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.

49 thoughts on “What is sex-negativity?

  1. Laura Mcnally February 26, 2014 at 20:58 Reply

    Hi there,

    This is a fantastic and thorough overview of the current state of ‘sex positivity’, would you mind if I reblog this?

    Many thanks

    Laura.

  2. Laura Mcnally February 27, 2014 at 01:19 Reply

    Reblogged this on mindovermatter and commented:
    This is a fantastic analysis of ‘sex positivity’ and the misleading nature of the term.

  3. Derrick February 27, 2014 at 02:43 Reply

    Hi, This is really great. Thank you for this. You are a powerful thinker and writer.

  4. AnonyMoose February 27, 2014 at 16:24 Reply

    What I don’t understand, Francois, is your condemnation of natalists as malicious and your simultaneous portrayal of women as victims. Aren’t natalists victims of the “system” as well since they’ve been indoctrinated with pro-natalism since they were children? Yet, you have no problem denouncing these people. But when it comes to women, you portray them as static beings with no sense of accountability for perpetuating sexism via actively participating in their own oppression (think modeling nude, stripping, etc.) of course, most of these women are in desperate financial situations, but there are those who do these things voluntarily. Yet, you assign no accountability to these women while decrying the abuses of natalists or parents, who were under the same system of indoctrination since childhood.

    • Francois Tremblay February 27, 2014 at 16:52 Reply

      “What I don’t understand, Francois, is your condemnation of natalists as malicious and your simultaneous portrayal of women as victims. Aren’t natalists victims of the “system” as well since they’ve been indoctrinated with pro-natalism since they were children?”

      The obvious difference is that women qua women do not create suffering, while natalists by definition are devoted to the creation of suffering.

      “Yet, you have no problem denouncing these people.”

      I have no problem denouncing people who support and inflict suffering, yes.

      “But when it comes to women, you portray them as static beings with no sense of accountability for perpetuating sexism via actively participating in their own oppression (think modeling nude, stripping, etc.)”

      I don’t know where you get the idea that I portray women as “static beings with no sense of accountability.” In fact, I have denounced handmaidens many times on this blog. Does that not count?

      “of course, most of these women are in desperate financial situations, but there are those who do these things voluntarily.”

      I’ve got nothing against women who strip voluntarily. It’s not the stripping I’m opposed to, it’s the culture that says women are reducible to how fuckable they look, and that in general appearance determines how much women are worth and that therefore we must operate and debate at the level of appearance.

      “Yet, you assign no accountability to these women while decrying the abuses of natalists or parents, who were under the same system of indoctrination since childhood.”

      Yes. See my first answer.

      • AnonyMoose February 27, 2014 at 17:08 Reply

        Damn, you’re fast with the responses. By the way, you’re wrong. Women who do engage in the sexist practices bog down the rest of women and perpetuate sexism, so in a sense, they do inflict suffering, even if it’s not direct. But the main point is that no personal accountability is given to women. I have NEVER seen a radical feminist discuss the role that most women play in perpetuating sexism nor have I have seen any discussion promoting personal accountability in stopping the continuation of sexism. Instead, they resort to “de-constructing” patriarchal systems, which is ridiculous because a). It’s nearly-impossible and probably will never happen in anyone’s lifetime (patriarchy will continue to exist in insidious forms) and b). It shifts personal accountability away from women for their own reprehensible, moronic behaviors.

        • Francois Tremblay February 27, 2014 at 17:13 Reply

          “Women who do engage in the sexist practices bog down the rest of women and perpetuate sexism, so in a sense, they do inflict suffering, even if it’s not direct.”

          Fair enough. But that doesn’t counter my main point that natalists explicitly support and create suffering.

          “But the main point is that no personal accountability is given to women.”

          I’ve already pointed out to you that I’ve denounced handmaidens. I don’t know why you keep repeating this already debunked point.

          ” Instead, they resort to “de-constructing” patriarchal systems, which is ridiculous because a). It’s nearly-impossible and probably will never happen in anyone’s lifetime (patriarchy will continue to exist in insidious forms)”

          What are you talking about? We’re doing it right now. It’s being done all over the world. I think you’re confusing “deconstruction” with “destruction.” Don’t use a word if you don’t know what it means.

          “and b). It shifts personal accountability away from women for their own reprehensible, moronic behaviors.”

          Yes, so what? Why can’t we examine the issue from a systemic perspective? You might as well rant against sociology because it doesn’t address Fourier’s Theorem.

