Sunday, April 24, 2011

A response to "GuiltyPornUser". Posted to support the work and life of Andrea Dworkin

photograph of Andrea Dworkin is from here

I am trying to steer clear of many places online--especially non-feminist and anti-feminist blogs--because what I find there is, to me, usually discouraging discussion with no interest in activism whatsoever. Often the discussions go on and on and on about the same things, seemingly for the purpose of trying to be right--to shore up one's own ego, or to make it seem like the politically oppressed group "women" are now oppressing more and more people.

I'm glad to see new people come into feminist spaces online, however, in order to go over topics that have been discussed in the past. I'm glad new voices come into discussions about important matters, like how men oppress women and how that oppression can end. Hopefully a good percentage of those newcomers will become radical activists. I have found one such site, that gives me hope that more and more women are finding their own voices and are willing to fight for freedom for all women. Not that it ought to be women's job to do so. But Lorde knows men aren't going to do that work. They're too busy looking at pictures of raped women online--because, you know, it's their white het male god-given right to do so.

What troubles me is how men, and sometimes also women, invade discussions among women for the sole purpose to derail them or be obstructionistic. This happens a lot. The men who I see do this routinely and preDICKably are called "trolls". "Occasionally, though, there are people who are not trolls, who apparently do want to learn something but nonetheless use all manner of techniques of argumentation to do what the trolls do: derail important pro-activist, anti-patriarchal conversation. Below I respond to one such person. I place that person's commentary in italics. My responses follow, portion by portion. I'm  not going to link to the source website because I don't have their permission to do so.
JulianReal Sun 24-Apr-11 18:13:29
I came here to note something simple. Andrea died six, not seven years ago. She passed on April 9, 2005. I remember the day all too well. This matters to me as I work to keep online information about her accurate.

But then I read the discussion and I am going to respond to one of the commenters who seems to me to be quite determined to "not get it".

To GuiltyPornUser @ Mon 11-Apr-11 11:09:57

I'm from the other thread, and my problem when I read Dworkin is that it seems to start with an assumption and carry on.

GPU, It starts with reality--with what girls and women experience, horribly, in reality. The theory builds from there. It's not like so much of men's theories, which men adore going on and on about endlessly, across eras. In so many of men's theories, we start with an idea, and go from there. Dworkin's theory is rooted in actual experience, across era, across region, across culture, noting differences in experience due to race and class, often.

Going straight to the third paragraph where the argument seems to begin

..."We know that men like hurting us. We know it because they do it and we watch them doing it. We know that men like dominating us because they do it and we watch them doing it."

To me, that reads as big assumptions - it uses big categories "men" and "women". Would it dilute the message if she said "some men"?

Dworkin was a political philosopher and activist, GPU, not a sociologist. It is a strategy, I believe--a pro-patriarchal one at that--for you to take what she said about horrific reality and immediately wish to move that into the realm of ideas and abstraction. Did you read what she said? Did you feel it too? What do you feel, deep down, when you read what she wrote and not toss it away into your need for cerebral processing? "Men like hurting us". "We know it because they do it and we watch them doing it". That's rather horrific, isn't it? Do you feel the horror and terror of it? Do you know a battered woman wrote those words? And a woman who was living on the street for a time, after escaping the sadist abuser? Do you empathise with the millions of girls and women who are beaten and raped by men? What does that feel like, in your body, to empathise with them, GuiltyPornUser?

Also, "men" is not a category as much as it is a real group of people--human beings each one, who identify themselves as such--if they speak English--and who behave in ways to bolster their own ideas, in practice, of what it means to be "a man". Some men beat up more feminine men; some men beat up women whether they are feminine or not. But however the beatings occur, they occur to shore up this identity and to practice the power to control other human beings. Men beat up people to practice something many men call "being a man". And the evidence for men doing that is most everywhere. Surely you can note how this has manifested in your own life.

