Saturday, February 12, 2011

Feminist Action Alert: Three Radical Feminist Conferences in a Row! Boston, USA. End of June, 2011. Details here.


image of book cover (used here for its graphic message, not the content) is from here

It is with great pleasure that I get to promote radical feminist theorising and activism. What follows is all from the Stop Porn Culture website. First is an overview of events. Beneath that are details on each. To link back you can click on each of the three events' titles, just below.

EVENTS

Radical Feminist Seminar

Wheelock Media Institute, and 

SPC Slideshow Training

Come to Boston for a week of feminist theory and activism. Stop Porn Culture presents three back-to-back events. Participants can attend one, two, or all three.
 
June 25-26
Radical Feminist Seminar

Two days of education, organizing, and networking.  Women from all over the world will be exploring classic and contemporary radical feminism as well as developing local and international strategies for building a resistance movement. Presenters include Gail Dines, Sheila Jeffreys, Lierre Keith, Saba Malik, Samantha Berg, and more!
 
June 27-28
Wheelock Media Institute

The Media Institute explores the role that the media (television, magazines, advertising, pornography, video games, and music videos) plays in shaping our gender identity, our intimate relationships, our children’s lives, and ultimately our culture. Participants also learn how to develop media literacy curriculum for children, youth, and adults, as well as strategies on how to organize locally and nationally.
 
June 29-30
Stop Porn Culture Slideshow Training

Come and get the experience, knowledge, and confidence to speak publicly against pornography in your community. The training will include special guest appearance by Sheila Jeffreys.

______________________________


Details:

Radical Feminist Seminar

Come to Boston on June 25 - 26, 2011, for two days of radical feminist education, organizing, and networking.  Women from all over the world will be exploring classic and contemporary radical feminism as well as developing local and international strategies for building cultures of resistance.  We will have presentations, workshops, and discussions on:
  • Globalization and the exploitation of women’s labor
  • Fighting the global sex industry
  • Theoretical and activist splits in contemporary feminism
  • International strategies for radical feminist organizing
  • Movement building through social media
  • Radical feminist critiques of Third Wave feminism, Postmodernism, and Queer theory
Presenters include Gail Dines, Sheila Jeffreys, Lierre Keith, Saba Malik, Samantha Berg, and more. Special guest appearances include feminist activists from Norway and other countries to talk about their extraordinary successes in fighting the sex industry.
 
Cost is $50 registration, $25 low-income. We also have some scholarships available.
For regular ($50) registration, click below.
For low-income ($25), click below.
You can also pay by check/money order.
Stop Porn Culture
PO Box 4634
Arcata, CA 95518
 
The Wheelock dormitories will be available for our use. Check here for more information.
 
From June 27-28 there will be a Media Literacy Institute followed by a Stop Porn Culture training, June 29-30. Participants can attend one, two, or all three of these events.
 
Questions? Email us at info@stoppornculture.org.
Visit us on Facebook


SCHEDULE

Saturday, June 25
9:00-9:45
Introductions
9:45-11:15
The Radical-Liberal-Marxist Split in Feminism (Gail Dines)
11:15-11:30
Break
11:30-12:45
Critiquing Postmodernism and Queer Theory (Sheila Jeffreys)
12:45-1:45
Lunch
1:45-3:00
Globalization and the Economic Oppression of Women (TBA)
3:00-3:15
Break
3:15-4:30
Violence Against Women (Saba Malik)
4:30 – 5:30
Organizing on the Internet (Sam Berg of Genderberg and Jill from One Angry Girl)
5:30-7:30
Dinner on your own
7:30-10:00
Dessert Party and Small Group Discussions
 

Sunday, June 26
9-11:00
Prostitution, Pornography, and Trafficking: Understanding the Economic, Racial, and Global Context (Sheila Jeffreys)
11-11:15
Break
11:15 -1:00
Exploring Third Wave Feminism: A Radical Feminist Perspective ((Lierre Keith, Dana Bialer, and the editors of Rain and Thunder)
1-2:00
Lunch
2-4:00
Group Panel: International Organizing against the Sex Industry
4:00-4:15
Break
4:15-5:00
Building a Resistance Movement (Lierre Keith)

_______________________________


Media Literacy Institute
Wheelock College, Boston
June 27-28, 2011

Gail Dines and Diane Levin
 
The Media Institute explores the role that the media (television, magazines, advertising, pornography, video games, and music videos) plays in shaping our gender identity, our intimate relationships, our children’s lives, and ultimately our culture. Participants also learn how to develop media literacy curriculum for children, youth, and adults, as well as strategies on how to organize locally and nationally.
 
The Institute can be taken for college credit. For more information, contact Gail Dines at gdines@wheelock.
 
Cost is $50 registration, $25 low-income. We also have some scholarships available.
For regular ($50) registration, click below.
For low-income ($25), click below.
You can also pay by check/money order.
Stop Porn Culture
PO Box 4634
Arcata, CA 95518
 
The Wheelock dormitories will be available for our use.  Check here for more information.
 
The weekend before the Media Literacy Institute is the Radical Feminist Seminar, June 25-26. The Media Literacy Institute is followed by a Stop Porn Culture training, June 29-30. Participants can sign up for one, two, or all three events.
 
Questions? Email us: info@stoppornculture.org
Visit us on facebook.


SCHEDULE

Monday, June 27

9:00
Introduction
9:45
Media in a Capitalist Society
11:15
Break
11:30
Media’s impact on Children
12:45
Lunch
1:45
Introduction to Media Literacy
3:15
Break
3:30
Video: Mickey Mouse Monopoly: Disney, Childhood, and Corporate Power
5:00
End
 

Tuesday, June 28

9:00                 History of the Media: Creation of a Consumer Society
10:20               Break
10:40               Children and Consumerism
12:00               Lunch
1:00                 Children, Sex and Violence in the Media
2:30                 Body Image: Media and the Commodification of Femininity
3:30                 Break
3:45                 The Pornification of the Image
5:00                 End

______________________________


Stop Porn Culture Slideshow Training

June 29-30, 2011
Wheelock College in Boston, MA
Presented by Gail Dines,  Lierre Keith,
Jennifer Johnson, and Matt Ezzell
with special guest appearance by Sheila Jeffreys
 
Come and get the experience, knowledge, and confidence to speak publicly against pornography in your community. The training will include in-depth presentations:
-the links between pornography and violence against women
-background on the economic industry that is pornography
-First Amendment and other free speech issues
-women in the industry
-the sexualization of children
-the question of “alternate” images
-how to organize in your community
-practice Q & A session
 
Cost is $50 registration, $25 low-income. We also have some scholarships available.
For regular ($50) registration, click below.
For low-income ($25), click below.
You can also pay by check/money order.
Stop Porn Culture
PO Box 4634
Arcata, CA 95518
The Wheelock dormitories will be available for our use.  Click here for more info.
 
SPC is also presenting a Radical Feminist Seminar (June 25-26) and the Wheelock Media Institute (June 27-28) right before the Slideshow Training. Participants are welcome to sign up for one, two, or all three events.
 
Questions? Email us at info@stoppornculture.org.
Join us on Facebook.


SCHEDULE

9:00-10:00
History of Feminist Activism against Porn (Lierre Keith)
10:00-11:15
The Economics of the Porn Industry (Jennifer Johnson)
11:15-11:30
Break
11:30-12:45
Men, Masculinity, and Media (Matt Ezzell)
12:45-1:45
Lunch
1:45-3:00
Pornography and the Visual Landscape (Gail Dines)
3:00-3:15
Break
3:15-4:15
Understanding  Pro-Porn “Feminism” (Sheila Jeffreys)
4:15-5:00
Open forum
7:00
Films :  The Price of Pleasure by Chyng Sun and
The Pornography of Everyday Life
by Jane Caputi


Thursday, June 30
9-10:00           
Who Wants to be a Porn Star?
The Stop Porn Culture slideshow
10-10:30
Q & A on the slide show
10:30-10:45
Break
10:45-12:15
Mock Q & A Session (Gail, Matt, and Lierre)
12:15-1:30
Lunch
1:30-3:00
Local and Global Activism (international panel of activists)
3:00
Break
3:15
Small group meetings to plan next steps
4:15
Wrap up

64 comments:

Dark Daughta said...

Stop porn culture is very broad. I think that it's the bane of people trying to find and utilize brief sound byte phrasings as a way to advertise what they perceive as the issues. For me, coming out of dyke culture where the erotic as displayed, rendered public, not hidden, not filled with shame, filled with laughter, fierce wit, passion, was regularly put up on stage on on screen or published as what some of us called porn, that some of us called erotica, that some of us called the proud depiction of what was central to our lives as wimmin who love/d wimmin, I get disturbed when anyone uses really broad language to discuss the depiction of adult sexuality. Not because I have any affiliation for the mainstream porn industry as exploitative, simple, miseducating, damaging to the psyches of heterosexual wimmin and stunting of the sexualities of heterosexual men. Nah. It's more because I think that when feminists discuss issues like porn, the need to be careful that they are not aligning themselves with the moral majority christian right through utilizing the exact same language when perhaps, they might not be trying to stamp out the rights of dykes to openly claim who they are and who they love and who they lust after. It's tricky, though, enh...? I mean the lovely long fingernailed "lesbians" aren't who I'm talking about, not those wimmin who pose for the camera knowing that it's men who are surveying what they do. The issues are flattened in the outside world via the dominance of the mainstream, heterosexual, male dominated porn industry. But for me, in here, knowing where I come from and what I've seen, it's pretty damned layered. I guess I'm just saying I wish some of that layered consciousness would come across in how feminists who have the language at their disposal, discuss what they perceive as their agendas. Thanks for posting this.

Julian Real said...

Hi Dark Daughta,

Thank you for that. I really hear what you are wanting, and I'm wondering if it can happen. Here's one of the challenges: the women I know who are doing the activism against sexual exploitation and gross objectification, and the rape, and the battery, and the child abuse that is the dominant pornography industry, are, often, also survivors of it in various ways. And, as you may experience around the stuff you are most triggered by "subtlety" goes out the door fast. Not because there isn't any, but because from the vantagepoint of the most abused, what's good in porn is really hard to make a case for. You know? I mean when you see women raped in the images, it's hard to make a case for "porn for women". The term, for me--pornography--means "the graphic depiction of women as wh*res". That's what the word means both etymologically and in terms of what pimps who make this shit are wanting to do: turn all women into wh*res, for men to have 24/7 access to.

I think that front-line anti-pornography activists ought to be supported in their efforts--it's goddamned nasty shit they are dealing with, and the pornographers are some mean mutherfuckers. Thugs. Pricks. Rapists. "Antifeminist" doesn't even begin to describe them.

So how can that population of activists make space for the complexities of your experience? I'm not sure that's possible, emotionally/spiritually.

I don't think it's appropriate to expect folks who were raped at age four by their fathers who were using pornography, or adults who, when six, learned about "sexxx" from their father's stash, to hold a complex understanding of what porn can be. Do you?

Julian Real said...

I can't even successfully welcome non-triggered folks to engage with Lorde's essay on the Erotic. I'm wondering if you have a sense of why that is. My sense is that her essay brings the reader to a concept and experience of eroticism that doesn't require or demand "performance", "images", and "capitalism". And we're all raised on ideas and experiences of sex that require all of the above. So what to do, right? How do we "have sex" if it isn't "performance", "images", and "capitalism"? How to "have sex" and enjoy one another erotically if that does require profound levels of political self-awareness and intimate self-expression? The dominant culture really doesn't support us investigating that at all.

The dominant culture wants us all responding rotely to images they mass produce. And those images are made on poor women's backs, and fronts. And on girls' backs too.

I'm open to discussing this with you. How do we collectively create safe spaces in which to discuss bringing holistic eroticism, politically liberating sexuality, not the "sex"(ism) of the Right or the Left, into the social sphere. I've not seen it happen yet.

Andrea Dworkin and Audre Lorde spoke at a conference about thirty five years ago in San Francisco, on this topic. I feel like the theory and practice got dropped within a decade after that conference, as soon as people decided Dworkin was "a man-hater who is anti-sex" (neither of which is true and that's obvious if one reads her work), and as soon as Lorde's work was de-radicalised as if the only thing she ever said was "your silence will not protect you". She did also speak out against s/m, for example. And Alice Walker spoke out against pornography. Does anyone remember or care? What was done to Martin Luther King, Jr. has been done to Audre Lorde, I feel: reduce a radical thinker and activist to a catch phrase. And the Right appropriated feminist arguments to make themselves seem like they give a shit about women's liberation. The feminists never got near the beds of the Right, as has been alleged in so many faulty accounts of what went down then. (I was there. I remember it clearly.) Just as the government appropriates feminist language on why to go to war in Afghanistan (to help liberate women from those evil Muslim extremists!). That doesn't mean feminists were telling the government to go to war.

And, anyway, what about the evil white Christian extremists here who hate women everywhere and who don't give a damn about rape and incest? What about the fact that male soldiers go to Afghanistan and assault and kill women there? How feminist is that, exactly? I'm asking the government, in case they're reading. ;)

If you'd like to cooperatively--both blogs--open up spaces to talk about Lorde's Erotic, and what the women in Black.Womyn.: Conversations with Lesbians of African Descent, and other pro-sex lesbians and women-centered wimmin, including you, are discussing and dealing with, I'm all for that.

I don't personally think the term "porn" can be appropriated into healing, compassionate communities, as it means "wh*re" and the corporate pimps own the damn term as well as the well-greased industrial process by which women are turned, visually, and in video, into "things that exist for men to fuck".

I'm not a fan of the term, "Porn Culture" actually. But that's because I don't think "porn" is the core issue: I think it's racism, misogyny, and capitalism. But, as Robert Jensen has noted, you can understand a whole helluva lot about all three by studying industry pornography.

Julian Real said...

Dark Daughta,

Your comment inspired me to change the image atop the post!

JENNIFER DREW said...

Stop Porn Culture is centrally concerned with challenging male-centric definitions of what supposedly passes for 'sexuality' and that is why this campaign organisation is regularly attacked as supposedly being in league with white right-wing fundamentalism. That is a lie but it doesn't prevent libertarians and right-wingers from promoting these lies.

Women's liberation is not about commodifying themselves to men's pseudo claims as to what is supposedly 'sexuality.'

Phallocentricism is what porn is all about - the maintenance of male domination over women.

Stop Porn Culture challenges how porn infiltrates all our lives and reinforces male hegemonic notions of masculinity and femininity. It is radical feminism and directly challenges male domination over women.

Audre Lorde and Andrea Dworkin dared to speak out and challenge male supremacy and its advocacy for porn which is why these two radical feminists' writings and ideas had to be demonised. I totally support Stop Porn Culture and what they are doing - which is challenging male supremacy and male domination over all women.

Porn for women is just another way of forcing/coercing women to accept the lie that porn is supposedly liberating to women - fact is it is not - porn is about the maintenance of domination/subordination which is why there can never be 'porn for women.'

Stop Porn Culture conferences always ensure there are facilities available for any attendees who might be triggered by the content. Many of the women involved in Stop Porn Culture have direct experience of the harm porn culture inflicts on them and that is why Stop Porn Culture is so powerful because it gives a voice to the innumerable women harmed and ignored by porn culture.

