Sunday, April 20, 2008

Fisk Me, Baby, One More Time

So, first of all, update on this situation: the upshot is, Renegade and Jill Brenneman are going to speak at William and Mary; Sam Berg, now that her attempt to get RE uninvited has been unsuccessful, has withdrawn. In, um, protest, or something. According to her supporters, this was the professional thing to do. I am sure that she did it in a most professional manner, too, to be sure.

And one should probably just leave it at that.

But, well, just, some peoples' performance excuse me -activism- is so remarkable that I had to, well, remark on it.

Liars. They lie. They negate the lives of those suffering for the choices they make and then have the audacity to promote themselves as the ‘one true voice’ in the well of silence centred in the poverty of those they argue they represent.

And then they get booked to speak at the last minute in discussions about how what they do impacts upon the rest of us (women). And they agree! And then they start posting about “laughing like a super villain” and their “wank worthy fantasy” of debating “some anti-porn sex work types”. To me, the language used is the same language that rapists use (I’m a rape crisis counsellor, I’ve heard it a million times)

Maggie Hays // April 20, 2008 at 12:05 am

...“laughing like a super villain”? “wank worthy fantasy”? I agree that these comments were totally inappropriate. This makes me think: this kind of language is awfully similar to the sort of language a porn-using abuvive ex-boyfriend of mine was often using when talking to me.


Laurelin // April 20, 2008 at 10:16 pm

It’s interesting to note how many of the male ’sex pozzes’ use this sort of language to ‘argue’ against radical feminist arguments against pornstitution. They speak of ‘fisking’ us, accuse us of ‘wanking’ over details etc (Witchy has certainly had this aggressive language used against her recently by cowardly fuckwits).- all of it is major projection, of course. They cannot see the world in any other way, they use sexualised language to try and win their pathetic little game. It speaks volumes about them, it really does, and it only proves our point about pornification. The more the shout to drown us out, the more they tell us just who they are.

Laurelin // April 20, 2008 at 10:17 pm

I think ‘fisking’ is a sexualised word- do tell me if I’m wrong. (Don’t have a dictionary to hand)

Well--perhaps that would be the problem then; we're really not speaking the same language.

Because, I don't know, just, the professional defender of all women and fearless crusader against porn, Sam Berg, the one you're defending against the abusive pornspeakers here, yes? The professional. She never uses gratuitous sexualized language, one would certainly assume.

So, therefore, there's nothing at all inappropriate or boundary violating or creepy when she says, for instance:

‘Model’ is so 1980’s and doesn’t capture the “I’m hot, bi-sexee, and willing to fuck and suck anything for money” pornsick approval meme nearly as well as “sex worker”.


The vaunted "right" for women to be or simply act like cum-hungry bi-sexee hoes is affirmed all over these two liberal cities I have lived in the past few years.


There is no sensible feminist reason to ignore the 92% of prostitutes who do not consider it work but slavery in favor of the 8%minority, especially when doing so only affirms the rape culture that already says (often literally) men have a God-given right to wet their penises with women's holes any way they desire, any time they want it.


Amber, you can have all of Sonia's former customers now that she has been freed because her many male customers are still around and they have your blessing to continue renting women's insides to spill their fluids into like renting a port-a-potty.

or, one of my favorites:

Turn the male gaze around just once and take a long look at the men who pay to see women smiling while hanging upside down from a pole like a painted negro in a minstrel show dancing for peanuts and stripping looks entirely different.

I'm sorry your paper's allegiance to the money and faux hipsterism of strip club culture makes the truth about men's demands for women to act like disposable dick accessories a story that will never be told.

best of all:

spread'emism (spread-them-ism), n. 1. the misleading idea that women can fuck and get fucked into political, academic and social equality with men via prostitution and pornography

Contact me at spreademism(at)


So, just so we're clear: "laughing like a super villain," "cerebral wank," and "fisking"=abusive pornsick male language, clearly the mark of a Bad Person, no matter what the context.