What you are asking of her is spurious, to me. It is also functionally pro-patriarchal and pro-rape. I see you wishing she had shifted her intellectual pursuits, her mode of investigation and her approach to demanding accountability, at least, and liberation, at most, to better suit your guilt-ridden self; I conclude this based on your chosen name here. Her work doesn't exist to take care of you or make you, as a man, feel better about yourself.

You know what you do: you access still images or video clips--whenever you wish to--of pimped and raped women, who were, disproportionately, incested and trafficked girls, so that you can obtain sexual arousal and orgasm. Who gave you the right to do this? Who told you doing this was not callous and inhumane? Was it other men, by any chance? You know most (but not all) males who have access to the internet do this. So whose interests are served, and what political agenda is served, by feminists such as Dworkin writing "some men"? Her point is that MEN do it. And MEN do it to WOMEN. If I note that U.S. white men committed grievous and heinous atrocities against enslaved West Africans and genocidally mass murdered Indigenous Americans through the 18th and 19th century in particular, would you prefer I note that it was "some white men" who did this? How does that shift the history? The point is that it was WHITE MEN, isn't it? So why do we need to hem and haw our way around this point? Is it so that you don't have to come to terms with what it means to uphold and defend--in actions--your own and other men's manhood?

Going on "Pornography is the sexualised subordination of women. It means being put down through sex, by sex, in sex, and around sex, so that somebody can use you as sex and have sex and have a good time."

It's not clear to the casual user of porn that women are being subordinated.

GPU, it's not clear to the average regular purchaser of McDonald's meals that they are harming their health. That's how capitalism, advertising, and propaganda works. How patriarchy's advertising and propaganda works is to promote the brutality of women and make it look like--and be--"fun" for men. I assume it is enjoyable for you to use pornography. Is that correct?

We are told the women are happy, they smile, they enjoy what they do. Her arguments starts with the conclusion, which is great if you agree.

She is speaking about what happens, GPU. Not about what you think happens because you buy the pimp's lies about what he produces for your entertainment. If you see a woman being raped and smiling, do you assume she's having a good time? Why? Does it not occur to you that there's a director--perhaps also her pimp who is also her rapist--ordering her to smile? Do you think the conditions on pornography sets are free of sexual harassment and coercion? You are demonstrating a level of naivete (I'd argue willfully, but you tell me) that is astounding.

I think a stronger anti-porn argument for me would be empirical rather than theoretical

Have you read Dworkin's book titled "Pornography: Men Possessing Women", GPU? Have you heard her testimony before the Attorney General?

Part 1 of 4: www.youtube.com/watch?v=QmEsu1TTJ-Y
Part 2 of 4: www.youtube.com/watch?v=6fzf-LLwVRw&feature=related
Part 3 of 4: www.youtube.com/watch?v=neQeea4rmLA&feature=related
Part 4 of 4: www.youtube.com/watch?v=JPPAeySECS4&feature=related

Have you read the book she co-edited with Catharine A. MacKinnon, a U.S. Constitutional law professor and human rights attorney, titled:
In Harm's Way? See here for more:
www.amazon.com/Harm%C3%A2%C2%80%C2%99s-Way-Pornography-Rights-Hearings/dp/0674445791

(please note from my other thread, I'm not a defender of porn)

What are you then, GPU? An advocate for women's and girls' human right to be free of men's rapist predation and pimping? What actions do you take, with other men especially, to ensure that your idea of men and women being equal finds rooting and growth in social, economic, political reality? In what ways do you organise with men to stop rape and pimping for example? To stop trafficking of girls? To stop men from beating up women the men say they love, and then taking the children who they also abuse? By "men" here, I mean the men who do such things. Do you understand how many systems are infused with ideas of inequality, such that when many women come to court and speak of their husbands being abusers, the court systems are rigged to find her guilty of trying to slander him, rather than finding him guilty of being a terrorist and abuser?

And also to
GuiltyPornUser @ Mon 11-Apr-11 11:27:42

I posted because as I have this strange notion then men and women are equal and have the right as a parent to post on this board about something that concerns me.

