Category Archives: Radical feminism

The pro-pornography and pro-BDSM positions are fundamentally selfish.

From Dinosaur Comics.

I think the proposition I give in the title of this entry may seem counter-intuitive; anyone interested in these debates has been bombarded by entitlement propaganda from the pro side, which posits that men have a right to, and are entitled to, female sexuality. Starting from this premise, I agree that the notion that the pro-prostitution and pro-BDSM positions are selfish does not make much sense (how can it be selfish to demand something that you are entitled to?). But I reject male entitlement to sex, and if we do go beyond that flimsy rationalization, I think the selfish nature of these positions is obvious.

I think that actions which benefit the self and hurt others would be labeled selfish by everyone (except Objectivists, but their own pro-capitalist ideology belies that). So however else selfishness may be defined, we can posit that selfish people are fine with running roughshod over others in the satisfaction of their needs.

Before even looking at how pro-pornography advocates defend their position, we can define the fundamental issue as this: in order to support pornography as an institution, you must first believe that your orgasms are more important than the widespread physical and mental abuse of women in pornography, the use of prostitutes and trafficked women to produce pornography, the creeping invasion of pornographic images and poses into mainstream media, and the threat to all women that pornography represents.

So I think we can all agree that, a priori, being pro-pornography is a very selfish position. But what about the advocates’ replies?

First, they try to argue that all these harms cannot possibly exist because “porn is not real” or “it’s just fantasy.” I could facetiously argue that they are out of their minds and can no longer differentiate between real life and fantasy, but I doubt that’s actually the case. I’m more inclined to believe that they are simply lying. Of course pornography is real, it’s made by real people in real circumstances and the sexual acts really are performed. To seriously argue otherwise is a complete psychotic break and requires treatment, not debate.

Sex-positive advocates will usually talk about how important healthy orgasms are, but pornography is not necessary for orgasms in the first place, so it’s really a red herring. The fact that a couple may sit down and watch pornography as a way to spark their sex life doesn’t mean they need pornography to have sex. And pornography, as I’ve pointed out before, is a very poor way of learning about sex. And even if the argument was valid and not a lie, it’s still selfish to think that the harms of pornography are compensated by your orgasm.

Another popular argument is the free speech argument. Besides its logical invalidity, what does it say about you that whatever you’re defending is so harmful to society that the only argument you have is that you have the right to defend it? Anyone has the right to be a woman-hating little shit, but how does that justify woman-hating? That seems to me like a rather childish and selfish attitude to have.

It rather reminds me of choice-talk. People throw the word “choice” around as a way to reduce everything to the individual. When they use it about themselves, they are basically saying “you can’t criticize me!”. To take one random example:

“I am an adult and if I choose to watch pornography, violence etc. then it is my own business.”

Really implies:

“I am an adult and if I choose to watch pornography, violence etc. then you are not allowed to criticize it. You may criticize children all you want, but I am an adult and all my choices are just as valid as yours.”

So there is an element of misopedia in this comment (obviously children don’t have rights and their “choices” cannot be valid without adult approval), but most importantly the individual demands that eir values have primacy over everyone else’s. Because there is criticism of pornography from a radical perspective and that criticism deserves as much consideration as the individual’s “choice.” To say otherwise is to refuse to live in society, but there lies the rhetoric of the sociopath, who, like the consumer of pornography, desperately does not want you to confront what he does.

If you read this blog, you know that I have repeatedly exposed the lies and misrepresentations of the most visible “feminist” pro-pornography advocate, Wendy McElroy (see 1, 2). Her defense of pornography is a mishmash of lies (e.g. radfems think women who look at pornography are “damaged” and regressed to a childlike state, pornography is sexually informative) and ignorance (e.g. she cannot use the term “objectification” correctly, she only discusses pornography with privileged and successful white pornographic actresses). Reading her defense, one gets the impression of a person who wants to sound like the voice of reason, but rejects anyone who is not like herself or who has different issues.

How often, in the pro-pornography discourse, do you hear anything about human rights, about equality, about the harm done? The reason is obvious: no human right, no egalitarian principle would be broken by banning pornography, and no harm is being resolved by pornography. They have no argument there, so they have no choice but to fall back to the same “free speech” and “it’s not real, it’s not real” rhetoric.

With BDSM, we have a similar situation, in that the person’s orgasm remains paramount. BDSMers must, a priori, believe that their orgasm is more important than the fact that they are reproducing physical and verbal abuse, sexual assault, torture, rape, and slavery, participating in a sexual institution which normalizes and justifies these activities, equating sexuality with oppressive hierarchies (and labeling non-hierarchical sex “vanilla sex,” on the premise that sexuality that is egalitarian and respectful of consent is inherently uninteresting and flavorless), and threatening abused women.

When I first commented on BDSM, I pointed out that, like with the pro-pornography advocates, the main argument used to address these charges is that BDSM is “not really” physical and verbal abuse, sexual assault, torture, etc. In order to make the point, they use weasel terms like “consensual non-consent,” “dubious consent,” “meta-consent,” “long-term consent.” None of these terms are actually forms of consent, but rather ways of calling various forms of non-consent “consent.”

I do feel like this point will be misunderstood, so I want to expand on it a bit. I have defined consent quite a bit on this blog, but basically to consent means to agree to participate to, or allow, if one is not directly involved, a certain course of action. All these BDSM terms entail that by agreeing to something that will happen in the future, agreeing when one is forced to agree, or by agreeing to actions which are undefined, one is agreeing to those future, coerced or undefined actions.

But this is logical nonsense. The only way to consent (agree to an action) is to agree to the action at the time of the action. Anything else is coercive; if consent really existed at the time of the action, then you wouldn’t need any long-term or contractual agreement in the first place. Sexual acts which are not consensual are actually really acts of sexual assault or rape.

Not only is it rape when agreement is not obtained at the time of the act, but even when there is no agreement at all, the assumed validity of BDSM as a sexual practice helps rapists get out of rape accusations (“we were practicing rapeplay, honest!”). Abusive forms of BDSM sex are, in practice, indistinguishable from other forms of abuse (how can we tell if there was an pre-existing agreement two days or two years ago?).

There is a “not all BDSMers” argument, just like there’s a “there is feminist porn too” argument. Both arguments are misguided, since the radfem position is not that all BDSMers are rapists or that all pornography is abusive, but rather that pornography and BDSM as institutions further the cause of woman-hatred and patriarchal ideals. Sadly, in defense of their sexuality, BDSMers are not ashamed to tell people about their sexual activities without their consent (not surprising, given how little they value consent) as if this was a normal thing to do (an activity which some in the anti-kink community call kink-creep).

