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tesao
sukoyant: that is so wrong in so many ways i cannot begin to describe how angry it makes me! mad.gif

it seems to me that this teacher has a discrimination suit on her hands, if she chose to pursue it. pornography, the last time that i looked, was not illegal in the usa. that would be the equivalent of firing someone because they used to smoke.

seriously. she should start a legal fund. i know at least two people who would be at the head of the line to make donations.
wombat
Yeah, I guess it depends on whether she had any vaguely child-oriented fetish stuff to her work. I guess.
But...

Yeah, unfortunately that is the way it is around here.

It's one thing if someone is downloading child porn when they're like, a coach, but there is another whole thing about the "morals clause" for teachers. They used to actually gossip about single female teachers in town, watch the cars in the driveway and stuff.

You would think sex and children have nothing to do with each other rolleyes.gif

Some folks on here kinda find their own "swing" partners without feeling like they need to be obligatory iwth the cheeseballs. My guy and I kneew about some SMBD loft space where people ccould just go and walk around dressed in whatever and their are not organized actiivities but it's easier to be safe because of other people's presence and is like a wild party . but eh, we have not gone as of yet.

Ya always gotta think about the criminal element, folks, sorry I have to be the one to say it. Also, a similar place got busted with some kind of charges applied to the people they found there.

I don't wanna be prissy, it's not, "only with a very few people you love forever or else" with me, it's just, um, get a clue. Some people use sex as a substance and broker it to others and it's both a cause and effect of a deeper mental health issue. There's another unseen, hard to escape from element that people try not to acknowledge.

Don't believe the hype.
maddy29
yah wombat, that is my concern too-that in all this "sex-positiveness" we forget that there ARE dangers, and that some people use sex in self-destructive ways... but again, it feels like if we say that we are "not supporting women's right do do whatever they want." that's frustrating.

OT-my roommates and i had a really interesting conversation last night about being bicurious-they are 22 and 25 years old, and it was interesting to hear them talking-becaues i used to be just where they are! they are straight, but not opposed or scared of bisexuality, and they are examining their feelings about sexuality-which is great.

BUT, i mentioned that there is pressure nowadays to be "bi" at least for awhile, and if you don't try it people can be dismissive of you, like "If you don't try it, how do you know you wouldn't like it?" it was just so interesting, in my old age (30) to hear them talking exactly the same as i did a number of years ago-like i'm not really interested in women, but i'm not opposed to it either. and knowing how indoctrinated we all are with heterosexuality, i think it's smart to examine those ideas/beliefs.

also, i mentioned the whole playgirl-boyfriend is jealous thing, and told them that i was getting a playgirl and they are both all excited about it-hee hee smile.gif they've never seen it, so now i really have to go buy one!
girlbomb
Sukoyant, that news story is so fucking outrageous, it makes me sick. If she's fired for being an ex-porn actress, then any teacher who's ever bought a porn movie or magazine should be fired too. Do people not understand that both participating in and purchasing porn is legal? That the people who make porn are not "worse" or "better" than the people who buy it? And if women want to change careers from the porn industry to another industry -- in this case, one that's pretty goddamn socially valuable -- shouldn't we allow them to do so? Ugh. I'm pretty outspoken about not liking what I think most porn represents and what I think it perpetuates, but this "blame the porn star" thing is so anti-feminist it makes me want to spit.

On the other hand, I just got back from Disney World, and there's a couple on the monorail wearing shirts that say "PornStar Athletics." Their nine-year-old son is sitting next to them, wearing a pair of novelty Stitch ears. And I'm wondering, does your son really need to see you identify yourselves as "porn stars"? Does he really need to walk around fucking Disney World with you advertising your identification with porn? Could you not leave that shit for the bedroom, and keep your son out of it? Why don't you both go become teachers, or something.
bmwbzz
Hi all ... I just registered. Wasn't able to read ALL the posts on this thread but I skimmed many. I hope I am not rehashing too many things that have already been said ...

I know there was/is a lot of discussion of empowerment etc and I just wanted to recommend two books I read in an awesome class I took a while ago on female sexuality:


Whores and Other FEminists
http://www.amazon.com/Whores-Other-Feminis...TF8&s=books
A collection of essays by sex workers who consider themselves feminists - it explores a plethora of topics. Really good.

Harmful to Minors by Judith Levine
http://www.amazon.com/Harmful-Minors-Peril...TF8&s=books
About the idea that we do more harm to children by trying to "protect" them from sex and perpetuates fears about sexual predators. She almost couldn't get this book published. This book is REALLY interesting and kind of emotionally difficult to read since a lot of the things she argues are so against all that has been engrained in us.

(Side note: interesting blog on how fear of sexual predators promotes male domination in the technology industry:
http://spotlight.macfound.org/main/entry/j...ell_online_dis)

I also want to add a couple things - and again I hope that I'm not syaing stuff that has already been said -

- a lot of the arguments around empowerment seem to center on the idea that we can only truly be empowered by using or mind. Does that mean if you get alzheimers or dementia you are incapable of being truly empowered? I think creating some standard for when you believe a women is lying or disillusioned about her own feelings of empowerment is dangerous at best. Moreover, I think it really shows the bias of feminism towards well-educated (often well-off) women. Do you think that working at McDonalds is empowering or fulfilling or constitutes a women 'doing what she wants'? I think that many people (myself included) have been so engrained in the ideals of self-actualization that we forget that many people struggle just to survive. If a women can make more money doing sex work (which she can) than working at McDonalds and is able to pay her bills and feed her family, I don't think that she deserves any less respect. If you think about it, poor men sell their bodies too - albeit in a different way and with a different cultural context. Construction, day labor, etc is what men turn to when they can't find a job. Those jobs are also often dangerous and demeaning. But we don't talk about how the construction industry is bad for men ...

just a little food for thought.
erinjane
QUOTE(girlbomb @ Dec 12 2006, 11:51 AM) *

Sukoyant, that news story is so fucking outrageous, it makes me sick. If she's fired for being an ex-porn actress, then any teacher who's ever bought a porn movie or magazine should be fired too. Do people not understand that both participating in and purchasing porn is legal? That the people who make porn are not "worse" or "better" than the people who buy it? And if women want to change careers from the porn industry to another industry -- in this case, one that's pretty goddamn socially valuable -- shouldn't we allow them to do so? Ugh. I'm pretty outspoken about not liking what I think most porn represents and what I think it perpetuates, but this "blame the porn star" thing is so anti-feminist it makes me want to spit.



Agreed completely and totally.
roseviolet
Sukoyant, thanks for posting the link to that article. The thing it does not mention is that her past was discovered by students. Some of the boys at the school got their hands on one of the porn videos that features her & they were passing it around. Funnily, no one talks about punishing the students for having porn in their posession ... or even punishing the parents that were negligent enough to allow their children to have access to pornographic films. Grrrr.

I can understand how this might be a problem, though. From what I have heard, the videos she did are VERY graphic. I imagine it would be difficult to educate and control a classroom of teenagers who have watched you in hard-core porn. But I also think that she should be commended for educating herself and moving on. I think people can learn a lot from her experiences. Paducah, Kentucky may not be ready to embrace the kinds of lessons her life can teach, but I'm sure there are less conservative communities (and maybe even private schools) that might be more welcoming.
maddy29
bmwbzz-i think what you posted is right on. i guess i feel that no one should have to choose between working at mcdonald's and being a prostitute. but in reality, yeah, people have crappy jobs. and what you said about day labor is true too-men "sell" their muscles, and end up hurting their bodies from overuse, etc. and i totally agree that it's not fair to say that using our minds is the only way to be empowered. i think it's all very tricky stuff. and we HAVE been told all this stuff for so long that it's hard to change one's mind about it (at least it is for me!)

re: the teacher who was in porn. ok, yowzah, obviously they can't/shouldn't fire her, that is unquestionable to me. but i was thinking-what if the kids in her class saw her in that porn-how would they be able to see her as a teacher after that? this is an example of how i think stuff like that comes back to bite you in the ass later-cause you just never know who will have seen the movie. BUT, that only matters if we see porn actors as disgusting, or immoral or something. it wouldn't matter if she got "found out" if these parents/society didn't think it was somehow wrong to be in porn.