"spread'emism," "disposable dick accessories," "hot, bi-sexee, willing to suck and fuck anything for money," "wet their penises with womens' holes," and "cum-hungry bi-sexee hoes" = perfectly reasonable language from someone who purports to loathe that sort of language and everything it represents. Certainly not at all offensive or misogynist or abusive, no matter what the context. And, good for all occasions! It's the professional way! It's the FEMINIST way.

Hokey-dokey then.

ETA: Dear Laurelin. You seem rather confused. Let me clear a bit more up for you, since we're talking:

"Silencing" is not, in fact, "making fun of people who are making utter asses of themselves without any help at all, to wit, throwing a tantrum and backing out of a planned debate at the last moment because she can't control the terms."

Silencing would be more, oh, say, threatening to post a porn performer's pictures "without the eye strips" (hi, Stormy!) or, I don't know, back to the case at hand for a moment, trying to strong-arm said conference organizers into disinviting the porn performer in question first.

You are, however, correct about this bit, to wit, that it is neither "silencing" nor "censorship":

when someone refuses to publish your comments on their blog, in their own personal space.

the same as having one’s actions critiqued by feminists. the critique itself presents no barrier to your continuing to act.

being asked to take responsibility for one’s own words.

...although, you know, I get the impression your and my ideas of what means "critique" are also not from the same page or possibly even the same library. Nonetheless. Saying ignorant-ass crap about other peoples' sexuality and lives and then refusing to engage them when they challenge your "critique," in your own space or even in o for example at a public debate? No, that's not "silencing." It is, however, disingenuous, and, frankly, kind of pathetic.

also, wrt this, per your guest poster?

"What to do when a woman who says she’s happy in prostitution says, “Take me, for example” when you know if you actually do take her as her own example by quoting her own words and deeds she will complain, “How dare you make an example of me?”

see, no; "please talk to me directly like a human being" is NOT the same thing as "please gank one of my quotes out of context and use it as your sigline," nor indeed "please raid my personal blog for bits that you find damning and indicative of my general ill character and/or unfitness to make my own decisions, statistical improbability, lack of trustworthiness, what you will, and drag it all over several of the most high profile feminist blogs, STILL without deigning to engage me like a person."

also also, "fisking" is, once again, not what lewd pronsick males fantasize about doing to hapless radical Victorian damsels feminists with an airport metal detector;

and the London Underground is not a political movement.

Please do let me know if there's anything else I can clear up for you.



Maddie H said...

Someone alert Thomas Fisk.

OMG, it takes 5 seconds to google something and find out what a word like "fisking" means. How can you be in the blogosphere and not know?

thene said...

You want that internets fried, or rolled in honey and toasted over the embers of the internets that was before?

ArrogantWorm said...

If the commentors want to state who has abusive and triggering 'male' language and how that affects abuse and rape survivors, I'll be more than happy to pitch in and clear the air over whose posts I tend to have trouble reading when discussing issues due to the descriptions of abuse that're chucked about without nary a may-be-triggering ahead of it, never mind the insulting someone's actions and lifestyle in the kind of language that they're supposedly against, as if that were a substitute for a argument. Yes, definitely language that cares about the people their trying to help, mmhmm. For people who seem so damn concerned, several certainly don't monitor their own typing when I've run across it. It's one of the largest reasons I dislike reading some people's writings, they just toss out descriptions as if they were confetti.

S'ridiculous. Professionals don't back away because of dislike over their sparring partner and disliking the person or/and view you're supposed to be debating against is expected in polar opposites. What, did she think she was going to be arguing with herself? Has me wondering how Berg gets requested in the first place since she's shimmying backwards at a rapid pace, especially if this isn't new behavior.

belledame222 said...

Has me wondering how Berg gets requested in the first place

It is curious, isn't it? I can't believe this is new behavior; evidence as well as common wisdom about How People Work suggests strongly otherwise. So...

well, hey, I guess a lot of people manage -somehow-.

"How! Do you spell! DIVA!"

Renegade Evolution said...

Belle, I'm gonna cerebral wank to this post tonight, and laugh like a supervillain while doing it.

Plain(s)feminist said...