Same problem with the argument that BDSMers only do it between themselves and thus cannot hurt anyone else. Apart from the fact that such arguments marginalize survivors of BDSM abuse, they obscure the fact that radfem arguments are not concerned with what people do in their own bedroom but with systems of oppression. BDSM as an institution is more than just people having sex: it’s a system of thought about sexual relations and “consent,” a reframing of sex as hierarchy and an us v them ideology where everyone who does not practice hierarchical sex is “vanilla” and has not discovered their personal kink.

As you can see, I’ve highlighted a number of areas where both positions are very similar. But the fundamental similarity, I think, is that advocates of pornography and BDSM are both conditioned by their orgasms (in the case of BDSM, often on purpose; in the case of pornography, involuntarily). If you keep getting orgasms in a specific physical or mental way, then eventually your orgasms will be connected to that way.

Let’s take porn for example: “John” enjoys pornography that includes group sex, so he seeks out this type of stimulus when he masturbates. Every time he orgasms to stimuli (visual or fantasy) of group sex, “John”’s brain forms an association between the stimuli and orgasm. And the more he pairs his orgasm to group sex, the stronger the association. Now, this doesn’t mean that simply seeing or thinking about group sex will cause “John” to orgasm, but it will start the arousal process. And more importantly, “John” might find that it takes longer to become aroused or to achieve orgasm to other types of sexual stimuli. He may even have to fantasize about group sex when he’s being intimate with his partner in order to orgasm.

If women’s oppression is the only way for you to get an orgasm, then you have a huge incentive to defend women’s oppression. Addicts will defend their right to have their drug of choice at any costs. And a lot of women are hoodwinked by the lie that it is normal for men to need pornography to orgasm, or the lie that women need to get into BDSM to have interesting sex lives (e.g. Fifty Shades of Grey, which is a manual for “forced seduction”).

Under the guise of tolerance and openness, pro-pornography and pro-BDSM advocates peddle the same old patriarchal bullshit. To paraphrase a famous quote, pornography and BDSM are the theory, rape is the practice.

I love when pro-porn people criticize radical feminists for their vague pragmatic agreement with conservatives but don’t seem to realize their much greater agreement with a massive legion of rapists.

[P]orn teaches the same things as rape.

“The abolition of gender will never happen!”

It always makes me laugh when people accuse me of holding to unrealistic positions or of not accepting the more pragmatic solution. When have I ever even shown an inkling of desire to be pragmatic or conciliating? When have I ever refused to follow the truth? Pragmatism is the watchword of people who refuse to think.

That being said, I do want to examine the objections of people who argue that gender abolitionism cannot “work,” mainly because their arguments are similar to those used against the abolition of other institutions or social constructs, like religion, class or hierarchies in general. Therefore I think this issue goes to the core of what radicalism is all about.

1. Gender is innate.

I’ve already discussed this quite a bit, so I won’t spend a whole lot of space on this one, but it is a common response applied to any social construct. The first line of defense that will form around any social hierarchy is pseudo-science which endeavors to “prove” that it is “a fact of nature.”

So you get early anthropologists telling us that centralized power and religion are marks of “civilization,” phrenologists showing us the “criminal head,” and sociobiologists “discovering” that gender is a biological fact. Actual science never confirms these “discoveries,” but that never gets in the way of their supporters.

Even if gender actually was innate, it’s unclear how that would mean gender cannot be censored to some extent. After all, we all agree that the desire for sex is innate, but there are people who voluntarily choose a life of abstinence, and most of us do not have sex on a constant basis. We also agree that man is a social animal, but there are people who live without human contact.

So while gender being innate would make it impossible to eliminate it, it wouldn’t mean that gender cannot be mitigated.

2. Gender is so ingrained in the fabric of society that it cannot be eliminated.

I’m sure people said the same thing about slavery, too. Granted, we still haven’t eliminated slavery, but at least it’s illegal and marginalized everywhere, which is more than I can say for genderist brainwashing. Even if gender could not be eliminated, I’d settle for “genderism is now illegal and marginalized in all countries, and its proponents are considered the scum of the Earth.” How would that not be a victory?

Any hierarchy as major as gender will be integrated within all levels of society and will look intractable. And yet we fight against them because of their destructive effects on society and the world. Capitalism is a major enemy of human life, so we oppose it even if eliminating it looks impossible from our perspective. Gender may be the oldest hierarchy in human history, but its destructive effects means we must oppose it regardless of pragmatic considerations.

3. Gender can be abolished, but the results would be catastrophic.

Traditionalists love to turn into doomsayers when the issue of advancing any social issue turns up. The standard traditional genderist storyline about abolishing gender is this: feminism leads to gender equality, and gender equality leads to the destruction of the family structure, which is the foundation of civilization, so that would end Western civilization as we know it. Cue the explosions.

The masculine and feminine roles, clearly defined above, are not merely a result of custom or tradition, but are of divine origin…

Nothing is more important than a boy becoming a masculine man and a girl becoming a feminine woman.

Helen Andelin, Fascinating Womanhood

Since feminism was mottled together out of a deep disdain for God’s perfectly created order for men and women, it fueled the desire to rebel against the foundations of family. Therefore, the erosive movement was able to gain intense momentum as it was paired perfectly with a societal shift. Our nation became less concerned with foundations, more influenced by European Marxism, and sought out the Babylonian cry for feminism among women, and later brought along men, who all reject God. Suddenly, the use of the once sacred mortar of our foundations of God, Constitution and iron-clad families of strength, were abandoned to pursue anti-godly endeavors and selfishly built altars of sin.

It was inevitable by this point, that this movement would begin the most corrosive of all forces to weaken the fortress of family, and bring down the entire societal house of cards; from the inside out.

Granted, I’ve picked some of the most extreme examples: I think most traditional genderists believe that feminism and gender equality are deleterious but not fatal, and probably don’t attribute every single detail of our gender roles to God itself.

The basic principle remains the same: whenever some construct is threatened, they use fear to try to keep people in line (does it ever work?). I’ve referred to this a couple times on this blog as the Argument from Armageddon: if belief in X disappears, then society as we know it will collapse.

4. Gender can be abolished, but it would destroy individuality.

Independent Radical reminded me of this one in the comments. There seems to be this weird belief that the end point of feminism is some androgynous dystopia where everyone looks and acts the same. I first ran into this argument in One Life at a Time, Please, by Edward Abbey, where he states that the future of society under feminism is one of “unisexual, interchangeable, replaceable units of desexed semihumanity.” His argument is ridiculously simple: feminists want women to be more like men, therefore their ultimate goal is to homogenize everyone.

But this argument is completely backwards. It is gender that homogenizes people and suppresses individuality. How could eliminating gender, and having a population of individuals free to dress and act however they want, create more homogenization? Although I see nothing wrong with androgyny as a concept or a strategy, I see very little merit to that argument.

