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174 Responses

  1. Kes
    Kes November 19, 2013 at 4:40 pm |

    Massive shudder at “sex-positive” bloggers acting like it’s perfectly normal – heck, even implying it’s PROGRESSIVE – for a man to fetishize lesbian sex and objectify lesbians. Ew. That comment really wasn’t necessary to respond to the viewer’s question. “Sex-positive”? Really? Are you sure? Because this doesn’t sound like it really cares too much about consent to me.

    1. pheenobarbidoll
      pheenobarbidoll November 19, 2013 at 6:06 pm |

      Read more like they were pointing out the flawed hypocrisy of his excuses.

      1. Willemina
        Willemina November 20, 2013 at 3:00 am |

        Failure mode of clever is asshole though, so…

        Dressing up an old cliche in homophobia and lesbians doesn’t make it any less hackneyed, looking at you bridge jumping friends.

        1. pheenobarbidoll
          pheenobarbidoll November 20, 2013 at 2:38 pm |

          Oh I agree. I just don’t agree they were claiming men who watch lesbian porn are progressive.

        2. snorkellingfish
          snorkellingfish November 20, 2013 at 8:47 pm |

          Oh I agree. I just don’t agree they were claiming men who watch lesbian porn are progressive.

          I felt like the implication was that men who watch lesbian porn aren’t homophobic. I mean, if you rephrased that sentence as something like, “If all his friends hate women, does that mean he’s going to stop watching porn with women in it?” it doesn’t make sense, because watching porn (especially objectifying porn) isn’t even slightly mutually exclusive with men hating women.

          If the point is, “If his friends didn’t do x-thing-that-he-liked, does that mean that he would stop doing x-thing-that-he-liked,” then the two things have to be basically opposites. Friends not buying condoms and him buying condoms are opposites things. Friends being homophobic and him watching lesbian porn are very much not opposites. The implication that they are downplays how harmful it is for men to objectify lesbians.

      2. pheenobarbidoll
        pheenobarbidoll November 20, 2013 at 9:36 pm |

        But that’s still not saying these men are progressive. Just not being a homophobic asshole is not being some progressive, enlightened person. If they were, they wouldn’t watch lesbian porn. That analogy makes sense to people unaware of the homophobic aspect of so called lesbian porn though, but the failure to explain or recognize the homophobic aspects makes the analogy a shitty thing to say. They could have picked a better one instead of relying on the ignorant privilege of their intended audience.

        1. pheenobarbidoll
          pheenobarbidoll November 20, 2013 at 9:39 pm |

          And hopefully they will read this, apologize and avoid this privledgey showing of their asses in the future.

        2. Echo Zen
          Echo Zen November 21, 2013 at 2:04 am |

          As adviser, I’m ultimately responsible for lapses in privilege-checking when it comes to final cuts of episodes. When I saw the line on lesbian porn in the script, the rationale was if someone hates LGBT folks and doesn’t want to be around them or even touch them, he has no business watching porn with (supposed) lesbians. In that sense, it’s not directly analogous to say “if you hate women, why would you watch porn featuring women”, since even the most misogynistic Republicans don’t recoil at the thought of being around women. The point was to highlight hypocrisy in such a thought process.

          But it’s still a bad analogy because it can be read in multiple ways that reinforce prejudice. So yes, we could have used a better analogy, and as the responsible party, I apologise. And yes, the comments about this stuff matter — we print and pin them to our wall as we work on followup episodes. At any rate, the next episode will feature less problematic analogies.

    2. MH
      MH November 20, 2013 at 12:29 am |

      I balked for a second. But then decided that its real life we’re talking about here. And plenty of actual men (not to be confused with some macho BS concept of “real men”) do fetishize lesbians. Should they? No. Do they? Commonly.

      Also, for what its worth, I’m not sure its even completely accurate to say they fetishize lesbians – although that’s the standard phrasing. In my experience, men tend away from fetishizing actual normal lesbians, who, like all women, may or may not meet the societal norms for height, weight, amount of leg hair, or propensity toward wearing high heels and makeup. Not to mention lesbians’ lack of interest in making out with said fetishizing man when they’re done making out with each other. What they do fetishize are women who will do whatever it takes to turn on a man, and look happy while doing it. I’d say that most lesbians I know don’t fall into that category. Anyway, I digress…

      1. All Cats Are Beautiful
        All Cats Are Beautiful November 20, 2013 at 2:00 am |

        I balked for a second. But then decided that its real life we’re talking about here. And plenty of actual men (not to be confused with some macho BS concept of “real men”) do fetishize lesbians. Should they? No. Do they? Commonly.

        As a lesbian, I really don’t need a reminder that this is real life we’re talking about. I know plenty of men fetishize lesbians and lesbian porn. Some of them even mention it in conversations when they learn you’re gay or think they can’t possibly be homophobic just because they like lesbian porn. It really sucks and affects many people.

        So why even bring it up in an advice column on a completely different topic? I think one can get what they wanted to convey without having to imagine LW’s boyfriend having only homophobic friends and wondering if he’ll stop watching lesbian porn then. Just because the main audience is heterosexual (given the topic of the episode) doesn’t mean it’s ok to talk about it like it’s not problematic at all and to draw such a polemical comparison.

  2. Datdamwuf
    Datdamwuf November 19, 2013 at 5:45 pm |

    Good topic, it did seem too long and wordy, like a lecture even. made the whole thing seem weak. I know it’s wrong but a long rational explanation doesn’t play well when it’s essentially a commercial. I think this one would go better with a actress/actor playing out the scene to a logical or satirical conclusion. Something so over the top it gets the attention? I’m rambling now. Glad you are taking the time to work this stuff!

    1. Echo Zen
      Echo Zen November 21, 2013 at 1:38 am |

      I’d love more than anything to do funny skits, or even just stick students in front of a webcam or something. But the resource footprint for skits is just too large and time-consuming to be viable. And last time we did skits and posted them on Feministe, they were almost completely ignored — and that was despite investing some real talent and skill in those skits. (I’m referring to the condom ninja stuff above.) So unless we know there were enough people watching to make skits worth our time again, we’ve sworn off doing skits forever. (In fact this current blog began as an experiment to find a cheaper alternative to skits.)

  3. snorkellingfish
    snorkellingfish November 19, 2013 at 9:23 pm |

    I’ll admit that this:

    If all his friends hate LGBT people, does that mean he’s going to stop watching lesbian porn?

    also made me uncomfortable, though I wasn’t wanting to offer that critique as the first comment when the rest of the response was very much on point.

    I’m tired of the implication that guys liking lesbian porn is somehow the opposite of homophobia, when in practice that sort of objectification is one of the big parts of the homophobia lesbians experience. I feel like that quote, in context, was making that implication. The exact same point could have been made without downplaying homophobia.

    1. Donna L
      Donna L November 19, 2013 at 9:31 pm |

      Not to mention that the “lesbian porn” that straight guys (stereotypically) watch isn’t really lesbian porn by any reasonable definition, in the sense of being porn by, for, or actually about lesbians. (It’s almost a cliche to make fun of the long fingernails, etc.)

      1. pheenobarbidoll
        pheenobarbidoll November 20, 2013 at 2:35 pm |

        @Donna- not only is it not lesbian porn, the women in it aren’t portrayed as lesbians. They’re portrayed as women so sex crazed and horny that they’ll have sex with men, multiple men, women, multiple women and objects too. Yanno…because the power of the peen is so great women will turn into sex maniacs. -eye roll- The homophobia rears its head when you realize that it’s considered debasement for a woman to be so horny she will not only have sex using an object, but she will have sex with another woman too. When two women having sex is viewed as dirty along the same lines as a woman being penetrated by a high heeled shoe, there’s a huge damn problem. I see what the post was trying to convey with their comparison and get that it’s aimed at a superficial understanding of porn watching, but there was a missed opportunity to break it down, so IMO it shouldn’t have been included. Other comparisons could have better made the point.

    2. Power of Choice
      Power of Choice November 20, 2013 at 1:43 pm |

      In mild defense of heterosexual men who like ‘lesbian’ porn – I don’t see such fetishizing as inherently homophobic, either.

      Objectifying, yes – especially if the men then profess their love of lesbian porn upon inteoduction to you, as All Cats Are Beautiful mentions above. That’s too much like trying to involve you in their fantasies without your consent. (It could also just speak to a general social incompetence at trying to make conversation, rather than somethiny creepy. )

      1. Glue
        Glue November 20, 2013 at 6:29 pm |

        How isn’t it homophobic? It promotes negative stereotypes which countless people are harmed by.

        1. ldouglas
          ldouglas November 21, 2013 at 2:50 am |

          I’m not sure how a video of two women having sex promotes negative stereotypes. I can see how specific videos, with more going on than just what was stated, might be homophobic. But the idea of porn that involves women hooking up? I don’t see the inherent wrongness.

      2. Fat Steve
        Fat Steve November 21, 2013 at 10:40 am |

        I’m not sure how a video of two women having sex promotes negative stereotypes. I can see how specific videos, with more going on than just what was stated, might be homophobic. But the idea of porn that involves women hooking up? I don’t see the inherent wrongness.

        For ‘porn that involves women hooking up’ substitute ‘porn that involves women hooking up as seen through the male psyche’ and then do you understand why it’s problematic?

        1. Fat Steve
          Fat Steve November 21, 2013 at 10:42 am |

          I should have used a better word than ‘psyche’ above…’point of view’ would have been far more sensible.

        2. EG
          EG November 21, 2013 at 10:50 am |

          Two women hooking up for the enjoyment of men.

        3. ldouglas
          ldouglas November 21, 2013 at 8:59 pm |

          Does a video of two women having sex made for the enjoyment of men differ intrinsically from a video of two women having sex made for a woman to enjoy (whether lesbian or not)?

        4. EG
          EG November 21, 2013 at 10:08 pm |

          In how it’s shot, how the actors are styled, how the sex is valued…yes.

        5. ldouglas
          ldouglas November 22, 2013 at 7:20 am |

          In how it’s shot, how the actors are styled, how the sex is valued…yes.

          I mean, as a straight-ish woman who sometimes finds women sexy, what I find sexy in women is usually pretty similar to what many of my straight male friends find sexy (in general, not in terms of porn).

          So I question whether you could actually come up with criteria that, when applied to porn videos, would say ‘this video of two women having sex is designed to be sexy for men,’ and ‘this video of two women having sex is designed to be sexy for women.’

          But it’s also possible I’m missing something fairly basic.

  4. ldouglas
    ldouglas November 19, 2013 at 10:33 pm |

    Hm- in my experience men almost always pay for condoms and women almost always pay for the pill, which has some logic to it and works out roughly equal, cost-wise.

    But ergh, the idea of dating someone that self-centered is gross.

    1. Power of Choice
      Power of Choice November 20, 2013 at 1:31 pm |

      This was my thought, too. While it may not be a written rule, I have just always assumed customary that men pay for condoms, women pay for the pill, in a typical dating relationship.

      But yeah, since this was something that obviously matters to her, he revealed himself to be quite the jerk by refusing to chip in. Not like they’re that expensive – it just would have been a nice gesture to show he also cared about contributing to the relationship.

    2. Iamabanana
      Iamabanana November 20, 2013 at 10:09 pm |

      As a non-sex-having person, I’m not terribly sure what the cost is for a box of condoms. But I’m guessing it isn’t $29. Which is what my pills cost every 21 days. Are you assuming they’re having LOADS of sex or that the woman has health insurance?

      Also it seems to be the common thing (at least among people I know) for the pill to become the sole method of birth control. I’m not sure *why* since condom+pill=pretty much no babies, whereas one or the other is more dicey. It always struck me as a weird “compromise” to say “I don’t like wearing condoms so let’s alter your body with hormones.” Kind of lopsided and unfair, in addition to being more risky.

