Getting to Know Furry Girl & Feminisnt
Susie Bright was plugging this on her facebook yesterday, and it popped up in the feed on my page, and it seemed pretty neat. This is all NSFW, so caveat whatever. …
FG explains herself:
I’m a pornographer, sex worker, atheist, and former “sex-positive feminist” who grew tired of trying to shoehorn my life into a feminist analysis. I have liberated myself from women’s liberation, and it feels glorious. I’m now sharing my observations as a politically-minded smut peddler, ethical slut, and staunch skeptic.
Got to love those ethical sluts. For the curious, that phrase is actually a standard and commonly used term, at least in circles where such ideas have real currency. It comes from Dossie Easton and Catherine A. Liszt’s book, The Ethical Slut: A Guide to Infinite Sexual Possibilities. (Interesting aside: That’s the edition of TES that I read and am familiar with, but a new book with the same title and a different subtitle, The Ethical Slut: A Practical Guide to Polyamory, Open Relationships and Other Adventures, was published just this March. It was written by Easton, in collaboration with a woman named Janet Hardy, and seems to be a revision of the first TES rather than a wholly original work.)
So, but back to Furry Girl and Feminisnt. Bright’s facebook post about this was interesting, because she was actually saying that she personally doesn’t deal too well with the “post-feminist” or “freedom-from-our-freedom” attitude that FG evinces. She finds herself, for better or worse, attached to a word she helped define and a movement she helped/helps to shape. Nonetheless, Bright was saying, FG’s position made sense to her, and she understands why FG has adopted it. Anyway, I went over to FG’s blog and the first thing I found was a book review of Philip D. Harvey’s The Government vs. Erotica: The Seige of Adam and Eve, which is about Harvey’s own experiences as a pornographer and frequent target of government prosecution.
“The Government vs. Erotica” is a look at the series of coordinated obscenity prosecutions of Philip Harvey, his company, Adam & Eve, and many of his employees. The government’s strategy was to indict Harvey and others in multiple districts around the country, bleeding them dry through a series of costly legal battles over bogus obscenity charges. It’s the kind of thing that has killed smaller companies with less means to defend themselves.
FG makes the book sound like it’s well worth reading, and Harvey seems like someone I’d like to know more about. What I’m especially pleased by, however, if FG’s cutting and prescient class-consciousness, and the way her substantial enthusiasm for the author, his book, and his cause doesn’t stop her from including a substantive critique of some of Harvey’s positions.
Harvey raises my blood pressure when he repeatedly reminds readers that the porn he was selling featured only mainstream adult content. I’m bothered by the false dichotomy set up in sentences such as “…depictions of positive sexuality between cheerfully consenting adults, without violence or degradation.” It’s the consenting adults bit that matters, not whether the performers are giggling or sobbing during the scene.
For non-industry readers, I can see how Harvey is trying to make himself look extra “upstanding” by refusing to carry porn that features anything “too dirty”, but he does the perv/porn community a disservice by dividing adult entertainment into “good” and “bad” based on whether or not it’s kinky, rather than by standards such as the labor conditions under which it was made. Anyone with any sense of sexual sophistication knows that “violence” and “degradation” are not mutually exclusive to “positive sexuality”.
This is an example of what we in the writing world like to call “a good piece of criticism.” It’s a very young blog (began in May of this year), and it’ll be interesting to see how it develops. I for one hope that FG keeps the lit-crit coming. Some other nifty things I’ve found on there so far: “Biography of a pornographic polemic,” and “How to not suck at interviewing me.”