30 users responded in this post

Subscribe to this post comment rss or trackback url
mygif

Mackinnon on sex: “If there is no inequality, no violation, no dominance, no force, there is no sexual arousal.” And “women share… degradation in intimacy.”

Translation: “I never get to be on top.”

ReplyReply
mygif

But reading her, I never get the idea that she’s stupid for writing things that are nonsensical. “Dishonest” isn’t quite the right word either, nor “deluded.” Somewhere in between the two on this topic, anyway.

And I think the word you are looking for is “biased”.

ReplyReply
mygif

Zifnab, I would suggest “disengenuous.”

ReplyReply
mygif
SilverMoonWolf said on December 18th, 2008 at 2:43 pm

*Sigh* I hate it when highly intelligent people go off the deep end and into the realm of moral outrage and tirades.

I hate it because I’m prone to it too (although I wouldn’t call myself highly intelligent).

She sounds like a simple misandrist to me. Unfortunate that the idea of the individual and their actions has disappeared in favor of blanket ideas like this. I guess it’s easier to paint with a large brush.

ReplyReply
mygif

She sounds like a simple misandrist to me. Unfortunate that the idea of the individual and their actions has disappeared in favor of blanket ideas like this. I guess it’s easier to paint with a large brush.

There is some degree of sense to what she is saying. When many girls becomes aroused, they lose inhibitions and becomes very passive. Likewise, many guys lose inhibitions and become very aggressive. She’s basically complaining from a very Puritan standpoint – when you’re getting all sexy and funky, embracing your id, riding the chemical waves that rocket through your body and drive you to copulate – that people tend to stop thinking rationally and start doing what – were we not on chemical highs – we probably wouldn’t do.

The problem is that she has decided the natural inclinations of men and women are inherently wrong. She’s really just objecting to “horniness” in a manner not entirely unsimilar to the religious fundie crowd. Rather than coming to terms with the fact that we are rational beings in unrational bodies, she attacks basic human instincts as the problem. Men are bad for being naturally aggressive. Women are bad for being naturally passive. And sex is double plus bad because that’s when both tendencies peek.

To a degree, she’s right. Once the brain goes into sexual overdrive, people are virtually compelled to copulate. Horniness strips you of inhibitions and compels you to consent. Once you’ve been compelled, you are now being raped. QED – you were raped because you were horny.

Building up to your conclusion, any individual step makes a certain degree of sense. But once you see the logical divide you just crossed, you start looking silly. But I can sympathize with how she got there.

ReplyReply
mygif

If there can be no consent there can be no crime. A crime occurs when it is possible to do a thing (Flapjack taking your stir fry ingredients, f’r example) with consent (which you gave, however begrudgingly) but is done without consent. Had you refused Flapjack your wok and ingredients and he came over and took them anyway, that would be a crime. However, if you had no legal ability to refuse his request, then it might actually be argued that it would be a crime to deny him those ingredients since he could claim they were for his use even though they were in your possession.

ReplyReply
mygif

The funny thing is that out of context, it’s nigh impossible to tell that “If there is no inequality, no violation, no dominance, no force, there is no sexual arousal.” wasn’t said by a hardcore fetishist.

ReplyReply
mygif

Thanks for the information. The quotes you provided are pretty convincing. Thanks for the quick reply.

ReplyReply
mygif

Buzz, either I don’t follow what you’re saying, or there’s a typo in your first line. If there isn’t consent given to an action (sex, or the appropriation of chicken), either because it is NOT given or it CANNOT be given (say, if one partner is under the age of consent to donate chicken in a given jurisdiction) then there IS a crime. (I had to sit through a 2 1/2 hour meeting on potential sex offender legislation this morning, so this sort of stuff is on my mind)

The rest of your argument is just mens rea and actus rea, or intent and action in other words.

Don’t quite follow that last bit, either. What does “no legal ability to refuse his request” mean? If the chicken was flapjack’s all along, then it’s just his chicken, and MGK is holding it or stolen it.