      1. EG
        EG November 20, 2013 at 10:22 pm |

        Depends on the condoms. If you can’t use latex or isoprene, the cost goes up significantly.

      2. shfree
        shfree November 21, 2013 at 1:06 am |

        It really does vary. You can condoms for cheap, or even free, from university clinics, clinics that offer free or low cost STI screenings, but those aren’t going to be latex-free condoms. It wasn’t until about a month or so ago, when I decided that I should have condoms in the house just on principle, (my daughter is fifteen and Not A Sharer) that I even bought condoms from a store, ever. It’s always been either the dude’s condoms, ones I’ve gotten cheap from a clinic, or the massive amounts of gifted condoms given to me by someone who both worked at a health clinic AND thought I was having ridiculous amounts of sex.

        But, like EG says, if you have a latex sensitivity, all bets are off, and condoms get hideously expensive, very fast.

      3. ldouglas
        ldouglas November 21, 2013 at 2:48 am |

        Iamabanana- it obviously depends on what you’re buying/if you buy in bulk/where you live etc, but in my experience it’s usually $1-$2 bucks a condom, which works out to roughly the cost of BC (though this is also obviously dependent on how much sex you have per month/week/day).

      4. ldouglas
        ldouglas November 21, 2013 at 2:54 am |

        It always struck me as a weird “compromise” to say “I don’t like wearing condoms so let’s alter your body with hormones.” Kind of lopsided and unfair, in addition to being more risky.

        Also, I don’t think this is quite it; it’s not just men who find that condomless sex is more pleasurable (really, I promise). So for women who can take the pill without side effects (or who want to anyways for all kinds of reasons), it works out. Trading a slightly higher chance of accidental pregnancy for much more fun sex is a perfectly acceptable choice if everyone understands the trade-offs.

        1. EG
          EG November 21, 2013 at 8:29 am |

          Seconded.

        2. theLaplaceDemon
          theLaplaceDemon November 21, 2013 at 10:58 pm |

          Yes, exactly.

          Also, I don’t think it’s fair to minimize a dude’s feeling that condoms are uncomfortable or make sex less pleasurable. It’s certainly not an okay reason to bully their partner into using a type of BC that is bad for them or having unprotected sex, but that doesn’t mean those aren’t legitimate problems to have. Different birth control works for different people, finding a partner with overlapping preferences/needs is part of sexual compatibility, IMO.

          Which is not to say that a lot of men don’t bully their significant others into condomless sex. That is a very, very shitty thing. But if hormonal BC works for both of them and condoms don’t work for one of them, that seems like a good solution.

        3. shfree
          shfree November 21, 2013 at 11:31 pm |

          This is a tricky line to walk, though, one that I only think should be done within a relationship. I’ve had one-nighters whine to me about how much they hate condoms, even lie about how they just didn’t have any left (only to find out that hey, they did indeed have that mystical one remaining condom left after I was gonna withhold PIV) just to hopefully get out of having to use one.

          Outside of a committed relationship and a mutually agreed decision to abandon them, condom usage should be non-negotiable, and penis havers really need to get used to that concept, at least as far as I am concerned.

        4. Miranda
          Miranda November 22, 2013 at 3:52 am |

          Also, I don’t think it’s fair to minimize a dude’s feeling that condoms are uncomfortable or make sex less pleasurable.

          I mean, I guess, but this feels really rich considering that the whole goddamn universe seems to revolve around a guy’s penis and the extent to which it does or does not feel uncomfortable or pleasured during sex. *rolls eyes*

          Different birth control works for different people, finding a partner with overlapping preferences/needs is part of sexual compatibility, IMO.

          Sure, but the problem with this kind of rhetoric is that dudes are socialized to be far more entitled and demanding in their desires for super perfect comfy sex (no condoms eww!), whereas women are more likely to be accommodating and compromise. Isn’t this like feminism 101? Sure, people have to figure out what works for them in terms of sexual compatibility, but there are serious structural issues at work here as well…

        5. theLaplaceDemon
          theLaplaceDemon November 22, 2013 at 9:15 am |

          @Miranda and shfree

          And I absolutely agree with you, which is why I added my caveat about bullying. But “structural issues that centralize sexuality around male desire” doesn’t make it bad for a couple to choose hormonal BC instead of condoms if it works for them. I don’t think it’s a “strange compromise” any more than just using condoms is in cases where hormonal BC doesn’t work for the woman.

          What I’m saying is, as a woman who uses hormonal BC and not condoms in long term relationships, I’m happy to discuss the role of sexism in BC choice, I’m happy to discuss the structural issues that make it easier to prioritize male sexual pleasure, but I don’t want to be told it’s a “strange compromise” to use a very effective BC method that works for me.

          Look, condoms are physically uncomfortable for me, so I have some sympathy for dudes who say the same. I don’t want to use them in an LTR where we’ve both been tested recently. The pill has zero negative side effects for me, so I am happy to be on that. I absolutely agree that it is beyond shitty to try to whine or bully someone into not using condoms, and I think we need to talk about that more in our society. I think it is perfectly reasonable to refuse to have sex with someone who won’t wear a condom, and I wish women had more support in doing that. But discomfort with condoms doesn’t necessarily equal sexist asshole. Just using hormonal BC, or just using condoms, or just using an IUD or a diaphram can be a good BC choice, not a “strange compromise.”

        6. TimmyTwinkles
          TimmyTwinkles November 22, 2013 at 10:21 am |

          Yeah this has been my experience frequently. I’m certainly willing to wear one (though, and this is just for me and there are other considerations besides my own comfort in the equation, sex w/o a condom feels night and day better for me), but I’ve actually had several women either ask me not to wear one or take it off mid-coital for their own comfort.

        7. Miranda
          Miranda November 22, 2013 at 10:37 am |

          Ahh okay gotcha. The original comment tripped off my “what about the menz whine” radar, but now I understand better what you are coming from. Thanks.

        8. theLaplaceDemon
          theLaplaceDemon November 22, 2013 at 11:30 am |

          I totally get why that tripped your radar – “minimize” was a poor word choice, I think. And I apologize for getting so defensive in my follow-up – many of your points were very well made. It is challenging to discuss these things in a way that both makes room for individual needs and choices but doesn’t fall into the trap of pretending choices happen in a context-less (or more specifically, a patriarchy-less) vacuum.

        9. Miranda
          Miranda November 22, 2013 at 12:33 pm |

          No problem– I didn’t think you were defensive at all. If anything I felt like a bit of a jerk after your reply.

          It is challenging to discuss these things in a way that both makes room for individual needs and choices but doesn’t fall into the trap of pretending choices happen in a context-less (or more specifically, a patriarchy-less) vacuum.

          YES.

    3. a lawyer
      a lawyer November 21, 2013 at 11:52 am |

      Sometimes a “share the cost of BC” request would be very unusual (one night stands) and other times it would be obvious (marriage with shared finances.) She thinks that their relationship is closer to the second type. Apparently, he doesn’t. Since when do posters think that people’s own interpretations of their relationships are our business?

      After all, the cost of half of the pill is, what, $5/week or so? For most professional adults that isn’t huge, and she doesn’t mention that he is poor. So it’s unlikely that he’s unwilling to pay the $5; it’s much more likely that he’s unwilling to assume the emotional co-support, inherent adjustment of relationship status, and mutual obligation which he sees as related to sharing of birth control payments.

      If he’d happily buy her $20/month of coffee if she asked, but would shirk at giving her $20/month for the Pill, that would suggest that this is a Deeper Relationship Issue. And that is 100% OK. As it should be.

      She’s free to dump him, refuse to have sex with him, or simply insist that they use condoms instead of the pill and that he pay for them himself. All of those would be reasonable. But we shouldn’t join forces to suggest that he should adopt a relationship status he doesn’t want.

      1. pheenobarbidoll
        pheenobarbidoll November 21, 2013 at 2:12 pm |

        Except that’s not the excuse he gives, is it. No. His reasoning is that it’s her business and he’s never heard of guys paying for bc. In other words, bc is women’s stuff and he’s a guy and guys don’t mess with women’s stuff. Nothing at all about where they are in the relationship. Stop pulling excuses out of your ass.

        1. TimmyTwinkles
          TimmyTwinkles November 21, 2013 at 2:33 pm |

          Agree with the barbidoll, this is textbook misogyny, the guy’s not even being subtle about it. I remember year’s ago when i had a scare with a girl i was dating and she had to run out and get the morning after pill the next. I think it was like $40 or something. She let me take care of it, though i would have been willing to only pay half if she had insisted. The idea of saying “Good luck, this is your problem not mine” is disgusting. I’m not saying he should have to or even offer to pay for it all, just that he act like a decent human and share the cost for something that affects them both.

        2. Fat Steve
          Fat Steve November 21, 2013 at 9:58 pm |

          Except that’s not the excuse he gives, is it. No. His reasoning is that it’s her business and he’s never heard of guys paying for bc.

          I agree that it’s a totally lame excuse but if I’m honest, I’ve never heard of anyone who’s done it or even thought about it. If the woman were to sleep with someone else would the guy be entitled to a refund for that night?

        3. pheenobarbidoll
          pheenobarbidoll November 22, 2013 at 12:42 am |

          If she paid for half a box of condoms and he had sex with someone else, would she get a refund?

        4. Fat Steve
          Fat Steve November 22, 2013 at 12:04 pm |

          If she paid for half a box of condoms and he had sex with someone else, would she get a refund?

          She most probably wouldn’t get one. However, my question was would he (the boyfriend in the film or she, the woman in your hypothetical) be entitled to one?

          I sort of meant it as a rhetorical question, as I don’t know that there’s a clearcut answer.

        5. EG
          EG November 22, 2013 at 12:27 pm |

          I don’t think any more than he would be entitled to a pro-rated refund if she slept with somebody else in a bed they bought together.

          This isn’t about transactionality (I paid for the bc, so I am entitled to the sex or to sexual exclusivity); it’s about understanding pregnancy prevention as a mutual activity, like sex.

        6. Fat Steve
          Fat Steve November 22, 2013 at 1:38 pm |

          This isn’t about transactionality (I paid for the bc, so I am entitled to the sex or to sexual exclusivity); it’s about understanding pregnancy prevention as a mutual activity, like sex.

          You can’t imagine that a good number of men would view themselves as more entitled to sex having shelled out the money?

        7. EG
          EG November 22, 2013 at 11:12 pm |

          You can’t imagine that a good number of men would view themselves as more entitled to sex having shelled out the money?

          Of course I can imagine it. Assholes think incorrect things all the time. They’re simply wrong.

        8. Fat Steve
          Fat Steve November 23, 2013 at 1:56 am |

          Of course I can imagine it. Assholes think incorrect things all the time. They’re simply wrong.

          RIght, my point was that many men who would agree to such a thing would do so for the wrong reasons. This guy just happened to NOT agree to it for the wrong reasons. I’m still not convinced that it’s inherently feminist for a woman to be reliant on a man for birth control, but really, as I’ll never be in the situation, my opinion on the subject is close to irrelevant anyway.

        9. EG
          EG November 23, 2013 at 8:02 am |

          Right, assholes will be assholes. They can express their assholery in a variety of ways. There aren’t any asshole-proof things to do–the best thing to do when you find yourself dating an asshole, and who hasn’t?–is to break up, if you can.

          When my exes and I took turns buying condoms, I didn’t consider myself “dependent” on then for birth control, any more than I was dependent on them for food if took me out for dinner. I considered us to be sharing.

  5. ldouglas
    ldouglas November 20, 2013 at 5:25 am |

    Incidentally, finding POC stock images for almost all the things in your video took me about twenty seconds; is the issue that you have a very narrow library of stock images you’ve already purchased, or that you only are using free images on WikiMedia Commons, or something else?

