I’m writing this on an airplane from Toronto, Ontario, to San Francisco, California. I’ve just spent six days among other women, other queers, other porn performers, and other feminists at the Feminist Porn Awards and the Feminist Porn Conference. In that time, I have witnessed moments that made my heart soar, my eyes tear up with love and the fiercest of joys, pride in the people I hold close to me. I have experienced moments that hurt my heart, that disappointed me, moments that underlined how privilege can alienate and divide us. I spoke to academics, I spoke to sex workers, I spoke to sex workers who were academics. It was a weekend of realizations, inspiration, determination … and I came away from it all feeling exhilarated and ready to change the world.
I also realized that the sex wars are still very much A Thing. There are still Good Feminists and Bad Feminists, though the definition of which is which varies depending on who you ask. It’s saddening to see us fighting each other, women who have been called prudes for asserting their sexual choices attacking women who have been called whores for asserting their sexual choices … and vice versa. This is, of course, exactly what the patriarchy wants. While we bicker about whether or not porn is empowering, we are being systematically marginalized, turned away from jobs, thrown out of school, our kids and our workspaces and our money and our privacy taken away from us. The act of having sex on film or any other sex work may empower some and humiliate others, or we might start feeling one way and eventually feel another. (The same holds true for food service workers, though we ask that question far less often). In our current culture we are all experiencing and navigating the effects of capitalist patriarchy. Keep reading »
It has been frustrating to watch people and businesses condemn Rolling Stone magazine — where, to be clear, I personally have no editorial affiliations — for putting the Boston bombing suspect, Dzhokhar “Jahar” Tsarnaev, on the cover of the latest issue. Many are upset that Tsarnaev is on the cover at all, as well as with the “rock star”-style photo the magazine used. And some who have read the article by journalist Janet Reitman complain that the way Jahar is profiled makes him out to be a “victim.”
I support Rolling Stone putting Tsarnaev on the cover and thought Reitman’s article was extremely well-written and thought-provoking. I came away from reading it with a greater understanding of how a 19-year-old Cambridge kid became a “monster.” To me, the patriarchy was clearly a problem in this family. To be clear, patriarchy doesn’t just mean when men are in positions of authority over women; it means when men, or one man, are in positions of authority over other men as well. It assumes that the people underneath that man will fall in line and not ask questions; it breeds a lack of agency and even, I would argue in Jahar’s case, weakness in a person. He was an immigrant from a maligned religion who slowly became radicalized by his severe older brother at the exact same time his troubled parents deserted him to move back to their homeland. I would not call him a “victim,” but I do believe it was a shitty, difficult situation for a teenager to handle, and those circumstances contributed to the vile crime he, allegedly, committed. Keep reading »
We live in a patriarchal society, where men lead and determine much of our what happens in our lives. But this isn’t the way it is in certain parts of the world. Argentinean writer Ricardo Coler spent two months living with the Mosuo in southern China, where it’s a matriarchy, and he spoke to Spiegel Online about the experience. Turns out, if men turned over their power to us, their lives would be way better (and ours would have differed pluses and minuses). Keep reading »
Suffice it to say, I’m not much for many traditions, including the one that says your intended fiance should ask your dad for permission to marry you (I just got engaged and while I thought it was sweet my bf…err, fiance…talked to my parents about his intentions after the fact, I am glad the only person’s permission he sought was mine). Subhash Chander, 57, of Oak Forest, Illinois might disagree with me on that. He allegedly set fire to the apartment building where his pregnant daughter, her husband, and their young child lived (killing all three) because the husband (who he didn’t approve of because he came from a different caste) didn’t get his permission to marry his daughter before they wed. If it turns out that he’s guilty, I am going to scream in outrage. What do you all make of this story? We’re anxious to hear your thoughts in the comments. [CNN via Feministing] Keep reading »