5. Abolishing gender is bigoted because it would go against people’s self-identification.

Again, I will not take a lot of time on this point because I’ve already argued that we don’t have a right to self-identify.

But I will go even farther and say that if self-identification hurts people, as it does in the case of genderism, then it must be attacked. Genderism hurts women on a worldwide scale and is used to justify attacking their bodies and human rights. Identification with gender serves to support its power to hurt women, whether the people who identify with it want to do so or not.

How we reward abusers and demonize victims.

It seems that humans will go through any sort of ideological contortion to explain away inconvenient events. I have already written about how people who support violent ideologies portray themselves as the real victims. I’ve also discussed how victims get gaslighted, trivialized, and so on. I want to continue along those lines in this entry.

First, there is the phenomenon that I’ll call “enforced subjectivity.” For instance, we are told that rape statistics are inflated and that we should not count any instance where a woman does not call what happened to her “rape,” because she’d know better. But an instance of rape is an instance of rape regardless of whether the victim calls it rape or not. This is just subjectivism plain and simple. I mean you can see how incredibly stupid this derailing tactic is if you just ask yourself: instead of asking the victim if it was rape, why not ask the perpetrator?

There are many reasons why a rape victim might not call it rape. For one thing, most rapes do not resemble the narrative we’ve been given of a stranger assaulting women in a dark alley or in a park. Most rapes and sexual assaults are committed by dates, sexual partners and family members. Also, many victims do not want to attract the ire of their family and friends by outing a common friend or family member as a rapist. They may also believe that the rape was their fault and therefore not “really rape,” because that’s what we believe about rape victims.

All rape statistics are automatically suspect and their criteria of what constitutes rape should be carefully examined. Subjectivist arguments must be rejected out of hand.

Gender is another area where subjectivity runs rampant, thanks to trans genderism. We are told that individuals are whatever gender they claim to be, but we are also told that anyone who does not actively seek to change their body actually really want to be the gender they were assigned (“cis”). In practice, this amounts to: people’s beliefs and desires are the only thing that matters unless you are not compliant with gender rules about presentation, in which case your beliefs or desires are irrelevant. This is why trans advocacy pushes the oppression of gender rebelling children and homosexuals (especially butch lesbians, which they seek to erase entirely).

Just so I don’t pick only on trans genderists, I will also point out that Christians, who are for the most part traditional genderists, posit that God is male without any biology whatsoever. What does that say about their idea of gender? Well, it shows us that they think authority is a male attribute, even in a being that has no organs or even, you know, a material body. This is not directly subjectivist but, like all Christian premises, goes back to divine subjectivism.

In reality, gender is a social construct legally assigned at birth and which usually does not change throughout your life. This assignment is arbitrary and, while ostensibly based on sex, has nothing to do with sex. There is no logical or biological connection between a person’s sexual organs and their supposedly preferred toys, clothes, games, ways of moving, sexuality, sports or jobs. Genderism, whether traditional or trans, is based on equating a social construct with a biological reality, and hoping their claim has such a degree of support that no one will question it. In that way, it is very much like a religion.

Another area I want to mention is child abuse, of which genderism is an important part but not the whole by far. The subjectivism in child abuse is in the fact that we refuse to identify assaults against children as child abuse. We even have an entire branch of science, psychoanalysis, dedicated to reframing child abuse (thanks to Freud’s cowardice in backing down from exposing the abuse which was, and still is, prevalent).

The support of child abuse is easy to explain by the fact that we hate children. But the erasure of child abuse enacted by the whole society was, until recently, so profound as to eclipse any other. Only recently have we started, only started, to acknowledge that physical and sexual assault against children may be a bad thing (verbal assault and removal of a child’s rights are still considered perfectly normal, unfortunately).

It should not be surprising that child abuse is targeted for the highest level of erasure. After all, children are the most vulnerable members of society, and parents have the most relative power in any relation in any society. Therefore (in accordance with the principle of self-victimhood) it has always been especially crucial that parents portray themselves as the victims and their children as the aggressors. So you get the children-are-innately-evil, toddler-as-seducer, children-as-gullible, teenagers-as-stupid child-hatred party line (and they then turn around and accuse antinatalists of child-hatred, because like all crackpots they desperately need to project).

This leads me to the more general topic of assault by authority figures, most notably cops and soldiers. Whenever an authority figure beats up or kills an innocent civilian, people will be prompt in speaking up in support of the authority figures and in demonizing the victims: in fact, it seems that the more horrifying the event was, the more vicious the attacks against the victims become.

I have already commented on this bizarre phenomenon and given my explanation. The subject is very much related to child abuse. Most of us are victims of child abuse as we grow up, and we grow up internalizing the anger poured against us as being normal. So we turn around and express our anger when someone is, like us, mistreated by an authority figure. The cop or soldier takes the place of the parents, and the victims become substitutes for ourselves, which we are free to hate as much as our parents hated us. For more explanation on this repression and projection mechanism, read Alice Miller‘s work. Arthur Silber, an intellectual heir of Miller (like David Mackler), wrote:

When such modes of thought are established in our psychologies, they cannot be isolated or contained. We deny our own pain — so we must deny the pain of others. If we acknowledge their pain fully and allow ourselves to realize what it means, it will necessarily call up our own wounds. But this remains intolerable and forbidden. In extreme cases, we must dehumanize other human beings: they become “the other,” the less-than-human. By using such devices, we make inflicting untold agonies on another person possible: if they are not even human, it doesn’t matter if we torture them. This is always how we create hell on earth.

Again the self-victimhood principle is applied: the authority figures are portrayed as the “victims” through the demonization of the targets of violence. The authority figure had no choice but to use violence because the targets were disobedient and must have been guilty to be targeted with violence in the first place (a circular argument if there ever was one). This is the same “reasoning” used against rape victims and child abuse victims, but with the righteousness of authority behind it (that is to say, with the authority as a parental figure which therefore can do no wrong).

Frame logic: Individuals are victimised or disadvantaged by the actions of bad, criminal, irresponsible, antisocial types. The “authorities” come to the rescue, in the form of police or other official types with police-like powers. The cops deal with the bad people and protect the good people. (There’s also a “terrorism” variant of the frame, with similar structure, but differently defined roles).

Frame inferences: The cops/authorities are essentially good; the perpetrators are bad; the victims are usually innocent. The authorities maintain order and harmony; the villains disrupt it. Order is a system; bad individuals disrupt order (note the good system / bad individuals dichotomy).

As an aside, I do want to mention that a Gallup poll taken after the Kent State murders revealed that 58% of people blamed the students for their own murder, while 11% blamed the National Guard (the actual murderers).

