See, months ago I emailed Heart for permission to put a call for future hosts on the forum with the hope that some blogging members who are radical feminists would volunteer; not all are radfems. Her reply unmistakably identified the next open slot as Genderberg's and my inner stepchild cracked a wry smile at the realization Heart had misunderstood (or did she? hmm) my intention. She was thrilled with the idea and then I was stuck.
The pulse-quickening risk of pushing into unknown internet territories to explore for material was mostly pleasant. The same will not be said for sifting through the official carnival entries, but offenders were usually apparent.
After the carnival host concept solidified in my noggin, my second thought was that I wanted to see my favorite essay on prostitution in the next edition. The problem was that the essay didn't live anywhere online, only in the book Not for Sale. I am thrilled to announce author De Clarke has sent me an electronic version to share, because I have read hundreds of essays on prostitution and this one stands out for its singular round-up of crisscrossing issues delivered in mellifluous prose. The addendum on Abu Ghraib is not only eerily relevant today but a spectacular explanation for why men make and use pornography.
"Prostitution for everyone: Feminism, globalisation, and the 'sex' industry'" by D.A. Clarke
http://genderberg.com/docs/Prostitution ... ifinal.pdf
First, the prevailing Market-worship mocks and devalues any suggestion of altruism; if women fortunate enough to have escaped sexual exploitation in their own lives demonstrate concern and caring for prostituted women, they are dismissed as naive, unrealistic idealists and (of course) 'ideologues.' The 'sexual liberation' pseudo-progressive ideology then serves to cast women who object to exploitation, profiteering, coercion and other routine practises of the sex industry as 'crypto-conservatives,' 'neo-Victorians,' 'anti-sex,' and so forth. Should either of those barriers fail to discourage the feminist social critic, the neoliberal dogma is trotted out to prove that, for example, the woman eating dog food on the floor of Stern's studio is exactly where she wants to be. Any woman who expresses disgust at the men who enacted and enjoyed this ritual of humiliation is actually an anti-feminist: she is denying the agency and choice exercised by this 'liberated' female, the 'good sport' who is 'tough enough to take it' and needs no sympathy or interference from well-meaning nannies. Just as, of course, the poor are quite capable of pulling themselves up by their own bootstraps and need no insulting assistance from the smothering hands of Big Government.
Why did the Nazis take pictures and meticulously document the atrocities committed in the camps? Why did a generation of white hunters take pictures of themselves standing on wild animals they had shot? Why do hunters hang trophy heads on their walls? Why did white people take pictures of lynchings and make them into postcards that were then collected and traded? Why did GIs in Vietnam collect ears and other more private body parts from their victims? Why did ‘Indian fighters’ and bounty hunters in the old American West collect body parts from dead Indians? And – lastly – why do men make documentary pornography?
Here's what else me and contributors (thank you!) culled together for your reading pleasure.
feminists of the radical kind
Charlie Little writes on living our theory.
http://charlielittle.wordpress.com/2009 ... comment-93
Having radical politics, is more than reading the literature and attending the protests. Having radical politics means that with conviction, one’s politics run seamlessly through one’s life, as a benchmark, as a vision, as guidance with all the risks that this takes.
Charlie also offers a "Report of Autonomous Womyn’s Gathering".
http://charlielittle.wordpress.com/2009 ... gathering/
Approximately 270 women attended the Autonomous Womyn’s Gathering in Vienna in April. Workshops ranged from feminist anti-facist remberance, to anarcha-feminism, to sustainable agriculture outside of patriarchy… The event was followed by a demonstration in the city centre.
Allecto is one of several radical feminists to declare "Sheila is my sister" on her blog Gorgon Poisons after Sheila Jeffreys became the target of some nastiness in which someone with an ax to grind actually made tote bags declaring "Sheila is not my sister" and called her "anti-sex". Post-maker Rachel scores the pull quote for this one.
http://allecto.wordpress.com/2009/05/23 ... /#comments
These “sex positives” use this tactic of claiming that you’re personally attacking them whenever you oppose some kind of sexual exploitation that they like – and then they come out with these kind of blatant personal attacks!