That was great, Belle. I'm still giggling at the idea that it was somehow inappropriate for Ren to have accepted the invitation. The lengths to which they expect other people to go to make them happy and comfortable. Sigh. Must be nice to live in a world where everything revolves around you, eh?

Anonymous said...

***They negate the lives of those suffering for the choices they make...**

This doesn't even make any sense.

You know why?

Because, first of all, everyone's choices to some degree contribute to the suffering of others. Ride a bus to work? That bus pollutes the atmosphere. Like a cup of coffee in the morning? Chances are, the people who grew that coffee may potentially be suffering undue economic hardship (especially since the Fair Trade idea has actually not worked out so well and all).

Accusing others of making people suffer while beating your chest in praise of yourself and how "right" you are is just laughable, when you think about it.

However, here is the flip-side - do we do the things we do to intentionally hurt others? Well, a decent person does not. But, aside from shooting oneself in the head, you actions *will* affect others (and a suicide will affect them too). Sorry, it's part of being human.

So why the hell is sex-work is to be made an example of, when all those other things do not?

I think I know the answer to that - because it's the done thing. Men have been doing it for hundreds of years, blaming the suffering of humanity on witches and Jezebels and the sins of Eve (or Lilith, or you name it).

What the hell is so "radical" about replicating that behaviour?

God knows.

Think I'll write more about it on my blog.

Purtek said...

Anybody who puts "right" in quotation marks (meaning "human rights", rather than meaning "correct", as Natalia has done immediately above, just to make my pithy comment more difficult) needs to step back and rethink what the hell she's fighting for.

Anonymous said...

"How! Do you spell! DIVA!"
- LOL!
Why on earth didn't Laurelin look it up for herself, that's what I don't get. It was so... submissive (shite choice of words, but you know what I mean). "Please, what does 'Frisking' mean?" "Well, little one, it means..."
That was a weird exchange.
She wants to discuss 'male' language? Oh, allow me to chime in... Never has someone's comment thread inspired so much!

antiprincess said...

I's my guess that Sam declined because she wants to meet the Rens of the world on "her own terms", so to speak.

any playing field besides her own, apparently, does not feel level enough. Of course, I'm not sure how Ren or Jill would have had an advantage at W&M, but maybe I'm missing something.

Anonymous said...

Accusing Ren of using language "that rapists use" is on the same level as the importance they've given "fall under a truck". Just trying to bolster her up as being a genuine threat to anything so that they can justify their own abusive language and actions.

Also, I (as a liberal, lesbian, womyn born womyn AND EVERYTHING) prefer reading at these blogs (your dirty sex-poz places) because the language is not only often more violent on the other side, but the violence seems so much more real. It's all the difference between Jerry hitting Tom with a shovel in a cartoon and severely graphic real footage (fake or not, it looks real) of someone getting their head bashed in.

(thanks for letting me comment, hope I'm not imposing :) )

belledame222 said...

not at all, welcome, celia

Daisy said...

If I wasn't INFORMED they were 'feminist', I'd assume from their language they were run-of-the-mill male misogynists, describing women to each other.

Their derision and hatred is quite obvious and evident.

belledame222 said...

Uh, Q-Grrl? You read all this and what you take away from it is that I'm "enraptured by porn?" Because Sam is the honest straight shooter here...and the "professor dude," the DUDE, poor guy, we should feel badly for him for not facing up to a couple of women speaking their own truths?

"I am amazed, and do not know what to say."

Purtek said...

You know, I haven't had all that much time to follow the details of who backed out when, and in what manner, wrt this forum. So I haven't really felt qualified to comment on the matter itself.

But since the content of this post was the language being used in the discussion, whether that language is violent, and if so, who the source for the most violent imagery is, I have to say that Q-Grrl's comment above pretty much made your case for you, belledame.

I haven't seen anyone *else* making reference to death, for instance.

ArrogantWorm said...


A panel means discussion, debate. Dropping out of a panel due to others' differing views also being given a voice there doesn't mean Sam was lied to.

"It's like she totally believed the offer she was originally given, trusting the good faith and honesty of those involved."

