Sunday 27 April 2008

Some Anti-Porn activities

The Fourth Carnival Against Pornography and Prostitution is now up at The Burning Times. Have a good reading time!

Also, I found this via Allecto who got it thanks to Demonista: please sign this petition to ask Rogers Communications (a Canadian-based corporation that is the largest provider of cable to Canadians) to stop selling misogynistic and racist pornography.

"Pornography tells lies about women. Pornography tells the truth about men."
-- John Stoltenberg, pro-feminist writer.

"At the Center Against Rape and Domestic Violence, serving Linn and Benton counties, most women we work with say their abusers are heavily into pornography."
-- Mary Zelinka, assistant executive director of a Center Against Rape and Domestic Violence in Oregon.

"When people deplore sexism and racism but make allowances for their proliferations in pornography, pornography has achieved its aim: the creation of acceptance for materials that publicly practise and advertise the hatred and domination of women of colour. Pornography perpetrates racism through the sexualization and fetishisation of racist stereotypes."
-- Joyce Wu, in her article Not a Fantasy: Racial Hatred and Misogyny in Pornography.


Saturday 26 April 2008

Patriarchy (part 1)

Edited to add (05/01/2008):
I was just trying to mean "a withdrawal from reality into fantasy" by using the word 'schizophrenia', basically, BTW. I didn't mean using that word in any kind of offensive way, but I can understand why some people would get upset by it. I think I was somehow searching for a word that would describe, metaphorically speaking, the way I felt about patriarchy and its social influences on people and so that was the word I came up with. However, I now understand that using the word 'schizophrenia', even in a metaphorical context, may still seem offensive to some people but I'm leaving this post as it is so that the following comment thread (containing reactions to my usage of that word) makes sense.]

It is something we're living in. Something that is ever-omnipresent. We live and we breathe in it.

There is not one single hour, not one single minute, not one single second, without it existing.

It is what this world is ruled by. It is also what underlies the oppressive system that is called capitalism, among so many other systems of oppression. It is what is at the root of all systems of oppression as a matter of fact, whether political, economic, social, sexual, emotional, psychological, etc.

Yet, it is not visible to most people living on this earth. And that is the most painful part: it not being acknowledged as (still) existing by most people.

I used to to be amongst that majority of people. I used to be ignorant of its existence. I used to believe that we were somehow "post-feminism", that women were now equal to men. . .

. . .until that day. That day I "woke up" and noticed it. The oppression of women and girls. I saw it raw, undisguised, inhuman and also searing, distressing, upsetting, heart-breaking.

It had been there all along. I just hadn't noticed it. The oppression of women, the unfair system keeping them as a class in a position of inferiority to men, had been there all along. I just hadn't noticed it before because it had been hidden, somehow away from public view and pushed more toward the private sphere in people's lives.

In this patriarchal world, I walk around the streets, places, my workplace, my home or my college and I see all those people not knowing that patriarchy (still) exists.

Sometimes I find myself fidgeting, worrying, walking back and forth, wondering "When will people (especially women) will ever see it is there?". On the other hand, I absolutely don't blame them. I used to be in the same position as them, i.e. not knowing it is there.

Most of the time, the only moment I get peace in mind is when I sleep so I don't have to think about it then, as it's haunting me.

It's haunting me like remembering the voices of ex-boyfriends who abused me.

There is something I remember Gail Dines saying at the end of one of her speeches when I was at the Wheelock College anti-pornography conference in March 2007. It was:

"We are very, very close to losing it all. There is a point at which it is very hard to pull back on. What's going on in environmental destruction is very similar to cultural destruction. There is a point where it is over. People are too robotic. They have lost what it means to be human and they are thoroughly colonized by the corporate pimps. This has to stop. We have to fight back. It is not in my nature to play dead. I will fight to the last breathing word. And you will have to join in, because unless we do something, there is nobody else who is going to do it."

I'll say, it is not in my nature to play dead either. I am here and I will speak and carry on speaking.

Let me talk about that private sphere in people's lives.

In it, most men are watching a certain kind of images to which they masturbate. And those images are mainstream, popular in male culture.

In those images, women are portrayed as being worthless "fuck-objects" who are being degraded, humiliated, roughly penetrated in every possible way, choked, bruised, slapped, handled callously, hurt, ejaculated upon, etc (the list goes on) while they are also being portrayed as either saying they enjoy all these things being done to them or eagerly seeking all this kind of insensitive and debasing treatment.

The day I noticed those images in a way I had never noticed them before, I saw the oppression of women raw, undisguised, inhuman and also searing, distressing, upsetting, heart-breaking.

Those images, among other things, made me notice how much I was living in patriarchy.

Similarly, the day I paid attention to the fact that my abusive ex-boyfriends had often been using those images and I connected the dots, I saw how the ways I have been oppressed had been enforced by patriarchy.

Patriarchy is a totalitarian and reactionary oppressive system. It colonizes us as women. It trains us to "please men", to be "sexy" by fitting male-defined "feminine" roles and appearances.

Patriarchy is not inevitable. The root cause of patriarchy is gender socialization, i.e. what it means to be "masculine" and what it means to be "feminine" and how we are trained to "fit" those constraining and constricting roles.

