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Lauren founded this blog in 2001.
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20 Responses

  1. The Countess
    The Countess January 3, 2006 at 3:17 pm |

    Thanks for the link, Lauren. That crap was especially nasty, wasn’t it? I’m not surprised some guys actually use that advice. And they wonder why they don’t get their way in court? Feh.

  2. nerdlet
    nerdlet January 3, 2006 at 3:44 pm |

    If you haven’t explored the rest of before, I’d like to invite ya’ll to do so. This guy believes that women forced men to evolve hairy bodies because they wanted men to be grotesque ape-like creatures, that women magically drain energy from men, and that has created a theory of human nature that can summarize all life in one sentence.

    And really, when SomethingAwful is mocking you for misogyny, you’ve got it *bad.*

  3. Leslie
    Leslie January 3, 2006 at 4:12 pm |

    I found Fatima Mernissi’s essay to be dead on. Western culture spends a lot of time patting itself on the back for being ever so much more enlightened than Islamic culture. Mernissi’s comment that western methods of marginalizing women may be more sophisticated but are incredibly effective struck a chord with me having heard so very many women obsess about their weight.

  4. Thomas
    Thomas January 3, 2006 at 4:44 pm |

    Ampersand blogged about the Dines and Jensen article last month, and the resulting comment thread ran over 100 comments, remained civil … and didn’t make much headway. I liked what I wrote there, and I was going to paste it over and edit for here, but then I realized that it was really voluminous.

    I’m neither pro-porn enough for pro-porn feminists nor anti-porn enough for anti-porn feminists, and though I realize we can’t “all just get along,” I do really cringe when I see feminist women ripping into each other over this issue.

    The anti-porn arguments address separately two sets of issues: the effects of porn on the women who participate in making it, and the effects of the material on the culture. CGI (and for that matter, text) takes one of those entire sets of arguments out of play, but does not address the other set at all.

    I find that, when we’re talking about the product of the mainstream porn industry, I’m generally in agreement with the anti-porn feminists. But there are significant areas where I get off that bus.

    First, I do not oppose the mere existence of sexualized images of women in a patriarchal culture. I understand how one would get to that conclusion, but I disagree. Some erotic images, even those made in large part for masturbation, are perfectly acceptable in my view. My favorite example is a photoset of a close friend, given to my wife and I. The pictures were erotic, explicit and BDSM-themed. They were the product of a woman, making images of herself for no money and at nobody’s behest, as a gift to friends. She shared with the viewers a common understanding of who she was and what part of her sexual self she was representing. She maintained an important degree of control over the use of the images: she stipulated that only the intended audience of two should ever see them, and only we two have. One has to really stretch to find a problem with that, as it has more in common with either a sexual encounter or a love letter than it does with commercial exploitation of women.

    Because I think there are kinds of erotic material that are okay, I really want a definition. Anti-porn folks are short on definitions, and the ones they provide I generally find unsatisfying (see the Amp thread around #55).

    Second, I’m not willing to accept remedies that are not going to be used against the misogynist mainstream porn and will instead be used selectively against sex radicals and sexual minorities. Most of the legislation, including the Dworkin/MacKinnon ordinances and the Porn Victims’ Compensation Act explicitly target BDSM — so Vivid Video survives, but the lesbians play-piercing each other get arrested or sued? Count me out. I want something that is targetted at what I don’t like. If we cannot get that by handing more power to a government in the hands of men who like porn, then we’ll have to do it by persuading men and women both to demand better erotic material.

  5. Alas, a blog  » Blog Archive   » Link Farm and Open Thread #4

    […] omments, including links to your own stuff if you want. View contentHide content UPDATE: Lauren at Femniste just posted her own “link farm,” although she calls it a “co […]

  6. August J. Pollak -
    August J. Pollak - January 3, 2006 at 7:11 pm |

    Darwin: the shirt

    Via Feministe, there’s a post up from Shakespeare’s Sister about one of the many, many stupid/clever/stupid-trying-to-be-clever online T-shirt stores: Some of their other sportswear showcases slogans like “Pull My Hair,” “Stop Rape. Say Yes,” “L…

  7. The Happy Feminist
    The Happy Feminist January 3, 2006 at 9:38 pm |

    Aw shucks. Thanks!

