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When White Males Attack: Larry Flynt, Racism and The Left

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dot
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Aug 23 2005 17:53

yes random, porn affects more people than just the ones doing it.

the argument that "forced sexwork is worse than other kinds of forced work" also affects more than just the people making it.

it is hard to have this conversation be interesting when you make such blanket statements about porn that seem to ignore both the subtleties of definition (*are* commercial women's magazines porn too?) and the subtleties of women's sexuality (*are* you deciding for other women what they get to be turned on by, or what a "liberated sexuality" is?).

everybody - i am not sure why it's so important to be using dworkin as an example - obviously there are women of all classes and backgrounds and levels-of-experience-with-sexwork on both sides (of course there are more than two sides...) of this topic.

since that's true it doesn't seem useful to cast aspersions along class lines.

i think the question of what is appropriate for children to see is an interesting point that is larger than just the question of sex/porn. there is a question about how much do children need to be protected and how much prepared for the world they live in that to me is an open question.

i don't see the big difference between a lot of porn and magazines like vogue (etc.), in fact the more common ones could be considered to be worse, (in the sense of prescriptive about women's bodies, etc.) since they're accepted.

osmic, your point about ugly people is absurd, and while making jokes is good as a way to remind us all that we don't need to get too serious in this conversation, it's also confusing when it's not clear what is supposed to be funny, and what is an actual opinion.

dot
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Aug 23 2005 18:10

okay lucy, stop anticipating my posts.

that's just rude. tongue

osmic
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Aug 23 2005 22:56
dot wrote:

osmic, your point about ugly people is absurd, and while making jokes is good as a way to remind us all that we don't need to get too serious in this conversation, it's also confusing when it's not clear what is supposed to be funny, and what is an actual opinion.

See I knew I was too stupid to post in serious threads.

Wendal
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Aug 24 2005 00:00

"sigh". No feminist on this board is demanding censorship(except for those that start to scream faschism as soon as someone is questioning the constructivnes of their pro-porn stance).

We want to deal with the broblems by breaking capitalism and male supremacy and give back women the power over their lifes.

The christians right(as many of you people) dont give a fuck about the situation of poor women so dont mix up their strategies with our please.

It is nice what i see some people write. You argue that it is unfair with the amount of dish-work that woman has to do in many homes and therefore we should not care about people like linda lovelace who was raped first in underground porn and later in playboy(on some ocusions by animals there as well)

and all this talk about feminists not writing about men who get hurt in the porn is just bullshit. It just prove again that you have read none of the material that you are critising.

You are using working class women as a stick to beat other people with that dont share the ideas you have(including working class women) and still you have no intrest in the suffering of poor women(except for that one who worked with unionising prostitutes which is a good hearthed action but as i pointed out in other threads something that i am not sure is the best strategy to bettering their life and give them more independence).

You are more worried about unfair amount of homework or the bad conditions in many women dominiated workgroups(which is fucked up and unfair by the way, i agree on that) than woman who are being traumatised for life.

You seem tp belive that women in pornfilms are upper class women who does some triple penetrations at their sparetime. That would at least make your free choice-reasoning understandable at the same time as you are talking about fighting for working class woman but having no intrest in helping working class women that are abused and molested week after week beacuse they have no other way to get an income than in the hands of the hardcore porn-industry.

You defend atrocities against women by saying "that is how capitalism is". Would you defend the closing down of rich factories, the war on Iraq and and blacklisting of union workers with the same sentence ?

You make it sound like capitalists have no choice. They are the only ones who have a choice. They can choose to stop being predators and sooner or later end up as prey like the rest of us.

The fact that capitalists(inside and outside porn) cant uphold an industry without atrocities is not something that is legitimating it. It is rather a proof that they can newer give us what we need and therefore their right to exist as an explotive minority is none.

Your defence of capitalism is actualy only proofs of it being iligitimate.

Random >> Well said.

Lucy82>> Seperatist women unions sounds like a great idea. I dont now if that many people on this forum would be happy with the results tough. I most cetrainly would, tough.

I hope you get that ball roling.

Dot>> You are right the pimp-law is fucked up and needs to be altered somehow. In norway it is quite some trouble since many prostitutes have boyfriends who are doing crime to get home their part of the dough and therefore on the paper it looks like he is living on her expence and can therefore be labeled a pimp and punished. There are some gutter-gigolos also in norway tough that have several girlfriends that they are helping them to afford their drug abuse while they aint doing shit for them which is realy unfair and abusive, but that is something that people should have to deal with on a personal level not something that the state can do much to help them with.

random
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Aug 24 2005 09:38
lucy82 wrote:
why have feminists fixated on the porn industry

lucy no offence but that is one hefty generalisation. there are lots of feminists with lots of different priorities, for some its poverty, for some its work, for some its housework, for some its marriage, for some its children, for some its prostitution, for some its porn, for some its sexual violence, for some its domestic violence... i could go on and on. saying that "feminists have fixated on porn" is not that different to saying "anarchists have fixated on animal rights".

revol - its linda lovelace, or linda marchiano which was her non porn name.

revol wrote:
Lovelace is a fucking argument for making the porn industry more mainstream, whilst it remain on the margins... etc etc

deep throat was the first major mainstream porn movie. it is hardly an example of one "on the margins". it wouldnt take you five minutes to track down plenty of information about "mainstream" pornography and its criminal elements. "mainstream" porn, imo, is the biggest problem in that industry.

revol wrote:
It is obvious that a lot of women in porn and other sex industries do it because it is a better option than alot of other jobs.

obvious to who? to you? and when did you enter into "dialogue" with all these women? youre making the assumptions here more than anyone else is. i dont believe you have even the vaguest clue what youre talking about. reading an article or two on an anti censorship site does not make you the foremost authority on the subject.

why do i see people argue here on libcom for better unions for sex workers, when i see the same people argue against unions on other threads? like wendal said,

wendal wrote:
"You defend atrocities against women by saying "that is how capitalism is". Would you defend the closing down of rich factories, the war on Iraq and and blacklisting of union workers with the same sentence ? "

there are some real double standards going on here. not least of which when someone claims that the "left" should definitely be trying to reach "working class men" through the pages of hustler. and what about the women? what about the men that dont read hustler because of their own principles? should we risk losing their support in favour of hustler readers? perhaps reaching those "working class men" (if they really are the main readers of hustler magazine, which im not convinced of anyway) politically is not best done through those particular pages. men dont buy porn for politics.

random
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Aug 24 2005 09:48

just to add:

i think that attacking Jennifer McLunes article on the basis of its style is pathetic. ive seen others here attack andrea dworkin, and kirsten anderberg, for the same thing, that they think her writing style is shit.

is this really any different than dismissing or insulting someone because you dont like their accent?

it seems to me that some men are finding it very easy to dismiss womens writing based on "style" rather than content. this is pretty despicable on a board that supposedly supports the "working class", who in many cases havent been taught to write in the "accepted" styles (whatever they are) and it is possible that the women of the "working class" outnumber the men, given that its women who tend to be the single parents with residency, and women who tend to be in the jobs with the worst pay, and women who tend to live longer (on smaller pensions).

so maybe it would be better not to dismiss womens writing as "hysterical" (a word that we all know is loaded anyway and has been used so many times here against women specifically that it has lost any irony).

meanoldman
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Aug 24 2005 12:03

This is interesting. smile

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Steven.
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Aug 24 2005 14:04
osmic wrote:
dot wrote:

osmic, your point about ugly people is absurd, and while making jokes is good as a way to remind us all that we don't need to get too serious in this conversation, it's also confusing when it's not clear what is supposed to be funny, and what is an actual opinion.

