On the (Rest of the) Net.

 

Disney’s least to most feminist princesses. [Nerve]

A hilarious guide to how to take the best bikini body photos. [Jezebel]

Is the reason not many women hunt because their menstruation stench wards off wild animals? [Scientific American]

A deluge of complaints have come in about Carefree’s latest panty liner ad, saying that the use of the words “discharge” and “vagina” are offensive. When I first watched the ad, brought to my attention from a friend via Facebook, I was shocked: you just don’t hear the word “vagina” in advertisements. But good on you, Carefree, for finally bringing to the mainstream’s attention that most women have vaginas, menstruate and experience discharge. [Jezebel]

On the other hand, do we really need a product to mop up discharge if it’s “normal”? Is this just another misogynistic feminine hygiene product we’re being sold to make our vaginas less “dirty”? [TheVine]

When it comes to the Mooncup, preparation is key. [Feminaust]

O.M.G. Who knew all the boundaries and defences we put up when we’re “… Walking While Female” aren’t enough when you’re ambushed from behind by a guy on a bike. Scary stuff. [Collective Action for Safe Spaces]

The psychology of the compliment.

Interestingly, I had to unpack the psychology—and misogyny—of a compliment paid to me last week.

A male co-worker whom I hadn’t seen in a while complimented me on my hair. I said thanks, but I was thinking of changing it (appointment booked for next week!). He said I should keep it how it is because a lot of men would like it that way. I, tongue-in-cheek, said I definitely wouldn’t change it then because my mission in life is to wear my hair how men like it. He exclaimed that he can never give me a compliment without me taking it the wrong way. I said I take compliments fine, just not from him because there’s always a backstory laced with misogyny.

Earlier that day he’d also been talking about which celebrities he finds hot, and that he used to think Katy Perry was the bomb til Russell Brand posted that unflattering, make-up free shot of her on Twitter. After this, it was the final straw. I asked him to please stop talking about the way people look as if it’s the only worth they have. He said I was overreacting (ahh, the catchcry of gaslighters everywhere), and at that point I started to raise my voice. Two of my supervisors came into the office to ask if everything was okay, and I told them that my colleague was being misogynistic, offensive and inappropriate. He claimed I was the one being inappropriate, and my supervisor told him that if I’ve said something offends me and asked for it to be stopped, he has to stop. “No means no,” effectively. He started to sulk and said he would just stop speaking to me altogether (this would not be the first time he’s ostracised himself from fellow co-workers), and my boss said that wouldn’t be necessary; that he could just speak to me about other things.

This kind of behaviour has been going on with this guy since I met him three years ago; colleagues who’ve been there longer than that claim it’s been since day one. He says inappropriate things about peoples’ appearance, whether it be related to their sexuality or perceived sexiness, their race, etc. He has also been known to touch women’s hair and he comments on how I apparently look like Anne Hathaway, Natalie Wood and/or Kat Dennings and how hot he finds them in comparison. I’ve also called him out on defending rapists and saying that lesbians are gross. Obviously, he’s an abhorrent human being, one that until last week I avoided telling that his attitude is disgusting and would he please stop it.

My supervisor later told me that he would respect me more for calling him out; I’m sad to say that his misogyny is too deeply ingrained for what I said to make a difference. No doubt he’ll tell our co-workers that I’m “hysterical”, “overreacting” and “can’t take a compliment”. [Jezebel]

How to tell a rape joke. Daniel Tosh: take note. [Jezebel, Cookies for Breakfast]

Bettina Arndt’s at it again, this time telling women not to overreact to workplace sexual harassment, which is essentially just flirting. [MamaMia]

*Eye roll* Yet another successful, trailblazing female who “isn’t a feminist”: new Yahoo! CEO, Marissa Mayer.[Jezebel]

Image source unknown.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

 

How a uni student wearing a modest floral dress, tights and a cardi inspired a fellow (male) student to give her a note detailing all the reasons her outfit was slutty and distracting. [Footage Not Found]

Why Bridesmaids should win an Oscar. [Daily Life]

Some snarky ways your Personhood-holding feotus can have their constitutional rights granted. [Jezebel]

A timeline of Chris Brown’s heinousness. [BuzzFeed]

Rachel Hills is a Friday feminaust. [Feminaust]