  8. Lisa
    Lisa January 3, 2006 at 9:42 pm |

    “That distressing experience made me realize how the image of beauty in the West can hurt and humiliate a woman as much as the veil does when enforced by the state police in extremist nations such as Iran, Afghanistan, or Saudi Arabia.”

    “These Western attitudes, I thought, are even more dangerous and cunning than the Muslim ones because the weapon used against women is time.”

    “This Western time-defined veil is even crazier than the space-defined one enforced by the Ayatollahs.”

    I call bullshit. Sure I occasionally have misgivings about body image. I also have a challenging, rewarding well-paying job in a male-dominated field, my own apt, my own car, and I answer to nobody but myself in what I wear, who I date, where I go and when I come home. I could never do that in a place where the ‘space-defined’ veil was enforced by state police in an extremist nation.

    There’s plenty of perfectly valid ways to criticize Western society. And there were some good points made in the essay. But comparing our beauty-myth-issues to ‘state police’ forcibly violating women’s most basic rights in ‘extremist nations,’ and saying that those ‘space-defined’ violations are less (or just as) dangerous and hurtful and humiliating is absurd. I’ll take my time-defined veil any day.

  9. asfo_del
    asfo_del January 3, 2006 at 11:57 pm |

    I certainly won’t defend the disgusting hatefulness of the Father’s Rights manual Countess quotes from, but in my experience with my boyfriend’s divorce, a father has absolutely no rights, in any practical sense. His child’s mother ordered the child to say what she wanted said to the law guardian, who couldn’t give a rat’s ass, and my bf hasn’t seen or heard from his son since April.

  10. anashi
    anashi January 4, 2006 at 2:15 am |

    No rights…hmmm… in your completely unbiased position as his girlfriend.

  11. asfo_del
    asfo_del January 4, 2006 at 2:59 am |

    ^No rights. Yes. For any practical purpose. Whatever his mother says, goes, and the court couldn’t care less.

  12. Thomas Wilburn
    Thomas Wilburn January 4, 2006 at 9:43 am |

    I tried to comment this yesterday, and couldn’t get through. The author of the Wired piece, Bonnie Ruberg, has written a lot of great feminist gaming stuff. Her website’s at

  13. Ealasaid
    Ealasaid January 4, 2006 at 12:12 pm |

    As a feminist who likes some porn, I found the anti-porn essay interesting. I was surprised at her descriptions – I suppose some must be like that, but not the stuff I watch. ‘course, I use the reviews at Good Vibrations to pick most porn I rent, which might help.

    I think it’s a difficult and thorny issue, and certainly one worth discussing.

  14. anashi
    anashi January 4, 2006 at 12:33 pm |

    Something Awful was hilarious and the anti-porn arguments particularly Sophia’s were really great. I learned a lot from what Sophia said about it not being constructive to call any woman who argues with you about any given subject a non-feminist. It’s something I’ve really tried to take to heart, because I have been judgemental in that way in the past. I’m anti-porn, because we do live in an unequal society and women are harmed by porn, but I’m not for all out banning. I think it needs to be regulated like any other industry but trying to critique the porn industry is hard because its supporters will be at your throat in seconds with their cries of censorship and anti-sex. The knee-jerk reactions effectively stop debate about how we still need to reform parts of society like porn to be more friendly toward women.

  15. Thomas
    Thomas January 4, 2006 at 2:51 pm |

    Anashi, I agree that

    The knee-jerk reactions effectively stop debate

    It’s tough to find common ground about porn, partly because so many folks may make arguments that allow for nuanced approaches, but what they really want it either outright absence or total freedom. There are a few of us, however, that think that some sexually explicit material is okay and some isn’t, and that we ought to be able to do something about the bad stuff.