ReplyReply
mygif

I largely disagree with Dworkin. And by largely, I mean almost entirely.

However, I think, if we dial back her inflamatory rhetoric, the crux of the issue is this: in a patriarchal society, all males always have patriarchal privilege all the time. (Just like I, as a white woman, benefit from white privilege all the time– as much as I would prefer not to). So. If men always have this privilege, this privilege exists in all of their social relations. She suggests that sex is not an exception.

Now. Is this entirely untrue? Well, from a Foucauldian perspective, not really (“all relations are power relations” and the like).

(Yes, I am the asshole that name drops Foucault on a blog…)

However. As a straight woman, what are my options? Go against my preference and only engage in lesbian sex or become celibate? I would rather not. What about progressive straight men, who dislike patriarchy even though they benefit from it? I like to think of them as feminist allies.

As long as we are aware of our positions within society, and admit to our privilege, we can begin negotiating those spaces with something resembling mutual respect.

In which case, I freely consent to having sex with any man of my choice.

ReplyReply
mygif

I would argue that her attempts at making those who were never considered people, allows for discussions of ethics and personal histories, that would traditonally be viewed as problematic, or to put it another way, if the personal is political, attacking someone personally is recognizing that they are engaging in privleged speech, that you are treating them as people.

she spends a lot of time talking about speech acts, personhood, and the rhetoric of the state in both Toward a Feminist Theory of the State, Only Words and Are Woman Human.

The weird thing for me, as a free speech abosultist, queer theorist, and sex radical (ie, her conclusions about censorship, pornography, consensual bdsm,biology, and essentalism under the law are not the same) find how she engages with these intersections really useful, really smart, and really not unhinged, or too strident at all. But then I think that Dworkin had a point, about the culture of patriarchy, and what they expect of women, esp. sexually.

ReplyReply
mygif

John — A child or legally incompetant person’s right to consent should be held in trust by a parent or legal guardian until they reach an age of consent or other wise recover legal competancy.

re no crime if there is no legal right to refuse consent: It’s been pretty well established that in times of natural disaster or other emergency that it’s permissible for survivors to scavenge for food, water, and medical supplies without the consent of the owners of same (viz Katrina survivors taking supplies out of flooded stores, etc.). The survivors right to survival supercedes a business’ right to property in that limited, specific case (i.e., supplies needed to immediately sustain life, not color TVs or computer systems).

If a business can not deny consent to a survivor needing life sustaining supplies, no crime is committed if the survivor takes those supplies.

I have read some of Dworkin’s autobiographical accounts and since I have no reason to doubt their veracity, I can understand why she was somewhat batty on the subject of male/female relations. I think she took some legitimate ideas re feminism et al and twisted them around to the point where no emotionally balanced person could have agreed with them.

ReplyReply
mygif

Buzz, those are all VERY radical and fairly rare hypotheticals, and you’re right as far as they go (although it’s hardly cut and dried, witness the “white people forage, black people loot” theme of a lot of the NO coverage), but I think you can understand why I didn’t understand what you were saying in the context of a discussion of stir-fry chicken. It’s also not illegal to protect personal property that is more desperately needed by someone else. It IS illegal to price gouge in a disaster (in my state, at least), but that’s a different issue altogether. It’s much more likely that “inability to consent” refers to hypotheticals that DO result in something illegal.

Yes, there are legal procedures for a custodian or guardian to exercise control over monetary, medical or legal procedures (but not, you know, personal interactions unless it’s in the fairly limited circumstance of an underage performer of some sort), but again, that’s not what you said, or at least I can’t see how a reader could have understood what you were referring to.

I’ve never read any feminist theory, aside from that one “Behind the Capes” issue of Gen13, and some “outsider” legal theory, so I’ll accept what you say about Dworkin’s personal history as true. Hey, it’s called “radical” for a reason, I’m sure something happened to radicalize her.

Anyway, I didn’t mean to call you out, I just wanted some clarification, since I didn’t understand what you meant.