This is real radical feminism in action.

Julian Real said...

@Dark Daughta - I don't mean to be speaking for you in any way in what follows. I'm owning what's below as my own views and feelings.

@Jennifer -

As usual, in large measure I'm in agreement with you. But there's some stuff I can't leave unchallenged in what you wrote above, especially and particularly as it appears to be in response to Dark Daughta's comment.

So, I'll get to what I agree with, but for right now, here's what I have trouble with:I perceive you as not owning your whiteness in that response, in ways that make the response, to me, racist towards Dark Daughta. I'm not naming her experience--she surely can speak for herself. I'm naming MY experience of your comment here.

Stop Porn Culture is centrally concerned with challenging male-centric definitions of what supposedly passes for 'sexuality' and that is why this campaign organisation is regularly attacked as supposedly being in league with white right-wing fundamentalism.

I basically agree with that. I wouldn't say they are challenging all male-centric definitions, but they are challenging the ones found in pornography and Western/white male supremacist societies, especially. Which is where they live, so that's cool with me. But there are many, many male-centric understandings of sexuality which are not in pornography, which oppress women, such as religious tenets. Such as Orthodox Jewish married women and men having to have intercourse through a hole in a sheet. I've not seen Stop Porn Culture address that at all.

Julian Real said...

That is a lie but it doesn't prevent libertarians and right-wingers from promoting these lies.

Yes. The patriarchs and racists, the white and male liberals, the white and male libertarians, and the white and male conservatives will tell all kinds of lies to pit women against women. All the damned time. And, often enough, it works. It works too well. I've seen it happen for thirty years. Which is not to say there aren't serious issues among women, to work out. The first I remember was dealing with Betty Friedan's use of the term "lavendar menace" for lesbians in the Women's Movement.

Women's liberation is not about commodifying themselves to men's pseudo claims as to what is supposedly 'sexuality.'

This is where it begins to get problematic for me. I'm hearing you telling a woman of color what 'women's liberation' is. And if that's what you're doing, that doesn't feel respectful of her, to me.

Would you agree that Black, Brown, Asian, and Indigenous women's liberation is not about accommodating themselves to white people's pseudo claims as to what is supposedly 'radical feminist'?

My experience of the radical feminism you speak of is that, among the white folks who have been some of its leaders--and who, often enough, get far more acclaim and attention--and media (for better and for worse, usually for worse), are more socially statused among 'radical feminists', and who also get notoriety, are more often mentioned in places like Wikipedia where "what is radical feminism?" is discussed. And virtually everywhere else that is a white-dominated space. I've seen whole courses on "radical feminism" teach only white women's work. I've seen the maintenance of an idea--that 'radical feminism' means 'white women', reinforced inside and outside our movement.

The 'canon' of 'radical feminists of note' is usually only white women, in my experience. The "must read" list is more or less: S. Brownmiller, R. Morgan, A. Dworkin, M. Daly, S. Johnson, C. MacKinnon, and S. Jeffreys. I can't even begin to tell you how many 'radical feminist'-identified people, and 'pro-radical feminist' identified men, consider their education complete if they only read those writers. Seriously. (Not that many men I know of any race have read hardly any of them. I can count on one hand...)

Julian Real said...

And, those white writers ought to be read, imo, and studied carefully by men of all colours. But so too ought the work of Audre Lorde, Alice Walker, Chrystos, Barbara Smith, Gloria Anzaldua, bell hooks, Patricia Hill Collins, Andrea Smith, Yanar Mohammed, Katie Canon, Vandana Shiva, and the women of RAWA--who have been around as long as most of those white writers. That's only scratching the surface of radical women of colour's feminist and womanist and womyn-centered pro-liberatory work. And few to none of them make that academic or word-of-mouth 'canon', in my experience. I can link you to white radical feminist sites and white men's pro-feminist sites that ignore their work entirely.

So there's an assumption, historically and presently, that white Western women can and do speak for all women. That assumption is embedded in the history of Western feminism and in the work of the historians who write up the history of radical feminism, often footnoting Audre Lorde, for example, and ignoring Alice Walker altogether, if speaking only of the activism in the U.S. in the 1970s.

And that's white supremacist to me. And white supremacy is one manifestation of male supremacy and misogyny against women of colour, as well as racism against men of colour.

From what I hear from activist colleagues and radical friends, that history is why so many radical women of colour don't call themselves 'radical feminist'. It's not because they are "less radical". They are often more radical, if by radical we mean "addressing all the roots of what harms women-as-women". As Dworkin wrote: "If it hurts women, feminists are against it." And there's plenty that hurts women of colour sexually and otherwise that isn't part of porn culture. And if one reads enough work by women of colour, and speaks with enough women of colour, and witnesses enough of what women of colour endure that white women do not, then one sees that glaringly.

As I understand the radical women of colour--some of whom do identify as "radical feminist"--who have expressed this directly to me, the radicalism of WOC, unlike much of white radical feminism, fuses struggles against white folks' racist-misogyny with struggles against men's misogyny. And it addresses the struggles of women of colour globally without filtering those experiences through the descriptions by Western white people. The struggles, as I see it, are thicker and more multi-layered. And that's not exactly because white women aren't impacted by racism and sexism, but it is because white women can pretend they aren't dealing with racism--specifically their own against women of colour.

Julian Real said...

Phallocentricism is what porn is all about - the maintenance of male domination over women.

Some forms of phallocentrism, yes. But not all forms.

Stop Porn Culture challenges how porn infiltrates all our lives and reinforces male hegemonic notions of masculinity and femininity. It is radical feminism and directly challenges male domination over women.

SPC challenges SOME of how porn infiltrates and distorts and dehumanises people's lives in the West, mostly. That's not even close to most women's experiences. Many women's lives are not impacted so much by pornography as their lives are destroyed through other means. For example, non-Indigenous/non-First Nations activists don't usually (or ever) address, deal with, learn about, or form alliances with Indigenous women. Indigenous women's realities, when and where they don't overlap with dominant cultural realities, are basically ignored by activists. Lives impacted by forced relocation, forced sterilisation, forced racist and overtly child-abusive "education", and the poisoning of the Earth near one's home, if one is still permitted to live by one's homeland. White radical feminism has very little to say about that, overall, over forty years.

Audre Lorde and Andrea Dworkin dared to speak out and challenge male supremacy and its advocacy for porn which is why these two radical feminists' writings and ideas had to be demonised.

I agree, but Lorde's work hasn't been demonised as much as it has been totally ignored or written out of history. That's a different way to erase someone's work. Dworkin's work tends to be engaged with, usually disrespectfully, usually in ways that show no careful reading of what she was saying. But most people I know who are feminist identified and pro-feminist identified haven't even read all of Sister Outsider, for example. They don't know Audre Lorde spoke out against s/m, and for what specific reasons she did so. They don't know what her critique of pornography is, either.

Julian Real said...

I totally support Stop Porn Culture and what they are doing - which is challenging male supremacy and male domination over all women.

I fully support SPC and what they are doing too, which is why I'm happy to post their information here. But I won't for one moment pretend that what they are doing addresses all forms of misogyny and all the abuses and atrocities women endure. And, I don't hear them saying that's what they are doing, to be fair to them.

I hear and see them appropriately and earnestly taking on a key site of racist misogyny: the pornography industry and all the media and social norms shaped by its corporate (grossly anti-sex) pimps.

Porn for women is just another way of forcing/coercing women to accept the lie that porn is supposedly liberating to women - fact is it is not - porn is about the maintenance of domination/subordination which is why there can never be 'porn for women.'

I'm open to hearing from women who speak honestly about how pornography--as they experience it--has functioned in their own lives. I don't hold out any hope for anything called "liberatory pornography" and, as should be clear to anyone who even casually stops by this blog, I'm militantly anti-pimp, anti-trafficking, and anti-pornography industry.

Stop Porn Culture conferences always ensure there are facilities available for any attendees who might be triggered by the content.

Which doesn't mean they always know how and in what ways women will be triggered, and adjust the content accordingly. I won't go to an SPC training because they are too damned triggering to me. They would make me vomit and tremble. But I get how it is important for some of those images to be shown. And, there are plenty of radical feminists who don't agree those images should be shown to large groups of people all at once. especially to mixed gender groups of people all at once, which is, as far as I know, how SPC still does it. And that is controversial among the radical wimmin I know.

Many of the women involved in Stop Porn Culture have direct experience of the harm porn culture inflicts on them and that is why Stop Porn Culture is so powerful because it gives a voice to the innumerable women harmed and ignored by porn culture.

I agree. And that's such a lie that is told about the organisers: that they are all "only academics" or "haven't experienced life in the industry" or "haven't been directly harmed by pornography". That's a huge load of CRAP. Every single woman survivor of prostitution and pornography I know is fully supportive of the work done by SPC.

And, it cannot speak to or for all survivors. Because most survivors don't speak English, aren't Western, aren't white, don't have an education, don't read, and remain poor their whole lives.

This is real radical feminism in action.

It is one form of it, Jennifer. And there are many other forms, such as Indigenous women engaged in resistance against colonisation of their bodies and cultures. And Black and Brown women resisting white supremacy and male supremacy that isn't in pornography. So while I applaud the work of SPC, and am fully supportive of their efforts--more power to them!!!--I don't think they are representative of global radical feminism, which is called many things by many different women.

Dark Daughta said...

Hi Jennifer. We haven't met online, I don't think. I'm reading what you wrote.

Julian, not wanting to sound as if I'm stroking you or centralizing you as male, singling you out as "special"...that's so not necessary.

This is me saying, that I am reading all of what you wrote.

There's a lot and this is good for me to see. I'm usually the only blogging person I encounter who communicates in a blog's comments section in line upon line upon line upon line. Then I press send and feel as if I've taken up too much space, said too much, been overwhelming.

You've asked a lot of questions. The one that stands out for me is how can I expect that of wimmin who have been horribly abused, that nuance, that layering given what they've been through.

The irony is that what I'm requesting comes directly out of having encountered dykes (including dykes of colour) who do have histories of being abused as children who have educated themselves, conscientized themselves, allowed the layeredness of their experiences both horrific and gorgeous to come through in their words shared about abuse, rape, desire, pride, power...their full, whole bodied resistance and rebellion against all odds.

This is how they taught me via their example.

The point that I try to raise here is that I encounter people who resist the male dominated, corporate porn industry.

I realize that as a radical feminist who spent a good portion of my early formative years in dyke communities that were struggling to articulate what it meant to be sexual in the face of so much horror and merciless oppression, I've been hesitant to level critiques against porn because often I encountered people who conflated radical, fearless, overt expressions of the queered sexual with the porn mega corp.

I could not find the words to articulate where the differences lay for me.

But I do try as best as I can...

I support people who struggle against wimmin who are bought and sold, who are forced into doing survival sex for money, children who are bought and sold, who are forced into doing survival sex for money.

I support people who struggle against a male focused, male dominated, patriarchal, racist, hateful, murderous, infecting, uncaring, for money, film, print and online industry that puts forward narrowed, oppressive, ignorant images of wimmin for the pleasure of those who do not respect, value, love or support us.

But because I have layers, I do think it's not just acceptable but also necessary to invite those who resist to complicate their wordings and knowings in ways that broaden the conversation rather than flatten it down for easy consumption in debates with those they oppose.

It really isn't fair to any of us that the folks on the other side are not particularly bright or interested in developing any analysis whatsoever.

I won't lower my bar, my imperial measure of what is insightful feminist dialogue and agenda setting because our enemies can't even hear or process the most basic arguments.

I have to request more. I always request more. Of course, I must acknowledge that I do so far back from the frontline. It is a privileged place, a privileged stance in some ways. I'm not a childhood sexual abuse survivor or a rape survivor. I'm other things...that don't make any sense getting into here.

Julian, I most definitely would like to have more dialogue about this issue.

I appreciate the wordings but don't have shared beliefs across the board. When I encounter people online or real time who are not me, I've learned to offer a space that understands how different we all are, how different our experiences are, how different our theories and beliefs arising out of those experiences are.

This is me asking for both you and Jennifer to realize that I am as different from each of you as you are from each other.

(continuing this comment in new window because the whole thing was too long...)

Dark Daughta said...

Jennifer, this is me saying I will tread carefully and not interact with you as if your are dimwitted because you do not see things the way I do, that I will not treat you as if you are dangerous to feminism because you do not fight the way I do, if you will also allow me the same courtesy. It's so necessary, if people are going to actually deal with the issues and with the people who are truly enemies rather than simply acting out on those they encounter.

This happens so much in political circles. It's so unnecessary.

Julian, I don't have a good track record with hosting thick, weighty conversations at my place.

Friendly fire/flame survivor/blogger.

I guess this is part of what it means to be radical and edgy in ways that even some of the wimmin who should understand me as sister don't quite get.

But, I'm definitely about linking to what's happening here. I don't know who's reading over at my place but are you okay with me posting about this conversation? I can't say who will show up to the dance.

I know I will.

I'm still reading all of what's here. There are some names I'd like to add to your list of feminists of colour. These include: Trin T. Minh-ha, Rozena Maart, Marlene Nourbese Philip, Carole Boyce Davies.

I also want to point out that something happened here in this conversation that often happens when I try to engage people who have white privilege about what I bring to the conversation that has to do with sexuality and desire...

My words are reframed as being about race, white domination and racism.

So for example:
I say dyke. They hear/say/write Black.
I say queer. They hear/say/write of colour.
I say desire. They hear/say/write racism.

It's a strange thing.

I did enter this conversation speaking about broadening an understanding of "porn" as conflated with all people's experiences of the overtly expressed, publicly displayed sexual.

I realize there is no time when a woman can discuss, depict, display her erotic that it will not be twisted by those with a will into something offered for the consumption of the patriarchal phallus.

sigh...this is so true.

(comment continuing...)

Dark Daughta said...

But what is also so true for me is that queers, gays and lesbians, dykes are all asked to participate in a liberal, societal charade that says if they/we keep our sexualities, our desires out of view, in the dark, hidden, under the covers, we will not be massacred wholesale as deviants to be hunted down and destroyed.

Part of the way we experience homophobia, queer phobia, lesbophobia, is in that request, that demand, their insistence that we hide away evidence, displays of our love/lust, sexualized affections.

And so we fight with our bodies placed in public view, on the line. As wimmin, this is dangerous terrain, a dangerous fight that can definitely be turned against us. But we try. We regroup and try again. My sisters are brave. They are beautiful in love and lust.

Many of them are also survivors, children who were fucked and harmed intimately, tortured, treated with such merciless disdain.

The reality is that whether folks who don't know them or understand them, there are dykes (who have reappropriated the word dyke) who have also reappropriated the word porn for their own uses.

Yes, Audre's words about the master's tools resonate in my brain. I remember her and her writings.

I remember her writing against s/m and I know that she would most likely understand me as a marked scarlet letter woman. But I also wonder if she what she would have thought of wimmin who knew here work and loved her passion, her ability to so insightfully resist, the way she called out mary daly, the way she spoke about those of us who were never meant to survive...seeing that somehow...we did...