so ok, if porn is ok and nothing wrong with it-then how come teens shouldn't be seeing it? if sex is all good and stuff, how come parents can't wear shirts in front of their kids about sex?



also-i STILL don't understand what the difference between having sex in a porno and being a hooker is-i mean legally speaking. in one situation, you are being paid to have sex with an actor on film. in the other, you are being to have sex with a person, not on film. why is one legal, and the other illegal? talk about mixed messages!
maddy29
ok, i just read the whole dr. phil interview with the teacher. it's interesting, because she says that it was a mistake, a bad time in her life, she was desparate, a mother of two, homeless, bipolar, etc. and now she's gotten better, changed her life, etc. so to me, she's saying that what she did was wrong in some way-unhealthy, or bad for her. she's not trying to defend it and say well hey, everyone can do whatever they want! i wonder if that is just how the lawyer wants her to act, but it does seem like she regrets doing those movies and stuff.....not that it was some empowering experience for her.

gotta love that male teacher-i'm SURE he's never seen porn, of COURSE not! ha ha, yeah right. what a paragon of virtue.
greenbean
Maddy, your questions are complex. Kids should be protected from certain images because their minds are still forming, and they are vulnerable to misinterpreting the difference between fantasy and reality. That said though, America doesnt seem to have a problem exposing their kids to violence.
In Europe, there is sexual imagery all over tv and advertising, but they are more strict about violent images. Dunno whos better off, but I do have some European friends who are very calvalier about sex, dont really see it as taboo.

I think prostitution is illegal because it is dangerous to be a prostitute. I think the laws were made to protect the prostitute, yet somehow get asquewed in a way that makes it more like punishing the prostitutes. Here in San Francisco tho, its pretty decriminalized. The city's main concern is curbing AIDS, so there are actually a lot of free clinics and services for street walkers. Also, there have been a few human trafficing busts in some of the city's Asian massage parlors, so again, I think its more about protecting the sex workers. Porn on the other hand, tends too be regulated and safer.
lilyblue
regarding the teacher, how much do you think this would be an issue if the teacher in question was male?

i don't think it would have been a "moral" issue at all.
greenbean
Actually, if I think the parents would be just as or even more creeped out if the teacher was a MALE ex-porn actor. A lot of parents are suspicious of male teachers anyway, even if he seems to lead a clean lifestyle. My mom is an elementary school teacher and the first grade teacher at her school is male and single,..and she always hears gossip about him that hes either a playboy or gay (neither are anyones business, but it just shows that he is singled out)
maddy29
tha'ts kinda what i think too-that they'd see the man more as a predator-going after the kids in his class...
erinjane
I agree. In a lot of situations I would say a male has the upper hand, but with teachers I think it's a different story. Especially for elementary school male teachers, they're already treated with suspicion.

But i suppose in regards to a 'moral issue' you're right, lilyblue. I think it would have been a 'safety' issue if the teacher was male, but in this women's case it really does come down to morality...people aren't worried she'll molest their children, they're worried about their morality.
maddy29
yes! that's exactly it EJ, the woman is seen as just a big slutty whore, and the man would be a predator (but secretly admired by a lot of people? men/boys?)

greenbean
Hey heres some new news: http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file.../e102310S25.DTL

I hope someone is there to videotape him picking up trash on the side of the freeway...better yet, maybe let the punishment fot the crime and have him volunteer at a rape crisis center.
go_kayte
Speaking of porn and HIV, here's an interesting blog article from a few years ago. The issue was that a young woman contracted HIV during a porn shoot (one of her first) and there are no protections in place for porn actors/actresses. She got no worker's compensation or even her medical expenses paid. She became just a young woman out of a job and with HIV because her agent insisted she do an unprotected double-anal scene in order to "make it" in the porn industry.

I was wondering what some of you thought of this. Personally, I think this shows that there needs to be more industry regulations. Condoms should be REQUIRED in all penetration porn. Most young men (and some young women as well) learn about sex from porn movies and not seeing condoms on the actors sends the message that you can have sex with random women/men without protection. It also endangers the lives and livelihoods of the actors and actresses.
erinjane
I thought that condom and testing requirements were brought in two years ago when there was a widespread HIV outbreak in the porn community, but now I can only find articles that talk about the outbreak and the "threat" of mandatory condom use. I know that a lot of stuff I've downloaded in the last year or so almost always has condoms unless it's not US.
go_kayte
I just did a quick search and saw a lot of articles urging california to require condom use but none that said that it actually does now...so I don't know.
anna k
From what I read, a lot of mainstream porn (Wicked/Vivid Video stuff) require people to get HIV tests every month and share test results. A former porn star from the 70's, Sharon Mitchell, is now a doctor and heads AIM, which conducts drug tests for porn people. Jenna Jameson mentioned it in her book, and Wicked porn stars mentioned it on The Tyra Banks Show.
go_kayte
anna k, in the case of the girl getting HIV a few years ago, the guy with hiv had gotten a recent test but had contracted hiv too soon before the test for it to have shown up.
lilyblue
anna, I saw that Tyra too and one thing I think is that most of those girls aren't contracted with any company. they are just trying to break into the industry with one of the scuzzier companies where they require their actresses to do just about anything. I remember the scene where they were interviewing that single mother who wanted to be in the industry and they explicitly asked her if she would do a scene with or without a condom.

Contracted actors like JJ can choose their costars and what kinds of films they will do.

That's what gets me when people trot out women like JJ. They are kind of an anomoly in the sense that they have name recognition and can be choosy about the parts they take. When the mainstream media shows how glamourous the industry is, they don't point out that being a contract girl with Wicked or Vivid is a hard thing to accomplish.

I have a question as someone who has been watching porn lately: what would feminist porn look like?
go_kayte
QUOTE(lilyblue @ Dec 15 2006, 12:08 AM) *


I have a question as someone who has been watching porn lately: what would feminist porn look like?


Lesbian porn!
lucizoe
I really like Comstock Films. They interview and film real couples just having their personal sexy time wink.gif There are only like, four or five movies (maybe - I don't really know), but there is absolutely nothing creepy, violent, weird, or scary about them. The women have real orgasms and it's all just very hot. One of the couples is actually a pair of porn actors and their interview is sort of interesting.
erinjane
I wouldn't say most lesbian porn is feminist, most of the lesbian stuff I've come across is definatly aimed at a male audience. I've stumbled across some more indie type stuff that has a more woman friendly aim. Here's some sites I came across when writing a paper, some have a feminist edge.


Alternative, Women Friendly, Diverse Porn Sites, Alt Sites:
* No Fauxx: Hot Radical Porn Made by Ladies, Queers & Artists From All Over the World http://www.nofauxxx.com/
* Vegetarian and Vegan Porn: Titilating Tofu Eaters http://vegporn.com/
* Fat Girl Break Down http://prime.gushi.org/~spacekitten/
* “My mission is to educate people of all genders and sexual orientations in their pursuit of healthy, empowering, and transformative sex and relationships.”http://www.puckerup.com/
* Fat Girl Speaks: A Celebration of Size, Self, and Sexuality http://www.fatgirlspeaks.com/
* DuckyDooLittle http://www.duckydoolittle.com/
* Phone Slut Diary http://www.phoneslutdiary.com/
* All Natural Porn http://www.furrygirl.com/

There's also a documentary mentioned below by Becky Goldberg called "Hot and Bothered: Feminist Pornography".
go_kayte
QUOTE(erinjane @ Dec 15 2006, 07:28 PM) *

I wouldn't say most lesbian porn is feminist, most of the lesbian stuff I've come across is definatly aimed at a male audience. I've stumbled across some more indie type stuff that has a more woman friendly aim. Here's some sites I came across when writing a paper, some have a feminist edge.
Alternative, Women Friendly, Diverse Porn Sites, Alt Sites:
* No Fauxx: Hot Radical Porn Made by Ladies, Queers & Artists From All Over the World http://www.nofauxxx.com/
* Vegetarian and Vegan Porn: Titilating Tofu Eaters http://vegporn.com/
* Fat Girl Break Down http://prime.gushi.org/~spacekitten/
* “My mission is to educate people of all genders and sexual orientations in their pursuit of healthy, empowering, and transformative sex and relationships.”http://www.puckerup.com/
* Fat Girl Speaks: A Celebration of Size, Self, and Sexuality http://www.fatgirlspeaks.com/
* DuckyDooLittle http://www.duckydoolittle.com/
* Phone Slut Diary http://www.phoneslutdiary.com/
* All Natural Porn http://www.furrygirl.com/

There's also a documentary mentioned below by Becky Goldberg called "Hot and Bothered: Feminist Pornography".