Other radfems in on the bloggy rebuttal are:
incorrigible radical feminist
Din of Inequity
Supporter of Women's Liberation
Well, I'll go to the foot of my stairs
A guest gorgon post by Amazon Mancrusher on why "lesbian" has become a dirty word.
http://allecto.wordpress.com/2009/05/05 ... ancrusher/
These days, fewer young women seem to be identifying as lesbian, choosing instead to use queer, gay or pan to describe who they have relationships with and how they feel about their sexuality and political identity.
The burning question on everyone's mind, "What Do Radical Feminists Want?" is answered by Betty McLellan at the Brisbane International Feminist Conference in 2008.
http://22.214.171.124/search?q=cache:uHF ... =firefox-a
Because when the market is all that matters, as in neoliberalism, when greed and competition and profit are raised as the be-all and end-all of life, it means that people can be treated as commodities. And when human life is commodified, experience shows that it is WOMEN who are bought and sold, women who suffer, and women’s experiences of injustice that are ignored. And postmodernism adds to the injustice by suggesting that the reality of violence against women and exploitation of women doesn’t actually exist! There is no such thing as women’s reality. Indeed, there’s no such category as “women”.
The Antiporn Feminists blog quotes from Rebecca Whisnant's "Beyond Multiple Choice" essay, which brought me to read the whole magnificent thing.
http://antipornfeminists.wordpress.com/ ... le-choice/
I've found that students—at least the ones in my classes—are starved for something other than the feel-good, it's-all-about-choice model of pseudo-feminism that they're exposed to elsewhere in the culture. The advertising industry tells them that a new lipstick shade will give them "power," while "freedom" can be theirs with a new variety of tampon. Meanwhile, the rest of the mainstream media assures them that feminism means climbing the corporate ladder, being free to pose for pornography if they want to, doing whatever makes them feel good and not being answerable to anyone for it. (In fact, some of them have dutifully identified this point of view as feminism and concluded—wisely—that it's bullshit.)
Here's one of my favorite Amy's Brain Today pieces, "An Open Letter to Mad Sheila" on the feministiness of one-night stands.
http://www.feminist-reprise.org/wpblog/ ... ad-sheila/
So to the woman who really, truly, honestly says to herself, “Gee, tonight I just want a penis in my vagina. That’s really all I want, and so I’m going to go out and find that,” I say, go sheila. But the minute any other desire creeps in there–a yen for respect, say, for human connection, or even, dare I say it, for “good” sex from a woman’s perspective–I would counsel that sheila to hold her horses.
Maggie Hays discusses how the process of coming out as a lesbian is integrating her life.
http://supporterofwomensliberation.word ... oming-out/
Everyday, I realize that I am not attracted to men anymore (I had merely been socialized to heteronormativity). I am so, so, so much attracted to women.
But I am still closeted in real life. Why?
Maggie also provides a third-person perspective in the style anti-prostitution activist Anne Bissell calls "fusion fiction".
http://supporterofwomensliberation.word ... masochism/
Even back in the days when she’d just been thinking about getting off and ‘that’s it’, she’d kept hearing a little voice at the back of her mind trying to tell her that, somehow, something was not feeling quite right.
Oldy but goody from Biting Beaver, the legendary lioness lives on with "The Rapist Checklist".
http://archiveofthebitingbeaver.wordpre ... st-repost/
Now this post in particular really pissed off a bunch of people at the time and it continues to do so.
activists, advocates, articulate folks
Jenn Hollinger writes at Trafficking Project about legalizing prostitution.
http://traffickingproject.blogspot.com/ ... -help.html
As a result of my experience in the immigrant advocacy and anti-human trafficking fields, I am somewhat leery of the legalization approach. What would happen if the US was to legalize sex work?