I wonder if she would have been able to nuance her understandings grounded in times so long past, allowing herself to develop increased augmented knowings as she encountered wimmin who were like her but so not like her in the ways they chose to resist...

I am her daughter. Flawed, yes. Resisting in different ways, yes. But her daughter still.

I understand that you as a man do not have a desire to do utilize the word "porn". And I also don't think it is your place as a patriarch, offered the full privileges associated with that rank to do so.

I think your choice and your reaction to what I wrote is right and good...for you, given your placement in society.

But my point, remains. And this is most likely one of the few places I'll be able to tease it out in peace away from my blog without being firebombed and this I do appreciate.

Because the agendas, cognizance and language of this particular struggle are not broadened, what can happen is that people, many of them defined as heterosexual, are attacking or undermining the work and words of queers who have already experienced enough torment and violence, rape, abuse, who have chosen to powerfully embrace their damaged sexualities in ways that they understand return some of the power that was taken away from them back to their hands and bodies.

This is a difficult and nuanced response/approach that has worked for some.

I hate to see people who try this approach to finding a way back to their human sexualities, who utilize the public sphere as a way to bring their sexualities out of the closet, however damaged those sexualities may be, tarred with the same brush as the evil beasts who maintain the porn and sex trafficking industries.

This is what came up for me when I read you. I appreciate you engaging with what I wrote without cussing me in the ways that bloglanders can when they come up against someone who approaches a shared topic in a different yet still intelligent way.

Jennifer, I support the work being done and appreciate you engaging with what I wrote. Be well.

Julian Real said...

Dear Dark Daughta,

I find your writing compelling in ways I'm not entirely sure I can express here. A hug might better communicate how I feel when I read what you've posted here.

I so appreciate what you are stating and feel honored that you are writing it here. I'm glad that other people will come here and find your words. I've been around a long time--perhaps we are similar in age--and what I know about how we are all harmed and also struggling to find our ways--well, that could be a book. And it would shock a lot of people. Because there is this assumption that people who are against industry pornography have sexual lives that are "clean" of that dirt. And that's not how life works, in my experience. I'm not one who believes sex is or should be "clean" anyway. And I say that as an asexual!! lol

I register, in my gut and in my mind, your observation of what is done when you speak in white spaces or to white people--how we will/do re-frame your words as if you were speaking about race when you weren't. You say it's a strange thing. Yes. And, I'd say it's racist of us/whites to do that to your words. And misogynistic too. And all too common.

I hear you asking for space in which to discuss sex, sexuality, sexual expression, restoring ourselves to our bodies, finding pleasure there amidst the angst and trauma. Is that close?

I welcome you here. Get comfy. By all means, direct people to this discussion or copy and paste it to your blog, with Jennifer's okay on her part. I'm fine with you copying and pasting what you want of my words.

Thanks for "going there", Dark Daughta. Honestly, a lot of what I experience isn't made public, because it would be misunderstood. How can I adequately express what three or so years in motel rooms with my male cousin meant to me--what it even was, when it was done in semi-dissociated states, finding pleasure, finding disappointment, finding way too much despair? How to communicate what those of us who feel hopeless do, to feel something resembling hope that mostly brings despair.

I get the sense you've forged a path for yourself, with wimmin, that brings you some joy. I've kind of forgotten what joy is like on the physical-sexual level. I've given up finding it. It shows up in my dreams sometimes, though.

Julian Real said...

I don't wish to promote lies about people: lies like "radicals don't play out what happens in dominant society in our own sexual/personal/social lives." That's horseshit, and what I liked about Dworkin was that she was very honest about her own struggles. She didn't pretend that living in patriarchy and understanding it as such means one's emotional and erotic life gets purified of patriarchal contamination. Again, I don't even believe in such notions, of purity, of absolute rejection of the air we take in to live. Some people do find their ways out of acting out their abuse. Some don't. Some find other things mixed in that are not fully explainable.

I think we are all more complicated than words can express, and we find that out, often enough, when we lie down with one another and are willing to be honest about what burdens and blesses us.

So, thank you. Thank you also for the addition to the important feminists/wimmin to read/know. Some of those names are not familiar to me, so that's exciting!

I'm going to highlight a couple of points you made, just so they appear in this thread twice, and comment a bit on them.

This is me asking for both you and Jennifer to realize that I am as different from each of you as you are from each other.

Dark Daughta, I'm thinking that you and I are a lot alike, as well as of course also having places of difference, of experience, of perspective, of privilege. What you speak feels like a kind of truth to me that I know in my being but don't hear spoken out loud too much, sadly. Happily, you speak out.

It's so necessary, if people are going to actually deal with the issues and with the people who are truly enemies rather than simply acting out on those they encounter.

This happens so much in political circles. It's so unnecessary.


Indeed.

Dark Daughta said...

I'm 43. I just had my birthday at the beginning of this year. I had wondered how old you were when you mentioned remembering Audre Lorde. I never met her. I came out as a dyke and was around a short while before she died. But I appreciated her body of work most definitely.

How old are you?

sigh...

"I find your writing compelling in ways I'm not entirely sure I can express here. A hug might better communicate how I feel when I read what you've posted here."
Julian, that's it, isn't it? This is what's so difficult about blogging and communicating via text. Sometimes my heart swells with happiness at the sight of the consciousness, emotional grounding, experiences and words of another. There really is no way to convey that...gratitude I feel at realizing that, yes, I'm alive in here. I felt that. I feel what that person is saying. If I was real time with them a hug would offer that. But...this is text. So, I'll have to settle for saying that I am connecting powerfully with what you're writing. I realized that back when you pointed out that you had a therapist and that you hoped my therapist was able to understand all of what I'm walking with. Thanks for that, by the way. She is good. She doesn't balk or go pale when I show her what I've got.

Y'know, Julian, I wish there was space for you to actually blog, describe the rest of what you allude to here in your last comment. That's the texture, the wholeness, the...what makes you the kind of blogger you are.

I realize from blog communicating with so many different people that many people are lost when it comes to blogging with spirit. They've got information. They've got politics.

But they're missing something.
A spark.
A sense of fearlessly being able to put together the pieces they're encountering.
A willingness to speak into the gaps of our stated beliefs as lefties.

They sometimes come and sit next to me on my blog sometimes. It doesn't happen so much any more. But for a while there, I got a few people who seemed...lost...well situated, very popular, well liked, but...lost.

They wanted to know how/why I blogged out in the open the way I did. It seemed as if they wanted something, an easy explanation distilled down.

I dunno.

They were always disappointed. What they wanted...I couldn't give them. They knew why they hid out in the open. They knew why they would come away to my blog to struggle with their truths.

I guess...
This is me saying that I appreciate you showing me something of you...an image...a whisper of a thought. I appreciate your passion for this work and the way you put it front and center while clearly being...in there...present.

Thanks.

I also wanted to share some of what I mean by the wrong people ending up being seen as exactly the same as the virulent hatefilled oppressive pornographers.

This case was very famous in kkkanada. I wasn't so interested because I hadn't yet begun to include the oppression of queers who are sexually radical into my political repertoire.

But, much like the hate laws that saw bell hooks' book black looks being turned back at the border because legislating against hate is very different than legislating against white domination or racial oppression...

So, also is the difficulty with legislating against porn or porn culture without differentiating between those who force others to fuck as a way to dominate and those who fuck out in the open to resist their own domination...
little sisters bookstore court case

Julian Real said...

Thank you so much for that, Dark Daughta.

The link didn't seem to work, so I welcome you resending it. My understanding is that the way kkkanada misused the Dworkin-MacKinnon-modeled law was not with Andrea's approval or appreciation. It was out of her hands, at that point. Her intention was for women to decide who is charged with abuses of human rights, not ever the State. EVER.

Dark Daughta said...

I hadn't realized that their work was misused. It's caused a lot of misunderstanding here...a lot of divisions in dyke communities where some wimmin did assume that folks like Andrea Dworkin were all about curtailing queer sexual expression because it was the same as corporate, mainstream patriarchally infused hate porn. There are still divisions here because of that.

sorry about the links. here are two...
http://littlesisters.ca/docscc/history.html

http://www.bccla.org/pressreleases/00littlesisterssupreme.html

Julian Real said...

Dark Daughta,

I wrote the latest post on self-love to answer some of your questions, including about my age, after I read this:

Y'know, Julian, I wish there was space for you to actually blog, describe the rest of what you allude to here in your last comment. That's the texture, the wholeness, the...what makes you the kind of blogger you are.

And I wrote it for a queer woman, a dear, dear friend who has told me recently that she feels I am losing my center here on this blog. That shook me to a core that needs more expression.

When I read this I was moved into spiritual action:

I realize from blog communicating with so many different people that many people are lost when it comes to blogging with spirit. They've got information. They've got politics.

But they're missing something.
A spark.

A sense of fearlessly being able to put together the pieces they're encountering.

A willingness to speak into the gaps of our stated beliefs as lefties.

They sometimes come and sit next to me on my blog sometimes. It doesn't happen so much any more. But for a while there, I got a few people who seemed...lost...well situated, very popular, well liked, but...lost.

They wanted to know how/why I blogged out in the open the way I did. It seemed as if they wanted something, an easy explanation distilled down.

I dunno.

They were always disappointed. What they wanted...I couldn't give them. They knew why they hid out in the open. They knew why they would come away to my blog to struggle with their truths.


I think I know what you mean. I am one of those people sitting beside myself at my blog hungering to find out how it works--to watch political puzzle pieces plunked into place, generally forgetting that truth is never only one thing. And I've seen others around too, at others' blogs appearing to me to want something similar, but I can't know what they want; I barely know what I want. Other than an end to all terrorism and domination of women by men. I know I want that. And an end to white atrocities expressed violently, globally. But those accomplishments cannot be mine, so I am left to struggle with what is mine to do.

It sometimes appears, in some ways, that humanity is so desperate to get it right. To have the story be clear. To have the single narrative, which is always dangerous to truth.

Thank you for appreciating my efforts. That means so much to me. To have that seen and appreciated, while it may also be disagreed with. I hope people come here not to nod incessantly, but to open themselves to questions raised in what I write. And to find their answers.

Some people, even liberal friends of mine, accuse me of preaching to the choir, or of only wanting to talk to people with whom I agree. I tell them that's a luxury I've never had, and am not sure what that would even look like. My commitment is to a complex truth, or a tangle of truths, that cannot be named in words, so how can I preach it to anyone in words? I can't.

But, you're welcome. In all senses.

Julian Real said...

I hadn't realized that their work was misused. It's caused a lot of misunderstanding here...a lot of divisions in dyke communities where some wimmin did assume that folks like Andrea Dworkin were all about curtailing queer sexual expression because it was the same as corporate, mainstream patriarchally infused hate porn. There are still divisions here because of that.

The story is made too simple: Dworkin and the Right-wing wanted the same thing, so some sex-liberals say. That's the line, right? But Dworkin wrote "Right-wing Women" to say what? That women colluding with the Right did what for women? She surely never made a case that collusion or collaboration was in women's interests, if women were interested in liberation from patriarchal oppression and violence.

What is left out of the conflict, in the telling of these conflicts by liberal academics and liberal lawyers, is the role of media and pornographers in making sure the lesbian community would be deeply divided (employing a classic divide-and-conquer strategy). The media, the academy, and conservatives in positions of power are adept at doing this with racist lies to pit some groups of marginalised people against other people--making it seem as though immigrants from Mexico and poor people in the U.S. are anti-U.S., when it is the wealthy white men who are selling out this country in every way imaginable. They are selling out a country, but, unfortunately, they won't do anything to stop its atrocious genocidal/gynocidal machinery.

What's not told in media and in most other places is who, specifically, has been legally in bed with corporate pornographers; and how, exactly, billionaire pimps orchestrated the din of divisions--in part by putting their own tale of woman vs. woman in the queer pornography they produced. White gay men ate it up. White gay men, let's not forget, have never stood with lesbians since some members of the G.L.F. circa 1970.

The corporate pimps sowed their poisoned seeds where the weeds of horizontal hostility grow, generating a kind of truth-immune plant that only crawls and cannot rise up against anything. A self-strangling plant. That's what the corporate pimps want and need: for women and for queer people and for Black and Brown and Indigenous people to hate each other.

That's what they sell: contempt for all women and racism in all forms. And they succeed with little objection that is well-organised. If anyone has read Andrea Dworkin's work carefully, it is so clear where she stood with the State and empowering it.

Catharine MacKinnon is still alive and can speak for herself on this matter. And has.

But Dworkin cannot do so, and I have known her. I won't speak for her, but I'll convey what I get from what she said and wrote: that she never believed the White Male Supremacist State could empower women; she never worked for legislation to empower a racist-misogynist State to work for women. She was so clear about this that I wonder how it is people could miss it.

What isn't politically clear about this position she took:

In her testimony and replies to questions from the commissioners, Dworkin denounced the use of criminal obscenity prosecutions against pornographers, stating, "We are against obscenity laws. We do not want them. I want you to understand why, whether you end up agreeing or not." [49] She argued that obscenity laws were largely ineffectual, [49] that when they were effectual they only suppressed pornography from public view while allowing it to flourish out of sight, [50] and that they suppressed the wrong material, or the right material for the wrong reasons, arguing that "Obscenity laws are also woman-hating in their very construction. Their basic presumption is that it's women's bodies that are dirty." [51] (source: here)

Julian Real said...

Dark Daughta, something that would help me is this: what information--from what sources, specifically--led you and the wimmin you know well to believe Dworkin was willing to throw some queer women under the bus to get pro-State/pro-censorship legislation passed? What part of her law, as she co-wrote it--not as it was drafted by the kkkanadian state--promotes State power over and against women?

Thanks for the links. I will see if some of the corporate pimps' misinformation campaign is there.

I'll hyperlink to them below. I'll try and look some of it over, although seeing the same lies told about D and M being in bed with the Right is really distressing to me. It enrages me. It's pimp-speak passed along from generation to generation as if it were truth, like all pimp-speak.

This is what she wrote about the Right and women's liberation:

In 1983, Dworkin published Right-Wing Women: The Politics of Domesticated Females, an examination of what she claimed were women's reasons for collaborating with men for the limitation of women's freedom. [38] In the Preface to the British edition, [39] Dworkin stated that the New Right in the United States focused especially on preserving male authority in the family, the promotion of fundamentalist versions of orthodox religion, combating abortion, and undermining efforts to combat domestic violence, [40] but that it also had, for the first time, "succeeded in getting women as women (women who claim to be acting in the interests of women as a group) to act effectively on behalf of male authority over women, on behalf of a hierarchy in which women are subservient to men, on behalf of women as the rightful property of men, on behalf of religion as an expression of transcendent male supremacy". [41] Taking this as her problem, Dworkin asked, "Why do right-wing women agitate for their own subordination? How does the Right, controlled by men, enlist their participation and loyalty? And why do right-wing women truly hate the feminist struggle for equality?" [42] (same source as above)

Sexual liberals in the U.S. organised very effectively with corporate pornographers, thugs, rapists, and defenders of white men's rights against Dworkin and MacKinnon's efforts to get their pro-woman civil rights law passed here. What do you feel and think about that? Whose interests were served in that alliance? Who was F.A.C.T.? Were they the most disenfranchised women, like Therese Stanton, the organiser of all the D-M ordinance campaigns, a poor woman on the street as a teenager, to pass the ordinance in the U.S.? Or were they professionals, with allegiances to very powerful institutions like the academy and the law?

http://littlesisters.ca/docscc/history.html

http://www.bccla.org/pressreleases/00littlesisterssupreme.html

JENNIFER DREW said...