      • AnonyMoose February 27, 2014 at 17:15 Reply

        I don’t know where you get the idea that I portray women as “static beings with no sense of accountability.” In fact, I have denounced handmaidens many times on this blog. Does that not count?”

        It’s not just you, though, I’m referencing the whole “radfem” community. Seriously, the whole discussion change/liberation via destruction of patriarchy is stilted. It’s the same hackneyed tripe about structural sexism that can be pulled out of a high-school textbook. The point is that a new “game plan” is needed and I think it needs to start with a serious discussion on assuming personal responsibility, as opposed to reflexively prattling on about the patriarchy. The way I see it, there are two possible ways to stop a problem of this magnitude. Either you cut off the demand (caused by structural sexism) or the supply (handmaiden-ism).

        • Francois Tremblay February 27, 2014 at 17:17 Reply

          If you’re not interested in feminism as systemic deconstruction, then you’re really on the wrong blog. I’m sure some liberals somewhere would love to discuss strategy and “game plans” with you, but I’m not interested. I’m more interested in understanding what the fuck is going on.

          • AnonyMoose February 27, 2014 at 17:36 Reply

            Great way to misinterpret arguments, Francois. I never opposed, “feminism as systemic deconstruction”. I stated that this alone will not lead to liberation or the like. And besides, all of the “analyses” sound the same. It’s stifling, trite,and vapid at times. All of your posts on feminism (or any other post on radical feminism) could be condensed into a single page given the repetition of the ideas. We have heard of these ideas over and over again, yet there is no significant liberation. Why do you think that this is so? Does it perhaps have something to do with the action part of instigating societal change? (Sarcasm intended)

            There is literally no call to action, no call for introspective reflection, and no outlet to express these start a massive societal change. You can type all the blogs that you want catering to your audience (a significant portion of them being radical feminists), but ultimately, no change will be accomplished.

        • Francois Tremblay February 27, 2014 at 17:42 Reply

          Dude, I never said you were opposed to it. Stop with the persecution complex! All I said is that you and I have nothing to discuss. I’m not interested in a call for action. I have nothing to contribute to activism. Like I said, I am interested in figuring out what the fuck is going on. If you don’t like that, leave. Go! I’m not stopping you!

          Why are you acting as if you have to argue with me? I am NOT going to argue with you about my choice of topics. This is my blog and I’ll write about whatever I want. You go on other blogs and talk about direct action strategy. I encourage you to do so! Just not here.

          • AnonyMoose February 27, 2014 at 17:45 Reply

            I’m not the one with a persecution complex. You clearly misinterpreted my arguments with your insistence that I’m not “interested in feminism as systemic deconstruction”.

            “I’m not interested in a call for action. I have nothing to contribute to activism.”

            So you prefer to isolate yourself in an echo-chamber and take no real step in actually materializing your goals? Makes complete sense. Good luck with ending sexism across the globe, then.

        • Francois Tremblay February 27, 2014 at 17:48 Reply

          Again, I’ve never stated the goal of my blog was to be an activist blog. Right now you seem to be hellbent on staying here and criticizing imaginary goals for my blog and stating how I’m falling short of those imaginary goals. I am getting tired of this little game you’re running. Shut up or you’re banned. Seriously, this is just straight up trolling.

  5. AnonyMoose February 27, 2014 at 17:28 Reply

    “I’ve already pointed out to you that I’ve denounced handmaidens. I don’t know why you keep repeating this already debunked point.”

    Again, this is not enough and besides, I was referencing to a whole community. Either way, there is no serious discussion in the radical-feminist community on personal accountability, so don’t pretend as though there exists critical-analysis and retrospection within these communities.

    “What are you talking about? We’re doing it right now. It’s being done all over the world. I think you’re confusing “deconstruction” with “destruction.” Don’t use a word if you don’t know what it means.”

    Thanks for the condescension, jackass, but I was referencing to the “analysis” of patriarchy that many online feminists engage in, which involves producing thousands of blogs that regurgitate the same tried, stilted tripe about structural sexism. Also, you’re wrong about the claim that, “it’s being done all over the world”. The most disgusting manifestations of sexism, like prostitution, still exist and have existed for centuries now. There is little reason, considering historical analysis, to believe that humanity is on a linear path of progress or that this progress will continue on to the future.