Thanks for the links. This is gonna be fun clicking on all of them smile.gif I guess I was thinking of mainstream porn (like, rentals you can find at the video store) but still I've found a lot of probably-for-men lesbian porn that I really like and feels empowering to watch, like epiphany: an all girl odyssey or club jenna movies.
maddy29
i agree about the regulations. that's so disturbing to me that a woman would get paid more to have unprotected sex. to me it's like, why is that hot? because it makes her that much more "dirty?" or "easy, slutty? because she has that little respect for her own health? eww. so scary to me. that feels so woman-hating. although i'm sure that men have pressures too about not using protection.

i think they should just all use condoms, and get tested and have medical insurance (i think everyone should have health care), and be protected, and it should be legal-although i was thinking that there are so many ramifications of making it legal-
girltrouble
yay! pucker up.com is the site for tristan taormino-- she's fantastic, she writes sex articles for the village voice. she writes about sexuality and porn in a way that is less binary, and more third wave... very cool. i love her, and unlike most sex writers she's very open to things...
wombat
You've got it, girltrouble!! That is exactly the problem with some sex writers. Yet, isn't it better to be "open to things? wink.gif wink.gif wink.gif wink.gif !!

Maddy -- I think it appeals to men because they can, um, feel more without a condom, so therefore it's more erotic genuinely speaking, so, somewhere in their heads they try to come up with a situation in which that would be okay.
erinjane
(Posted in both feminist outrage and sex work thread)

Here's some links that are pretty interesting.
http://www.reclusiveleftist.com/?p=459
http://victoriamarinelli.com/main/

I really like the second one. It makes some good points sort of centering around the recent discussion on FO.
lilyblue
erinjane, i really liked both, but the first one has some great comments.

I especially liked #78 from Violet herself.
maddy29
wowzah erin-awesome site-the first one i'm skimming now-and this quote jumped right out to me:

"Sex-positive feminists believe that the underlying problem here is the stigmatization of women’s sexuality. Personally I think they’re missing the root cause by one step: the deep-structure problem is patriarchy, which is why women’s sexuality is stigmatized in the first place."

yessss!!!! i love it when someone puts words to something you can't!
lilyblue
maddy, have you read some of the comments? they are absolutely enlightening. they are actually helping me to see what you and wombat have been saying.

there is so much to ponder and consider.
wombat
Hey, thanks for posting those links erinjane!! They are fantastic! They just delight me so much. I haven't wanted to close myself off on a strictly personal little LJ account or something and natter on - but these are so oftheworld. I hope they can guard the credit/profit for their ideas.
tommynomad
Hello BUSTies!

I just got through all seventeen pages of this fabulous discussion. Kudos to all of you for speaking up and out and together: it's all very stimulating! I also have no idea how to quote all of you correctly with that cool pink quotation box. I haven't been around the new BBs long enough to figure that out yet--sorry. So I'm just going to try. Finally, please excuse the voluminous post. I'll put in some headers to make it navigable.

Teachers

sukoyant, the article about the teacher is gone but the idea makes me ill. I've been a teacher for twenty-odd years, and I've had some pretty sick fucks for co-workers. Cold, misguided, small-minded people I wouldn't let anywhere near my children. Oddly enough (or maybe not) it's the IRL deviants (perverts, flakes, loons, etc.) who impress me most as educators. Hell I don't know *any* kindergarten teachers who aren't pot-heads, but that little habit would get these kind, loving people fired in almost every school district. Meanwhile, I've been working with (and living next to) a textbook sociopath for the last three years, and even after the uni was alerted to his two unprovoked physical assaults and numerous other predatory crimes, they decided his qualifications as an educator outweighed the danger to his gf, neighbours, and students.

erinjane wrote: people aren't worried she'll molest their children, they're worried about their morality.
That shit drives me nuts. Parents who coincidentally think their kids shouldn't get any kind of moral guidance in the school system, but fear that their children can be morally corrupted by it. Make a choice, people! Besides, as I've already pointed out, there are far more dangerous people in education than those who have been in porn films. Finally, if the kids in her class (or their parents) couldn't look beyond her past, then that's about them and their perceptions of sexual art as inherently negative (I'm sure few of these hypocrites would have a problem with a former arms dealer teaching their kids). I'm often critical of litigious people, but I hope she sues the state blind.


Definitions

I think in terms of ah....terms, a discussion like this can be tough. Feminism, as we all know, is by no means monolithic. So trying to attribute motives to it is nearly impossible. Same goes for pornoography. It doesn't help when the wiki definition is way off the mark:
wikipedia: Pornography is the representation of the human body or sexual activity with the goal of sexual arousal. It is similar to, but distinct from, "erotica", [which] is used to imply artistic quality, sensuousness, or implied sexuality, whereas "pornography" tends to signify explicit sexual acts.
I wrote an M.A. thesis (about a jillion years ago) about feminist porn. Then, and now, the porn/erotica distinction simply doesn't hold water. Both are creative expressions of a sexual nature. Some of those representations are crass, sexy, ugly, loving, hateful, written, hardcore, hot, expensive, literary, visual, public, and every other adjective anyone can think of: none of those descriptions make something either porn or erotica. (I refer to all sexual art as pornography, because I dislike euphemisms, and "erotica" strikes me as one.)

maddy29 wrote: i like reading hot sex scenes more than i like watching them....
That makes you an aficionado of porn. Really good literary porn maybe, but porn nonetheless. You made the excellent point:
maddy29 wrote: i think what's hard is that "porn" is this HUUUUUUUUUGE category that includes things like snuff films that are too awful for words. but porn also means playgirl-which is so dorky and funny and not awful at all. how can this one word "porn" mean so much? maybe that's partly why it's so hard to define and pin down.
Porn is a genre, not an entity. In all forms of art, there is both what you like, and what you don't. Because it all comes down to subjectivity. And though I choose not to listen to Whitney Houston (because she's boring, soulless, and uninspiring), it doesn't mean I reject pop music divas. I just listen to Sheena Grobb (because she's great) instead. I feel the same way about: Pollock vs Mondriaan, Rita Rudner vs Kathy Griffin, John Milton vs Stephen King, and other artists in almost every field. In porn, it's the same: just because I hate Bangbus, doesn't mean I'm going to stop watching Rei Himekawa.

*I should say here that the 'snuff film' remains one of pornography's oddest myths. It goes back to the early 70s, and yet, in all the decades since and with all the proliferation of new technologies, there is no verified record of one ever having been shown or seen by anyone.

battygurl wrote: Also, creating good porn does involve using your brain: good porn can be art, and to make it aesthetically pleasing, subversive or challenging, you gotta be smart. I'm including hardcore stuff in the art category, by the way. I don't really like the distinction between erotica and porn, because it's totally subjective.
100% correct. A high-ranking judge once said: "I can't define obscenity, but I know it when I see it." Sorry, your honour, but that ain't good enough.

katiebellewrote: There is a CLEAR delineation between beautifulagony and your everyday raunch porn. to say there isnt just smacks of total blindness to nuance (and this isnt even nuanced in how its different, its WORLDS apart). i am not sure how seeing that beautfulagony and ifeelmyself are different is tricky. its not tricky, its obvious.
It is obvious, but only inasmuch as it appeals to your sexual sensibilities. I may not get my kicks watching blonde amazons shit on people dressed in business suits, but for someone else it may evoke exacty the same visceral, erotic reaction that I get from watching 500 japanse couples having synched sex in a gymnasium, or that you get watching the faces of beautifulagony. It's all just art for the purpose of titillation, and other distinctions don't matter.