    1. Echo Zen
      Echo Zen November 21, 2013 at 1:25 am |

      From what I understand, the problem is finding high-definition stock images of people of colour. I reckon the stock images you found were likely not high enough in resolution for this project, which is required to look good on university HDTVs for future-proofing purposes.

      Frankly, the time required to find enough images for a single 150-sec episode is becoming burdensome enough that, for the next episode, we might run with one student’s idea of talking about sex whilst… playing (feminist) videogames, instead of running a damn slideshow. It can’t be any sillier than how we currently talk about sex whilst watching dessert porn, and would definitely make our lives easier. I guess we’ll see…

      1. Esis
        Esis November 21, 2013 at 8:29 am |

        You might want to look into DeviantArt. They have a lot of free stock in a variety of resolutions. The tricky bit is that they are user posted so people’s usage rules vary, you’d have to look at each one and possibly ask.

        But most are free with credit for non-commercial use and being user posted might mean there are more images of POC. In theory.

        Or the feminist video games idea could work.

      2. SkyTracer
        SkyTracer November 21, 2013 at 9:33 pm |

        playing (feminist) videogames

        You’d be risking your whole channel by making its copyright standing dependent on publishing companies that may not like your content and may be right to say that it doesn’t fall under fair use.

        You’d also quickly run out of games to play ;)

      3. Echo Zen
        Echo Zen November 23, 2013 at 1:37 pm |

        Hmm, I’d not thought of DeviantArt. If we do keep running with the slideshow idea, I’ll look into it, along with Fat Steve’s “La Jetée” idea.

        I’m not sure how uni-students-play-videogames-whilst-talking-about-sex how would work. Copyright’s less a concern, since we have someone onboard who knows the ins and outs of what passes muster on YouTube. (Ex: Nintendo has very specific policies on gamers who upload anything.) I just don’t want to seem like the reason we’re playing feminist videogames is because we’re too lazy to find images every episode. I guess it’s an idea where we’ll only know if it works or not by trying it for one episode, and seeing how everyone reacts.

        (Also, there are exactly 15 positive feminist videogames or franchises in the mainstream market, according to Geek Feminism Wiki. By my calculation, that’s less than the number of ESPN channels that cater to male viewers. Figures…!)

  6. Jerry
    Jerry November 20, 2013 at 7:21 pm |

    That moment in a LTR when there is the first discussion about pooling resources or cost-sharing of anything is a white-knuckle moment because it’s a time when assholish tendencies get revealed that hadn’t been seen before. Looks like that’s what happened to this woman. Sorry. I’m sure she deserves better.

    1. Kes
      Kes November 21, 2013 at 3:29 pm |

      Looking at this as an issue of cost-sharing misses a lot of the underlying sexism rooted in THIS PARTICULAR issue. Namely, a three-fold issue:

      (1) Pregnancy poses unique harms to people with female reproductive systems that males don’t face, so if a heterosexual couple is having penis-in-vagina sex the female partner is bearing a disproportionate risk from the act; and

      (2) Penis-in-vagina sex is not necessarily something that all female women enjoy. Many have great difficulty having orgasms during it; additionally, many female people who have experienced sexual trauma have been forcibly penetrated vaginally, adding even more potential lack of interest (or active disinterest) in this form of sex. Then there’s the female people who have had bad experiences with miscarriages or may have a (totally reasonable) fear of unwanted pregnancy, who likewise may have an aversion to penis-in-vagina sex. Now, I’m not just saying, “Lots of female people like other stuff better,” I’m saying many female people literally get little to nothing out of penis-in-vagina sex or are actively triggered by it; and yet

      (3) Penis-in-vagina sex is considered the social default and sine qua non of “sex,” and it’s considered de riguer and expected in heterosexual relationships. Regardless of whether a female person in a relationship doesn’t like, or is actively triggered by, being vaginally penetrated, she is expected to permit sexual penetration of her vagina as part of any relationship she has with a man. Dealing with the “problem” of women who didn’t want to be sexually penetrated is one of the reasons why the field of psychology was created. Countless advice columns throughout the US, Canada, UK, and Australia, as well as women’s magazines and websites serve to persuade women that their male partners are justified in leaving a relationship – or should be expected to have extra-relationship affairs – if she doesn’t act sufficiently interested in being vaginally penetrated. Everything from 7th grade health classes to pornography to bachelorette party games places enormous, enormous psychological pressure on women to have penis-in-vagina sex.

      And even though males are under similar pressure, it isn’t the same, because it’s expected and anticipated that males will ENJOY the act, whereas for female people part of the point of “conquest” and “seduction” tropes is that she will NOT enjoy it and it is a danger to her. The potential harm to female people – both physical through pregnancy, and psychological through triggering of sexual assault memories and fears of pregnancy – is eroticized as part of the joy men ostensibly get out of penis-in-vagina sex.

      So basically, here’s the rundown: it’s a risky, potentially harmful sexual practice, which the woman may or may not enjoy or even be able to psychologically handle in a healthy way, which she is socially pressured to participating in for the benefit of her male partner.

      And he is not willing to pay for the drugs she needs to put in her body to make sure that she mitigates that risk of death as much as possible.

      Now, I obviously don’t know whether that is the specific individual circumstance of THIS questioner. However, it is the social context in which her boyfriend refused to pay for the birth control pills, and the social context in which that refusal should be evaluated.

      Do you see now why this isn’t like having a tiff over whether you should split the grocery bill when she doesn’t eat your organic yogurt and you don’t eat Cocoa Puffs?

      1. ldouglas
        ldouglas November 21, 2013 at 6:41 pm |

        Countless advice columns throughout the US, Canada, UK, and Australia, as well as women’s magazines and websites serve to persuade women that their male partners are justified in leaving a relationship – or should be expected to have extra-relationship affairs – if she doesn’t act sufficiently interested in being vaginally penetrated.

        I agree with most parts of what you wrote, but I take exception to the implication here; I think it’s totally justifiable for someone to leave a relationship because their partner isn’t interested in the same things, sexually. I totally agree that the conflation of PIV with all sex is problematic, and I agree that advice columns/magazines/whatever contribute a lot to the problem, but fundamentally it’s ok for lack of PIV to be a deal breaker (just like lack of oral sex, or lack of emotional intimacy outside of sex, or lack of desire to have children, or whatever).

        1. Kes
          Kes November 22, 2013 at 3:37 am |

          Do you think the same way if a relationship is established, as opposed to one just beginning out? If so, you and I disagree pretty profoundly on the purpose and point of a relationship. I think its totally unreasonable to have one’s remaining in a marriage or other long term relationship be dependent on one’s partner’s willingness to engage in a particular sex act which may harm her. Disagreeing about children may be one thing, but making the fulcrum of whether you leave your partner’s agreement to a particular sex act which may harm her suggests an unhealthy obsession with the act and an almost psychotic lack of caretowards the partner. And again, consider social context. Women are much more likely to be economically dependent on men, particularly if there are children involved, so women engage in sex acts they don’t want out of fear they will join the statistics on the feminization of poverty.

        2. ldouglas
          ldouglas November 22, 2013 at 6:59 am |

          If so, you and I disagree pretty profoundly on the purpose and point of a relationship.

          I think the purpose and point of a relationship is whatever the two (or more) people in it mutually agree it should be.

          I think its totally unreasonable to have one’s remaining in a marriage or other long term relationship be dependent on one’s partner’s willingness to engage in a particular sex act which may harm her.

          First, I think in your mind you’re overstating the risks of PIV as opposed to other forms of sex.

          Second, would you apply this logic to all sex? Do you think people are obligated to stay in sexless relationships, if they’re not being fulfilled? And why do you get to decide that not having children is a reasonable dealbreaker, but not have sex (or a particular type of sex) isn’t?

          Short version: you don’t get to impose your standards for what is important in a relationship on everyone else.

        3. EG
          EG November 22, 2013 at 7:39 am |

          Do you think the same way if a relationship is established, as opposed to one just beginning out?

          I’m not sure how you’re seeing this play out–like, there’s a five year relationship in which everything is compatible, and then out of the blue, the woman stops wanting piv sex? With no precipitating event?

        4. EG
          EG November 22, 2013 at 8:45 am |

          Honestly, sex is a major part of a sexual relationship–otherwise you could just set up with your best friend. So if you’re not happy with the sex, you should leave.

      2. EG
        EG November 21, 2013 at 7:32 pm |

        for female people part of the point of “conquest” and “seduction” tropes is that she will NOT enjoy it and it is a danger to her. The potential harm to female people – both physical through pregnancy, and psychological through triggering of sexual assault memories and fears of pregnancy – is eroticized as part of the joy men ostensibly get out of penis-in-vagina sex.

        I find this radically unconvincing. The whole point of seduction is that the person being seduced enjoys it–that’s what makes it seduction. I also don’t see the potential harm to women of piv sex being eroticized in popular culture or in experience with straight men. I’ve never seen “I could be knocking you up right now” being represented as sexy or pleasurable to men at all, or the idea of triggering sexual assault memories represented as pleasurable to men, unless the latter representation was part of some kind of sadistic scenario. Definitely not as part of mainstream part-and-parcel of piv sex.

        And I believe you are mistaken about the origins of psychology. When the field was developed in the 19th century, good women weren’t supposed to want or enjoy any kind of sex–doing so made them deviant and bad. They were supposed to close their eyes and think of England (or Austria, I suppose). Part of made Freud’s theories so upsetting to most people was that they posited a female sex drive.

        1. EG
          EG November 21, 2013 at 7:33 pm |

          Goddamn it, why can’t I get tags right these days? Sorry about that.

        2. Kes
          Kes November 22, 2013 at 4:00 am |

          Freud’s research was primarily into married qwomen with “hysteria” which included symptoms of what we would now consider anxiety and panic disorders as well as depression. After interviewing the women his initial theories were that they had mostly suffered sexual abuse at the hands of their fathers, but of course that couldn’t be the case in his mind as these were primarily upper middle class women from respectable families. So he deduced the women were sexually “passive” because they sexually desired their fathers as children and made up stories of abuse to gain attention. Male psychologists of the 19th century utilized dildos on their patients in order to “fix” the ailments which they assumed came fromwomen’s sexual passivity but was probably more likely from childhood and marital abuse. Even now many people read those early studies as evidence that the women were “sexually frustrated” and just needed good orgasms to get back into shape. So yeah, it pretty much was all about “fixing” women who had issues with compulsory penis-in-vagina sex, even if iy wasn’t stated in those terms.

          To seduce is literally to “lead astray” or, within the context of sex, to persuade or entice possibly through false pretense. Red Riding Hood was seduced. The consent of the one seduced is something to be sought only in the sense that the motif of seduction assumes all women secretly “want it” but are culturally constrained or are “playing hard to get” for purposes of manipulation. Look at PUA subculture crap, who if nothing else pretty clearly state the underlying conceptual premises in our society about women and our presumed purpose as sex object. The role of the sex object is to have consent be meaningless – is the consent really freely given or really sought if you had to be systematically enticed and manipulated in order to obtain it?

          What is eroticized in motifs of seduction isn’t the consent, but the submission to the will of another – in particular, submission to becoming that which the seducer says you are.

        3. ldouglas
          ldouglas November 22, 2013 at 7:12 am |

          I realize you’re doing the academia-babble thing where we’re not supposed to answer rhetorical questions, but as far as this goes

          The role of the sex object is to have consent be meaningless – is the consent really freely given or really sought if you had to be systematically enticed and manipulated in order to obtain it?

          Yes. Absolutely. Verbal consent to have sex is still consent if you had to be ‘enticed.” It’s probably still consent if you were manipulated, for a certain range of manipulation; obviously blackmail/coercion/pretending to be a significant other violates consent, but if someone realizes I really like sleeping with, say, people who own awesome cars, and rents an awesome car for our date so I sleep with them, if I say ‘yes’ before we have sex, that’s still consent.

