Tag Archives: sexism

Pr0n, baby, it is all about Pr0n

 

 

During a talk at Stockholm Pride this summer, we where listening to a talk about the possibilities or rather apparently the inpossibilities of feminist pornography. Now, I don’t view a lot of pr0n, simply because I’m not very interested in the expressions and most of the time find hot things in other places, even if they are not intended to be anything erotic. I’m sorry but I guess that is how I am wired. What I am interested in is different erotic expressions amongst people, and with that comes certain discussions that I do know are reoccurring and sometimes really frustrating.
There is doublebind and a difficulty when it comes to porn and feminist theory. Not because there is something inherently problematic about porn itself, but because it has been made in to being so problematic. It does not matter if you come from a rightwing nutplace like the one below

or if it is a rethoric coming from what is framed as a feminist, because they can both frame pornography as something pwetti evööööööl. It turns men into murderers, women into wanton sluts or depraved victims and wrecks families, lives and it is also the ultimate expression of the patriarchal society in which we live. I.E porn, according to some, is the blueprint of the oppression of women in our society. Etc. Etc. I could go on forever and ever on the massive effects that pornography is supposed to have on mankind. Yeah, that is MANkind, because it is the man who can never separate fantasy from reality, who can’t control himself, who turns into broken rapists and sadists (the bad kind).

I can’t say I’m totally positive towards the sex industries, but that is in the same way as I am not totally positive towards many other industries. We are not perfect human beings, we can’t really claim that everything is alright, fine and dandy, because hey, I make a choice and if I make a choice that must automatically be good, right? Not really, but my point here is to discuss the implications of a possible feminist pornography. The project ‘Dirty Diaries’ from Sweden was filmed with mobile cameras, and with another approach than what porn production usually has. Furthermore, it was also given funding from the Swedish State (which many saw as proof of how twisted the Swedish society had become, funny enough…). Now, I’ve seen bits and bobs and for me it did not do anything, sexually, but I found the approach being interesting. With a mobile camera filming and the participants being a very active part of the creation, the lines between the viewer and the viewed became blurred. By turning voyeurism and exhibitionism on it’s head, I think there is a lot that can be done, especially if it is for someone else than the viewer. This is already in full throttle  with the masses of amateur porn that is produced each and every day by people shagging away in front of the camera.

The thing then is, for whom is pornography produced and why? Usually, the answer is something like, “People who want to get off on watching other peeps shag”. Now, I can fully understand that it is how it is defined, because definitions are important to us, especially in the West with our obsessions of taxonomy here and there and everywhere. But is not definition to narrow? Does it not exclude all of those who do amateur pornography for themselves, for their own private pleasure? Or those who view it with other perspectives than the hands-down-pants intention? There is of course a question of art here, if art is a part of all of this, and also a question of value.
I think many people would say that ‘The Swing’ is different from the picture from the CCTV with the creep who is harassing women. And I would agree.

 

The Swing, by Jean-Honoré Fragonard

 

I’m going to touch on the issue of consent first actually, just because it is a simple but still important bit. The painting depict a playing couple, whereas the CCTV image is, as far as I know, a man who clearly don’t respect women’s boundaries. A sexist pig indeed.
Second of all, I think I’m far more impressed by the work of Fragonard, simply because it is such a beautiful painting. I’m talking workmanship here now, the craft of an artist versus the developed technology which enables the act of the Peeping Tom to be caught on camera. The intention of one of these images is that it is an object d’art and the other is a candid image never meant be put on show or hung up in a gallery.