Why is it okay for gay men to bag women when we would never accept the same behaviour from a straight man? Is it because we don’t see gay men as “real men”? [Daily Life]

Nicki Minaj has got the same sized hands as Marilyn Monroe? [The Grio]

My year as a rom-com watcher. [Jezebel]

Hugo Schwyzer responds to Bettina Arndt’s assertion that women who dress provocatively and then complain about attention from the “wrong” type of men are teases:

“The calculus of entitlement works like this: if women don’t want to turn men on, they need to cover up. If they don’t cover up, they’ll turn men on. If they turn men on, women are obligated to do something to assuage that lust. Having turned them on, if women don’t give men what they want, then women are cruel teases who have no right to complain if men lash out in justified rage at being denied what they’ve been taught is rightfully theirs.” [Jezebel]

Image via Footage Not Found.

12 Posts of Christmas: In Defence of Porn.

In the spirit Christmas, I’ve decided to revisit some of my favourite posts of the year in the twelve days leading up to December 25th. 

This article didn’t garner as much controversy as I anticipated, which might just mean that porn is becoming more accepted in mainstream society, for all the right reasons, I would hope. The original post is here.

“Porn Wars” covered The Monthly in September. Melinda Tankard Reist and Abigail Bray just released Big Porn Inc., a compilation of anti-porn essays. Serendipitously, when I decided I would write this article over the weekend, controversial sex writer Bettina Arndt wrote about the porn debacle in The Sunday Age.

She said:

“The suggestion that porn changes men’s attitudes to sex is really questionable. While there’s a body of psychology research suggesting exposure to porn has that effect, Professor Catherine Lumby and colleagues in The Porn Report, published in 2008, found this laboratory-based research to be contradictory and unlikely to reflect real-life situations. ‘The entire tradition of social science research into pornography has started with the assumption that porn is a major cause of negative attitudes towards women and has set out to prove this,’ conclude these Australian academics.”

She goes on to write:

“… Arguably porn has nothing to do with the insensitivity causing men to behave in that way [with negative perceptions of women and sex], which stems from their cultural and social backgrounds.”

When society encourages the viewpoint of women as second-class citizens there for the appropriation of men’s desires and the male gaze, which—granted—porn does replicate in a lot of instances, I just don’t get what the big deal is surrounding it. While Tankard Reist and others go on about the “pornification of society”, shouldn’t we be looking at the society which spawned porn, not the other way around? Shouldn’t we be looking to, as Arndt suggests, porn consumers’ (of both sexes) backgrounds to determine their use and the effects of the medium?

Caitlin Moran says in her memoir, How to Be a Woman (which, keen-eyed readers, has been referenced here a hell of a lot in the past week or so!), that “the idea that pornography is intrinsically exploitative and sexist is bizarre; pornography is just ‘some fucking’, after all. The act of having sex isn’t sexist, so there’s no way pornography can be, in itself, inherently misogynist.”

She raises an interesting, left-of-centre notion that is not often discussed in (extremist?) feminist critique: if consensual sex isn’t sexist, how is consensual sex—that just happens to be filmed—in porn sexist?

I will argue that there are plenty of representations—in fact, most—in porn that are sexist. The lack of female orgasms, or the ejaculation of the male partner(s) into the face of his female partner(s), which seems to be how so many porn videos “finish” these days, come to mind. But, as Fine writes in The Monthly, “is degradation in the eye of the beholder, or is it just in the eye?”

As “facials” are really the only problem I have with heterosexual, seemingly consensual, two-(sometimes-three-)partner porn, I’d have to agree that “degradation is in the eye of the beholder.” In that case, you don’t have to watch it.

Not only that, but porn might be seen to have some positive effects.

Firstly, as have always argued, the existence of fetish porn is an outlet for those with said fetishes, who might otherwise have gone elsewhere to have their sexual desires fulfilled.

“… Some researchers suggest exposure to pornography might make some people less likely to commit sexual crimes,” writes Melinda Wenner Moyer in The Scientific American.

So long as we can educate young people—with an emphasis on young boys—about consent, the fantasy that porn survives and thrives on and expression of your own sexuality, whether it conforms to sexual stereotypes or no, porn is not harmful, in my opinion.