ReplyReply
mygif

John: I can’t explain how, but I understood Buzz perfectly the first time. So even if it can’t be understood, it can happen. :)

ReplyReply
mygif
bunnyofdoom said on December 20th, 2008 at 3:17 am

Let me just state that I can’t wait to see the “Why I should write the legion” featuring insano-biased feminists…. IN SPACE!

ReplyReply
mygif

I wonder if we’ll ever see a version of feminism that treats neither masculinity nor heterosexuality as a crime to be punished or a disease to be cured.

ReplyReply
mygif

I wonder if we’ll ever see a version of feminism that treats neither masculinity nor heterosexuality as a crime to be punished or a disease to be cured.

Sure. In fact, it’s been around for the past, oh… hundred and fifty years? You were probably just busy all those days and so missed it.

ReplyReply
mygif

You know, I think ideas like these are what gave feminism negative connotations. If not for women like Dworkin and etc., I wonder if people would bandy about words like “femi-nazi” and such.

It’s always bothered me, at least in the sense that, when I studied feminism to some degree in college, what struck me was that with some rephrasing of ideas or perhaps different ways of presenting them, some would be excellent; what turned them sideways and derailed them were expressions like the ones mentioned in this post (i.e., “all sex is rape.”). Sometimes, I think it causes very cool people to express things they don’t quite mean or in ways they don’t quite mean them. For example, up above, Zifnab said:

“When many girls becomes aroused, they lose inhibitions and becomes very passive. Likewise, many guys lose inhibitions and become very aggressive.”

And I’m still trying to parse why that sentence requires mention of gender in any case. I think it might be more accurate to say that arousal, like alcohol, lowers people’s inhibitions, though in a less depressive way, which can cause some people to act on impulses they might not otherwise. Which not state things quite so forcefully or concisely as Zifnab’s original statement, and certainly loses some context and connotation while altering the meaning, but I’m not sure that’s a bad thing if only because the original meaning seems so wrong. I don’t really think I believe Zifnab thinks women are, by nature, passive, nor that arousal reduces them to their natural state when they have worked hard to be more aggressive in their daily lives. I’m not sure if Zifnab believes men are naturally more aggressive, but then again it seems to be the thought most of society tends to propagate.

Likewise, this idea of ‘privilege,’ which in some ways seems more an academic construct of guilt propagation than actual social anything. I mostly understand the idea; back in college, I once did a research paper whose thesis was that, though many academicians noted the use of insanity as a theme in Victorian women’s literature (Bronte, mainly), there was no such thing. Sanity is simply (in many ways) conformity to common social perceptions, and given that the perceptions at that time were so patriarchal, literally any thought of feminine empowerment was ‘insane’. I think that’s a great deal less true today, which reduces the efficacy of the idea of ‘privilege’ toward social reformation or even awareness. To me, it seems like using a microscope to study quarks, in a way; interesting thoughts, but it’s like academicians are using outdated instruments to study theories and ideas now several decades at least obsolete.

ReplyReply
mygif

Will, good post. Although I think “femi-nazi” is just right-wing propaganda, even if some of the more radical folks on blogs (like the crazy rape lady mentioned in the previous thread) DO advocate some fascist ideology (limits of free speech, imprisonment without trial, etc.).

Likewise I’ve had some trouble understand exactly what is meant when “privledge” is brought up. I think it’s an intentionally abstract and fuzzy concept which can encompass must about any sort of action in society and as a concept impossible to ever remedy.

ReplyReply
mygif

I suppose I can’t answer for anybody else, but when I use ‘privilege’ I mean that somebody benefits within their given society simply by being born X Y or Z.

When I walk down the street in Toronto, I am treated like a white woman. What does it mean to be treated like a white woman? That is a very long and complicated answer. But no doubt my experiences as a white person living in Canada is different from a person of colour living in Canada.

In general, I will be treated in such a way that when I interact with people, I never have to think about whether or not my treatment (good or bad) is a result of the colour of my skin (even if it is). White privilege.