But to get back on track, or back to the pornography. There is also a thing about what the intention behind an image is. What reactions does The Swing conjure, and how do you feel when looking at the Peeping Tom?
First of all, the reaction to the Swing and Peeping Tom are contextual and situational. They depend on what society we live in, what kind of norms we have, so once in a time, the painting was erotic. It showed skirts, it showed nature and people enjoying themselves, it showed stockings, legs and hints of something more. And yes, the Peeping Tom-idiot can also be seen as erotic, although I personally have a problem with sexualizing images like the above.
In what I am going to say now, is not that we should not take responsibility, but that it is possible to shift the focus of struggles. Feminist pornography is used as a way of escaping the problem, by phrasing it slightly differently, it is supposed to be something completely else. In the discussion at Pride, a member of the panel started to connect art and feminist porn, like they are interchangeable and that pornography has to be art in order to be (feminist) pornography. I don’t know how many turns this logic can take, but it does certainly create a scary binary,  where pornography has to show something special, something specific, as if it would be responsible for for what the viewer might see.
Here is some news: you can’t control the viewer. You can adapt and work with different ways of influencing the viewer, in the same way as Fragonard works with his composition or in the same way as a CCTV erotic image can make us feel a bit uneasy, but I repeat, it is not possible to control the viewer. Just  about anyone can pick up any kind of pornographic movie and it would not matter what the intentions were of the producer. What is possible to control is the conditions that the people on the set work are subjected to, to push for safe sex practices whenever possible.  And this is where the focus needs to be.

I am a sex-positive feminist and don’t see anything inherently bad in connecting sex and money, but my beef is where the focus is and who holds positions of power. This connected with us living in a patriarchal society that does not help young people to shape their lust as well or learning how to take responsibility for ones fellows, in the same time as people choose to pinpoint blame on pornography, creates a really toxic situation.  And is really, really irresponsible and stupid. It is like bombarding someone with images, impressions, values, language, norms and feelings  but not giving them the tool to interpret and relate to them.

As a fan of queer pr0n, on many different levels, I believe that there is more to pr0n than exploitation and misery and I don’t really believe in feminist pr0n, but I don’t want to put the ones who are shagging on pedestal either.

But it is time to stop blaming the pr0n for everything, and turn the attention wider.

 


David Cameron is wrong. And stupid.

I know, I know, this whole debate happened in the end of February, but since it is the General Election coming up and I’ve got a terrible backlog of things to get published here on the blog, I thought it was just as good to get it out of the way. And furthermore, this is not a debate that gets old, it is highly topical and it is about gender, bodies and control. Which is basically stuffs that gets written about in this blog.

First of all, I am not suprised that he is wrong. It is not something unusual, and usually I would not give a toss about him in this blog, but his recent outbursts caught my attention.

Apparently, he is very much against the sexualisation of kids and don’t allow his daughter to listen to Lily Allen.  Bloody hell. Ok, so here we go again. First of all, I’m not very much a fan of small girls underwear that is geared towards making them into ‘sex kittens’ from the time they are 7,8,9 years old. Nor am I a fan of poledancing kits for kids in the same age. But that is not because I am against sex or believe that pole-dancing is the most evil thing ever.  We live in a fantasy world if we think that kids are ‘innocent’ because of their age. There is nothing there to ‘protect’ or rather, the only thing we need to save kids from is from ourselves. Our own rotten appreciation of sex and lust. There is no age in which you are ‘innocent’ and then after that you turn into someone who is ‘guilty’. You don’t wake up one morning with a scarlet letter ‘S’ for sinner.
And while there could certainly be stricter restrictions on how advertisement is geared towards children, I don’t think the most harmful one is just the sexualised kind of advertisement and products. If you walk down on the high street, or to Hamleys, you will notice what expectations there is on children today, according to what gender they are perceived as belonging to. We all know of the colors, the activities and the attitudes this foster and pointing fingers towards a padded bra or outspoken singer.
And this is where the populist idiot David Cameron comes into the picture. Because what he is complaining about is nothing new under the sun. Au contraire, it is something that goes along the line of the argument like But-think-about-the-children! And we all know how very well that works.
Because Cameron has a daughter, the focus has been there pretty much, but it is also symptomatic of what I have written before about a body that is female. No matter what age, a female body is a site of regulation, strangulation and modification.

