If you look hard enough, you can find a “good side” to pretty much anything; but morality is not a mathematical operation by which you can compensate for the infliction of harm with some act of charity. The example I like to give is that of a doctor who saves a patient’s life and then punches him while he’s in recovery. Saving a life doesn’t nullify the punch.
Christian sects like to flaunt their charitable activities as if it gave them moral credit. Many corporations also try to cover up their unsavory activities with charity. In general, anyone who has things to hide can use charity or some good cause as a cover for evil.
In general, people think that by pointing at a “good side” in something, they’ve somehow compensated for all the bad. You get the natalists who say “but there’s so much good in life, surely that compensates for the suffering.” But again, this is not a mathematical equation. Good and evil exist in their own right and do not cancel out.
In the realm of pornstitution advocacy, good is seen as canceling out bad, too. Take the rhetoric of “good pornography.” Why does it matter that there is such a thing as “good pornography”? However much there is of this animal, it is still dwarfed by “bad pornography.” It could only matter if the “good pornography” somehow countered the “bad pornography” and made pornography itself acceptable.
But now here’s a deeper problem, which strikes at the root of the concept of pornography. If we had criteria for what “good pornography” is, I would assume that it would include things like “this pornography was not a product of rape,” “this pornography was not a product of coercion” and “this pornography was made by people who set out to do work in pornography.”
Woman after woman coming out of the pornography industry testify that they were coerced into performing specific sexual acts, or even raped on set. We know that around half of prostituted women have been filmed for the purposes of producing pornography. We also know that “revenge porn” is a new trend on the Internet, and that private videos which appear to be completely consensual are being reposted without consent.
Given all these known facts, the only reasonable conclusion is that there is no guarantee whatsoever that any piece of pornography actually fulfills reasonable criteria for “good pornography”! And this means that “good pornography” is a nonstarter as a concept. If something cannot be determined to exist, then it is a purely theoretical entity and there’s no point in assuming its reality, let alone using it in an argument.
i don’t trust men who ask “but what about ______ kind of porn?” when i point out how rampant rape and abuse is in the porn industry…
anytime you reblog, like, or watch porn, you are taking a chance that what you are viewing is rape…
every instagram account that you follow run by a porn company (suicide girls, pornhub, brazzers, redtube, crash pad) statistically, has hired rapists and abusers who knowingly violated the contracts of the women signed to their companies. these companies are run by misogynists who don’t care about women and surprise! they hire men who don’t care about women.
It’s important to note that a majority of men are conditioning themselves to orgasm watching women potentially being raped or abused. And, reinforcing this, the inferiority of women is the primary (although not the only) message encoded in these videos. Pornography and macho culture encourage men to think of sex as a process of domination, and that there’s something wrong (feminized) with you if you don’t participate.
It’s also important to note that even corporations which are known for their softer and more unconventional approach to pornography, such as Crash Pad and Abby Winters, are guilty of unethical practices (such as hiring underage actresses and male rapists). While such corporations may be more trustworthy than the big pornographic producers, who oppose basic safety laws and operate in criminal conditions, they still cannot be trusted to produce ethical pornographic videos (if such a thing can exist).
The other stereotype is that of the “happy hooker.” It is stunning to compare the claims made about representatives for the pornography industry and the claims of ex-actresses after they leave the industry. It is also stunning to compare what is claimed about prostituted women (the “happy hooker” myth) and what ex-prostituted women say.
This stereotype has become so pervasive amongst liberal pornstitution advocates that they are applying it to child trafficking. The entry, believe it or not, contends that children who are trafficked into prostitution are not badly off:
Using ethnographic research from Atlantic City and New York City, Anthony Marcus, Chris Thomas, and Amber Horning find that underage sex workers have much more agency in their relationships with pimps than many assume, and that sex trafficking discourses may serve to further alienate them from organizations to assist them…
There are, of course, violent and otherwise abusive pimps: approximately 5 percent of the pimps in the pimp study described such an approach to pimping. Among the 14 percent of female sex workers in the New York Sex study who had pimps, we estimate that approximately 10–15 percent faced such systematic abuse. In Atlantic City we were able to identify three such relationships between a young sex worker and a pimp. These findings suggest that roughly 2 percent of all the sex workers whom we interviewed, across both cities, were in a relationship with a predominantly abusive, violent pimp.
