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Pornography as Rape: The Rehtaeh Parsons case

If you are a woman or girl seeking justice, the Canadian legal system is an abject failure. Whether the case is instantiated at the provincial or federal level; the judicial decisions reflect the values of society, regardless of the assumed impartiality of the judge. The judge is not the only actor who plays a pivotal role in upholding the status quo; the police (especially the RCMP) are complicit in reproducing violence against women and girls. Rehtaeh Parsons is just one woman who did not receive an adequate police response; she was raped while boys (now men) produced pornographic images of her, she was intoxicated to the point of vomiting profusely at the time. The boys circulated the pornographic images of her rape, yet the police and the court decided...
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The Sun executives aren’t just sexist pieces of shit, they’re also deceitful, manipulative teenagers

A number of news outlets reported that The Sun would no longer be running images of topless women on “Page Three” and the BBC reported that, “The Times, which has the same publisher as the Sun, said it understood Friday’s edition of the Sun was the last that would carry images of topless women, although they would continue online.” Since Monday, there have been no topless models on Page Three, further supporting the widespread understanding that the feature, first introduced in 1970, had been dropped. What the topless models were replaced with was not much better — on Monday, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley was shown wearing Marks & Spencer underwear and Tuesday’s Page Three featured two bikini-wearing actresses running on a beach. This sent a clear message that The Sun’s editors...
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After 44 years, The Sun drops Page Three

Congratulations are in order for our UK sisters! The BBC reports that “Friday’s edition of the Sun was the last that would carry images of topless women.” The No More Page Three campaign, founded by writer and actor Lucy Anne Holmes, has been going strong since 2012, lobbying the current editor of The Sun, David Dinsmore to remove the completely outdated, embarrassing, sexist, and unnecessary “Page Three,” which featured photos of topless models. The change.org petition garnered over 217,000 signatures. It reads, simply: We are asking very nicely. Please, David. No More Page 3. George Alagiah doesn’t say, ‘And now let’s look at Courtney, 21, from Warrington’s bare breasts,’ in the middle of the 6 O’ Clock News, does he, David? Philip and Holly don’t flash up pictures of...
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Men embrace women who embrace retro sexism

Adam Bisby at The Globe and Mail is thrilled that it’s not just men who are participating in the retro sexism trend. When his friend gifted him a vintage Playboy mag he wondered why his “modern, liberated, platonic pal” would give him something that ” many women find … an objectifying affront to feminism.” Bisby was relieved to learn that some women have bought into the notion that objectification is ok when it’s retro, ironic, or vintage. Sometimes referred to as “hipster sexism,” this is nothing new. In 2010, Anita Sarkeesian defined “retro sexism” or “ironic sexism” as “modern attitudes and behaviours that mimic or glorify sexist aspects of the past, often in an ironic way.” You’ll notice that burlesque performers and fans will also defend the strip...
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Ghomeshi played the role of a feminist ally, but in private he was fully enmeshed in porn culture

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been interviewed by male journalists who have been clearly antagonistic to my feminist, anti-porn position. I can usually tell within the first five minutes of the interview that these guys are very upset by my argument that porn shapes male sexuality in ways that normalize sexual violence. They often become hostile and insulting, and end up accusing me of being an anti-sex prude who hates men. Because I’ve been on the receiving end of so much hostility from male interviewers, I remember well those who were particularly sympathetic to the feminist view. One who stands out in my mind as a thoughtful interviewer is Jian Ghomeshi, former host of the popular CBC radio show, Q. Ghomeshi had not only given...
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Celebgate: Why aren’t we talking about pornography?

The beginning of this month saw the mass theft and unapproved release of many female celebrities’ private nude photos in what has been obnoxiously labelled Celebgate. Now, as of last Saturday, a second post has gone up on various sites around the Internet with even more stolen images. The newest post adds Aubrey Plaza, Avril Lavigne, Kim Kardashian, and others to a growing list of victimized women. The FBI claims to be on the case and looking for suspects, but thankfully men the world over have decided to lend a helping hand in finding out who is truly responsible: Women, of course. The three most common reactions from men seem to be 1) masturbation, 2) arrogant, self-righteous condemnation, or 3) masturbation followed by/occurring alongside arrogant, self-righteous condemnation. (Misogynists are...
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Mystery story: Why do you think so many women equate porn with ‘harassment?’

