have a vagina asks me for advice i'm not gonna say 'no dear if i say anything i'll overwhelm your evidently fragile ability to think for yourself, my mere speech act is coercive'.

My comment (perhaps implicitly) was referring to women making their own decisions in a feminist movement and feminist activism.

However, the personal is the political and I guess it also applies to certain personal decision making.

The main difference though is that, say if the women's movement had a council to make decisions, and men were part of that, the male decisions would have to be taken account of, which in effect is coersion, whereas in a personal or informal sense a woman (ideally) can take or leave advice from a male, so it's not strictly speaking coersion.

Grace
Offline
Joined: 19-07-05
Nov 27 2006 13:05

I dunno, a power balance solely in favour of women seems to me just as bad as a power balance solely in favour of men. Reversing roles won't solve the problem.

James Woolley
Offline
Joined: 18-11-06
Nov 27 2006 13:08
lem wrote:
Lol.

I don;t think thats a ad hominem, for the reason that youy cannot actually be the person you are trying to come across as. I mean, are you, James, wracked with guilt every step you take? *Insert rant here*

Its like a capitalist with a sudden pang on conscience, but he/she can't shut their factory down. He/she is forced every day to go into work and fuck with the employees miserable lives, all the while believing that what he/she is doing and what he/whe is is terrible and secretly praying for the workers, eventhough he/she knows that he/she will have to take to the other side of the barricades when the day comes.

HOW DO YOU SLEEP JAMES!

roll eyes

This is the kind of emetic drivel spouted regularly at radical feminism, that it is spreading 'male guilt', that it is 'misandrist' and so forth. I'm just waiting for the term 'feminazism' to crop up.

All I'm doing is pontificating on a damn forum. I have absolutely nothing to feel guilty about.

James Woolley
Offline
Joined: 18-11-06
Nov 27 2006 13:12
lem wrote:
Quote:
in the same way the working class can't be helped by capitalists.

That really seems slightly hysterical thing to say on a libertarian communist baord. What women are you currently oppressing, out of interest? You must have some kind of crucifixtion complex going on there, I mean, how do you sleep knowing that there is nothing you can do to stop you hurting and defiling and opressing women. What are you doing trying to convince us of this anyway, your words can't help.

So I won't help then. But I draw then line at people popping up to try and make me feel excluded! I have enough problems in my life, thanks for asking.

PS you are also oppressing me by being, raltively, sane. So will you fuck off, as I don't need any advice from you.

Eta: That probably wasn't very productive. But I think your probably wrong.

You're**

I'm not oppressing any women. I only have female friends. My whole point is that men should not partake in feminist activism. I specifically said earlier that I am not a separatist. Do keep up.
Furthermore, I wasn't giving advice, I was merely opining on a topic. Please do not take what I say in any other way than a post on a board, i.e. not advice.

James Woolley
Offline
Joined: 18-11-06
Nov 27 2006 13:14
Grace wrote:
I dunno, a power balance solely in favour of women seems to me just as bad as a power balance solely in favour of men. Reversing roles won't solve the problem.

I was not suggesting a matriarchal society. All I was suggesting is female autonomy to counteract the patriarchal coersion that has hitherto occurred in society, and very much continues to do so.

James Woolley
Offline
Joined: 18-11-06
Nov 27 2006 13:20
James Woolley wrote:
The main difference though is that, say if the women's movement had a council to make decisions, and men were part of that, the male decisions would have to be taken account of, which in effect is coersion...

Something I intended to say in this post but forgot to is the example of a voting system in a council, which would guarantee a male voice on women's issues thereby precluding the 'take it or leave it' approach.

Joseph Kay's picture
Joseph Kay
Offline
Joined: 14-03-06
Nov 27 2006 13:58

well James that's clearer, thanks.

i don't have a blanket rejection of women-only organising, i think there are times when it's appropriate and necessary. However, i still think such autonomous organising should network with other emancipatory organising, including men, as part of 'the real movement to abolish human domination' (i.e. my slightly anarchicised definition of communism from). However, i don't think feminism - the emancipation of women - can be reduced to "womens' issues", incidentally a point which was emphasised by some (female) anarcha-feminists on the thread on the new RAG magazine recently. This is because womens' emancipation is bound up with that of mens', since who would want to be the equal of unfree men?