Category Archives: Radical feminism

The claim that false rape allegations are common is a lie.

Rape: speak up, you lose, don’t speak up, you lose.

There is a commonly held belief amongst anti-feminists that false rape allegations are very common, and that a man being falsely accused of rape goes through as much suffering as a woman who was raped.

I think the self-victimization process I discussed in my previous entry explains why they believe this, to some extent. We know that it is mostly men who rape women. In order to prevent themselves from being portrayed as the persecutors, men’s advocates have to either redefine “rape” or show in some way that women are the “real” persecutors. But this would still be out of proportion unless they can also make people believe that being falsely accused of rape is anywhere near as bad as being raped; otherwise a high rate of false rape allegations would still not prove that men are the victims.

The belief that false rape allegations are as bad as getting raped is so bizarre that there’s really nothing to refute there. But I do think that the belief that false rape allegations are common does need to be refuted, because it can be shown that the claims are simply false.

The Holy Grail for the genderists is a study made by Eugene Kanin from 1978 to 1987, which reported a rate of false rape allegations of 41%. This study is quoted by everyone from Wendy McElroy to the scummiest Internet MRAs, and seems to be their number one source. There’s only one little problem: the Kanin study did not measure the rate of false rape allegations in the first place.

First, Kanin’s study relies on data which has not been made available to the public, so it can’t be verified or replicated. This fact alone disqualifies it as “scientific.”

Second, Kanin’s study does not measure false reports, but reports which were recanted by the victim:

[T]he declaration of a false allegation follows a highly institutionalized procedure. The investigation of all rape complaints always involves a serious offer to polygraph the complainants and the suspects. Additionally, for a declaration of false charge to be made, the complainant must admit that no rape had occurred.

You will have noted the use of the polygraph, which is a fraudulent device and which serves the sole purpose of intimidating suspects. There is no doubt that browbeating a rape victim into submitting to a polygraph would have the same intimidation effect:

In his published journal article, Kanin (1994) admitted that “A possible objection to these recantations concerns their validity… rather than proceed with the real charge of rape, the argument goes, these women withdrew their accusations to avoid the trauma of police investigation.”

And indeed, the Kanin study has been criticized for the department’s use of polygraph testing in every case, a process that has been rejected by many police departments because of its intimidating impact on victims. The International Association of Chiefs of Police disapproves of requiring polygraph tests during rape investigations because “victims often feel confused and ashamed, and experience a great deal of self-blame because of something they did or did not do in relation to the sexual assault. These feelings may compromise the reliability of the results of such interrogation techniques. The use of these interrogation techniques can also compound these feelings and prolong the trauma of a sexual assault” (Lisak, 2007, p.6).

The process measured by the Kanin study is a perfect storm of bullshit. The use of the polygraph is designed to scare rape victims into desisting, and victims who desist are counted as having made false allegations. The end result of this process is a figure which cannot, in any way, be verified. This is about as scientific as examining a bird’s entrails to predict the weather.

The Kanin study is not unusual in the fact that it does not seek to measure the percentage of actual false allegations, but an inflated number based on recantations. Many studies used by the anti-feminist side have this same flaw. But it doesn’t take much intelligence to realize that a rape victim might recant her testimony for many reasons which have nothing to do with the testimony being false. To claim otherwise is pure hypocrisy, but either way, it is imbecilic to use a study as proof of something it does not even try to measure.

One obvious reason why a rape victim might recant is the hostility of loved ones, responsible authorities, or law enforcement officials. Every new rape story in the media brings with it a vibrant demonstration of the hostility of the public against rape victims. People hate women and are never afraid to show it.

But even people who do not act out of explicit woman-hatred may still attempt to invalidate a rape victim’s testimony by using what we could call the skeptic’s gambit. Skeptics tell us that claims require “credible evidence.” I have already examined how skepticism serves to maintain the political status quo, which includes anti-feminism.

The “credible evidence” line used against rape victims is another example of this. What could it possibly mean for a rape victim to present “credible evidence” of their rape? I am not talking here from a legal standpoint, but from a simple verbal perspective, which is what skeptics jump on. They will readily invalidate any claim of rape and close ranks around the accused. They are the ones who, for instance, have closed rank against Rebecca Watson, who protect Michael Shermer despite multiple testimonies against him, and so on. These people really are scum and deserve to be attacked and ridiculed.

So what is the actual rate of false rape allegations? The percentage given to us by studies which actually seek to measure false allegations, not recantations, is somewhere below 3%, which is in line with false allegations for other categories of crimes (see for instance Against Our Will by Susan Brownmiller; St. John’s Law Review, 66, 979-1045; Kelly, Lovett, & Regan, 2005). There is nothing more significant to false rape allegations than to any other false crime allegation. A study calculated that 2.3% of people on death row have been exonerated from 1973 to 2007 (“Frequency and Predictors of False Conviction,” by Samuel Gross). This is a strong indication of the general accuracy of rape allegations.

An MRA makes a feeble attempt at a counter-argument…

As you may remember, I published two debunkings of commonly circulated list of “proofs” by MRAs. This pissed them off, because they are whiny little bitches who cannot deal with any level of disagreement without believing that it’s all part of some great conspiracy against them.

I have not received any semi-serious rebuttals (I don’t expect any serious rebuttals because MRAs do not have that much intelligence), but some moron MRA called “Eye of Woden” tried to rebut another debunking by Owen Lloyd. Here is my examination of that post. I will not link to Eye of Woden’s entry here so I don’t give him any more hits, but I’m sure you can find it anyway if you search.

Here is the entry where I give my responses to the same list.

The first point is about men’s suicide rate being 4.6 times higher than women’s. In response, it has rightly been pointed out that, according to the statistics, women attempt suicide at three times the rate of men. So here is the moron’s response:

Which is worse, 100 men dying by suicide in a single attempt each, or 35 women attempting suicide 3 times each, and still being alive to seek services for that which drove them to attempt suicide in the first place?

What sort of idiotic question is that? First of all, the numbers are wrong: to replicate the “women attempt suicide three times as much,” it should be 100 women attempting suicide 3 times, not 35 women; then, to fit the 1:33 ratio of successful to failed suicides, it should really be 3300 men attempting for each 100 men dying, and 3300 women attempting suicide 3 times. So Eye of Woden sucks at mathematics. But more importantly, “which is worse” is not a question unless we specify exactly how it’s worse. If we start from the assumption that any single suicide attempt reveals an underlying problem, then obviously three times the suicide attempts is a bigger concern.

But either way, so what? We debunked the belief that suicide rates prove that men have it worse than woman. Only Eye of Woden’s failure at mathematics hides that fact.

Falsehoods exposed in the claim that men die from suicide at a rate 4 times higher than women: 0

Okay, but here’s the problem: no feminist is trying to “expose a falsehood” about this point, but rather to demonstrate that the statistic is not relevant. So Eye of Woden makes a straw man here. He has failed to refute the point and now is covering his ass.

The second point is about men’s life expectancy being lower than women’s. As I pointed out in my debunking, that fact has been true for more than a century, therefore feminism cannot be the source of the discrepancy. Eye of Woden does not address this, because Owen Lloyd did not. Fair enough, although I can’t help thinking how convenient that is. Instead, he spends his time attacking the gender wage gap. Ridiculous.

Falsehoods exposed in the claim that men live an average of 7 years less than women: 0

Again, no feminist has stated that the claim was incorrect, so this is another straw man. It’s easier for him to punch thin air and pretend he’s winning.

The third point concerns the laughable conceit that men are “almost exclusively” the only victims of war. I am not even going to address this point because only an imbecile would even consider it. Bombs don’t differentiate genders. If I must inject facts in this ridiculous conversation, Reza, Mercy and Krug 2001 show that the male to female ratio in war deaths is 1.3 overall. MRAs are crackpots and liars.