    “Yes, so what? Why can’t we examine the issue from a systemic perspective? You might as well rant against sociology because it doesn’t address Fourier’s Theorem.”

    That’s not my problem. If you had bothered to actually read my comments, you would have realized that I am not complaining about a systematic analysis of this problem. I’m saying that this alone will not resolve the problem of sexism and that educating women would be a much more effective enterprise to undertake. Besides, though, the “analysis” of structural inequality is often stifled and very rarely leads to a significant behavioral change. That’s my problem.

    • Francois Tremblay February 27, 2014 at 17:36 Reply

      All right, again see my last comment.

      • AnonyMoose February 27, 2014 at 17:37 Reply

        Read my latest comment. You don’t even fairly paraphrase opposing arguments.

  6. AnonyMoose February 27, 2014 at 17:42 Reply

    Quite honestly, though, anti-statist secessionists do a better job at promoting the materialization of female liberation through their proposal for racial, ethnic, gender, and religious separation. Separation (whether de jure or de facto), for example, is one concrete solution to this problem. The patriarchy has been one of the longest standing “institutions” or hierarchies and by now, it’s nearly-impossible to eradicate it. You might as well promote real solutions and concentrate on individual action/class action as a means of attaining female liberation. But whining about the patriarchy in a blog and heralding yourself for “understanding what the fuck is going on” (when you clearly don’t) won’t do you any good.

    • Francois Tremblay February 27, 2014 at 17:44 Reply

      Yea okay, at this point you don’t seem to understand that I am not interested in arguing my choice of topics. Are you doing this on purpose or something? Are you just not listening? Stop it.

  7. AnonyMoose February 27, 2014 at 17:48 Reply

    “Yea okay, at this point you don’t seem to understand that I am not interested in arguing my choice of topics.”

    I’m not arguing your choice of topics, so calm down. I’m expressing a critique of your post. You don’t like being criticized or being presented with an opposing argument? Stop publicizing your opinions, then, or expect a lot of opposition heading your way.

    • Francois Tremblay February 27, 2014 at 17:49 Reply

      You are not opposing anything I said. You are criticizing me for writing about the “wrong” topics. I am not interested. Criticize something I said in the entry or leave.

  8. AnonyMoose February 27, 2014 at 17:51 Reply

    Brilliant, though, Francois. Just brilliant.

    You barely address critique/opposing arguments, erect a few straw-men, claim that you’re not interested in activism to, you know, materialize female liberation, and put your hands over your ears to continue to be cushioned in your echo-chamber.

    • Francois Tremblay February 27, 2014 at 17:52 Reply

      Goodbye, you fucking troll. What the FUCK is mentally wrong with you that you thought this was anywhere near valid criticism.

      If you HAD presented opposing arguments, I would have addressed them. But instead you kept complaining that I don’t write about activism. Go to an activist blog and stop trolling me, asshole.

  9. mirigam February 28, 2014 at 05:10 Reply

    Thank you for this awesome analysis of so-called “sex negativity” (I personally prefer “sex-critical”) (sounds less..well, negative ?) . Such analysis really helps to position oneself in these discussions about pornography and sex-work and even transgenderism, these new “bastions” of feminism (I cry a bit)(I hope “bastion” is a comprehensible word in English).
    I was recently reading an article in The Daily Beast (I don’t know how I ended on this site) entitled Porn’s Behind-the-Camera Feminists” and it really made me cry (a lot). These women are capitalists, not feminists. It’s like everything a woman do is labelled “feminist” by default, in this dishonnest world. These women often criticize old-school feminism because it is said to disregard their individual choices and rip them of their own agency, because it designates them as women who are not conscious of her own oppression. I don’t know if I’m being clear. When you say things like “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.” they will say it’s patronizing and a disregard of their own choices. (patriarchal manipulation aiming at divising women as a class, I know). I just underline this point because it is something that striked me more than once. This interviewed person, Joanna Angel, says things like ““If you are the kind of person who looks at forms of entertainment and can’t take it as entertainment, there is something wrong with you that is much greater than porn.” Of course assimilating sex with “entertainment” is a way to silence all critics, because if something nowadays can’t be criticized, it’s also the notion of individual fun, the right to entertain yourself. No one want to be “this kind of person”, the one who want to spoil the fun. And you can’t help thinking “maybe something is very wrong with me ?” It’s so damaging for young women, it makes them feel guilty, as if they were the ones with a mental problem. I guess that’s the point with calling yourself a “fun-fem”. It’s like asserting that all your claws and teeth have been removed.
    I also had to think about all this “sex-positivity”, because of the recent “affair” regarding the “Duke University Porn star Freshman” (Duke, not dyke) http://www.xojane.com/sex/duke-university-freshman-porn-star
    I trully am at lost for words, in this case. I reckon, I’ve search for the masterpieces of self-expression she performed, I really failed to see how it was empowering. And I like how the financial benefit of the transaction always is minimized, as if really it didn’t exist at all. But I would be happy to find a woman performing porn, just because she wanted to, with no financial rewards. Maybe I would be ready to consider that she trully is doing it “freely”. I guess it’s going to be difficult to find.
    I need to re-read your post, I think. These medias I mentionned are dishonnest, I know, somehow it doesn’t surprise me to find Joanna Angel as an occasional contributor to Bitch medias. She also says things like “[The word “feminist”] has an ugly ring to it. I actually stopped using the term a while ago because it sounds so mean. It sounds so unsexy”. And everyone knows, what’s worse for a young women that being considered “unsexy” ? the self-internalized misogyny is strong with this one.