See I knew I was too stupid to post in serious threads.

Nah it's just some people don't know if you're joking or not. The odd smiley can help with that. wink Seriously though you make some good points - particularly that men act in porn as well, and so why is it just the women who are "degraded"??

redtwister
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Aug 24 2005 17:19
revol68 wrote:
random are you seriously denying that many women do porn because it seems a better option (for whatever reason) than any other option open to them at the time? And if they don't do it for these reasons, then why do they choice to do it over say, waitressing, nursing or even being a lawyer. Do you think that porn producers go out and kidnap women?

Also would you like to answer my points about what defines "degrading women". What would you say to the millions of people into S&M, role play or any other sex involving temporary and consenual power dynamics (often these dynamics are not easy to decipher, for example what can appear dominant is infact submissive and vice versa). Am i degrading women if I pull my girlfriends hair?

Perhaps anti porn feminists wouldn't get so much stick if they weren't such a bunch of moralistic patronising fuckwits who seem happy to pathologise millions of peoples sexuality in order to further cement their dogma.

Wow, porn directors kidnapping women? Who would have figured? Do you know anything about the predatory practices of porn producers and pimps? They love runaways, desparate women, etc. And they are not above turning them into drug addicts to keep them around. Jeez, man, are you that naive about this stuff?

Second, I sure as hell don't want to know what you do with your girlfriend. Your sexual practices are not under inspection and the fact that you respond as if they were shows that you have some investment in this well beyond the argument. What's more, why do you keep talking about what yu do with your girlfriend? Is that flirting? Advertising? Showing your manliness? Your alternative-sub-culture freaky boy-ness? Do you have any awareness of how much you are making this about your cock? If someone doesn't likea bit of the rought-and-tumble, are they frigid?

Third, while the pathologising of human practices has definitely been a key component of post-68 counter-revolution in the "Western" societies, its the treatment of oppression or exploitation or behaviours caused by oppression and exploitation that have been pathologized. Some of those so-called pathological behaviours are sane respionses to an insane world, some of them are indeed pathological responses to a pathological or sociopathological society. There is no more pathological response than someone who believes that there is a way to be happy and sane in this society. That doesn't mean that the dramatic sexualization of almost every aspect of social life and the commodofication of almost all sex since the 1960's hasn't had a dramatically miserable effect. The proliferation of sub-cultures is not just about exploration, it is also about markets and exploitation. Your heroically alternative B&D or S&M may just be the market providing a new product through which people work out some aspect of their sexuality, a new demand created by a new product. it may be something else.

None of it has a damn thing to do with what random and co. are talking about, which is exploitation, labor, and power. Its not about what two concesting adults do (as if that was ever free from the reproduction of labor power anyway) outside the market.

chris

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Aug 24 2005 17:21

The topic on porn and Hustler and Larry Flynt has been mostly interesting and thoughtful, so if I may throw a few thoughts in…

First things first, Valerie Salonis is fucking brilliant. Turn on the irony radar and then read her carefully. The SCUM Manifesto is the only intelligent thing a Situationist ever wrote on women. It is a much-needed salvo at a Left I will describe below.

Second things second, I haven’t read Dworkin in years. Now I want to go back and read her again. The people who make me most uncomfortable are the ones I get the most from and anyone who both Left and Right have to slander so completely, especially the “if it ain’t class, its crap” revolutionary heroes, is worth a look.

On Hustler, anyone defending Hustler is an idiot. Hustler manages to stay mainstream in the US because in the US what counts legally is showing penetration. Seriously. Hustler does not show penises IN vaginas, in anuses, fists in either, etc. Hence, it is ok to have in corner and convenience stores and even grocery stores. That is a quirk of the U.S. which is a particular instance of how the state regulates the porn industry. Hustler pimped heavy racism and child molestation and attacks on women for its whole existence. And I’m old enough to say that it was that way for over 15 years in 1990 and I don’t see that is has improved since.

Now, there is a lot involved here and frankly dissociating the discussion from the history of sexual relations seems a bit weak. I can only discuss it from the US side, so…

Playboy-type porn began in the 1950’s as part of men’s sexual liberation, alongside the Beats, and it developed into an increasingly open and aggressive male sexuality in the 1960’s. Not that sexism and sexual domination were new, but the Left and others really adapted their sexual dominance to a different situation: activist men needed women to give up the pussy to “support” them. This was the case across the movements of the time, from Black nationalism to the anti-war movement. Communes were often really a communal reproduction of the old household, with communal pussy. Frankly, not only did the movements inspire the women’s movement, the male activists pissed off a lot of women activists who were tired of being the workhorses and “free pussy brigade” for Leftist men. Fucking, at least for men, had become more open, more frank, and women were expected to be more ‘adventurous’, but also available on demand and oriented strictly towards their man’s satisfaction. When Dworkin began writing in the 70’s (and more so when Salonis wrote The SCUM Manifesto), this was still very much the milieu.

The women’s liberation movement involved women having the right to be recognized as sexual beings, with sexual needs and the capacity and sometimes desire to display their sexuality for their own pleasure (and at their choice, for someone else’s pleasure.) But like many things from the last wave of social movements, capital found a way to co-opt that, to turn it into a new opportunity for profit and social control of women’s reproductive labor.

Either through culture or age, maybe few of you know the so-called sexual revolution in the 1970’s in the US, which was also tied up with self-realization crap that was the underside of the hippies and yippies as the social movements collapsed (and which had only an unconscious relationship at best to the mass spread of wildcat strikes, although in the case of the Black Power movement it played an integral part in the Revolutionary Union Movement (RUM),such as D(odge)RUM, F(ord)RUM.) With that collapse, EST and other New Age self-realization crap made its way forward. Women’s liberation was really growing at the tail end of the other social movements, and in a period of declining workplace struggle, so that it tended to be stamped with more electoral politics by the mid-late 1970’s, but also with the need to deal with the fact that Left or Right, male domination of political and personal life was an issue and even the most dedicated female activists were expected to go home and raise the kids, clean the house and fuck the man. The Personal is Political was no mere flight from politics, it was expecting male activists to live up to their claims, and to give women a space to get strength, since the home, a place of relaxation and respite for the man, was just another burden for women.