The fourth point concerns men being 95% of workplace fatalities. The answers here are that, first, the statistic is wrong, and second, that this is the result of dangerous professions being male-dominated.

As far as I can see, Eye of Woden has no reply to this. He waffles with the 95% figure, saying that it must come from a study of another country and that men’s issues are “global issues.” What is the point of all this? Everyone knows that the vast majority of MRAs are American and that the MRA movement is mostly American in nature.

But okay, let’s move on anyway and operate under the assumption that his number is correct. Again, so what? The reason why MRAs bring it up is because they believe this shows female privilege in not dying from dangerous jobs, when in fact it proves that male domination in demanding physical jobs (like mining, which women tried to get into for a long time) leads to men having those jobs. The fact that women were coercively barred from certain jobs is not a proof of female privilege.

Point 5 is about men being murdered at five times the rate of women. The obvious reply (obvious to anyone who’s not brain damaged by MRA propaganda) is that these men are murdered… by other men.

In response, Eye of Woden claims this is moving the goalposts. Apparently logic is still not his strong suit. Moving the goalposts means excluding evidence by changing the desired conclusion. The irony is that that’s exactly what Eye of Woden is doing here. He declares that the fact that men murder other men is irrelevant and that we have to take intersectionality into account. But the whole point here is that we are debunking so-called “men’s rights” issues, and intersectionality has never been part of MRA ideology. He only brings it to the discussion because it lets him ignore Owen Lloyd’s argument.

This is where his perverse version of a feminist ideology is showing. He feels that one gender’s problem must inherently be caused by the other gender in order for it to matter. Men being 5 times more likely to be victims of murder does not matter to him if men are also the ones committing the majority of hem.

Let’s be clear here: Eye of Woden is being dishonest. Of course it matters that men are killing other men. But that’s besides the subject, which is the MRAs’ feeble attempt at “proving” that women have privilege over men. How is this “proven” by concluding that men are more violent towards each other than women? Hell if I know. Don’t ask Eye of Woden, because he obviously doesn’t know either.

If person A keeps punching themselves in the face, and person B does not, does that fact alone prove that person B has privilege over person A? No. In itself, all it proves is that person A is an imbecile. You would need further evidence to demonstrate anything beyond that. Where is the evidence?

Falsehoods exposed in the claim that men are murdered at 5 times the rate of women: 0

You know the drill. No feminist claimed that… etc. Eye of Woden is an idiot.

Point 6 concerns child custody, stating that women receive custody 92% of the time. Now, as I pointed out, the statistic is a straightforward lie: the real number is 72% in the United States. Eye of Woden does not even try to address this fact, although he does present an 80% figure for Canada, which still proves the MRA figure is wildly off-base.

Point 7 concerns women being acquitted of spousal murder at a rate 9 times that of men. I have no idea where that statistic came from, and therefore conclude that it was probably made up, although I would like to see a source. Does Eye of Woden provide a source?

No. Instead, he argues that the rate is infinite times higher. So once again Eye of Woden hilariously proves how wrong the original list is. If NO husband ever gets acquitted for spousal murder, then why aren’t they shouting THAT from the rooftops? Given the number of statistics that MRAs plain make up, I find it extremely surprising that they wouldn’t broadcast this “fact” as widely as possible. Yes, I am saying that Eye of Woden is such a bad liar that even his fellow MRAs (a bunch of raving lunatics who are so disconnected from reality that they think only men die in wars) don’t agree with him.

Point 8 concerns men’s sentences for spousal murder being 2.8 times as long as those of women. In response, Eye of Woden brings up individual examples. How could a handful of examples possibly have any sort of impact on a global statistic like this? Again, the statistic remains unknown and therefore suspect, and no amount of hearsay stories can change that.

Point 9 states that men pay child support at twice the rate of women. As I pointed out, this is a straightforward lie. At this point, Eye of Woden gave up and says he just “can’t be bothered.” I am not overly surprised that Eye of Woden is tired of defending outright lies. As you can see in my own entry, every single point after 8 is either a blatant lie or an assertion made without references.

Eye of Woden’s pathetic attempts at defending his fellow liars and clowns only confirms what we already know: the list is filled with lies, misrepresentations and half-truths, and is basically indefensible. This is why he must obsess about issues on the fringe of every point in order to pretend as if he’s working at refuting what Owen Lloyd said. It doesn’t work.

Falsehoods exposed by Eye of Woden’s logically and mathematically challenged verbiage: 0 for 8, before he runs away with his dick behind his legs.

To all MRAs: try being real men for once and admit you’re a clutch of hysterical virgins who lie, cheat and threaten because you don’t have the testicular fortitude to face what woman-hating faggots you all are. Don’t like it, stop being one!

How genderism “proves” that women should rule the world.

My title is slightly tongue in cheek. While I do intend to show that genderism portrays men as absolutely incapable of leadership, my main objective here is to present the genderist framework in general and try to figure out how it works.

Now, I don’t want to suggest that genderism is always the same everywhere. Gender changes depending on the time and place, so we can’t expect genderism to stay the same either.

It is also expressed in completely different social institutions. One extreme example is the Guayaki people of South America, as described by Pierre Clastres in Society Against the State, who hold that men and women exist in two completely separate spheres which must never touch, under the threat of dire social repercussions. The concept of gender domains is not only conceptual but absolutely literal: men and women are not even allowed to touch the tools of each other’s trade. A man whose bow was touched by a woman must thereby become a woman and be integrated in the sphere of women’s activities.

Our societies are obviously nowhere near this stringent. Yet the genderism of the Guayaki and that of Western societies have a number of common principles. The genderism of Western societies specifically share a much greater number of common principles.

1. Man is active, woman is passive. In hunter-gatherer societies, the distinction is simple: men hunt and women gather, so women may be protected for their reproductive abilities (in more extreme cases, men both hunt and gather). In more modern kinds of genderism, it is assumed that men work and women remain at home, that men are the drivers of progress and that women are merely in charge of maintaining society.

This is a big driver in the belief that men want sex and to sleep around, while women want monogamous relationships based on love.

2. Women are sin, nature, emotion. Men are virtue, technology (as mastery of nature), reason. These comparisons both establish men and women as fundamentally different and men as being superior to women. They are all corollaries of the principle that man is active (active in reasoning, active in controlling nature) and that woman is passive (controlled by her emotions, by her nature, by the laws of nature).

3. Man’s behavior is instinctual, women’s behavior is chosen. When men do something wrong, in general, it is assumed that they “can’t help it.” When women are victimized, it is naturally assumed that they are at fault. This seems to contradict the first principle, but it serves the role of confirming that manhood, and the violence that stems from it, is inherently superior.

The male rapist and the female rape victim, the male abuser and his abused wife, the male soldier and the dead female bombing target, are all in the same relationship to each other, that of expressing manhood and receiving manhood. The former is assumed to be part and parcel of being a man, and not to be questioned; the latter is assumed to be the duty of a woman, and equally not to be questioned, as questioning one means questioning the other.

Based on this principle, I think we can convincingly argue that, based on genderism, women are in possession of the faculty of reason, while men are in a constant state of unreason. If men “can’t help” performing manhood, and a man is always a man, then men are therefore slaves to their nature. If women choose to be victims, then this gives them decision-making power which men allegedly do not, and cannot, have.

4. Men and women have complementary roles: men are the leaders and women must support men. This is a Christian doctrine known as complementarianism. Proponents claim that such a doctrine does not demean women because both genders are still equally important, in a different way. This is of course absolute nonsense: two groups, one of which is “made” to lead and the other “made” to follow, cannot be equal and cannot lead to respect.

5. Men are independent, women are dependent. Women are pushed to enter in relationships and in relations of dependence (such as when having children) much more strongly than men are. Men are supposed to be the providers, although this belief depends on a specific and fragile economic context. In general, a woman without a man is said to be incomplete, while the same is not true of a man without a woman.