Overall, though, we found a clear pattern of increasing, rather than decreasing, levels of young sex workers’ autonomy over time. As the sex workers in our survey became more experienced, more mature, and more accustomed to the dangers of customers and law enforcement, their pimp’s authority typically receded and a more equal relationship developed, or the sex worker simply left the pimp. Similarly, most of the pimps whom we met were realistic about the limits of their authority and did not want to lose the source of their livelihood. At all levels, pimps were constantly faced with the danger of being abandoned for another pimp, an escort agency, or independent work.
You will note that in all the studies presented, there is one obvious factor that is not discussed: whether these children were coerced into prostitution. All that is discussed is “how youth got initiated” into prostitution, with categories of answers such as “friend,” “pimp” and “homeless,” which do not actually indicate the “how.”
The topic of the article is how the narrative of “young prostituted women abused by pimps” should be replaced by something closer to the “happy hooker” narrative, with an extra dash of “agency” into the mix.
It does not matter at all how much “agency” prostituted children have. It does not matter at all how the pimps are affected. To be clear, I have nothing against fact-finding, but I object to the political spin based on “agency,” which is a made-up concept used to blame victims of systemic exploitation. To paint children who were trafficked into prostitution as worthy of being blamed is especially heinous. To portray their exploitation as a source of freedom is laughable.
But most importantly, buying an underage prostituted woman’s “services” is, well, rape. Calling them “sex workers” reinforces the liberal narrative of the “happy hooker” and obscures the fact that they are human beings who are raped on a daily basis.
1.) Referring to underaged sex trafficking victims as “underaged sex workers.” Especially if they are immigrants; then they are referred to as “(underaged) migrant sex workers.” I can’t believe this even needs to be said: If a prostitute is discovered to be a minor, that makes her a sex trafficking/rape victim, no matter what.
The fact is that 71% of prostituted women were physically assaulted, 89% want to leave but cannot, and 68% suffer from PTSD. Furthermore, 70% say they were sexually abused in childhood and that this abuse had some influence in their entry in prostitution. That is the reality of prostitution worldwide. Yes, there are “happy hookers,” but they do not represent the experience of a majority of women in prostitution. The narrative is broken.
Where are the liberals when ex-actresses come out and expose the coercion and rapes during shoots? Where are the liberals when ex-prostituted women tell us about their experiences? They either hide their heads and hope the evidence goes away, or they support organizations run by pornographic corporations and pimps.
Noah Berlatsky, the sleazy Playboy writer who calls himself a “feminist” and thinks women only matter when they give him erections.
Playboy writer and all-around puppet “feminist” Noah Berlatsky has written a contemptible article decrying anti-genderism, with all the usual straw men and hand-wringing. I am only interested in what Berlatsky has to say insofar as it reflects the commonplace “intellectual” views about anti-genderism, and if the conversation is to advance on this topic, we need to debunk this nonsense thoroughly.
The first issue that confronts us is, what is anti-genderism? What does it mean to abolish gender? In order to do so, we need to have a good understanding of what gender is. Unfortunately, Berlatsky, like most “intellectuals” who deign to discuss this topic, does not:
The problem here is a conceptual error. Radical feminists look at gender oppression and say, we must abolish gender. But it’s not the gender that’s the problem: It’s the oppression. Gender standards—and standards of genderlessness—are used to declare that certain gender expressions are wrong. Wearing heels, being gay, being trans, reading romance novels—if you perform gender in a certain way, you are unnatural or stupid or corrupt, and can be sneered at, or at worst, subject to violence.
This demonstrates a complete confusion on the subject being discussed, because Berlatsky thinks that 1. you can dissociate gender from oppression, and 2. that gender standards are about “expressions” (I assume he was grasping for the word “performance” and failed).
First, “gender” cannot be dissociated from “gender oppression.” Gender is a hierarchy and its purpose is the oppression of one class by another. The exploitation of women’s sexuality, labor, and dependence (by men) is tied with, and cannot be dissociated from, the dominant ideology which says that women can be objectified and silenced without any repercussions. Leaving this ideology untouched leaves only the possibility of fighting against specific forms of gender oppression.