The Jacobin trying to “prove” that prostitution is “sex work.”

One of the fundamental premises of sex-positivity is that prostitution should be called “sex work.” In doing so, they hope to normalize prostitution as just another kind of work, and thus proving that abolitionists are misguided.

Sex-positive leftists are special offenders, simply because they should know better. Being against work in a capitalist society, calling prostitution “sex work,” and yet being pro-“sex work,” is just baffling. The contortions people will go through to defend prostitution and pornography can be quite incredible.

The Jacobin is a leftist news site which I used to read regularly, until I was made aware of this article trying to frame the issue of “sex work,” by Laura Agustin. Her efforts are, if anything, considerable. Unfortunately, things turn sour before they even begin:

Most of the moral uproar surrounding prostitution and other forms of commercial sex asserts that the difference between good or virtuous sex and bad or harmful sex is obvious. Efforts to repress, condemn, punish and rescue women who sell sex rest on the claim that they occupy a place outside the norm and the community, can be clearly identified and therefore acted on by people who Know Better how they should live.

This is a bizarre claim. 90% of women in prostitution say they want out: don’t they know better how they should live? Or does Agustin think that her perspective is the only valid view on how prostituted women should live?

The belief that they occupy a place outside the norm is not part of the abolitionist position, but it is part of the “sex work” position. The fact that they feel intellectually safe in gaslighting prostituted women (by calling the violence done against them a form of work) and not, for example, rape victims who are not prostituted women, shows how little they actually think of prostituted women.

Is the difference between good or virtuous sex and bad or harmful sex obvious? It’s certainly far more obvious than sex-positive advocates want us to believe. Their ambiguous attitude towards rape, sexual slavery and verbal violence against women, amongst other things, proves that they are utterly unable to make the difference between harm and non-harm. They are in a state of complete non-confront and, like all people who are in such a state, they must find a target, any target, as long as it’s the wrong one.

So let us skip ahead now to the justification for the term “sex work.” As it turns out, Agustin uses the same old story that people who use and abuse prostituted women are just lonely joes who need some good healthy sex, with a dose of “women do it too!”. When you read this, keep in mind that, like anyone else expounding a political position, Agustin has to establish a narrative which triggers the right feelings and frameworks in other people’s minds.

The partner wanting sex and not getting it at home now has to choose: do without and feel frustrated? call an old friend? ring for an escort? go to a pick-up bar? drive to a hooker stroll? visit a public toilet? buy an inflatable doll? fly to a third-world beach?

People of any gender identity can find themselves in this situation, where money may help resolve the situation, at least temporarily, and where more than one option may have to be tried. Tiring of partners is a universal experience, and research on women who pay local guides and beach boys on holidays suggests there is nothing inherently male about exchanging money for sex…

We don’t know how many people do what, but we know that many clients of sex workers say they are married (some happily, some not, the research is all about male clients). In testimonies about their motivations for paying for sex, men often cite a desire for variety or a way to cope with not getting enough sex or the kind of sex they want at home.

There is a lot to unpack here, because this is where the whole narrative of prostitution is being set up for the rest of the article. Once you accept this narrative of johns as good folks who just aren’t getting enough sex, you’re primed to see prostitution as “sex work,” fulfilling a need, providing a service, to the poor sex-starved men.

The first interesting point is that the narrative both relies on gender stereotype (men are sex-starved) and goes against gender stereotype (women do it too!). Actually, both these maneuvers have the same aim: to normalize johns. If women do it too, then it’s not just deviant men doing it (women, according to the stereotypes, are more pure and less depraved, unless they are prostitutes); and men are doing it because they are not getting enough sex at home (from women, presumably, so it’s still women’s fault), not for more deviant purposes.

So we start with a man who’s not getting the sex he wants and is faced with a choice. Note that of the options listed, three involve prostitution, most of them adultery; there’s also one option missing, the one that most men would naturally go to because it’s simple and does not involve an exchange of money: masturbation.

An interesting omission, no? But it fits perfectly well with the prevailing pro-prostitution argument that men physically need sex and will try to get it through any means. People want orgasms because they feel good, but no one, man or woman, physically needs sex. No one has ever been in poor health, fallen ill or died from not having sex. No man’s health depends on access to hookers, escorts, glory holes or third world slaves.

The last paragraph seems to act as a confirmation of the narrative. Agustin reiterates that many johns are married; it is true that johns are roughly similar to the general population, but that does not confirm the narrative presented. Agustin also says that johns “often” don’t get enough sex at home. What percentage is “often”? One thing we do know is that insufficient sex is only the third most frequent reason for johns to frequent prostituted women.

Just so I’m clear, I am not saying that Agustin’s writing of a narrative is particularly sinister: everyone either does it or invokes an existing narrative, no matter what your political position. But all narratives can and should be deconstructed, because we are prone to accept what we can imagine without critically examining it.

The first thing you should think when looking or hearing a narrative being used is: how typical is it? The speaker may be making up a story that has little connection to the reality of the situation. The second thing you should think is: who is being designated as the “good guy” and the “bad guy”?

Having established her narrative of the poor married but sex-starved john who’s just looking for some sex, any sex, Agustin examines the question of whether sex is necessary… and concludes that it isn’t.

The argument against sex work as reproductive labor is that sexual experiences, while sometimes temporarily rejuvenating, are neither always felt as positive nor essential to the individual’s continued functioning. Humans have to eat and keep our bodies and environments clean but we don’t have to have sex to survive: the well-being produced by sex is a luxury or extra. Sex feels as essential as food to a lot of people, and they may be very unhappy without it, but they can go on living.

I’m not sure what the point of that whole section is. But at least there’s one pro-prostitution advocate who doesn’t lie about men needing sex, so that’s nice.

So when is she going to justify “sex work”? Well, here it is:

The variability of sexual experience makes it difficult to pin down which sex should properly be thought of as sex work. My own policy is to accept what individuals say. If someone tells me they experience selling sex as a job, I take their word for it. If, on the contrary, they say that it doesn’t feel like a job but something else, then I accept that.

And there you go: the answer is that it’s entirely subjective. If a woman identifies as a sex worker, then she’s a sex worker. This is a wonderful demonstration of the complete departure from reality people must take in order to defend prostitution.

In real life (not in pro-prostitution la-la-land), whether someone is a worker or not is not subjective. Who is a service worker, a factory worker, an IT worker, is not determined by subjective self-identification. We don’t take scam artists at their word when they say they’re doctors, businessmen or lawyers. We determine that by looking at what people actually do for a living.

It’s rather bizarre that a supposedly leftist group would put out such a desperately bourgeois liberal piece of nonsense.

