by Furry Girl
One of the most common replies I get on Twitter, via email, and when I allowed comments on my blog has been some variant of the No True Scotsman fallacy.
In this form of faulty reasoning one's belief is rendered unfalsifiable because no matter how compelling the evidence is, one simply shifts the goalposts so that it wouldn't apply to a supposedly 'true' example. This kind of post-rationalization is a way of avoiding valid criticisms of one's argument.
Example: Angus declares that Scotsmen do not put sugar on their porridge, to which Lachlan points out that he is a Scotsman and puts sugar on his porridge. Furious, like a true Scot, Angus yells that no true Scotsman sugars his porridge. [Source]
This line of thinking is constantly deployed by the sex-positive feminist crowd who want to distance themselves from the myriad embarrassments of mainstream feminism. The tiny, powerless minority of sex-positive, pro-autonomy feminists rabidly insist that they are the one truly true feminism, and that all the other feminists are splinter sects that simply don't understand "real feminism." (As an ex-feminist myself, I'm embarrassed that I wasted untold hours of my young life having these exact same conversations. So I know them inside out, from both sides.)
Why do I hate these comments with such a passion?
"Good feminists" are a tiny minority, even though they claim they're the truest feminists
Part of the reason it's annoying to deal with this logical fallacy is because sex-positive, pro-autonomy, anti-victimhood feminists are a small minority compared to all the other feminists they instantly dismiss as "not real feminists." Large national feminist organizations and women's studies departments are not run on "good feminist" principles, they are run by the oppressive and anti-sexuality feminists who represent mainstream feminist values. "Good feminists" aren't the ones being brought in as experts by governments to write new anti-sex worker and anti-porn laws. Just because all of feminist friends you have are "good feminists," that doesn't mean "good feminists" make up a real majority, it just means you're trapped in a feedback loop of confirmation bias. I could conclude that most cats are male grey tabbies based on the sample population within my immediate view, but that doesn't mean it's true.
"Good feminists" are outliers, and the fact that they think they represent the majority feminist viewpoint just shows the degree to which they're devoted to willful ignorance of anything that conflicts with their images of themselves and their cutesy, feel-good interpretations of feminism.
"Good feminists" have no political power, nor do they seek it
With very few exceptions, "good feminists" are too busy congratulating themselves for being liberated to waste time on boring stuff like lobbying or working on public outreach. They always seem to have endless money and time to fly around the country attending sex-positivity conferences, going to Empowered Anal Sex 101 workshops at upscale sex toy shops, and dressing in designer threads for the most nauseatingly self-congratulatory event ever conceived, the Feminist Porn Awards. "Good feminism" is literally nothing more than masturbation. I used to believe that the sex-positive scene was building towards a bigger something, but after a decade of being around it, I now know that it's only about narcissism and reveling in how naughty it is to be sexually transgressive. There's no goal, no endpoint, nothing more substantive than endless recycled discussions about meanings of sexuality and gender.
I love kinky sex, masturbation, and DIY porn as much as any of them, but it makes me seethe with anger how often that scene used the word "revolutionary" to describe themselves and sell their products. There's fuck-all nothing "revolutionary" about basking in the privilege of how delightful it is to loll about playing with high end dildos and having plenty of free time for orgies and philosophical discussions about the meaning of it all. This is why I refer to sex-positivity as the "girlie version" of Crimethinc and other forms of self-indulgent drop-out culture lifestyle anarchism that operate under obtuse slogans such as "Poverty, unemployment, homelessness: if you're not having fun, you're not doing it right!" But as we all know, white and privileged people go totally apeshit for any philosophy that assures them that merely by having fun, they are changing the world. "Revolution" is a mix of the boring, stressful, dangerous, heart-breaking, difficult, and time-consuming, which is why so few people engage in it, but flock to schools of thought which allow them to have the label "revolutionary" without ever taking a risk or doing any work. Your typical "good feminist" engages in "sex-positive activism" by assuring one another that they are bold "revolutionaries" for watching punk porn or buying buttplugs.