Exploitation

katiebelle wrote: i would say GGW is exploitation (as someone said before the women are not innocent) and things that are more tasteful and kind of reverent about female sexuality are not like that.
I'd argue that exploitation comes down not to content, but to who gets the money. If the GGW women received all of the money generated by their flashing, then there would be no exploitation.

zahia wrote: lots and lots of people use their bodies to make a living. Take athletes for example. I realize that its viewed as two totally different things, but I think its a little unfair to say you can use your legs and speed, or your great throwing arm and make a living off that, but your genitalia, nope that's off limits.
Amen! Ask any Chinese gymnast how self-determining she feels, I'll bet you get a pretty hopeless stare, too.

maddy wrote: i think it's gross to pander yourself like that, to sell yourself to whoever will pay you.

knittinkitten wrote: Is it really wrong that the source of this power is partly from her body?
All of these points are interesting in that the focus is on the body as somehow inviolate. One of the strongest taboos in any culture is the selling of one's soul, right? From that, consider this: I love my body. I revel in what it can do and experience. I am a very visceral person. And yet, I value my mind infinitely more. I love thought, and conundrums, and imagination, and discussions like this one. I'm a university instructor. To earn money, I am essentially selling my brain. If exploitation of some aspect of self for cash is crass and distasteful, shouldn't I be more embarassed about the nature of my employment? Shouldn't I feel better about the idea of working construction? Or stripping? Or anything else where it's a lesser-valued aspect of myself (i.e. my body) that I'm selling, rather than my precious mind?


Think of the Kids

go_kayte wrote: Most young men (and some young women as well) learn about sex from porn movies and not seeing condoms on the actors sends the message that you can have sex with random women/men without protection. It also endangers the lives and livelihoods of the actors and actresses.
I agree with the latter reason 100%. But the "send a message" idea has never been used for anything but quashing progress. It also denies agency. Adults know that what they see in porn does not equate to real life. If people choose to emulate the sex they see in porn, then they are themselves responsible for the benefits and consequences, be they emotional, spiritual, or physical.
When teens are asked, most say they get their sexual knowledge from parents and peers, not porn. While there is the possibility that--out of shame--many won't admit to watching porn in the first place, most of the studies I've read put it so far behind the two main influences that the possible lying isn't really relevant to the overall numbers. Back when I taught Gender Studies, many of my students admitted watching porn (that was an elective, though). Yet most also had attitudes and experiences that suggested it in no way influenced their behaviour, except perhaps that they were a little easier on themselves when it came to shame and self-condemnation for perfectly natural urges and fantasies.

maddy29 wrote: so ok, if porn is ok and nothing wrong with it-then how come teens shouldn't be seeing it? if sex is all good and stuff, how come parents can't wear shirts in front of their kids about sex?
Well, first of all, there is plenty wrong with lots of porn, as this discussion amply demonstrates. Teens shouldn't see it for the same reasons that they shouldn't be able to drive or go to war: their minds/experiences aren't always developed enough to distinguish between the stuff that's (artistically speaking) good and the stuff that's bad. There's a reason no one over 30 bought K-Fed's cd.
As for children and pornstar tshirts, I'd say letting your kid wear mickey ears is a whole lot more warping than you wearing a tshirt containing innuendo (they don't get) in front of them.


Hate, Violence, and Good Porn/Bad Porn

lilybluewrote: I have a question as someone who has been watching porn lately: what would feminist porn look like?
In addition to the earlier links, I'd say:
The books of Anne Rice, Susie Bright, and myriad others.
The audio recordings of Lisa Palac.
Movies like "The Good Girl" by Erika Lust (erikalust.blogspot.com).

Not all physical pain is violence. Greenbean, thanks for your post on the real play that is part of your domsub relationship. I think what's impotant in all of it is that it's consensual, and it excites you and your partner. I also don't think it's inherently sexist, since lots of men like being submissives, too. And then there are switches like me, who like both roles. I've been lucky and my life has thus far been relatively devoid of emotional and spiritual pain. As a result, I revel in some physical pain--it's the only kind I know. I push my body well beyond its limits regularly. I love my piercing because when it was done, I was so in the moment, I swear I could feel the individual layers of flesh parting. In a loving context, I love being bitten, slapped, and pinched--hard. Physical pain takes me to a higher level of awareness than drugs or even deep meditation have ever taken me. My wife isn't as extreme about it, but if she asked me to, I wouldn't hesitate to take her to her limits.

go_kaytewrote: Gay porn: Built, sweaty dudes with big cocks fucking each other is so hot you won't miss the girls, seriously.
Amen. I'm cursed with unrelenting heterosexuality, and even I love this stuff.
go_kaytewrote: I think there's more shit talking but if it's a guy to another guy it's not misogynist so it won't grate against your morals.
Hrm. I don't think hurtful/humiliating speech is less offensive depending on the recipient. That being said, I find even the worst offenders in porn deliver their lines so incredibly badly that I cannot fail to laugh: I have (in literally thousands of hours of viewing) never been convinced that the people who say things like:
"Yeah? You like your virgin ass being stretched?" or
"Choke on it, you little manwhore!" were doing anything but saying what they thought they oughta. Which of course brings up the very important question of why do producers think people want this: I'd be interested to hear what you BUSTies think. I, my wife, and most of our friends watch a LOT of pornographic films. None of us (and we're from 7 or 8 different countries on three continents, different socioeconomic classes, urban/rural, etc.: a real mix) react to any of that trash talk with anything other than disdain and ridicule. I wonder if anyone else thinks that shit is sexy?

go_kayte wrote: I will not/cannot watch most mainstream straight semi-violent porn
Maybe I'm misunderstanding your use/placement of "most," but most mainstream porn is not semi-violent. Most mainstream porn is just 2 people fucking. Some of it is very athletic (because the actors represent a fantasy, just like Brad and Angelina), but "violent" implies a hateful, abusive physicality that just isn't predominant.

maddy29 wrote: but violence + sex, i do judge. when porn is violent, i judge it.
As well you should: we all should. Any art or entertainment that espouses violence toward people should be confronted and exposed for what it is. Unfortunately, people are too quick to do this with porn, and almost universally unwilling to do this with non-sexual violence in their entertainment (and their lives, sadly). In the only study I know of to date that examines this relationship, the authors (Donnerstein and Linz) found that the kind of movie that most incited violent feelings towards women was mainstream Hollywood action films. Violent porn was second, and non-violent hardcore porn came in a distant third. Their conclusion was that the sexual content actually tempered the effects of the violence. Given the evidence, I see no reason to doubt their conclusion.

speedy wrote: [Porn] bums me out, because it just despises women. It's like the "sex," the fantasy in porn isn't intercourse; it's defecating. On a woman. I just don't get that! Women's greatness is their allure; how can it be hot to disgrace that?
While I think you raise an interesting and eloquent point--"defecating" really made me stop and think--I don't agree entirely. First and foremost, porn as a genre cannot "despise" women, only people can do that. I have lots of porn made by women, starring women, celebrating women's sexuality, generating profits for women, and bought for me by women. I also have porn without any women in it at all. How can either of these be said to be antiwoman in any way?
Secondly, I think women's greatness extends way beyond their allure. I also am not sure what ejaculating on a woman has to do with disgracing the allure she does posess. It seems to me that idea presupposes that ejaculate is inherently disgraceful or dirty. And what if it's a woman ejaculating on another woman? Isn't her fountainous skill part of her allure?
I agree, however, that most straight, mainstream porn overly fetishises the money shot. It's such a cliche, it has become boring unless it's done exactly right. I know women who fast-forward to it, though, which makes me wonder about its value.

maddy29 wrote: usually the woman/girl looks soooo bored and like they are just doing a job (which they are).
Again, you're talking about shitty porn. When I come across (pun intended) such boring dreck, I delete it and move on to better stuff. I wouldn't waste my time with a bad movie or a bad book, why should my porn be any different?

maddy29 wrote: I don't think men notice this, because they aren't looking at her face, and again-she's not a "real" person.
I am upset at this generalisation. My porn collection (sculpture, paintings, audio, video, and literary) is enormous. In almost every instance, I can see faces. I don't enjoy gyno-porn, and neither do many of my friends. I know most of the actresses' names. They are most definitely real people. I imagine what I'd ask them if I bumped into them at a cafe, and I've even sent fan mail to a director I liked.


