An interview with Meghan Murphy.

Meghan Murphy is the most prominent radical feminist in Canada today. This interview is an excellent exposition of radical feminist theory and Murphy’s views.

5) Advocates of prostitution and porn call these Nordic reforms “anti-sex” and “moralistic” but it’s interesting to note that these laws are passed in countries (Sweden, Norway, Iceland) that are known to have the most open, relaxed and non repressive attitude about sex. Your comments on that?

M: Yeah that’s a funny one. I mean, if we’re talking about free sexuality and a real liberated vision of sex and sexuality, you’d think you’d be advocating for consensual sex. But prostitution isn’t about female desire or “enthusiastic consent”, which is supposedly what we’re touting in feminism these days. I mean, sure, sometimes a woman “consents” to letting a man have sex with her or agrees to perform other sex acts, in exchange for money, but she isn’t “consenting” because, you know, she’s really into this guy and really wants to sleep with him. If she did, she wouldn’t have to be paid to do it. That whole argument – the one that says that feminists who are critical of the sex industry are anti-sex, shows a real anti-intellectualism and lack of critical thinking.

I mean, as you say, the countries that have criminalized johns, banned strip clubs, and are considering banning pornography are the countries that are the most progressive and the most sexually liberated. The US isn’t a sexually liberated country. It’s completely saturated and obsessed with pornography while simultaneously having this huge faction of right-wing, religious groups who think sex should only happen in traditional, heterosexual, marriages for the purposes of procreation (which is, of course, about controlling women’s bodies and maintaining a patriarchal family structure). I find the whole idea that women who advocate for porn and prostitution are “pro-sex,” whereas feminists who advocate against objectification and exploitation and are positioned as “anti-sex,” kind of hilarious and, in many ways, embarrassing. I just picture the next generation of feminists looking back at the third wave with shame. I mean, all these ridiculous women parading around in stilettos and pasties, on stage, pretending they are advancing women’s rights. What a joke. That whole burlesque/sex work is empowering/feminist porn aspect of the third wave is making a mockery of the movement.

23 thoughts on “An interview with Meghan Murphy.

  1. Abolissimo February 3, 2016 at 21:14 Reply

    François, Tu trouveras plusieurs textes de Meghan Murphy en version française sur TRADFEM, le site de notre collective de textes féministes radicaux: http://tradfem.wordpress.com

  2. Independent Radical February 4, 2016 at 06:49 Reply

    I don´t really believe in “sexual liberation”. I do not think an overly permissive attitude towards sex should be labelled as “progressive”. In my view a generally progressive attitude towards sex would be one that celebrated personality-based (rather than appearance based) love, compassion (e.g. not beating the shit out of people for the sake of sexual pleasure) and equality. A permissive attitude towards sex results in many people copying the pornographic model of aggressive or degrading sex divorced from romantic interactions. I do not want to live in a world where this type of sex dominates. Why liberals think a world free from romantic love and gentleness would be a good thing is beyond me.

    Sex liberalism is out of touch with many young women, which is probably driving the latter, who are seeking love and want to be valued for something other than their appearances towards conservative religion, which ultimately results in more subordination of women towards men. The good news, though, is that more seem to be becoming radical feminists.

    Rules regarding sex are not inherently repressive. It all depends on who is creating them and what for. I proudly oppose both sexual liberation and sexual conservatism. I think anti-pornography activists needs to make it clear that we represent a different approach to sexuality. I cringe every time an opponent of pornography brags about being “sexually liberated”. It is like bragging about being a virgin. As radicals we should be rejecting both bullshit standards for female behaviour and thinking. Women should be allowed to enjoy loving egalitarian sex and they should be allowed to hate sex if they want, without being implicitly insulted all the time for their lack of “sexual liberation”.

    • Francois Tremblay February 4, 2016 at 17:53 Reply

      Tsk tsk IR, doncha know there can only be two sides to any issue? One good and one bad? One us and one them? Pick your side already! ;)

  3. The Arbourist February 7, 2016 at 13:00 Reply

    Reblogged this on Dead Wild Roses and commented:

    Meghan Murphy – The Nordic Model

    • jasonjshaw February 7, 2016 at 22:15 Reply

      I’m not so sure this approach adds up. It doesn’t help in de-stigmatizing the choice to have done sex work for those looking to move on to other occupations.