          You know, a lot of what you’re writing here really sounds like the radfem ‘all M/F sex is wrong, all consent is invalid, all PIV is evil’ set. Which is a ideological position that itself is built on a complete abnegation of the self-knowledge of women.

        4. EG
          EG November 22, 2013 at 7:36 am |

          So yeah, it pretty much was all about “fixing” women who had issues with compulsory penis-in-vagina sex, even if iy wasn’t stated in those terms.

          No, I disagree. Freud wrote that women were supposed to be sexually passive–that was the “natural” and desired outcome of female sexual maturation. The symptoms of hysteria–which I agree were more likely PTSD–had very little to do with vaginal penetration.

          I also disagree about seduction. Little Red Riding Hood was raped–if we’re talking about the Perrault version and the ones based on it. What differentiates seduction from rape is the use of the seductee’s own desire.

          PUA subculture isn’t about seduction, precisely because it manipulates rather than draws in the woman. Seduction is about luring somebody to do something by making the thing so attractive that they can no longer resist it, not about making somebody do something by making them feel bad about themselves. It’s the difference between convincing somebody to do something and badgering them.

        5. EG
          EG November 22, 2013 at 8:47 am |

          “Seductive” means “alluring” or “tempting,” after all.

        6. ldouglas
          ldouglas November 22, 2013 at 8:58 am |

          What differentiates seduction from rape is the use of the seductee’s own desire.

          Also, consent.

        7. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune November 22, 2013 at 9:03 am |

          What is eroticized in motifs of seduction isn’t the consent, but the submission to the will of another

          Uh what? I mean, I’m no Great Seductionista, but I’m really going for “oh, yes, more” when I get all seductive, not “….well, whatever, I guess.” And I’d hazard a guess that the vast majority of seducers (not PUAs) would agree.

        8. Kes
          Kes November 23, 2013 at 4:01 pm |

          I’m talking about social understandings of how gender dynamics are expected to play out in issues of sex, how sex is presented in media as conquest and power play, etc. SOCIAL CONSTRUCTIONS AND MEANINGS. So frankly whatever way you personally frame your “seductions” and how you attempt to personally draw the line of the difference between seduction and rape is not at all relevant. The issue here is that at the end of [insert movie here] female co-star is male star’s reward, and in [insert romance novel or romance movie here] the female character has to be persuaded through the course of the work that what she really wants is the man, and so forth. What I’m saying is hardly controversial.

          The fact of the matter is that women as a class are targeted socially and economically and psychologically and emotionally into sex we don’t want. Not all women at all times, obviously, but when we’re talking about the effects of social structures like sexism and racism and classism and heterosexism we can legitimately talk about the effects on classes of people. Sex positivity, if we’re actually concerned about sex as a positive and affirming experience, should be VERY concerned about factors like this. And yes, that includes noting that we are all products of society and have all been psychologically influenced by it. We may feel conflicted about our desires for reasons OTHER than a cultural idea that women should be sexually passive or asexual. We all acknowledge that society causes many of us to feel shame, and causes people to sexualize or eroticize racist and sexist fetishizations of women and gender minorities. So it’s really not that different to note that, while its not okay to target any particular woman, it’s okay and even necessary to adress the factors that lead women as a group to engage or not engage in certain sexual behaviors. And that means addressing how women experience their real lives, with actual sexism and actual minds that can actually change over time and actual bills and actual apartments with actual rent and actual children and actual health needs and (often) reasons for being in a relationship that has little to do with whether they are “compatible”sexually, not based on what relationship discussions and consent might look like in some idealized utopian world of sex positive rhetoric. If feminism isn’t based on describing and critiquing and navigating the real world,it’s worth about as much as a fart in a fedora.

          To ldouglas: Do you have a friend with a torch to help you burn that “omg radical feminists think all sex is rape!!!11″ strawman, or did you bring your own? In general, if somebody starts trying to categorize you into some sort of set group in order to avoid responding to actual points (as you did with the “academic babble” and “radfem” comments), that’s a pretty good indication that they’re not really interested in a honest discussion and are trying to do some sort of discussion-as-competition point scoring system. So feel free to say whatever about my comments from here on out in peace, as I have too much on my plate to deal with folk like you.

      3. TMK
        TMK November 21, 2013 at 8:16 pm |

        And even though males are under similar pressure, it isn’t the same, because it’s expected and anticipated that males will ENJOY the act, whereas for female people part of the point of “conquest” and “seduction” tropes is that she will NOT enjoy it and it is a danger to her.

        You say it as if expectation of enjoyment means there is no issue. I mean, lets take another thing that many people are expected to enjoy, motherhood.

        Yes, what could possibly go wrong with such an expectation?

        1. Miranda
          Miranda November 22, 2013 at 3:58 am |

          She might be wrong in situating the issue in expectation of enjoyment, but it seems fairly noncontroversial to say that culturally the trope seems to go that men enjoy sex and women put up with it. “Lie back and think of England,” et cetera.

        2. Kes
          Kes November 22, 2013 at 4:04 am |

          Women are not expected to enjoy motherhood. Women are expected to obtain fulfillment from the suffering and struggle of it. There is a HUGE difference.

        3. Kes
          Kes November 22, 2013 at 4:10 am |

          Oh, and by the way as I already noted women experience a significant risk of permanent I jury or death due to pregnancy, which is part of why and how cultural expectations of motherhood are a primary part of female oppressionin the West. Comparing that to the expectation of enjoying sexual penetration of a vagina, which is treated as a reward for men and carries virtually no risk in general, is not at all the same, even when discussing the oppression of gay men.

        4. ldouglas
          ldouglas November 22, 2013 at 7:02 am |

          Oh, and by the way as I already noted women experience a significant risk of permanent I jury or death due to pregnancy, which is part of why and how cultural expectations of motherhood are a primary part of female oppressionin the West.

          A fairly tiny risk, actually, though a real one (about 600 women die in the US each year as the result of pregnancy). Much smaller than the risk of driving to work.

          Look, if you don’t like PIV, fine. But you’re starting to sound awfully similar to some radfem posters on here a while back arguing that PIV is inherently unsafe, misogynistic, bad for women, etc. etc. And that’s just silly.

        5. ldouglas
          ldouglas November 22, 2013 at 7:04 am |

          Women are not expected to enjoy motherhood. Women are expected to obtain fulfillment from the suffering and struggle of it. There is a HUGE difference.

          Uh, citation, please? Because seems totally alien.

        6. TMK
          TMK November 22, 2013 at 7:47 am |

          Women are not expected to enjoy motherhood. Women are expected to obtain fulfillment from the suffering and struggle of it. There is a HUGE difference.

          Women are expected to squee in joy at the mere sight of an infant. Postpartum depression was until recently almost a taboo. Motherhood was the ultimate goal and purpose of being a woman, and supposed to fill the woman with joy and pride. If the woman objected, well, she was obviously abnormal and there was a problem with her.

          And as you say, women were supposed to enjoy even the difficulties, suffering and hard work coming with of it.

          Come to think of it, the analogy was more accurate than i thought at first, almost everything above can be applied to men and sex. There is almost no difference.

          And if it is still not clear what can go wrong with such expectation – the effect is that women/men often feel such pressure to have and enjoy having children/sex that their own feelings toward and because of it are completely overshadowed.

        7. Kes
          Kes November 23, 2013 at 4:04 pm |

          Yeah, TMK, totes similar because just like how reproduction has been and continues to be a primary mechanism of oppression of female people, men have been oppressed because people expect them to like PIV! Or something.

        8. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune November 23, 2013 at 4:14 pm |

          men have been oppressed because people expect them to like PIV

          This is a common way in which male* rape survivors, male* ace-spectrum people, male* abuse victims and gay men* have been oppressed, yes. What’s controversial about it?

          *male as well as perceived-male; this is yet another way in which AMAB genderqueer/trans people get fucked over by the patriarchy. Woohoo!

        9. Kes
          Kes November 23, 2013 at 4:52 pm |

          But men as a class are not oppressed, macavitykitsune. And TMK was not making the distinctions you are. And those are issues that also apply to all similarly situated women and/or female/faab people, and it STILL is a “what about the menz” because only people with female reproductive systems as a class face the risks of pregnancy, and so face a UNIQUE risk from PIV, which has been my entire point.

          Plus, when pointing out how a structure of oppression hurts a segment of vulnerable and oppressed people, it isn’t cool to do oppression comparisons to derail. Fuck that (pun intended).

        10. TMK
          TMK November 23, 2013 at 5:02 pm |

          Huh, thanks Mac. I never thought i will say that :D

          I meant something else – that internalizing such expectation means your own, individual desires and preferences look paler and paler, and it is hard to say whether you really want to have children/sex, or do i only do these things to satisfy my family, my peers, and the whole world opinion about me, including my own? In the end it makes it even somewhat hard to enjoy it even if you would without that pressure.

          But what you say is also true, and i did not think of that. It seems more visible, or concrete.

          @Kes,

          You claim that childfree women are signficantly less opressed that mothers? Because that would be the conclusion of your statement that reproduction was primary mechanism. I would think laws and social norms, personally.

          It does not matter anyway. I did not claim that the oppression is the same*, i said the mechanism is the same. So, yeah, men are opressed because people expect them to like PIV.

          But we can talk about it! I mean, oppression olympics is my favourite kind of olympics! I would actually say that the package women get about reproduction results in more oppression that the one men get about sex. 87 percent more, to be precise.

        11. TMK
          TMK November 23, 2013 at 5:10 pm |

          Wait, i thought the upper class oppress the proletariat, and all other claims are burgueoise distraction?

          Insisting that class attributes apply to the every member of that class, or that opression is binary (hello, intersectionality called!) is what – along with the judicioous dose of fascism – turned >intercourse< into that toxic drivel.

        12. TMK
          TMK November 23, 2013 at 5:12 pm |

          Uh, i am not native speaker. Judicious should be >large< or something like that. :o

        13. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune November 23, 2013 at 5:28 pm |

          But men as a class are not oppressed, macavitykitsune.

          And? I mean, no, seriously, and? You can’t say first that men face NO oppression in this aspect period, and then backpedal and say it only counts if they’re oppressed as a class. White people aren’t oppressed in the health industry as a class, but does that mean we’re not going to talk about their skin cancer rates?

          And those are issues that also apply to all similarly situated women and/or female/faab people

          Erm. I don’t know about North America but there are lots of places in the world where women* aren’t expected to enjoy PIV. India, for example. Probably a fuckton other places.

          *same conditions apply.

        14. Kes
          Kes November 23, 2013 at 5:29 pm |

          No, TMK I am not saying that childfree women are less oppressed than mothers. Women as a class are oppressed, all of us, because regardless of how we attempt to respond we cannot avoid judgment, stigma, discrimination, and violence or threats of violence based on this issue. There are differences based on race, class, ethnicity, sexual orientation, health and ability status, and so forth, but at the end of the day social treatment of reproduction as an issue and sexism surrounding it functions to oppress all female/faab people (regardless of gender) and all women. We cannot choose to avoid it, and we cannot opt out of having this issue be a primary focus of how society values and judges and relates to us. Our choices are done within the context of knowing freedom from the issue is not possible and that we can only choose (if we can choose at all) among the bad options available to us.

          That is what oppression is. It isn’t an “opt in” structure.

          And no, the mechanism is most certainly NOT the same for men. Men may have issues that crop up on account of their gender, but they do not experience oppressionon that basis. You don’t seem to take a class based approach to sexism, so I’m wondering what you think sexism and oppression are. What’s your working definition of sexism? I suspect we have foundational differences of perspective.