In contrast, mainstream feminists have their shit together, complete with well-funded and powerful NGOs, huge salaries, and national respectability, and they work tirelessly to pass laws around the world that make things more dangerous for sex workers or seek to enact anti-free speech censorship policies (such as in feminist-run Iceland). Feminists who have any shred of influence invariably use it to be "bad feminists," whether it's criminalizing indoor prostitution in Rhode Island or holding tenured women's studies jobs so they can terrorize impressionable young women into feeling victimized by the world around them. Mainstream feminists know that you don't change the world with a Hitachi Magic Wand, you change it by being effective political lobbyists.
So long as "good feminists" have zero effect on either policy or popular thinking, they are irrelevant.
"Good feminists" are more interested in wasting their lives attacking people like me and apologizing for the wrongs and oppressions of mainstream feminism than they are doing anything productive
This final one is more sad than angering. But hey, it's easier to tweet No True Feminism comments at me all the time than it is to do something useful to change the world in measurable ways. Instead of going after the "bad feminists," the "good feminists" would rather pick fights with the people they claim to have the most in common with, lecturing us about how great feminism is if we can just get past a few bad apples.
Ultimately, even the "good feminists" are more concerned with their cult-like devotion to the label of "feminist" than they are with anything else. The label matters above all else. I have no use for people refuse to part from a ideology that calls transwomen monsters, that seeks to take away as much freedom of speech/press as possible, that calls sex workers "house niggers," that believes women need to be told how to think, that says women who enjoy feminine clothing are brainwashed idiots, that profits from convincing women that they are weak and powerless, that denies that women have free will, and that loves subjecting sex workers to state violence in the form of criminalization. I will never willingly group myself with oppressors, which is why I am not a feminist, even a "good feminist."
by Furry Girl
I'm seen as the most conservative US sex workers' rights activist, which really says something about the failure of the movement to attractive diversity. I don't even think of myself as conservative at all, but when you're standing in a crowd of politically correct feminists with liberal arts degrees who favor both big government and anarchism (don't ask me how that's supposed to work), any deviance from their norm is shocking. As I've consistently stated, my own politics could be described as a mix of beliefs which could be called either left or libertarian, though I identify with neither label. That I have repeatedly been compared to Ann Coulter is hilarious to me.
The thing with being the most conservative visible sex worker is that it makes me feel bad for all the actual conservative sex workers who see a movement that is overtly hostile towards them. I've heard from plenty of sex workers over the years who are centrists or Republicans and feel completely alienated from the sex worker politics subculture. Although they want to get involved and defend their human rights, they see a group of people with whom they have only one thing in common, and a lot in contrast. They don't see their kind represented at all, and they don't want to fight an uphill battle for acceptance. They won't sign up for an interest in "deconstructing gender" or "overthrowing capitalism" as unofficial requirements for being a sex work activist.
Because the US sex workers' rights scene is mostly conjoined with the sex-positivity, feminist/anti-patriarchy, Pagan/new age, anarchist/socialist, abortion rights, anti-traditional beauty standards, and gender radical circles, it scares off so many potential allies, as well as sex workers. It's like there was some group decision made at a party I wasn't invited to where "we" decided to make ourselves look as unappealing and unrelatable as humanly possible. (A strange choice, considering that gaining public acceptance and showing that we're normal people is the thing we desperately need in order to make political progress.)
Sex work activism in the US desperately needs diversity. The current crowd seems to think that diversity means, "recruit some poor folk and people of color, but only if they are left-wing feminists." We need a diversity of ideas, folks - not just an array of skin tones and income brackets that all espouse the same politics. I'd love to see some Republican and conservative sex worker activists, even though I'd no doubt disagree with them on plenty of topics.
In response to all the people who think I'm a hardcore right-winger, I thought I'd post a chart made by the Political Compass Test, which now lets you view your own beliefs plotted alongside those of the current presidential candidates. I guess I just can't fit in anywhere.
by Furry Girl
The left tends to have a very neurotic concept of the past. Supposedly, one must be either eternally grateful or eternally guilty about things that "your" gender/genetic ancestors/nationality did or didn't do decades or centuries before you were born, things over which you have zero control and possibly even zero knowledge. This isn't to say that I don't believe it's important to consider the ways in which privilege shapes our lives and society, but the obsession with gratefulness or guiltiness doesn't make people anything but defensive, motivating them to lie about their background and refuse to actually think about their privileges.