History

speedy'wrote: The saddest thing about porn, for me, is that it's squandering a freedom people have worked hundreds of years to secure -- the freedom to talk publicly about sex, to make art with sex in it, even for sexualized self-presentation.
maddy29 wrote: young people today (hee hee, i'm 30 so i'm not in that category!) are the first generation to grow up with porn being so mainstream
That freedom didn't come from modern feminism, or any other modern movement. It existed two thousand years ago. Excavations throughout the Mediterranean have revealed that--especially in early Rome--explicit sexual art/grafitti was everywhere, for everyone to see. Ancient India went through a period of great reverence for the erotic: just look at the Kajuraho temples, which took generations to build, and stood at the centre of a bustling city. I live in NE Asia, and have been absolutely stunned that the conservative, anti-sex, confucianist culture around me was once--about six centuries ago--replete with license of all kinds: in painting, sculpture, and action. Relatively speaking, we are not living in an age of mainstream sexual expression.


The OP: Is Feminism Succumbing to a Cock-block?

On the question of whether porn is cock-blocking (which I assumed meant de-railing) the broader feminist movement, presumably distracting it from issues that need (in the eyes of some) more attention:
lucizoewrote: I DO think there is a certain dialogue within the feminist movement that cock-blocks itself by focusing too much on porn. Porn does not feel like the issue to me; sexual slavery and human trafficking and violence against sex workers in real life is the issue.

snafooey wrote: we need to remove the stigma that sex work is, like, the absolute worst thing a woman can do with her body. As for morality, there is nothing wrong with, say, people - male or female - who want to have sex on screen or the people who want to watch them on screen - the issue for me is working conditions of sex workers (and what choice they had in the matter of becoming sex workers) as well as the types of porn/imagery that are so prevalent in our culture.

nohope wrote: Clearly the solution to the sweatshop and the brothel is unionization

I think all of these posters are right on the money, and I think snafooey makes an important distinction. Moral crusaders (in the guise of feminism, often) will seek to stamp out the sin they perceive pornography to be. People genuinely interested in improving the rights of the individuals will press government and industry for higher labour standards and protections in legitimated fields, and counselling and get-out strategies for those trapped in marginalised or destructive paths. This is how I distinguish the feminists I support and those I don't: are they working on behalf of women, or on behalf of an idea?
The only link I lost is the one where someone said that it's the unpunished crimes that need to be addressed. If someone is mistreated criminally during the making of porn, then that act (whether a labour violation, coercion, or outright kidnapping/assault) should be prosecuted by law enforcement. The context of the crime isn't relevant.

Speaking of crime,
lije wrote: Which rapists? Ted Bundy? He claimed the day before he was executed that pornography was what led him to kill women. His motive to lie was obvious. Ted Bundy and other rapists and murderers are not representative of most men.
Right again. When he was caught, Ted Bundy did not posess any pornography, nor was there any evidence of his ever having had any. his home was full of catalogues for everything from Sears to cheerleader supply stores to Girl Scout manuals, but no porn. If he had claimed it was his 2-litre a day milk habit that made him kill, everyone would have ignored him as crazy. But he pulled out the old porn chestnut, and suddenly he didn't bear all of the blame anymore. Well, like with milk, millions (maybe billions) of men and women throughout history have enjoyed porn without muderous side effects. 99.99999% reacted to porn with nothing stronger than arousal and consensual sexual activity. The idea that it is inherently evil is ludicrous. Gold has incited centuries of hatred, enslavement, and murder. So have religion, private property, tea and a goozillion other overvalued commodities. Is it even remotely reasonable to work for a legislated ban on these?

girlbombwrote: Are women who willingly participate in or consume porn that looks to be completely sexist or patriarchal setting back feminism? If you lift your shirt for Girls Gone Wild, are you harming others by supporting attitudes towards women that are damn harmful?
I think this is the most thought-provoking question in the thread. I struggle with my commitment to earth-friendly practices, and I often agonise over the choices I make: should I fly on jets? Snowboard? Eat meat? Buy my wife jewelry? When do I cross that moral line? How much personal responsibility is enough? Is it enough to lead by example? Do the greek-joining slackjaws who buy these tapes (and Maxim, etc.) need encouragement? If I dismiss the influence of the GGW women based on them being fame-seeking airheads that no one will take seriously, aren't I being as dismissive and disrespectful of them as the fans and producers of the videos? Or do I say: OK, they're 18. I was an idiot when I was 18, too. Maybe the same libertine spirit which at 18 moves them to flash their tits for some beads and a tshirt will turn them into the next Nina Hartley at 30? I really don't know, but I like the problem.

So I guess for me it comes down to paraphrasing one of Doodlebug's (right? was that your post?) posters: it's not about what "feminism" is doing, but about what we as feminists are doing. I speak with fellow feminists about my feelings on porn and censorship. I encourage those in the legal profession to take on censorship of all kinds. I contribute exclusively to organisations who can show me their dedication to women's social and physical health. I encourage those in social work to focus their energies on balancing the scales for disenfranchised women and the children who depend on them. I speak out about liberty to those societally unfamiliar with its benefits and responsibilities. It isn't much, but it's what I can do.
wombat
knittinkitten wrote: Is it really wrong that the source of this power is partly from her body?
All of these points are interesting in that the focus is on the body as somehow inviolate. One of the strongest taboos in any culture is the selling of one's soul, right? From that, consider this: I love my body. I revel in what it can do and experience. I am a very visceral person. And yet, I value my mind infinitely more. I love thought, and conundrums, and imagination, and discussions like this one. I'm a university instructor. To earn money, I am essentially selling my brain. If exploitation of some aspect of self for cash is crass and distasteful, shouldn't I be more embarassed about the nature of my employment? Shouldn't I feel better about the idea of working construction? Or stripping? Or anything else where it's a lesser-valued aspect of myself (i.e. my body) that I'm selling, rather than my precious mind?
*********
Hello, that is classist anti-worker shit, and I include as "working class" anyone who has to get up and go to a job, white collar or no, blue collar or no, college professor academic or not, or else they will lose their rented or purchased home.

Perhaps what we are talking about here in terms of "loss of soul" and sexuality in combination is this:
"sex workers" have sex with people they are not attracted to! It is a fantasy and lie, that perhaps they use to get themselves through the day and be able to hold their heads up around other people, that they are attracted to alll they have sex with, or that EVERYBODY does the same thing REALLY.

What do you do to your beloved sex life and sexual feeling when you have sex with people you don't want to have sex with for a buck? And are you really trying to tell me there is no more rape, violence and organized crime in that profession, in those professions, than any other?

You are spouting a line of bullshit, smirking smugly as you write some long diatribe to invalidate us, and, it's not working. You are obviously a highy privileged person with far too much time and money on your hands. Don't worry, you'll always be able to buy whatever you want. Just travel to get it if need be.

We see it for what it is. We deserve respect. As workers, as women, and as independent sexual beings. We are not silly. We are not ignorant. We are not gullible.

BULLSHIT!!!!!!!
wombat
*****

Oh hooray, you've provoked someone. Hug yourself in glee. I suggest you give up your *hello, prestigious, boss, authority, speaker* university professor job, and have yourself videotaped sucking 20 dicks in a row, and post the link here, and then tell us that there is no difference between the two "jobs" whatsoever.
girltrouble
i don't know if it's fair to comment on someone who wrote something 6 pages (or so). they probably aren't going to respond. they probably aren't going to defend themselves either.

i've said in other threads that this idea of selling one's soul is a person call. for you, the work i do (escorting/prostitution/whatever) might be a huge deal but that don't make it a universal truth. so let's stop talking and acting like it is.

as for not being attracted to the person you're sleeping with? it's not just sex workers. so get off the high-horse, cut the crap. everybody's done that. remember that now-ex bf or gf that you knew you were gonna break up with, but couldn't figure out how to? how you had to muster the courage to tell 'em weren't attracted to them anymore?

just because something is not socially acceptable doesn't mean it is wrong either. the two are not mutually exclusive.

and i disagree, blue collar isn't anyone who has to work. blue collar-- the working class, doesn't get paid for sitting at a desk, or 3+ times more than the people under them for a supervisory position.

the working class-- blue collar people, are the people who bust their ass, and run their bodies so that the rest of us can have cars, a roof that doesn't leak. steel to build skyscrapers, houses in good 'hoods. they do the physical work that breaks backs and bones. they dig the ditches that we lay our grave in. they pave the streets, lay the telephone lines and hook up the cable. it's that physical work. blue and white class, as a phrase, if i'm not mistaken, began with the autoworkers to separate those who "worked for a living" and those who were desk jockeys. a professor is not blue collar work. no matter how you slice it.

and let's not throw violence/rape into this like it's the rule, not the exception. because it's not. if it were the rule sex workers would be raped daily, every day they work. i don't mean to minimize rape (to be sure), but these sort of tyrades keep us from having an honest discussion. they are a means to silence anyone who disagrees and thinks sex work, could be simply another job.

sex work to me is anything that is somewhat sexual in nature. i say somewhat, because to simply say that it is always sexual takes out dominatrix, who, if you talk to them, usually think of themselves as sex workers, although, more often than not, DON'T have sex with their clients. then there are sex educators, who sometimes, think of themselves as such, and what of sex therapists?

and i think a view that doing something that you don't want to, paperwork, firing people, dealing with asshole customers on the phone, purely speaking, are equivelant.
tommynomad
QUOTE(wombat @ Dec 25 2006, 03:04 PM) *

Hello, that is classist anti-worker shit, and I include as "working class" anyone who has to get up and go to a job, white collar or no, blue collar or no, college professor academic or not, or else they will lose their rented or purchased home.