6. Men are the default humans, women are secondary. This is a very pervasive, mostly implicit, belief which can be found in anyone’s writings. When talking about a population (whether our own or some other), men’s behavior and beliefs are stated while women’s generally remain unstated; if the latter are stated, it is only as a peculiarity.

It is hard to distinguish the difference between this and woman-hating. Take for instance Dworkin’s Woman Hating or Mary Daly’s Gyn/Ecology, both of which discuss instances of mass assault against women in history such as the witch burnings and foot-binding. They point out how flippantly historians and other academics have dismissed these atrocities as mere tradition.

So the question is, do these academics refuse to acknowledge that these mass assaults against women are atrocities because they hate women, or because they simply do not see the victims as human and that therefore their opinion is irrelevant? It seems to me that there isn’t really any good way to know the answer (of course there’s also another question: who cares?).

You can get different versions of these principles from a wide variety of sources, such as Quiverfull Christians (e.g. Fascinating Womanhood, by Helen Andelin, So Much More, by the Botkin sisters) and relationship genderists (e.g. Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus, by John Gray, and popular book series such as Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey). Most sources will only give you part of the story, but it doesn’t take too long to get a wider view.

How does genderism prove that men are unfit for leadership? Think about the most commonly listed attributes of men. Men are aggressive, violent, coldly logical, uncaring, have a fragile ego, are not in touch with their emotions and are controlled by them, less intuitive, led by their sexuality.

Furthermore, we are constantly told that men are incompetent and need to exploit women’s labor:

Men are basically uncivilized animals. Ask any man who has been in a war zone for a year. Most won’t talk about it, but they know. Ask someone who has been in a state penitentiary for ten years. The presence of women in the house, especially one whom we value, has a most amazing civilizing effect upon men. They keep us from being too crude. They cause us to build houses and decorate them, to cut the grass and clean up after ourselves. If the world had no females, men would live in the most basic shelters. They would not maintain regular employment and would be lawless. We institute law as a means of protecting our wives and culture…

Obviously God put the civil side of his nature in the female gender.

Michael Pearl, Created to Need a Help Meet, pp. 43-44

This is a pretty typical passage, if more forthright than most. The basic premise here is that the woman is the civilizing influence, or as Pearl puts it, the “civil side.” This hardly speaks to men’s capacity to lead society, if they are inherently uncivilized.

To add one related point, it seems that men, given that they are the shapers of Patriarchy, are pedophilic in nature. When we look at societies in history, the less rights women have, the younger they are made to marry. Women in Ancient Greece were married off at 14. Ages were variable but revolved around puberty during the middle and late Middle Ages (older during the early Middle Ages). In today’s Western societies, the average marriage age is around 27 years old. Hunter-gatherer societies are extremely varied but tend to dwell between these two ranges. If it is true that men are pedophilic, then it would seem to be rather dangerous to let them lead younger women.

If women are the counterpoint of men, then they are: less aggressive and violent, more caring, have a stronger ego, are in touch with their emotions and not controlled by them, more intuitive, and less led by their sexuality. Furthermore, women are civilized and don’t depend on men to lead normal lives. If we follow this line of reasoning, then it must be women who are made (by nature or by God) to lead society. Women are inherently superior to men, and should rule, not men.

The male is completely egocentric, trapped inside himself, incapable of empathizing or identifying with others, or love, friendship, affection of tenderness. He is a completely isolated unit, incapable of rapport with anyone. His responses are entirely visceral, not cerebral; his intelligence is a mere tool in the services of his drives and needs; he is incapable of mental passion, mental interaction; he can’t relate to anything other than his own physical sensations. He is a half-dead, unresponsive lump, incapable of giving or receiving pleasure or happiness; consequently, he is at best an utter bore, an inoffensive blob, since only those capable of absorption in others can be charming. He is trapped in a twilight zone halfway between humans and apes, and is far worse off than the apes because, unlike the apes, he is capable of a large array of negative feelings — hate, jealousy, contempt, disgust, guilt, shame, doubt — and moreover, he is aware of what he is and what he isn’t.

Valeria Solanas, SCUM Manifesto, pp. 1-2

Now, I do want to point out that I don’t believe in gender, and so I don’t actually believe that women are superior to men, outside of the genderist framework. But within the genderist framework, it’s the only conclusion that makes any sense.

This brings me again to the distinction between sex and gender. As I’ve explained before, sex is the biological given (external and internal reproductive organs, chromosomes, hormone levels, and so on) and gender is the social construct (“being a man” and “being a woman”).

It’s important to keep in mind that the objective of these principles is to rationalize the existence of gender-as-hierarchy. All of the proponents naturally assume that gender exists and only seek to describe and justify its hierarchical nature. In no way can the existence of gender be questioned, especially since sex and gender are usually equivocated (esp. as being both natural). Genderism, like any other faith, cannot co-exist with doubt about itself.

Making the analogy between racism and sexism.

In making an analogy between racism and sexism, I don’t want to imply that understanding racism is dependent on understanding sexism, or that racism is less important than sexism, but I think there is definitely a great deal of correlation.

The main axis of sexism runs along the following lines:


Sex is the given, what we are all born with biologically, the rationale upon which everything else is based. Gender is the imposition of superior and inferior roles based on sex. Genderism is the ideology which defines and defends gender. And finally, sexism is the prejudice which is the result of accepting and supporting genderism, and the Patriarchy is the set of those institutions which support genderism.

Likewise, we can trace the main axis of racism as such:


When two societies meet, what we observe directly is different cultures, by which we mean the specific ways in which people concretely fulfilling their needs (what they eat, how they talk, and so on). Race is the artificial construct which divides people into superior and inferior groups, on the basis of hostility between cultures. Racism is the ideology which defines and defends race. And finally, imperialism is the prejudice against other cultures which is the result of accepting and supporting racism, as well as its concrete implementation in internal and foreign policy.

This is probably not a perfect analogy, but the symmetry is pretty striking to me. In both cases, sex and culture are “the given” that we observe more or less directly (although I am not saying here that sex and culture are not constructed at all or cannot change, because that’s not at all true), while gender and race are clearly social constructs. By using these social constructs to form a hierarchy, we can then go back to “the given” and assign it a new layer of meaning.

The derivation would more specifically look something like this:

1. “These people look and act different than us.”
2. “These people are a different race than us.”
3. “These people are an inferior race to ours.”
4. “These people deserve to be killed/deprived of educational opportunities/deprived of some human rights.”

Like gender, races form a hierarchy, although the order of this hierarchy has greatly varied depending on the era. Until recently, the Whites were always at the top of the rankings, but now Ashkenazi Jews, the new darlings of the pseudo-scientists, occupy the apex; East Asians also occupy a high place in the rankings, often above Whites.

I think it’s obvious with these two examples how race is our way of dealing with different cultures. For centuries, Christians, and the Nazis (the highest point of Christianity), put the Jews at the bottom of their racial hierarchy; because of the Holocaust, it is no longer possible to do so. Likewise, the industrialization of Japan and China, their integration in the world economy, and the stereotype of Asian people being advanced in technical and technological areas, makes it impossible to put them at a low point in the hierarchy.

In general, races are delimitated and ordered in ways which support the interests of the power elite which does the delimitation and ordering. While they “technically” belong to different races, including Whites, Hispanics are routinely classified as inferior to Whites. This is the result of Hispanics being seen as a nuisance and, at best, cheap labor.

Racism comes first, then its rationalization under the guise of pseudo-science. This has always been the case. The correlation between black slavery and the rise of proto-Social-Darwinism in the US is another example of that.