Perhaps the most popular "look at how clever I am, proving you a hypocrite!" comments that I receive are people who argue that because I have benefited from the work of feminists, I should to be obsessively grateful to all of feminism as a whole, forever. Since I can vote, earn money, own property, be granted divorce, and get birth control or an abortion, I am an ungrateful little shit for not being a feminist now.
There were women (and men!) who fought long and hard so that future generations of women could vote and do other important things. I don't dispute that. But why is it that in order to express my thanks and solidarity for their hard work, I should be a feminist? That's a strange thing to cherry-pick as the belief I should adopt to honor those who fought for women's basic rights.
Almost all of the early activists for women's rights were Christians, motivated by "liberal" religious beliefs as much as what one could call feminist beliefs. Why is no one telling me to convert to Christianity in order respect these early activists who did things that have benefited me? Thanks to Christians, women can now vote, own property, and have all sorts of equality! We all owe Christianity big time. If you are a woman who votes or owns property, but you're not a Christian, you are an ungrateful little shit!
by Furry Girl
I was catching up on online reading last weekend, and one of the links I'd saved from a couple of months ago was this piece on a feminist blog, pearl-clutching over Dr Brooke Magnanti (aka Belle de Jour) saying that she is no longer a feminist in the press materials announcing her new book, Sexonomics. Like me, Brooke is not a feminist, though that's hardly news for readers of either of us.
The feminist blog lobbed two pieces of standard-issue criticism over Magnanti's nonfeminism, which reminded me of things people say to me. (Though, no doubt less often, since she is way more famous than I am.) Here are two of my own rebuttals to the things feminists say to whine about me not being a feminist.
It’s disappointing that despite the open opinions within feminism, Magnanti feels ostracized from the community and would rather renounce the name than contribute to debate as a proud member.
I am constantly pestered by well-meaning, bright-eyed feminists as to why I don't just stick around and work to change feminism from within. They are quick to acknowledge that yes, I have valid criticism of feminism, but surely, it would only be declaring defeat for me to give up now, as though I "threw it all away" in an angry drunken moment where I wasn't thinking clearly. I could be such a productive an valuable member of the community! They point out all the things I have in common with most feminist thought: I believe in things like a woman's right to vote, to abortion access, to own property, and to not be raped to subjected to violence and oppression. And not all feminists believe in [insert thing I hate]! With all that I have in common with feminism, it's silly to throw the baby out with the bathwater, right?
When faced with these sorts of questions, I wonder why I don't get them about my atheism.
I should really stop saying that I'm an atheist, and focus on trying to change Christianity from within the churches. After all, if the atheists let the Christian extremists take over Christian culture, then they have no one to blame but themselves. After all, I have lots of things in common with Christianity and agree with many parts of the Bible: I don't support murder, lying, or stealing. Hell, I don't even eat shellfish! Since I have so much in common with Christianity, there's no reason to not call myself a Christian. Not all Christians blow up abortion clinics, beat up their children for being queer, or believe the world is only 6000 years old. I am being awfully hasty in deciding that I'm not a Christian just because I don't believe in a god, virgin birth, heaven, hell, the resurrection, baptism, sin, angels, or miracles. I should let those little bitty disagreements keep me from being a part of the diverse Christian community.
Moving on, the feminist blogger says Magnanti should not leave feminism because
...sex-work research could use more scientific rigor. While there are many theories about oppression or empowerment of sex-workers, none of that matters if we don't have hard data to back up the theory.
This is another thing I hate - arguments rooted in the notion that if one is not a feminist, then anything that they do doesn't count. It's as though I've said, "I'm going to go seal myself in a cave in the mountains, never to be heard from again." No, I didn't disappear, I just moving on. Magnanti isn't refusing to contribute to scientific research or speak about sex work issues, she's just not doing so as a feminist. If you want your work and ideas to be considered by feminists (who speak of themselves of as though they are the only audience in the world who matters), it needs to be under the banner of feminism. Everything that nonfeminists contribute to society, political dialog, science, activism, or theory is completely irrelevant.