Radical feminists reject this option because, as radicals, they seek to strike at the root of the problem, and that root is gender. Berlatsky can only say “it’s not the gender that’s the problem” because he believes in a fairy tale version of gender which is entirely, following Judith Butler’s postmodernism, framed in terms of performativity and subjectivity.
This leads us to the second point. Berlatsky’s worldview leads him to adopt a straw man view of anti-genderism where “gender expressions” are prohibited, things like “wearing heels, being gay, being trans, reading romance novels.”
But this has nothing to do with anti-genderism at all. Anti-genderism has to do with being against gender, which implies the association of certain traits or actions with superiority or inferiority. It’s not “wearing heels” that’s the problem, from an anti-genderist perspective, it’s the association of “wearing heels” with “being fuckable.” There is nothing wrong with “being gay,” but there is something wrong with associating “being gay” with “being an inferior man/woman.” Same for “being trans” or “reading romance novels.”
Berlatsky follow the common trope that a genderless society would be a fascistic society where everyone has to be the same. But this is pure projection. Genderist societies are the ones that put a great emphasis on gender conformity, and where people are socialized into that conformity from day 1. A hypothetical genderless society would be one where everyone can dress, act and love the way they want, without feeling like they have to conform to a gender role.
No female child would be called a tomboy and no male child would be called a sissy. No kid would ever be bullied for what we in our gendered world call “gender expression”…
And everyone would be free to be themselves without ever having to worry about gender expectations. Nobody would feel the need to repress certain parts of their personality and exaggerate others in order to fit into some gender role that is being forced on them.
Gender abolitionism is not about restricting people’s choices but about giving them greater freedom.
* Males and females will be able to act however the fuck they want (men might want to wear dresses, makeup, speak in a higher pitched voice; women might not want to wear any makeup, might not shave anywhere, might have short hair).
* The socialization of future generations will be a huge advantage. Males and females will not grow up with pre-determined interests, expectations, clothing, personalities, etc. there will be no more ‘what a cute little girl, let’s buy her baby borns and adorn her in beautiful little dresses’…
Getting rid of the box (gender) is the only way for complete liberation from gender’s shackles. Creating a million more genders (frog-kin, pixies, furries, candle-kin and shit like that??) WILL NOT end anything.
Genderless means no gender roles. Pretty simple, no? But to Berlatsky, this is unfathomable because everyone performs and therefore everyone always has a gender: so he equates a genderless society with a fascistic system where there’s only one gender role. Interestingly, he associates that fascist gender role with masculinity, which doesn’t make much sense for someone who outright rejects the gender hierarchy.
I think we’ve already seen why Berlatsky’s analysis fails: these two points are fundamental to understanding genderism (and anti-genderism) and he’s failed both. This has major consequences for the rest of his article.
Radical feminists often argue that we need to get rid of the “gender binary”—but in practice that seems to mean not getting rid of gender so much as getting rid of specifically feminine gender expression.
This is absolutely incorrect. I’ve never read any radical feminist advocating getting rid of the “gender binary,” for the simple reason that there’s no such thing as the “gender binary.” Gender is a hierarchy, not a binary. Berlatsky’s basic ignorance of the subject again shows through.
Gender is not some cosmic yin/yang; it’s a fist, and the flesh that bruises.
Radical feminism, and anti-genderism, are not about getting rid of any “gender binary” or of any “gender expression.” But I’ve already covered that part.
Genderlessness, then, isn’t so much different from the gender we’ve got—which makes sense when you think about it. Our current gendered system is based on a universal misogynist standard; maleness is good, everything not male is bad. The genderless ideal wants to abolish gender in the name of “no gender.” But when you do that “no gender” becomes the standard itself. And, since in our society, maleness—as the standard—is unmarked, “no gender,” by default, just ends up being that standard of maleness all over again.
Our gendered male standard says that femininity is frivolous and stupid and ugly and debased. And the genderless utopia standard says that femininity is frivolous and stupid and ugly and debased. “No gender” means don’t wear heels.