Since when are speakers reassured that there'll be no one there that they disagree with? There's multiple speakers, I'm quite sure they all got the same deal. It isn't unusual that people cancel and other substitutes should be found. Sam was asked to speak, not to run the thing. Why she'd expect the other speakers to have to meet her approval before being allowed I can't quite figure. Ergo, what Sam wanted seems to be the opposite of a level playing field.

belledame222 said...

and seriously: Sam's little rantings using "pornified" language, they don't raise any red flags with you? Because even before this I swear to fuck the woman's creeped my shit out. If it were Donald Wildmon talking like this, I mean exactly like this, would it not raise some suspicions in your mind about exactly how much he -hated- the stuff?

But I mean, sure, whatever, I'm "mischaracterizing," it's not like people can follow the link, read her own words and judge for themselves.

belledame222 said...

and hi: a "level playing field:" a MALE PROFESSOR on HIS OWN TURF. backed out because the student organizing the whole thing picked the wrong scary women to debate against himself as well as poor helpless Sam Berg. because it wouldn't be FAIR, dammit. not LEVEL enough.


you, a radical feminist, are DEFENDING HIM against not only Renegade but Jill Brenneman, who -was- on the streets, -was- abused by a pimp, -is- still working class, is -not- working in porn.

Seriously? SERIOUSLY?

Let me turn the question around, Q-Grrl: are you so disgusted by porn that you're defending a man in a position of establishment power against two women speaking their own truths ("the personal is political," neh?)

And yeah, Q-Grrl, you can totally see from everything about me that I'm all about the pr0n and being "cool" (for fuckssake, that is the tiredest trope in the book; another queer person should know perfectly goddam well what "you don't really mean it, you're just being trendy" is also used to dismiss).

Grip. Get one. Please.

antiprincess said...

Wow, Q-Grrl, way to completely miss the point.

it's not about being "cool" or "uncool".

It's about giving everyone - EVERYONE - a chance to "face their accuser", so to speak, and in the process learn something.

it's not that Sam doesn't trust Ren that's the problem. it's that Sam doesn't trust the organizers of the debate to be anything but Ren-sympathizers, which I don't know as they are. it's as if anyone who has anything to do with Ren (even just by being interested in what she might have to say) is by definition tarred with her brush, and biased, and anti-woman and, most importantly, anti-Sam.

and that makes Sam look paranoid and immature, and certainly not the best representative of the antiporn side, if she's not willing to take on opposing viewpoints.

belledame222 said...

and y'know, in their lengthy and detailed wrap-up posts, both RE and Jill have nothing bad to say about Karla Mantilla, the woman who did fill in for Sam at the last moment (and gosh, neither RE nor Jill threw a temper tantrum because the organizers had to bring in someone they weren't expecting, AND they were also prepared to talk to Sam and wossname as originally planned). apparently the whole thing was very swivilized. And I am aware that some of my trans friends* think she's a hateful demagogue in her own right in other circumstances, and it could well be; nonetheless, you know: it really didn't cost her or the Cause anything to just show up, make her points, act like a civilized human and not like the bastard child of Norma Desmond and Joan Crawford. Sadly, one can't say the same for Sam; and you know what, I do believe that that would be what's known as Her Problem.

*you know, other people I'm also only taking the side of to look "cool" to some mythical arbiter of Oppression Chic, because I'm so fucking into that, as opposed to I don't know I listen to them and learn from them about what's important to them because they're my FRIENDS, because I LIKE them as PEOPLE.

for fuck's sake.

belledame222 said...

here, by the way, is Jill's take on the event and what led up to it.

belledame222 said...

I haven't seen anyone *else* making reference to death, for instance.

It took me a minute to figure out what you were referring to. O well, i dunno about that. A tad melodramatic, though. I mean, what, it's so UNFAIR that Sam and Mr. Foubert can't tailor the debate to her exact demands or get the woman she doesn't like disinvited; clearly just another sign of how There Is No Justice For Women On This Earth.

Seriously, isn't it just a -little- embarrassing?

Maddie H said...