I've already accepted that the boundary-breaking porn that I produce will never be recognized by feminists because it's not pitched using the jumped-the-shark buzz of "feminist porn." I was one of the first people producing porn with genderqueer and trans models apart from the tacky mainstream "shemale" niche. Before the age of circlejerks like the Feminist Porn Awards, I was acting against the advice of a lawyer and opening one of the web's only sites that has menstruation porn because I believe strongly it, despite the very legal risks of an obscenity prosecution. (Operating an adult site with menstrual blood is a thousand times more transgressive than photos of punk girls kissing.) Even my most heteronormative bread-and-butter site is the longest-running solo porn site that features an unshaved woman, a rarity in the porn world.
When the feminist team implores people to stay, what they really mean is, "We will dismiss everything you do if you don't adopt our political label and use it to market all of your products." I can't tell you how many times I've stumbled across people discussing something I wrote and seeing a criticisms to the effect of, "She's not even a feminist. That says it all." (As I've said before, "being a feminist" is the American flag lapel pin of the left - not wearing it must mean you're a terrorist who hates freedom.)
It's not people like Magnanti and I who are blind to engaging with the ideas of a larger community, or who totally give up on people based on what political labels they use to identify themselves. It's the feminists who are so obsessed with their cultish dogma that they refuse to consider the opinions of anyone who doesn't abide by their sole overarching rule: identify firmly as a feminist at all times, and aggressively uphold our petty partisan bullshit, or you must be anti-woman, and therefor, an enemy. To the feminists who think people like Magnanti or myself need to learn how to get along with others and pull towards our occasional shared goals, I turn that suggestion right back at them.
by Furry Girl
Some people assume nothing but the worst about "the kind of men" who look at porn or go to strip clubs or see escorts. (As though it's just a rare and dangerous "type", and not actually almost every breathing guy on earth.) There's a caricature of a seedy, unwashed man* in a trenchcoat who is so pathetic and ugly and fucked up that no "real woman" would want him. A profound loser, and a serious misogynist who acts out his hatred of women by paying them for sex or watching them get naked for his amusement. He's probably a rapist and a child molester, or on the brink of becoming one. He is all that is wrong with the world. As much as I could say that sex workers are historically the most reviled people in the world, I think that title really has to go to our customers.
In my 7+ years of being naked online, I've interacted with a whole lot of men. Tens of thousands? I don't know the number. The men who subscribe to my web sites and buy cam show time with me are almost invariably polite. (And, if not polite in the most traditional sense, they are blessedly blunt and to the point - typing "finger pussy" in my chat window, or emailing simply "more butt pics".) I am usually treated as they would treat any other person they seek to have positive interactions with, rather than unleashing the spew of anti-woman vitriol that prudery activists assume. Sure, I do get some assholes here and there - almost all of them angry at me for not providing them a service I never said I'd provide, like lots of facial videos and anal sex on my softcore porn site, or cam customers who didn't bother to read my description and get all grossed out that I'm not shaved.
When someone is overtly a douchebag to me, I can either berate them back, or most commonly, ignore them, content in knowing at least they're paying for the privilege of being rude to me, which is better than I get from, say, people who step on my feet or spill their drinks on me in bars.
You know who does unload on me and embody woman-hating stereotypes, though? The dudes who refuse to pay for what I'm selling. Nope, it's not those horrible misogynist men who pay cash for sexual entertainment, it's the upstanding wholesome men who think they're too good to do so.
Web cam networks are a hotbed of this. A guy pops into my chat room, says he has a 10 inch dick, tries to butter me up with cliche "flattery", and demands a free show on account of his own sexiness. When I politely refuse, he immediately types a barrage of insults about how I'm a fat ugly stupid whore, and lets me know he wouldn't even touch my diseased cunt if I paid him. I adore these flowcharts - as soon as I reject him, his fragile ego gets bruised, and he makes a stink about how he's actually the one rejecting me. (This is why I tell anyone considering web cam work to never, ever do free chat in hopes of getting a customer. Free chat is pretty much entirely a bunch of semi-literate dudes trying to talk a free show out of you, and then insulting you for not giving them what they want.) It's the men who refuse to buy my time that are most likely to act like they own me.