        15. Donna L
          Donna L November 23, 2013 at 5:36 pm |

          Women as a class are oppressed, all of us, because regardless of how we attempt to respond we cannot avoid judgment, stigma, discrimination, and violence or threats of violence based on this issue. There are differences based on race, class, ethnicity, sexual orientation, health and ability status, and so forth, but at the end of the day social treatment of reproduction as an issue and sexism surrounding it functions to oppress all female/faab people (regardless of gender) and all women. We cannot choose to avoid it, and we cannot opt out of having this issue be a primary focus of how society values and judges and relates to us

          I called this (privately) from Kes’s very first comment in this thread. One learns to sense such things.

        16. Kes
          Kes November 23, 2013 at 5:57 pm |

          Macavitykitsune, I accidentally submitted my reply to you as a reply to something else downthread.

          Donna, you sensed that a feminist might address sexism and other forms of oppression with a class-based method of analysis? Prescient of you, I’m sure, but I fail to see the significance.

        17. TMK
          TMK November 23, 2013 at 6:08 pm |

          Yes, that is right, our approaches are different. As far as i can see, your is class-based, essentialist and absolutist, and stressing the society. I have more individual, personal and intersectional viewpoint.

          Now, to be honest with you, that was rather obvious since your first post – which, as someone already noticed, sounded just like Dworkin. Personally, i think radical feminism is harfmul and oppressive ideology that should be burned with fire, but despite that i find this conversation interesting.

          That is also why i gloss over the PIV and pregnancy issue. It is really a dead horse, while the bit i latched on allowed me to elaborate on something i found new, using my preferred person-in-society approach instead of class vs. class.

          Which means, going back to your reply, that you stress the fact that the oppression lies along lines (in your case, you seem to be thinking that the gender/sex lines are most important, clearly drawn, and black and white, which i find absurd). Well, that is true generally, but i think the individuals within classes vary so much that you could easily find black homosexual female etc. that is more privileged than white heterosexual male (and so on), a concept you would likely find impossible, or so it seems to me.

          I also dont think that the fact women are opressed based on reproduction – or anything else – means that men cannot be opressed. Even in the arguably most clear case, race, i feel i cannot say so, and would argue that whites were and still are unfree. This might be rather suprising, and would require a lot of words to explain, so let me instead quote Orwell describing his experience as a white man in India:

          “I perceived in this moment that when the white man turns tyrant it is his own freedom that he destroys. He becomes a sort of hollow, posing dummy, the conventionalized figure of a sahib”

          (i noticed i did not answer your question directly. I think sexism is both an individual prejudice based on gender/sex, and a set of societal norms based on similar, gender/sex criteria. Oppression are these things in play)

        18. Donna L
          Donna L November 23, 2013 at 6:09 pm |

          Kes, that’s very much not what I’m talking about. I’m sure that there are people here who know exactly what I mean about the implications of your rhetoric — including the particular words and categories you use — and I was addressing those people, not you.

        19. ldouglas
          ldouglas November 23, 2013 at 6:29 pm |

          Yep, saw that coming as soon as we got to “PIV is dangerous and harmful to women and basically anyone who does it is evil.”

        20. Kes
          Kes November 23, 2013 at 6:58 pm |

          TMK, my feminism is intersectional. I think you have erroneous assumptions about what class-based analysis means. You cant even really have an intersectional approach without having a class based analysis. Otherwise there’s no explanation for privilege and no way to explain how oppression is sourced or operates.

          I think I get what has happened here, between your bizarre side comment, Donna, and people making weird comments about radical feminism. People here are now assuming that anybody who has a class based method of analysis is a TERF. Notwithstanding that you can be a radical feminist without being transphobic, not withstanding that my posts separated sex and gender and included trans* people (I was echoing macavitykitsune’s language re male/maab and men, in case you didn’t notice), notwithstanding that radical feminists are not the only feminists who use a class based approach, and notwithstanding that I haven’t referenced radical feminism myself or called myself a radical feminist or said anything problematic. No, it’s unstated “implications” that you apparently aren’t even willing to address, instead telling me outright that I’ve been the subject of private discussions and giving a cue to other readers that I don’t meet the approval of the regulars.

          That’s just sad. Seriously. Looks like Feministe has gotten hella clique-y.

        21. Kes
          Kes November 23, 2013 at 7:06 pm |

          And the strawmen continue to go WHOOSH in a big pile. What fun. For you all, anyway. Enjoy your “safe space.”

          I have a long post in moderation that you can all pick at when it’s approved. Something for you all to look forward to. I hope this conversation has indeed been enlightening to the readership of this site. To Jill, in particular.

        22. TMK
          TMK November 23, 2013 at 7:47 pm |

          TMK, my feminism is intersectional. I think you have erroneous assumptions about what class-based analysis means. You cant even really have an intersectional approach without having a class based analysis. Otherwise there’s no explanation for privilege and no way to explain how oppression is sourced or operates.

          Quite possible. But it is much less intersectional that i would like my feminism to be, and you seem to have a special case of certain class, men, that seems to be intrinsically unable to be opressed. Or, rather, incapable of being opressed based on this certain characteristic, as you seem to acknowledge that other aspect can get these male people persecuted (like, sexual orientation. Thats why i think it indeed is quite possible your feminism is interesctional. To much large extent, apparently, that every other radical feminist i ever read on the internet).

          I dont know what to think about your statement about my understanding of class analysis. Perhaps if you would state what do you think is the mistake i make, i could see it? The only thing i can guess is the possibility that you might have understood that i deny the existence of class altogether, which would not be what i wanted to convey. I wanted to say that i think that individual situation is most often more important than class, not that class and group, identity based effect do not exist. I just think that every woman (or man) experiences the gender norms and their actual enforcement (which differ from person to person), and the oppression, differently, and that it is very important.

          Oh, and since the above is somewhat unrelated to our actual disagreement, i also think that oppression can be mutual, multidirectional, and complex, contrary to what it seems to me from your view, relatively simple: patriarchy aka men oppress women, period. And i do not agree that privilege is necessary for oppression.

          I think I get what has happened here, between your bizarre side comment, Donna, and people making weird comments about radical feminism. People here are now assuming that anybody who has a class based method of analysis is a TERF.

          Well, i am not surprised myself. You started with post that looked like it was taken straight out of the >intercourse<, and used strange language that sounded like TERF code-words for terms that would get one banned on mainstream feminist site.

          notwithstanding that radical feminists are not the only feminists who use a class based approach

          What other branch do you mean? AFAICT, radical feminism is, well, pretty radical and unique in that aspect. French feminism, perhaps?

          Anyway, i (i assume the class comment is directed at me, not Donna) did not say most feminists do not perceive society (strongly) in class terms. I would actually say most feminists are closer to you than me, sadly.

        23. Donna L
          Donna L November 23, 2013 at 7:48 pm |

          my posts separated sex and gender

          There isn’t remotely as clear a distinction as you think. Trans women’s “sex” is not “male”; trans men’s “sex” is not female. There is way more to the definition of sex than the existence (or not) of a particular reproductive system.

          And in case you didn’t notice, your category of “all women” appears quite clearly not to include trans women.

          Your reference to “us” as including trans men, and to the class that you posit — or society’s views of that class — being something that it’s not possible for anyone of that class (including trans men) to opt out of, is also incredibly problematic.

          It is not for you to assert so confidently that you didn’t say anything problematic. You are not the judge of that.

        24. Donna L
          Donna L November 23, 2013 at 7:51 pm |

          My not wanting to go into detail has nothing to do with being “cliquey.” It’s that I don’t enjoy getting in direct discussions with people who say such things. They can be quite stressful, for obvious reasons. And one doesn’t have to be part of in in group to understand what i said.

        25. ldouglas
          ldouglas November 23, 2013 at 7:55 pm |

          Oh FFS. You were about one step away from saying all PIV is rape, you claim that trans* women are really male-sexed, and you really think you can get away with “I’m not a radfem, I just echo all their awful talking points?”

          Please.

        26. Donna L
          Donna L November 23, 2013 at 8:42 pm |

          Finally: I recognize that there are radical feminists who are not transphobic. However, it would be incredibly disingenuous for anyone not to acknowledge that given how closely the two have been intertwined historically, and the long and extremely unpleasant history of that association, it is eminently reasonable for any trans person to be extremely sensitive to, and wary of, certain uses of language that typically signal certain viewpoints, unless proven otherwise.

          Also, mac is correct: my “private” reaction was, in fact, private, and not the subject of some kind of secret discussion someplace else between me and other members of the entirely mythical Feministe secret elite mean girl club. There is exactly one other commenter here whom I know in real life.

        27. EG
          EG November 23, 2013 at 9:29 pm |

          Yep, saw that coming as soon as we got to “PIV is dangerous and harmful to women

          Agreed. I mean, go right ahead and dismiss the experience of every straight/bi woman I know who has tried it–no doubt we’ve all been brainwashed into being funfems, or whatever–but piv sex is actually great fun, we’ve found, when done with the right person.

        28. Fat Steve
          Fat Steve November 23, 2013 at 10:30 pm |

          Agreed. I mean, go right ahead and dismiss the experience of every straight/bi woman I know who has tried it–no doubt we’ve all been brainwashed into being funfems, or whatever–but piv sex is actually great fun, we’ve found, when done with the right person.

          I’m on the same page as you, but I’ve never seen the argument that it’s not ‘fun’.

        29. Donna L
          Donna L November 24, 2013 at 6:46 pm |

          Steve, I’m not sure what your point is. The question being discussed seems to be whether Kes is correct in claiming that some very substantial percentage of PWVs agree with her negative views about consensual PIV. Not whether PWPs — which I believe you are — enjoy it. Because I think it’s safe to say, given both what I strongly suspect based my limited personal knowledge, and what I’ve been told by people who’ve actually had both experiences, that there are inherent differences between PWVs and PWPs in experiencing PIV.

          As for never seeing the argument that it’s not “fun,” have you read this thread?

        30. TMK
          TMK November 24, 2013 at 9:50 pm |

          Because I think it’s safe to say, given both what I strongly suspect based my limited personal knowledge, and what I’ve been told by people who’ve actually had both experiences, that there are inherent differences between PWVs and PWPs in experiencing PIV.

          What differences do you mean?

          (yes, i posted it above by mistake, sorry [deleted by mods now, carry on as you were])

        31. Donna L
          Donna L November 24, 2013 at 10:50 pm |

          What differences do you mean?

          Do I really need to spell out what the physical differences might be (never mind the psychological implications which might or might not apply) in how it feels to be the PWP as opposed to the PWV when you’re engaging in PIV? So that the opinion of a PWP on how it feels to them might not be that relevant to a discussion of how PWVs feel about it? No, I’m not agreeing with Kes, and I’m not necessarily reducing it to the difference between penetrating and being penetrated, since there are obviously other ways of looking at it. But I still think there’s a difference.

        32. Donna L
          Donna L November 24, 2013 at 10:54 pm |

          And if you really want to know, please go ask Tiresias or some other mythological creature. Asking a trans woman who’s experienced both for a detailed explanation of “how it feels different” would not be cool, unless you know her really really well! I’m certainly not comfortable discussing the details myself, to the extent of my own personal knowledge.

        33. TMK
          TMK November 24, 2013 at 10:59 pm |

          Do I really need to spell out what the physical differences might be (never mind the psychological implications which might or might not apply) in how it feels to be the PWP as opposed to the PWV when you’re engaging in PIV? So that the opinion of a PWP on how it feels to them might not be that relevant to a discussion of how PWVs feel about it? No, I’m not agreeing with Kes, and I’m not necessarily reducing it to the difference between penetrating and being penetrated, since there are obviously other ways of looking at it. But I still think there’s a difference.

          If you do not mind, yes, i was curious what differences you had on your mind, regardless of what Kes wrote.