    I don’t like that some folks call feminists who oppose porn anti-sex. Sure, some folks really are anti-sex, but that conclusion does not follow from even the most sweeping opposition to porn. It’s just a dismissive accusation.

  16. Bitch | Lab
    Bitch | Lab January 4, 2006 at 3:10 pm |

    As a feminist who likes some porn, I found the anti-porn essay interesting. I was surprised at her descriptions – I suppose some must be like that, but not the stuff I watch. ‘course, I use the reviews at Good Vibrations to pick most porn I rent, which might help.

    I think it’s a difficult and thorny issue, and certainly one worth discussing.

    They didn’t have an argument. They had a bunch of assertions, none of it supported by an explication of the evidence. The waved their hands at evidence, but they didn’t illustrate anything with specific references.

    Personally, I couldn’t care less about watching porn. I’ve seen enough of it, though, to know that their description of what’s out there and what is typically viewed by het men? Well, it was dubious at best.

    What annoys me is precisely what Tim at The Wrong Side of Capitalism said about this kind of analysis.Which is what I say about Levy: it’s a reappropriation of the very madonna/whore complex that vexes us interminably. It’s always about finding some “women” over their who are social dopes, blinded by patriarchy, women who know not what they do, women who perform for men, always the endless search for the bright line separating dressing “for us” and dressig “for men.”

    It’s quite annoying.

  17. anashi
    anashi January 4, 2006 at 7:02 pm |

    Yes, I agree it’s always one or the other. Total acceptance or total rejection. There has to be a middle ground or nothing is going to change. No one I believe on the pro-porn side wants to see women hurt by porn, so I think that’s where anti-porn feminists efforts should lie, in reform. We could effect real change that would mean something for these women in porn, instead of pulling the rug right out from under their feet.

  18. Nick Kiddle
    Nick Kiddle January 5, 2006 at 3:01 pm |

    Here in the UK, unmarried fathers have very few rights indeed. I say this from the unbiased position of an unmarried mother trying to get the father to exercise what few rights he has instead of whining about how he shouldn’t have to pay child support and not get to control how I spend it.

  19. Thomas
    Thomas January 5, 2006 at 3:55 pm |

    B/L, you said this about anti-porn arguments:

    It’s always about finding some “women” over their who are social dopes, blinded by patriarchy, women who know not what they do, women who perform for men, always the endless search for the bright line separating dressing “for us” and dressig “for men.”

    I’m often frustrated by anti-porn arguments for several reasons, but not this one. This, I think, is mostly just throwing rocks at the anti-porn feminists. I’m sure there are some who are trying to fashion a reconstituted feminist “good girl” space for themselves, but it is unfair to paint broadly with that brush. Sure, it’s ugly to accuse women of having false consciousness, whether by that name or not, but most feminists also agree that not everything every women does is good for women. And few of us doubt that there are women doing porn who hate it and lack good options. Even Jenna Jameson concedes that she got into stripping and then porn after she was sexualized young and found herself in a bad spot without good options. See, e.g. Traci Lords.

    As I said, I do get frustrated with some anti-porn arguments. For example, the rhetorical tactic of conflating prostitution with porn annoys me, Of course both are sex work and both in many instances involve penetration of a woman by a man for pay, so that the latter is a subset in a sense of the former. But the conditions they encompass are different enough that I think the conflation is merely a strategic attempt to tar porn with the far worse conditions present in other kinds of sex work. the argument goes, if modeling for a porn magazine is the same as filming a porn movie, and filming a porn movie is the same as working for an escort service, and working for an escort service is the same as being lured to a foreign country and held as a slave, then transitively sitting for a pornographic magazine shoot is the same as being kidnapped and forced into prostitution. While I think reasonable people may (and I do) think women are exploited some, most or even all of the time in each of those four circumstances, saying that they don’t differ in significant respects in in my view untenable.

  20. ThinkNaughty » Pornography and Representation

    […] resting critiques of pornography. The first is Pornography Is A Left Issue (via Lauren at Feministe) by Gail Dines and Robert Jensen, which addresses pornography as corp […]

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