Battered Women vs. Women in Porn

Any feminist of merit knows what frequently happens with battered and otherwise abused women: they blame themselves, they rarely leave immediately, and they often love their abuser.  “It’s bad most of the time, yeah, but the good times are really great.”  I know.  I’ve been there too (though he only “battered” me via BDSM and rough sex).  She often stays, and we don’t blame her for that, even when she’s rationalizing it.  We don’t say she “agreed” to be hit in exchange for money if she chooses to stay out of economic necessity.  We know battered women’s syndrome and Stockholm syndrome, and a lot of us have been there.  We understand.

But when a woman is in porn, somehow the standard feminist narrative is that they chose it, and they stay because they like it.  When someone feels that women in porn or are being abused, or even just points out that they are paid to act, we are accused of “victimizing” them and accusing them of false consciousness by pro-porn ‘feminists.’  Or worse, being “unable” to handle the idea that a woman might like having sex with strangers for money.  (Because we’re prudes, basically.)   They might be treated badly, but they make good money (better than most other entry-level jobs), they get attention, adoration, and affection.* It can make you feel fuckable or lovable.  If they chose to make money by working in porn or prostitution, even when it’s violent or she has a lack of economically feasible alternatives, most of these feminists would say she consented.

Isn’t saying battered wives who say their partners are wonderful “assuming” they’re a victim and arguing that they have a false consciousness?  Isn’t that just as “patronizing,” to say that a woman is being abused when she says she isn’t?

What is the difference, then, between an abused porn actress and an abused wife?

One stays out of love or fear; the other out of a need for money, drugs or attention.  One is a “good girl”; the other a “bad girl.”  The slut is ok to hurt and punish, the virgin should be taken care of.  What am I trying to say?  Either the “sex-positives” need to blame women for staying with their abusers and defend the rationalizations they make for them, or they need to acknowledge that all kinds of abused and hurt people will deny their pain and situation.  It’s hypocritical to do otherwise.  Unless pro-sex industry feminists mean to favor “good girls” and “prudes” over whores–you know, that thing they always accuse us of.

I am sick of all this “rational choice” shit.  Unfortunately, I know that we’re heading towards blaming women from what I have seen on sites such as feministing and at the feminist club on my campus.  I am sick of empathy going out the window, and all we talk about are the pay gap or birth control.  I am tired of settling.

* What I mean here by “affection” is not actual affection, but the conflating of abuse/love that often happens with rape, especially with incest from what I understand.

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8 responses to “Battered Women vs. Women in Porn

  1. well this adds a new dimension to it doesnt it? not only do the fun-fems pander exclusively to white women with their “fuck your way to freedom” mantra (women of color never having their chastity enforced the way good little white girls have) now we have them fully participating in the virgin/whore dichotomy and punishing the whores. boy they are really fucking up arent they. good post ms. c.

  2. Eve's Daughter

    This is a good post. Even if they want to deny the possibility of internalized self-objectification leading to self-harming behaviors, are they going to argue against well-accepted psychological syndromes?

    But they -do-, and I can only think that it’s because they’re so fundamentally opposed to examinating their own internalizations. If we begin to question sex “workers” and “submissives” kept on chains who say they are acting freely and consensually, then we have to question our own choices as well. I think many of them realize that most of their personal choices are rooted in self-objectification and don’t come from themselves, but from the “Patriarch in the Head” so to speak. They’re just not willing to face that or ask the tough questions of themselves, or develop that kind of skill for self-analysis.

    Good work.

    If you have the time/inclination, I think this could be expanded on. This is one of the key problems with the way feminism is being framed on sites like Feministing and Feministe, and it’s great to see it addressed in such a straight-forward way.

  3. Theres two elements that I think is important concerning rape. Women has to stop feel ashamed, if thats possible, ant try to helt eachother instead of pushing themselves down. The other thing is that men has to start behang lke men and make a clear and visible stand against rape. To be a real man is first and foremost to make everyone around him safe. Rape conserrns and touches us all. Be responsible,

    http://finnhjalmar.wordpress.com/2010/07/23/gasoline-on-%C2%ABthe-fire-of-shame%C2%BB/

  4. What eves daughter said.

    You know, I think you’ve hit the nail on the head here ms. C. There are so many similarities anyway between dv, sexual abuse, prostitution and porn, its complete lunacy to believe in say Stockholm syndrome in one and not in another. For example, many sexual and domestic abusers force their victims to watch or participate in porn, or pimp them out. And many prostitutes have abusive sexual relationships with their pimps, and many porn actresses and wannabes have abusive sexual relationships with the pornographers.

    I agree that there’s a lot here that needs to be discussed. Well done.

  5. I agree with previous comments. Another aspect that is conveniently ignored by the fun-fems, is that women in prostitution and pornography give many many indications that they are not in it because they love being raped for money. No. They say they got into it because of their [abusive, fuckhead] boyfriends insistence, or because they have a drug habit and don’t want to use their welfare cheque for drugs, or because they want money and nice things–not because they like the ‘work’ itself. women will stay with abusive men because they are afraid that his violence will escalate if they leave (it will), and because they need the money he provides (they do). Battered women rarely say they stay because they love him anyway. They might love him anyway, but that’s not the reason they stay.

    thanks so much for this post

  6. I also agree with all the previous comments.

    ” They say they got into it because of their [abusive, fuckhead] boyfriends insistence, or because they have a drug habit and don’t want to use their welfare cheque for drugs, or because they want money and nice things–not because they like the ‘work’ itself.”

    Thank you! Also, with all this talk of womyn who “choose” to be in pornography, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say what about all the MEN who CHOOSE to view materials they KNOW are (more often than not) harmful to womyn? It shits me to tears how so many of these fun-fems think that porn=orgasm=sex, and how they forget that pornography is a genre for and by men, for the benefit of, well, you guessed it. Male supremacy.

  7. Thanks for this very enlightening post.

  8. Well according to the porn mentality, some women are born to be whores and to be abused. And really, you can’t abuse someone if they aren’t even human, plus these women who are born to be whores don’t feel pain like normal women (like wives and sisters), they like it. I hope you can tell that’s dripping with sarcasm.

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