          I am seriously asking, i just googled a bit and was reading these two pieces when i checked back Feministe.

          http://ai.eecs.umich.edu/people/conway/TS/SRS.html#anchor104946

          http://www.sexuality.org/l/transgen/tsorg.html

        34. TMK
          TMK November 24, 2013 at 11:05 pm |

          Oh, replied inbetween your comments. Nevermind then.

        35. Donna L
          Donna L November 24, 2013 at 11:09 pm |

          Look, I don’t know how you identify personally, but it doesn’t really matter — I kind of just said that that isn’t the kind of question you ask someone, especially after they just said they don’t really feel comfortable going into detail. It’s personal, you know? I mean, you see how explicit those links are, and it even feels a little weird to me to think of non-trans people reading them. (Please don’t take the first one as gospel — it’s notoriously old-fashioned and gender essentialist.)

        36. Donna L
          Donna L November 24, 2013 at 11:17 pm |

          OK, sorry, I didn’t see your last comment before I posted mine. So let’s just leave it at “never mind.” And, in general, please try to remember in the future that one shouldn’t ask a trans person (even on the Internet!) the kind of personal question one wouldn’t ask a cis person. Referring to a subject doesn’t necessarily signal wanting to to into detail about it.

        37. TMK
          TMK November 25, 2013 at 10:32 am |

          Thanks, i was wondering myself about the first link, since its language seemed strange sometimes. It was two links i found with fast googling, though, i dont know these sites at all, so i was cautious.

          As for the question, well, this is a question i would ask a cis person too. It does depend on circumstances, sure, , but i also think that i dont consider it that personal, and we are simply different in that aspect. But i get and respect that you feel otherwise.

  7. Fat Steve
    Fat Steve November 21, 2013 at 10:51 am |

    I was trying to come up with a solution that involved inventing a birth control pill that you could go on and off monthly so the woman could use the oral contraceptive 6 months out of the year and the boyfriend could decide to pay for it or not have sex with her.

    However, coming up with this solution made me feel that this whole conversation is viewing sex between partners as somewhat transactional. I mean, personally, if the person I was intimate was having ANY issues with her healthcare coverage I would want to help in anyway possible. That said, calculating a certain rate (even if it is 50%) seems a bit…umm…calculating.

    1. Kes
      Kes November 23, 2013 at 5:51 pm |

      Macavitykitsune, if somebody was talking about how skin lightening products are hella racist and some jerkwad came in and started going on and on about skin color beauty ideals being horrible for white people because tanning beds lead to skin cancer and claiming its the same thing, that would be a totally inappropriate and racist derail.

      And since I explicitly mentioned only Anglo, white majority, Western cultures in my first comment, I’m pretty obviously talking about the dominant cultures withing those social contexts. I listed the US, Canada, the UK, and Australia. I repeatedly referenced “this culture” in the context of the questioner’s and respondents’ Westn culture. In case you want it spelled out, that means I’m also not talking about American Indian, First Nation, Aboriginal, or other indigenous cultures; immigrant subcultures; or other cultural subgroups. But I doubt your comment that gay men and male sexual assault victims face oppression based on an expectation of liking PIV holds true in all global contexts, either. If I screw up I am more than amenable to legit privilege call outs, but not when used as a debate tactic; that really undermines efforts to call out actual instances of racism, sexism, etc.

      1. macavitykitsune
        macavitykitsune November 23, 2013 at 7:22 pm |

        Kes, I’m not trying to call you out (huh?), I’m just pointing out that your saying that women are expected to like PIV as a class, is very different than saying “as a class in Canada/US white society” (at which point you’re nuancing “women as a class” right out of relevance, since you’ve added regionality and race). White north American women being expected to like PIV, I completely get behind. Also, are men more oppressed? (Alas, the dread oppression olympics!) Fuck, no. Does that mean that men are never oppressed by anything for being men or being MAAB and thus “perceived” male, even if they’re actually women? I’d argue that that’s not the case in some aspects.

        And FWIW I read Donna as saying that she’d thought it to herself, not that she’d joined some Sooper Sekrit Feministe club (which I’d love to get into, btw, but I’m afraid I only know a couple of people on here from a turnip, your wild conspiracy theories aside) where everyone’s sitting in a circle, twirling their mustaches and talking about you.

        1. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune November 23, 2013 at 7:24 pm |

          Oh, and: I’m also not on the Official Forrealz Feministe Committee of Commenter Disapproval and Approvingfulness. Yet another thing I was unaware existed in the world! Is there any way I could apply? I think everyone here knows I do so love to get my judgy on.

        2. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune November 23, 2013 at 7:27 pm |

          Gah, adding more comment: I don’t believe you were being transphobic, I read it as you using the terms the same way I did (to say that someone who is (wrongly) perceived as male is subject to both male and female oppressions). I don’t know what Donna picked up on, but I didn’t see it.

    2. Kes
      Kes November 23, 2013 at 5:53 pm |

      Shit, I hit reply to the wrong post. Damn tablet. Sorry!

  8. TimmyTwinkles
    TimmyTwinkles November 21, 2013 at 12:56 pm |

    I’m in disbelief that she didn’t dump his ass the second he said this:

    He said contraception is my business, and besides, he’s never heard of guys paying for women’s contraception.

    Besides being misogynistic (guy is entitled to sex, worrying about consequences or precautions is the woman’s job of course), and very asshole-ish, this dude is one CHEAP fucker.

    1. Miranda
      Miranda November 21, 2013 at 7:17 pm |

      I had a boyfriend who not only insisted that BC was “my business only,” he also became angry that I couldn’t find a kind that I could stay on for long enough to become effective (the pills kept making me go crazy) and threatened to rape me if I didn’t hurry up. Because something something male needs something.

      True fax.

      1. TimmyTwinkles
        TimmyTwinkles November 22, 2013 at 10:30 am |

        I’m sincerely sorry you had to deal with that. For the life of me, I’ll never understand how guys can feel sexy (a better term escapes me at this second) and pull shit like that. For me, at this advanced stage in my life (31), sex is exponentially more enjoyable and erotic if the woman is getting off, which aint gonna happen if she’s uncomfortable or being bullied into it or isnt in the mood, etc (it should go without saying that bullying a woman into sex is wrong for a whole lot more profound reasons than that).

        1. TimmyTwinkles
          TimmyTwinkles November 22, 2013 at 10:44 am |

          Just to clarify, the part where he threatened to rape you was beyond fucked-up and beyond the pale, in case I wasnt clear enough. While the suave, highly educated man-about-town part of TimmyTwinkles holds out hope that education and awareness can someday change the mindset of guys like that, the primordial, less evolved sleeveless-shirt wearing Twinkles feels that (i know i know, paternalistic, white knighting, et al) what is ultimately needed to rectify these sociopathic tendencies is a swift application of my fist to their face.

      2. Miranda
        Miranda November 22, 2013 at 10:43 am |

        The saddest part was that a steady diet of shitty sex positive “feminism” had convinced me that the guy was just being upfront about his needs.

        1. TimmyTwinkles
          TimmyTwinkles November 22, 2013 at 10:48 am |

          For my own edification, could you expound on that (or not, totally understand)? I have my own problems with sex positivity, but that’s a new one on me.

        2. Miranda
          Miranda November 22, 2013 at 12:40 pm |

          Ummm, sure. It’s kind of a long story. Basically I was very sexually naive and fooling around in a rather radical community. My head had been stuffed full of all this stuff about how “relationships are contracts that should be repeatedly negotiated, et cetera.” Basically I felt like these were his needs, they were non-negotiable, and because I wanted to stay in the relationship, I thought I had to put up with it. It’s the same kind of stuff you see above in this thread–that not getting your PIV is a valid reason to up and leave the relationship. This guy was being a manipulative prick, but I was fresh out of high school and didn’t really know the difference between expressing needs and…whatever this guy was doing. To be honest, I still don’t know that I get the difference. The only different, really, is that now I have the self-esteem and savvy to realize that a guy willing to break up over NOT ENOUGH PIV is someone I should dump anyway.

          I mean, this guy was a creep and knew how to manipulate sex positive rhetoric to make me think that it was totally okay for him to pressure me into having sex with a woman because…otherwise I was being sex negative and not being open-minded enough and being homophobic? I don’t know.

          I think a lot of people coming to sex positivity have a lot of relationship experience and savvy and self-confidence and maybe don’t recognize the way this kind of rhetoric can be manipulated to trick naive girls into doing things they don’t want to. And the sad thing was, based on all this sex positive crap, I thought I was being the MATURE one in putting up with all of this, because it was part of teh give and take of relationships. I thought IMMATURE girls stomped their feet and said no no no.

        3. TimmyTwinkles
          TimmyTwinkles November 22, 2013 at 1:13 pm |

          And the sad thing was, based on all this sex positive crap, I thought I was being the MATURE one in putting up with all of this, because it was part of teh give and take of relationships. I thought IMMATURE girls stomped their feet and said no no no.

          This is a brilliant anecdotal summation of what i think is wrong with sex positivity. Thanks for sharing that.

        4. ldouglas
          ldouglas November 22, 2013 at 1:38 pm |

          This is a brilliant anecdotal summation of what i think is wrong with sex positivity. Thanks for sharing that.

          No, that’s what’s wrong with a straw man caricature of sex-positivity that bears no resemblance to the actual thing.

        5. TimmyTwinkles
          TimmyTwinkles November 22, 2013 at 5:21 pm |

          Ldouglas, cite?

        6. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune November 22, 2013 at 5:27 pm |

          This is a brilliant anecdotal summation of what i think is wrong with sex positivity.

          Timmy, cite? No sex-positive feminist I’ve ever heard of said “you should be having PIV whether you want it or not”.

        7. TimmyTwinkles
          TimmyTwinkles November 22, 2013 at 6:01 pm |

          oops, mac i responded to you but i accidentally made it a whole new comment so its at the bottom

        8. Miranda
          Miranda November 23, 2013 at 8:24 pm |

          Sooooo I was just sharing a personal experience since TT asked. While my personal narrative about troubles with sex positivity, PIV, and birth control might be construed as threadjacking, I did find these particular replies…off-putting, is the nicest way to put it. I’ve typed and re-typed an explanation of why it so upset me, but I just decided it wasn’t worth the energy of figuring out a nice way of expressing where I’m coming from and why I’m upset.

          I recognize that flouncing is something almost universally mocked on here, but I do want to register that this space is one that is…too intense….for me. I realize this is a criticism that is made often, but it is something that bears repeating.

        9. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune November 23, 2013 at 8:31 pm |

          Miranda, I’m really sorry I upset you with my comments; I was responding to TT, not to your comment, but I didn’t make that clear enough, obviously. I clearly fucked up and I’m not sure how to make it better. Please don’t feel you have to be nice in your response. (And fwiw I wouldn’t call your comment a flounce.)

        10. ldouglas
          ldouglas November 23, 2013 at 8:32 pm |

          Hey- just wanted to say I absolutely didn’t intend anything I wrote to be directed towards you- the response was to TT saying “this is what’s wrong with sex positivity.”

          In other words, I have zero problem with someone saying “I thought sex-positivity meant always being down for sex I didn’t like, and that sucked.” I have a huge problem with someone saying that’s what sex positivity actually means, because that’s not true.

          I’m really sorry if my response came across like it was aimed at you.

        11. PrettyAmiable
          PrettyAmiable November 24, 2013 at 9:36 pm |

          Oof, Miranda, hugs if you’d like them. I think there’s been a misunderstanding irrespective of your post and hope you feel welcome and safe here soon – I highly value your comments, and don’t think I’m the only one.

