Blog

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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Meghan Murphy on Elliot Rodger, misogyny and porn culture

On May 23 in Isla Vista, California, 22-year-old Elliot Rodger murdered six people and wounded 13 more. Rodger, in his blog as well as on Youtube, cited women for not giving him attention, sex and love as motivation for his attack. Most media outlets have talked up what happened as the act of a deranged young man. Yet the tragedy has also prompted a larger conversation about male entitlement in a world where women face escalating threats of rape and violence, not to mention persistent gender disparities in work, education and civil society, each day. Meghan Murphy is a writer and journalist as well as founder and editor of the website Feminist Current. She has written on the killings committed by Elliot Rodger and the misogynist cultural messages we...
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Male entitlement begets male entitlement: On Elliot Rodger, misogyny, and the sex industry

As most of us are now aware, 22-year-old Elliot Rodger, son of Hollywood producer Peter Rodger, went on a shooting rampage on Friday night, killing six people and sending seven more to the hospital. Rodger was very clear about the reasoning behind his violence. In a video posted online before the shooting, he says: For the last eight years of my life, ever since I hit puberty, I’ve been forced to endure an existence of loneliness, rejection and unfulfilled desires. All because girls have never been attracted to me. Girls gave their affection and sex and love to other men, but never to me. I’m 22-years-old and still a virgin. I’ve never even kissed a girl. I’ve been through college, for two and a half years, more than that actually,...
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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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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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Podcasts

PODCAST: Gail Dines on Iceland’s proposal to ban hardcore pornography online

 Iceland has been called the world’s most feminist country. Ranking first in the 2012 Global Gender Gap Report, the country sucessfully banned strip clubs, adopted feminist legislation around prostitution, decriminalizing sex workers and criminalizing the men who buy sex, and have legislated against printing and distributing porn. Now, the progressive country is considering banning hardcore pornography online. While some are concerned about the ways in which this kind of ban could impact free speech on the web, the proposal has garned a great deal of support. In this episode, Meghan Murphy speaks with Gail Dines, professor of sociology and women’s studies at Wheelock College in Boston, the author of “Pornland: How Porn has Hijacked our Sexuality,” and a founding member of Stop Porn Culture about the proposal.   **Warning:...
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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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Girls explains the difference between porn and nudity in half an hour (nsfw)

After all my frustrated and repetitive attempts at trying to explain the difference between porn and images of naked bodies and the difference between objectification and images of female sexuality that aren’t exploitative or sexualized, Sunday night’s episode of Girls basically did it all for me. Go watch it, if you can, but here’s a super brief recap for those who missed it: Hannah meets a hot doctor dude (Joshua/Patrick Wilson) who comes into the coffee shop she works at to complain about the shop’s garbage ending up in his trash cans. Hannah, being the secret culprit, goes to his place to apologize, kisses him, and they spend the next two days humping. Good times. Warning, there is no humping in the following clip: The point I’m often trying...
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Revenge porn is about porn

If you haven’t yet heard about revenge porn, you’re lucky. Notorious dickbag, Hunter Moore, is big into the revenge porn game. He can be credited with mainstreaming the concept of punishing your ex by posting their nude photos online without their permission via his website, IsAnyoneUp.com. Doesn’t take much to get rich these days, just a complete lack of anything resembling a soul. Not only would Moore post the photos, but he would also post the person’s name, location, and link to their social media accounts, also helpfully facilitating comments under the images critiquing the person’s appearance. Innovative, right! Eight months after his original site shut down, Moore, committed as ever to cretin status, announced he would be launching a new site: HunterMoore.TV. Of course, the fact that he...
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Free speech in Pornland

No surprise here. The adult entertainment industry has followed through on their promise to file a suit against Los Angeles County, challenging Measure B, which passed in November, mandating condom-use on porn sets in L.A. The suit, filed Thursday at the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California on behalf of Vivid Entertainment and performers Kayden Kross and Logan Pierce, states that porn companies have the right to freedom of expression and speech, which includes the right to film sex acts without a condom. (via Huffington Post) Free speech, in the porn industry, has always had less to do with freedom and more to do with profit, male orgasms, and also profit. It is an industry that cares little about people’s actual lives (unless the life in...
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Beware sex therapists bearing books: When porn is the answer to your relationship woes

Shut-up and spread your legs. That’s the gist of some of the most recent advice offered by Australian sex therapist Bettina Arndt to the heterosexual women of the world in her series of books about what men want in bed and why women should give it to them. Over the last few years, Arndt has variously suggested that men have innately higher sex drives than women; that wives should put out for their husbands, even when they don’t want to have sex; and that women should “stop banging on” about pornography and just accept that all men will use it, including their intimate partners. There is nothing particularly new or radical about most of this. Such advice merely harks back to a time when performing your wifely duties and...
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Facials, feminism, & performance: On f**king men in a patriarchy

As feminists, sleeping with men is always going to be a little fraught. Not getting to the actual act, per se – jumping into bed with people we feel like jumping into bed with can be pretty straightforward – rather the politics surrounding feminists having sex with men within the context of a patriarchy as well as, of course, the maintenance of a sexual relationship with a man in the long-term. Applying the phrase, ‘the personal is political’, seems particularly difficult when we are talking about an act that can be very private and very personal. Certainly sex is one of those things that can make us feel extremely vulnerable. Including politics or even acknowledging that, in one way or another, there is a larger context to our behaviour...
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Not my Nigel: On mothers, sons, responsibility, and denial

After reading a piece, published back in 1989 by Sonia Johnson called “Rearing Nice Sons Can’t Change the World“, I started thinking about mothers, sons, male privilege and what’s sometimes referred to as the ‘Not my Nigel‘ defense. In the article, Johnson points out that, while we love to wax poetic about the very important role mothers play in this world, they are relatively powerless in terms of effecting change on a systematic level and, therefore, have little influence over whether or not their sons turn out to be entitled misogynists. She writes: Patriarchy tells mothers unctuously that we are very important and have much influence, but its behavior speaks louder than its words. Of all persons in patriarchal society, mothers have been set up to have least credibility....
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