Patriarchy is also what engineered these environmental and cultural destructions that Gail Dines mentioned.

Patriarchy is what makes people become too robotic, what makes people lose what it means to be human.

Patriarchy is the state of schizophrenia. Now, by "schizophrenia", I mean to speak in the figurative sense, NOT the literal one.

"Schizophrenia", metaphorically speaking, to me, means a withdrawal from reality into "fantasy", a refusal to engage with reality.

I have chosen to be wide awake. I have chosen to refuse living into the "this-isn't-happening-we're-post-feminism-women-are-now-equal-to-men" fantasy realm that patriarchy wants to keep us asleep into.

But because patriarchy is the state of schizophrenia, the few people who are fully awake are (metaphorically speaking) accused of being "schizophrenic" as they notice this oppressive system.

What I mean by that is that most people on this earth who cannot see the truth, i.e. that we live in patriarchy, accuse radical feminists and pro-radfems of "talking nonsense" or "not knowing", etc (the list goes on).

I have chosen to face reality and firmly hold onto my humanity, even though most people say that the reality I see is somehow "not reality".

I can see patriarchy. It is deeply entrenched within our society. Sometimes, I wish I were able to alert all women and girls out there that we are living in this male-supremacist system.

I wish I could tell them all about the risks we take within patriarchy, how much we have been so perniciously trained, socialized, brainwashed by this male-supremacist system and that we are very close to losing it all.

Unfortunately, radical feminism gets little or no malestream media attention, unless to be misrepresented, vilified and lied about by liberals and members of other political wings.

As a rad fem friend of mine said, I don't believe it is because radical feminism is somehow "wrong" or "evil" or anything like that (as detractors would have us believe).

It is rather because radical feminism is so revolutionary and progressive that it is threatening not only to the patriarchal status quo but also to every single other political faction that calls itself revolutionary or progressive while expecting to preserve the same basic unfair hierarchies.

In this world we're living in, I walk around the streets, places, my workplace, my home or my college and I KNOW that patriarchy still exists and is ever-omnipresent, dangerous, ominous.

I can see the oppression of women raw, undisguised, inhuman and also searing, distressing, upsetting, heart-breaking.

I can see that women are not perceived as human beings by many men.

I see women being objectified by many men and this inhuman objectification being perceived as commonplace in this soon-to-become completely robotic society.

As I'm firmly holding onto my humanity in this patriarchy we're living in, I can see so many forms of abuse happening and all the proofs that those horrible things are happening.

Because I am wide awake and have chosen to face reality, it is painful.

But I am glad I know about the fact that we still live in patriarchy as it makes me able to speak out about that fact and all the harms and oppressions that patriarchy caused, causes and will cause.

It is not in my nature to play dead and I will not withdraw from reality into fantasy.

Like other radical feminists, I seek the abolition of patriarchy.

The oppression of women now occurs in their personal lives and I believe that the personal is political.

The unbearable patriarchal system has to be stopped before it's too late. We have to stand up, speak out and fight back.

Postscript: Dunno when I will write "Patriarchy (part 2)" but I will someday. . .

Tuesday 22 April 2008

A Message from Sam Berg, just to clarify something...

Now, I'm being told that there is a lot of vitriol being said about Sam Berg, me and others over the pro-porn blogosphere right now and I've not even had a look as I am not interested. As I said before, I don't go to *their* places anymore as I don't care about what's being said about me by a sad bunch of people who don't even know me and who pathetically don't have anything better (?) to do than trash rad fems on their blogs. I perfectly know that all the nonsense pro-porners talk, the jeers and the gender-specific name-calling they sometimes use clearly show pornography's negative effects on them, as I have said before. . .

So why don't I care about what pro-porners say about me? Because I know that these people are all so full of it, obviously. . .

But, although in my previous post I'd said that "the next post I'll make on this blog will not be about the same subject. I'll go back to doing my patriarchy-bashing and exposing the harms of pornography and prostitution" (count on it next time for sure), I'm merely posting this message from Sam, upon her recent and urgent request, in order to clarify something because serious lies and misrepresentations are apparently being said about her right now over the "sex-poz" blogosphere. Here it is from Sam:

There are a lot of lies being told about me right now. I’m used to that because it comes with the pro-woman activism that kooky kid called life dropped into my lap like an unexploded bomb, but it’s rather concentrated at the moment. Most of it is nonsense, like that I’m trying to get the pro-sex work group kicked off campus (I’m not) or that I’m afraid to debate sex workers (I’m not) or that I said RenEv made threats personally to me (she didn’t and I didn’t say she did), but there is one very serious bit of business tucked into the ever-heaping distortions that I feel must be addressed.

Renegade Evolution is saying that I sent her threatening private emails. I have never emailed RenEv. Not once. What would be the point?

So where did the supposed emailed “threat” come from? I think I know, and I think you’re all going to want to learn what I know, because the pieces are fitting together for me very clearly for the first time.