Hi, Julian and Darl Daughta - there is a danger of 'throwing the baby out with the bathwater.' I do not pretend to claim SPC speaks for all radical feminists and if I inadverently made that claim then I apologise. However, SPC is doing excellent work and remember they cannot do everything - that is impossible. Radical feminists globally focus on issues which are central as to where they live. This means what affects women in one country is not necessarily the same as women living in another country but there are certain similarities and it is those similarities which link up women's resistance to male domination.

I totally agree Julian our white male supremacist culture continues to ignore feminists such as Patricia Hill Collins, Audre Lorde, Audre Lorde, Alice Walker, Chrystos, Barbara Smith, Gloria Anzaldua, bell hooks, Patricia Hill Collins, Andrea Smith, Yanar Mohammed, Katie Canon, Vandana Shiva, and the women of RAWA but that is not because white radical feminists are systematically ignoring them - rather it is because malestream media and the academy continues to promote a very narrow version of feminism.

Malestream media consistently uses the same tiny number of feminists whenever it wants a soundbite and this perpetuates the myth that only white women are feminists.

I was concerned that SPC might be dismissed as 'elitist' or else as puritanical in its attempt to challenge what I term mainstreaming of porn which is now on a global scale.

Certainly not everyone is able to deal with the images SPC use in their slideshows but SPC believe and I do too that such images need to be shown in order to show activists just what is being filmed and produced and then claimed to be 'fantasy.'

Because pornography has become global now thanks to technology, its impact is being felt in all countries not just the west, but that doesn't mean white western feminists should be the ones telling feminists in countries such as India and Japan for example, how they should challenge pornography.

JENNIFER DREW said...

Hi Dark Daughta - apologies for not replying to you sooner. I had pressing personal issues which prevented me from replying sooner. However, I in no way intended to be disrespectful towards you or what you have written.

I see Julian has provided you with some facts concerning claims made that Andrea Dworkin was supposedly willing to exploit lesbian women in order to get pro-censorship legislation passed. Some of this I knew already but much I didn't know so I too have learned something.

Dark Daughta here in the UK I've seen for myself how lesbian women have been and are being exploited by those individuals who are determined that porn should not be curtailed or even criticised. It gets very complicated at times. My concern as always is 'does this benefit women or does it keep women subordinated?'

Dark Daughta said...

Julian, I read what you wrote. I have no problem with either of their agendas as you state them. Nothing there is out of line with my stated politics.

What I started off with is still really at the crux of what I see has happened t/here.

As I read your words about how people on the left, especially wimmin, especially liberal white men (who I don't view as being on the left because they are agents of insidious domination) functioned in tandem with the corporate porn structure, I thought about how often I've felt that the political agendas of people who said they followed Andrea Dworkin, ended up seeming way too close in word and deed to the stated agendas of people on the right.

This is what I've observed/experienced in blogland and in real time.

As I read what you wrote, I thought again about language and how important it is that language be nuanced and very specific especially when it relates to taking on segments of the population that are diseased and in need of radical correction.

This is what I believe, Julian: Human beings are sexual animals. We rut to reproduce but also for pleasure.

Sadly, we are also extremely hierarchical creatures, stupidly, horribly hierarchical creatures.

I wrote a blog post about the great tree, us as very young beings on the planet, children really, living in trees and relating everything about our existence, about the world, about our social organization about our deities to positions on the tree.

Higher up - better
Lower down - not so good
Really lower down, so far down that a person is actually under ground, under the tree - evil
Highest up, so high up you can see everything, all approaching predators, so high that a person is actually beyond the absolute top of the tree - the seat of power OVER all things, way, way up and cannot be seen - good

We're simple creatures...still.

(cont'd)

Dark Daughta said...

(part 2)
One of my favourite authors, Octavia Butler, talked about hierarchy and an all consuming interest in power being our fatal flaw.

It stunts us.
It stunts everything about our interactions, including our sexual selves.

The choices are not many when it comes to what we can do about the intertwining of hierarchy, power and sex.

You're asexual.
You made that choice.
It makes sense for you.

As I explained to some white lesbian separatists who have also made choices about what it will mean for them to be sexual, their choices, from where I stand, are grounded in a particular kind of privilege and power, nonetheless. :)

When we talk about racial oppression and link it to other forms of oppression, including economic oppression taking full root in the lives of people of colour, Black people, the ones who are also poor or working class, who struggle on the daily just to eak out a mere existence, I think it's necessary to think about what sustains.

Sex...for so many is pretty much what they have.
Sex...dirtied, for all of us, inexorably intertwined with power. Granted.

But, nonetheless, for people, especially for wimmin who do not have much, who do not have anything, I think that it is pretty privileged to say that they should just stop having sex with the men in their communities, that (icky, but true) they should stop doing/offering survival sex as a way to make money to feed their children, that (for those who really don't have anything else) they should stop treating those few minutes or seconds where they might find some sort of (completely shortsighted yet real) physical release as (an achievable) pleasure in lives so riddled with pain, disappointment, lack of opportunity, disrespect.

When I encounter people who make difficult, powerful, radical choices, who think that these choices will work for everyone they encounter I think about living with humiliation, rage, suicidal thoughts, dishonesty, hurt, abandonment everyday and not being able to look forward to a trip to Cuba or the Netherlands to visit with family, or going to a conference in Portland where I can have the possibility of meeting people who might actually understand me, or renting an RV to do a road trip where I will meet strangers who will treat me and my family well and welcome us into their interesting homes because it's clear that I'm educated and middle class and therefore harmless...

I think about not having maneuvering room because of not being able to call on white skinned privilege to smooth my way.

(cont'd)

Dark Daughta said...

(part 3) I saw a documentary online about a week back done by a white woman interviewing a group of ethiopian tribal wimmin farmers who are married to the same man who were talking about the pitfalls and joys of the arrangement.

I watched shots of the wimmin and their children and then THERE in the background, a shot of the African children playing with a white children, so joyful, so free, so out of place, so inserted and made to fit.

I thought about my children and about how the dynamics of oppression make it much more likely that this white woman will be in the bush with her white child, safe, working, playing, meeting interesting people, being welcomed by African people, while I sit at my computer screen in north amerikkka envying her and her child, knowing that my children will never have that experience as loving, playful, joyful memory.

I think about not even being able to buy land a-way, way out where I wouldn't have to interact so directly with hierarchies of oppression in social circles and environments.

I think about the one creature comfort I actually have access to in diseased yet ecstatic abundance that, if consumed an amounts, will not give me diabetes, that will not leave me smelling like booze, that will not send me into drug rehabilitation.

I think about sex as accessible, in the body, perhaps able to shake loose some of the pent up horrid emotions I carry, shake them loose perhaps in the form of tears for a moment or two a couple of times a day, so that I might stand even a small chance of not being yet another Black statistic dead of stress related illness in my sixties.

Julian, bringing this right back around to Andrea Dworkin, what I've noticed that many Dworkinites, for some reason stress being asexual or having sexual relations in a limited range with a limited range of people of a particular gender as a way to embody what she wrote.

For a variety of reasons their options are not my options. Their choices do not fit my life. Their relationship to the dominant and dominating sex oppressive culture is different than my own but not free of the taint. It's just differently placed.

sigh...
I've been saying that I have to read Dworkin for quite some time. I'd like to understand why abstinence rather than conscious, critical, emotionally intelligent, verbal interrelations is stressed by so many of the people who believe as she writes.

For me, I choose the latter, not from a place of gluttonous, selfish denial where I ignore what others experience but from a place where I share everything I learn, experience knowing that as a Black woman I was not supposed to be here, I was not supposed to be making these links, I was not supposed to be having any reproductive choice, I was not supposed to be figuring out any way to realize the hidden and unspoken parts of what my foremothers, kidnapped and brought here yearned after, fought for.

Dark Daughta said...

(part 4) They fought for something for the wimmin who would come after them. They fought. Their daughters fought. Their granddaughters fought. Their greatgrandaughters fought. Their greatgreatgrandaughters fought. I am one in their line. My relationship to sex is complex, tainted, in struggle, dying, being born. I claim that. I own it.

hmmm...you're not like most of the Dworkinites I've encountered.

From where I'm standing there seems to be a misunderstanding about her words that has also permeated the agendas of those who love her...at least the ones I've encountered.

I'm not sure how much I really want to get into this here, given that many of the people I've interacted with online are hated because they're lesbians and therefore are open to oppression in ways I can't even begin to claim...anymore.

Suffice it to say, I'm simply about the terminology becoming more specialized so that it becomes clear who is actually the enemy.

I don't think that wimmin are ever the enemy in this kind of fight.

I have to point out that I do know sex workers, some of whom blog, who do work with men and who don't have analysis beyond not wanting to be seen as vermin for what they do or who don't want to be treated as enemy by feminists.

There are certain conversations I have with them about pieces they can grasp and there are certain conversation I know I won't ever be able to have with them because they won't understand given where they're located.

My words are exposed to their gaze. They come visit my blog and read.

I will not judge them.

I will not turn them away.

I go to visit them.

In fact, there have been moments in my history here online where the feminists where shuddering at me, where almost no one would come see me on my blog and they still welcomed me.

It's an alliance of the damned in particular ways I think. I have learned terminolgy and nuance from being around them.

Survival sex is a really useful term I've learned. Have you encountered that word?

It offers a less binary understanding of sex work on a continuum.

And I'm not sure where I encountered it but I also really enjoyed reading the slut manifesto which positions all sex with men, whether it be sex workers doing it or girlfriends or long term lovers or married wimmin doing it as a transaction.

That's what I, with my two men of colour partners, believe is the case on this planet at this particular moment in time.

I do understand sex as transaction in so many different ways.

It's just that I'm more interested in educating wimmin about how to politicize their sexual relationships, increase their choices, how to say no, how to shift dynamics in their favour, how to protect themselves physically and emotionally, how to recognize/develop their criteria for choosing the people they will sleep with, how to do more than survive sex with anyone of any gender.

hmmm...that's what I've got right now. Thanks for responding.

Julian Real said...

@Jennifer - I hope those personal issues got resolved, or at least that you're generally fine and that loved ones are fine as well.

@Dark Daughta and Jennifer - I am trying to locate some unpublished information to add to what I said, especially knowing now that some of it is not generally known in lesbian and feminist communities. I'll keep you both posted on that. And thanks to you both for engaging in this discussion. It's nice to see mutually respectful engagement on a blog about such a controversial subject when viewpoints differ. :)

Dark Daughta said...

This exciting for me in more ways than I can say.

For me the best way to continue to undermine any planetary projects about the subordination of many of us, is for really insightful, thick, contextualized, politicized conversations to unfold all over the planet.

Ignorance is killer.

For me, so is anything that fosters an understanding that there is only one way to combat the multiplicitous issues that oppress us as people who experience various forms of oppression.

I've spent the last twenty years cultivating an approach to seeing, knowing and speaking that makes space for the idea that issues are multifaceted and can best be attacked from all sides simultaneously.

Jennifer, I'm not sure if you saw the part of one of my comments where I spoke about how developed legislation against hate literature was actually utilized as a tool to turn writing by bell hooks back from the kkkanadian border.

The law makers made legislation against hate not against white domination or white supremacist literature. As a result, the law was used to block revolutionary, politically conscious, intelligent wordings from a Black feminist writer. It was used against her and anyone who wanted to access her writings.

This is what I'm on about. This imprecision of language. It's just not enough.

I live in an oppressively sex negative culture that has capitalism and the ownership of wimmin's bodies and the children that emerge out of our bodies at its root.

This is a monogamist, sexually controlling culture that oppresses wimmin who are sexual calling them sluts, demeaning them, labeling them as diseased, if they have children questioning their mothering abilities questioning their rights to even raise their own children if they are too out in the open about their interest in being sexual.

(cont'd)

Dark Daughta said...

(part 2) Some people will define a woman who is a mother being openly or overtly sexual, a woman being sexual or a lesbian being out about her sexualness as part of porn culture.

Some people will tsk-tsk at any public displays of sexualness and talk about it being a danger to the capitalist, heterosexual, monogamous, patriarchally dominated family and to the children of the patriarch who must be shielded from any information about sexualness until they and their genitals can be moved into play as pawns of the capitalist, monogamist, heterocentrist patriarchy, strategically married off and mated in ways that maintain domination.

Some people will say that any sexualness openly expressed that does not shore up the capitalist, monogamous, patriarchally dominated, heterosexual family is pornographic, of no use and should be stamped out, silenced, destroyed.

Some people call every sexual act that isn't done in the marriage bed porn or pornographic.

I need more language. I need more clarity in order to distinguish those who are my allies from those who would see me and mine destroyed.

Sometimes I feel as if I am being attacked on different sides because the language and approaches seem too similar.

I need some differentiation.

It's necessary for me because I want to be able to recognize my allies and to join forces with them.

I need them to identify themselves not just to their enemies and to allies who attend the same conferences they do, who speak as they do, who read the same tomes they do, who have made the same life choices they have.

I need them to also be able to comprehend that not all potential allies will use or feel safe using or encountering their chosen wordings/terminology.

Me asking for more than just "porn" or "porn culture" is me saying: Yes, I get what you're saying but I need to make sure that it's not me or mine you're trying to stamp out.

This is me saying I am bumpy and jagged and not even close to feminist perfection.

This is me saying I fuck and make pictures of my genitalia and share them with text about me and my politics and write stories about wimmin fucking other wimmin and people have put my stories in books designed to titillate other wimmin that might also end up in the hands of men who do participate in porn culture, who will not understand the specific political, revolutionary context of what I do, say, feel, write.

I'm saying I navigate treacherous waters. This is my chosen path.

Julian, this is me saying I'd like to chat and blog relationally. That's my happy place. And I see you're good at this. I just need to be sure you're seeing the particular, peculiar, flawed monster I am. This is what I've got.

This is me asking if you're good with me being around here even though I'm more likely to ask questions and point out that the issues are very muddy for some of us.

This is what I'm after. A space of mutual understanding.

Dark Daughta said...

"
Some people, even liberal friends of mine, accuse me of preaching to the choir, or of only wanting to talk to people with whom I agree. I tell them that's a luxury I've never had, and am not sure what that would even look like. My commitment is to a complex truth, or a tangle of truths, that cannot be named in words, so how can I preach it to anyone in words? I can't.

But, you're welcome. In all senses."

Julian, thank you so much for blogging. I'm glad you're here and speaking out in the open. It's beautiful to see.

Dark Daughta said...