Nowadays “ethnicity” is the new concept used to engineer cultural divisions within society. While “race” is being increasingly questioned, “ethnicity” remains outside of the scientific domain because it is more subjective, therefore easier to manipulate. “Hispanic” is not considered a race, but it can be an ethnicity.

Like genderism, racism entails “racial roles.” Whites are leaders and thinkers, Blacks are criminals and made for low-wage jobs, Asians are technical workers, Hispanics take the jobs no one else wants. It also entails stereotypes, such as Hispanics being prolific breeders (“they’ll outnumber us upstanding Whites!”) and Asians being bad drivers. These roles and stereotypes reflect people’s racist fears and hopes, just as gender roles and stereotypes reflect people’s sexist fears and hopes.

In sexism, a man is the default human, while women are a specific sub-species. In racism, we see that Whites are the default humans, while other races are sub-groups. So it makes sense for a White to ask a Black a question like “what are you gonna do about Black-on-Black violence.” No one would ever think of asking a White “what are you gonna do about White-on-White violence.”

I have said that “snti-genderism means fighting with all your strength against all attempts to equate biological characteristics with behavioral expectations.” I think this does not even need any change to fit anti-racism. In the case of anti-imperialism, simply replace “biological” with “cultural.”

There is one major difference between sexism and racism: self-definition is easier within a “race” than within a “gender” because people of the same “race” tend to live with each other, while people of the same “gender” are forced to intermingle with other “genders.” It took centuries for women to achieve what Black slaves had from the very beginning, a conception of themselves as an oppressed class.

This doesn’t mean that sexism is “worse” than racism. It doesn’t really make sense to play Oppression Olympics because there’s nothing measurable to compare. All hierarchies must be eliminated, no matter who’s affected.

What is sex-negativity?

Before we get into the murky waters of sex-negativity (a beast which we are told cannot exist, does not exist, or is the domain of spinsters and lesbians, as if spinsters and lesbians don’t like sex by default), we have to first define which sex-positivity we are reacting to.

There are two general kinds of sex-positivity: “being sex-positive,” which is more of a personal attribute than an ideology and designates people who are open about sexuality and who promote the act of sex as being healthy and not a shameful thing, and “sex-positive feminism,” an ideology which is based on the premise that not only is sex not a bad thing as a whole, but should be entirely divorced from ethical or political considerations as long as consent is present:

Communicating consent is complicated, but consent is the only thing that makes sex okay, so we have to make every effort to respect it. All sex is completely fine with me as long as it’s consensual. Seriously, I really don’t care what you do — as long as it’s consensual.

[S]ex-positivity is the belief that sex and sexiness are… okay. It’s the belief that people shouldn’t be judged by the sex they have. It’s the belief that consent matters and social norms do not. It’s the belief that porn and erotica are valid media of expression (not that the current porn industry is hunky-dory, cause it’s not) and that sex work ought to be just work (not that it currently is). It’s the belief that neither “slut” nor “prude” should be an insult. It’s the belief that every sexual and gender identity is valid.

People who have read my entries on consent probably already see where this is going. Sex-pozzies, like capitalists, make consent the only condition for morality. But even more than that, sex-pozzies reduce consent to the mechanical act of saying “yes” or of “enthusiastic consent,” which is merely a term for agreeing by saying “hell yes!” instead of just “yes.” But saying “yes” or even “hell yes!” is a far cry from even rudimentary consent; I’ve already discussed how most of the conditions necessary for consent have nothing to do with the act of saying “yes,” or saying anything at all.

How wrong this ideology can get is demonstrated by the sex-pozzie support of pornography and prostitution. “Consent” in these areas is basically worthless because of the economic inequality and psychological attacks that push women into these “industries.” And yet the simple act of the “yes” (not even a prospective “yes”) is enough for sex-pozzies to approve of women getting exploited, degraded, trafficked, being inflicted diseases, and so on. BDSM is another example of an area where abuse and violence are commonplace, but sex-pozzies defend it because “it’s sex and you can’t criticize sex.” There is no atrocity they won’t rubber-stamp in the name of the sacrosanct “yes.” They are the true yes-men/yes-handmaidens.

“Sex-positive feminism,” as a movement, has as its objective to remove sexuality from the realm of feminist systemic criticism. It is therefore anti-feminist in practice, despite its proponents’ general commitment to feminism. It says that any issue which they deem sexual in nature, be it actual sex, BDSM, pornography or prostitution, must not be analyzed or criticized. Instead, they contend, we should fall back to the “default” position that “consent is the standard of morality.”

Sex-negativity, therefore, means opposition to this stance: that sexuality must be subject to systemic criticism like everything else, and that woman-hating in sexual areas must not be given a free pass. It is nothing more than the consistent application of feminist principles to actual sex, BDSM, consent in sex, pornography and prostitution. It is nothing more than the proposition that sex is affected by patriarchal norms.

There is nothing incredible about this proposition. It should be obvious to all feminists that sex, like all other areas of life, is affected by patriarchal norms. So why do so many so-called feminists reject this proposition?

Patriarchal norms dictate how men and women should have sex, and these norms are reproduced in pornography, which is then reproduced against women in general, against prostitutes, and is used to objectify and degrade women in pornography even more over time. As someone else has once commented, pornography is “a manual for the political subordination of women and mass pre-genocidal women-hating propaganda.” But if you think pornography is hunky-dory and sweep all its verbal and physical abuse under the rug of “well, they said yes, so it’s all good,” then you can’t possibly begin to understand the problem here. If you think patriarchal conditioning is “normal,” then you won’t be able to realize what it is, and you won’t be able to see how sexuality as a whole is affected.

I think this is also reflected in how sex-pozzies treat the issue of women performing their gender by wearing high heels, shaving their legs, wearing makeup, and so on. Sex-pozzies have to trivialize the subject and turn everyone who doesn’t do the same as being obsessed or “slut-shaming”:

A lot of criticism of sex-positive feminism is really criticism of sexy women. It’s hard to find a piece that isn’t dripping with disgusted descriptions of women who wear high heels and shave their legs and then they giggle and they act all flirty and give blowjobs, oh my God. And it’s hard for me to see the difference between this and plain old slut-shaming. It always seems undercut with the implication that sexy women aren’t just unfeminist, they’re icky.

This is absolute bullshit because I’ve never read any sex-negative entry that was about women who wear high heels being disgusting, and the author sure couldn’t give any examples or even quotes, because there aren’t any. Frankly, I think this is just plain prejudice against radfem: because radfem womyn are called ugly and mean, they must be ugly and mean, and therefore must be jealous of the beeeautiful sex-pozzies, right? Right?

But my main point in using this quote was to point out the maneuver of trying to shut down criticism of gender performance by making this criticism seem emotional and back-stabbing, two traits stereotypically applied to women. The implicit conclusion is that only emotional wrecks dare to criticize gender performance, because it’s just “normal” and that’s all there is to it.

We also see it in the new phenomenon of “slutwalking.” “Slut” is a term used by men (and handmaidens) to associate certain non-conforming traits to high libido, and then circularly to associate high libido with non-conformity (because she is or does X which is non-conforming, she must have sex with a lot of men, therefore she does not conform to the standards of sexual purity that we impose on women). “Slutwalking” is trying to normalize this conformist labeling process by severing the connection between high libido and non-conformity, which is silly because that connection is part and parcel of gender roles and is not something that can be changed on an individual basis.

This goes to the core of the difference between sex-pozzies and their opponents, who acknowledge that the issues that concern sex-pozzies, including BDSM, prostitution, pornography, and sex in general, can be generally reduced to the domination of women by men:

[T]he way you fuck is not “private,” apolitical, or outside the realm of critique. Sex does not happen in a vacuum immune to outside structural influences; in fact, it can (and does) replicate inescapable systems of power and dominance. Being sex-negative means acknowledging that sex, and kink, have nothing intrinsically “good” or “positive” about them (in direct contrast to sex-positive feminists, many of whom argue that sex is an inherent good and that less charitable opinions toward sex are the result of a poisonous, prudish society).