Temporally alongside the women’s movement, what we understand today as hardcore porn, aka Deepthroat, Behind the Green Door, The Devil in Miss Jones and some other films made their bid for mainstream cinema. The mainstream Hollywood film empires then immediately backed a rating system that would marginalize porn, a matter which was strictly an intra-capitalist fight as no one in the women’s movement was defending porn back then. If anything, the biggest rifts in the Women’s Movement were developing around race and sexuality, as mainstream feminism eventually seemed to exclude women of color or women of color began to feel that their white “sisters” were only interested when “women’s” issues were addressed, but that always somehow became white women’s issues. Similarly with hets and lesbians. In a situation of the decline of the social movements, in the co-opting of many of women’s demands by capital (fast food restaurants, laundry services, laundromats, some childcare, the expansion of women in the workforce as wage labor, the slow liberalizing of divorce and marriage laws, the development of shelters and women’s health and help clinics, etc.), the movement both turned inward and fragmented, with the electorally-oriented NOW becoming the main feminist force. At that time, porn in its bid for mainstream success, was already based on the integration of new takes on sexuality and sex among women into commodification and ways for men to fantasize about having supreme control over what they were most assuredly losing control over.

Part of the response, the reaction, against these changes was also to generalize the sexualization of women (in marketing, TV shows, film, porn) on one side and the marketing to “independent women” on the other. In the workplace, there was a rearguard fight against equal wage, benefits and job access, much as there was against Black workers. Porn, especially more hardcore porn, paved the way. The relatively hippie-ish porn of the 60’s and early 70’s changed into much more slick and much more violent venues. Not that it exploited female (or male) sex workers any more or less than any other industry, but the promotion of the sexualization of violence against women, against the reduction of human beings and human sexuality to isolated body parts indifferent to any human relations of personality, attachment, etc. found its pinnacle in porn. Porn acts like a kind of dissection of human sex into a fetishizing of parts, and porn breaks up as much on what parts are fucking or getting fucked, slapped, or bound as by race (and porn is frankly one of the last vestiges of a truly retrograde racial world, as Hustler is merely one example of) or sexuality.

The overwhelming presence of cheerleader or lipstick lesbian sex, i.e. sex between two women designed for no other purpose than the pleasure of the man watching, for example, was hardly liberatory. It did play to fantasies some women had and could virtually act out more than they could in the 1950’s, but on the understanding that you fantasized about sex with a woman only as long as you had a dick in your material body. Women did not even start having orgasms in porn until the late 1980’s early 1990’s, and by then massive breast plants became the vogue, such that self-mutilation was almost a requirement of the job. By comparison, 70’s porn really was liberatory, but only if one forgets that Linda ‘Lovelace’ of Deep Throat fame was systematically fed cocaine and held against her will during the filming of the movie. Or as it was put properly, raped.

Now, the possibility of being open about one’s sexuality and sexual desires definitely increased in the 80’s and 90’s, but it did so in part through the virtualization of sex, of the sexualization of all commodities, of the opening of ALL women as sexual prey for ALL men, sans boundaries and without even the formal protection of marriage or boundaries of shame and respect. “Sexual freedom” became a market choice, and a choice that involved having to choose SEX. Not choosing SEX is not a choice. Then you are just frigid, a fag, etc. Or to put it another way, if you won’t fuck, how can we sell you more products?!?! However fucked up the old dynamics were, they did provide a semblance of protection, as well as absolute limitations. In the absence of a revolutionizing of social relations across the board, we see instead an increasing hostility to women. In some places, esp in the South and Plains states in the U.S., we see a regression to older forms of sexual domination being called for, but in the context of dual income households and the increased presence of women in public life, mostly that is a fantasy and a way to force-feed reactionary legislation dismantling the welfare state and the promotion of the universal work house,. What is true is that the Bush supporters in those areas support the 3rd largest video retailer in the US, which is a huge renter of porn, esp the now-popular “amateur” or “reality” porn, and large roadside billboards for strip clubs and other kinds of places that entirely cater to men’s fantasies of ruling the home, where their social power has practically diminished greatly, are frequent. The Bible Belt is also the Strip Club-Porn Belt, just as NASCAR, professional Wrestling and other popular forms of entertainment excel in degrading women by showing large quantities of violence against them or merely parading them as meat. Pro-porn, anti-porn, whatever. Neo-Cons have it all because they recognize that, hypocritical or not, porn keeps people working, relieves frustration, soothes the savage beast. Heck, virtual pussy is even better than real pussy because virtual pussy gives you the real fantasy every time, while real pussy only gives you the virtual fantasy, but is always liable to being frightening, complicated, disappointing, loud-mouthed, etc. Porn is one of the cornerstones of spectacular consumption.

Whether the women involved in porn view it one way or another, I cannot say. Undoubtedly, some of them prefer it to other jobs they have had, just as some strippers do, especially if the money is better. But since when do we think in terms of better wages like a union bureaucrat? There is a reason that we do not stand for a fair wage, but the abolition of the wages system…

And can you tell me in what industry you will find workers who do not like what they do? Are we now predicating our politics on whether or not people like their jobs? Do you consider someone who likes factory work 12 hours a day the counter-example to your contention that the work is brutal and those workers exploited? Since when did exploitation become about feelings and self-perception? If I would say that someone who likes working 12 hours a day in a factory is sick in the head, why wouldn’t I say that someone who likes getting poked by strangers on film 5 days a week, being treated like a series of holes and a pair of tits, maybe is a little fucked in the head too? The problem is that we’re all a little fucked in the head because our daily life is incredibly fucked. The real problem with some feminist analysis of porn is that it imagines there is a ‘healthy’ way to be in this society, that porn is an abomination, rather than the logical conclusion of capital in a spectacular society.

As for working conditions, most porn for pay is not the glamorous, high paying stuff. Most of it is the violent, abusive, nasty stuff that these women do FOR A WAGE. The idea that seems to drive the Left Porn Defenders (like the Left Prostitution Defenders) is that women in these industries enjoy porn film sex. It is the ultimate Leftist male fantasy: I might find an anti-capitalist porn queen for myself, and maybe for my buddies too! The fact is that porn filming involves a lot of breaks, a lot of sitting in weird, uncomfortable positions, etc. You confuse what you consume with the process of production. Not to mention trying to imagine being a stripper, doing the same routine again and again, day in and day out for years. Wheee! Forget the sex, it is routinized, repetitive labor. There is no sex involved, except in your imagination.

On top of all this, I am a father. I want my child to grow up respecting people. But the sexualization of all aspect of social life even pervades into cartoons for little kids. I don’t know what you get in England, but in the US there are no controls anymore, and so 8 year olds watch cartoons with women in skin tight clothing, constantly falling or bending over with their asses in the air, giggling and wishing they had a prince or were going to the mall to go shopping (see Winks Club, Totally Spies, etc.) And at every convenience store, the magazine rack as you walk up to the counter is eye-level (as someone else mentioned) with a child and filled with pseudo porn: Maxim type stuff.

As such, I am opposed to porn and prostitution because the commodification of sexuality and the sexualization of commodities meet their pinnacle in porn and prostitution where the sexual labor power of women is the commodity in a way that simply does not apply for men. Men’s sexiness seems to derive from their power, from what they DO, not from their mere corporeality. That’s why in porn the rule of thumb is that men fuck women, women do not fuck men. A few exceptions do not refute, but prove, the rule.