    • Francois Tremblay February 28, 2014 at 05:19 Reply

      I totally agree with what you’re saying. As a libsoc, I dig the intersection of anti-feminism and capitalism. I am reading through Understanding Power by Noam Chomsky, and there’s one thing I read recently that I found really profound; it’s about race, but you can also apply it to gender, which is why I want to share it with you:

      “See, capitalism is not inherently racist- it can exploit racism for its purposes, but racism isn’t built into it. Capitalism basically wants people to be interchangeable cogs, and differences among them, such as on the basis of race, usually are not functional. I mean, they may be functional for a period, like if you want a super-exploited workforce or something, but those situations are kind of anomalous. Over the long term, you can expect capitalism to be anti-racist- just because it’s anti-human. And race is in fact a human characteristic- there’s no reason why it should be a negative characteristic, but it is a human characteristic. So therefore identifications based on race interfere with the basic ideal that people should be available just as consumers and producers, interchangeable cogs who will puchase all the junk that’s produced- that’s their ultimate freedom, and any other properties they might have are kind of irrelevant, and usually a nuisance.”

      I don’t agree with him about race being an actual characteristic, since it’s a social construct, but so is gender, so the analogy still works I think… (meaning that while he misses the boat in not realizing that race is a construct or that race is always negative because it is a hierarchy by definition, the exact same thing is true of gender also, so the analogy is not lost).

      • mirigam February 28, 2014 at 17:44 Reply

        Thank you for giving feed for thought…
        I don’t know if race really is a social construct. Do you mean, racism ? Because I would have say that race is an actual characteristic, as sex is (while racism and gender are social constructs). Race in itself doesn’t say anything about a hierarchy, nor does sex. As Noam says : “There’s no reason why race should be a negative characteristic.”(or, as we try to extrapolate, “sex”).

        I don’t understand his sentence “Over the long term, you can expect capitalism to be anti-racist- just because it’s anti-human.” The next sentence he uses the word “race”. And the next sentence he uses “identifications based on race”, which is not the same thing, neither. Sorry I’m kind of a pain in the a.. with words. It’s like he says that racism (or sexism/gender) is something human, inherently human, in opposition with capitalism. I guess he meant “race”, like in« anti-race», if ever it means something. I just find it quite important not to mix it up with « anti-racism ». Racism is a social construct, not something that actually is part the person (it’s looks like it’s what he means by the word “human”).

        Does capitalism really wants people to be interchangeable ? I should read Noam Chomsky a little more. It looks like he knows his stuff. (LOL). It just seems to me that in the current system it is very profitable to exploit inequalities, and insecurities, so profitable that capitalism actively maintain them (I’ve just read something about the way fashion, culture and consumption are interdependent) Capitalism may be anti-human, but it also feeds on human needs in order to sell the junk that is produced. Sex for instance is a human property that is very relevant and I don’t think capitalism will be anti-sex that soon. It sure doesn’t want women to identify themselves as a group, but rather, aim at isolate each woman, and erase the specifics of this group. It’s like capitalism wants to erase the differences, or rather, makes people believe there are no difference. Just individuals. It’s a big lie. The sex you’re born with (or your race) have a direct impact on the freedom and power you experience in a society, or lack thereoff. Money would be the only mean by which the individual regains a feeling of power (so capitalism wants people to think). I think women and people of color are particularly vulnerable, because in this system, the less you feel power, the more you want to buy things. I don’t know, as I said, I’m not familiar with Noam Chomsky’s work. Maybe he’s saying just that.