Patriarchal privilege would be similar, but with a focus on gender rather than race. (Obviously these things are interconnected).

I also don’t buy it as a tool of “guilt propogation”… or at least, it shouldn’t be used as one. I was born white, there’s nothing I can do about it. Males were born males. They didn’t choose to be born into this position in society, but, nevertheless, these positions are beneficial. All people have to do is realise that.

If you realise racism exists, or sexism exists (to use other language), you already realise this. “Privilege” is, for me, just a way of articulating the social dynamic of the relationship.

ReplyReply
mygif

Skemono: Your alternate Earth sounds like an awesome place, I would like to move there.

Feminist movement had a point back when women were not allowed to either work or vote – when they were genuinely held back in a tangible way. That time passed almost a century ago. Currently, feminists lack real problems to tackle and spend all their energy into either inventing “problems” that are not problems like the gross injustice of women being paid less for doing less productive work, or just pretending against all scientific evidence that there isn’t any actual difference between men and women at all and sexual dimorphism is some kind of a giant patriarchal conspiracy instead of a fact of biology. Modern feminism is just another entry in the long lists of movements that devolved into rackets.

Feminists have gotten drunk on their own power. They would do well to remember that western women didn’t gain suffrage through _women_ choosing to be free and emancipated – it was only possible because the men wanted it, permitted it to happen. Men are biologically better at applying violence and hold control of all military and police forces in the world. It would be a trivial thing to turn the “liberated” western world into the same kind of a genuinely patriarchal hellhole as, say, Saudi-Arabia or Afghanistan. If the white heterosexual male was really such an evil, oppressive creature as they claim, the very concept of “feminism” would not exist and thus, the existence of any kind of equal treatment between genders at all is proof that the best friend and ally of the western woman is the western man.

ReplyReply
mygif
Heksefatter said on December 21st, 2008 at 8:41 am

@acabaca

The alternate Earth Skemono lives on sounds remarkably like the one I inhabit. There are loads of sensible feminists around. Bea, also commenting on this post, sounds rather sensible to me.

And while Feminism certainly had a point back when women couldn’t vote, it certainly had one afterwards as well. Back when my mother’s doctor found out that she wanted to be either a doctor or a biologist, he gathered her parents and persuaded them to try and stop her, arguing that women weren’t suitable for the kind of abstract reasoning needed for such things.

That was in Denmark, in the mid-early 60’ies, in a rather progressive family. These sentiments were common. How great is it, as a teenage girl, to be told by your parents, by your family doctor and by society as a whole, that you really do not have the intellectual caliber necessary to live out your dreams.

It is such attitudes (among other things) that feminists fought after the right to vote was won. Hardly man-hating, I say.

Also, I strongly disagree with the somewhat strange view that it would be a “trivial thing” to turn the West into what looks like Saudi-Arabia. It is not a trivial thing to get men to agree on doing that and then carry it out, any more than it is a trivial thing to get 50 % of the population to become communists and carry out a revolution.

ReplyReply
mygif

“Feminists have gotten drunk on their own power. They would do well to remember that western women didn’t gain suffrage through _women_ choosing to be free and emancipated – it was only possible because the men wanted it, permitted it to happen. Men are biologically better at applying violence and hold control of all military and police forces in the world. It would be a trivial thing to turn the “liberated” western world into the same kind of a genuinely patriarchal hellhole as, say, Saudi-Arabia or Afghanistan. If the white heterosexual male was really such an evil, oppressive creature as they claim, the very concept of “feminism” would not exist and thus, the existence of any kind of equal treatment between genders at all is proof that the best friend and ally of the western woman is the western man.”

That sounds a hell of a lot like a threat there. “Quit your whining, wummin, or we’ll be back to the good ol’ days when I could just beat your ass”. I mean, yes, we’re in a better society than Saudi Arabia, but (to use a horribly misplaced analogy) Michael Bay is a better filmmaker than Uwe Boll – it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t strive to be Hitchcock or what have you.