It's amazing how many emails I get from dudes who have the nerve to plainly state that they would never pay for porn, and wear it like a badge of honor, like a pick-up line, like it's something I'll praise them for. These men seem totally unaware that I might find it insulting that they've virtually walked into my business and told me they're too good to buy my crummy wares, but want to know where the restroom is so they can do their laundry in my sink. Or perhaps, these clueless men are assuming that I'll reply, "Oh cool, you're better than those icky guys who want to pay me to take my clothes off. You want to get to know The Real Me without this money thing getting in our way. Why don't you come over and let me suck your dick this weekend, seeing as how I now know you're not one of those creeps who buy porn."
Anti-sex work activists argue that it's malice against women that motivates a man to patronize sex workers or watch porn. Why is paying for a service or product proof that someone pathologically hates the person they're buying it from? Do the moralizers think that about any other occupations? Do all paying customers intrinsically revile the workers who prepare their meals, teach their children, paint their houses, fly their airplanes, pick up their recycling bins, or fill their prescriptions?
The men who get my blood boiling are the ones who demand that it's their "right" to have women sexually entertain them for free, not the customers who appreciate my time and energy by compensating me for it. Funny how the anti-sex feminists are so busy demonizing sexual commerce that they end up tacitly on the side of the real misogynists.
* My customers are almost invariably men. And, since feminists/anti-sex activists exclusively take issue with heterosexual men who pay for women sexual entertainment, I write about men-as-consumers in this post. No disrespect meant to the wonderful ladies and transfolk who buy porn and patronize sex workers!
by Furry Girl
I recently got some feedback on my blog that read like an auto-generated essay against porn and sex work, hitting all the key arguments that I've heard a thousand times, just rearranged in a different order.
It got me thinking, hasn't anyone made a bingo card about this yet? Apparently not, so I made one, with my top 25 most irritating frequently addressed accusations. (Click here to get a larger version so that you can print it out and play along at home.)
[Edit: Miss Renegade Evolution made a sex work bingo card about a year ago, which I missed. Go see her version here.]
by Furry Girl
Ah, "objectification", one of those buzzwords - like "empowerment" - that I've heard so many times, it just sounds like gibberish. And really, I'm not sure if I ever knew what it was supposed to mean in the first place.
This topic is one of my major headdesk issues with anti-porn crusaders. They say, "porn objectifies women!" as though that's some kind of end-all analysis. I address this topic from two directions.
Firstly, as a porn model and cam girl, it's my job description to "be a sex object", (as the anti-sexers would define it), and it's a job with which I'm very happy. My friendlier customers treat me like a multi-dimensional person, too- but it's not required of them, and I don't resent the ones who don't try and get to know me. (Hell, I know it annoys me when I, as a customer, get an overly chatty waiter or cab driver who tries to impose socializing on me when I'm not feeling up to it.) On cam, my customers pay $4 a minute for the expressed purpose of not having to wine and dine me and pretend to care what I'm saying in order to get me to take off my clothes. It's so much more honest than dating.
I have never met a sex worker who was unaware of that their job entailed before taking it. When asked why she got started, not one replied, "I became a stripper because I was looking for the true love of an intellectual partner who appreciates my inner beauty and doesn't oggle my body." Those types of people answer romance ads on eHarmony.com, not ads in weekly papers for "B/G anal scene $500 cash". It's not as though this whole thing is sprung upon random unsuspecting victims- it's the definition of the work.
"Being objectified" by customers is not something that sex workers themselves are railing against as an injustice they seek to overcome. It's a half-baked analysis being imposed upon our work from outsiders- outsiders who presume to tell the world what we experience and how we feel about it, without ever having asked us. That, in and of itself, should tell you a lot about whether or not it's a real problem.
(Sex workers do, however, regularly rail against being objectified by the media, anti-porn crusaders, anti-sex feminists, clueless academics, women, and others. We work as consensually "objectified" people who are and paid for our work, but we hate being nonconsensually objectified by outsiders who neither pay us nor respect us, and use/abuse us to suit their own agendas and make a profit.)