Radical pro-feminist Julian Real offers (with language barriers) an inspiring speech by Gudrun Schyman, the former leader of the Left Party in Sweden and co-founder of growing Feminist Initiative women's political party.
http://radicalprofeminist.blogspot.com/ ... ative.html
For decades, I have seen U.S. anglo/white "academically educated" men--you know, the ones who are supposed to be "the smartest", be utterly incapable of reading and understanding basic concepts and principles in radical feminist writings. This is the case even when all involved speaking and writing U.S. American English as a first language. We have to wonder how many additional comprehension and communication problems there are when we move into the realm of translations of different language.
Also from Julian comes this fascinating dialog stretched over nine posts between two pro-feminist men about their porn-fueled misogyny.
http://radicalprofeminist.blogspot.com/ ... tween.html
CAUTION: What follows is a conversation between two men about their abusive behaviors toward girls, women, and others. Any survivor of child sexual abuse, rape, or other form of sexual violation and objectification may be quite triggered by portions of this exchange. All violative behaviors are named as such by at least one of the two people, critically, with remorse and/or regret. Both people do not currently use pornography.
Anti-trafficking colleague James Pond has been assisting victims in Cambodia, and here he writes about sensationalism marring the efforts of activists.
http://jamespond006.blogspot.com/2009/0 ... cking.html
Working in the United States, we are working carefully to approach domestic trafficking in an honest, intellectual, and non-sensational way. We have done this to our best ability in Cambodia and it has paid off. Intellectual engagement is really all there needs to be to communicate the horrors of sex trafficking.
A post from pop culture critic Ethan Stanislawski over at Tyan's Anger proposes "Hate Crime Bill Should Be Used To Revive Interest in Fighting Rape in Pornography".
http://www.tynansanger.com/2009/05/hate ... to_06.html
Anti-gay rights advocates could still write incendiary columns, and pornography and its advocates could still be published freely. What would be disallowed, however, would be to commit violent acts of assault or rape against homosexuals or those who work in porn.
Portland Indymedia radfem Emily Endometrium gives creative suggestions for dealing with cramps.
So, what is a skeptical atheist radical who hates drugs made by male-bodied people to do?...petty theft of tampons from chain stores makes me feel like I'm doing my part to tear down the capitalist machine, and I think tampons should be free anyway. The rush of adreneline throughout the body brings relief to the uterine cramps.
The Apostate went to Amsterdam and her take on it is very much like mine when I visited in 1999; it's the most beautiful city I have ever visited but not intended for women to enjoy.
http://apostate.wordpress.com/2009/04/2 ... /#comments
In Amsterdam, I found the general atmosphere threatening. Not by the Dutch, who see right through you, you tourist scum, but by all the sex tourists. Never mind that I wasn’t available – I was a woman, anatomically and otherwise indistinguishable from those wares in the shop windows. Once they’ve dehumanized a bunch of people who look like me, it’s not hard to dehumanize me personally.
Anna Belle talks agendas new and old in her post about Coretta Scott King and Josephine Baker, two women dedicated to civil rights but not necessarily the civil rights movement.
http://thenewagenda.net/2009/01/19/what ... ine-baker/
We will never know what Coretta Scott King and Josephine Baker could have accomplished if they had unified to expand the Civil Rights movement.
Cath Elliot continues exposing the shady shenanigans of pimps pretending to be sex worker rights advocates.
http://toomuchtosayformyself.wordpress. ... ong-again/
Unfortunately for you and your industry, those of us who oppose you will keep shining a light in the dark places, where the drug addictions, the violence, and and the degradations continue, and we’ll keep exposing you every time you try to cover it up.
Becky Lerner's weeklong journey eating only foraged foods is impressively radical.
As a project for the web magazine Culture Change, I signed up to eat an entirely wild diet as I forage from sidewalks, parks, wilderness areas and yards in Portland from May 24 through May 30. There was no dumpster diving or mooching off gardens — I survived on wild edibles only.
With the tagline "Fuck suicide, girls!", The Homocide Girls offer a Myspace page's worth of reasons to decry oxymoronic "punk porn".