But she continues to tell us how to determine whether we feel like we’re a worker:

* I organise myself to offer particular services for money that I define
* I take a job in someone else’s business where I control some aspects of what I do but not others
* I place myself in situations where others tell me what they are looking for and I adapt, negotiate, manipulate and perform – but it’s a job because I get money

Presumably Agustin classifies “sex work” as being in the third category, or so we are left to imply because she certainly does not. So now we get classifications; whatever happened to “I take their word for it”?

Either way, is that what we’re supposed to believe? “It’s a job because I get money?” Slaves sometimes get money. Pets have been known to inherit money. People on welfare get money. Are slavery, being a pet, and welfare jobs?

Agustin may reply that it is not only the “getting money” part that makes a job, but the “adapt, negotiate, manipulate and perform” parts as well. But this is exceedingly vague. What does that mean in reality? What is the prostituted woman adapting to? What does she manipulate? What kind of performance makes it a job?

Here’s one last quote:

To imagine that the worker is always powerless because the client pays for time makes no sense, since all workers jockey for control in their jobs – of what happens when and how long it takes. This is a simple definition of human agency.

You may have noticed that I chose this quote because of the word “agency.” I’ve already discussed how the term “agency” is inherently reactionary and a more sophisticated way of blaming the victim. Agustin telegraphs this by claiming to refute the position that the prostituted woman is powerless, therefore you know she’s going to blame prostituted women. If prostituted women “jockey for control,” and then get abused, it must be a result of their failure to successfully “jockey for control.”

It’s hard to make sense of the view that all workers “jockey for control.” Capitalist businesses thrive by treating workers as resources which can, within limits, be controlled spatially and temporally. In most mundane jobs, a worker “jockeying for control” would be considered a nuisance at best, and mentally deficient at worse; if such behavior persisted, she would be targeted for firing. Agustin seems to live in a state of total unreality regarding most jobs.

But most workers do not have to worry on a daily basis about being raped, beaten or killed. Prostituted women have to negotiate because their lives depend on it. Nothing to do with “work.”

I think the argument has been more than adequately debunked at this point, but I do want to come back on the fact that Agustin admitted that men do not need sex.

That is a huge admission which, in my opinion, tears apart the pro-prostitution argument. Without it, there is no more pragmatic justification for the violence and abuse inherent in prostitution; if it doesn’t serve a basic need, then why does it exist?

Equating it with work does not help the case, since we do question the existence of many forms of work which do not serve human needs, not just “sex work.” And for a leftist, calling something work should make it particularly suspicious, not the opposite! But it seems that, by some magical process, leftists forget all their arguments against capitalist labor when they talk about “sex work” (for a satire of this, see the comic I put as the header of this entry).

I would even go so far as to say that sex-positivity is greatly harmed by denying the validity of male sexual entitlement, since it seems that a lot (not all, by far, although the rest is not much better) of sex-positive talk consists of women adapting themselves to male sexual entitlement. But to be fair, sex-positivity is such a vacuous ideology that it’s hard to imagine it being even less justified than it already is.

Why the lies about radical feminists and “sex work”?

The fanatical opponents of radical feminism are always trying to coin new words to further attack, marginalize and slander radical feminism. First there was TERF (trans exclusionary radical feminists) and now there’s SWERF (sex work exclusionary radical feminists).

Now the term TERF is easy enough to understand. Radical feminists are trying to make female-only spaces, which are, as history proves, the main means of female liberation. Anti-feminists must therefore attack these spaces with urgency, and they do so by accusing radical feminists of “excluding trans people.”

I do want to point out that, although the term is used as a slur, the accusation is partially correct. Female-only spaces must exclude trans women, even though they call themselves women, because they were socialized as men and therefore still think and act like men. The aggressiveness with which they threaten and attempt to silence women is a testimony to that fact. They cannot cooperate with radical feminists because they were born with male privilege and have no understanding of it.

It’s also important to point out that regardless of it’s origins, “terf” is used to demonize women who prioritize women. End of story. Women deserve spaces free of males, and apparently we deserve to die for saying that?

The incorrect part lies in the assumption that there are some radical feminists who are “trans exclusionary,” which seems to posit a distinction between those and the radical feminists that aren’t (“trans inclusive,” one assumes). To my knowledge, apart from a rare unicorn (as unlikely as it seems, there are trans people who claim to be radical feminists), the latter simply do not exist, which makes the attempt to divide-and-conquer all the more puzzling. Who are these “trans inclusive” radfems who must be differentiated from all the others?

The use of the term “exclusionary” is very matter of fact. It is therefore puzzling to me why it was chosen as a slur. Any movement must exclude people, otherwise it wouldn’t be a movement. The radical feminist movement must exclude people who were raised as men, if it is to be a feminist movement at all.

Unlike anti-feminists, I do not feel particularly vexed by this fact: in fact, I’d be rather worried if radical feminism was not “exclusionary,” because no movement can survive by incorporating its enemies. Liberal feminism accepts with open arms rapists, pedophiles, pimps, porn directors who spread HIV and other STDs to women, and other women-haters, therefore it cannot fight for female liberation.

So now we have a new term, SWERF, which stands for sex work exclusionary radical feminists. This is a much more muddled term than TERF, for many reasons. First, there is no such thing as “sex work.” Prostitution and pornography are not “work,” insofar as “work” does not involve exploiting people’s bodily integrity (and any job that does is just as evil). Therefore using the term “sex work” assumes as its premise the validity of the exploitation of women’s bodily integrity.

But most importantly, no radfem wants to exclude female prostitutes or porn actresses from female-only spaces, from feminism, or from anything else, by virtue of being prostitutes or porn actresses. So the slur, in this case, is simply false; there is no such thing as a “sex work” exclusionary radical feminist.

The term SWERF, I think, comes from the following rhetorical attack used by anti-feminists: radical feminists claim that “sex work” is the exploitation of women’s bodily integrity; this is a personal slight against “sex workers”; therefore radical feminists are against “sex workers.”

If you don’t see the problem with this attack, then compare this with the following “reasoning”: libsocs claim that wage labor is unjustifiable and exploitative; this is a personal slight against employees; therefore libsocs are against employees.

The “reasoning” is preposterous because it equates an attack on an unjust system with an attack on the innocent people who are trapped in it. In fact, the opposite is true: attacking an unjust system is an act of solidarity with those people who are trapped in it. It’s incredible that such a large number of people have been indoctrinated so thoroughly that they believe fighting a system of oppression means fighting its victims. Here we’re going beyond the province of lying and into the state of delusion.