This is not to say that sex-negativity means stating that all sex is bad. While it is true that some expressions of sex are unhealthy and ethically wrong, others are not. Always most potent in the sex-pozzies’ arsenal of lies is the constantly repeated Big Lie that “radfems think all sex is bad.” Despite the constant repetition of the lie, no quote from any radfem book or blog has ever be given for this claim (at least, to my knowledge) because no such quote exists.

What the sex-negative do believe is that, as Jillian Horowitz states in the quote above, sexual acts are not immune from “structural influences.” This means that all sexual acts can be criticized, but it does not mean that all sex is bad. All movies can be criticized, but this does not mean that all movies are bad, either. It’s abhorrent that our views on sex are so aberrated that we’ve at the point where acknowledging that sex acts are not magically good and are a valid subject of criticism is considered “negative,” and that this view must absolutely be equated with a wholesale rejection of sex.

“Sex-positive feminism” is a movement which, in actuality, mostly benefits white privileged men and women. The extremism of the sex-pozzies’ belief in sex entails the marginalization of individuals who do not like sex, such as asexuals, people with low or non-existent libidos, rape survivors, child abuse survivors, and victims of the systems of exploitation that the sex-pozzies support:

[Sex-pozzies] don’t care about rape victims, prostituted women, porn actresses, homosexual people, women who like sex but not phallocentric sex, or actual feminists.

I don’t think that most of them don’t care per se, but that they are blind to the massive exploitation of women that they are supporting: they are not able to recognize it as exploitation any more than capitalists are able to recognize work contracts as exploitation. Privilege is transparent: you can only see it if you are told exactly where to look and actually make the effort. Most people don’t because they see no need in making the effort to look for something they don’t experience.

When we look at the issues, sex-pozzies actually don’t appear very different from funfems. Funfems consider the exploitation of their own bodies to be “empowering,” including pornography, prostitution and BDSM. Funfems, like sex-pozzies, consider consent to be the alpha and the omega of morality. The main difference is that sex-positivism is more theoretical in nature and funfem is more frivolous in nature.

“Sex-positive feminism” was itself a reaction to the anti-pornography movement spearheaded by people like Andrea Dworkin and Catharine MacKinnon (who are now demonized for it). Fundamentally it is defined by its defense of pornography, and therefore by its defense of the exploitation and objectification of women, which is why it is an anti-feminist movement.

The arguments of sex-pozzies regarding pornography are very similar to those used by “individualist feminist” Wendy McElroy: we think women who use pornography or who work in pornography are “damaged,” the reduction of consent to a “yes” act, falsely representing the “anti” side as an alliance between radical feminists (anti-women-haters) and Christian fundamentalists (women-haters).

Why are these “feminist” positions, “funfeminism,” “sex-positive feminism” and “individualistic feminism,” so similar? They’re all about me, me, me, and ignore the systemic objectification and exploitation of women. I have written many times about how evaluating actions in a vacuum must necessarily lead to support for the status quo (see for example). I will not repeat myself here, but merely point out that this the root error of all these “feminist” ideologies, which “analyze” sexual acts as if they existed in a vacuum devoid of patriarchal incentives or financial incentives. This is fantasy land.

I already discussed the vital role of pornography in reproducing patriarchal norms. On the sex-pozzie side, I also quoted Pervocracy saying that “It’s the belief that porn and erotica are valid media of expression (not that the current porn industry is hunky-dory, cause it’s not) and that sex work ought to be just work (not that it currently is).” But this implies that there can be such a thing as “valid pornography” and “sex work.” These premises are self-contradictory: pornography is the commodification of the objectification of women, and prostitution is organized rape at best; commodifying the objectification of women cannot be “valid” and the rape of women cannot be “work.”

What about the wonderfully bizarre concept of “feminist porn”: who has ever seen such a unicorn? Where is this noble unicorn hiding in the lush, vibrant forest of pornography? Will someone one day find the magical .mpg file that contains it and share it with the world? Or are we merely to stick with the reasoned conclusion that belief in such a thing is an absolute steaming pile of shit?

Pornography is not about sex, anyhow, it’s about men dominating women. As I’ve said before, arguing that anyone who’s against pornography is anti-sex is as obtuse as stating that anyone who’s against McDonalds is anti-food. McDonalds food is mass-produced, artificial, loveless food, and pornography at its best is mass-produced, artificial, loveless sex.

Some complain that the term “sex-negative” is not good publicity and that we should be using the term “sex-critical.” The trouble is, good publicity for who? Men? Sex-positive women? Why should feminists appeal to either of these groups? The label should be descriptive, and “sex-negative” is descriptive as an opposition to “sex-positive.”

I also want to mention that I am also necessarily a sex-negative person by virtue of being an antinatalist: all antinatalists by definition believe that sex for procreation is wrong, therefore they cannot accept [procreative] sex uncritically either. It is impossible to be an antinatalist and sex-positive; this is not a statement of bigotry or partisanship but a simple logical deduction.

I give the summation and final word to Meghan Murphy:

Glickman argues that ‘sex-positivity’ is “the idea that the only relevant measure of a particular sexual act, practice, or desire is how the consent, pleasure, and well-being of the participants are cared for.” And, yeah, I think we ‘get’ that. And we don’t agree. At all. We think it is much more complicated then individuals simply saying ‘yes’ or ‘no’ (though of course consent is a key part of sex, assuming that our intent is not to rape). Where the ‘sex-positivity’ defenders seem to get off track is in this ‘judgement’ discourse. In the obsessive need to make all representations and manifestations of sex and ‘sexiness’ about individuals, the point that feminists are making is completely missed. That is that this isn’t all about individuals and that your sexuality has been influenced by a myriad of factors, all which have been shaped by patriarchy.

And there you go.

The rape culture: it’s in people’s minds.

Above: Funfems v Radfems on rape culture.

Three particular studies on people’s beliefs about aggression against women form the basis of this entry, one from the British government about domestic violence and rape, one made by Amnesty International on a thousand random adults in Britain, another made on a pool of high school students about rape (in case you try to rationalize the results by assuming those are old studies, the studies are respectively from 2009, 2005 and 2003).

Starting with the poll of high school students, they were asked “Is it all right if a male holds a female down and physically forces her to have sex if…” The percentage of yes answers was as follows:

He spent a lot of money on her- male 39% female 12%
He is so turned on he thinks he can’t stop- male 36% female 21%
She has had sexual intercourse with other guys- male 39% female 18%
She is stoned or drunk- male 39% female 18%
She lets him touch her above the waist- male 39% female 28%
She is going to and then changes her mind- male 54% female 31%
She has led him on- male 54% female 26%
She gets him excited sexually- male 51% female 42%
They have dated for a long time- male 43% female 32%

Goodchilds, Jacqueline. “When Is Rape Okay?” Chart. Sexual Violence: Opposing Viewpoints. San Diego: Greenhaven, 2003. 68. Print.

So what we observe here is that teenagers are indoctrinated to support rape to a significant degree, and in some cases a majority of teen boys.

The Amnesty International study reports on the question of whether a woman is totally or partially responsible for her rape:

For instance, more than a quarter (26%) of those asked said that they thought a women was partially or totally responsible for being raped if she was wearing sexy or revealing clothing, and more than one in five (22%) held the same view if a woman had had many sexual partners.

Around one in 12 people (8%) believed that a woman was totally responsible for being raped if she’d had many sexual partners. Similarly, more than a quarter of people (30%) said that a woman was partially or totally responsible for being raped if she was drunk, and more than a third (37%) held the same view if the woman had failed to clearly say “no” to the man.

These results are perfectly in line with the study on high schoolers, which seems to show that attitudes do not change much with age.