I don't. What white collar people like me do, relatively speaking, isn't work. The backbreaking labour performed by (some) blue collar/working poor people, as described by girltrouble, now THAT's work.

QUOTE(wombat @ Dec 25 2006, 03:04 PM) *

And are you really trying to tell me there is no more rape, violence and organized crime in that profession, in those professions, than any other?

Please show me where you think I said that.

QUOTE(wombat @ Dec 25 2006, 03:04 PM) *

You are spouting a line of bullshit, smirking smugly as you write some long diatribe to invalidate us, and, it's not working.

I wouldn't dream of trying to invalidate anyone. It's futile. Nor have I ever, to my knowledge, been smug: I'm just barely holding it together as I stumble through this life. Maybe instead of attacking me, you could address my "diatribe." Tell me why my comments regarding the OP are mistaken, or wrong, or fucked up. Surely you'd convince more people of the validity of your own position that way?

QUOTE(wombat @ Dec 25 2006, 03:04 PM) *

We see it for what it is.

I don't think you do.

QUOTE(wombat @ Dec 25 2006, 03:04 PM) *
We deserve respect. As workers, as women, and as independent sexual beings. We are not silly. We are not ignorant.

I agree.

QUOTE(girltrouble @ Dec 26 2006, 01:20 AM) *

i don't know if it's fair to comment on someone who wrote something 6 pages (or so). they probably aren't going to respond. they probably aren't going to defend themselves either.

Oh, I'm gonna (not to derail the great thread, but I think I'm entitled after that little ad hominemI was going to poo-poo the whole "the Lounge isn't what it used to be" idea, but I just got a huge dose of insight. I don't think I've ever been attacked like that.): I was raised in the most pro-labour environment ever. My parents are communist labour organisers. When I was 4, I was sorting picket signs and handing out coffee on the lines. When I was 13, I helped organise a Marxist worker's conference. The next year, I tried to run away to Poland to join Solidarnosc, the industrial workers' revolutionary party. When I was seventeen, I was threatened with expulsion from my high school for political activity (I was campaigning to have Labour Day--and Remembrance Day--made full holidays). Even in my current job, I have got into trouble for 'organising' in a non-union environment. I have never been anything but pro-labour.

I am not rich, at least not as rich as I have been made out to be. I've never owned a car or a home. Under Canadian definitions, I was legally poor from the age of 21-35. I am not a professor (never said I was), I'm an instructor: a sessional. I work for peanuts compared to real professors, have a higher teaching load, and every year, I have to try and earn a new contract or I'm out the door. I'm 38 years old, and in my whole life, I have never had more than 7 thousand (Canadian) dollars to my name, and on the two instances I did (both times living on $20/week so I could save to go travelling), the money was gone six months after I had it.


QUOTE(girltrouble @ Dec 26 2006, 01:20 AM) *

i've said in other threads that this idea of selling one's soul is a person call. for you, the work i do (escorting/prostitution/whatever) might be a huge deal but that don't make it a universal truth. so let's stop talking and acting like it is.

I used soul-selling as an indicator of the extreme on a hypothetical continuum: a starting point. I didn't mean to suggest sex workers were selling their souls. I merely wanted to suggest that that which is most precious to us is the thing that should never be sold, and that the next most precious thing also be difficult to sell, etc. The thing I value least about myself (out of mind-body-spirit) is my body. So starting from soul-selling, I'm suggesting selling my body ought to be least offensive to me. In many ways it is. If I were a brilliant physicist, and--due to circumstance--I had to choose between selling my brain to Lockheed so they can make warheads, or selling my body to haul bricks/strip/suck dicks, the choice would be an easy, and a moral, one. All that being said, wombat, instead of picking only the one extreme hypothetical in my post that set your bells off, how about commenting on all the other stuff?



QUOTE(girltrouble @ Dec 26 2006, 01:20 AM) *

as for not being attracted to the person you're sleeping with? it's not just sex workers. so get off the high-horse, cut the crap. everybody's done that. remember that now-ex bf or gf that you knew you were gonna break up with, but couldn't figure out how to? how you had to muster the courage to tell 'em weren't attracted to them anymore?

I would suggest it's a little different for people who are being exploited for sex work.

QUOTE(girltrouble @ Dec 26 2006, 01:20 AM) *

just because something is not socially acceptable doesn't mean it is wrong either. the two are not mutually exclusive.

and i disagree, blue collar isn't anyone who has to work. blue collar-- the working class, doesn't get paid for sitting at a desk, or 3+ times more than the people under them for a supervisory position.

the working class-- blue collar people, are the people who bust their ass, and run their bodies so that the rest of us can have cars, a roof that doesn't leak. steel to build skyscrapers, houses in good 'hoods. they do the physical work that breaks backs and bones. they dig the ditches that we lay our grave in. they pave the streets, lay the telephone lines and hook up the cable. it's that physical work. a professor is not blue collar work. no matter how you slice it.

I agree 100% with all of that!

QUOTE(girltrouble @ Dec 26 2006, 01:20 AM) *

and let's not throw violence/rape into this like it's the rule, not the exception. because it's not. if it were the rule sex workers would be raped daily, every day they work. i don't mean to minimize rape (to be sure), but these sort of tyrades keep us from having an honest discussion. they are a means to silence anyone who disagrees and thinks sex work, could be simply another job.

Exactly. Isn't this discussion about whether a preoccupation with porn/sex workers has kept some feminists from tackling bigger, more systemic issues?


I eagerly await insightful commentary. It's been a while since I've been around the BUST Lounge, and I'd like to spend more time here again. Never a dull moment.
erinjane
QUOTE(wombat @ Dec 25 2006, 09:54 AM) *

*****

Oh hooray, you've provoked someone. Hug yourself in glee. I suggest you give up your *hello, prestigious, boss, authority, speaker* university professor job, and have yourself videotaped sucking 20 dicks in a row, and post the link here, and then tell us that there is no difference between the two "jobs" whatsoever.



Whoa! Way unnecessary, wombat. Tommy is a well known bust(er?) who hasn't been around for a while but was around a while back. I didn't take anything that he said to be confrontational or smug, to me it looked like he was just giving his opinion. I don't think I took away one thing that you did from his comments. Take a breath.
girltrouble
um...tommy perhaps you should read a little closer. my comment was almost entirely to wombat. (we have kind of a nice little debate going.) not you.

although, i still think it's not very fair to comment on anything not on the current page. it's just not fair. if you do want to re-examine a topic on another page, in my book, you should re intro it by just saying, "i'd like to get back to..." no need to name names, just say, "here's what i think..."
tommynomad
Thanks erinjane.

girltrouble, i apologise if my post was confusing. I realise I was a little mish-mash in my quotations and replies--in one instance something you said inspired a comment from me, and then my cut-and-paste (i have frequent computer crashes so to be safe I type everything in notepad first) included a response to wombat. You'll note, though, that I agreed with much of what you said and attributed properly. (I forgot to say before, that Tristin Taormino is sooooo my heroine.)