I also have to admit, though, that my context, living in kkkanada as I do, is very different than yours. A lot of the laws and gatherings you describe that form part of the history of what you know and believe isn't on my radar. This is one of the difficulties I encounter time and time again as a non-amerikkkan blogging among amerikkkans. So, I should claim that because I don't think that the amerikkkan bloggers, the amerikkkan blogging feminists or politicos understand that not all the histories are shared.

Julian Real said...

Dark Daughta, I'll offer some preliminary thoughts in response, before responding to some specific points you raise and experiences you share. Thank you for sharing both here. I will make sure this discussion thread is free of any assaults against you of any kind.

I want your truths to breathe deeply here, not to be snuffed out.

Between you and me, Dark Daughta, and everyone else reading this, I think there is gloriously poetic justice in our conversation happening right here, under this post.

Today on The Oprah Show a conversation was had between Oprah Winfrey and author and spiritual therapist Iyanla Vanzant. It was very personal and honest at moments. Well, as honest as corporate television gets. There was, about eleven years ago, a significant misunderstanding between the two women that was resolved in today's conversation.

Each woman was expressing her own truth, seen through her own experience of the world. While each woman came from impoverished backgrounds, how those backgrounds have shaped each of their lives is different. And while each woman has risen into different levels of fame and fortune, Iyanla addressed how tenuous such things are if one is not prepared to receive. What I heard Iyanla addressing was the power of the past to regulate or control our present experiences. Not absolutely, but significantly. In ways that matter.

Iyanla Vanzant and "Dr. Phil" were both en route to success with Oprah's production team's help and guidance. But one person got VERY famous and VERY rich while the other person did not. Why?

Because Dr. Phil did not pass through social and personal worlds, including in adulthood, not being able to receive love and regard on the deepest levels. He was not hated socially for his gender and his race. And these differences in Iyanla and Phil's professional trajectories was not spoken of on the show.

The show focused on "the personal" as if it spiritual, but not as though it is structural and political also. That's corporate television for you.

Julian Real said...

Lots of people around me love to tear down Oprah Winfrey. They seem to delight in it. Whites and men I know cringe or balk when I mention her name, or seem to express a kind of shaming disgust that I am trying to watch most of her shows in her final year doing The Oprah Show.

I don't ever feel like what they are reacting to ISN'T tied to their own racism and misogyny. Because Oprah is not the most wealthy or powerful person in the U.S. media. Not even close. But many whites and men I know pretend she is. I have argued with whites and men about this: if Oprah did a few things that called out male and white supremacy as such, she'd be effectively removed from public view by the white men who are richer and more powerful than she is.

I watch corporate TV. Among some, this is akin to admitting to using pornography and some people wish to shame me for doing so. I don't view pornography--unless you consider corporate TV to be pornography; I suppose a case could be made. Me not consuming corporate pornography is not much to be proud of. But it is unusual for males, in my experience. And, increasingly, rare for females too.

What I have been pondering most recently is how children's exposure to their fathers' corporately produced pornography deeply shapes their experience of "sex". So deeply that it is almost impossible to reconfigure their sexual arousal responses. And how the children who are incested, molested, and raped are often the children to initiate other children into the world of sex; unless those other children too have already been incested, molested, and raped.

Something for me to be proud of is struggling to understand of why, exactly, any given person does enjoy corporate pornography, and why some people experience it, or even the word "porn" itself, as violence. I have sought to understand a lot about the pornography industry and its effects on people. And, generally, I've stopped focusing on the pornography industry and its rich white corporate pimps in my own activist work primarily because the pimp-pricks won and will continue to win until civil rights legislation exists to hold those rapist pimps accountable for what they do to people in the industry and for the effects of their product on society-at-large. Or until everyone realises just how dehumanising and/or horrendous corporate pornography is to women across race and class in countries where it is allowed to thrive.

Julian Real said...

And, what I've learned in the last five years especially, is that pornography isn't what harms most women most of the time. I maintain that poverty is. Capitalism/corporate greed is. Government corruption and State power is. White and male supremacy is. Lack of basic human resources is. Military warfare is. Famine is. HIV/AIDS and cardiovascular disease is. Being chemically or otherwise poisoned is. Being forcibly relocated is. Childbirth is. Incest, rape, and battery is. Trafficking is. Slavery is. In my world and in the lives of most women I have gotten to know in the last five years, Western Civilisation is what harms women most. Why is it, then, that most self-named radicals don't name white supremacist, capitalist, patriarchal "Western Civilisation" as the core problem? (Or, as I pithily call it: CRAP.) Why do some radicals focus on only one of the three atrocious problems?

Industry/corporate pornography is violence, violation, and subjugation for many people. Industry/corporate pornography is pleasurable for many people. The two groups aren't mutually exclusive either. I know this. Every feminist anti-pornography activist I have known knows this.

On today's Oprah show there were at least two truths that needed to be held in compassion, with great care, regard, respect, and even greater love.

I don't see many radical-identified people seeking to manifest this greater love in the work they do. I see a lot of people simultaneously defending their positions or egos while also trying to sincerely address various forms of social/economic/environmental injustice. And, I often forget about this need for greater love.

So, that's my preface to what follows.

Julian Real said...

Dark Daughta,

I often quote whole passages from what someone has posted because of my own memory/reading issues. I hope it isn't a problem for you and the readers that I do that.

I loved reading this:

"This exciting for me in more ways than I can say."

For me the best way to continue to undermine any planetary projects about the subordination of many of us, is for really insightful, thick, contextualized, politicized conversations to unfold all over the planet.

I'm up for that! I'm willing to support your work by engaging in those kinds of conversations with you here or on your own blog. If you'd like to, let's co-write a book, Dark Daughta--including the conversation if we keep it going long enough. (I can converse for a very long time. I just had a ten-hour conversation with someone, actually.)

For me, so is anything that fosters an understanding that there is only one way to combat the multiplicitous issues that oppress us as people who experience various forms of oppression.

I've spent the last twenty years cultivating an approach to seeing, knowing and speaking that makes space for the idea that issues are multifaceted and can best be attacked from all sides simultaneously.


To the extent that I think writing and speaking can effect and, especially, instigate principled radical social change, I welcome your approach, your ethic, being a guiding and central force in this conversation.

The law makers made legislation against hate not against white domination or white supremacist literature. As a result, the law was used to block revolutionary, politically conscious, intelligent wordings from a Black feminist writer. It was used against her and anyone who wanted to access her writings.

Yes, Dark Daughta. This is so crucial. Because the D-M ordinance did nothing of the kind. It didn't name "hate speech" as the problem. It couldn't have been used to go after revolutionary speech. It clearly defined material that socially/sexually subordinates women, harms women.

I'm not a fan of "hate crime" legislation for the same reasons, but accept that it can be effective. The fact that rape cannot and will not be regarded as a hate crime shows exactly how weak and ineffectual a legal concept it is for addressing and reducing white het male supremacy. Focusing on the problem as "hate" ignores the fact that institutions don't have feelings. And systems don't "hate": the work or they don't work. They are run by people many of whom cannot imagine how atrocious those systems are, or who must remain in denial about that. John Perkins writes about this in great detail from the perspective of once having been a corporate perpetrator.

Julian Real said...

I live in an oppressively sex negative culture that has capitalism and the ownership of wimmin's bodies and the children that emerge out of our bodies at its root.

How it is that anyone thinks corporate pornography is sex-positive is beyond me, personally. I understand how any lesbian and gay images can be used to affirm one's own socially despised sexuality and desires. But how that industry shapes our desires and sexuality to be filled with CRAP is something I've yet to see gay men address in any substantive ways, beyond a few writers such as Chris Kendall. That people think anti-corporate pornography feminists are "sex-negative" is rather absurd to me. It shows how effectively corporate pornographers convince societies that its products should best be regarded as "sexual" as opposed, say, to "subordination". That is is both is the point.

But people targeting feminists of any stripe as "the enemy" is one thing I'd like us to take up in our conversation, Dark Daughta. Because for the life of me, I cannot see how feminists rule anything anywhere. White corporate pimps shame us and despise us. Radical feminists do not. They target the corporate pimps. Why don't all of us who are lesbian and gay? Why do so many of us think "radical feminists" are the problem?

If that misdirection of anger and derision targeting a (relatively small) population of women is something that is a core problem in our community, I find. Do you find that also? To me it's kind of like blaming immigrants for a society's long-established economic woes.

This is a monogamist, sexually controlling culture that oppresses wimmin who are sexual calling them sluts, demeaning them, labeling them as diseased, if they have children questioning their mothering abilities questioning their rights to even raise their own children if they are too out in the open about their interest in being sexual.

It is corporate pimps and their professional relatives who most condone the labeling of women as sl*ts, wh*res, h*s, b*tches, and c*nts. Why is it that there are so many women, trans people, and men who want to reclaim those terms, and the many other terms produced by corporate pimps, hurled at women? And, there is no similar wish to own the term "radical feminist"? I don't understand that phenomenon as anything other than misogyny.

Is "radical feminist" a more white male supremacist and pro-corporate capitalist term than "corporate pimp" or "pornography"? I think not.

Julian Real said...

Some people will define a woman who is a mother being openly or overtly sexual, a woman being sexual or a lesbian being out about her sexualness as part of porn culture.

I see this too. And I find it is corporate pornographers, using billions of dollars, who do that most powerfully, and the men who consume pornography, who are usually much less wealthy, do it too. I see dominant corporate media doing that. I see governments, with its oppressive social and corporate welfare programs, keeping alive memes and themes such as madonna-wh*re, saint/sl*t, good woman/bad woman.

I'm seeking to focus attention on those very powerful institutions--including the religious institutions--that are so deeply invested in promoting and promulgating ideas like "virgin/wh*re". As I see it, those are the political bodies, or forces, that keep that misogyny flowing into and flooding societies.

I see many radical feminists of many colors challenging those memes and ideas to the core of their existence. Including, in the U.S., bell hooks, Patricia Hill Collins, and Andrea Dworkin.

Something Dworkin once said that few people remember or know is that she refused the maintenance of a rigid ideology; she considered any such rigidity as anti-feminist. She called on feminists and everyone else to always stand naked before reality, to re-assess one's own understandings and approaches.

Julian Real said...

Some people will tsk-tsk at any public displays of sexualness and talk about it being a danger to the capitalist, heterosexual, monogamous, patriarchally dominated family and to the children of the patriarch who must be shielded from any information about sexualness until they and their genitals can be moved into play as pawns of the capitalist, monogamist, heterocentrist patriarchy, strategically married off and mated in ways that maintain domination.

I completely agree. And it seems to me that in the West at least, the institutions of dominant media, pornography, religion, government, and marriage are the culprits.

Some people will say that any sexualness openly expressed that does not shore up the capitalist, monogamous, patriarchally dominated, heterosexual family is pornographic, of no use and should be stamped out, silenced, destroyed.

Some people call every sexual act that isn't done in the marriage bed porn or pornographic.


Yes, that seems to be the White Het Male Supremacist Corporate Christian Right's viewpoint. Curiously, their men also abuse trafficked women and children far more than other populations.

I need more language. I need more clarity in order to distinguish those who are my allies from those who would see me and mine destroyed.

I believe in focusing our radical opposition and actions at the people with the most power, the most structural/institutional power. Focusing rage, insult, derision, and distress at the people with the least institutional power is a tool of the Master, well utilised, including by me at times, on the blogosphere.

Sometimes I feel as if I am being attacked on different sides because the language and approaches seem too similar.

This might be something for us to discuss in more depth, Dark Daughta. Because I want to be sure I'm understanding who you, specifically, personally, experience as being the attackers.

For me, the most important determinant in assessing my enemies and the enemies of the people with whom I stand and support, here on this blog, is to ask myself, "What social power do these people have?" "What institutions do they control or support?" "What values do they profess, and what values do they practice?" "Do they portray oppressed people as their primary oppressor?"

For example, I see a very anti-radical, hurtful, and destructive pseudo-debate going on, in the parts of the blogosphere I visit. The "enemies" defined seem to be "radical feminists" and "trans women". Now, if we ask those questions above, it becomes rather clear than neither group is "the enemy". But, using the Master's Tools, it becomes useful to the Master, the White Man, for us to pretend either of those two groups, or "pro-porn lesbians", or "pro-prostitution activists" who are, themselves, working in systems of sexual exploitation and abuse, or married heterosexual women, are "the enemy". Surely none of those people are "THE enemy", even while we each may disagree with some of their views, values, or actions.

Historically, there was a serious breach in feminist action when F.A.C.T. sued to stop the D-M ordinance from becoming law in the U.S. Because they actually used the Master's tools to silence and shut down radical feminist activism and to bring into law recognition of white and male supremacy as a force that is sexualised and used against disenfranchised groups of people.

But the women of F.A.C.T. were not "THE enemy" either. They are women, after all. Those women didn't have nearly as much power as the corporate pornographers. But their actions were, functionally, in alliance with those pimps who also sought to shut down any opportunities for women to use the D-M ordinance to make their cases, their experiences, socially/legally real as subordinating, sex discriminatory harm.

Julian Real said...

It's necessary for me because I want to be able to recognize my allies and to join forces with them.

The extent to which I believe anyone who identifies as "radical feminist" is your enemy is the extent to which they accomplish two things: they exhibit and systematically display racism, lesbophobia, and misogyny at you, or about you. And the extent to which they control or actively support the institutions which do the same to you. But it is really only for you to name to me who you know to be your enemies. I cannot know this without you telling me.

Julian Real said...

I need them to identify themselves not just to their enemies and to allies who attend the same conferences they do, who speak as they do, who read the same tomes they do, who have made the same life choices they have.

I'm hearing you, here, naming some white radical feminists as "the enemy" or as "your enemy". Is that your experience?

I see a form of honourable vulnerability in you stating what you need. I certainly welcome you, here, to let me know as swiftly as is physically and emotionally possible for you, to let me know if anything--anything at all--I say or do makes you feel unsafe, attacked, or unwelcome.

I need them to also be able to comprehend that not all potential allies will use or feel safe using or encountering their chosen wordings/terminology.

I quite agree. And I don't think anyone who is white or male should control or "own" the discourse, honestly. But, if the discourse is white women's, I also don't feel it should be disregarded and disrespected simply because it is white. Because it is, after all, also women's. And women are not the most powerful members of any Western society.

Me asking for more than just "porn" or "porn culture" is me saying: Yes, I get what you're saying but I need to make sure that it's not me or mine you're trying to stamp out.

I can well understand, appreciate, and validate this concern, and these needs, because of how law has worked in your country to silence you and other revolutionaries.

I have been semi-public in opposing white-only leadership in the feminist anti-pornography movement. I believe it is one of the most serious problems with the movement, honestly.

This is me saying I am bumpy and jagged and not even close to feminist perfection.

Dear Dark Daughta, neither is anyone else! "Perfection" ought not be a human or pro-feminist value, imo. Or "purity". The first I find to be typically male supremacist and the second I find to be typically white supremacist. I think bumpy and jagged feminists are the best kind! :) I gravitate to the most honest feminists, personally. Which is why I appreciate the work of bell hooks, Dworkin, and Lorde. I wouldn't trust anyone who pretends not to be bumpy or jagged, in political/radical circles. I don't choose to be close friends with anyone who is unable to name their own internal contradictions and conflicts.