      This article I came across paints a different picture, and comes from those who are in the tougher position of having (mostly) chosen to been sex workers. According to feminism, to my understanding, we should especially be listening to those who are in the position of being oppressed by the system.

      http://www.peacearchnews.com/national/vancouver/367959851.html

      The choice of doing what one wants with their own body comes up as well – another point of importance in feminism from my understanding. Shouldn’t these points extend beyond the personal viewpoints of those actively involved in the feminist movement?

      • Francois Tremblay February 8, 2016 at 01:22 Reply

        “It doesn’t help in de-stigmatizing the choice to have done sex work for those looking to move on to other occupations.”

        Clearly you don’t read my blog. I have strenuously argued against both the concept of “choice” and the label “sex work.”

        “This article I came across paints a different picture, and comes from those who are in the tougher position of having (mostly) chosen to been sex workers.”

        90% of prostituted women want to leave prostitution. You should be listening to those women, too. Not just the 10% who are in a more privileged position.

        “The choice of doing what one wants with their own body comes up as well”

        I don’t believe in this nonsense, so… whatever, dudebro. Keep defending your misogynistic victim-blaming under the umbrella of “choice.”

        • jasonjshaw February 8, 2016 at 16:59 Reply

          Did you even read the article? Good job jumping to conclusions based on my gender and the fact that I dare question your perspective. Rather hypocritical, I must say.

          But let’s work on a little logic now. 5 to 15% work for survival according to the article (which is written by a woman, if that matters). 90% want to leave the work, according to you.

          That leaves around 75% who could leave but don’t. Now why is that?

          Could it partly be due to the demonization of sex work that you help to perpetuate? Probably. That is what the article talks about.

          It seems you might be the misogynistic one on this topic.

          I could also draw parallels to abortion and how an anti-prostitution point of view is comparable to anti-abortionists if you like.

          We need to reduce the stigmas that women (and all people) face based on their personal choices in order to help them rise out of troubling ways and situations.

          • Francois Tremblay February 8, 2016 at 17:08 Reply

            “But let’s work on a little logic now. 5 to 15% work for survival according to the article (which is written by a woman, if that matters). 90% want to leave the work, according to you.

            That leaves around 75% who could leave but don’t. Now why is that?”

            Here’s a revolutionary idea: why don’t you ask them?

            “Could it partly be due to the demonization of sex work that you help to perpetuate?”

            Where and how have I “demonized” prostitution? Could you please quote ANY of my entries where I “demonize” prostitution?

            If you fail to do so on your next reply, I will assume that you are making a personal attack against me and will ban you immediately.

            “It seems you might be the misogynistic one on this topic.”

            Yea, let’s see the evidence first, bucko.

            • jasonjshaw February 8, 2016 at 17:21 Reply

              Wow, threats of banning. Message control is more important than truth!

              In the blurb you posted you are supporting banning and criminalization of transactions involving sexuality. Advocating making things illegal is a pretty obvious way of demonizing things. Just like anti-abortionists demonize abortion by advocating making it illegal.

              And again, did you read the article? It does talk to women who had trouble leaving sex work and is about that very thing.

              I am really starting to understand why there has been an increasing backlash against feminism lately.

              • Francois Tremblay February 8, 2016 at 17:24 Reply

                I am not “controlling” anything, you asshole. You made a personal attack against me and and you can’t fucking back it up! Go to hell, you fuckwit!

  4. roughseasinthemed February 8, 2016 at 01:32 Reply

    I read a blog a while back where the poster did his bit towards feminism by showing a video advocating pole dancing as female empowerment. He wondered why I was critical.

    • Francois Tremblay February 8, 2016 at 01:45 Reply

      Yeaaaaaaaaa… tiresome types. I don’t think pole dancing is going to “empower” anyone, except for a little money changing hands. But these morons are too stupid to realize they’re just rationalizing their lust. Like the moron I am talking to above.

      • roughseasinthemed February 8, 2016 at 01:52 Reply

        Apparently my brand of feminism wasn’t nice to men. I need to be kind and more understanding see?