As one of journalist so brilliantly expressed, this is not so much about the kids. It is true, that they live in a reality that is sometimes dangerous, and there are threats to those who are not mature to handle life on their own, but that has more to do with us. And when a kid explore the dress-up drawer, they do not do that because they want to have sex or shoot someone in the stomach with a AK47. But it is still the girls that our dear Cameron is so concerned with. Because they dress in feather-boas, they apparently become Heard of fantasy? About creativity? The sad thing is that we are working very hard to constrict that very fantasy and that creativity already.

But this is not only about the kids, or female children. This is about a larger picture, and it is one in which there is a constant worry about what is happening to females everywhere. Ariel Levy’s ‘Female Chauvinist Pigs’ is one which questions the very base on which the ‘raunch culture’ lies, a base which is perceived as ‘liberating’ and fulfilling.
And I can agree with many of the criticisms, I’m one of those who pretty much is so fed up with burlesque, fed up how streamlined the bodies that we see are.  It is the 21st century version of the 70’s but the problem is that there is nothing in sexuality to liberate, there is nothing that is trapped or needs to be unleashed. There is nothing deep in there in our bodies that needs to be found and put on display. Instead we need to know how we make ourselves understand sex and what possible consequences this might have. It is not a project that one can finish, never ever. Instead it is a journey and a endless exploration,  and I would prefer if there was something more open in general, not making sex in to something special, something threatening, something incredibly powerful. By giving sex so much importance it becomes so important. And by importance I mean sex  in a sex-negative, hetero-normative, binary way of looking at it.

And it is here that I can’t really say what I want to say as good as I would like it to, so I’m going to quote my favourite blogger Penny Red:

Young women and girls are blamed for their concessions to misogynist, ‘pornified’ sexual culture even as we are told that we’re so thick we can’t help but be complicit. Apparently, there is no middle ground between being an independent, dynamic young thing who makes joyful millions selling her body and the subsequent book-deal, and a cringing, broken victim of porn culture crying tears of shame into her cleavage. Elements of this binary thinking reinforce a stereotype which is just as damaging to young women as the ‘happy hooker’ fantasy beloved by bourgeois filmmakers. As the furore over ‘raunch culture’ escalates, all this baby-boomer moral hand-wringing is beginning to sound less like radicalism and more like priggishness. It’s sounding less like genuine concern, and more like good old-fashioned slut-shaming.

I’m not arguing that raunch culture does not hurt young women. It hurts us deeply. It encourages us to lessen, cheapen and diminish ourselves, to think of ourselves as vehicles for the sexual appreciation of men who still hold economic sway over our lives. It makes us understand that what we look like is as important or more important than what we do, whether we’re lap-dancers, librarians or lazy-ass freelance journalists like me. It warps our understanding of power, intimacy and desire and urges us to starve and torture our bodies and neglect our intelligence. It sells us a fake, plasticised image of empowerment that, for most of us, is deeply disempowering – as many wealthy and powerful middle-aged men and women have recently observed.

I am not asking for us to pretend that raunch culture is unproblematic, or that it’s uncomplicatedly fun to be a Southend lap dancer. I am asking for honesty. I am asking for an analysis that is more rigorous, more grounded in an understanding of the gendered basis of capital, an analysis that is less focused on recalcitrant sexual morality. I am asking for an analysis that addresses itself to young men, who also consume and are affected by the brutally identikit heterosexual consensus. Most importantly, I want a consensus that actually gives a voice to young women, not just those who work as strippers or glamour models, but all young women and girls growing up in a culture steeped in this grinding, monotonous, deodorised sexual dialectic.

…….

Censorship should never be an alternative to challenging the roots of patriarchy. Instead of slapping a blanket ban on pictures of tits, we need to look harder at the economic basis for sexual exploitation and at the reasons why many women make the choice to comply with raunch culture. Today’s young women are neither soulless slags nor tragic victims: we are real people with real desires and real agency, trying to negotiate our personal and sexual identities in a culture whose socio-economic misogyny runs far deeper than conservative commentators would have us believe.

I am not even sure that strippers have that much of a voice, but rather the corrected version of something that can best be resembled to the Belle DeJour version of sexwork, further exploited by the crappy television show. And with this, I’ll leave you for a nice  Sunday, and hope the may-weekend is as nice as you want it to be.


Gush! G-spotting?

So, ‘recent’ research has showed that apparently the G-spot does not exist. Or does it?
I don’t have any scientific credentials, but here is my own take on the matter:

The G-spot phenomena has been thoroughly exploited on many levels. This is nothing unusual when it comes to female anatomy and sex. While Dr. Whipple and John Perry in 1982 coined the term for a sensitive area right after the entrance of the vagina they probably could never imagine what it would lead to, in terms of hype. Let us consider how this can be and how the issues concerning female sexuality are so easily exploited and how they constructed as truths or falsifications. We can do that by looking at another part of the female body that has been considered, used, reconsidered and now even re-named. I will not at any point claim there is or is not a ‘ G-spot’ though, for that I’m not enough qualified.
But my main theme in this text is about control. The control over women’s bodies. So, let’s take the hymen as an example that has to do with female anatomy and power over women’s bodies.
It is now proven there is actually not any membrane covering the entrance of the vagina and thusly, the patriarchal invention is one of mythological proportions A mythology that still haunts our modern society as well as many other societies. I’m not going to dwell to much of the impact it has had, but let’s just say that people has died because of it, and that there is a huge business, now, in the 21st century, in to ‘restoring’ something that has not ever existed. It’s big bucks…to maintain an idea about the whore and the madonna.

For those interested, it is more of a wreath, following the anatomic contours. That is why in Sweden, they have renamed it to ‘vaginal wreath’ in order to dismantle to dangerous notion of a membrane.

Now, what the fuck has this to do with anything? Well. I would not dare to say that there is not areas within the body that react in certain ways, and that gushing does not happen. What I do doubt though, is the exact specifics of it and how it’s been used as a holy grail.In one sense we need more research, but it comes with a problem. The problem of how science can become ridden by assumptions that are not scientific. Bodies change, lust is not the same for everyone, and sexual activity is not always streamlined.
The G-spot phenomena has been an amazing thing to exploit, and also something that has benefited many women. But as many as swear by it, there is also many who claim to never found, no matter how many hooked fingers with a bit of a bent, pressuring against the wall of the vagina they have experienced.That does not mean that one is right or the other is wrong. It means that we are different, and react differently.

I soaked the sheets less than a week ago, but for years I did not understand what people were going on and on about. The toys specified for g-spotting was ridiculous. And I would not say that my gushing has anything to do with the spot and it might be that my largest objection is against the name. The Spot.
I had a reaction on a action at is was very pleasurable and fun. I had the benefit of being able to enjoy that and is that not what it comes down to? Enjoying your body in a way that gives you pleasure that is not haunted by a competition.

It can be hard though. I’ve meet so many women who have been frustrated because of their partners frustration in the quest of g-spotting. I remember a moment that I’ve classifed as the biggest turn off ever. The guy was fingering me, kinda nice, then did something with his fingers, and very smugly said “And there..!..is the G-spot.” The expecting look of his face, very much like a kid waiting to recieve an applaud for doing something, implied that I would turn into a gushing mess, screaming like a banshee while orgasming. I might add I did not. Instead, it became boring and I was annoyed. My body is not a map, or a quest. I am not a problem to solve or a puzzle to piece together.

The competition to find the map to the g-spot is utterly bonkers, not helped by porn, crap sex-industry, ill-informed advisors and wrong focus on lust and education. Not helped by bad research, ridden by old and weird assumptions of the female body and lust. Assumptions that haunts the appreciation of the male lust as well.