As a recent article on MamaMia opined: “We need better porn.” If we have access to porn in which everybody gets off, which is a major flaw in the current porn industry, what’s the problem?

As is a major focus of Arndt’s article, as well as The Sunny Side of Smut, men prefer to view women engaging in “enthusiastic consent” to sex, as opposed to the oft-mentioned concern that porn “incite[s] violence against women.” According to Wenner Moyer, the opposite is true, in fact:

“Perhaps the most serious accusation against pornography is that it incites sexual aggression. But not only do rape statistics suggest otherwise, some experts believe the consumption of pornography may actually reduce the desire to rape by offering a safe, private outlet for deviant sexual desires.”

In countries such as Japan, China and Denmark, and in certain states in America, which have increased access to online porn, rape statistics have receded significantly.

It’s not just porn that is changing attitudes (or our changing attitudes to porn) to sex, but prostitution, also.

In a Newsweek article a few months ago, Leslie Bennetts, profiled the idea of making soliciting prostitution illegal, instead of charging the women involved in prostitution. In countries that have started to bring in this legislation, such as Sweden, South Korea, Norway, Iceland, Israel and Mexico, sex trafficking has been “dramatically reduced”, whereas in countries where prostitution is legal, such as Australia, trafficking in other kinds of sex trade has increased. Are we cutting off our nose to spite our face?

There has been a lot of debate over the sex trade in Australia. I don’t pretend to know what I’m talking about when it comes to prostitution (for a more comprehensive look at this, see Feminaust), but I do know that it is still very much a grey area. Much greyer than porn, in my opinion. (Voice yours in the comments.)

And, back with porn, I do think it’s about education, in essence. Just as we educate young people about safe sex, we should be educating them about safe porn use, too. That the smorgasbord of sexual entrees (oral sex), main courses (vaginal intercourse) and just desserts (anal sex) on offer in porn can not always be expected of real life sexual relationships, and certainly not on the first date! (In porn, a first date amounts to come breast fondling and perhaps, in “feature” porn, a pizza delivery or plumbing [pardon the pun] fixed.)

Not to lessen the effect that porn can have on some users (again, harkening back to Arndt’s “cultural and social backgrounds” argument), but studies have shown that how a man responds to a woman in a porn clip is not how he’ll respond to her in a real-life sexual encounter. If anything, introducing porn into a sexual relationship can be the spice of life:

“… Variety in sexual experiences contributes to men’s sexual satisfaction—and other works support [Alan] McKee’s suggestion that pornography can help that along. But [Aleksandar] Stulhofer also found that intimacy is at least as, and probably more, important for sexual satisfaction and—contrary to stereotype—as much so for young men as women.” [The Monthly]

As is my understanding, if a porn consumer lets what they see on the computer screen (who uses DVDs these days? Although, I did hear a funny story from a friend about a porn DVD getting stuck in a DVD player. When I suggested throwing out the DVD player, the friend said it was part of the television. And that the DVD was borrowed from their partner’s Dad. A comedy of porn errors.) dictate their perception of sexual relationships, they’re probably not capable of real intimacy anyway.

So, what do you think? Is porn the hotbed of debauchery it’s made out to be? Or, like Moran suggests, is it “just some fucking”?

Related: In Defence of Porn.

How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran Review.

Elsewhere: [Melinda Tankard Reist] Big Porn Inc.: Exposing the Harms of the Global Pornography Industry.

[The Monthly] The Porn Ultimatum.

[Sydney Morning Herald] Porn is Not a Dirty Word.

[The Scientific American] The Sunny Side of Smut.

[MamaMia] Why We Need Better Porn.

[Newsweek] The Growing Demand for Prostitution.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

 

 

How much is that doggy in the window?

Toddlers & Tiaras dog with its “pageant mom”.

New York City’s M23 bus.

We are the 99%!

Gala Darling and Jezebel have some fab pics up from the Tompkins Square Park Halloween dog parade. Squee!

