I don’t usually refer to tumblr posts because they are difficult to follow and attribution is dicey at best, but I thought this one was worth reading.
Personal anecdote time! I’m in a biology graduate program. An acquaintance wanted to introduce some guy to me because his son was thinking about becoming an undergrad science major. When he found out I was in the biology department, he grinned and said, “Well, I guess that’s kind of related to science.”
I gave him what I hope was an icy look and said, “Isn’t it strange how men outside the field started saying that right around the time biology majors shifted from mostly male to mostly female?”
The guy got this look on his face like he was about to play the “just a joke” card, and then an older woman who had been standing nearby, talking to someone else, turned to me and said, “The same thing happened with real estate.” She went on to explain that, over the course of the career, the male-to-female ratio among real estate agents had dropped, and the pay and “prestige factor” of that job dropped along with it.
This short article from Sociological Images (but since I refuse to link to them, I linked to Pacific Standard instead) discusses the Mosuo of China and their father-less family structure. There is not even a word in their language for “father,” apparently.
From the Mosuo point of view, separating marriage from the raising of children ensures that the vagaries of romance do not disrupt the happiness and health of the child and its mother. Nor can the father wield power over the mother by threatening to withdraw from the marriage. Meanwhile, because the family of origin is never eclipsed by a procreative family, the Mosuo system reduces the likelihood that elders will be abandoned by their families when they need support in old age.
Maya Shilayen asks the important question: how is “feminist porn” feminist?
Lost in the emphatic “hurrahs!” about freedom and empowerment is any honest discussion about what happens in porn, how women get into it, or how it impacts women outside the industry.
“I never met any woman that had a professional career and left it to go into porn just for fun,” recounts Vanessa Belmond, an industry veteran turned anti-porn activist. “Many got into it because of financial desperation. Many also had abusive childhoods. I had a roommate who had been on the streets, prostituting herself since the age of 14, and by the time she got into porn at 18, it was all she knew.”
That women in porn are usually there because they lack other options is a well-known fact – one that even pro-porn feminists don’t deny. In a documentary called After Porn Ends, pornography apologist Nina Hartley admits: “They don’t know how to do anything else. They don’t know how to do retail; they don’t know how to do Excel spreadsheets. Many people [in] adult entertainment… are not suited for nine-to-five work.”
Instead of asking why some women are so disenfranchised, pro-porn feminists seem happy to leave these women where they are – at the bottom of the barrel…
But is “sexual freedom” really just reducible to more sex, no matter the circumstances?
“I did coke occasionally, but I was mostly a drinker. And then I got into painkillers – those are really popular in the industry, especially for women that do a lot of anal. And I smoked a whole lot of weed, too. I wouldn’t have been able to do [porn] otherwise. You can’t do that stuff sober,” Belmond recalls.
This is not a picture of a sexually liberated woman. It is, in fact, the picture of a woman who must lay back and think of England in order to “endure” sex. Those who denounce anti-porn feminism as “puritanical” have ignored the fact that pornographers do exactly what the Puritans did: deny women sexual self-determination.
I just want to clear something up, for the sake of people reading this blog who might get the wrong impression of me.
I am not a particularly intelligent person. I am a very open-minded person, which makes it much easier for me to change my mind when I am proven wrong, and this does give the illusion of me being much more intelligent than I really am. I also have a very good command of English (I’ve always been good with languages). Most importantly, I read great books and great blogs, and the entries I write are based on those things I read. All credit goes to those writers, not me.
I started writing this blog as an incentive for me to write about my train of thought as I was discovering new ideas. That’s all I’ve been doing since then. This blog is not original, and everything stated here has been stated somewhere else, most of the time in a better way. I wanted to publish these entries so that other people might benefit from my process as well, but the blogs listed on the right are all better than this one, and I would strongly invite you to visit them regularly instead of this blog (or if you must, along with this blog).
I deeply apologize if anyone’s gotten the wrong idea about me as a person by reading this blog. The fact is that I am really not a smart or clever person. This is not false humility or a joke or a ploy for sympathy or anything like that. I just want to come clean, tell the truth, and not mislead anyone, if anyone has been misled. If you look up to me in any way, please don’t, as there is no reason for it. Whatever you think about me is most probably incorrect.
I’ve taken down the Ask a Question section. Starting that section was an error. I have no answers to give people that haven’t already been given somewhere else. It was just vanity, which is deeply stupid.
As for the rest of the blog, everything will continue as scheduled. Thank you.
(I apologize for closing the comments, but given the contents of this entry, I don’t really see how further discussion would be profitable.)
Melissa Farley, famous for her work against prostitution, wrote an article detailing ten lies told about BDSM.
Lie #9: Reenacting abuse heals abuse. Sadomasochism heals emotional wounds from childhood sexual assault.
This lie really disturbs me. A greater percentage of women “into sadomasochism” have histories of childhood sexual assault, than those women who do not participate in sadomasochism. However, sadomasochism obscures the real pain and abuse of women. How can you tell the difference between “real” and “pretend” when someone has a flashback and becomes a child again in the middle of “consensual” sexual torture? Some feel an intense, even compulsive drive toward sexual annihilation that is expressed in sadomasochistic activity which mirrors the abuse suffered as a child. The notion that acting out abuse helps to heal and eliminate abuse arises from the catharsis theory: do it once, just get it out of your system, then you will get over it. There is no evidence that catharsis works as a solution to social or psychological conflict, yet this theory is used to rationalize the dissemination of pornography. Pornography does not seem to have served as a pressure-cooker-release for men, thus freeing women from rape. On the contrary, pornography seems to have functioned as pro-rape propaganda. Sadomasochistic catharsis does not seem to heal sexual abuse either: one women wrote, “after seventeen years of [childhood sexual assault], the lesbians I met just wanted to do more of the same. I have nightmares and damage from both.” (Anonymous, 1990) Sadomasochism is a repetition, not a healing, of childhood sexual assault. Some have suggested that sadomasochism can actually be physiologically addictive. I have heard women describe themselves as being “in recovery from sadomasochism,” the same way they speak of alcohol addiction. Perhaps the physical addiction to certain kinds of trauma begins with complex physical reactions to prolonged abuse in childhood which is then rekindled in adult sadomasochistic relationships.