Radfems support the Swedish model against prostitution and sex trafficking, which consists of decriminalizing prostitutes, helping them integrate society, and criminalizing pimps and john. Since 90% of prostitutes want to leave their situation, they should be helped in doing so: anything else is a direct silencing of their voice, and supporting the system that keeps them trapped is violence against women.

This makes it even more ironic when anti-feminists claim that radfems don’t listen to prostitutes’ voices. What they really mean is: radfem don’t listen to pimp organizations when those organizations preach the legalization and the moving indoors (out of prying eyes) of rape and abuse. But radfem do listen to the voices of the ex-prostitutes who speak up against the rape and abuse inherent in prostitution. To pimps and their anti-feminist supporters, those voices must be silenced at all cost.

The terms TERF and SWERF are used by the most hateful anti-feminists, the vast majority being male, out there. Do not mistake these people for innocent bystanders. Their objective is clear: to silence women, prevent the continuation of female-only spaces, and by doing so destroy feminist awareness.

It has been a historical constant that every time women come close to understanding the nature of their oppression, they must be isolated, gaslighted, invalidated, told to practice thought-stopping, and so on. Women’s issues must be compared to other issues and declared trivial, a waste of time, made-up, or even the proof of “female privilege.”

And yes, I include trans advocates in the anti-feminist category. As fanatical genderists, trans advocates are guilty of participating in gendered oppression.

Comparing self-ownership and self-objectification.

A discussion in the comments between myself and cyanidecupcake led me to consider the differences between self-ownership and self-objectification.

Ownership is, fundamentally, a relation between one individual and society as a whole regarding control over some man-made object (ownership cannot logically be derived from a state of non-ownership, therefore it is logically impossible to justify ownership of natural resources). Using the power inherent in society, we all make a deal that anyone who tries to usurp that control may be violently stopped. Depending on the scope of the control, we may call this system property, rent, commons, and so on.

Objectification means to abstract human beings as purely physical objects of desire, and to evaluate women based on the sole standard of how much they fulfill socially constructed male desires, a process which we call the male gaze. In short, it separates oneself as a subject and the other as an object, as long as one sees oneself as a human being. Objectification is a process which inscribes itself within Patriarchy as a form of devaluation of women and exploitation of women’s bodies.

At first glance, there does not seem to be any connection between the two concepts. But remember that I argued that hierarchy is property, and the Patriarchy is, amongst other things, the expression of gender hierarchy, meaning that men as a class claim ownership over women as a class. This claim used to be legal and literal; nowadays in the Western world it thankfully has no more legal status, although we still operate under most of its corollaries (e.g. the rape culture, pressure to marry and have children, near-universal objectification).

I’ve already extensively discussed self-ownership, so I will not start another such discussion here. Self-ownership, briefly put, is the logically impossible concept of a human being owning emself, and is used to justify property rights and the absence of positive rights (therefore the absence of actual rights for the individual, since actual rights require positive rights) under ideal capitalism.

Self-objectification is the result of an individual woman integrating the male gaze and adapting herself to its requirements. This means that the woman starts seeing herself as an sexual object and evaluating herself based on the fuckability mandate.

Because objectification is a class phenomenon, self-objectification arises because women are told how to conform through a mediation system composed primarily of parenting and its gender mania, the mass media and its constant objectification, and authority pressure. These factors are all consistently far more oppressive than the society they exist in, because they all have vested interests in preserving gender roles, even if there may be disagreement on how exactly those roles should be apportioned.

Further muddling the issue is that self-objectification in a patriarchal society creates its own reward system (secondary gains for being an obedient inferior).

I bet there are plenty of women who have, from time to time, felt flattered by a look or compliment in the street. There are many more who have felt threatened, unsafe, and angered by being yelled at out the window of a passing truck or stared down on public transit. Whatever Lees feelings and experiences are is fine — what isn’t “fine” is to write an entire article about how great being objectified makes her feel without acknowledging that these feelings aren’t about “mating calls” so much as they are about patriarchy.

Being admired by men for one’s own body can be very gratifying, but it comes at the price of one’s full person (including one’s desires, feelings and intelligence) being rejected. This is a no-win situation for all women: the women who actively pursue the male gaze cannot win because they will never be recognized as full human beings (no matter whether you’re a porn actress, a scientist, or prime minister), and the women who do not pursue the male gaze cannot win because they will automatically be classified as marginal. This is a crummy game where the table is rigged and the dice are weighted.

Competition between women is another obvious effect of self-objectification. If the individual woman is an object and the role of that object is to attract male attention, then other (self-objectifying) women are necessarily competitors. And this will be magnified in male-dominated areas, the areas where women need to cooperate the most.

This leads me to market competition. Women already start at a disadvantage, since they get paid less and are generally seen as less competent than the men in their field. I have little to add on these topics that hasn’t already been said before.

But there’s another issue, and here is where self-ownership and self-objectification join up. If we understand self-ownership as an economic process (I look at myself as an object which produces and is controlled by that process of production), then we can understand that we’re simply looking at two facets of objectification: the human being as a sexual object (object of desire) and as a commodity (object of profitability).

As a worker, you are conceived as a resource (a “human resource”) which must be exploited optimally in order to generate a maximum of profits. As an individual, you must internalize this conception and see yourself as an object of profitability in order to appear valuable to your employers. Failing to do so means you are more likely to lose the game.

Permit me to extend this reasoning even further. As some readers may have noticed, evolutionary psychology is one of my pet topics when we’re talking about explanations for human action, and I think it’s relevant here as well.

I have already pointed out that evopsych is incompatible with individuality, because it is predicted on the (unjustified) assumption that the individual is merely a vehicle for genetically transmitted behavioral strategies which are hardcoded in every human brain. The individual, in this view, is not an active subject but a passive robot, as Richard Dawkins eloquently tells us:

We are survival machines – robot vehicles blindly programmed to preserve the selfish molecules known as genes.

This is an extremely bleak view of human existence. It’s also inaccurate. For one thing, sequences of genes are not selfish, or even entities for that matter. For another, there is a gigantic leap between the fact that certain sequences of genes have an extremely tenuous connection to the organism’s survival and stating that our identity revolves around preserving genes. We are blindly programmed survival machines, sure, but that has little to do with preserving genes.

According to evopsych, men are programmed to objectify women and cheat on them, women are programmed to be attracted to men who have more resources, men and women are programmed to seek different kinds of work, and so on. It universalizes the worse of conditioned Western gender roles as innate human impulses. As I see it, the psychological objectification inherent in evopsych leads to justifying sexual objectification and commodification as well.

Incidentally, there is evidence that self-objectification correlates with women being less likely to engage in feminist activism. To me this seems to lead into a vicious circle: objectification leads to lower activism, which leads to less voices speaking counter to the mediation system, which leads to more objectification.