Our final study, again done on about a thousand respondents in Britain, found that from 14 to 49 percent of people thought women were totally or partially responsible for getting raped, including situations such as drunkenness (36%) or not saying no (49%).

Other results on domestic abuse revealed that from 8 to 20 percent of people supported slapping or hitting a spouse for various reasons, including constant nagging (16%) and being dressed in revealing clothes (20%).

The superficial conclusion here is that the “equality feminists” should naturally conclude that there’s no “equality” here. We don’t support the rape or violence against men in the same way we support rape or violence against women. Of course, it’s unlikely they’d recognize the real cause, which is the indoctrination of children with patriarchal principles.

Which leads us to the rape culture. There is some confusion in that people think that because rape is illegal and generally badly regarded (within a very narrow definition of “rape”), we must therefore not live in a rape culture. It is only necessary for a small minority of men to rape (6.5% to 12%) for women to fear rape and curtail their behavior (on the profile of rapists, see this entry from Yes Means Yes). And it is only necessary for some significant percentage of other people (including handmaidens) to support the rapes in order to curtail real prevention and effective prosecution of rape. Consider that only 3% of rapes result in an actual conviction and sentence, and that numerous studies of college students shows a percentage of lifetime rape higher than one in four (many more women were sexually assaulted).

Definition is all part of it. We have defined “rape” so narrowly that many women who get raped don’t even make the connection. Not only that, but as I’ve mentioned before, there is a gradient between consensual sex and rape, including altruistic sex and compliant sex. Most importantly, other men don’t identify what the perpetrators did as rape, and therefore attack the victims for being hostile to the perpetrators, creating an environment hostile to rape victims and favorable to rapists. Beyond the rape itself, this creates a process by which the rape victim is further psychologically beaten, ostracized, and basically punished for refusing to submit.

This is all part of a gender hierarchy, the Patriarchy, which keeps women as a class inferior to men as a class. One thing it does is indoctrinate men and women about their status. Men do feel their entitlement to sex keenly and need little prodding to support rape, but a significant percentage of women also supports rape, as seen in the first study. Handmaidens of the Patriarchy provide ammunition for the woman-haters (look, even some women support rape, so it can’t be a gender issue!) and serve as templates for other women (why can’t you be less of a ball-busting feminist and more like this successful anti-feminist token woman?).

The Axis of Woman-Hating

From Cyanide and Happiness.

Radical feminism and antinatalism are two topics I’ve written a great deal about. While there are some obvious connections between them, I haven’t written a great deal about them except for PIV. Yet there is more there to talk about, I think.

I’ve discussed before why I think natalism ultimately equates to woman-hating, both in its lower-class extreme version (the Quiverfull cults) and in its higher-class pseudo-intellectual version (the Bryan Caplan types). While there is no inconsistency between antinatalism and woman-hating (and yes, I’ve talked to a few woman-hating antinatalists), a consistent natalist must be woman-hating explicitly or implicitly.

In a sense, though, this is only a result of the fact that natalism inherently supports the status quo, because our institutions depend on population growth for their health and survival. Think about the global arguments for natalism: procreation drives the economy, procreation drives innovation, procreation helps fund other people’s retirements. Obviously an economy is an economy of some country, innovation supports some country’s economy, retirements are paid by some country. Ultimately procreation is nothing more or less than an extension of nationalism.

I didn’t mention the individualist argument that people are happy, therefore we should make more of them, although I’ve already addressed the general form of this argument. I will merely note that the argument loses a lot of its credibility by ignoring the objectively measured loss of happiness by the parents.

Natalism is also part and parcel of other status quo ideologies. White racists, for example, preach procreation by white couples to prevent the world from getting taken over by the “inferior races” (or as they like to say now, other races are not inferior, white people are just better). Democratic votes are decided on sheer numbers, which can only be raised by procreation or immigration. And of course the State can only get more money by raising taxes or expanding its tax base.

So you get what I call the Axis of Woman-Hating: natalism, anti-feminism and traditional genderism. All these issues are directly related to each other. Traditional genderism states that it is part of the woman’s role to give birth and raise children for her man/society. Anti-feminism argues that women rebelling against their gender role as mothers causes the degeneration of society. Natalism assumes that the role of women is to breed, and that women’s values are irrelevant.

Within the confines of decency and morality Women are rightly sexual objects to Men. Nature designed us that way and the survival of the species demands it.
(bold mine)

I am using this quote not as a typical example of reasoning, but as an illustration, int that the three elements in bold here illustrate the connection I’m talking about: anti-feminism (women are sex objects) -> genderism (nature designed us that way) -> natalism (survival of the species).

The connection presents itself to us in the larger historical concept as well. According to The Creation of Patriarchy, by Gerda Lerner, the source of woman-hatred is actually the need for equal sex ratios in horticultural societies, coupled with the higher death rate of women because of the hardship of childbirth. This led to wars for women and their reproductive capacities, to women being treated as a resource, and then a progressively lower and lower status for women as they become enslaved to patriarchs and then State interests. Lerner proposes that slavery itself was made possible by the prior experience that men had of grouping women as an inferior class.

So you’ve got here a direct connection: procreation is the historical cause of traditional genderism. Anti-feminism, as a reaction to feminism and its attacks against traditional genderism, obviously started much more recently, but the periodic anti-feminist backlash has defined feminism almost as much as feminist causes.

I can well imagine someone arguing, so what? What does it matter if they are connected in origin? Why should we care about what happened four thousand years ago? Because the male desire to own and control female sexuality was at the root of male domination and continues to be at the root of male domination today. Men as a class dictated and dictate to women as a class how they should behave as sexual beings. The main difference is the main form of power behind that domination: no longer condign power (outright force) but rather compensatory power (money, insofar as women make far less than men) and conditioned power (fear of “being a bitch” or “being a whore/slut”, pornography and prostitution, propaganda about women’s bodies and how to present as a woman).

[I]t is not women who are reified and commodified, it is women’s sexuality and reproductive capacity which is so treated. The distinction is important. women never became “things,” nor were they so perceived. Women, no matter how exploited and abused, retained their power to act and to choose to the same, often very limited extent, as men of their group. But women always and to this day lived in a relatively greater state of un-freedom than did men. Since their sexuality, an aspect of their body, was controlled by others, women weer not only actually disadvantaged but psychologically restrained in a very special way.
The Creation of Patriarchy, Gerda Lerner, p213-214

This control of female sexuality drives what we call gender roles. Women are indoctrinated to be submissive and sexually desirable to men, to not spread their sexuality around and ideally remain virgins for their husbands, to think and feel in a way favorable to mothering and unfavorable to independent existence, and to internalize their inherent inferiority no matter what they do. Man puts woman on a pedestal so he can more easily throw her down when she breaks the gender rules.

A panoply of gynocidal practices such as the legal inferiority of women (including the criminalization of contraception and abortion), forced childbirth, prostitution and pornography, rape as strategy in warfare, suttee, foot-binding, neck rings, the burning of witches, honor killings, female genital mutilation, anorexia, and cosmetic mandates, amongst others, have served either as guarantee of women assuming their role or punishment for refusal to take the role.

By linking radfem and antinatalism through procreation as the ultimate female role, I am not claiming that ending procreation would end the Patriarchy or that ending the Patriarchy would end procreation. But I am arguing that both have common historical roots, a common goal and a common enemy. I also don’t expect radfems reading this to become antinatalists or antinatalists reading this to become radfems. There is a need to keep the two ideologies separate, as their arguments and lines of reasoning are completely different, but they ultimately support each other and I see no reason why antinatalists who are not woman-hating and radfems who are not admirers of motherhood should not cooperate ideologically. I consider myself to be both (a radfem ally, of course, not an actual radfem) and I see no discord between the two.