Remember that person who committed fraud by lying to one of Genderberg’s moderators about being anti-pornography and anti-prostitution so they could spy on our private forums and then release words from there publicly? If you need or want a recap about the violation of women’s safe space that happened one year ago today in April 2007 you can read this post at Sinister Girl's.

Caught up? Good.

Also in April 2007, the aforementioned lying person started a hate blog called “Radical Feminist Terrorism” where the person who stole private writings from Genderberg [forums] spewed her vituperative guts out with such psychotic absurdities as:

“You can't really understand the hatred that is embodied in many of the posts on Genderberg. Many members of that forum simply do not see other women as human at all.“

“I am not sure why the belief that women should be free to live as they wish is so dangerous. I do know that to many in the Genderberg this belief in women's freedom is utterly inexcusable. They will do anything to destroy it.”

“While many will claim that Genderberg is a "safe space" my belief is that there should be no safe space for those who work to destroy women. There should be no dark corner where ANYONE can get together and plot against or foster hatred of women.”

“There is no evil that these haters of women will not stoop to. There is no vile act of malice they cannot justify. They will do anything in their power to destroy or silence anyone they disagree with. In their hate they are trying to destroy her. In their blood lust for a purge they are trying to force Renegade Evolution to reveal who I am. They want to close the hole so they can go back to plotting against women in the dark.”

“In my time on Genderberg I read more hatred of women than I ever read or saw in pornography.”

Seeing how loony the anonymous Radfem Terrorism blogger clearly is, I brushed off replying substantively because the raging dementia speaks for itself.

Throughout May and June the moderators at Genderberg worked like demons to try and figure out which of the 100 or so members was the leak. We ask every member a series of questions before approving them and we were going member by member to try and restore some of the lost sense of security that made one prostituted woman feel she had to leave Genderberg. By early July we pooled our research and figured out that the leak was someone who registered as “Miriam” with a bunch of hooey about being anti-pornography and caring about prostituted women. I deleted “Miriam” from the memberlist and sent her the following email on July 5, 2007:

“I feel bad for you because you've obviously been seriously fucked up by people in your life, but if you don't back off slagging on radfems you're going to force my hand.

I can prove you committed fraud when you lied to moderator deedle about your gb membership, and I can prove you were the one who leaked Pony's words. Because you're a pathological liar, you're probably thinking you can lie your way out of this just like you've done other times.

You can't.

I didn't out you before because I have a soft spot for seriously fucked up women like yourself, but I'm not above initiating legal action to show the ex-sex workers in my little community that their privacy and continued peace of mind is something I take very seriously. If you cared about sex workers one tenth as much as you manipulatively tell people you do then you would not have violated a sex worker-heavy community like you did.

Stop telling lies, Miriam. You're not as good at it as you think you are.”

Now ask yourself why RenEv thinks my email to Miriam threatening to reveal that I know Miriam wrote the "Radical Feminist Terrorism" blog was somehow a threat to reveal personal information about RenEv.

-- Sam Berg.

I'm guessing that's another side of another story again exposed now, as I can see. Thank you so much for your honesty about this email, Sam. I can imagine that (1) you were protecting Genderberg's security & privacy and (2) you were very angry at the facts that Pony's words had been leaked from G'berg's private forums by somebody and that rad fems were being trashed on the pro-porn blogosphere (as usual). I also believe that the clarification was important, which is why I'm posting this.

But now, honestly, I do not want to talk about those pro-porners' names ever again on my blog (in future posts -- I'll let rad fems comment on what they will here in case they want to say anything). I do not want to talk about these names anymore after that due to the fact that, as I have said before, they aren't worth paying attention to even though I spoke in defense of Sam as they clearly went way too far in their nastiness this time with the way they treated her regarding the issues that surrounded that porn panel. . .

(BTW the post over at Heart's on the W&M panel and her comment thread were very interesting)

They'll carry on bashing us as if that's all they're capable of and I'll be carrying on bashing patriarchy and pornstitution meanwhile. . .

Edited to add: See also the similar post at Laurelin's on Sam Berg responding to her detractors, and Laurelin's little comment thread that follows it. Also, check out the comment thread at Witchy's.


Saturday 5 April 2008

Highlighting a post

Rmott62 wrote another wonderful piece on prostitution. I was very moved by it. This is one of the best posts she's ever written. She's such an amazingly courageous writer and a good friend of mine. The post is called Not for sale. Please check it out.

BTW, I just made another new comment (2nd one) on Rebecca's blog today in response to her "Not for sale" post.

Kudos to you, Rebecca.

“The ugly side of prostitution cannot be heard too much, for that might undermine the easy option of viewing prostitution as a “free choice”.”
-- Rmott62, former prostituted woman, in her "Not for sale" post.

"When sex is work, rape is theft. Every time someone calls prostitution "sex work" they affirm for misogynists what misogynists already believe, that a man raping a woman is more akin to a man shoplifting than a man inflicting torture."
-- Sam Berg.

Edited to add (04/07/2008 - April 7th):
as I see it= "Prostitution is not a career choice. . . prostitution needs to be seen for what it is: violence against women."
-- Mary Zelinka, assistant executive director of a Center Against Rape and Domestic Violence in Oregon.