Secondly, everyone at their job is "objectified" in their roles. I don't profoundly care for the cashier at the grocery store, but no one's ranting online about how he's being oppressed and "objectified" because, at work, most people see him as "a cashier". I don't care to delve into the inner intellectual passions of the woman who made me tea at a cafe, but I'm not aware of any college courses being taught on the "objectification" of baristas. I have never fallen into deep romantic love with a nurse who's weighed me and taken my blood pressure at the doctor's office, but if there are protesters outside the clinic that day, their signs don't read, "Stop the exploitation of women! Planned Parenthood objectifies nurses as mere one-dimensional healthcare workers!"
We can't have a genuine connection with everyone we encounter in our lives, whether they are strippers or bus drivers or sales clerks at a shoe store. To say that "being objectified" as a sex worker is somehow so vastly different than "being objectified" in any other role is telling about the accuser's personal issues with the sex, not the work.
Some people try to "take a step back" and use this as a part of a broader critique of capitalism, but I disagree with that, too. So, under socialism, anarchism, or what-have-you-ism, every human will express heartfelt interest in the well-being of every single human they come into contact with over the course of a day? I find that quite silly.
We all choose how we pick some people as our lovers, some as our friends, some as acquaintances we smile at politely once a week. It's not about economic systems or patriarchy or oppression- it's about time and energy. No one has the time and energy to emotionally/intellectually intertwine themselves in everyone they interact with, and it's ludicrous to think that one should or could.
Whether we choose to not invest ourselves in the janitor or to not invest ourselves in the cam girl, it doesn't matter on an ethical level. One is not inherently a Major Social Problem just because it involves sex.
Furry Girl: a good time not yet had by all.
- I operate SWAAY.org, an accessible sex workers' rights site that educates the general public about our lives and our issues.
- I've been vegan for 13 years because it's the easiest way for an individual to contribute to less violence, suffering, and exploitation.
My adult sites
- Cocksexual.com: Strapons
- EroticRed.com: Menstruation
- FurryGirl.com: Unshaved
- TheSensualVegan.com: Store
- VegPorn.com: Herbivores
More of me online
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New to my blog? Some favorite posts
- "You have no right to dislike feminism after all it's done for you!"
- "You misrepresent true feminism by focusing on the bad feminists. They're not real feminists anyway!"
- An argument for more sex workers to be out?
- Degrading, violent desires
- Do you have what it takes to be an empowered sex worker?
- Feminism is the shitty relationship you had in your early 20s
- Feminist porn isn't a branch of sex workers' rights, it's an obstacle
- How are we branding sex workers rights in the US? (Let's focus more on *worker*, less on *sex*!)
- How to do your homework on trafficking, "rescue", and the affected communities
- Let's stop pretending that "objectification" is a thing that exists
- Musings on ethical porn and the red herrings of "feminist porn" and "violent porn"
- My call for a "working" class uprising against inaccessible discourse and the over-representation of dabblers
- Sex trafficking is the new crack: manufactured "epidemics" as political tools
- The common logical fallacies deployed by anti-sex worker activists
- Things I've gained from being a sex worker: an anti-paternalistic perspective
- Vigilantism and 'crushing bastards': in praise of anger, hatred, and taking joy in the smiting of one's enemies
- Want to play BINGO with the antis?
- Watch out for psuedoscience: my long-time nemeses of concern trolling and "teaching the controversy"
- What do I mean when I say "sex worker"? Why I'm against an overly-broad definition
- Why I call them "anti-sex worker" rather than "anti-porn" or "anti-prostitution," and why you should too
Favorite sex/ho blogs
- Amanda Brooks
- Asia Pacific Network of Sex Workers
- Belle de Jour
- Born Whore
- Bound, Not Gagged
- Dan Savage on SLOG
- Danny Wylde
- Jiz Lee
- Kat's Stories
- Laura Agustín
- Lux Nightmare [2006-2007]
- Maggie McNeill
- Our Porn, Ourselves
- Sequoia Redd
- Serpent Libertine
- Sex Worker Pie Charts
- Sexonomics by Brooke Magnanti
- Shit They Say to Sex Workers
- Stuff Sex Workers Eat
- Whore Madonna