"Thinks" might not be a strong enough word:

That is Not Even Wrong, pt 1

That is Not Even Wrong, pt 2

Men in Ewes' Clothing: The Stealth Politics of the Transgender Movement, by Karla Mantilla.

In her essay, "Men in Ewes' Clothing: The Stealth Politics of the Transgender Movement" she manufactured an event in which multiple trans women entered MWMF and exposed their penises in the showers. She then used this event - which she manufactured - to build upon the image of trans women as dangerous, misogynist predators.

She says of transgender "I am unwilling to fudge even a little on how dangerous it is to feminism and women."

She refers to trans women exclusively as men. Her reasoning for excluding trans women includes "The whole point of the festival is to get a chance to experience life without male oppression or the fear of
male violence." She's framing trans women as potential rapists and worse if allowed to be in a "woman-only" space.

Definitely no argument that Sam fucked up, that Sam was unwilling to frame herself as anything but a victim but is responsible for pretty much everything that happened related to her at W&M. Karla Mantilla is just as bad toward trans women as Sam Berg is toward sex workers.

This event doesn't relate directly to trans women (although
given how many trans women are in sex work, I'd hope there's some
connection here, and that outreach for trans women in sex work is not seen as something separate from outreach for cis women in sex work), but I do think that this should reflect upon any characterization of her as a "nice, reasonable person."

Maybe if she's willing to extend that same respect toward trans women, I'd be more inclined to take this at something closer to face value. Given what she said at Heart's, though, I don't even take how she acted toward Ren and Jill at face value. She knew she was talking to the enemy, she says so right there:

kind of had a different tactic in approaching this: I felt that there was no way to agree on the details or harm of pornography without going to the philosophical underpinnings of each side. I think it is interesting that people who are pro-porn, pro-”sex work” and trans advocates tend to all be in alliance with each other. I think that is because they have a very (male) libertarian orientation, which tends to empower the already-empowered and leave out of consideration those who are already disempowered. They focus on “freedom,” “equality,” and “choice,” all the while ignoring power and social responsibility. Another commonality is that they tend to be hyper individualistic in their thinking as to why people behave the way they do, without fully examining or understanding larger social causes of individual human behavior.

They emphasize “choice,” as though any choice a woman makes is a feminist choice (kind of a “choice feminism”). So they spend lots of time defending women’s “choice” to do all manner of anti-feminist things, holding choice as some kind of ultimate good in and of itself. (Interestingly, they can see that the “choice” to be racist or to buy environmentally damaging things such as a Hummer are bad choices.)

belledame222 said...

of course.

and then, meanwhile, completely without any cognitive dissonance whatsoever, "pro-choice" makes perfect sense when it comes to reproduction.

I'm surprised they don't disdain the label for that as well; you know, maybe it -shouldn't- be a "choice" to, what was it, nourish male "neonates" or whatever it was.

antiprincess said...

oh do. not. GET. me. started.

Maddie H said...

Well, yes. Several of these radical feminists (and not just radical feminists, as we've seen with X and breast implants a few months ago) set themselves up as the arbiters of women's choices - what you get to do to be acceptable, and what makes you a fallen woman.

It just so thoroughly mirrors the whole patriarchal ideal of what women are supposed to do to be good women, and what makes a woman bad. What's interesting is how strongly these intersect - with sex.

It's no surprise to me that Karla so thoroughly misrepresents (to the point of malicious falsehood) the positions of trans women and sex workers, trying to make it all about choices they hate, rather than anything we actually do talk about.

Or that we're more likely to be allies because we don't build our politics on appropriation, exclusion, hatred, and misogyny toward those who don't fall in line.

belledame222 said...

well yeah. "we don't like it"="male identified;" "we don't like ___," therefore it is "male." Therefore, as radical (actually cultural/fundamentalist) feminists, we can dismiss it as DoublePlusUnGood. QED.

Maddie H said...

Which is a pretty simplistic analysis, but I guess if you're building a Manichean philosophy, that's all you need.

Of course, it's simpler than actual Manichaeism, but when you're dealing with simplistic analyses...