Sunday, October 5, 2008

"Profeminist" Made a Secret Deal with a Pornographer

I want to share with the reader some background information about the views and choices made by Barry Deutsch, who generated the original "male privilege checklist", which appears on this blog in the previous post, with some invasive commentary by me set into it.

Here are two separate discussions:

The first one is written by him and was posted on his website, Alas, A Blog on the 3rd of July 2008, stating his thoughts in retrospect about the list he published.

The second one, posted on Alternet by Lindsay Beyerstein on the 12th of October 2006, is titled '"On the down low": Feminist blogger sells his domain name to a porn site' . It is about the sale of his domain to a company that, among other things, produces and sells pornography.

About the first matter, discussing "female privilege" in a male supremacist society (if we are paying attention only to gender), in my experience, is a liberal/pro-patriarchal strategy to avoid working on ending white male supremacy, and a way to pretend race, class, and sexuality, among other forms of oppression, don't exist. A rough comparison might be (no comparison is accurate enough, really) generating a discussion about "gay male privileges" on a white heterosexual man's blog, when and while we live in a thoroughly heterosexist/homophobic/lesbophobic, racist, classist state.

About the second matter, I agree with many people that Barry had a profeminist obligation to let his readership know of an impending sale of his domain to a company that produces and sells pornography, given that corporate pornographers are one among many very racist, misogynistic groups of predominantly wealthy white men who profit by subordinating, violating, and grossly exploiting women. What is uniquely despicable about the pornography industry's pimps is that what they sell is sold "as sex"*.

*In the July/August 2008 issue of WebMD: the Magazine, in piece titled "You've Got Male: Expert advice on how to talk to your son about sex" by the publication's relationships expert, Louanne Cole Weston, PhD, states the following, which is but one of a six paragraph article:

Parents should talk to their sons about how the sexual activity they may be involved in--be it oral sex, intercourse, or kissing--might mean something very different to the girl they're with. And because many teens have been exposed to pornography, it's important to reinforce that what they see--sex for sex's sake--is usually different from reality.

I find most of her article useful and constructive. But that section, to me, heterosexistly (let's pretend that's a word and move on) and misogynistically equates sex with some form of oral/genital penetration by a male of or with a female person. Yes, I am making the assumption that by "intercourse" she means heterosexual genital-to-genital intercourse.

Her statement demonstrates how successfully corporate pimps and pornographers (usually one and the same) have managed to manipulate others into believing that pornography is primarily the depiction of "sex for sex's sake".

What the pornography industry actually does primarily is systemically invest in, promote, and produce the degradation, violation, and exploitation of the gender-class "women", making what it calls "sex" appear as "only sex", albeit without affection, compassion, empathy, or the context of a mutually respectful relationship. Indeed, in a society as pornographic as this one, "pornography" and "sex" are increasingly synonymous.

WebMD is not being sold to the masses for leisurely bathtub or lounge-chair reading, and is not catering to the world of entertainment, adult or otherwise; it's one of those doctor's office magazines that I go to when I'm done skimming all the People magazines for celebrity dish, or looking at the New Yorker cartoons, which usually crack me up.

Old-fashioned gayboy that I am, I've always thought of "sex for sex's sake" as masturbation or hooking up. If, in fact, it's "pornography", as she and many pornographers and their customers say, then white supremacist capitalist patriarchy can declare yet another victory in men's war against women, whites' war against people of color, and the rich's war against the poor.


Winnie said...
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Tei Tetua said...

You seem to be making a rather heterosexist assumption there, which is that the only kind of pornography worth talking about is heterosexual.

There most definitely is such as thing as "gay porn", and I doubt if a gay viewer gets an experience from it that a hetero man doesn't, when he sees hetero pornography. Or perhaps you'd claim that when a gay man sees gay porn, he isn't getting the same thrill of degradation applied to some other group (women, for the straight man) and therefore it genuinely isn't the same experience. But then we'd be entitled to say that porn without guilt is a "gay privilege". Would you admit this as a gay man yourself, while retaining the right to criticize other men and the porn they enjoy? And if straight porn isn't "just sex", I wonder what gay porn is. As a gay man, maybe you could comment, if not as a consumer, then maybe with some insight into those who do consume it.

What I'm saying here is that maybe pornography isn't so much heterosexual as it is male, and gay and straight men have very similar responses to it. If that's true, can you justify singling out one kind of pornography, which just conveniently happens to be the kind that "the other guy" enjoys?

Julian Real said...

Hello and welcome, Tei Tetua.

I agree, all industry pornography is male supremacist, among other things.

Chris Kendall writes eloquently about the politics of gay pornography, and I agree with him 100%, but I don't debate on gay porn. Sorry. I think it's a distraction from the core issue: "the graphic depiction of women-as-whores" which is the literal definition of the word.

I oppose any man defining women as a whore, the b word, the c word, or any other misogynist term.

I won't debate "gay porn" here, just to let you know. You can take that matter up with Chris Kendall.