Wendy McElroy doing a terrible job of defending pornography.

From Sinfest.

I have previously written an entry about Wendy McElroy, a so-called “individualist feminist,” and her defense of pornography against radical feminism. Her basic argument was that radfems think women are “damaged” and therefore cannot consent to pornography. This “argument” has been uttered by no radfem ever, and McElroy cannot provide any references because none exist. It is a ridiculous strawwomyn.

For those who won’t read my original entry, I will give a brief rehashing of my rebuttal. Radical feminism is about making a systemic analysis of our patriarchal institutions, not criticizing individuals. Women sometimes can and do consent to pornography, but that has no relevance to the evils of pornography as an institution (or any other patriarchal institution, for that matter). Radfems also do criticize our concept of consent and how we apply it to sexuality, but I know of no radfem who believes that women who are not capable of consent are “damaged.”

I thought it would be a good follow-up to analyze a more rigorous defense of pornography by McElroy, called “A Feminist Overview of Pornography — Ending in a Defense Thereof“. She posits four reasons why feminists oppose pornography, and puts forward four arguments in defense of pornography. Let me go through these in turn:

1. Pornography is Degrading to Women.

‘Degrading’ is a subjective term. I find commercials in which women become orgasmic over soapsuds to be tremendously degrading. The bottom line is that every woman has the right to define what is degrading and liberating for herself.

The assumed degradation is often linked to the ‘objectification’ of women: that is, porn converts them into sexual objects. What does this mean? If taken literally, it means nothing because objects don’t have sexuality; only beings do. But to say that porn portrays women as ‘sexual beings’ makes for poor rhetoric. Usually, the term ‘sex objects’ means showing women as ‘body parts’, reducing them to physical objects. What is wrong with this? Women are as much their bodies as they are their minds or souls. No one gets upset if you present women as ‘brains’ or as ‘spiritual beings’. If I concentrated on a woman’s sense of humor to the exclusion of her other characteristics, is this degrading? Why is it degrading to focus on her sexuality?

It is quite bizarre that someone who claims to be a feminist cannot define the term “objectification” adequately. Feminism 101 gives us the answer:

Sexual objectification is the viewing of people solely as de-personalised objects of desire instead of as individuals with complex personalities and desires/plans of their own. This is done by speaking/thinking of women especially as only their bodies, either the whole body, or as fetishised body parts…

Women are universally viewed as the Other across all cultures, a role which is both externally imposed and internalised, and which means that women are generally not truly regarded as fully human.

Objectification is not an arcane or obscure concept: even non-feminists are well aware of what it is about. But “feminist” McElroy apparently is not very familiar with it, reducing it to showing women as body parts, which is only the most superficial aspect of objectification.

To answer the point, obviously there is nothing wrong in talking about someone’s body. Objectification does not mean that you focus on someone’s body, it means that you treat them, the whole person, as an object: an object of desire, a sex object, a commodity. Pornography is not wrong because it focuses on women’s sexuality: so does a class on sexual satisfaction for women, but such a class typically does not objectify women. Pornography is wrong because it objectifies women, by treating women as an object of desire, a sex object, a commodity, instead of treating them like human beings.

Likewise, it would be equally offensive to talk about someone’s brains being a tool or a commodity. So I don’t see how McElroy’s analogy works here. People do very much get upset when they are objectified on the basis of their intelligence or their spirituality. Unfortunately, her misunderstandings about objectification leads her to make these very basic mistakes.

McElroy is making another strawwomyn here, implying that radfem think saying a woman is beautiful or that she has sex is offensive. But no radfem I know thinks this. It’s just nonsense.

2. Pornography Leads to Violence against Women.

A cause-and-effect relationship is drawn between men viewing pornography and men attacking women, especially in the form of rape. But studies and experts disagree as to whether any relationship exists between pornography and violence, between images and behavior. Even the pro-censorship Meese Commission Report admitted that the data connecting pornography to violence was unreliable.

Other studies, such as the one prepared by feminist Thelma McCormick (1983) for the Metropolitan Toronto Task Force on Violence Against Women, find no pattern to connect porn and sex crimes. Incredibly, the Task Force suppressed the study and reassigned the project to a pro-censorship male, who returned the ‘correct’ results. His study was published.

What of real world feedback? In Japan, where pornography depicting graphic and brutal violence is widely available, rape is much lower per capita than in the United States, where violence in porn is severely restricted.

I would be inclined to call this another strawwomyn. McElroy wants you to believe that radfems make claims about pornography viewing leading to rape. But this causal relationship does not, as far as I know, concern most radfem. What concerns them is the relationship between the sex acts that men watch in pornography and the sex acts they perform on women of all walks of life, but especially prostitutes. They are also concerned about the sex acts women in pornography are pressured to perform in order to earn more money.

On these points, McElroy remains entirely silent, again because McElroy doesn’t understand radical feminism and has never interacted with the materials of actual radical feminists. The viewpoint she presents in this article is entirely made up by herself. The only feminist she names in the whole list of arguments is Thelma McCormack, which she sloppily misspelled “McCormick,” a name which I’ve never seen in connection with radical feminism and who seems to only do high-level academic and governmental work.

To answer her initial point, it may very well be that pornography does not correlate to higher rates of sexual violence. So, suppose we also demonstrate that racist materials do not lead to higher rates of hate crimes. What does that prove? It doesn’t prove that racism is acceptable, or that pornography is not harmful to women as a class.

No one, as far as I know, claims that pornography in isolation leads to violence against women, but pornography participates to the objectification of women, which does lead to violence against women. Whether a given man, after watching Anal Inferno #2, will go out and succeed in raping a woman in the ass does not prove anything about pornography. Radical feminist analysis is concerned with how the system works, not the behavior of any single individual.

Her point about Japan is particularly egregious. As an intelligent woman, she cannot have been blind to the fact that by far the biggest challenge to fighting rape is the lack of reporting, and that women in Japan are particularly oppressed (as regards to rape, see for example Decisions not to Report Sexual Assault in Japan, by Dussich, Fujiwara and Sagisaka). Otherwise she must be very naive indeed. And given the point just below, I think accusations of naivete are warranted.

3. Pornography is Violence

a. Women are coerced into pornography.

Not one woman of the dozens of woman in porn with whom I spoke reported being coerced. Not one knew of a woman who had been. Nevertheless, I do not dismiss reports of violence: every industry has its abuses. And anyone who uses force or threats to make a woman perform should be charged with kidnapping, assault, and/or rape. Any pictures or film should be confiscated and burned, because no one has the right to benefit from the proceeds of a crime.

Despite my previous accusation, I have a lot of trouble believing that McElroy is this naive or sheltered. I already commented on my previous entry that McElroy completely ignores the studies which show that approximately half of prostitutes report being used for the purpose of producing pornography. And yet she has the arrogance to declare that, because the women she spoke to personally (one presumes, relatively privileged white women, like she is) have not been coerced, therefore women are not generally coerced in pornography. It’s almost as if McElroy is trying to be a parody of funfeminists (which is an improvement for her, since funfeminism, despite its stupidity, is not ridiculously self-contradictory).

I agree with her about using force or threats to make a woman produce pornography should be a crime. But because there can be no such thing as consent in pornography, this should logically result in all pornography being illegal. Of course McElroy doesn’t care about consent, so such considerations do not enter her mind.

I also like the concept that pornography is an “industry.” Really? What other industry in the Western world not only flaunts its refusal to obey the most basic safety rules, but openly opposes laws that would bring them about? Criminals do that, not serious businesses. In fact, that seems to me to be a good criterion to differentiate between honest people and crooks or fraudsters.

b. Women who Pose for Porn are so Traumatized by Patriarchy They Cannot Give Real Consent.

Although women in pornography appear to be willing, anti-porn feminists know that no psychologically healthy woman would agree to the degradation of pornography. Therefore, if agreement seems to be present, it is because the women have ‘fallen in love with their own oppression’ and must be rescued from themselves.

A common emotional theme in the porn actresses I have interviewed is a love of exhibitionism. Yet if such a woman declares her enjoyment in flaunting her body, anti-porn feminists claim she is not merely a unique human being who reacts from a different background or personality. She is psychologically damaged and no longer responsible for her actions. In essence, this is a denial of a woman’s right to choose anything outside the narrow corridor of choices offered by political/sexual correctness. The right to choose hinges on the right to make a ‘wrong’ choice, just as freedom of religion entails the right to be an atheist. After all, no one will prevent a woman from doing what they think she should do.

This is the same argument as the one I debunked in my previous entry, so go read that one if you want my detailed answer. All I will say here is that McElroy suffers from some kind of delusion. I have never heard anyone from any perspective make such an argument.

She seems to be trying to set up a false dichotomy between “the right to choose” (which is a nonsensical concept) and that women are “psychologically damaged.” Both options are non-explanations. Saying that women do pornography because they are exhibitionists makes about as much sense as stating that a person becomes a physicist because they’re good at math. Being an exhibitionist makes it possible for women to become sex objects, but for what reason do they do it?

Well, for a lot of women, pornography is one avenue to try to escape poverty, and a lot of women are primed for sexual abuse in adulthood through child abuse. You will note that McElroy does not mention the words “poverty” or “child abuse” anywhere. There is an obvious reason for that.

Finally, even if we assume the validity of McElroy’s belief in “choice” for the sake of the discussion, her reasoning only undermines her pro-pornography position that much more. For pornography and prostitution are one of the only avenues available to women who have lost their “freedom of choice” because of poverty, abuse, or lack of education (which is also a form of abuse). For McElroy to glorify pornography as a “choice” is the exact opposite of the truth, and only serves to censor the social conditions that lead to women making themselves into sex objects.

Now that I’ve debunked McElroy’s four rebuttals, let’s continue with her four arguments for pornography:

1. It provides sexual information on at least three levels:

Frankly, I see no point in reproducing what McElroy wrote in this section (you can go see it for yourself). It is absolutely insane for her to claim that pornography serves an informative role when the vast majority of top-selling pornography is violent in nature (whether verbally or physically). Is McElroy seriously suggesting that women should learn about their own sexuality from violent content which is almost entirely geared towards male fantasies? That’s messed up.

2. Pornography strips away the emotional confusion that so often surrounds real world sex. Pornography allows women to enjoy scenes and situations that would be anathema to them in real life. Take, for example, one of the most common fantasies reported by women — the fantasy of ‘being taken’, of being raped. The first thing to understand is that a rape fantasy does not represent a desire for the real thing. It is a fantasy. The woman is in control of the smallest detail of every act.

The first two sentence are correct, in that pornography does enable people to watch abhorrent, criminal acts without the slightest tinge of remorse because it is being done to a person who is less than human. I agree about that, but that’s an argument against pornography and the resulting woman-hatred, not for pornography.

The rest of her argument is absolutely false. The rape fantasy as depicted by pornography is very much a “real thing” done by real people. When we use pornography to portray criminal acts, we are subjecting real women to real violent acts for our amusement. It is not a fantasy for anyone except the viewer, who is isolated from the act of production.

3. Pornography breaks cultural and political stereotypes, so that each woman can interpret sex for herself. Anti-feminists tell women to be ashamed of their appetites and urges. Pornography tells them to accept and enjoy them. Pornography provides reassurance and eliminates shame. It says to women ‘you are not alone in your fantasies and deepest darkest desires. Right there, on the screen are others who feel the same urges and are so confident that they flaunt them.’

Pornography does not “break cultural and political stereotypes,” but rather reinforces them. In pornographic narratives, gender and ethnic inferiors are portrayed as being always sexually ready and insatiable. It says to women, “you are sexually useless unless you conform to the male gaze, the same gaze that is admiring what these fantasy women are doing.” It tells women that they are disposable sexual objects just like the women on the screen. It tells women that men want to violently fuck them.

4. Pornography can be good therapy. Pornography provides a sexual outlet for those who — for whatever reason — have no sexual partner. Perhaps they are away from home, recently widowed, isolated because of infirmity. Perhaps they simply choose to be alone. Sometimes, masturbation and vicarious sex are the only alternatives to celibacy. Couples also use pornography to enhance their relationship. Sometimes they do so on their own, watching videos and exploring their reactions together. Sometimes, the couples go to a sex therapist who advises them to use pornography as a way of opening up communication on sex. By sharing pornography, the couples are able to experience variety in their sex lives without having to commit adultery.

I think this is probably true of women too (although I won’t speak for them), but men don’t need pornography to masturbate. Any man who tries to tell you otherwise is a fucking liar and a fraud, and should be dismissed from the debate without further consideration. Any woman who tries to tell you otherwise is either ignorant about male masturbation or a liar and a fraud. To be fair, from this article it seems pretty clear that McElroy has no fucking idea what she’s writing about, so I err on the side of “ignorant” in her particular case.

Pornography is not conducive to communication about sex either. I have made the analogy before that pornography is to sex as McDonalds is to food, and it’s apt here too: would one go to McDonalds to explore one’s tastes in food? No. McDonalds is bland, manufactured, exploitative food, and pornography is bland, manufactured, exploitative sex. Anyone who learns anything about sex from pornography must be extremely deprived, but either way they would be better off going into different avenues.

McElroy concludes her chain of terrible arguments with a bombastic conclusion which misses the mark by a metric lightyear:

The porn debate is underscored by two fundamentally antagonistic views of the purpose of law in society.

The first view, to which pro-sex feminists subscribe, is that law should protect choice. ‘A woman’s body, a woman’s right’ applies to every peaceful activity a woman chooses to engage in. The law should come into play only when a woman initiates force or has force initiated against her. The second view, to which both conservatives and anti-porn feminists subscribe, is that law should protect virtue. Law should enforce proper behavior. It should come into play whenever there has been a breach of public morality, or a breach of ‘women’s class interests.’

This is old whine in new battles. The issue at stake in pornography debate is nothing less than the age-old conflict between individual freedom and social control.

I already pointed out McElroy’s scurrilous, laughable attempts to paint radical feminism as ideological sisters of religious fundamentalists. In this she is absolutely and completely wrong. Radical feminists fight to liberate women and eradicate the Patriarchy; religious fundamentalists fight to enslave women and enforce the Patriarchy, by law if necessary. In this, McElroy merely demonstrates her bestial ignorance.

But most importantly, McElroy is correct that the core of this issue is a clash of wordviews. She is a libertarian and an individualist, and as such anyone who performs systemic analysis is her enemy. To her, agency is paramount.

But radical feminists do not, by and large, believe that “the law,” a construct made by men for men, can eradicate the Patriarchy (mainly because doing so would eradicate “the law” itself). Most radfems are radicals and seek the highest level of freedom for everyone. McElroy makes a good act of grandstanding for freedom, but it’s just an act. She does not think women should be afforded the highest level of freedom, only the “freedom” to be objectified. Power to privileged white people like McElroy, servitude for everyone else.

The issue of pornography, to me, is a litmus test to determine whether someone is committed to attacking the Patriarchy. Anyone who supports pornography falls onto the sexist side, and anyone who, like McElroy, makes such profoundly ignorant arguments for pornography really can’t be differentiated from your run-of-the-mill woman-hater. Unlike radical feminism and religious fundamentalists, individualists like McElroy actually do have a lot in common with MRAs and other woman-haters. Both refuse to acknowledge the existence of the Patriarchy and agree that whatever happens to a woman is her own fault. Both support pornography as a man’s privilege. Both support a woman’s “choice” to serve men or starve.


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