Porn then is not an aberration nor is it a problem because it is sex. Porn is the opposite of sex, it is sexualized wage labor and waged sexual activity. I don’t oppose S&M (though it is another niche market), B&D (though the number of professionals and managers who seek to be submissives and be dominated is hilarious, according to the B&D pros I know), or most other forms of sexuality. Whatever consenting adults want to do is their business, but once it is wage labor, we’re not talking about consenting adults, we are talking about exploitation and degradation, whether one chooses it or not. It changes the relationship entirely and invades the most personal and intimate relations people can have, bodily, and turns people into disconnected parts. Separation is the acme of capital, especially the separation of the producer from the mean of production, but how do you separate a person from their most physically sensitive body parts, their mind from their body, without doing damage, even more damage than capital does to all of us everyday anyway?

Oh, and since so many men in the Left seem to have had to peddle their asses letting old men jerk them off or suck them off or letting themselves be fucked by some creep or having to suck off someone 5, 6, 7 days a week, I would love to hear about their experiences. Their personal experiences would be very interesting. Or we can set up an experiment and give them the choice between a factory job and getting anally fucked by a multitude of different men day in and day out (and if you are lucky, finger-cuffed) not because you like it or are a gay man into a certain life-style, but because it pays more money than your factory job. Let’s see if you find it “no worse”.

On the other side, is the bitching from the Left and Right about the feminization of society. What a crock. But why not make that argument in a different way? What is really taking place is the subjectivizing of exploitation, the demand that we enjoy and participate in our own exploitation. This is the case from quality work teams to other kinds of “worker input” and team shit. This kind of “choice” is the most evil form of management because it is always a forced choice between two no-win situations. How can you not see that porn as a “choice” is exactly this kind of subjectivization, of making ourselves willingly and happily into capital?

Chris

Ps – on The Left and this issue in the US (don’t know squat about Britain, but it doesn’t SOUND that different)… Class struggle anarchism in the US is tiny and just as much a part of the life-style-scenester-sub-culture morass as any other. My experience over the last 8 years with non-Leninists, from Marxist-humanists to anarchists, is that they all pretty much reproduce the existing social relations, with this or that gloss to justify their shitty behaviour. Free love is my favorite, personally. So are communal living situations in the absence of really different social relations. In the U.S., it tends to turn into what we call a ‘sausage party’. I have witnessed organizations across the board treat women who have been sexually harassed by male members as self-hating and eventually expelled, usually by women in leading roles in the group. I have seen attempts to start women’s discussion groups immediately attacked as “divisive”, “separatist”, “undemocratic”, “anti-collective”, “personalism”, etc. I have watched organizations turn into cliquish sex exchanges (especially among the younger crowd) and in-groups that cannot sustain internal political dissent or conversation. And always, this kind of discussion takes place at some point. Women seem to be the break point for all of it, maybe in part because radicals of color are few or because they stay away from the basically white Left in the U.S.

Pps – I am surprised I haven’t heard any stories about the Golden Whore who fucked the indigent so they could get themselves a little something too, which otherwise they would not. And yes, I have heard that one before. I love it when class analysis goes out the window to protect the right to pussy on demand (free or for hire.).

lucy82
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Aug 24 2005 17:27

wendal, did i recommend seperate womens unions? i never saw me do that confused

random, of course there are a variety of issues in feminist writings. however, i've yet to see a major hoohar on the scale of that around porn (which has been going on for many years now) going on around any other single issue (except possibly domestic violence).

Quote:
"anarchists have fixated on animal rights

,

oh no,no,no ... the real fixation is macdonalds, desai, starbucks, edo, independent media, squats, zines, and a rather unusual tendency to lock onto metal items for various periods of time, call everything a collective (spelling with a k is optional) and sit in circles on the floor making strange hand signals which terrify passing journalists.

grin <3 star green black twisted black bloc circle A

can't answer anything else cause i'm on my mums internet and i'm scared of being shouted at by my mum for using the internet up

and jesus, chris.. thats possibly the longest posts ever. even better than mine for sheer volume...

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Steven.
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Aug 24 2005 17:47

I think that probably *is* the longest post ever!

Interesting stuff Chris... Although I do disagree on basic premise of sex work being considerably more degrading than other wage labour under capital - they're all shit. Sure some are much better than others but what fundamental difference does that make? I think people like revol68 (and me) aren't saying that sex work is great fun, just that it is pointless attacking the workers in the industry, or calling for the industry as a whole should be banned.

And revol - how do you square your views on this stuff with your views on cleaners? Seems to me you're being a massive hypocrite!

random
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Aug 24 2005 17:53

hi lucy,

i think maybe it seems like theres more of a "hoohar" ( wink ) round porn than other issues because its possibly the one that gets the most interest from anti feminists. here, for example, other feminist issues that have been brought up have been mostly ignored or dropped fairly early on. there hasnt been much interest from the (mostly male) posters. interestingly, if you look back, the porn topics do tend to be started by people in favour of it (not always, but usually).

i think that anti feminists like to use the radical feminist anti porn argument as an example of how crazy and fucked up and "hysterical" feminists are. regardless of how well (if at all) they understand that argument. so you have people slagging off dworkin and her writing, then admitting theyve never actually read any...

its easy to do, as i said before, because people assume that being anti porn or anti prostitution means being anti sex or anti sex worker. which it doesnt, because these things are in no way the same. but we all know

that it is easy to discredit someone if you call them repressed, regardless whether it is true or not.

and chris, woah! great posts.

random
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Aug 24 2005 18:18
john wrote:
what fundamental difference does that make

lots of differences. for example, while sexual harassment may be common in many (most) jobs, i think it would be hard to find a job that put the worker in as much danger of being raped or otherwise physically abused (even murdered) on a regular (everyday) basis. and a lot (who knows how many) of women in the "sex industry" have been kidnapped/trafficked rather than made any "choice" as we see it. and many women in the "industry" do it not because they "need the money" but because they are under threat of violence or deportation if they try to leave.

there are lots of other differences. i dont think its right at all to pretend theres no difference between working as a prostitute and any other job. if thats how you feel, then would you suggest that a person with no other job skills should be made to work as a prostitute in order to pay their way? i mean, in an anarchist (lib com?) society i assume everyone plays their part, that whole "from each according to ability, to each according to need" bit. say i didnt have any other abilities, does that mean i should prostitute myself to fulfill someone elses need? after all, its no different to any other job. perhaps in this lib com society none of us is repressed enough to not want to have sex with anyone else who demands it?

i dont know. seems like a major flaw in the "its no different" argument.

imagine if our current government agreed with you. unemployed people could be forced to take up "sex work" or give up their benefits. i mean, thats the logical outcome of the "its no different" argument in our current society.

meanoldman
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Aug 24 2005 18:45

No-one has claimed that there is no difference between working as a prostitute and any other job. What people have said is that the difference is one of degree - prostitution may be a more dangerous and brutal way to earn a living in the UK than almost any other job but it is still just that, a job, wage slavery, the selling of your body in order to subsist. The difference is that between being kicked in the shin (painful) and taking a proper beating (really fucking painful). If there are lots of fundamental differences as you claim please list them, because I can't see them.

