Sunday, January 3, 2010

"The Patriarchal Punch" and The Liberal Lack of Imagination: on society, story-telling, and speaking out

[image is from here]

This post follows up where the last one left off. The link to the last one, for those who want the beginning of this exchange between myself and two people over at the blog, sexgenderbody, is here. The two other people involved in this exchange are named Arvan and letseatcake. For a time I thought these might be one and the same. It gets clearer they are not. Or it was clear all along and I simply didn't realise it. Likely the latter. I could joke here: those liberals, they all sound alike. But I won't. ;) Seriously, the distinction each contributor makes are increasingly clear, also in terms of each of their stories. I rarely find people who are liberal who are willing to engage with me to this degree. I'm not sure I'll engage further, but I was willing to take these next steps into the precarious land of liberal lack of imagination.

Here we go. Put on your seatbelts, it's going to be a bumpy night.

Thank you for such a lengthy and well thought reply


Thank you for such a lengthy and well thought reply.  I can definitely respect the time and effort you place in your writing both here and at your own site.  It is clear that you have a passion and that you want to make a difference in people's lives and I applaud that as well.  I often tweet posts from your site. 

I disagree with your assumptions though.  I do not agree that porn is rape.  Rape is rape.  Forcing a person to have sex against that individual's will is rape.  I know plenty of porn performers and none of them are being raped.  I have heard the argument about those people having been duped and brainwashed and no longer free to choose.  That statement presumes to know the minds of other people. 

How do you know that a man watching porn is ashamed?  How do you know that he is choosing porn over intimacy.  How can you prove those things?  How can you know the minds of another person or an entire swath or people?

We're not even talking about real people here, just hypothetical 'men' and 'porn performers'.  It's impossible to know the thoughts of another person to begin with and I dare say, fruitless to ken the thoughts of a hypothetical person.  Suggesting to know the motives of 'men watching porn' is no different than claiming to know the values of people based on their race, their religion, their education or their sexual preference or any other form of prejudice. 

It's conjecture, based on judgment and it's a very human behaviour.  You do it, I do it, we all do it.  We observe, we judge and we speak based on our judgments.  The challenge for us, is to lay aside our judgments and listen to each other as we define our own lives.  The world is not black & white and our experiences are not the same as other people's.

I don't take a book written by someone as a proof. [I should have called him out on this point, but went on. This is bullshit. He has taken much he has read in books to be the proof of a lot, and this gets us back to the intellectual dishonesty that is prevalent among liberal thinkers and doers. They make claims when it suits them, never owning when they do what they ask those radical thinkers to do and to prove.] A book can be only an opinion.  An opinion that agrees with you or me or anyone is merely agreement.  Agreement is not proof.  Agreement is agreement.  People agree to all sorts of things that are not true.  A fact is a fact, independent of agreement.  The boiling point of water is what it is, regardless of opinion or agreement.  The tree in my yard is a tree, no matter what I think of it or how many people agree with my opinion. 

I think you weaken your argument by stating opinion as fact.  If you are anti-porn, just say so.  You're entitled to your opinion just as anyone.  If you believe that porn is rape, just say so.  No one can ever tell you that your opinion is not your opinion.  If you share how porn equals rape in your life, meaning your relationships, that is powerful and compelling.  If you state that porn is rape for all men, you turn the conversation into one where you need to actually prove that this exists in the minds of all men watching porn.

The same goes for shame.  If you feel shame or are in relationship with someone who feels shame, share that.  Declaring that shame exists in the minds of hypothetical 'men' is neither tangible or provable. 

The idea of this site is that we practice articulating our own sex, gender and body identities, in our own terms and listen to one another as we would define ourselves.  So, I invite you to make "I" statements and not broad judgments of what other people are thinking or doing or their motives.  I'm not saying that you can't have your opinions, but that all people are welcome here including sex workers and others working in the porn industry, many of whom already do.

If you have experienced shame in your own life regarding sex or porn, then share that.  I would find it much more powerful than proselytizing about 'porn = rape' and the shame of hypothetical men.  You will find that some people agree with you, while others do not.  But, let us identify ourselves rather than you telling us what we think and what we are doing and why we are doing it.
- arvan



Ah yes that old, old claim made by white male liberals 'where is the proof' and even when proof is provided it is dismissed as irrelevant because the 'proof' was conducted by feminist researchers. Or else the 'proof' is not 'real evidence' since it was only annecdotal evidence obtained from x number women and they are not apparently representative of all women of whatever race, ethnicity, sexual orientation etc.

In other words denial, denial and yet more denial. Only white liberal male perspectives are the 'true one's because as always the dominant group is the one which gets to define what is and is not 'proof' or 'facts' and the dominant group continues to be white males, with of course their female supporters and apologists.

Julian, your challenging these white male liberal misogynists was succinct and whilst I recognise that all too commonly such challenges are ignored because of entrenched misogynistic views - we have to challenge them or else believe that yes - male supremacy and male control over women is inevitable and unchanging.

What I do see here in the UK is the increasing depoliticisation of women's rights and denial that men as a group should be held accountable for violence against women and children. Instead individualism is being promoted along with the belief that all women (including women of colour) have now attained full human status and the only reason why some women are being oppressed is due to their individual lack of ambition/determination. How our society operates is apparently irrelevant because everyone - women and men are all equal apparently and we all start from an equal level playing field.

Now one cannot mention male violence against women without cries of 'what about the men' and 'men too suffer female violence,' as though violence is something which happens equally to men and women irrespective of how our patriarchal society enforces inequality and male control over women as a group.

Julian Real said...

I find that all to be sad news, and also outrageous, disgusting, and so damned vicious, while pretending it's just an effort on the part of oppressors to "regain balance in the media" and such drivel. As if women have EVER been in charge in a WHM supremacist society!!!

To turn atrocity into "something that just happens" is really an utterly disturbing phenomenon. And it happens so much that people don't realise just how alarming and disgraceful it is.

Thanks, as always, for your comments here, Jennifer.