Maybe we should say objectification is selfish too. That makes about as much sense as selfish genes.

Politics is an occultation of power and violence.

From Jen Sorensen.

The fundamental principles of political discourse are not freedom, right, choice or equality. As I’ve previously discussed, these terms actually have three different levels of meaning, which fluctuate depending on the person using them. So for instance there are three kinds of freedom, following the three kinds of power:

1. Freedom- from condign power (force).
2. Freedom- from compensatory power (money).
3. Freedom- from conditioned power (indoctrination).

Based on this nomenclature, we may call the “freedom” discussed by voluntaryists and Libertarians freedom1, because it only takes into account condign power. Your standard socialist may be closer to freedom1,2. As for your run-of-the-mill statists who talk about freedom while accepting all forms of power, we can talk about non-freedom or perhaps freedom0.

If our concept of power underlies every use of those other concepts, then it must be more fundamental. What differentiates political ideologies, then, must be their conception of power?

Although I can’t say I know the answer to this question, I haven’t yet found a political issue or question which does not revolve around identifying power, because all arguments around freedom or rights ultimately are about power.

Take the issue of abortion, for example. Anti-abortion proponents argue that abortion is murder and that a fetus has a “right to life”; this reasoning can only make sense if one has already assumed that a pregnant woman is using condign power on another human being, therefore they must redefine fetuses as human beings. So their view of abortion is that of a woman having power over, and murdering, another human being.

The narratives people use to illustrate their political positions serve to reinforce the patterns of power and privilege they assume exist in society. So for instance we have the narrative that women are going around getting abortions as a form of birth control, that they are uncaring, callous, and so on, reinforcing the murderer image.

But if abortion is murder in itself, then why would we need to emphasize the perpetrator’s callousness? You’d think that murder in itself would be more than enough indictment. Obviously the goal is to make us believe in the power of the pregnant woman over the fetus. The fact that women treat fetuses callously “proves” that they are superior on some hierarchy, since we know superiors treat inferiors callously (as all our institutions demonstrate).

Of course the real root of the error about abortion is religio-cultural, centered around genderism (see this entry), not political. People are not anti-abortion on the basis of failing at identifying power and privilege correctly. But inevitably their beliefs about abortion, once formulated, will reflect this logical failure.

Now take the example of social safety nets. Neo-liberalist opponents of safety nets correctly identify condign power as the ultimate basis of government, and rightly oppose this, but they refuse to identify compensatory power and its profound effects on society. Not only do they support a corporate and neo-liberalist apparatus that is more powerful than most world governments, but said apparatus also depends on the very condign power of government and the safety nets that they decry (except they call them “bailouts” instead of “welfare”).

Their stance on power is a direct contradiction, which can only lead to a muddled ideology (here is one example). They believe that social safety nets are “entitlement.” They assume that our current property scheme and distribution scheme are not only the way things should be, but the “natural” way for things to be (as demonstrated by the invalid term “property rights“), and this is how they convince people to ignore corporate power and condign power used in its support.

Another example is genderism (traditional genderism and trans genderism both), which is based on the bizarre notion that women have privilege just by virtue of being women, despite a history of five thousand years of Patriarchy.

The common thread between all these errors is a complete denial of any greater historical or scientific context, which leads to errors about the power and privilege that exists. I have talked about this phenomenon at an individual level (the atomistic mindset), and there’s no great difference between that and applying it at the social level; all you have to do is apply the same concept of actions existing in a vacuum to an entire group of people. The more you simplify a situation, the more you can apply linear logic to it, but the more disconnected from reality your conclusion will be.

Obviously statists are highly motivated to misunderstand the scope of power, because their preferred paradigm (whether religious, political or philosophical) support some form of power. Like theology, whose arguments serve a pre-existing conclusion, their beliefs about power serve a pre-existing ideology.

Okay, now consider a different tack to this question. Stating existing property relations as justification cannot be valid because our property relations exist solely because of a specific property scheme, and the property schemes we use in Western societies are not universal or logically necessary.

So we have giant megacorporations that produce most of what we eat, what we interact with, what the government fights with, and so on. Those giant megacorporations exist because of a legal and cultural framework where capitalist work contracts, corporate personhood, corporate welfare, and so on, are seen as valid (if seen as objectionable by some). So one cannot then turn around and argue that megacorporations are the “natural” order of a large-scale economy; there is nothing “natural” about it, it’s entirely socially constructed.

Now consider the Non-Aggression Principle (NAP). The principle that one should not initiate force seems superficially noble (and similar to my Prime Directive, with one crucial difference), but in practice it is meaningless because what one defines as “aggression” depends entirely on what one considers human rights and property.

So let’s take taxation as an example, because it’s a common application of the NAP. Again, neo-liberalists correctly identify taxation as ultimately backed by the force of arms, like all forms of State action. They also posit that taxation is aggression, more specifically theft, based on the NAP, which is where we run into trouble; taxation can only be aggression if we presume that the money belonged to the taxpayer in the first place and that no one has any obligation to their society.

It may be argued that such a view is dictatorial, which is really besides the point; but let’s suppose we set up the same kind of scenario, but this time comparing a socialist ownership scheme with our current property scheme: workers taking over an abandoned factory in Argentina and using it for their own self-managed labour.

Under any legal system which does not function on the basis of self-management, such an act is a highly illegal form of squatting on valuable means of production, and is typically met with beatings and arrests. Under this view, the workers are the aggressors. But under a socialist ownership scheme, such an action is perfectly warranted and just: the workers do own their means of production and are perfectly within their rights to commandeer them. Under this view, the capitalist owners are the aggressors.

My point is not that all property schemes are equally valid (as a socialist, I obviously think the workers are in the right in that last scenario). My point is that determining who is an aggressor and who is a victim cannot be done without starting from a specific conception of property and human rights. Proponents of the NAP, being mostly capitalists, would say that the workers are the aggressors; the correct reply is to point out that this evaluation is based on the unjustified assumption that capitalist property schemes are just and natural.

To come back to the first example, the most obvious problem with taxation is not that it is theft; our taxation system is no more or less theft than our property scheme, and the latter is enforced with a far more extensive use of power than the former. The real problem with taxation is that the money is managed by the State, which has little to no interest in fulfilling its own obligations to society, let alone support our obligations to each other.

The same general problem applies to the term “non-initiation of force.” We can only determine who initiated force by having a prior conception of the situations where it is appropriate and not appropriate to act on other human beings, that is to say a conception of human rights.