This is me saying I fuck and make pictures of my genitalia and share them with text about me and my politics and write stories about wimmin fucking other wimmin and people have put my stories in books designed to titillate other wimmin that might also end up in the hands of men who do participate in porn culture, who will not understand the specific political, revolutionary context of what I do, say, feel, write.

And that makes you an enemy NOT AT ALL, in my view. That makes you someone in the struggle, finding her way, honouring her truths and desires. If anyone thinks you are not "feminist enough" for doing what you do, I'd call them out on this blog while also not promoting a viewpoint that'd name them, if they are women, as THE enemy. I find this difficult: to distinguish who makes me feel unsafe from people who are unsafe. And to remember it is the larger institutions and systems that hold the most power, not any individual blogger. I can feel unsafe depending on what I encounter. I can feel triggered. I can feel vulnerable in ways that make me toughen my skin and get sharp-tongued. But I seek to keep my skin soft and tongue loving.

Julian Real said...

I'm saying I navigate treacherous waters. This is my chosen path.

I hear you. And I don't wish to add rocks and rapids to your journeying. Or to leave you feeling like the water level is above your lips. I'd prefer you feel like the floor isn't even damp here, honestly. If that's possible. And that there are many comfy cushions for you to choose from, to rest and reflect on.

Julian, this is me saying I'd like to chat and blog relationally. That's my happy place. And I see you're good at this. I just need to be sure you're seeing the particular, peculiar, flawed monster I am. This is what I've got.

Nothing you've told me has indicated to me that you're flawed, Dark Daughta. The person you describe to me as you is both fully "human" and deeply humane in my view. I welcome humanity being expressed here, in many forms and voices.

This is me asking if you're good with me being around here even though I'm more likely to ask questions and point out that the issues are very muddy for some of us.

Yes, I'm good with that. As long as you're good with me stating my truths in response, if and to the extent that you welcome me to. I'll add, that it would infuriate me if anyone attempted to shame or degrade you for doing the work you do.

This is what I'm after. A space of mutual understanding.

Me too. :)

I also have to admit, though, that my context, living in kkkanada as I do, is very different than yours. A lot of the laws and gatherings you describe that form part of the history of what you know and believe isn't on my radar.

I welcome knowing about the laws and gatherings, and the specifics of the history, that shape your own experiences and values.

This is one of the difficulties I encounter time and time again as a non-amerikkkan blogging among amerikkkans. So, I should claim that because I don't think that the amerikkkan bloggers, the amerikkkan blogging feminists or politicos understand that not all the histories are shared.

As someone who has close friends and deep political alliances with women, trans people, and a few men in many Indigenous Nations, and in countries such as Brasil, Malaysia, Japan, South Africa, England, Holland, and Denmark, and KKKanada, I try to make regional contexts and differences clear. So I surely welcome you pointing out any historical and cultural differences in KKKanada that I am ignorant of or am ignoring.

Julian Real said...

P.S. Oh, I have good connections and allies in Iraq, Sweden, Italy, and Australia too!! This is to say that the differences in cultures, societies, and political forces within any nation-state, or between them, is something that is important to me to know about, respect, and make real in my work.

JENNIFER DREW said...

Hi, Dark Daughta, I'm replying to your message wherein you asked if I had seen the part of one of your comments concerning how legislation against hate literature had been used to ban Bell Hooks' writing from being imported into Canada.

Yes I did read your comment and yes I know Canadian customs had deliberately misused the legislation and were using this as a method of maintaining oppression over women.

If my memory is correct regarding what I read on the Canadian legislation it was not about preventing writers such as Bell Hooks' from being imported - rather it was about preventing pornography being imported (and that was defined in the legislation).

But this is just one example of many wherein legislation supposedly passed to prohibit women being exploited/degraded by men is twisted around to reinforce white men's power over women.

This is why whenever radical feminists challenge malestream porn we are immediately called 'anti-sex' when in fact we are anti-porn sex. But that doesn't prevent the lies continuing to be circulated about radical feminists who oppose pornography.

This might appear as if I'm changing subject but I'm not - here in the UK legislation was passed concerning interpersonal violence and it was intended to give mothers greater protection when they were struggling to retain custody of their child. What happened? Why men's rights groups are using this legislation to blame women for not 'protecting their child' from (male) violence and it is mothers who are being charged with 'failure to protect' irrespective of fact they do not have the power to stop a violent male partner/ex male partner from inflicting violence on their child/children. Once again women are being targetted and punished rather than the male perpetrators.

So it is with the issue of porn because it is essential porn must never be challenged or curbed and so I always ask the question who benefits? Which group is maintaining power and control? Not women that's for certain. I do know that Stop Porn Culture is very much aware of how legislation has and would be used to maintain men's pseudo right of viewing pornographic images which degrade women and SPC is not attempting to claim legislation alone is the answer - because they aren't.

I believe porn is one of the main tools men use to maintain their domination over women and whereas once it was institutionalised religion which was used to justify women's supposed inferiority, now it is porn being used to maintain women's oppression.

Porn promotes male hatred of women and also white men's hatred and contempt for women of colour and I have a couple of women friends who because they are women of colour are commonly subjected to men's racist and sexualised insults. My women friends tell me they often hear these insults hurled at them as they are walking down a street and the insults are copied from porn.

I see pornography not as the core issue but one of a number of tools white male supremacist system uses to maintain its power and control over all women. However, I also recognise that women are not all subjected to identical methods of male control but all women because they are women not men are automatically deemed to be inferior to men. So my two friends' experiences are not the same as I what I have experienced but like me they are seen as 'inferior' to the supposed default human who happens to be white and male.

Julian Real said...

Hello Dark Daughta,

In reading over your comments, I'm realising I skipped a few in terms of responding. So I'd like to do that here. This will likely be portioned out in about eight responses, or more.

You alluded, I think, to this comment between us:

DD: This happens so much in political circles. It's so unnecessary.

JR: Indeed.


I can speak with you here a bit without naming names or specific blogs about patterns I've seen.

One is a dynamic where a white-moderated/owned blog is white-majority also, and voices of color are systematically ignored or disrespected. I remember than happening quite a bit on a white lefty-profeminist man's blog, where a woman of color tried to call out some privileged CRAP and her attempts were met with the most obnoxious and insulting "replies"--or, no one would consider her worth engaging with, writing her off as "the angry Black woman". That was so incredibly fucked up that she and I both left that space forever, never returning.

Then there are blogs or other online spaces where I've seen virulent insults and oversimplifications of politics being bantered about as if this is productive, constructive, or in any way useful to anyone. In my experience, it is Western white, class-privileged, het men's spaces that do this.

In those spaces a kind of bratty, bullying schoolboy 'ethic' seems to be permanently in place so nothing substantive ever needs to occur. My experience of those types of places is that the people are highly protective of their social privileges, structural position, and political power.

I've tended to avoid such spaces as expending energy there is a huge waste of time.

Julian Real said...

Another common experience is in what might be termed academically elite liberal to progressive spaces. Often enough, in those spaces I've experienced a hefty amount of anti-radical, anti-feminist diatribes, putting down feminists by name, perpetuating all the most egregious and/or boring myths about various feminists such as Andrea Dworkin. Along with that there a general willingness to indulge in a pretense that white feminists, most notably, hold a form of actual, structural "power" in society that I've yet to witness anywhere on Earth, even in some Scandinavian countries which are allegedly "very feminist".

So, forms this takes are pro-prostitution folks who are not for abuses of prostitutes pretending that "radical feminists" are their #1 enemy, as if pimps aren't.

Another form is pro-pornography bloggers and pornography consumers pretending that "radical feminists" can, somehow, take away all their porn; are "censors" working for various States, and so on. Again, this has yet to be demonstrated in reality, as far as I can tell.

Generally, "radical feminism" seems to be a kind of lightning rod for just about anyone who is upset about anything at all that has to do with women or sexuality. So sex-positive liberals go after "it" (radical feminism), as if "it" is one thing--as if all "radical feminists" have only one shared point of view, which is, to me, quite untrue.

And sex-negative conservatives go after "radical feminists" as a bunch of lesbians who hate men, and so on.

I see very few spaces that actually engage with radical feminist writings in depth. As a consequence of the harshest, and sometimes seriously threatening attacks against anyone who identifies as "radical feminist" on a blog or on YouTube, I've witnessed a kind of insularity that makes sense to me given the levels of hostility demostrate. Some radical feminist-identified wimmin have been terrorised, for example, by very privileged men.

While almost all "feminist" or "womanist" identified people online are harassed and insulted regularly--by men--I only know of a few cases of womanists or feminists being grotesquely terrorised in various ways. I mean terrorised in the most visceral ways, in overtly misogynistic political ways, intended to completely silence and "run out of town" those women and their perspectives.

I've had groups of men discuss how to beat, rape, and kill me, discussing which of them will make the trip to do so, and so on. And that's nothing compared to what I know has happened to many, many white feminists online, by similar groups of men.

I've never once witnessed any radical feminist terrorise anyone, period. Online or offline. But, then again, how would I know if and when it has occurred?

I have seen white feminists disregard and disrespect radical women of color, radical feminists of color, and woman-centered women of color. I've seen white feminist call themselves "radical" in the process of utterly ignoring or insulting women of color, or challenging their views without taking much or any time to consider how the white women's location, position, privileges, and power differentials make such exchanges deeply insulting, hurtful, and oppressive to women of color who are challenging the racism on the white blog, or who may just be contributing a different experience or point of view.

I do not support such actions or welcome them to occur on my blog. There will be no "ignoring" of the voices and perspectives of women of color here. There will also be no assumptions made that white women are not women-in-patriarchy.

Julian Real said...

As you state later (and also above), no group of woman (even right-wing women) is THE ENEMY of women more than any group of men is, even while she may be presenting the viewpoints of the oppressive men she shares some location and position with--men she, herself, is generally institutionally and interpersonally oppressed by.

Obviously this doesn't mean white woman can't be oppressive, interpersonally (and institutionally). But internalised misogyny shows up in so many places, and one form it takes, in my experience, is women attacking one another, insulting and degrading one another, while the white men who oppress all of them go on with their deadly ways--controlling institutions and ruling societies in ways no women do.

Curiously, also on some white feminist blogs, there is a tendency to focus on issues which predominantly negatively effect white women, or which many, in various ways, negatively effect women across ethnicity and region, while ignoring the issues which ONLY effect women of color globally.

I know of only a few white blogs that seem to deeply grasp and be responsible for what it means to be white, for example. Those white women are, more or less, fully accountable to women of color when whiteness is expressed and used--consciously or not, by whites in those spaces to silence or disrespect women of color.

I'm curious to know what your experiences are. And it may make sense to not name names, but I leave it to you to decide what is best for you to say here.

I'm not wanting to facilitate a discussion that effectively becomes a male encouraging the calling out of some women by other women. Needless to say, that'd be fucked up of me to do here.

And, again, the most aggressive and dangerous hostilities I've seen online are almost without exception from men--almost always white, class-privileged het men. In part because men have the means with which to act out threats. These and other men's interpersonal terrorism is socially real. Women's interpersonal terrorism against women is not, at least to me, except in cases where mothers terrorise their female children. I've known too many cases of that happening, but not close to the number of cases of fathers terrorising their children and the mothers as well. Please challenge that if you don't agree.

Julian Real said...

On some blogs--and this can cross race and ethnicity and region--there can be a dynamic where everyone more or less agrees, and so there's a sense that what is happening is "merely" affirming one another in shared, if privileged, beliefs. I see how isolated so many of us are, and how there is an impulse, a desire, to gather around us a few allies for safe conversation that isn't too challenging or triggering, that can feel like a bit of an oasis in a sea of virulent disrespect and gross disregard.

And, usually there's privilege loaded up at those places, most often by race and class, in my experience.

I had wondered how old you were when you mentioned remembering Audre Lorde. I never met her. I came out as a dyke and was around a short while before she died. But I appreciated her body of work most definitely.

I corresponded a tiny bit with Audre Lorde, back in the 1980s. She didn't know me hardly at all. But when we met, at a conference, she did remember something I had written to her/sent to her. And we discussed that and other things briefly. I feel very honoured and lucky to have met her. Her work is central to my thinking and feeling.

And I see most of her work being ignored, in ways that white women's radical feminist work is not ignored. And that pisses me off. I keep seeking to engage people in various white-majority spaces, to take up what she said and discuss it. But that rarely to never happens.

Whereas, I can generate more discussion in those same exact spaces about a few white feminists' writings/work. So I conclude that's racism at work. And racist-misogyny specifically.

Also, I'm glad you have a good therapist, and hope she does far more for you than not balk or pale at what you have to present. Perhaps we can discuss that elsewhere at some point. :)

Y'know, Julian, I wish there was space for you to actually blog, describe the rest of what you allude to here in your last comment.

Let me know if you feel I haven't yet accomplished that, here, in this latest series of comments/responses.

I find so much of what follows this to be profound. Thank you for speaking it, for writing it here.

I realize from blog communicating with so many different people that many people are lost when it comes to blogging with spirit. They've got information. They've got politics.

But they're missing something.
A spark.
A sense of fearlessly being able to put together the pieces they're encountering.
A willingness to speak into the gaps of our stated beliefs as lefties.


This is where my role models speak to me: Audre Lorde, Chrystos, Andrea Dworkin, James Baldwin most especially. The only person named I didn't get to meet, sadly, is Mr. Baldwin. When people ask me, "Who among those who have passed on would you most like to to converse with over dinner?" I say "James Baldwin".

What each of those people have in common, in my "read" of them, and in my experience of them, is that they walked with their fears and refused to allow their own minds to be colonised by their oppressors or by their followers. That is crucial, to me. Because it's difficult enough to uncolonise one's mind and body from one's oppressors. And in many ways it may not be possible at all, in any kind of absolute sense. Well, it isn't, in any absolute sense!!

But what I see as a grave danger is not being willing to stand independently among one's followers and friends, one's colleagues and mentors, and speaks one's own truths that do not match theirs. That's what I hear you doing, Dark Daughta, and that's why I am determined to make this a safe space for you to speak your truths, which is also to say, to Speak Truth.

Julian Real said...

Regarding this, Dark Daughta:

So, also is the difficulty with legislating against porn or porn culture without differentiating between those who force others to fuck as a way to dominate and those who fuck out in the open to resist their own domination.

This is a significant difference between us in experience, as bell hooks' work has never been banned here. And neither has pornography. Neither has queer publications or queer images of graphic sex. It's kind of all here all the time. Although feminist bookstores closed a lot through the 1990s, when a particularly anti-woman/anti-feminist form of "postmodernism" and liberalism took hold here, strangling out almost all signs and symbols of radical feminism.

Part of how that was done was by whites writing about "radical feminism's history" as if it were a tale of whites. WRONG. It has never, ever been that in the U.S.

I've probably made that point a hundred times here, and it really doesn't much matter. The stigma that 'radical feminist' means 'white woman' is still very powerful--and I mean among men, not just among wimmin.