Calling all detectives! We have a MYSTERY on our hands! OooOooOOoooooo. How can porn, on one hand, be a totally neutral and potentially empowering space for women while also being widely understood to constitute sexual harassment? It’s weird because despite what all these liberal feminists will tell you about porn being totally sexy and empowering and a personal choice for personal persony persons, women continue to feel harassed by it. WEEEEIRD. A firefighter named Candice Buckner is suing the city of Jacksonville for sex discrimination, saying “she had been subjected to a hostile work environment in the fire station to which she was assigned due to the presence and volume of sexually explicit and pornographic materials, and inappropriate behaviors, in the fire station.” After she complained about the porn, things...
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Feminism is the new misogyny: On ‘Belle Knox feminism’ and the new backlash

This just in from the backlash: everything is feminism’s fault and we are the real woman-haters. You knew that, didn’t you? That it was not men, but women — and not just women, but feminists — who were responsible for things like violence against women and sexual repression. It’s a pretty good trick, actually, because guess who gets off scot-free? Men. Also, oppressive systems of power. With women busy attacking other women for their own oppression, who has time to fight the real enemy? As illogical as it sounds on paper, this phenomenon actually makes a lot of sense. The most obvious explanation for feminist-hating among women (or even among feminists) is that we live in a culture that teaches us to hate women — that it’s acceptable to...
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For the last time (I wish): It is not fucking ok to work with Terry Richardson

Another model has come forward about hipster darling, Terry Richardson’s predatory behaviour, adding to a long list of sexual harassment and sexual assault allegations aimed at the photographer. The model shared her story on Reddit, saying that she feels it’s important for her to share her experience “for the sake of other young women out there.” And here’s what I’d like to know: how many more fucking women are going to have to share their stories about Richardson before we believe them, before we stop ignoring them, before we hold this man accountable for his disgusting behaviour? HOW MANY. Sadly and typically, she blames herself for what happened as well: Let me preface this by saying I am fully aware that this was bad decision making on my part and...
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“A magazine for everybody” is a magazine for men

“Female friendly” “Porn for women” “Woman-made porn” We’ve heard it all before and here it is again in Adult, a magazine “of contemporary erotics and experience.” Women have been so indoctrinated by the idea that male sexuality = human sexuality that we can only understand “sexy” though the eyes of men.   Adult tries to disguise it’s overt glorification of the male gaze by claiming it is “by women” and “for everyone” but the lazy sexism is impossible to miss. “I want a magazine that is for everybody but feels like it was made by a woman,” says founding editor Sarah Nicole Prickett (of selfies-are-empowering infamy). “Who is ‘everybody?'” you might ask. Even Prickett admits that a porn magazine by, and supposedly for, women is no different than any...
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Man quits watching porn; survives

My good friend Angus decided to stop watching porn a few months ago. Because I am infinitely frustrated by the “all men watch porn” myth, I decided to interview him. Proof! All men don’t watch porn and, if you do, it’s possible to stop. Here’s our conversation: Angus: HI MEGHAN. Meghan: Ok are you ready? Angus: YOU’RE NOT MY REAL MOM. But otherwise, yeah M: Do you remember how old you were when you first started watching porn? A: As with most men of my generation, my first experiences with porn really were the scraps of Playboy and Hustler found in the forests and parks of boyhood. These things were coveted and stashed and revisited as often as possible, and it was tremendously exhilarating to seek out these forbidden...
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Liberals want more lies in ‘Lovelace’