Still with Halloween, how can we de-gender and -sexualise children’s costumes? [Miss Representation]

And for those of us who’ve moved on from childhood, some more “sexy” costume alternatives. My costume for this year is in there (albeit with the slut-factor turned up), and I was inspired for next year’s costume, too. [Jezebel]

Rihanna as the scapegoat for raunch culture:

“… For real, quality disapproval, it has to be Rihanna. We love to disapprove of her. We love to disapprove of her cute, pert bottom; we love to disapprove of her luscious breasts and smooth skin, barely covered by those disgustingly small leather thongs she likes to wear, the hussy. Look at her sexualising our children. Look at her, sexualising away in those horrifyingly sexualised sexy pants. We disapprove of those, too…

“I’m not saying that there aren’t big, big problems with the kind of raunch culture that has made Rihanna rich. What I am saying is that perhaps, just perhaps, the best way to address those problems might not be to applaud a religious fundamentalist for telling a young woman to cover herself up in his presence.” [New Statesman]

Sesame Street’s new character: the “food-insecure” Lily, whose family can’t always afford to put food on the table. [Think Progress]

A tale of two protests: SlutWalk and Occupy Wall Street. [Rabbit Write]

Speaking of the Occupy protests, it’s all about how hot its women are, apparently. [Jezebel]

Girl-on-girl friendships: passive-aggressive undermining or a true sisterhood? Kate Carraway goes with the former. [Vice]

From poignant porn insights a few weeks ago back to this: Bettina Arndt on how Julia Gillard is bucking the system when it comes to traditional relationships and whether she’s setting a good example. Who cares? [Sydney Morning Herald]

A new collector’s edition Barbie, complete with pink hair and tattoos, has a certain Gala Darling quality to her, wouldn’t you say? But while parents are lamenting the bad influence of the doll, they could only hope their children turn to Gala Darling as a role model, with her “radical self-love” message and what not. [Jezebel]

Weight VS. health. [Jezebel]

Why is there such an absence of female sports—and female sporting role models—in the media? [MamaMia]

Porn, what is it good for? Girl with a Satchel weighs in on the great porn debate.

Images via Jezebel, Celebuzz, FanPop.

In Defence of Porn.

“Porn Wars” covered The Monthly in September. Melinda Tankard Reist and Abigail Bray just released Big Porn Inc., a compilation of anti-porn essays. Serendipitously, when I decided I would write this article over the weekend, controversial sex writer Bettina Arndt wrote about the porn debacle in The Sunday Age.

She said:

“The suggestion that porn changes men’s attitudes to sex is really questionable. While there’s a body of psychology research suggesting exposure to porn has that effect, Professor Catherine Lumby and colleagues in The Porn Report, published in 2008, found this laboratory-based research to be contradictory and unlikely to reflect real-life situations. ‘The entire tradition of social science research into pornography has started with the assumption that porn is a major cause of negative attitudes towards women and has set out to prove this,’ conclude these Australian academics.”

She goes on to write:

“… Arguably porn has nothing to do with the insensitivity causing men to behave in that way [with negative perceptions of women and sex], which stems from their cultural and social backgrounds.”

When society encourages the viewpoint of women as second-class citizens there for the appropriation of men’s desires and the male gaze, which—granted—porn does replicate in a lot of instances, I just don’t get what the big deal is surrounding it. While Tankard Reist and others go on about the “pornification of society”, shouldn’t we be looking at the society which spawned porn, not the other way around? Shouldn’t we be looking to, as Arndt suggests, porn consumers’ (of both sexes) backgrounds to determine their use and the effects of the medium?

Caitlin Moran says in her memoir, How to Be a Woman (which, keen-eyed readers, has been referenced here a hell of a lot in the past week or so!), that “the idea that pornography is intrinsically exploitative and sexist is bizarre; pornography is just ‘some fucking’, after all. The act of having sex isn’t sexist, so there’s no way pornography can be, in itself, inherently misogynist.”

She raises an interesting, left-of-centre notion that is not often discussed in (extremist?) feminist critique: if consensual sex isn’t sexist, how is consensual sex—that just happens to be filmed—in porn sexist?

I will argue that there are plenty of representations—in fact, most—in porn that are sexist. The lack of female orgasms, or the ejaculation of the male partner(s) into the face of his female partner(s), which seems to be how so many porn videos “finish” these days, come to mind. But, as Fine writes in The Monthly, “is degradation in the eye of the beholder, or is it just in the eye?”

As “facials” are really the only problem I have with heterosexual, seemingly consensual, two-(sometimes-three-)partner porn, I’d have to agree that “degradation is in the eye of the beholder.” In that case, you don’t have to watch it.