        I should look into the distinction between equity feminism and gender feminism. It looks like he didn’t really embraced gender feminism.

        • qwertyuio February 28, 2014 at 23:31 Reply

          Whiteness is a social construction (i.e. not-biological) and is negative. There is no positive aspect of whiteness — you can see this by trying to name one. Read some Noel Ignatiev. Whiteness abolitionism is to anti-racism (ROUGHLY, ROUGHLY) as radfem is to anti-sexism.

        • Francois Tremblay March 1, 2014 at 01:23 Reply

          “I don’t know if race really is a social construct. Do you mean, racism ?”

          No, I do mean race. There is no scientific evidence showing that race is anything but an arbitrary grouping of people. In fact, a study has recently shown that race classification subjectively fluctuates depending on all kinds of factors (e.g. whether a person acts in the manner of a given race, the probability that they will be identified as being that race becomes higher).

          “Because I would have say that race is an actual characteristic, as sex is (while racism and gender are social constructs). Race in itself doesn’t say anything about a hierarchy, nor does sex.”

          I don’t think we’re going to agree on that.

          “I don’t understand his sentence “Over the long term, you can expect capitalism to be anti-racist- just because it’s anti-human.” The next sentence he uses the word “race”. And the next sentence he uses “identifications based on race”, which is not the same thing, neither. Sorry I’m kind of a pain in the a.. with words. It’s like he says that racism (or sexism/gender) is something human, inherently human, in opposition with capitalism. I guess he meant “race”, like in« anti-race», if ever it means something”

          A racist is a person who distinguishes between human beings based on race (whatever the racial constructs happen to be at that point in time) and acts on that distinction. “Identifications based on race” are part of what racism is.

          • mirigam March 1, 2014 at 05:20 Reply

            I understand the ambiguity with the word “race”. But it can’t be denied that the world is populated by different types of person, someone with an asiatic appearance won’t be perceived the same than a white american one. It doesn’t say that the chinese person is less or better than a white american one.They’re just different. You can distinguish between human beings without being racist. And being able to identify yourself as part of a particular population/race also can be a strenght that help you articulate your history, and understand why, as an individual, you’re oppressed for having this color of skin, or this sex. I was not seeing the word “race” in a negative light.

  10. mirigam February 28, 2014 at 18:41 Reply

    I just want to add that something is missing in the Chomsky’s equation. Women have this particular thing, is that they have been taught very young to consider their bodies like a product they can sell. Especially if their body is young/beautiful. They have been taught, that the valuable thing in them, is their body, or the sex it can give. They can sell something of themselves that men are ready to buy. Treating your body like an object that can be consume doesn’t help to experience a feeling of unity, or integrity. I’m not a dualist, I don’t think it’s possible to consider the body like something different of what someone “really” is. (the brain is part of the body, too)

    • qwertyuio February 28, 2014 at 23:33 Reply

      Women to men today are fuck-hole/breeder robots, and are taught anything that makes them accept this role and perform it most efficiently. From my personal experience and reading It doesn’t get much more complicated than that on the general level.

      • janetframed March 28, 2014 at 17:48 Reply

        I’m reading your reply again, few weeks later, and I still don’t really see how it was relevant to my thoughts about the consequences of having a body that you consider as a mere object/material good that you can sell. Like, a commodity whose value changes depending on the fact that it has a vagina, or big boobs, or smooth skin, or can perform particular stuffs. I think that a lot of sex-workers see their body like this, but think their “identity” , their “true-self” is in their mind, untouched.
        I was glad that, for you , on the general level, things don’t much more complicated than “women to men today are fuck-hole/breeder robot”, but I was trying to tackle some more specific issues.(obviously)

    • Francois Tremblay March 1, 2014 at 01:34 Reply

      Yes, I agree that women have had it very hard with solidarity, especially since many of them live with the opposition (not my Nigel!).