Lovelace was hard to watch. It was hard to be reminded that there was a time when women couldn’t legally testify against their husbands. It was hard to watch a woman trying to escape from an abusive man, but have nowhere to go. It was hard to watch yet another woman’s trust and love for a man be repaid with hatred and violence. But it felt refreshing to see Hollywood deal with the sex industry in a way that didn’t make light of, glorify, or sexualize women’s experiences in it. John Stoltenberg wrote: “cinematic justice has never been so bittersweet.” Deep Throat holds a significant place in pop culture, pinpointing the beginnings of porn culture. It was seen as fun, sexy entertainment then and is seen more as kitsch...
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The sweetest revenge (porn): Joe Francis meets karma

Hi karma. Some days you warm my heart. Joe Francis, misogynist extraordinaire and the man who brought us Girls Gone Wild, the soft core porn empire that made millions coercing drunk coeds to flash the camera or even perform sex acts for fun free is trying desperately keep a sex tape of his own from going public. He’s threatening to sue any media outlet that releases the tape; his lawyer saying: “It is not only unfortunate, but it is a crime.” OH REALLY, JOE FRANCIS? REALLY IS IT A CRIME TO RELEASE VIDEOS OF OTHER PEOPLE PERFORMING SEX ACTS WITHOUT THEIR PERMISSION? IS IT FATHOMABLE THAT PEOPLE MIGHT NOT LIKE IMAGES OF THEIR NAKED BODIES SHOPPED AROUND ON THE INTERNET? Oh. Ok then. Just so we’re clear, it’s totally fine...
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The tyranny of consent

Emily Witt’s recent essay, in which she describes traveling to San Fransisco, where she watches a BDSM porn shoot for a Kink.com series called Public Disgrace, which depicts “women bound, stripped, and punished in public,” inspired a number of responses. Despite my, probably obvious, criticisms of both porn and the BDSM genre, in particular, the piece is a very good read (by which I mean, it is engaging and complex and thoughtful); although very, very graphic (by which I mean, don’t read it unless you wish to read very detailed descriptions of sadomachochism). There’s no real way to defend the production of this kind of film, the scene for this particular production is described by Conor Friedersdorf for The Atlantic, as one in which “… a group of San Franciscans...
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In pornography, there’s literally a market for everything: Why ‘feminist porn’ isn’t the answer

“If there’s something you don’t like about your body, put it into a search engine, put ‘+ porn,’ and you’ll find a whole host of sites that find that’s the most attractive thing about you,” porn producer, Anna Arrowsmith said in an interview with BBC, with reference to a debate she would be participating in, hosted by Intelligence Squared in London. The debate was centered around the motion: “Pornography is good for us” — indeed, a stupidly simplistic and unanswerable question in and of itself; the debate shone a light on the intellectually void and anti-feminist nature of the delusion that is “feminist” or “queer” pornography. Arrowsmith begins her argument in a most telling way; describing how, one night, walking through London’s red light district, she realized that, rather...
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Podcasts

PODCAST: Sunsara Taylor on the silencing of feminist critiques of the sex industry

When Sunsara Taylor and her activist group, Stop Patriarchy, attended the annual CLPP (Civil Liberties and Public Policy) conference this past weekend at Hampshire College, they never thought it would result in their being escorted out by police. The 27th annual conference for student and community activists was focused on reproductive freedoms, called: “From Abortion Rights to Social Justice: Building the Movement for Reproductive Freedom.” When some of the conference goers learned about Stop Patriarchy’s position on the sex industry, they confronted the some of the group members, and then complained to conference organizers that their presence at the conference made it an “unsafe space.” Conference organizers responded by calling the police, who escorted group members out of the conference, threatening them with arrest if they did not comply. I...
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You want proof that criminalization works? Look no further than the feminist movement

Yesterday, The Nation and Tom Dispatch published an epic, historical look at the successes of the feminist movement over the past fifty-odd years and the long road ahead. In the article, Ruth Rosen points to various male “behaviours” like rape that, while once were viewed simply as “custom” were redefined, thanks to the feminist movement, as crimes. Not so long ago, you may or may not recall that there was no such thing as rape in marriage. Husbands were entitled to sex, with or without the consent of their wives. Not so long ago, date rape was common, unnamed, and completely acceptable. There were no conversations about consent when it came to sex. It simply wasn’t relevant. Rape still happens far more than most would like to acknowledge or...
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