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.


  1. Thanks for writing this - it so good. I write over and over and over about my utter frustration and sorrow at how too many "feminists" have adopted the language of the sex trade - and think it is helping women and girls in porn and prostitution. It is often like hitting your head against a granite wall trying to communicate with these women.

    They refuse to see and know that the sex trade is built on the degradation of women and girls, in order to make them sub-humans. Where the hell is the feminism in that?

    They turn their faces away from the violence to women and girls that is the bedrock of the sex trade.
    If they do acknowledge there may by some violence - it is the fault of the woman for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. She just made bad choices.

    This makes me so sick, for unlike so much of feminism it is a concentration on the choices of the individual woman or girl, rather looking at the structure of the sex trade.

    If feminism wishes to speak of "choices", lets speak of the choices of the profiteers of the sex trade, and choices of the men who choose to consume the sex trade.

    They choose to buy and sell a whole lot of women and girls - they can choose not to do that, if they gain a conscience.
    The profiteers make the choice to sell to a market that wants extreme sexual violence and complete degradation of women and girls. The men that choose to consume that market should name as criminals - batterers, rapists, aides to violence to women and girls.

    If feminists make excuses for the buying and selling of women and girls in the sex trade - that is one of the deepest betrayal of all.
    How can anyone be named a feminist when they sell out millions of women and girls.

    Is it that they are turn on by some of the sex trade - so refuse to think outside their selfishness.

  2. Dear Angel,
    I'm writing you on behalf of the European Women's Lobby (having no other choice than using the comment box to contact you!). We really appreciate your blog and your courage and we would like to know whether you would be interested in contributing to our 2010 publication, by writing an article or allowing for the reproduction of articles displayed on your blog. Please contact us at so that we can tell you more about the publication and about our work on violence against women (info here: Thanks in advance ! Pierrette, for EWL.

  3. Excellent response Rmott! I couldn't agree more.
    Try and say that to people like this though: