Reply to Glosswitch’s porn debate blog

Sekhmet has blessed me with a chance to defend my honour. That was one of the first things I tweeted at 1am today just after I read this blog, which accuses me of several things without evidence, attacks queer women and claims that any woman who is against No More Page 3, porn filters or Lose the Lad Mags is an attention seeking “misogynist” who thinks she’s “shagged her way” out of privelege so she can do activism by having sex. Sekhmet, it is at these points that I love you (anxieties over cultural appropriation and goddess-worshipping-feminine-feel-the-energy feminism aside).

In usual Glosswitch style it is done with links but no names, so I’m not entirely sure where she’s slagging me off and where she’s slagging off another blogger. Well played, as this makes it difficult to craft a reply. She appears to be lumping us all together into a privelege-denying, sex-bragging misogynist group, so I’m going to assume that everything she says bar discussions of biphobia is directed at me as well as at others.

Here’s some choice quotes: “who deem themselves to have shagged their way out of the quagmire of prissy feminist privilege and on to far greater heights of sexual awareness. And there they stay, looking down on the rest of us privileged fools, making sage observations such as [quotes Stavvers] and [quotes me].” Then she says we think feminists who support No More Page Three only do so because they “just hasn’t had enough fucks”. I have never said that. This is a deliberate misunderstanding of my blog.

Apparently I am a part of “the self-appointed sex positive elite” and I say that NMP3 supporters are “suffering from a type of sexual dysfunction that requires remedy. What’s your problem – are you frigid or what? The stereotype of the grim-faced, repressed feminist, who simply needs a good seeing-to to sort out her issues”. Glosswitch says ” [whorephobia] does not lie with mythical feminists who are “a bit funny” about sex”. Er…I never said that. I never claimed feminists created whorephobia or the problem lies with them. What I said was these campaigns inadvertently back up patriarchal attitudes.

“The working-class NMP3 campaigner cannot be a radical but, by contrast, the sexually adventurous middle-class woman is, not by virtue of doing but simply by positioning her sexual experience as type of currency. The more sex you have, it is assumed, the more of a voice you have earned” and “The more unusual you can make your sexual habits appear through fanciful description, the more authoritative you become (regardless of how mundane said habits actually are).” (Ten points for use of the word “currency”- it makes the thing you’re talking about seem dangerously capitalist.) This is childish and hateful. It’s not reasonable debate. Glosswitch is painting us as high school braggers, reducing my arguments to mere posing. She couldn’t have made herself look more vile and unreasonable. It just doesn’t stop: “This kind of approach is the would-be radical offshoot of Katy Perry singing about kissing a girl and liking it, or Robbie Williams boasting about swinging both ways…it’s being used to sell something else: records, calendars, misogyny, status, or a substitute activism that still doesn’t require you getting out of bed.” I’m not going to dignify that with a response; we’re not in high school any more.

As for “Those who question this are somehow defined as “white feminists” by the equally white (but dare I say less feminist) avant garde. It is, in short, not just a cop-out, but a repressive, disingenuous one at that”, I don’t have single white gene. I did my first ever blog post on race issues last week in which I mentioned my dual heritage and the racist abuse I’d grown up with. Use of “avant-garde”: twenty points as it appeals to an 18-30 year old audience.

Well, Glosswitch. You apparently don’t find my feminism so repulsive as you’re still following me on Twitter and are still allowing me to follow you at the moment of writing. A tweet that you’d linked to me and called me a misogynist would’ve been courteous, considering we follow and occasionally retweet each other.

Basics: You do not get to define biphobia and polyphobia. Even I don’t try to define biphobia, despite not fitting neatly into the hetero camp. Only women who identify as bisexual or queer can define it. The same with being poly. I am poly in the sense that I have never aimed for monogamy and have dated poly people with the expectation of forming poly households. But as I’ve never been in a poly relationship I don’t get to define polyphobia. If you have no sex work experience, you don’t get to say “I’m not whorephobic BUT..” either. Imagine if straights defined homophobia or whites defined racism. “It’s not racist! Separate but equal, yeah?” Heard that before?

One logic fail that stands out from all the rest is your very repetitive assertion that sex working and sex positive feminists want to enforce a norm of sexual adventurousness. Um. You know how sex working women spend years building their business and money to advertise it? How would they earn money if we were all sex workers? That’s like saying I want all women to be content writers! If you think my stance on No More Page 3 and porn filters can be boiled down to bragging about my sex life, why would I want all women to be adventurous? Then I’d have nothing to brag about, would I? I’ve never bragged about my sex life on this blog or Twitter. In fact I’ve mentioned at least once on this blog and once in an article on Fearless Press that I haven’t had many experiences.

Also, newsflash: Sex working feminists should not be confused with sex positive feminists. Not all sex workers are sex positive- some reject sex positivity for co-opting sex workers’ arguments and demanding women’s sexual availability. I do identify as a sex positive feminist but not everyone who shares my views does, and I’m not sure of the others you criticise identify as sex positive.

You repeatedly set up me and a couple of other small-time unpaid bloggers as a powerful group of political bullies who are silencing anti sex work and anti porn feminists. Try opening a history book or glancing at the BBC news. Right wing politicians are never going to back up UnSlut Project like they have supported banning porn since the 70s. David Cameron is never going to stand up for sex workers’ rights in the same way he wants to enforce porn filters. American evangelicals are never going to give the English Collective of Prostitutes millions of dollars like they do to anti sex work orgs. No government will ever fund an escort agency like the Irish Government funded 14 million to the Ruhama Agency. The Twitter anti slut shaming account @StopSlutShamers will never be picked up by the media in the same way as porn issues. How the Everyday Whorephobia blog and Twitter account will remain unknown while hyped-up sensationalistic trafficking “documentaries” pull in millions of viewers and even more dollars. The public will never be aware of the dangers of the Nordic Model in the same way they’re familiar with the “dangers” of porn. Bored yet? Because I could go on about the power and global reach of the rescue industry and what sort of feminism gets you media careers and how Julie Burchill can safely say stuff about sex workers that’d get her jailed if she said it about queers. I could go on about how much media attention the bad sex science calling-out site www.badsexmediabingo.com will get compared to hysteria over porn.  I could go on about how the porn debate spills over into sexting and shaming young mothers, how Jodie Marsh’s hypocrisy was televised unironically, how anti porn rhetoric dehumanises sex workers.

“[W]omen who’ve been pushed back by thinly veiled accusations of prudery, frigidity and sexual failure due to their feminist position need a word for the attitudes they’re facing.” Really? A word for your sadfeelz? Society doesn’t stigmatise you. The government isn’t trying to eradicate you. The media doesn’t encourage discrimination of you. Politicians don’t see you as a threat. The law isn’t enabling your rape, incarceration and murder. Feminists are not using their media platforms to blame you for your rape. You weren’t hounded out of your community like Daisy Coleman. You weren’t driven to suicide like Amanda Todd. The police didn’t turn a blind eye to your violent partner and leave you to be murdered like they did to @JasminePetite. You haven’t been fired unfairly like Laura Lee or outed in the media like Douglas Fox and @minxylydia or outed on social media like @pastachips. Your children have not been stolen from you because of your job. You do not live in fear of being outed like so many sex workers do. You aren’t targeted by serial killers because the police don’t care and killers know it’s easier for them to get away with it. You aren’t ‘rescued’ into a prison where the guards rape you for years, or jailed for working like what happens in some countries. You won’t be honour killed for not bleeding on your wedding night. You aren’t shunned by your family or forced to live a double life. Not like sex workers (and to an extent, women labelled ‘sluts’).

That’s why we need words like whorephobia and slut shaming. You don’t need them, Glosswitch. Everyone gets criticised over their style, choice of video games, hobbies, accent, whatever. We don’t need words to describe people who’re teased for being hipsters or Beliebers and we don’t need a word to describe how you, the group backed up by government, feel you’re being teased by a handful of random unknown bloggers with no platform. I could whine about my feelz on discovering that you, a feminist I admired and linked to on this blog, has verbally attacked me without provocation. But I won’t whinge and I won’t coin a term for it. Feminists disagree every day without coining neologisms. In fact, I’ve been hurt and even betrayed by feminists I really liked and thought were friends. Even now I still think about it and why they did it (though I also thank them, as it taught me the very valuable lesson of not to trust anybody ever and also meant that your stunt didn’t surprise me that much or hurt me at all). What was done to me was worse than what was done to you (actually, nothing was done to you- those blog posts were written for the public, not aimed at you). But I didn’t start coining names for it and I don’t avoid retweeting them or mentioning them if it’s about a political issue. There is a difference between the personal and the political. It’s time to grow up.

This isn’t helping women. It’s reducing a debate to a sexualised form of verbal assault and mocking the idea of women having sex (which has shades of slut shaming). I’ve never denied my privelege and the idea of feminists using sex to deny privelege is ludicrous. Sadly, this will only drive a wedge between feminists who disagree over No More Page 3 and Lose the Lad Mags. I respect and am friendly with some NMP3 supporters. We agree to disagree – I even RT blogs I disagree with so my followers can read both sides of the debate and make up their own minds. I see that one of these people I’m friendly with has approved of your blog post and written one of her own. I still like her. But if this shit-stirring continues, it will put unnecessary strain on my relationships with No More Page 3 supporters. I’d understand your actions if you and me were personal enemies, but we barely know each other and when we did interact, we have always got along. You seem to be starting drama for the sake of it and forcing feminists to pick sides.

Open debate is very important, so feel free to come back to discuss these issues once you have adopted a mature, less fanciful and less personal style of debate.

Oh, and painting like three or so bloggers as a bullying elite without any evidence whatsoever in those links you provided? Fifty points. Which makes a total of 70 out of 100, so not bad.

Hail Sekhmet.

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