Not only that, but porn might be seen to have some positive effects.

Firstly, as have always argued, the existence of fetish porn is an outlet for those with said fetishes, who might otherwise have gone elsewhere to have their sexual desires fulfilled.

“… Some researchers suggest exposure to pornography might make some people less likely to commit sexual crimes,” writes Melinda Wenner Moyer in The Scientific American.

So long as we can educate young people—with an emphasis on young boys—about consent, the fantasy that porn survives and thrives on and expression of your own sexuality, whether it conforms to sexual stereotypes or no, porn is not harmful, in my opinion.

As a recent article on MamaMia opined: “We need better porn.” If we have access to porn in which everybody gets off, which is a major flaw in the current porn industry, what’s the problem?

As is a major focus of Arndt’s article, as well as The Sunny Side of Smut, men prefer to view women engaging in “enthusiastic consent” to sex, as opposed to the oft-mentioned concern that porn “incite[s] violence against women.” According to Wenner Moyer, the opposite is true, in fact:

“Perhaps the most serious accusation against pornography is that it incites sexual aggression. But not only do rape statistics suggest otherwise, some experts believe the consumption of pornography may actually reduce the desire to rape by offering a safe, private outlet for deviant sexual desires.”

In countries such as Japan, China and Denmark, and in certain states in America, which have increased access to online porn, rape statistics have receded significantly.

It’s not just porn that is changing attitudes (or our changing attitudes to porn) to sex, but prostitution, also.

In a Newsweek article a few months ago, Leslie Bennetts, profiled the idea of making soliciting prostitution illegal, instead of charging the women involved in prostitution. In countries that have started to bring in this legislation, such as Sweden, South Korea, Norway, Iceland, Israel and Mexico, sex trafficking has been “dramatically reduced”, whereas in countries where prostitution is legal, such as Australia, trafficking in other kinds of sex trade has increased. Are we cutting off our nose to spite our face?

There has been a lot of debate over the sex trade in Australia. I don’t pretend to know what I’m talking about when it comes to prostitution (for a more comprehensive look at this, see Feminaust), but I do know that it is still very much a grey area. Much greyer than porn, in my opinion. (Voice yours in the comments.)

And, back with porn, I do think it’s about education, in essence. Just as we educate young people about safe sex, we should be educating them about safe porn use, too. That the smorgasbord of sexual entrees (oral sex), main courses (vaginal intercourse) and just desserts (anal sex) on offer in porn can not always be expected of real life sexual relationships, and certainly not on the first date! (In porn, a first date amounts to come breast fondling and perhaps, in “feature” porn, a pizza delivery or plumbing [pardon the pun] fixed.)

Not to lessen the effect that porn can have on some users (again, harkening back to Arndt’s “cultural and social backgrounds” argument), but studies have shown that how a man responds to a woman in a porn clip is not how he’ll respond to her in a real-life sexual encounter. If anything, introducing porn into a sexual relationship can be the spice of life:

“… Variety in sexual experiences contributes to men’s sexual satisfaction—and other works support [Alan] McKee’s suggestion that pornography can help that along. But [Aleksandar] Stulhofer also found that intimacy is at least as, and probably more, important for sexual satisfaction and—contrary to stereotype—as much so for young men as women.” [The Monthly]

As is my understanding, if a porn consumer lets what they see on the computer screen (who uses DVDs these days? Although, I did hear a funny story from a friend about a porn DVD getting stuck in a DVD player. When I suggested throwing out the DVD player, the friend said it was part of the television. And that the DVD was borrowed from their partner’s Dad. A comedy of porn errors.) dictate their perception of sexual relationships, they’re probably not capable of real intimacy anyway.

So, what do you think? Is porn the hotbed of debauchery it’s made out to be? Or, like Moran suggests, is it “just some fucking”?

Related: How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran Review.

Elsewhere: [Melinda Tankard Reist] Big Porn Inc.: Exposing the Harms of the Global Pornography Industry.

[The Monthly] The Porn Ultimatum.

[Sydney Morning Herald] Porn is Not a Dirty Word.

[The Scientific American] The Sunny Side of Smut.

[MamaMia] Why We Need Better Porn.

[Newsweek] The Growing Demand for Prostitution.