And yes you're right, if the government (and more importantly the population at large) believed this then it would probably try to force the unemployed to work in the porn industry. But 'prostitution is fundamentally different from every other job because if the government agreed things would be worse for the population' isn't an argument for prostitution being fundamentally different. And your argument about prostitution in an anarchist society is such an absurb strawman that it undermines the strength of your other arguments.

random
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Aug 24 2005 19:01
revol wrote:
because 90% of the movies coming out of hollywood are complete shite does that mean I should be anti movie?

no, but anti hollywood movies maybe..

as for your personal life.. i could care less what you get up to, (as long as its mutually consensual of course). yeh we could have some big conversation about how our patriarchal history has shaped sexual relations, but i think you'ld take it too personally. im not sold on any of it, and ive tried much. im not convinced we're supposed to be in "couples", or that so many of us should be in strictly hetero couples at that. it seems to me there are much more interesting issues to ponder in our personal relationships than whether someone likes the odd spanking or not.

i do think that nothing happens in a vacuum, and ill admit that much of my own sex/pain experimentation was very much an expression of self harm. but i dont expect that to be the case for everyone, and i certainly dont hold my co experimentees responsible. but it helps, i think, to be aware that there are some people that arent in it for the right reasons (the right ones being that they genuinely enjoy it). how you tell the difference i dont know, maybe its not possible.

meanoldman wrote:
your argument about prostitution in an anarchist society

wasnt meant to be an argument really, was meant to be questions. i havent seen anything regarding sex in an anarchist society. wanna clue me up?

random
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Aug 24 2005 19:40
revol wrote:
Now im just content to know that we both trust each other.

thats the nicest thing ive ever seen you write. makes you seem almost human.

Quote:
Likewise im sure most people wh consume porn are quite capable of doing so without feeling the need to start hanging around girls locker rooms, becoming plumbers or calling women "cock hungry sluts" etc.

problem is, the rape culture we live in (i assume you agree we do have a problem there) says different. im not saying that the average guy watches a porn flick and then goes out and rapes someone. clearly the problem of disrespect for a womans right to choose sex comes from all round us and not just from porn, but then isnt that partly because popular culture so often resembles porn? like, i wouldnt have a major issue with one music video portrayal of women as whores, but its in so many of the videos, and then its the ads in between (spray more get more), and then its in the daily newspapers, etc etc etc.

i do think that porn gives stupid and wrong portrayals of sex, and about women, and that these ideas carry over into the mainstream, and become accepted as truths. enough for our rape conviction rate to be as low as it is, because all women mean yes, even when they say no, and other such myths.

and all this talk about how we could make it all better just by making some "better" porn - if i said that you'ld call me reformist, wouldnt you?

random
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Aug 24 2005 20:11
Quote:
Perhaps porn resembles popular culture?

i dont think so. do you, really? maybe theyre both feeding off each other now, but i reckon that the worst of it started with the mainstreaming of porn. for example, breast implants and the surgical creation of prettier labia (dont know what its called) started in porn but have carried over into mainstream popular culture.

Quote:
The idea that rape conviction rates are so low because women in porn never say no is just daft.

im not saying that. im saying that our popular culture resembles porn to the extent that a common portrayal of women that we get from it is woman as whore. its not just the porn itself, its the way everything else seems to be influenced by it.

ive played lots of gta too. but i did find that i couldnt enjoy the latest one like i did the others. it just fucked me off. before that, i either didnt care or later i thought of it as all ironic. but it doesnt seem ironic any more. much as i didnt particularly like or dislike eminem until his latest, because i had previously taken him as a send up. in both cases the huge sums of money being made have tainted the irony, and both seem to be actively pushing what they once mocked. or maybe its just me that thinks that?

in any case, im now playing tiger woods. and pissed because all the womens moves are shit and we get no cool breaking or popping. there is no end to the feminist cause, and i shall be emailing e a sports to demand better celebrations and clothes for wimmin players. wink

Quote:
Just because i wish to see the end of sweatshops doens't mean it is reformist of me to want nicer trainers in a post capitalist society.

but i thought you were talking about the creation of better porn in this current society, not in a post capitalist one. so i misunderstood your argument.

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Ramona
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Aug 24 2005 20:46

This has been a really interesting thread 8)

I'd like to add that I'm not personally too comfortable with drawing links between porn and rape. I understand what random is saying about certain mainstream pornographic portrayals of women spilling over inot the mainstream and infuencing the current rape culture (and I'd like to remind people of the appauling 5.3% conviction rate of reported rapes, which, if you include the very high number of unreported rapes, means you're practically guaranteed to have no punishment for raping someone).

I don't deny that mainstream portrayals of both male and female sexuality have a profound affect on the levels of rape, sexual abuse etc, in one way or another I'd say it's the most important factor, but I don't think porn in and of itself is particularly important.

However, I think that ideas of male and female sexuality are socialised pretty much from birth, and condition a general acceptance of women as victims who need protection and men as predators who can't control themselves which imo naturalises rape "cos that's just human nature, innit?". I think it would be impossible to pick apart all of the cultural elements which lead to rape as it's so complex, but it's safe to say that ideas of gender from all manner of sources - from family structure to work to art to fucking snuff movies and everywhere in between - in many ways legitimise and apologise for rape, it would be too easy to single out porn in itself as a major factor, cos I think it's far, far deeper than that.

In the last year or so I've found myself to be severley emotionally triggered by scenes of rape or sexual abuse in movies/tv etc, and in this time I've realised not only that I just can't watch films anymore (fuck going to the cinema in case I have to bolt half way through)I've seen literally hundreds of "rapes" on screen since I was really, really young. I remeber a thread a while back when we were trying to think of interesting films about women that specifically didn't feature rape or sexual abuse in the story line, and we pretty much drew a blank. There's so much fucking rape in movies you might end up thinking that it happens to women all the time! Oh, hang on a minute.... sad

edit - not trying to pick a fight with anyone, just adding thoughts 8)

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Aug 24 2005 20:48
revol68 wrote:
And i always make my golfer in tiger woods a woman, same with Tony Hawks. And my woman is always the coolest, best dressed biatch on the course/skate park.

See, mitch?! I told you he wasn't a cock-waving mysoginist!!!! grin wink grin

dot
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Aug 24 2005 21:57

you all wanna get some excellently dressed avatars - check out the RPG vampire:masquerade/bloodlines.

random
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Aug 24 2005 22:10

zobag, with you on the movies front. i find it difficult to get in to loads of stuff these days.

revol, was thinking about the trainers analogy, and i dont think its quite the same, because when you wear your trainers at worst you're totally ignoring how they were made and the exploitation involved. but with porn theres actual pleasure being taken in it, which seems to me to be at least a bit worse?

[OT how do you make your golfer well dressed? the choice is so crap for women. capri pants ffs! my woman has the biggest arse youve ever seen and pink hair. shes great. ive never created my own skater on TH, just played the ones there. but i havent played any of the underworld ones.]

re.

Quote:
interesting films about women that specifically didn't feature rape or sexual abuse in the story line,

saw amelie mentioned here before, and that hasnt got sexual abuse in it, just a scary stalker..

most rape/abuse in movies bothers me because its not identified as rape/abuse. i dont mind a realistic portrayal, like in kids, because i think there needs to be some gruesome realistic non glorifying movie rape scenes out there so that people are aware of how fucked up and common it is. sounds ridiculous, but honestly, im shocked by how easily some people dismiss rape, "its no worse than getting mugged" please fuck off. (noone here, heard that from other places).

i cant even be arsed with stuff like that recent pitt/jolie movie, i saw a clip of them beating each other up with the usual no injury marks, and frankly i wish hollywood would fuck off with their "domestic violence is so sexy" bullshit.

