by Furry Girl
There's a wonderful new photo project at WomenAgainstFeminism.Tumblr.com that you must read. It shows the huge political diversity of women who are standing up against feminism. (See, you guys! It's not just a few random whores and Sarah Palin types.) I love this Tumblr, and I wish I'd thought of it. Here's my contribution:
by Furry Girl
"The problem is that female competition and aggression don't always look like the male versions...
Females tend to threaten each other with social isolation rather than violence. Among social animals, being cast out of the group can mean death, or very few chances to mate. Among humans, perhaps the most social animals we know, the 'mean girls' phenomenon is a perfect example of low energy competition. Nobody is beaten, but we know for sure who has lost the battle."
-- Annalee Newitz in Evolution is steered by aggressive competition between females on io9.com
by Furry Girl
"Over the past year, there have been a number of headline-grabbing legal changes in the US, such as the legalization of marijuana in CO and WA, as well as the legalization of same-sex marriage in a growing number of US states.
As a majority of people in these states apparently favor these changes, advocates for the US democratic process cite these legal victories as examples of how the system can provide real freedoms to those who engage with it through lawful means. And it’s true, the bills did pass.
What’s often overlooked, however, is that these legal victories would probably not have been possible without the ability to break the law.
The state of Minnesota, for instance, legalized same-sex marriage this year, but sodomy laws had effectively made homosexuality itself completely illegal in that state until 2001. Likewise, before the recent changes making marijuana legal for personal use in WA and CO, it was obviously not legal for personal use.
Imagine if there were an alternate dystopian reality where law enforcement was 100% effective, such that any potential law offenders knew they would be immediately identified, apprehended, and jailed. If perfect law enforcement had been a reality in MN, CO, and WA since their founding in the 1850s, it seems quite unlikely that these recent changes would have ever come to pass. How could people have decided that marijuana should be legal, if nobody had ever used it? How could states decide that same sex marriage should be permitted, if nobody had ever seen or participated in a same sex relationship?"
-- Moxie Marlinspike in We Should All Have Something To Hide on thoughtcrime.org
by Furry Girl
"For example, while the [UN] draft resolution [on women's rights] doesn’t call for providing protection or respect for prostitutes, it does call for ending violence against all women, which would include the minority that work in prostitution. Those women, while their job may be deemed immoral or illegal in certain countries, deserve protection from violence like any other human being or citizen of their country, a fact which the MB seems to take issue with. Aside from using religion to oppose equality between men and women, they are even advocating dehumanizing - in the sense of deeming them unworthy of their human rights - those they consider morally bankrupt, like lesbians or prostitutes. Protecting these two subgroups of citizens from violence is against Islam according to the MB, and therefore shouldn't be allowed."
-- Mahmoud Salem (aka @Sandmonkey) in Gender Wars: The Muslim Brotherhood Versus Egypt's Women on acus.org. He's my favorite Egyptian blogger/activist/self-proclaimed "pain in the ass," and it's been interesting watching a revolution/coup unfold and through his eyes.
by Furry Girl
Last week, my state (Washington) became the first in the nation to legalize possession and use of marijuana. Colorado will follow suit next month after a similar measure there won during the November elections. I am happy to live in a state where we have physician assisted suicide for the terminally ill, one legalized recreational drug, marriage equality, oodles of places where one can get an abortion, no death penalty, and state-level open carry of firearms (though Seattle city bans it). Overall, Washington is comparatively more respectful of people's rights and choices than are many other states.
Today on reason.com, Jacob Sullum wrote a short piece on why states like mine are doing well on the gay marriage and pot legalization front, and it underscores why I keep harping on the need for sex workers to be "out" as our most important form of activism.
Just as an individual’s attitude toward gay people depends to a large extent on how many he knows (or, more to the point, realizes he knows), his attitude toward pot smokers (in particular, his opinion about whether they should be treated like criminals) is apt to be influenced by his personal experience with them. Americans younger than 65, even if they have never smoked pot, probably know people who have, and that kind of firsthand knowledge provides an important reality check on the government’s anti-pot propaganda.
For sex workers who aren't out to anyone, the idea of admitting to what they do for a living can be extremely intimidating. What I suggest is to start small.