  11. qwertyuio February 28, 2014 at 23:14 Reply

    This is coming from a fellow male in solidarity with radfem: I find this article important but please consider staying away from statements like “this is anti-feminist” “this is feminist”. It isn’t our place to make those determinations as non-women. Every time you do so you risk reproducing what men have done to mainstream feminism overall, but perhaps on a smaller scale. Women, even the most groomed ones, don’t need us telling them what is and is not feminism. If radfems thought they needed men to help them clarify feminism directly to the non-radfems, I’m sure they would express this. I’m not saying you should have written this article, I’m just saying you shouldn’t have written parts of it as if you have so much authority and wisdom.

    Sex-negativity is not your wisdom, not our wisdom, and acting like it is to give off even an iota of superiority/implication that you’re smarter/better than ANY woman is sketchy as heck. Consider examining yourself.

    • Francois Tremblay March 1, 2014 at 01:32 Reply

      Your criticism is well received, but listen, this is just a blog for me to expound on my current reasoning and thoughts. It’s not a popular blog and people do not look up to me as any kind of authority on feminism. I make no claim to represent feminism, as I’ve made quite clear on this blog. I don’t think any radfem see my blog as anything but a curiosity. No radfem is waiting for my position as any kind of authoritative statement.

      I also don’t claim this is “my wisdom.” If I did, I wouldn’t be quoting other people on the subject. As I’ve also stated in the past, I don’t believe anyone ever really invents anything new, only contextual ways of looking at the same wisdom, if you will.

      I would like to know which parts of my entry you think exhibit authority, because I would have no problem rewriting them. But here’s the thing, I don’t think your opinion as an ally is any more relevant than mine. If a radfem posts a comment criticizing something I write, I listen to it carefully and readjust my position, as I’ve done many times before. So far this entry has been reblogged by a few radfem tumblrs and I’ve gotten no complaints about tone so far, so it seems to me like you’re kinda doing the same thing you’re accusing me of. Not saying that makes me right, but it’s ironic, don’t you think? It’s like ten thousand spoons when all you need is a knife.

      • qwertyuio March 1, 2014 at 02:51 Reply

        yea; I’m just going off what I’ve read in the past from radfems, as in, the general discomfort with males trying to do the work for them, no matter how righteous-or-whatever the males may be/seem, no matter how much the male might agree with everything they might say. I think I’m speaking for radfems in the same way people who say “you should use content warnings for pictures of rape” are speaking for other people with PTSD — i.e. not really, but it can be taken that way.

        I know this is “just your blog” but I mean let’s say you do become popular (Charlie Glickman sure did, didn’t he), then what? If you bring the “tone” (i.e. the implicit belief or at least the vague attitude that you, yourself, know better than a subset of women) with you to popularity, it’ll just be another case of Man Put In Charge of Struggling Feminist Movement, even if the majority of what you’re saying is on-the-whole a well-written, well-intentioned, well-thought-out expression of the ideas and frameworks radfems have taught you.

        tl;dr, be careful. we’re not radfems. nothing personal.

        • qwertyuio March 1, 2014 at 03:01 Reply

          Also if you want specific that set off my red flags, stuff like:

          “It is therefore anti-feminist in practice, despite its proponents’ general commitment to feminism.”

          “…which is why it is an anti-feminist movement.”

          The use of “sex-pozzies” as a mildly demeaning(?) nickname

          Now I agree with all these things, 100%. Sex-positivity is Invisible Penis free sexual-market libertarianism. I’m glad you wrote this and I’m glad there are other males who realize all this. I just want to point out the things that set off red flags for me (maybe it’s futile/a waste of time, males are Just Gonna Be Socialized Males, but I guess I felt like it would be worth something.)

          • Francois Tremblay March 1, 2014 at 03:15 Reply

            Well, my problem with that is, if you’re gonna believe something, you at least need to be able to distinguish what it is and what it isn’t. Otherwise what are you even talking about? If I’m not supposed to differentiate feminists from anti-feminists and say “well, this is feminist, this is anti-feminist,” then there’s no point in writing about feminism. For one thing, your own admonitions would make no sense, because I wouldn’t know who I’m supposed to listen to!

            For example, if I listen to liberal feminists, I should shut up about PIV, pornography and prostitution because all those things are hunky-dory (see my entry on Clarissa, of Clarissa’s Blog, for one example). But having identified them as liberal feminists (on the basis that their arguments always reduce themselves to logical nonsense about “agency,” “choice” and “identity”), I feel perfectly fine in rejecting their demands. But if I followed what you say, I would have to stop myself from identifying them as liberal feminists in the first place. Well, I’m sorry, but that’s stupid.

          • qwertyuio March 1, 2014 at 03:56 Reply

            That’s the same line of thinking I’ve had the very few times I’ve spoken up in criticism of sex-positivity and a woman notes that I’m not a woman; like, “no one would have a problem if I joined liberal feminists in criticizing radfems, people would love it!” (the same applies for “anti-TERF” situations actually)

            You shouldn’t shut up, I never said that. I want to see more from you and more people like you. Again, nothing personal. It’s only my view that claiming, as a male, that something is definitely anti-feminist, is starting to get disrespectful. I would say something like “this isn’t based in any radical analysis of gender” or “under radical feminist class analysis this would ultimately be anti-feminist” to distance myself from problematic dictation. Again that’s just me.

        • Francois Tremblay March 1, 2014 at 03:06 Reply

          Believe me, given the topics I write about on this blog, I will NEVER be popular (besides, if I haven’t done it in the seven years I’ve been writing here so far, I don’t think it’s ever gonna happen). Antinatalism alone is enough to alienate more than 90% of people from my blog. There is no danger of me ever looking anything like an authority on anything.

  12. Carolann March 24, 2014 at 02:55 Reply

    sophisms.

    • Francois Tremblay March 24, 2014 at 03:02 Reply

      “sophism: an argument apparently correct in form but actually invalid; ”

      Care to point out the invalidity of my argument, or are just here to enter random words?

  13. […] Francois Tremblay, full post here […]

  14. janetframed March 28, 2014 at 20:06 Reply

    I read your analysis again and I had more thoughts especially about a quote u give (is it from Paris Lee ? When “blow-jobs” are mentionned, there are good chances it’s from her.)
    If a woman cares about being sexy, wearing high-heels, make-up, and generally , acting for the male gaze and looking for a form of validation, throught seduction, isn’t she playing by men’s rules ? I think that’s why feminists may be sometimes critical of this idea of “femininity”, which reinforces genders stereotypes. I personally am confused on the question, and my own attitude towards stupid things, like nail polish. I like nail polish, sometimes, but I sometimes also find it stupid and boring and stinky, too. oh yeah I hated all this fetichism about nail polish in American Hustle recently. Women in this movie are so caricatured..god. They are sexy, but also manipulative/liars/psycho. So many stereotypes, it hurts. I loved Amy Adams, truly beautiful, but why on earth does she fall for a guy who is ugly, aging, bald, fat AND less clever than she is AND married (married to another young, beautiful, sexy woman. I … I just can’t watch Hollywood movies anymore ). Sorry for this interlude. All these movies/TV shows coming back to the 60s and 70s, when “real women knew how to put efforts to be sexy”…I see a pattern here.
    I would like to convince myself that high-heels and a nice feminine dress and an expensive bag and victoria secret’s lingeries would not be looked down by a radical feminist, but I don’t think it would be true. All these things are expensive, time-consuming, self-forgetting and conspire to emprison women in certain sexual roles.(the dumb chick)
    A woman can be considered attractive without all this stuff. For herself, not just the appearance. And “slut-shaming” is a term that is so pejorative towards female’s sexuality. Why this word, “slut” ? Ugh. A woman who say “It’s my right to be a slut, I’m a twerking bitch, slap my ass, I’m empowered by it” , she’s using the masculine language, she’s “man-sex positive”. Congratulation ? Mmm, not really.

    • Francois Tremblay March 29, 2014 at 00:20 Reply

      No, the quote is from some moron called Cliff Pervocracy. A real waste of flesh, that one.

      The important thing to remember is that what any individual woman wears or puts on herself has no relevance to radical feminism. Radical feminism is about structures, not about individual actions. Any specific woman wearing or not wearing makeup doesn’t change any social structure. It’s got no direct relevance to the subject.

      That being said, of course, the personal is the political, etc etc.

  15. […] already addressed this particular point: sex-positive, like other terms I’ve already listed, aims to break down […]

  16. […] from the book The Ethical Slut, and I do not endorse this book (while I see no value in monogamy, I don’t think run-of-the-mill sex-positivity is a valid answer either), but I think there is a lot of truth to this […]

  17. articles// | sleepysunflower. November 23, 2014 at 09:17 Reply

    […] Francois Tremblay in a piece about sex-negativity […]

  18. […] that we’re all sex-positive in order for his argument to work: as I am not sex-positive (see: sex-negativity), it makes no sense to me at all. I already think sex is not a great thing, and therefore equating […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: