The Deep Throat and Catherine McKinnon

The 1970′s porn movie Deep Throat is coming to movie theaters near you:


Deep Throat,” the infamous 1972 adult film that led to a government crackdown on pornography, is being re-released in theaters as a new generation of lawmakers wages a renewed assault on smut, trade paper Daily Variety reported in its Tuesday edition.

The release of the Linda Lovelace opus, which was banned at the time in 23 states, coincides with the premiere of the documentary “Inside Deep Throat,” which hits theaters in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Boston on Friday.

The original film, which was made in six days for $25,000 and has grossed over $600 million, will not be ready until at least Feb. 18, the paper said. Las Vegas-based Arrow Prods., which owns the rights to the mob-funded “Deep Throat,” started striking 10 prints on Monday, it added. Five of the prints will be edited to garner an “R” rating, which allows admission to children aged under 17 if accompanied by an adult.

The media reports I have read seem to present the relaunch as yet another battle between the freedom of expression gang and those who want to ban pornography, and every one of them so far has taken the side of the freedom of expression. This is not that surprising. Porn is everywhere today and things which were seen as shocking in the early 1970′s are no longer so. That porn, and especially violent and misogynistic porn, might directly or indirectly hurt some women is not a hot topic in the mainstream media, and neither is the possibility that plentiful supply of porn geared towards the sexual desires of mostly men might lead to a distorted view of women’s sexual needs and the expected sexual behavior of women. Instead, when something sexual provokes wider outrage this tends to be about the consequences of porn to its unintended viewers, such as children. The Janet Jackson breast episode is a good example of what the media might address.

All this explains the treatment of Catherine McKinnon’s comments about the movie. She participated in a panel discussion at the New York premiere of Inside the Deep Throat, a documentary about the movie, and she appears to have been the one on the panel who was most vigorously arguing the unpopular points about porn’s possible effects. This is how she was written up later on:


Mitchell looked on helplessly as McKinnon did her thing, claiming that the film we had just watched was promoting the acceptance of rape. At one point, however, her righteous zeal became unhinged when she claimed that it was not possible to do deep throat safely, that it was a dangerous act that could only be done under hypnosis. “What’s so funny?” she snapped as the audience rippled with mirth. Todd Graff’s hand shot up – “I can do it,” he said, and the room echoed with a chorus of gay men going “me too!” (Gigi Grazer – wife of Brian – later told Graff to stop bragging and that she could do it better than him and had the rocks on her fingers to prove it. Touché). But La McKinnon was not to be discouraged; she claimed that emergency rooms were filled with women victims of throat rape, not to mention the ones who hadnt even made it that far and had died in the act.

And:


Former New York Times movie critic Elvis Mitchell moderated, and the group consisted of HarperCollins publisher and controversy lightning rod Judith Regan, journalist Peter Boyer, famed criminal defense attorney Alan Dershowitz and feminist professor Catherine McKinnon.

The latter, who turned out be quite mad, I thought, immediately coined the phrase “throat rape” about what happened on screen to the movie’s late star, Linda Lovelace.

That declaration produced hissing, and a few laughs, from the audience.

McKinnon, infamously known in intellectual circles as the “feminist censor,” does not often appear before mainstream audiences. Her “partner in crime” is the militant feminist Andrea Dworkin, who was not among us.

“Inside Deep Throat” producer Brian Grazer’s hair was already standing straight up. More of McKinnon’s theories might have made it curl.

And so on. In other words, Catherine McKinnon is viewed as an extremist, someone quite removed from mainstream ideas, someone who is a safe object for general ridicule. Yet I could list many current commentators whose views are more extremist in some other directions and who still get accorded both respect and a place in public debate. Consider Ann Coulter’s proposal to nuke Islamic countries and to convert them to Christianity or Michelle Malkin’s views on detention camps as a good way to prevent terrorism. To name the men whose ideas are even more outrageous would take me the rest of this post. Clearly, some extreme views are more acceptable than others.

But what does McKinnon really say? The anti-feminist websites tend to have a field day picking out isolated comments from her writings, all of which are intended to show how unreasonable McKinnon is, and sometimes her name is used in debates to tar all feminists with the same brush of freakiness. This is partly McKinnon’s own fault. She likes to use strong statements as a rhetorical device, and they do work to draw attention to what she is saying. But they tend to do this only in a superficial sense and seldom lead to an extended discussion of what her actual arguments are. Or this is what I believe. Though using careful phrazing is not as exciting to begin with, it tends to turn fewer listeners off and ultimately results in a more fruitful discussion.

Consider the often heard argument that McKinnon compares all heterosexual sex to rape. I read the book in which this idea is discussed before I was aware of McKinnon’s mythological proportions among the anti-feminists, and this let me interpret her arguments quite differently. Not necessarily agree with them, but to see what her point might be, and to me it was that if sexuality is defined by purely patriarchal standards women living in patriarchy are unaware of their true sexual desires and needs and therefore cannot in a fundamental sense make free choices to engage in sex. This may not be the reading that McKinnon intends, but it’s quite a different reading from the one which equates voluntary sex with rape. Even more generally, McKinnon writes theory and to understand her arguments one must understand the way she defines the concepts. Not that this excuses her use of the terms in public debates without proper definitions.

All this is background for my argument that when McKinnon called the events in the Deep Throat “throat rape” what she said was quite different from what the audience heard. Linda Lovelace, the actress performing in the movie, stated in her autobiography that swallowing a penis so deeply did not come naturally to her but needed a lot of practice. She also revealed that her then-partner and manager had used physical violence to control her during the making of the movie:


Unlike two earlier autobiographies, Ordeal was not a titillating affair, and the liberation Lovelace talked about was not sexual but deeply personal. Chuck Traynor was not her ‘creator’ as she had previously announced, but her abuser. She claimed that she had made Deep Throat under threat of physical harm, and explained that Traynor would use guns and knives to get his way. There was also a confession that some found ironic: on the set of the movie, Lovelace felt less threatened than she had before; the movie people were a creative family, and she drew strength from her new relationships. Traynor observed this, and would double his beatings.

The generous reading of McKinnon’s comments would take all this into account. But feminists seldom receive generous readings these days and radical feminists practically never, even when the point they are making is one that deserves wider discussion.

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181 Responses to The Deep Throat and Catherine McKinnon

  1. 101
    Sheelzebub says:

    I’m still waiting for my directive from feminist HQ telling me not to shave my legs or wear lipstick. They must have left me off the mailing list.

    Well, yeah, it was news to me. I was just having lunch with Madame Director of All Things Feminist yesterday, and she didn’t bat an eyelash at my skirt, shaved legs, or lipstick.

    I do have to say, on a more serious note–I’ve about fucking had it with these folks who want to know why Lovelace/Borman didn’t go call the cops if she was abused on the set. Let’s see. . .the film was backed with Mafia money which might have chilled her urge to come forward. True danger or not, things associated with the mob tended to create a fair bit of fear in people. Just a thought.

    And you know, I was groped and assaulted in school by a classmate in front of the teacher and other classmates. No one said a damn thing. Why didn’t I complain to the principal, since I didn’t like it? Gosh, it might have had something to do with the fact that if the fucking teacher saw it, if other students saw it, and no one said a damn thing, no one would do anything about it.

    You know what else? I’m willing to bet that if if someone confronted the teacher about what happened, the answer would be “Oh, no! Not in my classroom!” Because even though this happened in front of the teacher’s wide-open baby-blues, even though the teacher punished me for hauling off and belting the guy in self-defense, denial is a wonderful thing. To acknowledge why I hit the guy, to acknowledge what was going on, would be to acknowledge responsibility.

  2. 102
    Samantha says:

    The following is from an interview with Carol Smith, a survivor of
    prostitution, speaking about pornography. I’ve pasted it together from the original for brevity’s sake.

    “I started drinking and doing drugs when I was about 10. By the time I was fourteen I went to a rehabilitation center. I was 19 when I got involved with pornography.

    I was doing drugs and living in a house with a bunch of drug dealers, and we were getting evicted. They offered in the ad to just nude photos. Then the owner of the agency offered me a home and a lot of work if I did film.

    It was horrible. The way I felt. The way I felt about myself. The way I
    was abused by men. The way I let people treat me. And even the effects of it now are awful.

    What I saw were women just like myself who were desperate, addicted to drugs, homeless and I’m sure probably at least 80 percent of them suffered from sexual abuse as children. I saw them re-living their childhood experiences by getting into that industry. They were looking for attention, pleasing men, and being abused. And that’s all they know.

    One time I was [hurt] on camera and the other time I’m not quite sure of because I was given that date rape drug so I don’t remember much of it.

    What made me want to leave was that I was totally against doing anal sex. It got to the point where I wasn’t getting any work because I wouldn’t do it. When you are used up, and they want the women to do gang bangs, I just couldn’t do it. I attempted suicide.

    Pornography is prostitution that is legalized as loing as someone gets to take pictures or watch. Actually, pornography is much worse than prostitution because it will harm you in a different way the rest of your life. I’m still exploited all over the internet ten years later. It
    follows me around. People recognize me. I’m harassed because of it. My kids are being harassed at school because of it. This will affect my children for their entire life. If one of them wants to become a public figure or an acress, or whatever she wants to be, she’s going to be harmed because of who her mother was.

    In the process of my divorce, my ex-husband decided to inform the
    neighborhood of my past. He found me online and told the whole
    neighborhood; my whole community knows, and it’s a very small town.

    Pornography is not free speech. For example, in my case, my free speech would allow me to take those [original] tapes and burn them [so they couldn't be sold anymore]. Do I have a right to do that? No, even though I am in them and now I realize what their content actually is. I haven’t any rights as long as someone else thinks it’s okay, even though I’m in them. Where are my rights? Where are my rights to protect my kids? They don’t exist.

    I have talked to probably twelve lawyers in depth about the issues of the case. And because I have 36 different [porn companies as] defendants, 90 percent of the lawyers don’t want to touch it. A lot of them say, ‘oh, there’s got to be another case like this.’ If I could find a similar case to mine there would be no problem, but there hasn’t been one. There has not been another woman who’s come back and said, ‘What you did was wrong. You’re going to pay for it and you are going to take my images off of the internet.’

    I just talked to Catherine MacKinnon. She has exhausted the law herself. She was Linda Lovelace’s attorney, and there was nothing she could do for that poor woman. And Linda had not signed any contracts. I signed over a hundred contracts that gave them rights to my life, and even without contracts there was nothing Linda could do. A lot of lawyers don’t want to stand up against the pornography industry, because they would have to go up against some of the most well-paid lawyers in the world. But at some point things will have to change.”

  3. 103
    Paige says:

    “Masson has been referred to as MacKinnon’s husband several times, including in reviews of his books; she was certainly officially engaged to him for many years. Whether they actually went through a ceremony or not is really immaterial, isn’t it? By MacKinnon’s own standards, he was a serial rapist, who used women casually and discarded them. A “repentant”? rapist is still a rapist… You might feel comfortable hooking up with one; I sure as hell wouldn’t. ”

    Really? And how does Masson become a “serial rapist” merely by virtue of having sex with a lot of women?

    Your inflammatory bullshit is just that. Just like every other troll on the internet, when you get called on the fact that you don’t know shit, and you amp up the wild accusations.

    First you claimed they were married. But they weren’t. And when you got called on your lies, you made up the even more inflammatory one that Masson is a rapist. I’d like to know your support for *that* bullshit.

  4. 104
    littleviolet says:

    If I were to take a guess, she’s trotting out the old anti-feminist line that Catharine MacKinnon says “all sex is rape”. Using that logic of course, Jeffrey Masson would have raped 1000 women. Here’s a refutation:

    http://www.snopes.com/quotes/mackinno.htm

    Unsurprisingly, the accusation first surfaced in Playboy.

    People are imagining things if they believe that the anti-feminists on this board are interested in full and frank discussion about feminism. From most of the rubbish being spouted it’s clear that they haven’t even a passing knowledge of real feminist arguments and don’t appear to possess the intellectual curiousity to investigate.

  5. 105
    Paige says:

    “From most of the rubbish being spouted it’s clear that they haven’t even a passing knowledge of real feminist arguments and don’t appear to possess the intellectual curiousity to investigate. ”

    True.

    But, of course, so long as they’re “civil” about their lack of knowledge, failure of intellectual curiousity, barely hidden animosity and aggression, and flat-out lying — everything is copacetic.

  6. 106
    Paige says:

    Samantha –

    Amazing posts. And thank you.

  7. 107
    Robert says:

    It is heartbreaking to read the stories about women damaged and destroyed by the pornography industry. The men in these womens’ lives have absolutely failed them.

    Although I’m normally on the side of freedom, it seems pretty obvious to me from these womens’ testimony that we’re not talking about free speech here; these are health and welfare and safety issues.

    I wonder if the answer to the lawyering-up of the industry wouldn’t be a class-action suit of some sort; clearly there is widespread harm and clearly the industry (despite some relatively recent “reforms” aimed more at CYA than at changing anything) is not healthy for women. Maybe this is one industry that deserves to be litigated out of existence.

    I’d like to research the question a little more and get more testimony from men and women who have been on both sides of the camera, and then post something on my own blog about it. Does anyone have a good resource for testimonials of that type? (I’d rather not type “pornography” into my search engine.)

  8. 108
    Paige says:

    “Does anyone have a good resource for testimonials of that type?”

    The hearings on the Minneapolis anti-pornography ordinance authored by MacKinnon and Dworkin are chock full of survivor testimony: “In Harm’s Way: The Pornography Civil Rights Hearings”

  9. 110
    Samantha says:

    Paige, thanks, and back at ya.

    Here are two sources I find myself referring to a bunch. An antiporn friend in California who has been involved with regulating the prostitution/porn industry gave me the first link.

    “Worker Health and Safety in the Adult Film Industry” post-hearing report on regulating the porn industry
    http://democrats.assembly.ca.gov/members/a42/Pdf/afi.pdf

    Professional Dangers (Lara Roxx’s story)
    http://www.oneangrygirl.net/LaraRoxx.html

    Actually, the whole One Angry Girl website is good stuff. http://www.oneangrygirl.net

  10. 111
    Pete Guither says:

    Robert,

    You said: “Maybe this is one industry that deserves to be litigated out of existence.

    Sigh.

    Good luck. Frankly, you’re living in a delightful dream world if you think pornography can be censored or litigated out of existence. It’s been around forever and will continue to be around forever. The most you can do is drive it underground, further into the control of criminals and out of the reach of any regulation or oversight — which would be the worst you could do.

    We’ve already got a 3 decades old war on drugs which has done nothing to eliminate drugs, but has increased violence and spawned such nasty things as meth labs. Your war on pornography will follow the same path.

    If, instead, you take a positive approach — educate people, change the conditions, offer something more positive that fills the same need — then you might be able to get somewhere.

    But if you’re determined to go ahead with litigating out of existence, here’s an organization that would probably help you out.
    http://www.aclj.org/Issues/Issue.aspx?ID=10

  11. Yeah, just what we need, Jay Sekulow.

    Um, no thanks.

    Heart

  12. 113
    funnie says:

    Pete – have drug dealers and others who profit from the drug war been sued for destorying communities? If so, I haven’t heard of it. If not, your supposition’s broken.

  13. 114
    Robert says:

    Good luck. Frankly, you’re living in a delightful dream world if you think pornography can be censored or litigated out of existence.

    Not pornography. The pornography industry.

    The most you can do is drive it underground, further into the control of criminals…

    People who exploit young and vulnerable women in this way are already moral criminals. There just isn’t a law against it.

    I agree that a drug-war approach would not work. You may note that I didn’t suggest that. I suggested a class-action lawsuit on the part of the women the industry has harmed. If you make it unprofitable to harm women, then people whose motivation is profit will find some other line of work.

    If, instead, you take a positive approach ““ educate people, change the conditions, offer something more positive that fills the same need ““ then you might be able to get somewhere.

    The “need” appears to be the “need” to see women degraded and hurt. What “more positive” outlet do you suggest for that “need”?

  14. 115
    Rad Geek says:

    Pete Guither on pornography:

    It’s been around forever and will continue to be around forever.

    Pornography exists because men make it and men consume it. (Yes, I know, some women control porn production companies and some women buy pornography. So what? Look at what sustains the market as a whole.)

    And again:

    If, instead, you take a positive approach — educate people, change the conditions, offer something more positive that fills the same need — then you might be able to get somewhere.

    “Getting somewhere” in what sense? If you think that pornography will continue to be around forever, then what sort of progress is being made?

    Part of this, I suppose, has to do with the phrase “fills the same need.” What needs do you think pornography fills?

    None of this, by the way, is to endorse a policy of litigation or State censorship. It’s a question of what you take the ends of activism around pornography to be, rather than the (very important, but different) question of what means you choose to adopt it.

  15. 116
    Paige says:

    “I suggested a class-action lawsuit on the part of the women the industry has harmed. If you make it unprofitable to harm women, then people whose motivation is profit will find some other line of work.”

    Don’t look now, but you’ve officially crossed over into “radical feminist nutcase” land. After all, this is *exactly* what the MacKinnon/Dworkin anti-pornography ordinance did: allowed women to sue the porn makes for the harm done to them in the making and use of pornography. And you see what’s been done to MacKinnon here.

  16. 117
    Sheelzebub says:

    I don’t have any problems with films of adults having consensual sex per se. My problems are with the sexual double-standards out there that class women as virgins and whores and men as just, well, men. And women aren’t supposed to like sex unless there’s wine and flowers and romance involved.

    But I’ll grant that women who would vehemently disagree with me aren’t censoring or anti-sex.

    What I’m curious about is why, whenever feminists discuss porn and even dare to question or criticize it, the accusations of censorship get flung about. I don’t agree with censorship, but MacKinnon, as Samantha pointed out in another thread, didn’t advocate censorship.

    Criticizing something, or looking critically at something like porn, does not equal censorship, and I am sick to death of that straw man.

    Even “educating” people put women in peril. Read “In Our Time” by Susan Brownmiller about their attempts to show people first hand what porn was, and how it depicted women. Anti-porn activists, who sought to educate, had tours of Times Square. When they tried to go into certain venues, they were kicked out. They were not welcome, and it’s frankly quite telling. I mean, this was a business, who cares who’s going since it’s only sex and the money’s green, right? But apparently, it was a big deal, and it wasn’t just sex.

    Frankly, all this talk about civil liberties and censorship seems to be quite the red herring. There is no free speech, not truly free speech. Speech is bought and paid for, and the free-speech absolutists who go on and on about censorship should bloody well realize it.

    Porn is a coprorate industry. And porn workers are treated no better than your average Wal-Mart cashier–there is no protection against STI’s, since the higher-ups decided that money-shots sell. Oddly enough, gay porn does insist on safer-sex practices, which is much more effective than the “test and then blacklist” strategy favored by het porn.

    The suits with the money decide who gets heard, what gets distributed, and what views and perspectives get put out there. Given that, I find this rush to defend corporate interests and corporate free speech rather laughable.

  17. 118
    Robert says:

    Don’t look now, but you’ve officially crossed over into “radical feminist nutcase”? land.

    If it helps, my feelings are very paternalistic, chivalrous, and protective.

  18. 119
    ChurchofBruce says:

    Bruce: I love it when men try to tell me about lesbian sex and romance. Do go on.

    “I’m curious, Paige – how do you view queer porn? “Herotica”, made/written for women, by women? It exists, quite independently from straight porn. Are the women who make it and who watch and read it and find it arousing “woman-hating”? “?

    First, I didn’t write the quoted material, Kait (I think) did. Sorry for the clumsy quoting.

    And I wasn’t telling anyone about lesbian sex and romance. I was telling you about a writer who writes on those themes that I like a lot. I may be a guy but I know good writing when I read it.

  19. If, instead, you take a positive approach ““ educate people, change the conditions, offer something more positive that fills the same need ““ then you might be able to get somewhere.

    What could we offer to men that “meets the need” that pornography meets, which is to dominate and subjugate women?

    But aside from that, we radical feminist nutcases ARE taking the positive approach, we are “educating people,” when we explain that pornography is hate speech against women, when we describe all the ways it harms women. And we are “changing the conditions,” by insisting that women must enjoy the same civil and human rights which men enjoy, including the right to expect that hate speech against us will not be tolerated, in whatever form, including in the form of pornography, and so long as it is, conditions are intolerable for women under male supremacy. And we have gotten and are getting somewhere, because I’ve seen some amazing changes in my lifetime. So ya know, no need to preach to the choir. Except that I kind of doubt that your definitions of “education” and “positive approach” and so on are the same, given your recommendation of Jay Sekulow’s organization.

    Heart

  20. 121
    Morgaine Swann says:

    Then we get back to dealing with certain psychological realities. Attraction to violent pornography stems from a deviant sexual imprint. You take a male already instilled with a sense of entitlement and superiority and add wither physical or psychological sexual violation and you get a compulsion for sexual violence. Take a woman with a sense of inferiority and add sexual abuse and you get either a need to dominate or a need to be dominiated. I’ve never seen any evidence that those imprints can be changed. They can sometimes be satisfied through use of pornography, which is why I’m not against it in theory. An individual will express their sexual imprint one way or another. If fantasy and simulation can preclude actual violence, I say go for it. It would be great if everyone had access to good counseling, but they don’t.

    As I previously stated, though, there needs to be informed consent among the performers and they should have the right to withdraw consent at any time. There also needs to be some kind of shield for these women. Look at the way Ms. Boreman was vilified here and elsewhere. The pursuit of legal remedy usually becomes just another violation for the woman who has already been victimized. Yes, it would be difficult to enforce, but that is not a reason not to do it.

    The only way to reduce “Mob” interest in an industry is to legalize it, then tax and regulate it. There are no perfect solutions in this very messy subject. The legal system still basically sees women as chattel. We need to change that. It tends to favor the rights of the sexual predator rather than the victim, and that can easily be changed.

    I followed the link to the page that explained that McKinnon never actually said those things. I to say though, that even though the statements are more extreme than anything actually espoused by McKinnon or Dworkin, that I agree with the idea that many women in a patriarchal system may be unable to give informed consent in a heterosexual relationship. Unless a woman has a solid education in Feminist Theory and is able to differentiate from the dominant culture, she is at a disadvantage. The psychological impact of patriarchal indoctrination may be too powerful to be overcome by even the most miliant education and effective counseling. JMHO.

  21. 122
    Sheena says:

    “If fantasy and simulation can preclude actual violence, I say go for it. ”

    And if wishing *really really hard* brings you a Porsche, I say go for it!

  22. 123
    Morgaine Swann says:

    So are you taking the position, Sheena, that it never does?

  23. 124
    Sheena says:

    I haven’t seen any evidence that it ever does.

  24. 125
    Robert says:

    It’s difficult to apply scientific standards to the evidence available, because people’s porn consumption tends to be very private. However, on the basis of plausibility (which I recognize to be an imperfect measure), it seems more likely that pornography would canalize and strengthen a sexual deviation, leading to an eventual acting out of fantasy, than that it would provide an outlet for a sexual deviation sufficient to preclude acting out. The fact that pornography is regularly found in the possession of sexual criminals seems to support the notion that it’s at least possible for porn to stimulate criminal actions.

  25. 126
    Morgaine Swann says:

    Robert-

    We don’t know what we’d find if we went through the homes of people who don’t commit crimes. I’ve had lots of male friends in varied settings and most of them had pornography, though none of them committed crimes. And yes, some of it was quite extreme. I also know sex workers and people who participate in the B&D scene. There are plenty of people who stop at the fantasy stage. While it’s true that some people will be violent no matter what, it’s also true that deviant imprints exist and need some form of release. The more repressive the environment, the more likely a person is to act out. The more outlets a perso has, the less need to act out.

  26. 127
    Sheena says:

    [comment pre-deleted by poster due to content reaching 11 on the non-civility scale.]

  27. 128
    Robert says:

    The more repressive the environment, the more likely a person is to act out. The more outlets a perso has, the less need to act out.

    A useful tool in questioning social theories that don’t readily lend themselves to direct proof or disproof is to ask, “what testable thing would be true or false, if this proposition were true”, and then go look at the testable thing.

    In this case, if your theory is true, then the incidence of sexual violence should be higher in areas where pornography is difficult to acquire (less outlet), and lower where it is easy to acquire (more outlet). Additionally, we should see a drop in sexual violence as the Internet (which makes pornography easy and inexpensive to acquire) became more popular.

    I don’t know whether the testable thing supports the proposition or not, but perhaps someone else does.

  28. 129
    Morgaine Swann says:

    Well, if you look at the statistics for violence over the last decade or so, violence went down during the Clinton Administration, which coincides with the availability of the internet, but saying one caused the other is quite a stretch.

    My basis for my beliefs about violence leans heavily on an article entitled “Body Pleasure and the Origin of Violence” by Dr. John W. Prescott, from the Bulletin for Atomic Scientists, Nov. 1975.

    If anyone has access to a library, I could sure use a new copy of it. At any rate, the gist of it is that violence arises in direct proportion to the level of sensual oppression in infancy and sexual repression in adolescence, with the latter being far more indicative of the final level of violence expressed in a given culture.

    And Sheena – are you angry? I didn’t think I said anything offensive.

  29. 130
    Paige says:

    “Attraction to violent pornography stems from a deviant sexual imprint.”

    Wow. There’s a fuckload of men out there with a “deviant sexual imprint” then.

  30. If fantasy and simulation can preclude actual violence, I say go for it.

    Morgaine, leaving aside, for the moment, the issue of whether pornography might provide some sort of catharsis for potential rapists (and I don’t believe it does), you are suggesting that prostituting women via pornography (knowing many will be abused and some murdered in the course of the making of the pornography) is somehow a solution for rape? Um, no.

    Here’s a solution for rape. Men not raping. Men not using porn. Men calling men out on their sexual abuse of women and girls. Men fucking dealing with their own fucking issues.

    Gah.

    As to what you say about imprinting, first, I think our understanding, as a society, of the mechanisms you are describing is primitive, not at all something we can place our confidence in. But however we might view issues of “imprints,” I don’t think that we are going to find woman-friendly solutions in deciding that these “imprints” are unchangeable. I will acknowledge that radical feminism has not sufficiently theorized or revisioned women’s sexuality, but I believe this has to do with the fact that we have necessarily been occupied with the project of confronting male sexual violence, in that it is killing us off every minute, every hour, every day.

    The tragedy of male supremacy is that it damages people in ways that cannot be undone, easily, or at all. It cripples all of us, it damages us, such that we find ourselves desiring what we find revolting and repulsive. The answer to this problem is not to endorse and affirm the acts we find revolting, like pornography, like prostitution. The answers lie in a feminist sexual creativity which is available to all of us, but which is predicated on a willingness to leave the old ways behind, without condemning women lost in the old ways. But to suggest there is no way out is to sell out. however mindy the rationale. There is a way out, and women are finding it.

    Heart

  31. 132
    Morgaine Swann says:

    Morgaine, leaving aside, for the moment, the issue of whether pornography might provide some sort of catharsis for potential rapists (and I don’t believe it does), you are suggesting that prostituting women via pornography (knowing many will be abused and some murdered in the course of the making of the pornography) is somehow a solution for rape? Um, no.

    Um, NO is right – I never said any such thing. There will be women who, for whatever reason, choose to work in the sex industry. I say make it safe, legal and tax the hell out of it. I don’t believe it is a solution for rape, but I do believe that access to fantasy provides an outlet for compulsions that might otherwise be put into action.

    Here’s a solution for rape. Men not raping. Men not using porn. Men calling men out on their sexual abuse of women and girls. Men fucking dealing with their own fucking issues.

    Gah.

    Gah, indeed. Barring some androcentric bio-holocaust, we have to deal with the men we have, not the ones we want. I don’t see that happening for many decades to come, if at all. I live now, so I’m looking at how to deal with now, with an eye toward making things better in the future. Teling men “just don’t do it” hasn’t worked and won’t. We can’t even get the Progressive male bloggers not to use images that demean women in their posts, and these are well-educated guys who think they are pro-feminism. Like it or not, we have to deal with these deeply ingrained issues.

    As to what you say about imprinting, first, I think our understanding, as a society, of the mechanisms you are describing is primitive, not at all something we can place our confidence in. But however we might view issues of “imprints,”? I don’t think that we are going to find woman-friendly solutions in deciding that these “imprints”? are unchangeable.

    I agree that our understanding isn’t complete in this area, but considering the recidivism rate for predatory crimes, I think it’s pretty clear that imprints can’t be retrained. I’m not “deciding” that they are unchangable, but I think we have to deal with the fact that they just might be.

    I will acknowledge that radical feminism has not sufficiently theorized or revisioned women’s sexuality, but I believe this has to do with the fact that we have necessarily been occupied with the project of confronting male sexual violence, in that it is killing us off every minute, every hour, every day.

    What is the alternative? Personally, I’d like to live in a matriarchal system, but the world as it exists right now isn’t going to let that happen. I could completely get into a lesbian separatist existence, but what to do with those pesky Y-chromosomed individuals? They aren’t going away.

    The tragedy of male supremacy is that it damages people in ways that cannot be undone, easily, or at all. It cripples all of us, it damages us, such that we find ourselves desiring what we find revolting and repulsive. The answer to this problem is not to endorse and affirm the acts we find revolting, like pornography, like prostitution. The answers lie in a feminist sexual creativity which is available to all of us, but which is predicated on a willingness to leave the old ways behind, without condemning women lost in the old ways. But to suggest there is no way out is to sell out. however mindy the rationale. There is a way out, and women are finding it.

    Hey, if you’re in an environment like that, the Goddess has truly blessed you. Where I live, we have a culture that accepts physical and psychological abuse as the norm. I don’t think dealing with the reality of people as they exist is a cop out. In several generations we might produce men that don’t victimize women, but the social, political and familial structure have to be radically improved and they have to be safe from sexual trauma. That’s a tall order.

    Then, once we have this utopia where men and women are not longer at war, we can dispense with the ugliness of sex as a commodity. In the mean time, most of the world still considers us property to be bought and sold and slavery is a growth industry in the USA. No amount of denial or idealizing is going to change that, but dealing with people as they are might make it a little better. I’m all in favor of special statutes to lock up sexual predators forever. But at the moment women will sell sex and men will buy it, so let’s at least stop the spread of disease and discourage actual violence.

  32. 133
    Morgaine Swann says:

    Hey-

    Sorry to follow myself, but I need to apologize. I was commenting on this post as is, without understanding the larger context of what’s going on elsewhere on this board. Taken in a larger context, I sound like a jerk , and I promise that was not my intention.

    I genuinely want to examine the merits or separatism as Heart mentioned, as compared to the approach I describe, which I’ll call holistic for lack of a better term.Where would it be appropriate to do that?

  33. 134
    Robert says:

    There will be women who, for whatever reason, choose to work in the sex industry.

    Morgaine, isn’t “for whatever reason” part of the problem?

    The women who choose this work are going to be the women who have been so badly damaged by their parents or by others that their sense of self-worth is just destroyed – they truly see themselves as objects.

    I wouldn’t stop them from making their (terrible) choice – but wouldn’t it be better to try to heal them, than to use them as an outlet to protect other women? (Not that that is what you are explicitly suggesting, I just think that it would be the result.)

  34. There will be women who, for whatever reason, choose to work in the sex industry. I say make it safe, legal and tax the hell out of it. I don’t believe it is a solution for rape, but I do believe that access to fantasy provides an outlet for compulsions that might otherwise be put into action.

    Well, but as Robert has posted, don’t we have to look pretty closely at the “for whatever reason”. Because in the end, it is male power which forces women into the “sex industry.” It looks sometimes like women are “choosing,” but if you get underneath the apparent “choices,” you don’t find “choice” at all.

    And I guess I don’t see how what you’ve said about compulsions there is any different from saying what I said, that you are seeing prostitution and sex work as a solution to the problem of rape. And as Robert also says, how is it right for any group of women to serve as men’s sexual “outlet”?

    Gah, indeed. Barring some androcentric bio-holocaust, we have to deal with the men we have, not the ones we want.

    Do we? Why?

    I agree that our understanding isn’t complete in this area, but considering the recidivism rate for predatory crimes, I think it’s pretty clear that imprints can’t be retrained. I’m not “deciding”? that they are unchangable, but I think we have to deal with the fact that they just might be.

    I think the recidivism for predatory crimes has to do with men’s drivenness to have power over women, not imprints, but whatever the reason might be, in your earlier posts you suggested that some women are “imprinted” such that they choose abusive sexual relationships. I think that is a remarkably destructive-to-women position to take. I think women are relentlessly coerced in the direction of sexually servicing men and that coercion includes incest, molestation, objectification, harassment, and abuse and that the consequences of these horrors result in girls and women who are deeply traumatized. I don’t think that’s an “imprint,” I think that’s an appropriate response to having been victimized and that the solutions are to help the victim to healing. As to sexual predators, I think the only (lousy, but it’s all we have) response we have for them is to lock them up for the rest of their lives, which is what is done in quite a few states right now. Suggesting that some are imprinted to abuse and some are imprinted to be abused and that hence, we should establish some official class of women it is legal to abuse, i.e., sex workers, to spare those who haven’t been inducted into that class (yet) is just straight up, unadorned, apologetics for male supremacy.

    What is the alternative? Personally, I’d like to live in a matriarchal system, but the world as it exists right now isn’t going to let that happen. I could completely get into a lesbian separatist existence, but what to do with those pesky Y-chromosomed individuals? They aren’t going away.

    Why do we have to do anything with the pesky Y-chromosomed people? Why can’t we focus all of our energy, time, and attention, as feminist women, on women? What stops us?

    Hey, if you’re in an environment like that, the Goddess has truly blessed you. Where I live, we have a culture that accepts physical and psychological abuse as the norm. I don’t think dealing with the reality of people as they exist is a cop out. In several generations we might produce men that don’t victimize women, but the social, political and familial structure have to be radically improved and they have to be safe from sexual trauma. That’s a tall order.

    Why do we have to work on “producing men” who do anything at all? That’s men’s work, and if enough of us cut them off at the pockets, maybe a few more might get on the case, you know? Why can’t we just leave men behind, concentrate on helping women to get free, one at a time, or en masse, or any way it is possible to do it, while challenging male power every chance and way we can and working for an end to the outworkings of male power, to include the prostituting of women and children? The results will be whatever they will be, you know? To work for the legalization of porn is not only to cave, it’s to shore male supremacy up at its foundations. It just benefits men.

    Heart

  35. I may not be able to respond to further posts in this thread and wanted to say, for the record, that my not responding will not be because I can’t or don’t want to. I don’t want to be understood to be inadvertantly participating in any sort of criticism of Catharine MacKinnon or Linda Boreman and my not responding further might be understood that way, hence this post.

    Heart

  36. 137
    Rad Geek says:

    “The women who choose this work are going to be the women who have been so badly damaged by their parents or by others that their sense of self-worth is just destroyed – they truly see themselves as objects.”

    Robert, the women who “choose” to work in pornography generally do it because they need money, often pretty desparately so. Often it’s because they are fleeing, or have fled, violence at home; sometimes it is for other reasons. They are not “damaged”; they are reacting rationally to an irrational but hideously ordinary situation.

    There are lots of good reasons to think that the pornography industry is abominable and that the sooner it dies, the better. But the reason it exists is because men make it and other men buy it, not because women are “damaged.” Making men stop acting like dicks is the goal here, not “fixing” women.

  37. 138
    Kait Williams says:

    Cheryl -

    ROFLMAO – what’s the quote – ‘ad hominem attacks are the refuge of the incompetent disputant’?

    So sorry, I’m not your nemesis Sheldon. Evidently, disagreeing with your Perfect Apprehension of the Universe can only be done by men, eh?

    So very not true…

  38. 139
    Kait Williams says:

    Morgaine: Ugh, what a string of misogyny.

    Let’s analyse what I said about Linda Boreman-Marchiano:

    I said her later additions to her very believable stories of abuse [beatings, threats] at the hands of Chuck Traynor – those of a gun being held to her head on the set of DT – were not particularly credible, and that damaged her previous credibility. Quite frankly, having dealt with clients, both male and female, whose stories become more elaborate over time, I’m somewhat suspicious of tales that suddenly develop startling details years after the fact, especially at opportune times.

    “Matronizing”? are positively self-loathing when uttered by a woman.

    Come now – do you think the word “patronising” can be applied to a woman? Do take a look at the etymology.

    Far from being self-loathing, I loathe the likes of those who constantly tell women that they are incapable of rational thought, or consent, or who stigmatise all men as aggressive and bestial.

    But you-must-hate-yourself-if-you-don’t-agree-with-me is a fairly standard line from those who require outside validation for their own belief system.

  39. 140
    Kait Williams says:

    Things I find amusing:

    Jeffrey Masson, world-class practitioner of the one-night stand, boasts to all and sundry of having sex with over 1,000 women, thereby proving his studliness to all in earshot and making it clear that woman-is-object; he is allowed to repent his sins and become the worthy consort of C. MacKinnon, to whom he becomes engaged, a normal precursor to that highly patriarchal structure known as “marriage”.

    Herb Streicher, who hit bottom, pulled himself out of the mire, and has been leading an ordinary life, wife, kids, picket fence, repenting of his years in the porn industry, is somehow suspect – and vilified for finding strength in a belief in God [12-Step, anyone?] when he corroborates Boreman-Marchiano’s claims the Traynor beat her, but states that there was no gun being held to her head on the movie set.

  40. 141
    Kait Williams says:

    littleviolet: Otherwise she’d have noticed those current issues that you’ve pointed out and might even be somewhat pissed off that the fights she fought in the good old days still haven’t been won.

    Oh, I’m pissed off, and even more pissed off that someone like MacKinnon doesn’t expend her energies on something more useful than producing nothing new in the way of thought over the last several decades. Where is she in the fight to prevent more repressive anti-choice legislation? In the fight to get mega-exploiter Wal-Mart to pay living wages? To prevent states from cutting back on pre-natal care for poor women? To force the government to put real information on its Women in Labour information page – they removed salary info and replaced it with advice on wearing make-up to interviews – etc. ?

  41. 142
    Sheena says:

    And where are *you* in those fights, hmm?

  42. 143
    Kait Williams says:

    Paige: And how does Masson become a “serial rapist”? merely by virtue of having sex with a lot of women?

    I’m curious – have you actually read MacKinnon’s work? I have. She discusses how men coerce women through seduction, how women engage in sex without true consent because they don’t understand that they are being subsumed by the male paradigm for female sexuality. Masson not only talked 0ver 1000 women into having sex with him – he boasted about it; he was quite well known for doing so, long before he hooked up with MacKinnon. Women were objects to be used to feed his manly ego. Under the standards MacKinnon set herself, that made him a rapist.

    I always loved her response when asked how she got together with Masson: “he’s not not a man and I’m not not a woman”.

    First you claimed they were married.

    Y’know, since I have more important things to do than keep up on MacKinnon’s love life, I actually Googled to see whether they’d ended up married – last article I’d read where they were mentioned as a couple referred to him as her “long-term live-in fiance”. First hit was a review of one of Masson’s books that referred to him as “husband of Catherine MacKinnon. Foolishly, I took this as being correct.

    You never did answer my question as to why it was fine for Echidne, Melissa O. and Mikko to refer to Linda as “Lovelace”? [wry grin]

  43. 144
    Kait Williams says:

    Sheelzebub -

    My point about age wasn’t to knock yours, whatever it may be, but to indicate where I was coming from.

    We’re still not getting equal pay for equal work.

    Fucking duh. But we’re getting better wages, and at least the concept is out there, and there is legal recourse if you find out the guy in the cubical next to you is getting paid more than you are for the same job. Medical and law schools report that more than half of their student bodies are now women – when I was in college, it was low single digits. Forty years ago we were told we were dreaming. Appreciation of progress does not imply sitting on one’s laurels or one’s ass.

    Abortion is not illegal, but it’s very difficult to get in most parts of the country.

    I’m well aware of that. But “difficult” is better than “impossible”.

    As for birth control, access to that can be very limited by cost, lack of insurance coverage, and the right granted to pharmacists to deny women BC pills.

    Condoms are relatively cheap, as are foams and sponges. Not perfect, but at least available. Are you out there fighting against that “right granted to pharmacists”? Insisting that your state provide adequate accommodation?

    Oh, yeah, because there’s just so much representation of women all throughout the sciences in the US. It’s pretty consistent through the undergraduate and graduate levels, and there are so many doors open for women scientists in academia. Just ask Larry Summers.

    One could also ask Princeton president, Shirley Tilghman, a molecular biologist; MIT president Susan Hockfield, a neurobiologist; Rosalyn Sussman Yalow, Sally Ride, Grace Hopper… Again, there’s been progress.

    I mean, exactly what is your point? That you grew up in the sixties, therefore you are the Goddess and Arbiter of all Things Feminist? That things were Really Hard Then and we have it oh so good now? I don’t fucking think so.

    [laughing] Not in the least. I was trying to give some background. And it’s because there’s been progress, but there is still so much to be done that I think that energy would be better put into ameliorating underlying social ills. Poor women are being exploited by the skin trade? The solution is not to pass laws that would allow someone to sue a pornographer in civil court [And how would that benefit a porn actress? Or any other woman, for that matter - do you have any idea how long the civil courts are backed up already?], but to better the opportunities for all women, to improve the availability of sex education [fewer teen mothers, a recipe for poverty], of daycare, of wages, of rehab programs. Decriminalise drugs, so some teenage runaway isn’t dependent on her pimp to feed her habit, but can go to a local clinic, get a needed fix and be steered into therapy and rehab. Give a baby dyke whose father just tried to kill her for sinning against God a safe haven… and on and on.

  44. 145
    Sheena says:

    I repeat: And where are *you* in those fights, hmm?

  45. 146
    Ampersand says:

    Kait -

    I don’t understand why you’re attacking MacKinnon on a personal level. Who cares who she married? I mean, I’m sure she and her loved ones care, but I don’t understand why it’s of interest to me or anyone else who doesn’t know her personally.

    MacKinnon’s ideas are what matters. Even if MacKinnon doesn’t live perfectly by her ideals (who does live perfectly by their ideals?), that doesn’t prove that her ideas are wrong. To use a far more extreme example then anything that could be fairly said about MacKinnon, Thomas Jefferson owned slaves; that doesn’t mean that what he said about slavery being evil was wrong, or should be dismissed.

    I have nothing against people criticiing MacKinnon’s ideas, but attacking her personal life is not only illogical but kind of ugly.

    Where is she in the fight to prevent more repressive anti-choice legislation? In the fight to get mega-exploiter Wal-Mart to pay living wages? To prevent states from cutting back on pre-natal care for poor women? To force the government to put real information on its Women in Labour information page – they removed salary info and replaced it with advice on wearing make-up to interviews – etc. ?

    MacKinnon is a significant feminist intellectual; she’s done a lot of work discussing the idea of “equality” and “difference,” race and feminism, and (yes) pornography and rape. She’s also been extremely activist about rape of women in wartime. I’m sure she’s done quite a lot more, too, but that’s off the top of my head. There’s no reason she should have to jump through the hoops you mentioned to be legitimate.

    Not everyone has to contribute to feminism in the same way; the problems we face are huge enough so that there’s room for a variety of feminists to take a wide variety of approaches.

    Come now – do you think the word “patronising”? can be applied to a woman? Do take a look at the etymology.

    In the English language, etymology doesn’t dictate meaning. So yes, in English, “patronizing” can be correctly applied to a woman.

    For instance, I wonder if you realize that – to my ear at least – your posts here have a very patronizing tone? If that’s not the impression you want to make, then maybe you should try to find a way to tone it down.

  46. 147
    Kait Williams says:

    Q Grrl: it isn’t “queer”. It’s lesbian

    I mentioned this to the Lively Lesbian CPA, who snorted and said ‘Yeah, sure, and I’m a breeder ’cause I’ve got tits and a who-ha. Now go away, it’s tax season.’ Her point, I think, was that some people use some nomenclature and some use others. We call it “queer porn”, you call it “lesbian porn”. [LLC refers to herself as a "queeress" on occasion, usually in the phrase "as a queeress of the realm."]

  47. 148
    Kait Williams says:

    Sheena: I repeat: And where are *you* in those fights, hmm?

    I do a fair amount of pro bono legal work for abuse victims, I’m a child advocate down at the courthouse, I do phone bank work for candidates whose positions on women’s/LGBT issues I support, I’ve done canvassing for same, I give money, I’ve taken in gay/lesbian kids whose parents have tossed them out, I lobby for and against legislation, I’ve done amicus briefs, I demonstrate when the occasion warrants.

    And you?

  48. 149
    Sheena says:

    I wasn’t the one picking on Mackinnon about what she allegedly hasn’t done.

  49. 150
    Kait Williams says:

    Ampersand: I don’t understand why you’re attacking MacKinnon on a personal level. Who cares who she married?

    What I’m attacking is her hypocrisy. Her dicta is that women have been so indoctrinated by the patriarchy re: female sexuality that they are incapable of making informed choices. She routinely criticises women who say ‘I chose to do X’ by telling them they just don’t know any better. [I've seen her do this at a lecture. "Patronising" in its worst sense.]

    Personally, I don’t care who she hooks up with. If she didn’t repeatedly treat other women as blithering idiots for the choices they make re: sexuality, it wouldn’t be an issue. The fact is, she criticises other women’s personal lives/choices [and does it with an air of superiority.] In law speak, she raised the issue, which makes it open to examination.

    Re: “Matronising/patronising” – frankly, I think there needs to be a term for women like MacKinnon. As I said before, I truly wanted to like her, and I still admire her early efforts re: sexual harassment. Even after I read her first works, I kept thinking, OK, she doesn’t really write well, so maybe the tone is off; this post-Marxist approach is a little clunky.

    Then I heard her lecture and speak to the audience. She was cordial to those who started their questions with ‘Oh, Dr. MacKinnon, you’re my heroine’ and dismissed anyone who disagreed with her with a put down and a supercilious smile. Ye gods. It wasn’t til after this that I learned she won’t appear on the same stage as those who hold opposing viewpoints.

    I’m sorry you dislike my tone; TBH, this is toned down. [wry grin] But at least I don’t call anyone who disagrees with me a misogynistic woman-hater.

  50. 151
    Robert says:

    It wasn’t til after this that I learned she won’t appear on the same stage as those who hold opposing viewpoints.

    That doesn’t appear to be true, since she appeared at the Deep Throat panel, which was full of porn people, who presumably have a different viewpoint.

  51. 152
    Kait Williams says:

    Robert: That doesn’t appear to be true, since she appeared at the Deep Throat panel, which was full of porn people, who presumably have a different viewpoint.

    That was a press conference, not a debate. There’s a large difference between that and a forum for academic discussion, where MacKinnon has consistently refused to debate free-speech advocates.

  52. 153
    Ampersand says:

    What I’m attacking is her hypocrisy.

    Yes, I understand that’s the argument you’re making. However, logically, it’s irrelevant if she’s a hypocrite or not. Her ideas are good, or they are not; to talk about if she, personally, is a hypocrite is besides the point.

    The fact is, she criticises other women’s personal lives/choices [and does it with an air of superiority.] In law speak, she raised the issue, which makes it open to examination.

    I don’t know if that’s true or not. But MacKinnon has not done anything of the sort here, in this forum. Therefore, the issue has not been raised here, and bringing it up here is illogical.

    The ideas. Forget the person; attack the ideas. Please.

    …where MacKinnon has consistently refused to debate free-speech advocates.

    The one time I’ve seen MacKinnon in person, she was publicly debating some dude from the ACLU.

    Not that this is relevant. MacKinnon is not obliged to publicly debate anyone. She puts her ideas out in print; how, or if, she defends her ideas from critics, is up to her.

  53. 154
    Twiss Butler says:

    I have noted the explanation about lag time, but I’m still wondering why my post of 2/14 or 2/15 has not yet appeared. Is there some requirement I’ve overlooked?

    Further reading in the meantime prompts just one other observation. Feminist women on this list are letting a few idle men occupy a disproportionate amount of their time. At some point the women will conclude that nothing they say to these men will ever exhaust their capacity to bring up another red herring and that what the men are really about is just domination. The best thing to do with these fraudies is withdraw one’s attention from them. The indignant reaction is amusing and a very slight recompense for time wasted in trying to ‘splain it all to them.

  54. 155
    Kait Williams says:

    Ampersand: Her ideas are good, or they are not; to talk about if she, personally, is a hypocrite is besides the point.

    There, we differ, precisely because of what those ideas express. Were she a spendthrift economist, or a rap star who only listened to classical music, I wouldn’t quibble; it’s because her ideas directly concern interpersonal actions between men and women and criticise other women that she doesn’t get a free pass.

    The one time I’ve seen MacKinnon in person, she was publicly debating some dude from the ACLU.

    Really? I stand corrected. My old law school thought about asking her to speak, but was told there would be “restrictions” on whom she would appear with and what sort of questions she would answer. Believing in unfettered discourse, they declined. She did, in fact, refuse to appear at a National Association of Women Judges do unless they uninvited the ACLU’s Nadine Strossen.

    Have you read Jelena Batinic on the schism between nationalist and non-nationalist feminists in Bosnia/Serbo-Croatia and the politicisation of rape victims? It’s an interesting study.

  55. 156
    Sheelzebub says:

    Kait, abortion is downright impossible to get for some people, and in many counties, between lack of availability, waiting periods, and lack of insurance. Condoms and foam work sporadically, though the Pill is the most effective. And frankly, I’d love to know where the fuck you get off demanding to know what I’ve done in this area. I’ve done plenty between lobbying my elected representatives, signing petitions, writing to offending corporations like Wal-Mart, and educating people about the issues.

    I find it rather amusing that you come here demanding to know what we’ve done, decry the condition of blue-collar workers, and then huff about how MacKinnon hasn’t shown enough care there when you betray your own ignorance about the porn industry here. Het porn, thanks to the money shots, are pretty damn exploitive. No condoms allowed, but blacklists and a lack of privacy for HIV positive actors are. Not very worker-friendly to me, and I’ll shed nary a tear if these piggy suits eventually get sued for dangerous working conditions.

    At least you don’t call your opponents a woman-hater. . .no, you just imply that we’re victim-tripping, that we’re matronising (whatever the hell that’s supposed to mean), and that we’re not doing enough.

    Tell ya what–focus on MacKinnon’s actual arguments. All I’ve seen from you is gossip and vitriol about personal life and Lovelace’s/Borman’s personal life. Otherwise, stop wasting our time.

  56. 157
    Kait Williams says:

    Cheryl And if this gets deleted, I’m posting it to my website, and you’ll find it there.

    Just as an FYI, Cheryl – if you’re posting the lie somewhere else that I’m this “Sheldon” person, with attendant accusations of sexual harassment, you should probably familiarise yourself with the term “libel suit”. I’m quite provably me.

  57. 158
    Morgaine Swann says:

    Kait: First, I said it was a “string of misogyny” in reference to your ideas and the way you expressed them. Trying to insult a woman with a label like “matronizing” is at least anti-woman. A woman who espouses anti-woman ideas would by definition be self-loathing. Your personal attacks on McKinnon and on eagerness to discount Borman’s experiences have added to this perception. I won’t apologize for drawing a reasonable conclusion.

    All: I’m really sorry Heart is too busy to post today, because I’m very interested in her experience with separatism. She made a lot of points I need to digest, and see how they affect my personal beliefs. I’m now trying to decide if my attitudes toward pornography are pragmatic, as I thought they were, or maybe I’m just not extreme enough, which is hard to believe because I constantly have guys writing to me calling me a feminazi. Maybe I’m putting my energy, which is limitd at best, in areas that are not as productive as others might be. Much to consider.

  58. 159
    Ampersand says:

    I have noted the explanation about lag time, but I’m still wondering why my post of 2/14 or 2/15 has not yet appeared. Is there some requirement I’ve overlooked?

    I’m sorry, but there is no post from you waiting in the moderation area. I don’t know what happened to your post, but it was never received on this end.

    If you still have the text, please try reposting it. If you keep on having trouble, we can bypass the software altogether – email it to me and I’ll post it directly.

  59. 160
    Sheelzebub says:

    I’m now trying to decide if my attitudes toward pornography are pragmatic, as I thought they were, or maybe I’m just not extreme enough, which is hard to believe because I constantly have guys writing to me calling me a feminazi.

    For some men, wearing pants and venturing out of the house makes one a feminazi. It’s not that hard to “earn” that epithet, really.

  60. 161
    Ampersand says:

    Just as an FYI, Cheryl – if you’re posting the lie somewhere else that I’m this “Sheldon”? person, with attendant accusations of sexual harassment, you should probably familiarise yourself with the term “libel suit”. I’m quite provably me.

    Wow, threatening to make a lawsuit over an innocent case of mistaken identity (assuming Heart is mistaken). That’s pretty damned irrational.

    My feeling is, people with real confidence in the strength of their arguments should not need to make personal attacks (on MacKinnon or anyone else), nor should they use threats (legal or otherwise).

    I’m asking you not to post on my blog anymore, Kait – making threats against other posters is going far over the line. As a free speech advocate you should know better; haven’t you ever heard of the concept of a “chilling effect”? If you have any further business to take up with Heart, you can contact her directly.

  61. 162
    Mithras says:

    Well, same environment I always remember over here at Alas. Throwing people out – in reality – because they threaten the orthodoxy. Good to see such an open-minded discussion. I suppose the subject of sex drives all kinds of people insane. George Bush thanks you for keeping feminism pure, and weak, and divided.

  62. 163
    Omar K. Ravenhurst says:

    frankly, I think there needs to be a term for women like MacKinnon.
    This strikes me as exactly the wrong approach. Other women are not MacKinnon. Furthermore, nothing prevents MacKinnon herself from speaking with different degrees of rationality at different times. (Doesn’t everyone?) Inventing a term for ‘women like her’, if you use it the way humans tend to use labels, would encourage people to blur these distinctions in their minds. Much as some writers appear to ignore distinctions within the field of erotic media.

    Worse, I’ve seen people use the term “radical feminst” to mean ‘women like her’ — which begs the question by painting MacKinnon’s alleged or real doctrines as more feminist than any opposing viewpoints.

  63. 164
    Amanda says:

    I know I’m just bursting in and pleaing at relative intervals, but seriously, this fighting upsets me. MacKinnon has some good points, but some of her statements are anti-male and over the top, and more importantly, they don’t jibe with how the majority of feminists experience their relationships with men. Nor do they really jibe with MacKinnon’s most public relationships with men. Fine, whatever, if I were held to every dumb shit thing , I wouldn’t pass the test.

    I really, really, really hate feminist women fighting each other over men and what they do or say. I’m not going to bend–if I like, appreciate, enjoy, whatever a man, I will fucking defend him. I find discussions about male privilege and how even feminist men enjoy these privileges to be enlightening. But once it veers out of that territory and getting to very individualistic blame, blame beyone the ordinary, manageable stuff aimed at men like, “You have privilege, admit it, abandon it best you can,” and into holding men responsible for shit they don’t actively participate in and in fact actively fight against, I seize up. Granted, even men who fight women’s oppression find somewhat open arms with the oppressors–any feminist man who whines that other men don’t like him because he’s a feminist needs to spend a day as a female feminist–but that doesn’t make them active oppressors.

    I hate to bring it up again, but I think it’s relevant for discussing how this issue is complex and so socially-based that focusing simply on male privilege is a waste of time. When I was 20 years old, I was a victim of rape and/or a rape attempt, depending on what you think rape “is”. (The prosecuter defined it as actual rape because there was penetration, though only with his fingers. I refrain from going so far because I don’t want to equate my experience with that of women who had to suffer from extended rape sessions that resembled the good kind of sexual relations and thereby left poison on said relations for their futures.) Anyway, it was a man who saved me just at the time I realized that I was going to be physically overpowered by the rapist. Few things cause me greater gastrointesinal distress than remembering how I tried to fight off the man who had me pinned with a body weight twice mine and how a male friend simply plucked this guy off me with one hand and said to him, “What the fuck are you doing?” And my attacker let loose a stream of invectives aimed at me, which only made the man who saved my ass completely irate and he abused him.

    The man who saved my ass wasn’t upholding male privilege. He stroked my hair and held me afterwards and told me it wasn’t my fault, no, how could it be my fault until I was able to sleep. It wasn’t a pass–he was my friend and he loved me. It does happen.

    A man was the one who compelled me to drop a dime on my assailant. This man was my boyfriend, and I suppose you could interpret as protecting his property, but if I had chosen to blow the whole thing off, he would have supported me. I was resistant and then he argued from the sisterhood–if I blew it off and my assailant attacked another woman, as he surely would, how would I feel? That was it; I could shake off the attack for myself, but I could not let a rapist walk free.

    I cannot, with an intellectual honesty, go after men for their privilege. Pointing it out is one thing; but getting into the blame game is not effective. Okay, I’ll give you that it might be more pure or whatever, but it’s not a practical solution. When I was a broken, sobbing mess after I was sexually assaulted, two women gave me minimal help. One forgot my pain in a month. The other said to me that she admired my ability to fight for myself before she withdrew all help. The only people left standing to lean on were men.

    I don’t think men are the only ones to lean on, by any means. That was just my circumstances at the time. But I’ll be damned before I continue to nod along to the idea that your average man is utterly, unequivocably complicit. Most of them really suffer and struggle and they are mostly just blind to what’s going on. As were most feminists until the penny dropped and we got a fucking clue. By the way, the person who first said, “The penny dropped,” to me, and it’s the perfect expression, was a male logic professor. He said he learned it from a woman. Yo, it’s complicated.

  64. 165
    Amanda says:

    And as another throw-out of defense of Amp, I will say that I have no desire to see feminists call other feminists a bunch of names. By no means am I kissing his ass. But, as I have said before, this outpouring of anger at Amp seems really out of place to me. I’m not against anger. (Angriest Feminist Blogger by Feministe’s standards! I have a plaque!) But, as I hope my previous post made really clear, I am solidly against a men vs. women stance. God knows I will hold men responsible, accountable, whatever it takes. But telling men that their inborn privilege is their fault is off the nut.

    Look, I enjoy discussing issues here. If you guys want to vent, and I think you have more than enough right to do so, come over to my blog. I’m not a nice person like Amp, and I’m not going to take this shit personally. http://www.mousewords.blogspot.com

    I’m working on a blog post about feminist guilt that I just hope to god people piss all over. Spill your anger over at my blog. I love it. And, um, if anyone could teach me the HTML code so that I could have a “new comments” section at my blog, I would be most grateful.

  65. 166
    Sheelzebub says:

    Well, same environment I always remember over here at Alas. Throwing people out – in reality – because they threaten the orthodoxy. Good to see such an open-minded discussion. I suppose the subject of sex drives all kinds of people insane. George Bush thanks you for keeping feminism pure, and weak, and divided.

    Oh, for fuck’s sake, Mithras. He made his reasons for banning Kait pretty clear. She went over the top and threatened Heart. It had nothing to do with the alleged “orthodoxy” you see here, and I’m sick to fucking death of these free-speech and anti-sex straw men.

  66. 167
    Sheelzebub says:

    ust as an FYI, Cheryl – if you’re posting the lie somewhere else that I’m this “Sheldon”? person, with attendant accusations of sexual harassment, you should probably familiarise yourself with the term “libel suit”. I’m quite provably me.

    Yes, because mistaken identity is of course grounds for a libel suit. And you go on about how frivolous class action suits against pornographers are?

    Nurse your brused fee-fees in your crib and gow the fuck up. While you’re at it, familiarize yourself with the term “troll.”

  67. 168
    Crys T says:

    “It wasn’t a pass”“he was my friend and he loved me. It does happen.”

    You know, Amanda, making comments like that, which imply that any women who’s fucked off over what’s been going on are somehow Man-Haters who don’t know how to relate to any male or who automatically class anything with a penis as Evil, doesn’t really help. It also plays into the whole Good Feminist/Bad Feminist game, which I don’t feel like playing.

    Do I think you’re a Bad Feminist because you’ve got male friends? Of course I fucking don’t. So please don’t try to make ME into a Bad Feminist because I happen to feel that whole “civility” issue is important to deal with.

    God knows I would never attempt to minimise any woman’s rape experience, but I will say that yours was so far away from mine in terms of the support we received afterwards that they’re incomparable. In my case, even male members of my own fucking family took the view that it was “no big deal” and not anything worth wasting time over. In fact, nowadays, I think they’ve completely forgotten it ever happened. The only support I’ve ever had in dealing with it came from women. Women have also been the only who have ever acknowledged that it was a bad thing to happen to me.

    “I cannot, with an intellectual honesty, go after men for their privilege. Pointing it out is one thing; but getting into the blame game is not effective.”

    How is asking a man to consider how his privilege is affecting the way in which he deals with women “getting into the blame game”? I’m sorry, but if people of any privileged class are enjoying the fruits of their privilege while refusing to deal with the implications of it, I have no problem in being highly critical of them. Pointing out that they have it only goes so far: if once they recognise they have it but still refuse to analyse just how it guides their actions, what do you suggest we do?

  68. 169
    Amanda says:

    Sorry. I was a little frustrated when I wrote that and I was trying to inject it with humor and it didn’t work. Sorry.

  69. 170
    mythago says:

    With all the thousands of pages MacKinnon has written, why focus on old unrecorded lectures?

    “Pay no attention to the feminist behind the curtain!”

  70. 171
    Anti-Bolshevik says:

    Fmnz’s bst bt th fct tht mrxsm nd fmnsm r n nd th sm. Thyv rnvntd mrxsm by rplcng th pprssn f th s-clld “wrkng clss” wth “pprssn f wmn”. bvsly ths s ld nws bt wht lrms m s th fct tht th S cntns t tlrt ths trtrs s f thyr mrly sm vrbl vwpnt n th grnd schm f thngs. W shld xpll ths rdcl gng f thrtrn thgs t Nrth Kr fr sdtn nd lt m rt!

    [Vowels removed by Amp.]

    [loooong list of quotes cut by Amp; you can find 90% of them at this link.]

  71. 172
    thisgirl says:

    You mean, as a feminist I might also have Marxist leanings?

    Oh the horror!

    I feel so duped. Everything I know is a lie. Etc.

  72. 173
    morgan says:

    Oh look, another male derailment of the tread…how unusual…

  73. Well, I am definitely not a Marxist, but it doesn’t bother me if other people are. And if you read the Feb. 17 article from Reason, you’ll see that it is indeed the conservatives who are concerned with political correctness nowadays. Or you can just click on my name and read my politically incorrect response to conservative censorship. Not that I’m blog-whoring. Oh wait…

    Sorry to feed the troll, but the utter douchebaggery of this one was too hilarious to ignore.

  74. 175
    Morgaine Swann says:

    A man who invokes Marx to try and silence women is a man who is losing an argument.

    If claiming my rights as a free human being is treason, then by the Goddess, let’s make the most of it.

  75. 176
    Kelley Bell says:

    I take issue with feminist Catherine McKinnon’s comment that “most consumers of pornography are men.”?

    Men are visually simulated by sex, while women are emotionally stimulated. Therefore, in order to truly evaluate which sex purchased more material related to the idea of sexual arousal, we must broaden the definition to include the types of material that is sexually stimulating to females.

    Romance novels account for over 50% of all paperback book sales. The inclusion of this statistic alone clearly shows that woman are far more active as consumers of sexually simulating material than men.

    McKinnon goes on to say that “Sexuality, as socially organized, is deeply misogynistic.”?
    Here she hits the nail right on the head. But why? The answer to that lies in the current state of world religion. The “Big Three”? (Christianity, Judaism, Islam) are all based on patriarchal values. They all exalt a God with primarily male attributes, and place women in a subordinate role.

    If history is to teach us anything, let us learn this:

    All world religions can be placed in one of two categories. Matriarchy or patriarchy.

    Matriarchies are found in agriculturally based societies that depend on the bounty of the earth and the change of seasons. They are generally peaceful, and exalt birth and new life, with a nurturing, divine mother figure.

    Patriarchies are found in industrial societies that rely on trade, commerce or conquest to fuel their economies. They are generally war like nations willing to do battle for righteousness and divine good. They share the common element of forcing conquest or assimilation upon any group that does not share in their ideology.

    The reason that most world religions are patriarchal is simply because they have systematically wiped out the matriarchies. This alone should tell us what lies ahead for humanity if this trend is allowed to continue.

    The world will never be at peace, nor will women ever take their rightful place beside their male counterparts, until the world embraces a new form of theology that exalts the concepts of matriarchy and patriarchy as a divine parenting model of human kind, in a doctrine that embraces scientific principles and open diversity.

    It is up to the women to create this change.

    The key is not for women to simply embrace their sexuality, or to demand equality in the workplace, but rather, to embrace themselves as the divine expression of nurturing beauty, and bringers of new life. Only when we value ourselves, will others see the divine light within us. Then, the chain reaction will follow.

    Case in point: The Tree of life
    In the bible, the story of Adam, Eve, and the apple is taught as Eve’s original sin. But long before this tale was told, a much older version of the story circled the globe, in which a hero was sent on a quest. Only when he proved himself worthy, did the goddess appear before him, and grant him the reward of the fruit from the tree of life.

    One story values women the other condemns them.

    So plant your seeds ladies, and pass out the fruit. Our future depends on you.

  76. 177
    ginmar says:

    Uh, yeah. We’ll stop making demands and embrace our positive energy. We’re special! Let’s just ignore all that stuff and think positive thoughts!

  77. 178
    Norman (my real name) says:

    Though I haven’t met Ms. MacKinnon, unlike everybody else who has posted here I have (or had) met Chuck Traynor, Harry Reems, Carol Connors, Linda Lovelace, Gerry Damiano and Chuck’s wife after Linda, Marilyn Chambers. I was also at the premiere of the original Deep Throat. Also unlike most posters here, I (and most of the audience) didn’t think much of it as a film or as erotica and still don’t. And the idea that rape and forcible coercion is common on X-rated movie sets simply doesn’t reflect my experience in NY or California. Again, unlike most posters here, I’ve actually been there.

    But since this thread started out as a supposed discussion of the rerelease of Deep Throat to theaters (unlikely, by the way..) but turned into a discussion of the relative merits of Ms. MacKinnon, let me just say she is an intelligent, dedicated and most usually misguided carrier of the torch of feminism. The assertion that there are women who have died from “throat rape” has no basis in any recorded fact, and this is too often the case with her assertions. There are undoubted needs for further ethical, moral and legal protection of women: none of these needs are served with science-fiction claims. This has been, is, and likely will be the part of Ms. MacKinnon’s armor that consistently enables her valid points to be defalted, few though they might be. When 30% of what you say has no basis in fact but you consistently state it as such, whatever the other 70% is will seem unimportant and devalued. That’s just the way it is in the minority of people out here who actually THINK and do not merely follow someone because we think they are in our corner. There are reasons why a lot of black people will never take Rev. Al Sharpton seriously – and they’re the same reasons why women should be wary of the likes of Ms. MacKinnon. An excess of hubris and a mimimus of fact will do that to you, though.

    And as for all the spouting I’ve read here about what “men” think and what arouses “men”, I think a mirror should be observed to see where the sexim of the day is pointed. Be honest: if most, or even a predominance of “men” in the US were as this site describes them, the site would never exist. We are NOT all the same, you know?

  78. 179
    ginmar says:

    Wow. Way to miss the point there, dude. Good job on the ‘But all men aren’t scum!” defensive tactic, though.

  79. 180
    mythago says:

    Dammit, Norman, you have some interesting points, and then you just have to go off on the “don’t you idiots know that men are people too?” thing.

    Did you miss that this site is run by a man?

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