At the 2010 Desiree Alliance conference, I met a woman who was fairly new to escorting. If I recall correctly, either no one in her life or only a couple of trusted friends knew, and the Desiree Alliance conference was her first sex worker event, and she'd traveled from out of state to see what it was all about. A computer security conference was happening the same week as our event, so I had friends from another part of my life who were also in Vegas. One evening, I went out with them to have dinner and hit a few nerd parties, and the new escort joined us. I gently challenged her to try being out for that one evening, with a group of people she'd never have to see again, just to "try on for size" what it's like to be an out sex worker. Rather than inventing stories about herself, she was plainly telling people she's an escort, and discovered it wasn't the end of the world, and she wasn't going to be mocked and shamed by everyone she encountered. Granted, I had already "broken the ice" on the subject of sex work with some of the people we encountered that evening, but I think the woman was still surprised how normally and politely she was treated, and later sent me a very sweet thank you for the evening. We didn't stay in touch and I don't know how things worked out for her, but I hope that one night of being an out sex worker gave her some courage to be out in her own city and with her regular friends and family.
If you're a sex worker still afraid of coming out, start small. Go to a bar in the next city over, or a music festival out of town, or just tell the person sitting next to you on the bus or subway. Try openness on for just a day, or even 15 minutes. You will get some bad reactions, but I think it will surprise you how many people won't be an asshole to you. Be prepared for questions, which you can choose to answer or not. The most shocking thing of all may be meeting someone who themselves has done sex work and never told anyone. (Only happened to me once, with a seat neighbor on an airplane, but it was still pretty awesome.)
by Furry Girl
"We know the prime users of alternative medicine worldwide - it's those middle-aged, middle-class, educated women with a high disposable income. The younger end of this group is also likely to take their children to naturopaths and cranial osteopaths, to avoid having them immunised and to medicate them with shop-bought homeopathic and herbal remedies. Alternative medicine offers these women a way to take control, to be remarkable in their day-to-day lives and to make them feel as if their needs as individuals are being attended to. It touches them, both physically and emotionally, at a point in mid-life when many women in our society say they are beginning to feel invisible... Marketing executives have been quick to appreciate the strong appeal of CAM for women.
Alternative medicine knows precisely how to make every user feel special. CAM [Complementary and Alternative Medicine] says you are unique so your treatment needs to be carefully calibrated to reflect your individuality... What matters is you, not your illness symptoms or even whether you actually have any identifiable illness or symptoms.
It is an abiding paradox that alternative medicine is used most keenly by the generation of women who, in the form of the women's liberation movement of the 1970s and 1980s, asserted that it was 'our bodies, our lives, our right to decide' and rejected paternalistic medicine in the delivery room and beyond. Yet these same women now want to be told what to do by a shaman."
-- Rose Shapiro, in her book, Suckers: How Alternative Medicine Makes Fools of Us All.
My favorite part of this book was the commentary on the gender politics of pseudoscience, and the embarrassing fact that women will gleefully line up to empty their wallets for any woo-woo nonsense that holds their hands and tells them that they're beautiful and unique snowflakes.
Quack "medicine" should be decried for the same reasons as scented vaginal douches (which also profit from purposefully exploiting women's insecurities). Instead, the very people who would balk at shame-centric, unhealthy "feminine hygiene" products are the same people in the "natural alternatives" section of the pharmacy picking up another expensive a tube of sugar pills that promises to truly appreciate their specialness.
by Furry Girl
"Beach boys and women sex tourists: every journalist's dream topic...
Reporters want to know if the boys are 'really' prostitutes and why the girls are paying; they have trouble figuring out who is exploiting whom. It's a bias, of course, to insist someone has to be exploiting since money and sex are involved, rather than seeing these as ordinary relationships, the kind that travelling people have been having since human life began."
-- Dr Laura Agustín, in Girls who buy sex from beach boys: Sex tourism in Bali on lauraagustin.com
This article on Bali reminds me of one of my own anecdotes: a few years ago, I spent a couple of nights on the coast of Kenya in a town called Watamu. It's the only place I've ever been where the sex tourism was about women as purchasers. It was an amusing dynamic for me to suddenly be the one propositioned by sex workers. The gorgeous beach boys would come up to the (mostly middle-aged) white women and say something like, "Would you like to go shopping?" or "Would you like company for dinner?" The guys were not overtly asking for cash for a set time period or a sex act, they seemed to want to stay in an upmarket hotel and be purchased gifts, clothing, and fancy dinners (and hopefully get some "spending money" as well).
by Furry Girl
"I can't count the number of times I've defended figures like Howard Stern and Bill Maher—straight entertainers who 1. fully support gay rights but 2. sometimes tell jokes that sensitivos consider homophobic. These guys are on our side and they're good for our side. Yeah, sometimes the tell jokes or do bits that are rooted in what is clearly their own personal discomfort with/fear of gay sex, particularly that man-on-man buttsex they never tire of hearing about, obsessing about, joking about, etc. But you know what? There are a lot of people out there who oppose gay rights because they're uncomfortable with gay sex and a lot of these folks—and lots of them are the kinds of guys who listen to Stern—are convinced that their own personal discomfort with gay sex requires them to oppose gay rights. What the Sterns and Mahers demonstrate is that you can be a little uncomfortable with gay sex—you can even have sense of humor about your discomfort, you can even tell the occasional joke about it—and still support the full civil equality of LGBT people."
by Furry Girl
The other week, I was having an email exchange with a friend about our shared annoyance with "strong" feminists who, if the slightest conflict surfaces, or the smallest perceived act of "sexism" is discovered, act like embarrassing crybabies and demand that women be handled with kid gloves because women are oh-so-fragile. It just struck me that this issue is perfectly reflected in an exchange from Heathers.
The lead character in this dark comedy, played by Winona Ryder, is having a precocious speech at her parents about how teenagers deserve respect.
To her mother: "All we want is to be treated like human beings, not experimented on like guinea pigs, or patronized like bunny rabbits."
Mom responds: "Treated like human beings? Is that what you said, little miss voice-of-a-generation? Just how do you think adults act with other adults? You think it's all just a game of doubles tennis? When teenagers complain that they want to be treated like human beings, it's usually because they are being treated like human beings."
When feminists complain that they want women to be treated like equals, it's often in situations where women are being treated like equals, rather than being given delicate guidance so that they are never exposed to anything that may offend or challenge them. If one argues (overtly or tacitly) that women are entitled to special treatment and protections, you're really saying that females are inherently the weaker sex, and cannot be expected to function in a mixed-gender environment without being coddled. (A sexist belief which I do not share with feminists, of course.)
by Furry Girl
"The ["fake"] women are loud, hyper-real versions of the femininity to which we are all supposed to aspire, and the disdain with which our culture drenches them is a telling indictment of its own narratives.
What we have is not a war against fakery, it is a war against that which displays itself as fakery; we're all supposed to be pretending that we're naturally wide-eyed and soft-skinned and blushing and blemish-free. Women are expected to be photorealist portraits of femininity, not expressionist canvasses; lies are tolerated only in so far as they are told convincingly. But when we start being too overt about the fabricated status of natural femininity, there's a lurking danger that we might start to question their absurdity, or realise that we can invent altogether new images in radical moulds.
Style and beauty are produced, discarded and reinvented with startling rapidity and, in such a climate, the very notion of the natural can be seen for what it really is: just another aesthetic category, its signs every bit as carefully fabricated as the most flamboyant artifice."
-- Shona McCombes, In defence of fake beauty on thefword.org.uk
People are often surprised that I'll be the first person to speak out in defense of makeup, shaving, and cosmetic surgery. They shouldn't be, though.
It really bothers me when some of my male fans and clients assume that my own unshaved crotch means I must have a pathological hatred of women who choose to shave. For almost a decade now, I've been greeted at least a dozen times each week with comments like, "Thank god you're not one of those disgusting fake bimbos," with the unthinking assumption I am in complete agreement about said bimbo's supposed disgustingness.
Why don't I shave? Because I'm kinda fucking lazy. I'm a tomboy-ish chick who doesn't generally put a ton of work into my appearance, and I personally don't feel like the effort and itchiness and pain and money that goes into removing hair is worth it. I never advocate that others join me, I'm not out to convert and save follicular souls.
I wish all of my Furry Girl fanbase understood that I don't hate women who shave, and it's always disturbed me that some of them start an interaction with me by assuming we have a shared hatred. Not a shared fetish or interest, but starting off a conversation or email talking shit on women who are not me, and I don't find this the least bit flattering. It's totally cool to have whatever body hair preference or fetish, but stop projecting your angry shit onto me. (I'm angry about plenty of other things, but I don't give the slightest damn as to how other women groom their crotches.)
I realize that it must be frustrating if you have an uncommon sexual interest that most women do not want to cater to, but that doesn't mean those women are low-IQ monsters. Writing them off with nonsensical personal attacks such as saying they must be "incapable of thinking for themselves" because they won't indulge your kink is not a demonstration of how "sexually liberated" or "appreciative of real beauty" you are. Sexual empowerment is about everyone making their own choices with their bodies, not pushing for some kind of fascist society where all women are forced against their will to look a certain way for the amusement of a small group of men. That's everything that I am against, not what I support.
Furry Girl: legs now closed for business.
My adult sites
- Cocksexual.com: Strapons
- EroticRed.com: Menstruation
- FurryGirl.com: Unshaved
- TheSensualVegan.com: Store
- VegPorn.com: Herbivores
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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
Vaguely similar 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
- Laura Agustín
- Lux Nightmare [2006-2007]
- Maggie McNeill
- Our Porn, Ourselves
- Sequoia Redd
- Serpent Libertine
- Sexonomics by Brooke Magnanti
- Shit They Say to Sex Workers
- Stuff Sex Workers Eat
- Women Against Feminism