As for which discussion I can comment on, or how far back I can go, I must disagree with you. This is a open board, so if you want to keep a convo between two people, it should take place in a different medium (email/pm/im). I also think one of the best things about BBsystems (and I'm in my tenth year using them) is that they are archived, so you can go way back and see where a discussion came from, how it evolved, etc. This helps avoid repetition, and benefits those who cannot read as regularly as others. I don't name names to identify a target (because I don't conceive of these discussions that way), I do it so as to properly attribute people's comments. In BB netiquette, it's also a courtesy, so that people can easily refer to the original post. I now realise the new BUSTboards have that feature built in, but as I said, this is my first time back in a while.


So, how 'bout that cock-blocking porn, eh?
go_kayte
QUOTE(girltrouble @ Dec 25 2006, 08:20 PM) *

sex work to me is anything that is somewhat sexual in nature. i say somewhat, because to simply say that it is always sexual takes out dominatrix, who, if you talk to them, usually think of themselves as sex workers, although, more often than not, DON'T have sex with their clients. then there are sex educators, who sometimes, think of themselves as such, and what of sex therapists?



I agree with this. I was thinking for a while of the possibilities of opening a condom/sextoy/porn store (modeled after the pro-fem pro-queer pro-safe sex babeland/good vibrations type of store). When I told my parents about the idea to get some help writing a business plan they outright refused because to them even owning a very sex positive woman friendly store is sex work and dirty and they don't want their daughter doing it. I haven't totally given up on the idea but it's on the backburner until I write a business plan and get some capital. It's true that "the line" dividing legitimate work and illegitimate work is in different places for different people. Some (like my parents) see even legal sex work like owning a store as illegitimate, others like girltrouble see escorting as legitimate. Personally, without the experience, I can't say where the line would be for me. But a friend of mine who is a stripper does some prostitution work on the side, and she absolutely doesn't see a difference between giving a handjob and giving a lapdance. I think it's good to acknowledge that everyone has different morals and different ideas of what is acceptable to them.

Also to comment on what tommynomad said about a physicist who sells their brain to make weapons... I applied for an internship for the government a while back (I'm in electrical engineering). It sounded like a great position, great pay, etc. They couldn't let me in on what I would be working on until after they told me I got the job for security reasons. I found out I'd be doing weapons research and could not accept the job on moral grounds, even though they were spinning it as "protecting our soldiers." As a result, another student got the job. That student didn't have the same moral boundaries as me regarding what kind of work I will or won't do. I see sex work as the same idea. Some strippers/dancers I'm sure won't do prostitution work. Some dominatrixes won't have sex with their clients. Some will. To claim that there is one absolute limit on how far sex work can go before it's "bad" is akin to intolerance of others' beliefs and experiences.
girltrouble
a few pages back someone asked what is so empowering about porn-- or as i think they put it "taking off your clothes". a question that got me thinking, of course my take on it is different, but i feel rather ambiguous all the same. so bear with me.

in a lot of ways tranny porn is awful, awful, awful. like other kinds of porn, the most offensive words are used (he-she/shemale,chix w/dix, etc) and much of it is degrading, with t-girls being little more than sexual objects. made for fucking and little else. but that said, i can't help but think in this case, "there's no such thing as bad publicity." and it's not so much that i came to this conclusion in a feminist way (if that is even possible), but because it generally normalizes transexuality, with/because of porn, transexuals are much more visable, and that is a good thing even if the exposure isn't. it's kind of a jerry springeresque theory to be sure. but in the same way, before it wasn't something most people had a frame of reference when it came to transexuality. and i have to contend that movies like "boys don't cry" or "transamerica" wouldn't have been possible had it not been for springer. and likewise, trans-porn has made an awareness of t-girls much wider, becoming an area of growth, certainly a dubious honor. but all the same, even if guys stay in the closet, and t-girls are still very objectified, they-- we-- are much less alien. and i am starting to see more men interested in dating t-girls openly, appreciating them as complex, 3 dimentional people.

now i don't know if this theory is true, i'm just throwing it out there. i point all of this out, because i wonder if we are looking at this a bit too simplisticly. we all know about the downside, but, is there an upside of m/f porn? is there something empowering about it?
wombat
Wow, when I say I am sick of grad school feminist version of "pro-sex" I really mean it, eh? I like you all, but I am really, really sick of academic "feminist" "pro-sex". I had said in the other thread that I felt too tired to engage on that issue, and kinda wish I'd stuck to it instead of exploding like a big zit. But.

Sorry to be ferocious, but I think it is necessary sometimes.

and girltrouble, I appreciate your perspective. Truly, I'm not saying that as a rhetorical statement followed with a big BUT!!

Erinjane: I know who tommy_nomad is, and I don't think his "being around awhile" means anything good or bad.

I had appreciated having a discussion that was not "the party line never criticize sex of any kind in any way whatsoever" and then I see a long diatribe with posted quotes "challenging" us and stuffing the exact party line I said I was sick of down our throats. Oh, but we're just arrogant and ignorant and prissy!! We're just being mean to sex workers! As if. I hadn't been that way.

The very idea of having self-appointed, grad school authorities on women's sex lives is abhorrent to me. I got so sick of Taormino, Bright and all the rest. Damn it! I grew up in the sixties, Playboy was the only mag available, boobies only, then other stuff became available, then I went to college, got really invovled in feminism and gay rights and had my own sexual experiences and was part of the early and more individual and questioning and crusading uh --- awkard phrase here -- women's right to orgasm and clit knowledge and g spot discoveries and looking inside each other vagina's etc. -- before it was turned into "performance art" and stamped with the brand name "Annie Sprinkle" -- even though I like her.

As I've said elsewhere, guess it's worth repeating, one of my best friends in high school was a stripper and did sex work, and I didn't judge or reject her even back then.

However, I think there is something to object to in the statement that all blue collar work and white collar work is the same as prostitution. That implies that there is nothing for anyone on this earth to do that is of any value, besides serving men in some way to get money. I almost think the whole economic movements that are a backlash to the progress and opportunities and gains made by women, the middle class and people of color are to drive the point home to us: all we are or should ever be are servants to men, preferably -- if we are "superior specimens" ruling class men, and they want as big a pool of attractive, healthy, intelligent women as possible to make financially dependent and sexually servile. Deny all other optiions.

I decide what I do with my own body, if I have a choice, which I do, between marrying a man and sucking his dick twice a day to live in a mansion, versus making my own living and only sucking dick when I'm being serviced in return, I sure the hell am going to pick the second option.

And I do think a person choosing to have sex with a person they are not attracted to and not pleasured by to get money or position or other things is damaging to their emotional and sexual life. It doesn't matter what context that is in. To me, that is a "no duh" kind of thing.

A little background, I have had blue collar and white collar jobs. Both require intelligence, skill and effort, and it takes YEARS to get a good one. They are NOT the same as prostitution. Why do people have feelings of dread, like runaways, newly divorced or fired women, or newly homeless people, why do they dread resorting to prostitution if it is A-OK? Why do people bother to get any other talents or skills and try to live off of them?

The last thing I would welcome is a privileged woman who cements her privilege by getting a rich man to service in all the traditional female domestic ways, and then tries to tell us all she's still feminist and even a super "hipster" while doing it. Ugh. I know women that have done this. They wave the rewards for their submission in my face. Me, I'll just go on working away and earning my own rewards.