You may complain that it is very easy to figure out when someone initiates force: your rights end where my nose begins, and so on. Well this is a very narrow definition of force; consider, for example, a boxing match, or the pollution of someone’s property. In the former, people’s noses are very much invaded but there is no force involved because both parties have consented to the match, while in the latter, no one’s nose is necessarily being invaded but the pollution is an initiation of force against the person, again because of lack of consent. As I’ve said before, consent is not a sufficient standard, but it is a necessary one.

So let’s go back to the example with the workers again. Who initiated force? Let us assume that the owner did not use force in firing the workers. The workers likewise did not initiate any force by taking over the means of production. Neither action usually involves any violence. So it seems that, in that scenario, the initiation of force lies with the apparatus which is tasked with defending property and its owners’ interests (the cops, the courts and the State as a whole), thereby demonstrating again that any property scheme is necessarily backed by force.

Replying that the workers initiated force by using what was not theirs would simply make my point that the conception of force depends on how we define ownership (what is “theirs” and “not theirs”).

I think I’ve made my point sufficiently clear. Force and aggression are not fundamental concepts, because they depend on one’s conception of rights and property; but in parallel with that, all property schemes and conceptions of rights depend on aggression and force in order to exist. Property can most concretely be expressed as a relation between one individual (the owner) and the rest of society: if you take “my” stuff (for any definition of “my”), violence may be used against you.

All politics by definition is violence, so non-violence, NAP and all other such ideologies are not an option (non-violence is at most a luxury). Politicians have to occult this fact because they must maintain the pretense that they are fulfilling a sacred duty to the people, guarding freedom, and so on and so forth. The real question, to anyone who cares about the truth, is: to what ends should we apply violence?

Obviously there are situations where we want to tell other people what to do, and to use force if necessary: we don’t want innocent people to be killed, physically harmed or threatened of such, we don’t want people to be deprived of their life or livelihood, we don’t want people to be deprived of their freedom without at least an excellent reason. Their importance is why we call these things “rights.” Rights are those things we think violence must be used to protect because they are that important.

From a libsoc standpoint, hierarchy is property, therefore the debate revolves around freedom/equality on the one hand, and property/hierarchy on the other. Freedom/equality/non-property ownership/non-hierarchical society necessarily entail no government and no capitalism. Power and violence should both be minimized, because they are unjust and unrealiable tools of governance; when they are to be used at all, they should be distributed as equitably as possible and hopefully used to further the aims of social cooperation, instead of hindering it.

Considering competition as a form of woman-hating.

In a previous entry, I discussed the connections in what I called the Axis of Woman-Hating: natalism (women as a means to the end of procreation), anti-feminism (women are sex objects) and genderism (nature made women inferior).

Obviously there are some connections missing there, and I was only getting at the major ones. Capitalism would be another good example. The difference is that there is nothing that leads us logically from the private ownership of the means of production to woman-hating, but historically there is a strong connection between forms of capitalism (including fascism and State communism) and forms of woman-hating, usually connected to procreation and the family.

Sexism aids the capitalist system. The family provides a base for the reproduction and bringing up of future workers and the servicing and care of current (and unemployed) workers and retired workers.

This work which, in the home, is usually carried out unpaid by women (who may also work outside the home) saves capitalism millions of pounds, increasing the profits of a few.

The capitalist system could exist perfectly well without woman-hating, but it depends on it in various ways. Racism is a good analogy: slavery was economically beneficial to the elites of pre-industrial societies, therefore it was allowed to remain, while industrialization made slavery undesirable to the elites and therefore became illegal. Nowadays racism manifests itself economically in the exploitation of immigrants for cheap labor and the use of poc as an expendable working class.

As the quote points out, capitalism needs to exploit women’s free labor in order to maintain a strict separation between work and family and, in a wider view, to maintain the population of the worker base.

So the connection to the other forms of woman-hating is pretty obvious. In all these ideologies, women are seen not as full persons but as means to an end: the end of mindless procreation, the end of sustaining the factitious family structure, the end of the widespread exploitation of women by men and the intellectual justification of that exploitation.

One of the core ideas of capitalism is competition. The idea sounds good in the abstract, if you don’t really think about the social context, but in practice competition leads to lower creativity and higher conformity, lower efficiency, lower motivation (especially when coupled with monetary rewards), and is least conducive to learning in schools. These results have been confirmed by so many studies that they are some of the most solid conclusions of the social sciences (see No Contest by Alfie Kohn for a review of these studies).

Already we run into a problem, because the kind of conformity that competing individuals follow has for the most part been established by men. Women stick out in male-dominated professions and are trapped in a lose-lose situation: either assimilate and be judged as a bitch and a ball-buster, or resist and be passed for promotions and recognition.

The old “having it all” bromide really means: that a woman should first and foremost fulfill her gendered function as an unpaid homemaker (and therefore to be unproductive according to capitalist standards), and second pursue a career and be a productive worker who is able to compete in the job market. Not only are women expected to shoulder a double burden, but they’re supposed to relish doing so in order to be a “modern” woman. In fact neither ideology has anything “modern” about it.

Competition leads to winners and losers, which leads to Social Darwinism, the application of a misreading of “survival of the fittest” to human societies. Basically, as applied to today’s societies, that means “you deserve what you get for being a success or a failure, and you shouldn’t be helped because that would mean rewarding failures.”

In capitalist theory, there is an ideal state of affairs (call it free market or voluntaryism or unfettered capitalism or what have you) where a person receives only exactly as much as they can contract for, and no more. Inconvenient things like social programs and safety nets, workers’ rights and unions, accessible education and health care, free access to air and water, and all the other pesky things neo-liberalists are constantly trying to eradicate, are a deviation from this ideal state.

So for instance, women make 82% of what men make on average in developed countries (the United States average is currently 81%, making gender income disparity one rare area where the United States is not dead last). Women were banned from entire industries (and still are, in some places). This is the “ideal” state of affairs and any attempt to correct it would be a “distortion.”

In practice, this belief serves the status quo. Men’s privilege over women is part of the backgrounds facts of capitalism, therefore it becomes part of the “ideal” state of affairs. “Survival of the fittest” is inherently unfair when some people are trained from childhood to be fitter than others.

So I think the issue with capitalism is not that it is woman-hating as such, but that it treat human beings as tools of production (human resources). It should not be too surprising that a system which objectifies all human beings is also unconcerned about objectifying women.

There is an ever-present danger that, because a given ideology is not explicitly woman-hating and preaches some form of equality (like equality of opportunities), we accept it as a “lesser evil.” But anything that keeps people from thinking about the way society is run is equally poisonous in the long run.

Nowhere do we see this more than in the pretense that feminism stands for “gender equality,” even though such equality is a logical impossibility because we live in a Patriarchy. Getting equal wages for men and women, or giving men and women the same opportunities or education, are laudable goals but they are not the objective of feminism, neither can they ensure “gender equality.”


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