The industrialization of prostitution and the sex trade has created a multibillion-dollar global market, involving millions of women, that makes a substantial contribution to national and global economies. "The Industrial Vagina" examines how prostitution and other aspects of the sex industry have moved from being small-scale, clandestine, and socially despised practices to become very profitable legitimate market sectors that are being legalised and decriminalised by governments. Sheila Jeffreys demonstrates how prostitution has been globalized through an examination of: the growth of pornography and its new global reach; the boom in adult shops, strip clubs and escort agencies; military prostitution and sexual violence in war; marriage and the mail order bride industry; and, the rise in sex tourism and trafficking in women. She argues that through these practices women's subordination has been outsourced and that states that legalise this industry are acting as pimps, enabling male buyers in countries in which women's equality threatens male dominance, to buy access to the bodies of women from poor countries who are paid for their sexual subservience. This major and provocative contribution is essential reading for all with an interest in feminist, gender and critical globalisation issues as well as students and scholars of international political economy.
Saturday 28 February 2009
I'd like to say that before I'd started this blog I didn't expect things to be as they are. It is not that my speech is not free; it is that almost every time I speak out I get hits (people trashing me online). Not that I care much about that part: I know who I am; I know that I am not who they think I am. It is very sad though that, nowadays, contemporary malestream 'feminism' is now pretty much about promoting values that suit the status quo, without ever seriously challenging the system.
If you check out the "top 30 feminist blogs," you will find on the list some people who have become extremely famous at trashing other women, especially radical feminists. It is true that I have noticed that, in a patriarchy, a woman gets some sort of popularity whenever her writing is, not only rife with patriarchal thinking, but also is about slandering other women (who dare challenge male supremacy), including slamming some radical women who have been victims of rape or prostitution. A male patriarchist gets off on watching a female patriarchist stalk, attack, slam and slander another woman, especially a rad fem; it means that he can rest comfortably: his *precious* patriarchy is being well-maintained. This actually hardly differs from the ( so much wider) malestream contemporary woman-hating in the mass-media and in everyday society -- especially when you see/hear women hating or abusing other women.
Whenever a woman upholds misogyny, she gains some sort of a status. This, of course, does not change the fact that she is a member of an oppressed gender class which most men regard as inferior. But throwing hatred at or demeaning other women gives her some sort of popularity, at least in the short term.
Double standards apply: Once, not so long ago I was criticized for telling the truth: that rape can take different forms and that, because male sexual exploitation of women exists in a continuum, it is worth paying attention to ALL sorts of sexual abuse, not just the most egregious ones. Contrary to what some folks claimed, I was NOT misrepresenting the word "rape"; I was merely elaborating on the different dimensions of sexual exploitation. Yet, please do not forget that when it is men who really use the word "rape" casually, as in the 'fun' of a videogame, or as in the language of their BDSM 'games', or as in sexist jokes or fantasies, hardly anybody notices, let alone call them out on their misogyny. "It is merely a fantasy, it doesn't hurt anybody," "It's just fun" or any other similar garbage the patriarchists would have us believe. Well, in real life, these "fantasies" and "fun" actually hurt other people and rape is not funny; rape harms women!
-- Catharine MacKinnon, "Who Was Afraid of Andrea Dworkin?," New York Times, April 16, 2005.
Andrea Dworkin was misrepresented and demonized. In the words of John Berger, she was "perhaps the most misrepresented writer in the Western world.". . .
Because of her subject, because of the substance of her ideas. . . Andrea Dworkin faced especially naked misogyny: "woman hating," which is the title of her first book. How she was treated is how women are treated who tell the truth about male power without compromise or apology. It is why few do.