This is a classic example of the problem referenced above, GPU. You start with an idea: "men and women are equal" without backing that up with material evidence. It's a premise--an intellectual argument; it is an argument that has been made by many women across many eras. The problem is that men, as a class of people, won't allow the idea to find ground and prosperity in reality; men defend their power over and against women, legally, religiously, socially, culturally, economically, and, not least of all, sexually.

3 comments:

Mastenship said...

Interesting. I have seen plenty of horror movies out there. I have felt the terror. I have swallowed that hard lump in my throat numerous times. But........that doesn't make it REAL. I think that way about Andrea Dworkin and many of her corroborators.
Those generalizations they spew forth are no different than if men say that all women are "gold-diggers". There's just not enough truth to the statement given that empirical evidence shows that there are kind and generous women out there that marry for love.
The fact is, these types of statements only stir up ever more resentment between both sexes, instead of actually addressing individual grievances and taking personal responsibility for your own actions. Hold INDIVIDUAL men accountable for their actions, not every man for one's actions.
This reminds me of the collectivist thought that Marx spouted...the same thought that has openly starved millions.

Julian Real said...

Hi Mastenship,

I'm wondering what you are wanting to accomplish by coming here and pretending you're not operating out of a very dangerous ideology.

Can you describe your ideology to me, or must I point it out to you?

Are you conscious of it, in other words?

I'll respond to bits below...

Interesting. I have seen plenty of horror movies out there. I have felt the terror. I have swallowed that hard lump in my throat numerous times. But........that doesn't make it REAL.

Have you been forcibly or coercively penetratd by men's penises and hands over the course of a day, over the course of weeks, months, and years? As a six, eight, and twelve year old girl in many parts of the world?

Have you been systematically raped as "part of your job description"?

That's reality for millions of girls and women, right? Or does that not count as reality because you don't experience it?

I think that way about Andrea Dworkin and many of her corroborators.

That you believe that surprises me not at all. Everything you put forth is from a cohesive, oppressive ideology, a particularly privileged--very privileged--mindset and value system that precludes seeing most of the harm that is going on all around you, globally.

Those generalizations they spew forth are no different than if men say that all women are "gold-diggers".

It's entirely different, actually. Whites saying "Blacks are in charge!" is not at all like Black and Brown people saying "Whites are in charge!" The first is fiction; the second is truth.

There's just not enough truth to the statement given that empirical evidence shows that there are kind and generous women out there that marry for love.

You will decide what is truth and what isn't, and you have been raised to think that "your" truth is Truth, while everyone else's is "not reality". Do you see that?

Julian Real said...

The fact is, these types of statements only stir up ever more resentment between both sexes,

More resentment than men raping, procuring, trafficking, and enslaving women? Whose "resentment" are you in touch with? Your own and that of other privileged white men? I'd say your minority opinion lacks both credence and compassion.

instead of actually addressing individual grievances and taking personal responsibility for your own actions. Hold INDIVIDUAL men accountable for their actions, not every man for one's actions.

Yes, you'd like that, wouldn't you. Because you benefit socially not at all due to individuality, but rather from the class interests of men, whites, and the wealthier few percent of the population, but you will pretend you're not a member of those groups, instead arguing for "individual rights". How about, then, if we dissolve all privileges and entitlements granted to whites as a group, to men as a group, and to the rich as a group? How about if those people only act as individuals, not as a mob protecting their race, gender, and economic class position over and against other human beings who are never viewed by whites, men, and the rich as "only individuals". You can't even see Andrea Dworkin and other feminists as individuals. Practice what you preach, dood.

This reminds me of the collectivist thought that Marx spouted...the same thought that has openly starved millions.

And your point is what? Marx was inhumane for wanting life to be less oppressive for working people, by holding the elite rich accountable for their atrocities against the poor? How does advocating for poor and working people result in starved millions. Do you know that the IMF and World Bank, run by very socially elite people, all of them representing interested groups--not individuals--who are white, rich, men, do a great deal, quite deliberately, to keep poverty increasingly endemic and lethal and wealth increasingly hoarded and corrupt?

Did your education teach you that?

Why don't you read the collected work of Vandana Shiva and then get back to me. And not before then.