  9. Fat Steve
    Fat Steve November 21, 2013 at 11:09 pm |

    Besides narration, the biggest sucker of time is finding all the stock images to go with the narration. Each image takes 2 hours to find, meaning 2 straight days of eyeballing photo libraries for a good image. Then there’s the sociological nitty-gritty of often realising there are no stock photos of people of colour for a topic, so how do we find alternative images? (Notice everyone and every body part in this episode is white. Inequality at an institutional level, baby.) Next episode we’ll try an idea that’ll hopefully require less time for time-consuming image searches.

    How about shooting your own still images and presenting the narrative La Jette-style? It sounds like it would be less time consuming and allow for more creativity.

    1. Echo Zen
      Echo Zen November 22, 2013 at 2:55 pm |

      First off, you may be the first person in the history of this blog to reveal you know what La Jette is. Obviously other folks might know too, but you’re the first I’ve seen to reference it by name.

      And second, that’s not a bad idea at all. I’ll certainly keep it in mind if we do need to transition styles. For context’s sake (and for uber-geeks reading this), here’s the CDC style guide we currently use when finding photos.

  10. SkyTracer
    SkyTracer November 21, 2013 at 11:14 pm |

    I know a ton of heart must go into these projects — especially by the students — and I think it’s great that people are doing this sort of thing. Women-friendly sex education & relationship advice is the sort of thing the world needs more of, and it’s great to see.

    I wouldn’t say this if Echo Zen didn’t seem genuinely desirous of feedback in these threads, and with respect to zir knowledge of and experience with media projects (outpacing mine, certainly!), but as an audience member and fan of performance art; I find the voice work in these videos off-putting. It just sounds like the person either doesn’t care or has no idea how to use the voice to hold an unseen audience. This was even more apparent with the shift from informative to snarky. You could have an actual Onion writer writing these things and it wouldn’t matter because your vocal talent apparently wouldn’t know what to do with it.

    I’m flabbergasted that this is a UCLA group. Surely there is a young woman at UCLA or the surrounding Mecca of the entertainment industry who’d be happy to volunteer her vocal talents toward a feminist project such as this one.

    1. SkyTracer
      SkyTracer November 21, 2013 at 11:31 pm |

      *the performing arts, I meant. Not performance art. Well, that too, but that’s not what I meant to say.

    2. Fat Steve
      Fat Steve November 22, 2013 at 12:26 am |

      I find the voice work in these videos off-putting. It just sounds like the person either doesn’t care or has no idea how to use the voice to hold an unseen audience. This was even more apparent with the shift from informative to snarky. You could have an actual Onion writer writing these things and it wouldn’t matter because your vocal talent apparently wouldn’t know what to do with it.

      I don’t know that I’d say that the narrator lacks any voice talent, but I strongly agree that it’s not working here. I think it’s more a problem of tone. You’re also right about the lack of shift. The narrator reads the woman’s letter in the exact same tone as the narration.

      1. SkyTracer
        SkyTracer November 22, 2013 at 9:32 am |

        I don’t know that I’d say that the narrator lacks any voice talent, but I strongly agree that it’s not working here.

        To be clear, I know fuck-all about this sort of thing and I don’t want to pretend otherwise. This is just my impression as a member of the audience, and my phrasing was probably overly authoritative and critical.

      2. Echo Zen
        Echo Zen November 23, 2013 at 3:04 pm |

        There are interesting reasons for why the voice work sounds the way it does. When the predecessor to this project first began (years before any of this appeared on Feministe), we tested a bunch of styles, and students said they were most amused by deadpan British men speaking about sex. So that was the style we ultimately settled on. Over time we tried more lively, animated styles, but the reaction we usually got was that it was (brace yourselves) “gay”. So there you go.

        Of course Feministe is infinitely more enlightened than the knucklehead classmates at our campus. I also think a big part of why the voice work’s not working is that the project’s bright style clashes with the narrator’s grave tone — he’s done award-winning films before, but frankly he’s more accustomed to stuff like “Call of Duty” weapon guides.

        It would be so great if we could implement our original idea for this project — pairing a deadpan British male with a lively American partner, like a feminist odd couple. As SkyTracer mentioned, there are plenty of women students in our vicinity who could participate. The problem is finding women who can participate consistently. We’ve worked on past projects where critical people have done an episode or two and then faded away due to classes, work or whatever, and we definitely do not want to repeat that experience.

        Until we find someone, for now we’ll work with what we have. But since SkyTracer and Fat Steve brought it up, and since we’ve already recorded narration for the next couple episodes… it might be interesting to see if we can revamp the visual design of the next episode to match the tone of the narration, simply to see how it looks and how people react. Hmm…

    3. Willemina
      Willemina November 22, 2013 at 1:32 am |

      Yup, still don’t dig the voice-over. I know I raised more specific criticism earlier in the series, but at this point I just kinda wince and read the transcript, which works for me. :(

      Btw, what’s the background track from? I thought I heard a bit of Payday: The Heist in there.

      P.S. the third, I always thought it was Fem-in-eest in the francophonic fashion after “artiste” or “Baptiste.”

      1. SkyTracer
        SkyTracer November 22, 2013 at 9:36 am |

        P.S. the third, I always thought it was Fem-in-eest in the francophonic fashion after “artiste” or “Baptiste.”

        That’s how I pronounce it, but I have no idea how it’s supposed to be pronounced.

      2. Echo Zen
        Echo Zen November 23, 2013 at 1:51 pm |

        Ah, that’s my fault. I’d emailed Jill to ask how to pronounce it, but we recorded the episode narration before she replied, and a student said that Google said that Pronounce How said it was pronounced this way. Then Jill emailed me back and said how it was really pronounced, but we’d recorded narration by then, and the logistics of rerecording were too stressful to go through again. (Recording is actually incredibly nerve-wracking, as even stray electrical interference can screw up an entire session without us realising till we analyse the files in postproduction.) So there you have it — the origins of an error.

        Plus we’d already recorded narration for the 5th (future) episode by the time Jill emailed me, so the crap pronunciation is still there! Eh… at least now we know for the 6th episode, right?

        (Willemina, the background track is “Music Box” by James Fox. Which track from “Payday: The Heist” did it remind you of? I have that game’s soundtrack, but haven’t listened to it or played the game for that matter…!)

        1. Willemina
          Willemina November 24, 2013 at 12:50 am |

          It wasn’t actually the music, but the “Let’s do this” following the ATC sounding jumble that jumped out at me. Listening and searching obsessively though I think I’m wrong, the accent doesn’t quite match.

        2. Echo Zen
          Echo Zen November 24, 2013 at 1:47 am |

          Ah! That line is from the SAS multiplayer announcer in “Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare”. BTW, I take it you play videogames during your off hours, huh? :-)

        3. Willemina
          Willemina November 24, 2013 at 3:05 am |

          That’s it! It’s one of those sounds that trips a sort of Pavlovian response (namely start pew-pewing). I think it’s probably the hours of grinding through the Wetwork Spec Op in MW2 for whatever achievement my roommate at the time needed. Ah, the memories.

          I do play, PC entirely, and almost zero FPS a la CoD et al. I’m just not twitchy enough and prefer something where I can hang back a bit and play support. Or 4X games just because.

        4. Echo Zen
          Echo Zen November 24, 2013 at 8:08 pm |

          Whoa, you play PC games? I thought I was one of the last few, at least where I live! And I’m definitely one of the last still playing “Call of Duty” on a computer, albeit more for research than fun. Next year I might help a friend with XboxAhoy-style weapon guides for a future “Star Wars” game, though that won’t be for a while. Still brainstorming visual designs for such a series, though it’s possible you might see some of those design ideas sprinkled in future Feministe episodes…

          BTW, if you’ve played “Payday”, then you’ve likely heard it’s similar to “Left 4 Dead”, which is made by VALVe, which also makes “Portal”, and… well, I’m just saying all this because you might see something familiar in the next episode. ;-)

        5. Willemina
          Willemina November 24, 2013 at 10:24 pm |

          Hehe, I was on a semester abroad when L4D came out and freaked when Steam wouldn’t let me buy it because my card’s zip didn’t match my current country! I think it’s actually one of the last physical copies of a game I bought. O.o

          Chell’s the bomb, but Valve needs to finally deliver on the end of Half Life, just saying.

        6. Echo Zen
          Echo Zen November 25, 2013 at 1:07 pm |

          Okay, serious question: If you were watching a video of a couple sex educators kicking back on the couch and playing videogames whilst chatting about sex, would you rather watch them doing a speed run of “Portal” or “Half-Life 2″ (specifically Ravenholm)? Your answer may have implications for the future of the universe (or at least the next episode)!

        7. Willemina
          Willemina November 26, 2013 at 3:08 am |

          So tough. Portal wins though, Ravenholm is fun, but HL2 is definitely of the muddy greys and browns school of level design apart from some gorgeous architecture and the whole night-time zombies deal is pretty passe. Neon blue and orange portals with zippy jumpy fun time is awesome to watch in a way Gordon Freeman’s helmet cam never will be.

          That said, Portal lacks multiplayer, which makes it feel awkward to me. Is there anything else on the game list? Single player games just seem odd to do with two or more people in the room unless a controller hand-off is arranged, but even then it takes a special kind of game to handle that organically. The best example I can think of there is Limbo, since the “learn by dying” model of gameplay lends itself really well to life by life trade offs. From a multiplayer perspective I think ME3 has some interesting things to offer, notably the short duration, PvE combat, multi-gender/species PCs. There’re some other titles that spring to mind for interesting visuals but they’re a bit farther out there (looking at you Saints Row 2) and possibly crossing some lines.

          That’s my feeling, but I don’t really know what your tradespace looks like. I’m flattered to even have a potential implication on the future (of the episode).

          PS. I didn’t mean to hate on your helmet cam Gordon, having seen into your mind I know it’s tough in there.

      3. Echo Zen
        Echo Zen November 26, 2013 at 4:52 pm |

        Yeah, I’m not sure how the idea will work — the final product might not even resemble what I mentioned to you earlier, since so many moving parts in involved — but I’ve always thought it would be incongruously funny to have geeks casually discussing sex whilst crowbarring headcrabs, sniping Combine or doing other nerdy things… if only to prove nerds know about sex and even have it sometimes. (In a country where everyone assumes fat people, disabled people and old people don’t have sex, you can’t put too fine a point on that.)

        So… “Portal” it is. Besides, this wouldn’t be a community project without incorporating community feedback. :-)

        1. Willemina
          Willemina November 27, 2013 at 1:26 am |

          Cool! If you ever do a full blown sex ed + feminism machinima I will be all over that subscribe button. Looking forward to this next thing as well!

  11. TimmyTwinkles
    TimmyTwinkles November 22, 2013 at 5:57 pm |

    Mac, certainly not in so many words. And I actually agree with the theory that Western sex-negative attitudes were/are being used to shame and repress women. But on the ground ive seen it play out the way Miranda described where saying no to any kind of sexual expression means you are Dick Chaney, and ive definitely seen a fair amount of “progressive” guys use it to manipulate women to have sex with them. So I should have clarified that my problems are not with the textbook theory but with some of its cultural manifestations. The cite request was me being a smartass, but also not engaging ldouglas because ive seen her repeatedly try to pass her opinions off as fact. You, on the other hand, have always appeared to act in good faith and asked me a reasonable question, and in fact made me re-think my position a bit which to me is always a good thing.

    1. kittehserf
      kittehserf November 23, 2013 at 1:09 am |

      The sort of stuff Miranda mentions sounds exactly like the crap Dan Savage pulls in his column. Not that I’d call him a feminist, I hasten to add. (Replying here ‘cos the nesting’s going blah in the original comment string.)