It's right up there with 'radical feminist' means 'in bed with the right-wing', and 'radical feminist' means 'man-hating lesbian'. Those are the biggies, in my experience. And all of them have been promulgated in liberal, progressive, and 'radical' media and environments that are anti-woman and anti-feminist, both.

Corporate pimps have milked those stereotypes for all they are worth--and then some. They've gotten rich doing so, because by doing so they've facilitated the liberals and progressives to band with the conservatives to oppose things like the D-M ordinance here in the U.S. But perhaps I'm repeating myself from twenty comments ago. ;)

And, none of that makes what you've experienced less oppressive, less shaming, less harmful, less hurtful, to you and to wimmin you know and have struggled with to find your own ways in a cruel, repressive, oppressive world. Not a bit of it.

I hadn't realized that their work was misused. It's caused a lot of misunderstanding here...a lot of divisions in dyke communities where some wimmin did assume that folks like Andrea Dworkin were all about curtailing queer sexual expression because it was the same as corporate, mainstream patriarchally infused hate porn. There are still divisions here because of that.

I am sad about how it appears, from what you shared here, that the wimmin there, the lesbians there, the dyke communities there, had perspectives manufactured by corporate pimps so readily available without feminist rebuttal. I hope the word is spread about what Dworkin did feel, believe, write, and do, so that those lies and distortions, and related ones, can die their long-overdue death.

Julian Real said...

I will state here that I'm opposed to showing the images that SPC shows, but that's so particular to me and my own sensibilities, triggers, and also due to what I understood to be Andrea Dworkin's general disdain for showing those images in social spaces. I agree with what I believe her reasoning was. It has been reported, perhaps even by me, once upon a time, that she was always and absolutely against such images being shown. I'm not so sure that's the case. I believe it is more accurate to say she was generally opposed to having them shown in the process of doing political organising and feminist work to challenge the misogyny and racism of the anti-pornography industry.

I will state here my own views, which while informed by Dworkin's, are owned here as mine. I do not support the showing of images from industry pornography to prove that the images are reality not fantasy. Why? Because men with the most money and power will still never see those women as real, and will only ever argue that "she is there of her own free will". And, many other men will stop thinking when they see such images, and will only feel the same things they feel whenever they see them, which is arousal.

I'd never, ever tell the women who organise SPC events what to do. But I can (and will) state my own feelings and views about it here on my own blog.

I don't believe in showing images of raped women without the raped women's permission--and maybe even with her permission I still wouldn't show them. And if we can't know whether or not she was raped, then the image is not to be shown. That's my position.

I believe virtually all women in industry pornography are raped women. Even very pro-porn industry women readily admit this is the case, but that they are working to make it not be the case. But I've never heard any women in the industry, or who were once in the industry say that they've known a corporate pimp or an industry pornographer who was not also a rapist of the women he "worked with".

When you wrote this:
As I read your words about how people on the left, especially wimmin, especially liberal white men (who I don't view as being on the left because they are agents of insidious domination) functioned in tandem with the corporate porn structure, I thought about how often I've felt that the political agendas of people who said they followed Andrea Dworkin, ended up seeming way too close in word and deed to the stated agendas of people on the right.

I'd welcome hearing more from you about this, if you are able to freely speak more to this matter.

Julian Real said...

For now, I'll say that in my experience, people project their own understandings of Dworkin's work onto her work and onto anyone else who allegedly represents her work--the stigmas and lies stick. Occasionally people--women or men--do so in ways that don't demonstrate to me that they understand what the hell Andrea was talking about. I'll cite one example, about which I've written in detail: Ariel Levy's foreword in the newest edition of Intercourse. I don't think she has anything resembling a deep understanding about what Andrea's work is about, what it means, or why Andrea wrote it.

Here's my critique of her foreword:

Over Her Dead Body: How Ariel Levy Smears the Ashes of Andrea Dworkin

With thanks to Nikki Craft and John Stoltenberg for their editorial work on that piece. (Especially Nikki; and thanks to her also for publishing it.)

This is what I believe, Julian: Human beings are sexual animals. We rut to reproduce but also for pleasure.

For me this statement needs a bit of unpacking or exploring. Because it was read by me, at first--however wrongly--to say "humans are naturally sexual animals who have sex to reproduce and also for pleasure". I fear that's how it will be read, I guess, since I read it that way.

So I want to note that in my experience humans don't know the first thing about "sex" without being taught about it. They might stumble on how their bodies feel good when rubbed in some places. More often their fathers stumble into their daughters' bedrooms. Or children stumble upon their fathers' porn collections. And read the incest stories, the rape novels, watch the rape scenarios presented as orgasmic for everyone involved.

But no man I know knew how to fuck without being shown by someone. And most of those 'teachers' knew very little. And no woman in my region where I've lived grew up, from birth, knowing a whole lot about her clitoris, her rights to say no, her rights to say yes, or her rights to take as much time as she needed to think about what was best for her outside an interpersonal experience or social setting in which she was being coerced, at least, to have sex with men. Many women have described to me how it is they even found out about their own bodies as bodies which exist not-only-for-men. Most of what males and females have been taught about sex, in my limited experience, has been grossly shaped by their "learning" about themselves from industry pornography, corporate religion, and perpetrating, predatory, or exploitive, selfish-as-hell men.

I don't think human males--at least any that I have ever known in my life--have any clue at all about what 'sex' is or what it is for. Without being told by some entity with "political interests", usually, commonly, male supremacist political interests.

I welcome your response to this.

Julian Real said...

I wrote a blog post about the great tree, us as very young beings on the planet, children really, living in trees and relating everything about our existence, about the world, about our social organization about our deities to positions on the tree.

Higher up - better
Lower down - not so good
Really lower down, so far down that a person is actually under ground, under the tree - evil
Highest up, so high up you can see everything, all approaching predators, so high that a person is actually beyond the absolute top of the tree - the seat of power OVER all things, way, way up and cannot be seen - good

We're simple creatures...still.


Thank you for sharing that, and if there's a link to it on your blog, I'd like that to be put here in our discussion, if you wish for that to happen. When I read that, and thought/felt about it, I realised how it was saying something different but similar--in some ways--to another piece of writing. But the element that was most intriguing to me was this idea in what you wrote that if we go up high enough women or the collective "we" escape the perpetrators.

For me, the perps live most often "up there", in the tree-tops or in the sky, hovering and circling like vultures or vampire bats. This is to say, that in dominant societies I've lived in, god is a sadistic blood-sucking/life-taking prick, a predator, one oppressive fuck, a trafficker and pimp of grand proportions. That the pope and his highest cardinals and bishops are all of them either rapers and molesters of children or protectors of rapers and molesters of children says it all.

But I find that you are addressing something that, as I read you, you are explicating elsewhere. That writing, plus other writings of yours, is bringing something into focus that is generally blurry to me in conversation. I hope we can talk more about all this. That's what I mean to be saying, in far too many words. Because I want to be sure I'm understanding and feeling through what you are saying there and elsewhere.

The writing that 'felt' similar to me--but only in some thematic or linguistic regards--was this one, by Ken Wilber (about whom I may soon do a post). In some ways, perhaps, his writing could be a response to your own. Or not. I'm most interested to know if you find any relationship at all between what you wrote there and this:

It is often said that in today's modern and postmodern world, the forces of darkness are upon us. But I think not; in the Dark and the Deep there are truths that can always heal. It is not the forces of darkness but of shallowness that everywhere threaten the true, and the good, and the beautiful, and that ironically announce themselves as deep and profound. It is an exuberant and fearless shallowness that everywhere is the modern danger, the modern threat, and that everywhere nonetheless calls to us as savior.

We might have lost the Light and the Height; but more frightening, we have lost the Mystery and the Deep, the Emptiness and the Abyss, and lost it in a world dedicated to surfaces and shadows, exteriors and shells, whose prophets lovingly exhort us to dive into the shallow end of the pool head first. -- Ken Wilber (Sex, Ecology, Spirituality)

Julian Real said...

Now, let me say, that I think you have much more to say on the subject than ol' Ken. I take serious issue with some of what he's done in his work. More on that another time. But I do like that quote of his.

And I'm interested to know how it strikes you. (I don't pull white men off the shelf often--or, well, off internet websites, in this case!! and it's not likely to happen much in the future, unless to critique their writings.)

One of my favourite authors, Octavia Butler, talked about hierarchy and an all consuming interest in power being our fatal flaw.

It stunts us.
It stunts everything about our interactions, including our sexual selves.

The choices are not many when it comes to what we can do about the intertwining of hierarchy, power and sex.


I find that Lorde's essay on the Erotic is, in some ways, a response to Octavia. And a very good response too.

I wanted to be sure to reply to this portion of one of your comments here. And I'm going to quote a whole large chunk of it, in case people didn't read it above. I'll respond, first, to this opening passage, before allowing the readers to read more of what you say here, which I think is terribly important to be read and understood:

You're asexual.
You made that choice.
It makes sense for you.


I chose to be asexual not because my sexuality is bound up with power as power is taught and expressed in the patriarchal society and cultures I've lived in. That's a factor, yes. But I've chosen asexuality specifically because to not do so means being triggered in some horrible ways. Such as: if I am sexual with people, or myself, I am prone to having a stabbing pain in my rectum. I'm not sure what that is: a repressed body-memory? A simple muscle spasm? It doesn't matter.

When I am sexually active, alone or with others, I am prone to experiencing that pain and it is the opposite of anything one would call "pleasure", even to those of us who take pleasure in pain. It makes me sweat and feel like vomiting. So that's one of a a few central reasons why I choose to be asexual. Another reason is so that I will not perpetrate against anyone. Because I was abusive once to my male cousin, and to a teen male of seventeen when I was 27. I've made amends. But I don't believe white men are entitled to have sex if "sex" means exploitation or selfishness or abuse. I just don't. White men can live without sex, and I wish far more would.

Once my very, very privileged self got some federal health insurance--which I had to fight for, against a very ignorant psychotherapist who seemed not to notice how riddled I was with ptsd--I wanted medicines not for the severe depression that was making me think a whole lot about ending my life, but rather to kill off my 'sex drive', my 'libido', so that the pain would stop. So that I wouldn't feel like being sexual at all, so that I'd never have to experience that gut-wrenching pain again.

So, I want to be clear about that, as my rectal response is in no way a matter of privilege. But if you disagree, I welcome you stating so. I guess, before moving more deeply into what comes next, I'd like to ask: If sex was never or almost never experienced by you as pleasurable; if even orgasm was not pleasure to you, would you choose to be actively sexual during the period in which that was the case?

Julian Real said...

As I explained to some white lesbian separatists who have also made choices about what it will mean for them to be sexual, their choices, from where I stand, are grounded in a particular kind of privilege and power, nonetheless. :)

I agree with you in a generalised way. Not in a specific way. But yes, the choice to "not be sexual" with other people or with oneself can be and often is loaded with many privileges--such as the privilege to know that one can survive more or less alone, because one has some forms of monetary wealth, or, even, class privilege. But also what you go on to say:

When we talk about racial oppression and link it to other forms of oppression, including economic oppression taking full root in the lives of people of colour, Black people, the ones who are also poor or working class, who struggle on the daily just to eak out a mere existence, I think it's necessary to think about what sustains.

Sex...for so many is pretty much what they have.
Sex...dirtied, for all of us, inexorably intertwined with power. Granted.

But, nonetheless, for people, especially for wimmin who do not have much, who do not have anything, I think that it is pretty privileged to say that they should just stop having sex with the men in their communities, that (icky, but true) they should stop doing/offering survival sex as a way to make money to feed their children, that (for those who really don't have anything else) they should stop treating those few minutes or seconds where they might find some sort of (completely shortsighted yet real) physical release as (an achievable) pleasure in lives so riddled with pain, disappointment, lack of opportunity, disrespect.


Can you let me know where you've encountered white lesbians requesting women to stop having sex. I just want to know in what contexts this has occurred, because so far the contexts remain blurry to me.

I want to validate, though, that I do think some of us who are class and race privileged do advocate for celibacy, although I'm not one of them. I don't wish my reasons for not being sexually active on anyone and hope few people have to "not have sex" for the reasons I don't have it.

When I encounter people who make difficult, powerful, radical choices, who think that these choices will work for everyone they encounter I think about living with humiliation, rage, suicidal thoughts, dishonesty, hurt, abandonment everyday and not being able to look forward to a trip to Cuba or the Netherlands to visit with family, or going to a conference in Portland where I can have the possibility of meeting people who might actually understand me, or renting an RV to do a road trip where I will meet strangers who will treat me and my family well and welcome us into their interesting homes because it's clear that I'm educated and middle class and therefore harmless...

I think about not having maneuvering room because of not being able to call on white skinned privilege to smooth my way.


I think that is so powerfully and brilliantly expressed, Dark Daughta. And I am glad it appears twice in this discussion thread.

Julian Real said...

I saw a documentary online about a week back done by a white woman interviewing a group of ethiopian tribal wimmin farmers who are married to the same man who were talking about the pitfalls and joys of the arrangement.

I watched shots of the wimmin and their children and then THERE in the background, a shot of the African children playing with a white children, so joyful, so free, so out of place, so inserted and made to fit.

I thought about my children and about how the dynamics of oppression make it much more likely that this white woman will be in the bush with her white child, safe, working, playing, meeting interesting people, being welcomed by African people, while I sit at my computer screen in north amerikkka envying her and her child, knowing that my children will never have that experience as loving, playful, joyful memory.


Thank you for stating this.

I think about not even being able to buy land a-way, way out where I wouldn't have to interact so directly with hierarchies of oppression in social circles and environments.

Yes, the whole white wimmin's land-ownership thing is so obviously race and class privileged. Times twenty or times two hundred or two thousand.

I think about the one creature comfort I actually have access to in diseased yet ecstatic abundance that, if consumed an amounts, will not give me diabetes, that will not leave me smelling like booze, that will not send me into drug rehabilitation.

I think about sex as accessible, in the body, perhaps able to shake loose some of the pent up horrid emotions I carry, shake them loose perhaps in the form of tears for a moment or two a couple of times a day, so that I might stand even a small chance of not being yet another Black statistic dead of stress related illness in my sixties.


I am glad you have that available to you, Dark Daughta, and I can add to the reasons why I think it is beyond fucked up/oppressive for any white person or any man to tell you or any woman of color how or when to have sex. Suffice it to say, anyone who is white or male ought not be telling any woman of color, or women of color generally, how or whether they should have sex, including survival sex.

I hope you don't experience me stating that I am asexual as a political stance advocating for other people--especially but not only women of colour--being asexual. I don't believe anyone should choose to be asexual unless, for one thing, they just "are asexual", or for another, it is, genuinely, a choice they must make in exactly the way someone else must make the choice to have sex in the bushes or in a public toilet. I don't view my choice as better than any other, or intrinsically "more feminist" than any other.

Julian Real said...

Julian, bringing this right back around to Andrea Dworkin, what I've noticed that many Dworkinites, for some reason stress being asexual or having sexual relations in a limited range with a limited range of people of a particular gender as a way to embody what she wrote.

I suspect that's because they don't understand her work, misunderstand her work. Or they seek to misuse her work in racist/classist ways.