And I apologise again for that terrible metaphor, especially if it came across as trivialising the problems being discussed.

ReplyReply
mygif

As evidence for why feminism is still relevant, I respectfully sumbit acabaca’s comments as Exhibit A.

ReplyReply
mygif

Currently, feminists lack real problems to tackle and spend all their energy into either inventing “problems” that are not problems like the gross injustice of women being paid less for doing less productive work

You should’ve saved your breath. I stopped reading after you admitted that you don’t think paying women less than men is a problem feminists should tackle.

ReplyReply
mygif

@ akabaka – Currently, feminists lack real problems to tackle and spend all their energy into either inventing “problems”

Uh, wage inequality, the global gag rule, the consistent failure of our legal system to effectively deal with the crime of rape, and douchebags like you aren’t problems for women? I guess the fact that there are places in the world where women can be stoned to death for having premarital sex isn’t a major injustice, either. The world is a great place for women! That’s why one in every nine women is a survivor of sexual assault (and that’s only counting the women who are empowered enough to talk about their experiences).

Feminists have gotten drunk on their own power.

HAHAHAHA feminists have power? What world do you live in? I would actually really like to live there, because apparently in your world major womens’ rights issues have been resolved and people actually treat feminists with respect.

They would do well to remember that western women didn’t gain suffrage through _women_ choosing to be free and emancipated – it was only possible because the men wanted it, permitted it to happen.

Right, because men would have given women the vote if women hadn’t protested in the streets for years on end.

Men are biologically better at applying violence and hold control of all military and police forces in the world. It would be a trivial thing to turn the “liberated” western world into the same kind of a genuinely patriarchal hellhole as, say, Saudi-Arabia or Afghanistan. If the white heterosexual male was really such an evil, oppressive creature as they claim, the very concept of “feminism” would not exist and thus, the existence of any kind of equal treatment between genders at all is proof that the best friend and ally of the western woman is the western man.

I don’t even know where to start here. You sound like you have some serious problems. Have you considered suicide? I’m pretty sure the world would be better off without you.

ReplyReply
mygif

…spend all their energy into either inventing “problems” that are not problems like the gross injustice of women being paid less for doing less productive work…

Um, WHAT?

Where did you ever get the idea that women are less productive than men?

Not every job requires heavy lifting that only big and strong men are able to do, you know. What about lawyers, or CPAs, or journalists, and plenty of other jobs I could name where the main requirement is brains? The playing field’s pretty even in those fields, and women have proven that they can do those jobs quite well.

ReplyReply
mygif
Heksefatter said on December 27th, 2008 at 12:58 am

@Laura

To say: “I don’t even know where to start here. You sound like you have some serious problems. Have you considered suicide? I’m pretty sure the world would be better off without you.”

Seriously, I agree perfectly that akabaka’s post, which you responded to, was terrible. But no need for wishing for the demise of someone for posting a comment on a blog. In general, using rethoric which reduces the worth of other people’s lives, is…uncool, to say the least.

ReplyReply
mygif
saracen395 said on March 16th, 2009 at 12:32 pm

When feminism originated men stood shoulder to shoulder with women for equal rights.Now it appears that it is not equal rights that women want
but all the rights and no responsibilities.
If your organisation had any sense of fair play at all it would also employ it’s talents to make life better for men in such areas as health,employment conditions and human rights.
It chooses to do nothing except whine about female stress.I have no time for you and see the day when you will regret your actions.

ReplyReply
mygif

When feminism originated men stood shoulder to shoulder with women for equal rights.

Men were also clamoring for equal rights? In what planet, exactly, were men being denied these rights? And on what planet do they have lower standards of health, employment, and human rights than women?

If your organisation had any sense of fair play at all

MGK has an organisation now? I’m guessing saracen395 just Googles “feminism” and leaves this same comment everywhere, without bothering to actually read anything.

I have no time for you

That pretty much confirms it.

ReplyReply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please Note: Comment moderation may be active so there is no need to resubmit your comments