People say, “Oh, well, pornography – that’s for masturbation, nobody can get hurt that way.” But orgasm is a very serious reward, isn’t it? Think of Pavlov’s little dogs, right? They don’t just think about salivating; they salivate. They do it because they learned it. Period. Now think about pornography. The dehumanization is a basic part of the content of all pornography without exception. Pornography in this country in the last ten years has become increasingly violent by every measure, including Playboy, including all the stuff you take for granted; and every single orgasm is a reward for believing that material, absorbing that material, responding to that value system: having a sexual response to stuff that makes women inferior, subhuman.
Andrea Dworkin, Feminism: An Agenda, 1983
“Please do not throw us away” – Rebecca Mott
You hear this lie crop up again and again, so often that it’s become a thought-terminating cliche: if radical feminism shares goals (like abolishing pornography and sex work) with the religious right, doesn’t that make their ideologies one and the same?
It’s used to shut down all feminist conversations about the harms of the pornography industry by buying into the lie that the only manifestation of patriarchal sexual values is puritanical. It also contains a lie within itself, by drawing a false equivalence between the movements based on their “goals” by naming something that isn’t the goal of either movement.
The “goal,” or ultimate end of radical feminist thought and action is the dismantling of oppressive power structures that exist to subjugate women as a class in order to liberate those women. The goal of religious conservatism is to prop up, reinforce, and otherwise maintain those same oppressive power…
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What do you do
When one prominent person in your community is constantly telling vicious lies in order to turn people against you and the work you do for women’s liberation?
When this person publishes these lies in the public domain, and has so much sway that people start to believe them?
When this adversely affects the work you do to promote liberation for women?
When these lies start to include people you care about, just because they stood up for you?
When dignified silence doesn’t work any more….?