Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Feminist or BS Artiste?

I recently spoke at a conference alongside several other speakers about my experience of domestic violence, pornography and prostitution. As ever, I was extremely anxious, but these days I try not to let my fear stop me doing things. Progress not perfection! One of the other speakers is a former lap dancer, Lucy, whom I met when I spoke at the Foyles event earlier this year. It was so good to sit alongside other women who are just committed to putting the truth out there about the sex industry and what it really means for men and women.

One of the key points to come out of the discussion is a point which I feel very strongly about, which is how the sex industry has hijacked the language of feminism to justify its oppressive practices (see Language Games amongst other posts on this topic). Although I have written a good deal about the use of language in the legitimisation of sex industry abuses in society, I hadn't really thought too much about supposed 'feminists' who defend the industry. So to rectify...

In brief, to me the idea that someone who supports the buying and selling of women could pupport to be a feminist is beyond irony: it is nonsensical. It's like someone who called themselves a human rights activist supporting the practice of slavery, not allowing slaves to speak freely of their experience of that situation, but aggressively speaking as though on their behalf in a language of rights to support their abuse, and insisting they be re-named an equal. After all, the language of buying and selling human beings is just so distasteful and unpalatable, doncha think? Almost makes it sound, well, bad.

If someone is being treated as less than human, no amount of wordgames can make it right.
It makes a mockery of language to use it in this way. Pornography and prostitution is about the consumption of an inequality. Just because it has been re-labelled by the sex industry and some so-called 'feminists' as being empowering for the women it uses does not change its true nature. The sex industry sells women and destroys the lives of those it uses. End of.

I have to agree with the suggestion of another woman who I spoke alongside at London that perhaps women who wish to call themselves feminists but are pro pornography should instead call themselves sex abuse positive campaigners. After all, what are they fighting for if not to defend the sexual abuse of other women? Let's call a spade a spade and apply a little common sense here rather than buying into the BS.