Mitch
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Aug 25 2005 11:15
zobag wrote:
revol68 wrote:
And i always make my golfer in tiger woods a woman, same with Tony Hawks. And my woman is always the coolest, best dressed biatch on the course/skate park.

See, mitch?! I told you he wasn't a cock-waving mysoginist!!!! grin wink grin

Twitter - I got one at home called Cotty. Cotty frequently makes me laugh like a 'hysterical' loon!

'I have heard the Mermaids Singing', Patricia Rozema style - one of my favourite films.

http://www.patriciarozema.com/ive_heard_the_mermaids_singing.htm

Hollywood is fucked on the representation of women full stop - and frequent tittilating rape scenes or sexual abuse I cannot watch neither.

I go to the films and film makers who explore passionate love in relationships - like 'Sex and Lucia' by Julio Medem.

And I like the films of Jane Campion - particularly an early one of hers call 'Sweetie'.

On Porn, I have watched some recently with Cotty from his collection. This turned into somewhat of a comedy with me blurting out comments every 5 seconds like -

Jesus H, have you ever tried to make love in six inch spike heals, or flippin heck those earings are a health hazard,

but on some of it, Cotty has said 'look she's really enjoying that', and I've said, you bloody idiot, that's painful and like Revol says, will be needing the ice pack.

I know many couples who watch porn together and get turned on by it, it is part of their relationship. I also know of some interesting all consenting local networks and they get off on taping each other.

Not my bag grin But all is safe and consenting so who am I to judge on these local networks of people who all know each other?

Perhaps we should be focusing on attacking the industry, and how the industry exploits.

Sex without love though doesn't float my boat, never has, never will. 8)

redtwister
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Aug 25 2005 14:47
John. wrote:
I think that probably *is* the longest post ever!

Interesting stuff Chris... Although I do disagree on basic premise of sex work being considerably more degrading than other wage labour under capital - they're all shit. Sure some are much better than others but what fundamental difference does that make? I think people like revol68 (and me) aren't saying that sex work is great fun, just that it is pointless attacking the workers in the industry, or calling for the industry as a whole should be banned.

Eh, I was bored at work and I thought about this for a few days. Took me two days to write.

And no, I am not against people working in porn. I can think of a lot of industries that would cease to exist, porn being one of them. To corss-over a bit, this is the problem with 'workers' control' or 'self-management'. Do you want self-management of porn or prostitution anymore than you want self-management of advertising, public relations, law firms, military industries, Finance/Insurance/Realty/E(can't remember what the e stand for...), etc.

chris

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Aug 25 2005 16:49
Quote:
If you had ben following the deabtes you would know that everyone is aware that the porn industry, being an industry is by default exploitative. The argument is why is porn singled out for special focus as a "commodity". My argument is that those who present every woman in porn as a "victim" need to look at the banal exploitation and drudgery of everyday life if they are going to understand why someone would prefer to do porn. Are the women who actively choose a career in stripping or porn anymore victims than those women who leave rural life in China and find themselves in a sweatshop making trainers? Why do so many feminists take such an interest in the spectacular "exploitation".

Actually, I read the whole thing, from beginning to end, as is my habit. My point is that the industry is by default somewhat different in the way that blackface or minstrelsy was particularly different. It was not that racism did not permeate other forms of entertainment, but that this was a form of entertainment predicated on the systematic degradation of Black people. That's part of my argument regarding porn, that it is NOT people having sex, but "men fucking women into suordination". Could you film sex otherwise? Sure, and people do that sometimes, but the vast bulk of the porn industry is simply not that (and if it was, would still be wage-labor of course). Maybe that is some of the appeal of amateur porn, but that is sort of like a cottage industry, the Linux of porn. I won't list specific sites, but having researched it, I can always send you a couple sites that are archetypal (amazing what you find downloading free music and books from peer-to-peer, the quantity of porn is exceptional.) Anyway, the point is that porn is predicated particularly on the denigration of women. That any act of denigration also denigrates the perpetrator comes into play and the men who do this are also reduced to a single appendage (hence the reason that porn is full of ugly motherfuckers with big penises, aside from the fact that most men can fantasize that it is their dick easier if the guy is not too pretty.)

And if it isn't about denigration, why don't we see more porn with guys with normal sized penises? Why the huge penis thing? You're not watching SEX, you're watching the largest possible penises shoved into whichever orifice. Frankly, in that respect, porn has gotten worse since the early attempts to go mainstream before getting blocked by the big Hollywood studios.

Quote:
Porn is a product much like a trainer, it is in essence or lets say use value, people fucking and recorded for the purposes of sexual excitement. Hence I see no sense in saying you are anti porn, unless of course you have something against people fucking on film. I can however see how one can be opposed to "wage labour", "exploitation" and "alienation" all of which no doubt exist in abundance in the porn industry as much as in any other industry. I'm not interested in defended the porn industry any more than im interested in defended Nike or the footwear industry, put i am interested in defending peoples right to have footwear, to make use of a use value so to speak. As such I think a more useful take on the porn debate is looking at alternative currents that can return it from an exchange value to a use value. For a start it's far more erotic to watch people having sex who are actually enjoying it rather than thinking about a pay check. The problem with being anti porn is that it is just fucking stupid, because 90% of the movies coming out of hollywood are complete shite does that mean I should be anti movie? Is someone enjoying a porn movie made under the alienation of wage labour any worse than the person enjoying walking around in their new adidas? Should feminists start moralistic campaigns against wearing trainers?

Actually, I think this is rather wrong. First of all, sex plays a particular role in the reproduction of labor power and because it is associated with both a specific form of waged and unwaged labor, and now with porn that waged and unwaged component come together in a virtualized sexuality. The best intra-porn comment on this is one of the few porn films I recommend, a wickedly intelligent movie call Cafe Flesh.

Second, porn doesn't sell you sexual excitement. It sells you virtual sex in general predicated upon a specific debasement of the body into isolated parts and the particular debasement of women as the fucked object, and far too often the object of other levels of violence (having little of nothing to do with S&M or B&D, btw.)

Quote:
Of course porn is different than a pair of trainers in that 99% of trainers are not marketted solely at men, nor are trainers contaminated with thousands of years of patriarchial relations. But surely this is not so much an anti porn argument as an argument for better porn, for porn that deconstructs gender types. Of course capitalism has already cottoned onto such currents and as such markets "alternative porn", whether it be femdom, s&m, punk rock suicide girls etc etc. Essentially we might be able to have alternative porn, with equality between men and women, but it will be equality to be commodified under capital. But to me this is of no greater importance than the commodification of any other human activity.

Ok, do you think this is possible in this society? Again, there is that sort if Linux Porn. What is more interesting to me is the spectacularization of sex and sexuality and the turning of sex into one of the hypnotics of the spectacle. These days, with Men's amagazines what they are, the line between Maxim and Playboy is quite slim. Unlike random, I really do think that porn is mainstreamed and that porn is merely the highest expression of a general sexualization of commodity production and marketing.

Quote:
Wow, porn directors kidnapping women? Who would have figured? Do you know anything about the predatory practices of porn producers and pimps? They love runaways, desparate women, etc. And they are not above turning them into drug addicts to keep them around. Jeez, man, are you that naive about this stuff
Quote:
Ffs i have no doubt that these things happen but it is dishonest to claim that that is how the majority of women get involved in the porn industry or why they continue to work in it. It seems obvious to me that the majority of women work in it because it seesm a better option (and who is anyone to tell them it isn't) than the other avenues capitalism can offer them. I work in a restraunt and wouldn't appreciate it if some pornstar came walking in and started patronising me about "how degrading i must feel" or started berating the customers for being complicit in my exploitation, as such i feel in no position to start doing the same to sex workers.

It doesn't need to be the majority. I have no doubt it is much les common today that 30 years ago in the US and Europe. But it is still a part of the industry. The use of illegal women, and taken as a global industry, it is still extremely common (see Asian porn industry for example, in Thailand, Singapore, even Vietnam.)

Beyond that, no one said 'bag on sex workers.' Rather, the problem is to grapple with the particularities of porn. Here it may be useful to get more facts and figures, rather than to go on about stuff. What is the percentage of violence, disease, etc in porn compared to other jobs women can take?

Quote:

All this shit about what i pathologised, what is twisted perverted, an internalisation of capitalist power relations is complete bullshit. What matters to me is whether or not it is consensual. You seem to be thinking people on this board are defending wage labour, some of us are rather trying to point out that being anti porn makes as much sense as being anti shoes. You can be opposed how shoes are made and even certain styles but it seems daft to be against shoes per se. For what it's worth i look forward to a time when porn is the free expression peoples sexualities rather than a commodity produced under economic tryanny. But in the meantime I will refuse to feel guilty about watching it or wearing adidas trainers for that matter.

Why is the internalization of capitalist power relations bullshit? You think you are free from it? That I am? That anyone is? Your desire to consume guilt free is interesting. After all, quite correctly, it is impossible to consume very much in this society not predicated on exploitation. Do we then celebrate it? I would think that we rather recognize that sad state of affairs as the reason we need to overthrow capital, not as an excuse to consume product which are not only exploitative but overtly misogynist and part of an industry that is incredibly racist and denigrating to the human body as well (denigrating by way of making a fetish of specific body parts, of a virtual cutting of the human being into abstract pieces.)

Would you consume racist filth featuring Black people, just because some of the Black actors chose to take the job because it beat their other choices? The complete and total evasion of the particularity of the specific oppression of women dazzles me. Its like "Hey man, exploitation, that's OBJECTIVE, but oppression, well that's SUBJECTIVE. You can tell me I'm exploited, but not oppressed." Not like i have any interest in telling people whether they are exploited or oppressed. Either they feel it or they don't. Our job as communists and anarchists is NOT to tell people they are exploited and oppressed. If we have to tell them, they aren't going to listen. Rather, it is to help clarify how and why when they begin to see themselves as exploited and oppressed, to give them some means to make sense of it and show how it doesn't have to be that way.

As for what is twisted and perverted, my assumption is that liking this society, being normal, being at peace with it, is what is twisted and perverted, and everytime we make some concession to it, we suffer damage. Beyond that, I have not made any comments on the psychology of particular sexual activities. No interest in that at all. I have no ranking system of 'healthy or unhealthy' for people's sexual proclivities. As I said before, it ain't about your sex life because porn ISN'T ABOUT SEX. You wanna pretend it is, go for it. For me, its about a specific form of commodity production and waged-labor predicated on a specific kind of degradation of women. In that, porn really is more like blackface and minstrelsy.

As for consensual, that's crap. The very structure of contemporary capital is the demand for our consensual participation in our exploitation and oppression. That's why I raised the problem of the subjectivization of people, who ought to have "choices", just utterly forced choices that make us choose the terms of our exploitation and oppression, but which deny the meaningfulness of refusal. That why "choices", "empowerment", "diversity" and all this other liberal shit is also th mantra of corporate HR departments and managers.

If the porn as industry has grown so much since the collapse of the last social movements, and has grown so massively in a general period of backlash against the gains of the women’s movement, then it is very important to look at the relation of the two. Putting the matter as guilt-free consumption of a commodity does nothing of the sort.

So again, I don't care what you do on your own time, or what anyone else does on their own time. I am interested in porn as an industry, as a particular exploitation of female labor in degrading ways (regardless of whether or not the women enacting those roles feel degraded in their labor, much as I don't care whether a factory worker or call center workers 'feels' particularly degraded in any conscious fashion), as a way of reproducing labor power in response to the end of the old structures of family and man-woman relations in the aftermath of the 60's and 70's social movements, and in the ways that its specific labor processes particularly denigrate the human body, but with specific emphasis on the objectification and cutting up of the female body.

Chris

lucy82
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Aug 25 2005 16:50

ok, what about sim porn? theres tons of it on the net.

not that i looked embarrassed

redtwister
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Aug 25 2005 17:54
revol68 wrote:
Perhaps porn resembles popular culture?

pLus there is absolutely no proof that pornography leads to an increase in rape. Believe me I don't think Iran has much in the way of porn and the women there aren't exactly living it up.

The idea that rape conviction rates are so low because women in porn never say no is just daft. Thats like claiming gbh conviction rates are low because of the antics of Jackass or Dirty Sanchez.

The logic of your argument means we should be also calling for the banning of violent films, computer games or music. I mean i've played games where i can actually beat prositutes to death and steal their money, but i've never seen a porno with real "non consentual" violence.

As for making better porn being reformist, thats insane. It'd only be reformist if i thought there was something essentially wrong with porn. Just because i wish to see the end of sweatshops doens't mean it is reformist of me to want nicer trainers in a post capitalist society.

Actually, I think porn does resemble pop culture in a lot of ways. The massification of women as sex objects is huge in current US culture. Mass media and entertainment in this country at least is basically one long promotion of women as sex objects to be consumed by men. Porn is only a slightly over-the-top version of it from the point of view of the consumer, though from the point of view of the laborer, it does involve a rather different kind of labor (I will again assert that there is something qualitatively different about posing in your skivvies on the front of Maxim versus getting fucked by 6 different people, all of whom were expected to end with jizzing on your face. I still assert that doing such things with people for a wage, as something you simply do irrespective of whether or not you like it or the guys with whom you do it, is not the same thing as putting the same part into a circuitboard 14 hours a day. That does not mean someone might not choose the one over the other and find it personally preferable.)

On the problem of images, we are literally bombarded with images and they have a profound impact. It is especially huge on kids and I see it impact my kid, who is inundated with shit. If you think that it doesn;t impact adults, I think that's nuts. Really nuts. Does that turn us into rapists? Dunno. It does seem to work in making us consumers,and if that image bombardment did not work, why would advertsising and adver-tainment be such huge, massive industries? Why would they have worked so hard to co-opt sixties slogans and catchphrases? This stuff does not create commodity society, but it is one of the means used to tie us to it, so why pretend that playing a game where you slap women around to get more points just ain't healthy? Hey, maybe at 23 your consciousnes is fully molded and final, but for the kids who play this stuff, including the teenagers, it is reinforcing and gnerating mysoginist attitudes and practices.

The interesting thing is the disjuncture between the real improvements for women since the 1960's, and the uncompensated for loss of power of men over their lives. The same frustrations are there, but now they have to manage them without the buffers of a domestic servant, with a wife or girlfriend who may work as much or more, expect far more (and maybe still not enough) in terms of child care and housework. Without the end of capital, how much are men responding with anger and resentment? Methinks quite a lot. On the other side, independence is not being treated as sexy, but as selfish or as threatening, for the most part, and so to see submissive or objectified women might be somewhat comforting, since actual sexual relations, esp among grown adults and in long-term relationships, are substantially more complicated these days. How much of this is compensation for the fact that this society offers no healthy means of expressing or dealing with sexual conflicts or relationship conflicts, thwarted desires and impulses, etc? More and more, exactly as they are pathologized, relatively understandable feelings a person has over these desires are socialized as a disorder, instead of as a completely normal, accetable set of responses or feelings that people just deal with. Then they can sell you a drug or a service or some porn or a video game to turn you into a passive who is more and more isolated in a virtual world revolving around the computer, the Gamecube, the TV, the psychiatrist couch or the doctor's office. Whether or not its good for you, its great for the market.

And Revol, i suspect you think this is psycho babble, but in spectacular society, to not grapple with the ideal and imaginary, with the symbolic, is IMO a huge mistake. Otherwise, at least here, you won't get a handle on the transformation that racism and sexism have taken and why Bush has so much grass roots support.

I would expect that rape conviction rates have never been high, but are they worse tody than 30 years ago? The treatment of women as an object permeates all of capitalist society, though not in some of the ways it used to. Now it is an ideology of "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus" or sociobiology on men's natural need to rape to reproduce or some other shit (and that's from the liberals). Do you think that porn, the bulk of which degrades women, is an antidote to that? Completely indifferent to it? Porn isn't teaching men how to feel about women (mostly that happened long before porn becomes accessible to us, through the family and school and other friends' families), mostly it is supporting it and reinforcing it, just like the vids you are playing. Maybe you don't tke it that way, but then agin, you also think that voting is crap, right? But what about people who don't think it is crap? Or who don't think it is wrong to 'slap a bitch'? for you, what you ignore or treat as over-the-top nonsense for them may be affirmation.

In the end, the question is not to ban porn or outlaw prostitution. I am for the decriminalization of prostitution (less state control) and I am against the sexualization of all aspects of social life and the commodification of all sex. However, I can't imagine that porn would continue to exist after the abolition of capital and oppressive an alienated sexual relations only because I have a hard time finding a way of formulating porn positively in any way that looks like what porn is today. Undoubtedly, people will share nudies with each other, may even film each other, may even film themselves or others doing stuff, but the idea of it being an industry specifically produced for mass consumption, focussed on gential penetration (at least for het and gay, if not lesbian porn), jizzing on the face, calling women names, slapping them around, having 20 strangers jizz on you, etc etc,well, that seems unlikely to me. Doesn't mean people won't DO IT, but an industry of mass production of it for mass consumption of it? Just really hard to imagine. I hope at least at that point that people will instead, like Revol's trainers say, "just do it".

Nuff. I'm done. I understand what Revol and others are saying and while I don't agree with the way of posing the problem and in some places am geuinely opposed to a certain way of discussing the topic, I will now exercise the better part of valor and shut my yap.

Chris

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Steven.
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Aug 25 2005 17:54
zobag wrote:
I'd like to remind people of the appauling 5.3% conviction rate of reported rapes, which, if you include the very high number of unreported rapes, means you're practically guaranteed to have no punishment for raping someone

Hmmm not wanting to derail the thread, but the conviction rate rapes is very low because the legal system, being nice and liberal (in a good way) is based on the presumption of innocence, and proof beyond all reasonable doubt. In most cases of rape it ends up one person's word against another, and if there's no evidence of a struggle (skin under fingernails, bruising etc.) then with one person's word against another there's no way they can convict. And presumably you wouldn't want them to, do you? To get rid of the presumption of innocence?

Having said that, you're not "practically guaranteed to have no punishment for raping someone", cos if it's not a date rape situation, or one where you can easily argue it was consensual, or presumably if you get marks of a fight then you'll probably get done, no?

Quote:
nd no, I am not against people working in porn. I can think of a lot of industries that would cease to exist, porn being one of them. To corss-over a bit, this is the problem with 'workers' control' or 'self-management'. Do you want self-management of porn or prostitution anymore than you want self-management of advertising, public relations, law firms, military industries, Finance/Insurance/Realty/E(can't remember what the e stand for...), etc.

???? Of course I do!

Prostitution's a different kettle of fish, but yeah people have always liked seeing other people fucking, and some people have always wanted to be watched, fucking. So yeah of course regardless of my views I think it will continue under workers' control.

TBH redtwister I cannot understand your viewing of porn. It seems like what you get more it says more about you than its actual content. I've watched a bunch of porn (usually with girlfriends) but don't just see a subjugated woman being degraded, it's just two (well, mostly wink) people fucking and getting filmed. Maybe the only porn you've seen is really fucked up stuff, I dunno confused

Mike Harman
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Joined: 7-02-06
Aug 25 2005 18:31

Catching up with this thread, but ffs!

redtwister
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Joined: 21-03-05
Aug 25 2005 18:42
Quote:

TBH redtwister I cannot understand your viewing of porn. It seems like what you get more it says more about you than its actual content. I've watched a bunch of porn (usually with girlfriends) but don't just see a subjugated woman being degraded, it's just two (well, mostly wink) people fucking and getting filmed. Maybe the only porn you've seen is really fucked up stuff, I dunno confused

This is one of those things that's annoying. What is really said here is that maybe I just see sex as exploitative or I just see the bad stuff. Maybe you don't see how you relate to women and sex or maybe you only watch the more feminist-inspired porn? In either case, I really couldn't say. that doesn't mean that porn isn't appealing, anymore than suburbs are necessarily ugly. Attractive, pushing the right buttons, well done, etc (like Revol's comments on Hollywood flicks) is key to the business. Most porn doesn't make me want to run away, but either makes me laugh or it does what it does to most people. I also occassionally like a Big Mac or a Whopper or smoking, but that doesn't make them good or healthy, does it? A world without cigarrettes and fast food would be a better place, though people might still smoke some things and most definitely will still eat. They just won't do it in a really unhealthy, absuive way.

How about an experiment? Surf the web for porn sites, then throw in searches for Latino, Asian, Black or interracial porn. see how much that comes up is totally fucked up. then go into a porn shop (and not some liberal-feminist place in San Francisco.) Pull youself out of watching it for fun and enjoyment, and actually distance yourself from it. Watch the positions, the differences between how men and women are deployed, watch to see who has orgasms, where, and on whom. Try to actually think about, instead of just sitting in front of it uncritically. Go to a porn shop and look at what they actually have (and again, maybe th US is just that much worse), what it projects, what it appeals to, how it is marketed, etc.

Chris