        I’ve read some of J’s comments over on Dead Wild Roses. Good luck :) You’ll need it.

        • Francois Tremblay February 8, 2016 at 02:04 Reply

          Well yes, obviously any feminism that doesn’t appeal to men can’t be good, how can you change the world while rejecting 50% of society?? You should be a humanist and believe in the value of ALL individuals regardless of gender.
          rolls eyes
          I look forward to seeing what nonsense he can come up with next.

          • roughseasinthemed February 8, 2016 at 02:43 Reply

            Don’t start me on the wimpish ‘humanism we-must-make-sure-men-are treated-equally’ one. I seeking equality for women our priority must be that men do not lose out. At all. In fact, they are already suffering from the effects of feminism … bleuch
            JJ approves of feminism, so long as it meets his criteria.

            • Francois Tremblay February 8, 2016 at 03:09 Reply

              I wrote an entry (that’s in the queue right now) as a satire of skeptic types who say stuff like that. I had a lot of fun doing it… they are so easy to satirize.

              The whole concept of “fuckability as empowerment” is so obviously based on adaptationist nonsense about men being powerless libido beasts and poor victims of feminine wiles… It’s so insulting to men, I don’t know why they even pretend to care about men (or women, but we already knew that).

              • roughseasinthemed February 8, 2016 at 03:14 Reply

                Looking forward to it. Trouble is, it’s not funny :( On some of my posts about feminism, I had more comments, particularly from women, about being humanists and wanting equality for everyone rather than nasty feminism that seeks to redress inequality that has existed for thousands of years.huge sigh

                • Francois Tremblay February 8, 2016 at 03:24

                  Oh yea… doesn’t that give it an extra kick in the pants, when you get those comments from women?

                • roughseasinthemed February 8, 2016 at 03:38

                  It’s an interesting tactic because it makes me look unreasonable for not putting teh menz first …

                • Francois Tremblay February 8, 2016 at 04:19

                  Yea, obviously you should listen to women more ;)

  5. The Arbourist February 9, 2016 at 11:04 Reply

    What is fascinating is (american) libertarian-esque position that certain commentators take.

    “We need to reduce the stigmas that women (and all people) face based on their personal choices in order to help them rise out of troubling ways and situations.”

    Choices made by individuals do not happen in a vacuum. Anyone in society has their scope of choice, necessarily limited by what society deems proper and improper.

    Thus, on the individual level there might be some power in making a choice (see faux-empowerment) but on class level that apparent freedom to choose disappears because the sets of choices available have already been demarcated by societal norms. (Akin, to Henry Ford motto -‘You can have any colour you’d like, as long as its black.)

    So when we get to reducing stigmas and what not, we have already removed the factors necessary to make a judgement about the issue in question.

    At the root of this lies the facts of the matter – Prostitution, or the commercial rape trade, is extremely harmful to women. The commercial rape trade reinforces toxic patriarchal norms that objectify, devalue, and destroy women. This has been demonstrated in studies, commissions, and feminist analysis.

    Some quotes from the last link –

    “Legalized prostitution cannot exist alongside the true equality of women. The idea that one group of women should be available for men’s sexual access is founded on structural inequality by gender, class and race.”

    and:

    “The daily practices of prostitution are portrayed as a romantic world full of mistresses with fishnet stockings and jovial laughs who embody the liberal values of the Dutch, and complaints ring out about the spread of narrow-minded bourgeois values. But not a word is said about the current legislation that has been such a disaster and has contributed to the shocking figures according to which approximately seven in ten prostitutes are victims of violence.

    Prostitution hurts some individual women and benefits some individual men. But it is also part of, as lawyer, Gunilla Ekberg says, “a structure reflecting and maintaining inequality between men and women.”

    Post points out that “the answer to poor jobs, low pay and harsh working conditions for women is not to consign them to a lifetime of abuse.

    So, then, JJS – what exactly are you arguing for?

    • Francois Tremblay February 9, 2016 at 17:31 Reply

      Thank you for the reply. However, I have already banned him. He made a libelous personal attack against me and refused to back it up. I consider that abusive.

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