This is basically the culmination of all of Berlatsky’s very basic confusion and ignorance, which would have been easily solved if he had taken the time to ask just one radical feminist about their position.
This quote is truly mind-boggling. I think I’ve already identified the source of the blind confusion being displayed here: Berlatsky believes a genderless society means one fascistic gender role because he cannot actually imagine people living without gender roles; he cannot imagine people without gender roles because he equates gender role with performance, and everyone performs in some way or another.
Berlatsky’s irrational ideology has painted him in a corner, and he cannot get out of it. He is literally unable to understand the first thing on the very topic he writes about. It’s hard to take this whole thing seriously at all. Some people have suggested that Berlatsky is engaged in performance art demonstrating the irrationality of liberalism. Unfortunately that would require intelligence, a quality he has not yet exhibited.
Utopia, then, is not a world in which there is no gender. Rather, utopia is a world in which there are a wide variety of genders and gendered expressions, all of which are seen as equally true, and equally acceptable. Gender of all sorts would ideally be as unmarked, and unremarked, as whether or not you wear glasses or contacts. You’d notice if someone was male or female or both or neither, but it wouldn’t be defining, and wouldn’t carry with it a weight of expectations, anger, censure, and potential violence.
Again, this is a repetition of previous errors. There is no such thing as gender which does not entail conformity and expectations, because gender is a hierarchy and all hierarchies foster conformity. It does not matter if we have two genders, three genders, or forty genders: gender systems are all hierarchical, no matter how many genders they have (this is also why Berlatsky’s “one gender role” straw man makes no sense: you can’t have a hierarchy with only one group).
Liberal feminists have been pushing for diversity of genders and sexual orientations. They honestly believe that gender is not oppressive in itself, and that by multiplying the number of accepted genders they will bring about acceptance of all the kinds of people that are out there. But multiplying the prison cells is not the way to utopia, it’s only the way to more customizable prison cells.
When non-feminists or liberal feminists address the issue of gender abolition, they cannot confront the basic fact that gender is oppression and that they are supporting oppression. Therefore they have to use straw men and projections to get around that fact.
Gender serves two crucial roles in liberal feminism:
1. Gender is a part of arousal, especially for people who were raised on pornography. We can never expect pornsick men (since he writes for Playboy, it is very likely that Berlatsky is in this category) to accurately write about gender or genderism because they are addicted to representations of highly gendered sexuality.
2. Gender is a part of self-identification: we see our status as man or woman as an essential part of who we are. As their ideology is fundamentally subjectivist, liberal feminists use self-identification as their sole standard of how to label people.
But even from a subjectivist standard, self-identification is not, and cannot, be authentic self-expression because the way we identify ourselves is the product of socialization and indoctrination. For this argument to work, self-identification (including self-identification of one’s gender) would have to be irreducible, but it clearly is not.
If there’s any piece to the puzzle that they’re just completely missing, it has to be socialization. FETAs rarely address socialization, and when they do, it’s to simply deny its existence or minimize it. The liberal concept of gender completely denies the existence of socialization and starts from the premise that the experience of gender is irreducible and necessary.
A genderless society cannot be achieved without profound changes in the way we socialize children and the way we treat each other as adults. It’s much, much easier to play “multiply the genders” and “explode the gender binary.” But all we’re doing with this nonsense is customizing oppression to fit every mind, and reinforcing existing socialization by pointing out how necessary and important gender is, by making it into something that every person should be intimately concerned with and needs to connect with.
Berlatsky believes that conformity to the “binary” is the source of gender oppression. This is, frankly, a gross insult to all women who have actually experienced gender oppression. Conformity to the “binary” is not the oppression, it is the tool that makes actual oppression of women (gynocide, social and political control over women’s bodies, widespread rape and VAW, prostitution, pornography, sexual harassment, workplace inequality, etc) possible.
Gender is not a performance and it’s not a binary; it’s the fist that hits and the flesh that bruises. Multiplying the variety of fists will not preserve the flesh.
Here’s a wild idea: what if, instead of creating 100 new genders and making people even more confused about themselves, we just get rid of this whole ‘gender-idea’ and raise boys and girls the same way and treat women and men the same way and just let everyone wear, do and act however they want, without making them think that something is wrong with them.