Moreover, as reported on Heart's blog lately:
“Linkfluence” is invited, you know, the company that offered us the “Top 30 Feminist Blogs”. Linkfluence’s goal is to “make finding influential communities and following their conversations easier for the greatest benefit of corporations, consultancies or survey institutes.” Just what we need! An organization working to make our feminist conversations most beneficial to corporations! As references, Linkfluence lists multinationals Nestle, Nike and Roche, among others. So I suppose we should not be surprised that among the “Top 30″ are pimps, procurers and those who blog for them, anti-feminists and misogynists. All of that notwithstanding, when companies like this create lists like this, the naive and trusting as well as the anti-feminist and capitalist are going to LINK to them which is what the real goal is. The goal is not to carefully study the influence of feminist bloggers. The goal is to rank blogs according to how dogged they are in linking — who cares WHY they are linking; perhaps they are linking in order to repeatedly launch attacks on feminists, as is very true of several on the “Top 30 list”, and which is always a good way to drive up hits and linkage; blogosphere attacks on women are such good times – because that way companies like Linkfluence and Fem 2.0 garner maximum linkage to themselves and therefore they begin to gain exposure and to influence in heretofore untapped markets.
Often, when I blog, I get some people in comments (which I block) who are stubborn enough to try to shove malestream values down my throat, like "women choose to enjoy torture," "prostitution is a wonderfully 'feminist' thing," etc, etc and other similar propaganda, blah-the-fucking-blah. . . I am not surprised. It is hard to be open-minded to radical feminism when you live in a patriarchy. You constantly get malestream beliefs reminded to you. They keep controlling you. I used to feel that way. But some people really need to understand that I have been fed malestream values, I have heard them, my whole life; I hear them everyday, which is why I'd rather protect my blog, and whoever comes here with friendly intentions, from the same ol' patriarchal porn/prostitution/rape apologies I hear every single fucking day.
The language of "choice" and "agency" from the 'sex work' standpoint perfectly suits the economic politics of neo-liberalism. Spokeswomen for Coalition Against Trafficking in Women have previously explained that pro-prostitution advocates have organizations that take money from the sex industry (e.g. source: Mediawatch audio podcast). I disagree with the pro-prostitution position which unfairly accuses us of not listening to women who say they love their 'sex work' job. It's not that we're not listening to them; it's just that we happen to have understood some simple facts. Women are not valued for their talent or intelligence in this patriarchal society, but for their bodies or how 'good' they are as "sex-objects" who service men, hence obviously we understand that some women, more than others, will conform to this patriarchal plasticized ideal of 'how we should be' and they will promote the 'sex' industry. But we have been informed about the ongoing abuse of other women. And we have concluded that the prostitution industry is inextricably linked to this abuse and there are simply no acceptable losses, as Biting beaver once explained. Therefore, our priority must be to understand what prostitution really is: an appalling abuse of women's rights to their own bodies and self-determination.The worst thing is that people who harass rad fems online probably know that our little feminist community is at the margin of patriarchal society. Patriarchists' views are mainstream; but that does not seem to be enough for them: they need to persistently attempt to silence the few dissenting voices, the few heretics. We, radical feminists, are heretics, mainly because we despise this whole culture and all its diverse forms of misogyny and we will not agree with views that purport that most women or all women enjoy being degraded in every possible ways. Female psychology is a lot more complex than this and women have restricted autonomy within the boundaries of patriarchy.
Lately, I seriously thought about blogging 'Comments Off' (with just leaving the survivor thread open for survivor to speak out) as I'd read about the fact that there may be some advantages in doing so. But I changed my mind: I might now use some of those hostile comments sent to me (before deleting them) as a way of observing the raw aggressiveness in supporters of porn & online stalkers to prove my point on the negative effects of pornography.
One thing is for sure: the people who persistently stalk me online will never make me regret to have created this blog. I have full control over my blog and I fully enjoy the luxury of having my right to push the 'reject' button whenever someone comes here with totally unfriendly intention and merely a goal of trying to pick up a fight in comments. I will release more and prospective comments will be thoroughly moderated as well as monitored. I will recognize people who are not genuinely interested in radical feminists views and who are merely trying to pick a fight. . .
Comments are closed on this post in order to (at least, temporarily) avoid online harassment. People who are friendly readers of my blog can always check out my Contact Page.