So, how about trying to move away from the competition, appreciate that there is an AREA inside the vagina that can react in a very distinct way, but that it is not only technique that create a reaction, it is not about a direct correlation between action and reaction? In the same way that our sex-drive is not constantly exactly the same, our sensitivity is not.
NO-ONE, NO-ONE has the right to make you or anyone else feel pressured when it comes to sexual activities. You are the person who can decide what you want, and roam around in any way that you need to make that decision. Make mistakes, laugh about them, hit the right notes and come in any way you like, but always, always remain sceptical. And you don’t ‘need’ to come. Don’t allow anyone to treat your sexuality like a problem, or non-consensually turning you into an experiment, and

For more, really, really good reading on the G-spot take a look at this link:
Yes, there is a G-spot


Stuck in the essay-monster

While writing the last essay before X-mas, there is not very much time to post something proper, but instead, read this, a post about the problematic relationship between kink and gender. Or maybe even what problems with the structural relationship between gender looks like.

Both sides of the gender superiority thing construct a very narrow definition of womanhood. For a subculture where having breasts is no proof of your genetic gender, people are pretty quick to either thrust me up onto a pedestal for qualities I might not possess or put me down as a sheep in need of a firm hand. This can be pretty awkward in either respect because it’s a narrow box to shove slightly more than half the human population into.

Classically the people who believe in gynarchy say it’s because women are warm, empathetic and emotionally intelligent, bringing wisdom that will end wars. Men who say women are submissive point to their classic social position and need for protection, talking about evolutionary biology or theology, or maybe gorean psychology. They generally phrase things in terms of a yin/yang, with female deference not as an explicit proof of male superiority but part of the natural order of things, like plug into socket…..

So where do I, the visual spokesperson for my kink, fit into all of this? I want a master like I want another hole in my head, but I don’t want to top someone because they believe in extreme sexual dimorphism, I want it to be submission gently coaxed (or brutally conquered) because of who I personally am, with mutual respect. And not the yin/yang separate but equal role bullshit, either. Subs aren’t subbing because this is mystical; it’s a fetish where, unlike the people who love inanimate objects, luckily the object of my desire can love me back.

So I’ll leave you with those words and hope that I can get back to you all as soon as possible.

//
Ve


No Go Homophobia

A nice afternoon tea in a a clean suburb of London. I am actuallly outside zone 6 for real. Does not happen very often. Anyway, I’m meeting with relatives and we are pretty much done with the sandwiches as well as the cakes and the tea. The discussions has been many and I find myself in a situation where everyone around me is so safe in their middle-classness that they dare to claim that racism, structures and homophobia does not exist. Or, correction it does not exist in the U.K,. Only in places where there is Muslims (who, btw, just FYI, ‘are wanting to take over the world and destroy the way we live’, according to them). And, yeah, all of them know of both gay men and muslims, some of their best friends are muslims, so apparently that is a valid for them to act like morons.

I’m quite frustrated at this moment, because none of my points are going through, hitting in thin air, speaking to, well, a wall. My mother sits next to me and have a hard time keeping up because of language-difficulties (she is not english)

And then, we start to talk about my future. What I want to do, work with, who I want to be. I am open with whom I am, a non-straight queer-identified individual. I try to be as open as I can. And I am also fairly open with what I want to do with my life, aka working sexual rights/health rights. Immediatley, the conversation turns onto speaking about homosexual individuals, or no I take that back,it’s  about gay men (it is always about gay men). Anyhow, I bring up some of the recent development in Lithuania, what happened in Sweden during the summer, Tel Aviv, etc, as well as stating the weird case of Lt.Col. Victor Fehrenbach is the U.S airforce.

A man who has done everything he can to protect his contryI might not agree on war as a whole, I can’t do that, but I find the DADT-policy just wrong,. A policy that is the perfect example of institutionalised homophobia.

Anyhow, after talking about this man, the relative that has given me the most creeps so far start to talk about the evidence that show why gay men should not serve in the army. Which is apparently the same evidence that show that women should not serve in the army. And now, lo and behold, also the same reasons for why men can’t lead boy’s choirs. Yep. There it is. Homosexuals and peadophiles. He is seriously stating that  male sexuality that is so out of hand that a man that is interested in somethint just go and fuck it, no matter if is a woman, a man or a child.

At this point I had enough. I can’t breathe and I’ve had enough. I take my stuff and leave, right then and there. It feels like my whole body is convulsing as I walk down the road towards the station and for a split second I feel bad about running away, but then I realise I can’t feel sorry for putting down the foot and saying no way. No go homophobic, racist, sexist, misandrogynist pig.

When I moved to London I quite quickly decided to not have that kind of people in my life. If someone cannot respect me, my identity, my feelings and my life, the4y can bugger off, because it never seize to amaze me on how many amazing people there are. Why give time to idiot? They will hurt you anyway, no matter if they are your friend or not. But the likelyhood of them breaking you is smaller if you don’t let them be a part of your life.Which is easier said than done.

But anyhow.  I just went. And it felt like I was in a movie, like I could do stuff, like I am an important person. Which is something that feel very rarely. If never. But now I now, all that work I long to do, it is needed. Thanks a bunch, dear relative. I will fuck up your world and I will enjoy it. Because you know what? While you keep on pretending like your main source of news, facts and opinions do not come from Daily Mail and News of the World, an army will conquer this world. Inch by inch. An army of lovers, and an army of lovers cannot loose.


Anoya, godess of things that get stuck

The other day I wrote in my not so anonymous blog about disrespecting women (it bugs me I can’t just link to the stuff, but wouldn’t be too anonymous here then, now would it?), and I’m gonna go wild here on teh internetz and quote myself from a post about … friends … being misogynistic.

[...] My … friend … called and we talked a bit about the allowance our culture makes for misogyny, and without having read my blog (I don’t even think he has the adresse here) he casually drops into the convo that it was just a phace, by the way. I’ve stopped feeling like that. So how to handle that? I was prepared at first to  go for the thank god- never mind it all then approach. But I’m not much for forgiving things like that. Not if it doesn’t come with a big does of self analyzing and thinking. You can’t just think it’s suddenly ok because you stopped noticably feeling like that right now; because it might come back. If I tended to constantly fall over while walking outside, and then suddenly stopped for let’s say, five days, I would (hopefully) not just brush it off with it was just a phace, I walk much better now. I’d still check why I keep falling over.  [...]

For quite a while he had been going on about how he distrusts women, how women are horrible sneaky manipulative bastards and so on (sometimes I felt like just shoving my vagina to the phone to remind him that I, the other half of the conversation, is female.), at the same time as claiming to be feminist. And being negative to misogyny. Hello bullshit.

This is a bit like all those lovely natural doms out there who believes in equality, and of course women should be allowed to work and vote and own property, ‘s just that my woman is fragile and can’t handle all that, so I’m disallowing it, for her sake, in my home. .. And then I’m gonna call what I do BDSM and call myself lifestyler. Instead of just admitting that I don’t like the idea of women having rights.

I am completely and utterly sure that a lot of men that claims to be doing BDSM-stuff is just using it as a cover up because they despice women, or look at women as less worthy humans. It’s somewhere around when you say of course women should have equal rights as men that I start thinking about the oncoming “,but… “.

Here are some examples with pedagogical explanations:
“Of course women should have equal rights as men,

…..but Ilike my women to be in pain when I fuck them”

There is no oxymoron here. People can be absolutly 100% equal, and still be in pain. There is no “but” necessary to carry this sentence. You know why? Because the “but” here, it sort of makes me think that the pain involved is non-consensual.

…..but in my house, I want to be the man”

Oh, ok, so being a man and accepting equal rights is not possible? Interesting.

…..but she is much better then I am on keeping track of things.”

Ok, that one wasn’t even related to BDSM, but it sneaked in there. God damn it, get a calendar! Learn how to clean! How hard could it be?

….but she likes it better when I make the decitions.”

Same thing here, seriously, that doesn’t make it unequal, since she is allowing you to make the decitions. Don’t forget that power is not something you take, but something you are given. Just switch the but and put in an and instead, and it all feels much better.

.. Ok, maybe it’s not at all like that. But hey, it’s early morning and I’m annoyed, everything is related then.

//Silia


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