It may also be the case that Andrea's call to women to examine the politics of the sex they are having, to understand the patriarchally political meanings of "sex" is something that not all women can afford to do, for too many reasons to list here.

For a variety of reasons their options are not my options.

I'd argue: Nor should they be or could they be.

Their choices do not fit my life. Their relationship to the dominant and dominating sex oppressive culture is different than my own but not free of the taint. It's just differently placed.

I agree. I think we are all placed differently, and some of that placement is structural and social and caste-based, and some of it is more individualistic and personally historical. A woman who is Indigenous--I won't locate her beyond saying that--cannot have sex. She cannot and does not have sex. She is, very much like me, for some reasons similar to me, 'actively asexual'. She has no hope for finding love or sex with men. I relate strongly to how she feels. And our lives are very different in many ways.

She was [very abused] by her father from an early age through her adolescence. She can't have sex because it can only bring her back to that horror that was her childhood. I honour her decisions as I honour yours. Completely.

I've been saying that I have to read Dworkin for quite some time. I'd like to understand why abstinence rather than conscious, critical, emotionally intelligent, verbal interrelations is stressed by so many of the people who believe as she writes.

This is far too complicated for me to approach here. I'd welcome us having a whole separate discussion about this, if you would be open to doing that. And, if you would welcome that, please let me know in what form that might safely and most easily occur for you. But I'd like to engage in that discussion only after you've read what Andrea has said on the subject. Whenever that occurs. Because I think she doesn't say exactly what I hear many women (or men) say she said.

Julian Real said...

For me, I choose the latter, not from a place of gluttonous, selfish denial where I ignore what others experience

Dark Daughta, I'm filled with sorrow at the thought that anyone--anyone--has hurled such insults and attempts at shaming you, your way. I'm disgusted at the thought, which your words lead me to consider, that you've endured that form of abuse from wimmin. I'm clearly out of the loop about how some white women treat/mistreat women of color when it comes to prescribing 'how to be sexual'. But nothing about you being shamed or insulted sounds very 'radical' or 'feminist' to me.

but from a place where I share everything I learn, experience knowing that as a Black woman I was not supposed to be here, I was not supposed to be making these links, I was not supposed to be having any reproductive choice, I was not supposed to be figuring out any way to realize the hidden and unspoken parts of what my foremothers, kidnapped and brought here yearned after, fought for.

They fought for something for the wimmin who would come after them. They fought. Their daughters fought. Their granddaughters fought. Their greatgrandaughters fought. Their greatgreatgrandaughters fought. I am one in their line. My relationship to sex is complex, tainted, in struggle, dying, being born. I claim that. I own it.


Thank you for sharing this. So very much. I hope many people read it. Especially people far more privileged than you, but also the wimmin similarly located or less privileged, with similar challenges and who make similar choices.

I smiled when I read this:

hmmm...you're not like most of the Dworkinites I've encountered.

I want to say: "And I suspect neither was Andrea Dworkin!"

From where I'm standing there seems to be a misunderstanding about her words that has also permeated the agendas of those who love her...at least the ones I've encountered.

I've seen that offline and online--a lot.

I'm not sure how much I really want to get into this here, given that many of the people I've interacted with online are hated because they're lesbians and therefore are open to oppression in ways I can't even begin to claim...anymore.

The thing for me to keep in mind is this: whatever those women's misreads were of her work, if, in fact, they are misreads, they were greatly encouraged and supported by dominant media, including the 'media' produced by corporate pimps. And it is difficult to know exactly how much in line with those pimps' views the views are of women who are self-defined "Dworkinites". Dworkin was not a Dworkinite, after all.

Suffice it to say, I'm simply about the terminology becoming more specialized so that it becomes clear who is actually the enemy.

I stand with you in this endeavor.

Julian Real said...

I don't think that wimmin are ever the enemy in this kind of fight.

But men wish for that to be so, and so it is so. Also because one of the most vicious mechanisms of perpetuating misogyny is to make it so internalised that women can't and don't direct their rage at men, but instead deliver it sharply to themselves and one another. That's my experience. It's beyond sad. It makes me rage at men, for all their work in ensuring this happens.

I have to point out that I do know sex workers, some of whom blog, who do work with men and who don't have analysis beyond not wanting to be seen as vermin for what they do or who don't want to be treated as enemy by feminists.

There are certain conversations I have with them about pieces they can grasp and there are certain conversation I know I won't ever be able to have with them because they won't understand given where they're located.

My words are exposed to their gaze. They come visit my blog and read.

I will not judge them.

I will not turn them away.

I go to visit them.

In fact, there have been moments in my history here online where the feminists where shuddering at me, where almost no one would come see me on my blog and they still welcomed me.


That's a rather clear indicator to me that those women criticising you, or anyone (woman or man) who criticises any woman working in any sex industry or system of sexual exploitation wasn't/isn't behaving in any way as Andrea Dworkin did. She was poor once and did make money by selling her body for sex to young men. I've never read anything by her that shames prostitutes or strippers, for example. There's only one group of women I remember Andrea saying she couldn't make room for in her heart: Nazi women who lived during the 1930s and 1940s and committed crimes against Jews--heinous crimes, in the camps. Andrea lost many family members to the Nazis. Other than that group, in my experience, Andrea's heart was wide open to all women. This doesn't mean she was incapable of being triggered or shut down. She was human, of course. Not a saint. Jews aren't saints. ;) She was angry with some women for collaborating, but I suspect that is only when she felt the women had the power, privilege, and meaningful resources to make other choices. That's my guess based on my readings of her work. That's me not quoting or paraphrasing her at all. To be clear.

It's an alliance of the damned in particular ways I think. I have learned terminology and nuance from being around them.

I think there are different callings and options for people--too often significantly limited by capitalism, patriarchy, and white supremacy. Some of us are on the front lines, dealing most directly as activists with the corporate pimps and traffickers and other policers of women's and girls' sexuality. And some of us are in the trenches surviving the war men are waging against women, with few tools for resistance. And some of us are theorising about it all, quite removed from those lines of battle. And there are so many lines of battle, on so many fronts.

Julian Real said...

Survival sex is a really useful term I've learned. Have you encountered that word?

Yes. I feel like I know it in my body, not so much in my mind.

It offers a less binary understanding of sex work on a continuum.

And I'm not sure where I encountered it but I also really enjoyed reading the slut manifesto which positions all sex with men, whether it be sex workers doing it or girlfriends or long term lovers or married wimmin doing it as a transaction.


I'd like to discuss that, as it compares to the Communion chapter in Intercourse. It is about James Baldwin's writings on sex and its meanings. There are places of overlap.

I'd also be curious to know in what ways you see Andrea saying something along these lines about how men regard wimmin, married or in prostitution, in her book Right-wing Women.

"Transaction" isn't the term she uses though. This idea that all sex is a transaction is, in my experience, something that became very popular in the West after Michel Foucault wrote about a history of sexuality (published in the 1970s and 1980s) as always and necessarily involving an exchange of power--that all encounters, socially/personally, were embedded with an exchange of power. Such an observation can be tilted to support patriarchy, as he did in his own life, or to support radical social transformation away from patriarchal abuses and exploitation of women by men.

Julian Real said...

That's what I, with my two men of colour partners, believe is the case on this planet at this particular moment in time.

I do understand sex as transaction in so many different ways.


I accept, as you say, that sex is a transaction, among other things. I'm not entirely sure what you mean by 'transaction' so I'll ask: What does that word mean to you?

I think of 'sex' as also a form of communication; a sharing of experience, however unequally (including within one's own psyche); a revelation of who someone is and why; an expression of one's own personal and social history; a reinforcement or repudiation of the dominant social structures.

It's just that I'm more interested in educating wimmin about how to politicize their sexual relationships, increase their choices, how to say no, how to shift dynamics in their favour, how to protect themselves physically and emotionally, how to recognize/develop their criteria for choosing the people they will sleep with, how to do more than survive sex with anyone of any gender.

I find all of that honourable work, Dark Daughta. Not that my viewpoint matters: I hope you know what you're doing is spiritual-political work that is as feminist as any other work.

I keep in contact with women who are in very precarious places, socially and politically. I have speak with women who are regularly assaulted. I make no judgments about what women do when their choices are very limited. I try not to judge any women's sexual choices period. I'm a male after all. No woman needs to hear a male tell them what they're doing is "wrong" or "not feminist". Blech. If you or any woman catches me doing that, I hope you call me out, if you wish to.

I loved reading this:
This exciting for me in more ways than I can say.

And this too!
For me the best way to continue to undermine any planetary projects about the subordination of many of us, is for really insightful, thick, contextualized, politicized conversations to unfold all over the planet.

Ignorance is killer.

For me, so is anything that fosters an understanding that there is only one way to combat the multiplicitous issues that oppress us as people who experience various forms of oppression.

I've spent the last twenty years cultivating an approach to seeing, knowing and speaking that makes space for the idea that issues are multifaceted and can best be attacked from all sides simultaneously.


Thank you for sharing that with us.

I live in an oppressively sex negative culture that has capitalism and the ownership of wimmin's bodies and the children that emerge out of our bodies at its root.

What is so mind-fucking to me, Dark Daughta, is that I live in a society--different from yours--that is sex-negative in which liberals call industry/corporate pornography and gross sexual exploitation "sex-positive". I don't get it. To me, this indicates that Ken Wilber's statement has meaning. We value the superficial over the deep. And it confirms so much of what Dworkin and Baldwin say in the 'Communion' chapter of Intercourse. There she identifies all the ways the society--U.S. society--is "sex-positive" without examination of what that even means. It's a great read. Be sure to get beyond the first page and a half, well into her discussion of Baldwin's novels. It's one of my most favourite pieces of writing of all time.

Julian Real said...

This is a monogamist, sexually controlling culture that oppresses wimmin who are sexual calling them sluts, demeaning them, labeling them as diseased, if they have children questioning their mothering abilities questioning their rights to even raise their own children if they are too out in the open about their interest in being sexual.

I also see it as a very "pro-male exploitation of women and girls" culture that is not at all monogamist. I feel many societies, including the U.S., and ones in Holland, and in England, and in Australia, in Sweden, in South Africa, and in Japan, are so pro-predation, so pro-trafficking, so pro-rape, so pro-battery, so pro-child molestation that in no way promotes anything resembling "family", unless "family" means an on-going terrorifying horror show. I'm not "pro-family" if family means people living together in horror, abuse, and neglect. I see no conditions on men to be monogamous; only on some women. For men there has never been any rules precluding them behaving as they wish, sexually. Men can have one wife or more to rape; one girlfriend to beat up or many; one prostitute or one hundred to exploit; one child to fuck or three hundred. That's what I see across many societies around the world. But many men make sure some women must value monogamy.

Some people will define a woman who is a mother being openly or overtly sexual, a woman being sexual or a lesbian being out about her sexualness as part of porn culture.

I welcome you telling me more about that. If you wish to.

Some people will tsk-tsk at any public displays of sexualness and talk about it being a danger to the capitalist, heterosexual, monogamous, patriarchally dominated family and to the children of the patriarch who must be shielded from any information about sexualness until they and their genitals can be moved into play as pawns of the capitalist, monogamist, heterocentrist patriarchy, strategically married off and mated in ways that maintain domination.

I see this as well. I see this virtually everywhere I look.

Julian Real said...

Some people will say that any sexualness openly expressed that does not shore up the capitalist, monogamous, patriarchally dominated, heterosexual family is pornographic, of no use and should be stamped out, silenced, destroyed.

I welcome you telling me more about that. If you wish to.

Some people call every sexual act that isn't done in the marriage bed porn or pornographic.

What some feminists distinguish is whether or not the sex is male and white domination, male and white supremacy, callous and cruel.

I need more language. I need more clarity in order to distinguish those who are my allies from those who would see me and mine destroyed.

I hope this is a safe space for you to find some clarify, and that this space tremains one for you to explore what you want to explore.

Sometimes I feel as if I am being attacked on different sides because the language and approaches seem too similar.

I need some differentiation.

It's necessary for me because I want to be able to recognize my allies and to join forces with them.

I need them to identify themselves not just to their enemies and to allies who attend the same conferences they do, who speak as they do, who read the same tomes they do, who have made the same life choices they have.

I need them to also be able to comprehend that not all potential allies will use or feel safe using or encountering their chosen wordings/terminology.


I both hear and feel that, Dark Daughta. Yes.

Me asking for more than just "porn" or "porn culture" is me saying: Yes, I get what you're saying but I need to make sure that it's not me or mine you're trying to stamp out.

I can see how this would be so crucial, given what has happened in kkkanada, particularly. I support you asking for what you need and I hope you get answers that are honest.

I already responded to a portion that was here, in your comment above. But if my response feels inadequate or doesn't make you feel safer or supported, please let me know.

Julian, this is me saying I'd like to chat and blog relationally. That's my happy place. And I see you're good at this. I just need to be sure you're seeing the particular, peculiar, flawed monster I am. This is what I've got.

I do refuse to see you and practically everyone on Earth, as a monster. I'm very open to knowing you in all your particularity, peculiarity, and "flaws" but for me "flaws" means "humanness" and not much more.

This is me asking if you're good with me being around here even though I'm more likely to ask questions and point out that the issues are very muddy for some of us.

I answered this above, but want to reiterate: Yes, I'm good with that.

This is what I'm after. A space of mutual understanding.

I wouldn't want it any other way. :)

I also have to admit, though, that my context, living in kkkanada as I do, is very different than yours. A lot of the laws and gatherings you describe that form part of the history of what you know and believe isn't on my radar. This is one of the difficulties I encounter time and time again as a non-amerikkkan blogging among amerikkkans. So, I should claim that because I don't think that the amerikkkan bloggers, the amerikkkan blogging feminists or politicos understand that not all the histories are shared.

I welcome you calling me out when I make statements as if they apply equally to kkkanada as they do to the United Rapes of Amerikkka.

Julian Real said...

I want to add two points of clarification.

1. The First Nations woman I referred to was not raised on any reservation and was adopted by a working class white man. That man is mentioned above as "her father" but he was her adoptive father.

2. The call for carefulness in expressing our views and experiences ought to include, imo, understanding in what political context, country, and conditions any action occurred or any piece of writing was written. What specific political struggles were going on at the time? What were the prevailing views that writing by any feminist, for example, is responding to? I may post separately about this.

Julian Real said...

I also welcome anyone to make a political case for how any radical feminist activist, whether fighting the pornography industry or not, is more terroristic, horrific, oppressive, harmful, or hurtful to women in prostitution than are the group "male pimps". If "male pimps" are, in fact, more harmful (etc.) to women in prostitution than are radical feminist activists, why do some pro-prostitution/pro-porn activists speak out against radical feminist activists but not against male pimps?

I think there are many answers to this question but that some understandings are along the same lines as why women are blamed for anything at all that is perpetrated primarily, systematically, and most egregiously by men. This is one answer: Because it is safer to do so, not because the women are more harmful.

What is safer for some women to do doesn't make women as a class safer, necessarily. Blaming mothers for the abuses of fathers, for example, doesn't make fathers who abuse children more humane or more accountable.