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Fuck Politeness

This is a revolution, not a public relations movement

So I wrote a post, a self described rant, a reaction to Sam in the City and yet another of her “Men are wonderful and everything they do is fine, and if not is the fault of the women” posts. This time about porn. About (of course) how men using porn is normal and natural and we ought to just get over it. Which shits me because yet again it’s a scenario where MEN are the sexual beings, THEY think about sex, and we would really rather be crocheting doilies, and dish out the odd root as a favour.

So I started up a rant, three quarters of which was not about the article, but ranging over stuff (clumsily articulated, as, hello, a rant) about the male gaze, about being a woman in a man’s world, about getting fucked off with the limited ways in which we discuss things which erase women’s experiences of the patriarchy, which naturalise all things convenient to male heterosexuality and which turn it into ‘If you have a problem with ANYTHING the patriarchy dishes out it’s because you’re a frigid man hating bitch’.

So you know, whatever, I’m not claiming to be the next big brain. I just think there is value in a woman being able to use language, whatever language she chooses to be angry, really really angry at the bum deal women get, to say “This is horseshit, and you aren’t going to talk about it so I am”.

Anyway, this morning I realise my rant has been subject to a little ‘analysis’ over at Soft Subversions. I put analysis in quote marks as it’s a little selective, and a little…well bullshit.

First my late edition note that in my hasty typing I’d referred to searching for regular porn. By which I meant I had NOT wanted to find anything to do with rape/underage kids/scenarios in which a woman had been subjected to such rough treatment that she vomited. Of course, this note to clarify that I had not meant hetero coupledom was immediately taken up as psychoanalytic proof that it was the very thing I do mean. I do so love a bit of psychoanlysis from a random stranger in the morning. How convenient it must be to have a theory on life that allows you to peg and stereotype the world at a thousand paces. No doubt I’m showing here that I was neglected as a wee child, because only a neglected child would be so churlish and sarcastic.

Why didn’t I just rewrite it the author suggests? Yes, because erasing my words rather than self consciously acknowledging them and clarifying what I meant would have been far LESS of an attempt to be seen in flattering ways by the Other.Could it be perhaps that I noticed it, corrected it and expected to be taken at my word, or questioned? Piffle. Women can’t define what they mean for themselves!

The author goes on to chooose very carefully from my list of searches by which my blog has been found/ads which pop up to choose the only one which does not directly involve or explicitly discuss rape. Raping grandmas, and statutory rape are ignored in favour of ass pounding with vomit. Yes, sure, somewhere out there are women who might enjoy anal sex rough, until they vomit . I can’t comprehend it myself, as I don’t enjoy vomiting – do I need to to be not a prude? Is it not enough that I can say “Look, sure, whatever you’re into is fine”?

But being fine with a woman enjoying rough sex until she vomits, or even with her enjoying being filmed and watched by doing it is not the same as saying that I honestly believe that the presence of these videos on the web does anything to undermine compulsory monogamous heterosexuality. There may be something subversive to it, but amongst masculinity, heterosexuality, a culture in which women are disrespected and seen as virgins/whores, and consumerism which frame porn it gets too easily coopted back into something that reinforces these things at least as much as it subverts it.

Perhaps I was hasty in publishing the rant, as it was brain to keypad to net. When I talk about rape culture I am not discussing a ‘business’. I am talking about the culture of disrespect for, objectification of, and violence towards women. I am talking about the ways in which compulsory heterosexuality is drenched with the idea that sex is wrong and dirty and women are the temptresses, and if they DO enjoy sex they are dirty sluts to be punished.

The post in response to mine alleges that perversion undermines compulsory heterosexuality. Sure. Not in any uncomplicated way though. Perversions arise WITHIN and in reaction to compulsory heterosexuality, they are not some pure space of rebellion. The author again, fortuitously for her his/her point chooses shoe fetishism as her/his example. Yes…like THAT is the same as wanking over rapes…I think we can ALL agree that shoe fetishism is a whatever. But that is not what was raised, so it’s a little disingenuous to act as though it is, or as if it is equivalent.

And as for this:

Given that the range of activities which constitutes perversion is, in its very essence pluralistic, the only way that perversion could be said to constitute a “monopoly” on porn would be if one perversion in particular held the monopoly.

I disagree. This is a man’s world, and disrespect for women is everywhere. The ‘monopoly’ in porn I am discussing is that of disrespect for women, and a variety of what the author labels perversions (and I label men looking for videos of women being raped) feed right into this. Perversions may subvert, but rape is real and affects so many that there is little in the standard porn act out of rape or in strangers looking for what they believe to be real videos of rape that can be described as subverting the status quo.

I know, I know, porn is complicated and I used the word monopoly clumsily…what I am saying is that porn does not NEED to be contemptuous of women, it does not need to ignore us as consumers, it does not need to turn us into the objects upon which men’s fantasies are acted out, no matter how savage. (And, there will be many women who enjoy being in this role, and many women who enjoy watching porn, even of the kinds I have issues with).

But, at this point in time, I feel as though it is, I feel as though women are objectified, disrespected and subject to violence, in the ‘real world’ and in the world of porn. The fact that there are examples where this is not the case no more refutes that than that there are some women who have not been raped. Misogyny is still an overarching societal problem and porn (and perversions) arise WITHIN that context.

And while we’re here a few minor points. This author does not “admit” to ‘searching for porn’, as if it’s some furtive thing which undermines her claim to femininity. This author says fuck off, I am a sexual being, I have varied desires like everyone else, and yes of COURSE I have looked at porn, I have also had sex with more than one person (OMG) and own a vibrator (HOLY SHIT). The fact that someone so ‘subversive’ casts me discussing this as some kind of furtive *admission* is pretty fucking bizarre. What sort of subversive mindset assumes that because I’m a woman, and because I have a problem with the searches for rape that pop up to inform me that’s how my blog was found means that I’d be all ‘Eww, yuck, sex, eww yuck PORN!’. Way to reinforce that sex and porn are men’s domain.

And, thankyou it is not a case of me not finding something to satisfy me (again some nice psychoanalytic assumptions at play). I am usually well satisfied thank you. My point is that I hate the overarching themes that run in porn.

For instance, where there are lesbians, they must ALWAYS be there for teh menz. They have long (and really quite uncomfortable for their partner, and sure some may be into that but don’t tell me you don’t think it’s nearly ALWAYS about juvenile male fantasies about glamour queen girls) fingernails, they lap at one another in a way that shows that most of them are entirely uncomfortable/not enjoying what they’re doing, all “Mmmm, mmm” while their faces say ‘Oh god, not the vagina again!’.

Thank you also for lumping me as anti porn despite me saying for myself I am not. It’s delightful to again have my right to speak for myself as a woman taken away from me, to have my self redefined and handed back to me.

Rape culture doesn’t cover the perversions on display in porn, rape culture is the culture in which porn comes forth. It is the culture of society itself. Porn may start out subversive and still get coopted back into something that strengthens and reifies masculinity, stupid ideas about women and violence.

I have no easy answers here, I don’t pretend to. But I will speak for myself.

Oh, and again, very subversive to assert that what my problem is is sexual frustration when what I want from porn isn’t there and I experience THAT as rape. No, what I exerience as a response of horror is when I see those ads, when I know that regular dumb misogynist arseholes wank to women being caused pain, think that women all want their cock and just pretend not to, and that this alleged sense of power is not necessarily limited to the furtive wank at the computer, but spills back out into real life, attitudes to women, jokes at the pub, turning a blind eye and yes, rape culture, which is not IN THE TUBES, it’s out here and it affects me.

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