I don't mean to be disrespectful of people, I'm not motivated by hatred or anger, I'm motivated by love for my sex life, my sweet emotions and love and loyalty to the man in my life, my doing my fair share no more and no less of domestic work, my love for my talents, skills and intelligence for as far as I can push them.



erinjane
The problem that I have with your repeated statements, wombat, is that you say you hate when people shove the party line down your throat and talk about being "sex positive", but then repeatedly 'shout' your opinion at us. This is a public discussion. People will have differing opinions. No one else loses their temper and makes attacks on others opinions except you. You keep making claims people are calling you arrogant or prissy, and saying you're being mean, but no where in any of this conversation have I seen anyone say anything like that. The only person who's not being respectful is you. You seem to be taking everyone's opinion on this topic as a personal attack on you. Chill.
girltrouble
well, you know i have to rebut your posts, wombat, because i respect you much. and no buts here.

i'd rather use the phrase "sex work" rather than "prostitution" because i think prostitution as a word has a rather sordid conotation, and really, i don't see any moral problem with it, as you do.

i don't think that blue + white collar and sex work are all equal. for the most part, and i'm not saying this to be funny, i think that blue collar and prostitution are waaaaay more honest. i think it was living in blue collar cities like seattle (pre- and durring grunge) and pittsburgh that i started to appreciate that type of work. blue collar people in general are much more honest, they are salt of the earth.

white collar, to my mind brings to mind executives of enron etc, that were more than happy to rape in a very profound way not just strangers, but people who should have been like family to them-- employees. it seems many of them are suffering under the delusion that they are in the movie "wallstreet" with a slime smothered michael douglas, and it's still the 80's where greed is good. while airlines and car companies go bankrupt and expect the taxpayer to bail them out so the wonderful white collar execs can keep their million dollar bonuses and golden parachutes while their employees are layed off, or their benies are cut. maybe it's me, but sucking a dick is much more honest work.

and (this is a serious pet peeve of mine) i really object to people equating blue and white collar work in general. no matter how many memos you write, one white collar never equals 1/4th of the amount of work that a blue collar worker does. blue collar is hard physical work, and while you may have your degree and your mind, people who do real blue collar work destroy their bodies with constant wear and tear and are NEVER compensated in the same way that white collar workers are.

i think it quite odd that you rally against the elitist academia, but not the same attitudes of white collar workers... just saying.

and not to be rude, but anytime someone posts numerous quotes from 40 pages ago, my eyes glaze over. i don't read their posts, i skip them. nothing is more annoying than someone who interupts a conversation talking about a subject everyone has moved beyond. that's all i'm saying.

personally, i find academics talking about sex work as revolting as you. but then again, i bristle at anyone who hasn't done it talking about it as if they were an authority, just as offensive.

and i think you know why people dread going into sex work. because you constantly hear people foisting horror stories and telling you that to do so 'wears away at one's very soul...." uh, yeah. what was i saying about people pretenting that they know....? perhaps it would help if you stopped generalizing in your posts and personalized. sex work is, to you, damaging to your soul. not sex work IS damaging to their soul. speak for yourself.

sorry, i don't see the act of sucking a guy's dick as the same thing being (eternally) servile. i brook no shit when i work, i am not some mindless drone as you seem to imply. the work is not a cake walk where i just throw my legs up in the air and call it done. and while you talk about it being some sort of slavery to the man, i have to disagree. sex work, like it or not can offer freedom and independance to women who may not have your advantages.

more over, you seem to think one cannot possibly be at all feminist if one gets money for sex. you can absolutely do sex work and have a balanced relationship. the two don't over lap, much as you seem to merge the two. because i am a stripper, a hooker, a phone sex operator, or in someway make money from a bodily function, doesn't mean i've been lobotimized. it doesn't mean i cannot stand up for myself in a relationship, or that i must fold to the will of every man that crosses my path. and if anything, i think it's simplistic, and belittles women, and our intelegence.
wombat
EJ -- yeah I regret posting in a way that seems that I disrespect the people involved, because that is not how I feel.

These intersecting issues are rather painful for me right now. But, I hope to be able to deal with the pain in a more substantial, effective and articulate way.

Girltrouble -- see, I think that it is more respectful to point out the similarities between blue collar and white collar jobs, where they exist. Not all blue collar jobs wear out your body. I've had machine shop jobs that were wonderful. You sit down and work quietly and use a lot of different abilities. Also, white collar office jobs pretty much stink if you're just hunched down in a cubicle doing repetitive stuff and getting carpal tunnel.

There are so many aspects to this stuff.

I'm not disprespecting you, girl trouble, I have really been interested in what you have to say. And your statements about the executives and academics are beloved by me. But, you see, I'm hearing second hand from you on the same basis I'm hearing second hand from others.

I don't like a social movement that promotes sex work as a tactic to make conditions better for sex workers. Is there nothing else for people to do? So many skilled and renumerative jobs have been denied us. Be the ruling class or be a servant? server? servicer?

I don't want to serve anyone. I want to be paid for skills that have nothing to do with being a domestic or sexual servant.

I guess this makes me a "bad" woman. We should all live for charities, knitting, babies, cute little animals, etc. We should inherit or marry our money, or else we don't deserve to have it. Whosoever is the sickest and weakest is our master and mistress. We have no right of refusal and no right to be strong.
Whatever we have, we must give to others.

Others, others, others.

I am truly sorry to be a Cranky McCrankypants about this in a way that bothers other people personally. NOT what I want to do.

But, really. This has been chewing on me for awhile, which I guess is why it came out here. I am working on pressenting myself in such a way that I will be taken seriously. I have a rare window opening and have to gear up on all levels, discipline on all levels, productiveness on all levels, to get through it before it slams.

And, seriously, in my past it was made known to me that I only existed to be the handmaiden to the downtrodden of the earth.

Is that all there is?
girltrouble
wombat i have never had a problem with you talking about things first person. when you say "i..." whatever, i can't help but respect how you choose to conduct your life and your affairs. hey that's your life, you live it your way. i do, however have a problem when you try to impose your morality on me. i don't think anyone is suggesting that the only avenue women should have should be one of subservence. the point to me is supporting a woman's right to make her own choices. taking away that power, whether the person taking is male or female, is wrong. if we are saying we are about women's choices for women, then women should be free to make those choices that are right for their life, their situation, their sexuality, and their happiness. period. i can't decide to make an exception because it isn't what i'd do, or it doesn't fit into my moral code. that's exactly what the anti-abortion people do. it's the same thing.

carpet-tunnel isn't the same thing as cronic back pain, or many of the other things blue collar workers deal with. my point is that while the execs get all the great medical bennies, the people who give their bodies for the company get ....

there is a boeing plant near me, and to me those are real blue collar workers. it's not the same as office work. it's not the same as retail. but no, all blue collar jobs don't wear your body out, not all sewing jobs are sweatshops, and not all sexworkers get raped/are drug addicts/involved with the mob/have pimps/etc. how come it's ok to positively compare blue and white collar work, but to do the same, comparing physical (sex) work is similar to physical (manual) work, or even physical (sex) work to mental (academic) work postively is out of bounds?

and if you are working to present yourself in a way that will get you taken seriously, i respect that, but you can't expect the whole world to stop while you do. i'm sorry. it's not the way things work. and i can certainly relate. believe me. i see some trannies who dress and act in a way that can only be described as "skanky" and while i am tempted to slap some sense into them. that's who they want to be. so i have to conduct myself in a way that who i am isn't effected by them and their bullshit. yeah, there are guys who are going to think all t-girls are like this or that, but i have always thought-- even back at the dawn of time when i was a boy--that if you act like you are the exception to the rule that's how people will treat you. but if it's this thing where someone decides everyone has to act a certain way, then the next thing you know it's dress codes and ...

and i know you are being respectful. you are passionate. i respect that. it's cool. don't worry about couching what you want to say for me. i gotcha, chica. if you saying that youre hearing me second hand and people that you know second hand, shouldn't our different opinions be weighted equally? instead from the way you post, and the words you use it's quite obvious that you heard these things and decided that that was the end of the story-- the whole story. and now anything that contradicts that is an anomoly to the point of insignifigance.
girlbomb
QUOTE(girltrouble @ Dec 27 2006, 11:49 PM) *

if we are saying we are about women's choices for women, then women should be free to make those choices that are right for their life, their situation, their sexuality, and their happiness. period.


Totally agreed.

I think the question here, however, is, "What if those choices are great for the individual woman, but the repercussions of the individual woman's choices are not so great for other women?"

It seems to me that a lot of porn has repercussions that are not so great for other women (and for the poster who said below that most mainstream porn isn't violent, I disagree -- most of what I've seen shows absolutely no anatomical understanding of women's pleasure, and looks like it's actively painful for the actress, especially since the advent of Viagra). So how do I express that to a young woman who's in the porn business? I don't want to condescend to her, and say, "Your choice is hurting you," since she's the only one who can really make that call. But what if I think her choice is feeding into a hurtful system of misogyny and oppression?

It's hard for me to keep my mouth shut when I see something that seems unneccessarily politically fucked up, like it's hard when I see people bragging about their fur coats. And I think most porn is fucked up. What if it's "my choice" to advocate against it? Isn't it anti-feminist to tell me not to?
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