    2. macavitykitsune
      macavitykitsune November 23, 2013 at 8:35 pm |

      But on the ground ive seen it play out the way Miranda described where saying no to any kind of sexual expression means you are Dick Chaney

      Yeah, and that’s horrific and rapey. I simply don’t see where the logic of sex-positivity (“my needs are important to me and I have a right to my dealbreakers”) ties in with what MIranda said (“my needs are important and you have an obligation to provide for them even if it means being raped”). I recognise that sex-positive lingo can be twisted to suit those needs, but anti-abuse jargon can be used to suit abusers’ needs, and we all know about “reverse-racism”, right?

      Also I feel really shitty about this conversation because I clearly upset Miranda, and i’m trying to figure out what I said that did it. >.< I don't know.

      1. TimmyTwinkles
        TimmyTwinkles November 24, 2013 at 3:08 am |

        Mac, I dont think you really did anything wrong. You weren’t responding to Miranda, you were responding to me replying to ldouglas. I feel like maybe i was wrong in asking her to share something personal and put herself out there for my own selfish edification. And technically i should have been clearer in my response to Miranda that i have problems with some of the ways sex positivity has played out in the culture, not with the theory itself.
        That being said, and im trying hard not to needlessly be a jerk, but i think it was pretty out of line for ldouglas to come charging into a two person exchange to save the day because why? Because she’s the clarity police? Hey ldouglas, though it may blow your mind to hear this i’ve actually understood the mysteries of sex positivism for many moons now, and i did it without having you there to walk me through it! Maybe, just maybe, you might give somebody the benefit of the doubt next time instead of barging in with patronizing bullshit.

        1. ldouglas
          ldouglas November 24, 2013 at 8:48 am |

          No. Just no.

          What you wrote did misrepresent sex positivity. Maybe what you wrote doesn’t accurately represent what you actually think, but when someone says “I though sex positivity meant I had to be down for whatever sex my BF wanted” and you respond “that perfectly sums up the problem with sex positivity,” you are, in fact, strawmanning.

        2. EG
          EG November 24, 2013 at 8:41 pm |

          No, not necessarily. It could mean “My problem with sex-positive feminism is that so often its rhetoric gets used to pressure or coerce women into sex acts that they don’t want, regardless of whether or not doing so would be in line with sex-positive feminism’s ideals.”

        3. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help
          The Kittehs' Unpaid Help November 24, 2013 at 8:55 pm |

          EG, that’s exactly how I read it, too.

        4. TimmyTwinkles
          TimmyTwinkles November 25, 2013 at 12:58 pm |

          Well, I said already that i should have been more clear. But i do appreciate eg and kittehs saying they can see the ambiguity there. My thought was also that you might have been able to tell from the context of Miranda and I’s posts that we were talking about specific instances of sex positivity being applied harmfully, though im not saying you necessarily should have. However, its extremely common for someone to simply refer to a theory when criticizing how a person or institution applied it. When someone talks about the failure of the Soviet Union they always just say communism (as in classical communism ie Marxism), even though that wasn’t what failed. But why bother correcting them when its obvious that what they’re actually referring to is an intentionally distorted version of communism (Stalinism), which did indeed fail in dramatic fashion. Same thing happens frequently in economic and political theory.
          And you’re off on what strawmanning is. To straw man requires intent and to accuse someone of it implies bad faith on their part. At worst i unintentionally (hell ill go carelessly) mis-represented the theory. In any event, if you had asked me to clarify what i said i dont think we’d be having this conversation. Even if you had said that i dont know sex positivity for shit, that would be harsh but at least not malignant. The reasons people usually twist sex positivity for their own ends i find repugnant, which is why what you said pissed me off. That, and i dont think it was necessary for you to say anything in the first place.

        5. TimmyTwinkles
          TimmyTwinkles November 25, 2013 at 1:00 pm |

          Holy shit i’m a long-winded motherfucker

  12. TimmyTwinkles
    TimmyTwinkles November 24, 2013 at 3:33 am |

    Okay the sarcasm was needlessly jerky. But really, ldouglas, do you seriously think there’s a single commenter on Feministe that doesn’t know at least the basics of sex positivist theory? And to basically accuse me of strawmanning, which presumes i’m anti-sex positivist, wow. That’s a big and rather nasty leap to jump to don’t you think?

    1. macavitykitsune
      macavitykitsune November 24, 2013 at 6:59 pm |

      TT, I just want to say that the massive wank that erupted the last time Feministe had an article on sex-positivity left me with the crystal-clear knowledge that a significant chunk of the commentariat does not, in fact, know sex-positivity from a load of shit.

      1. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help
        The Kittehs' Unpaid Help November 24, 2013 at 9:06 pm |

        Is that as in the difference between what sex-positivity is meant to be about, and how it’s abused, mac? (Serious question, I haven’t the foggiest.)

        1. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune November 24, 2013 at 11:33 pm |

          Yeah. I think there’s a hell of a lot of people twisting sex-positive stuff around in order to sexually abuse people, don’t get me wrong. Just as there are people twisting sex-negative stuff around to sexually abuse people. The bottomline is that those people are abusers; they’d use whatever they thought worked, because they don’t want to be sex-positive or sex-negative, they just want to get away with abuse. They’d yell in German and dance the polka whenever they were asked about sex if they thought that would work. I’m not 100% sex-positive, I’m not 100% sex-negative, I guess I’m…. sex-neutral. Or whatever. But I haven’t really seen many reasoned critiques of sex-positivity that were based off actual sex-positive feminists’ ideas and praxis; just a lot of ragefroth that occasionally manages to find a point by accident and then work it to death.

        2. kittehserf
          kittehserf November 25, 2013 at 2:07 pm |

          Thanks, mac! That cleared it up.

          I know I have a somewhat dubious feeling about sex-positive stuff, but it does go down to the way it’s abused, or at least misused. Like Miranda’s horrifying example, or the shit that scumbag Dan Savage comes out with (like telling a rape victim what horrible person she was being because she found sex with her husband traumatic, but not sex with her boyfriend – it was a poly relationship). That, and the GGG stuff, which sounds like a recipe for abuse and rape, to me.

          BUT then there’s actual sex positivity as found on the Pervocracy, or the Dirty Normal (great blog, btw), which I reckon has a lot more to do with it than what a douchebag like Dan Savage has to say.

          They’d yell in German and dance the polka whenever they were asked about sex if they thought that would work.

          If only they would! It’d be the best red flag ever.

          Even better if they felt compelled to don lederhosen to do it.

        3. EG
          EG November 25, 2013 at 3:20 pm |

          I don’t know, I see that brought up a lot when I talk about what I don’t like about sex-positivity, and it sounds to me a lot like a no-true-Scotsman argument. I mean, my encounters with feminism aren’t exactly just skimming the surface or slight brushes, but my impressions of and experiences with sex-positive feminism are very shaming and exclusionary of someone (me) with a much more fraught relationship with sex than can be represented by the word “positive.”

          I found Clarisse Thorn’s responses to me in her thread about how to improve sex-positivity far more in accord with my experiences with sex-positive feminism than not.

          I would be happier if sex-positive feminist philosophy/feminists would own the way their rhetoric is used by people ranging from Miranda’s horrible ex to Dan Savage to Clarisse Thorn than I am hearing that well, those people aren’t really doing sex-positive feminism.

        4. Miranda
          Miranda November 25, 2013 at 3:43 pm |

          Hey…

          So I know I said that I had bowed out of here, but I guess I just wanted to clarify why I felt upset. Also I don’t want anyone to feel needlessly bad. I don’t really have the energy to carefully explain my point, so I’ll just put it like this.

          First, I divulged that story because TT asked, so partially I was opening myself up to this. However, basically I felt like what was an extremely personal and traumatic story was being appropriated in a battle over what sex positivity really was or really wasn’t.

          Additionally, I felt sort of upset at what EG points out is a bit of a No True Scotsman fallacy. Which is why I’m posting here, because EG made some points that resonated with me.

          What happened to me also occurred within the context of an SM community. My experience has largely been that, whenever I try to talk about what happened, people are more interested in talking about how what happened wasn’t REALLY REAL sex positivity or wasn’t REALLY REAL SM and less interested in, you know, respecting that this was a thing that happened to me that actually FELT really, really real. After a while, I just started to lose patience and feel upset that this was constantly the reaction my story provoked.

          Also, I realize that I was naive, but I felt like these reactions, well, what people wanted out of me when they had these reactions was for me to admit that yeah, I had been stupid and yeah I was soooo naive and if I had just read up on sex positivity and SM and blah blah blah it wouldn’t have happened, and what I thought was just this really stupid stupid version of stupidness. And that’s really hurtful, because while I was naive, I was trying to be as educated as possible, and I don’t really need people to remind me that what I was thinking was sooooo stupid and soooo strawmanny and blah blah.

          I don’t want to make this all about me or thread hijack or burden you all with a kind of gross feelings-dump, and I also am not coming back for apologies, because I don’t really want or need them. Really. It’s fine. I guess I just wanted to say my piece about the way that arguments over REALLY REAL sex positivity are conducted can make me feel alienated and upset, because I don’t think I’m the only one.

        5. Ally S
          Ally S November 25, 2013 at 3:44 pm |

          I’m not 100% sex-positive, I’m not 100% sex-negative, I guess I’m…. sex-neutral.

          Yay, another fellow sex-neutral person! :D

        6. TimmyTwinkles
          TimmyTwinkles November 25, 2013 at 5:41 pm |

          Miranda, for my part I apologize for asking you to share a personal, traumatic experience in the first place thus putting you in that position. In retrospect it was selfish and irresponsible of me.

        7. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help
          The Kittehs' Unpaid Help November 25, 2013 at 7:20 pm |

          Miranda, EG, I apologise for anything that came across as “really real sex-positivity” in my comments; intent ain’t magic and I can only say it was ignorance speaking, which isn’t much help. I don’t even know if fuckers like DS call themselves sex positive or not, and presumed abusers were latching on to a way of abusing (as mack mentioned above). I didn’t want to do the opposite, ie. “sex-positivity sucks” when I know that’s a helluva sweeping statement, even though I’m dubious about it, and seem to have fallen into a No True Scotsman instead.

          Again, apologies.

      2. TimmyTwinkles
        TimmyTwinkles November 25, 2013 at 12:04 pm |

        Yeah, I definitely see your point. I guess my thought is maybe that some of these people really do know the theory but are consciously misrepresenting it for their own end? Or maybe thats overly harsh, like you said people may just not know. It just always takes me surprise that people will not take the (literally) 2 minutes to google something and at least get a sense of the very basics. Now I’m the first to admit that sometimes my arguments have holes in them, but i try to be pretty conscientious about looking up a theory or fact or whatever if im unsure about it.

  13. Fat Steve
    Fat Steve November 25, 2013 at 11:49 am |

    Echo,

    If you need some assistance with the narration from someone who does professional voice-over work and has a fully equipped broadcast quality studio with HD Protools set up, Shure Sm7b microphone, a pristine focusrite preamp, and a compressor/limiter which could easily make the Average Joe sound like a seasoned DJ, well, I’d be happy to offer assistance and giving a few hours of my time per month to a good cause is something I’d love to do.

    You can email me at capitalradiowales@fatsteve.33mail.com

    1. Echo Zen
      Echo Zen November 25, 2013 at 1:03 pm |

      Whoa, are you serious?! I’ve always thought an online collaboration with other Feministe-rs would be a brilliant use of social media… okay, I digress.

      Okay… okay. Let me put out one more episode at the start of next month, where we’ll be revamping the visuals to see if it makes the narration work better. If everyone’s still of the opinion of “the narrator sucks beans”, then I’m totally up for trying something with you. I think I may have heard you before, and if I have, then I must say you doing narration would be a cracking dream. ;-)

      1. macavitykitsune
        macavitykitsune November 25, 2013 at 2:20 pm |

        >_> The narrator does kind of suck beans. It seemed awful to say it. But they do.

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