What's fucking punk rock about supporting a multi-BILLION dollar industry that makes it's money [literally] off the backs of females?
dandelionfield hit my reset button on a Mary Poppins song revisited through a feminist lens and asks, "Do Gentlemen Rape?"
http://dandelionfield.wordpress.com/200 ... emen-rape/
Oh, it's a jolly holiday with you, Bert
Gentlemen like you are few
Though you're just a diamond in the rough, Bert
Underneath your blood is blue
You'd never think of pressing your advantage
Forbearance is the hallmark of your creed
A lady needn't fear when you are near
In "South Park… feminist?", Jenn from XXBlaze admits a guilty love for South Park I do not share. However, I am a Dethklok fan despite their not-very-metal second season, so I understand her appreciation of excessive, taboo-busting humor for what it is. I just wish thousands of talentless baboons didn't fancy themselves the next John Waters.
http://xxblaze.wordpress.com/2009/04/08 ... -feminist/
Rather than just say that they didn’t like the episode though, numerous viewers gave it a 0/10 when asked. Me thinks this might be because they’re just mad that South Park pulled off a joke at their expense. I have to say, the reaction of people to this episode is even funnier than the episode itself. When pushed, the commentors will eventually resort to excuses such as “vaginas are gross” or “feminism is stupid”.
Another gem from Jenn puts into words some of my feelings on Dateline's To Catch a Predator where the rapists take center stage. There is no boo-hoo big enough to adequately address charges of entrapment. Comments on this are a particularly worthwhile read.
http://xxblaze.wordpress.com/2009/05/16 ... /#comments
It doesn’t shame victims who “led on” the poor wittle man in need of sex. It doesn’t warn parents to chain their whorish daughters to their beds and not let them touch a computer. Instead, it presents the criminals to public and says, “look, the emperor has no clothes, and he likes to rape small children”.
Amananta lends her usual incisiveness to the ubiquity of rape in fiction.
http://amananta.wordpress.com/2009/03/1 ... rtainment/
Overall, in popular fiction written by men, rape scenes are generally used to show what a bad, bad man the rapist is, usually someone of the “other” (black, foreign, a monster). The husband raping his wife, the guy encouraging a girl to drink enough that no one will take her seriously later, the rapist “friend”, are mostly absent. Men’s writing about rape serves two purposes: either to titillate, or to show how bad the villain or the villainous culture in question is.
The Reclusive Leftist apologizes for linking to torture-apologist Glenn Greenwald.
http://www.reclusiveleftist.com/2009/05 ... /#comments
Greenwald has vigorously championed torturers’ rights, has explicitly privileged their version of events over that of their victims, and has asserted — in agreement with the torturers — that “no real pain was inflicted” on the victims.
Of course these aren’t the torturers at Gitmo or Abu Ghraib. It’s the film company of “Max Hardcore,” an extreme pornographer who grossly abused women while filming the proceedings for the entertainment of other men.
Rebecca Mott speaks about being captured by a camera.
http://rmott62.wordpress.com/2009/03/10 ... he-camera/
Hell, as if the torturing was not enough. By filming me I was owned, I lost freedom as that film became public property.
From "Relationship Underarm Stick" (Like a protective layer between you & your relationship stink) comes a sobering reminder about a husband's right to sex on demand.
http://www.twolia.com/blogs/relationshi ... ital-rape/
We could just ignore this, write it off as “history,” but these idiotic notions are still with us. They linger in court decisions, media coverage, and even family reactions, even 40+ years later.
And finally, Sady earns my admiration with a post combining humor, feminism and bikes that gets in a dig at the manarchist transport of choice, fixed gear bikes.
http://tigerbeatdown.blogspot.com/2009/ ... thing.html
It's a troubling thought: what if there is an entire category of hilarious cycles that I am unable to laugh at? Am I simply not angry or aggressive enough to participate in bike-themed humor? Which of the following bikes is more inherently humorous?