Why I’m Marching Against Religious Patriarchs and Pornographers, And Why You Should Join Me


Editor’s Note: Articles published by us do not necessarily represent an “RH Reality Check” position. We publish a wide range of articles by colleagues in the field who have very different positions on issues such as pornography, which is a heavily debated issue in the field.  We welcome vigorous feminist, pro-choice, pro-rights debates on this issue across the spectrum and we certainly encourage your comments on the issue.

It is no longer deniable by anyone paying attention, that we are living through an all out war on women’s lives, women’s rights, and women’s futures. This is not a minor matter; women are half of humanity. Defeating this war is everybody’s responsibility.

 This is why this Saturday at noon I will be out in front of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City with a rowdy band of others screaming at the top of my lungs. This is the home of Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who spearheaded the recent attacks on birth control. These attacks come on top of decades of attacks on abortion, and now nearly 90 percent of counties lack an abortion provider.

From there, we will march to the porn stores in Times Square and once again scream at the tops of our lungs. We will protest these stores because pornography has become more violent, more humiliating, and more cruel towards women – even as it has become more mainstream.

In reality, there is no meaningful difference between the Bible’s view of women and pornography’s view of women. Both reduce women to “things” to be controlled by men. The church reduces women to breeders. Porn reduces women to sex objects to be brutalized and degraded. We are neither. Women are human beings. On Saturday, we are shaking off any remnants of our own passivity and launching a new movement that will not stop until the full humanity of all women is recognized throughout society and throughout the world.

By taking to the streets in protest, we are not appealing to those in power, neither to the politicians who are either outright attacking women’s lives nor with those who are “just” seeking “common ground” with and conciliating to those attacks. We are calling out the millions of people who are horrified by this relentlessness but who are sitting paralyzed on the sidelines. We are also calling out to those who have become so acclimated to the unceasing violence and disrespect of women that they aren’t even angry.

Our message: IF WE WANT THINGS TO CHANGE – WE MUST ACT! We must rely on ourselves. We must do more than click an online petition or send money to some politician, we must get out in the streets, we must make our voices heard, we must confront the woman-haters and we must create through this protest a taste of the future we want.

For too long, those who attack women have felt free to do so at the tops of their lungs and with the backing of the state. Rush Limbaugh can call a thirty year old woman who uses birth control a “slut” and monopolize headlines for days. Timothy Dolan can revolt against birth control and get a personal phone call trying to appease him from President Obama. Porn producers can speak openly, as Bill Margold does here, about their desire to portray violence against women, “I’d like to really show what I believe the men want to see: violence against women… The most violent we can get is the cum shot in the face. Men get off behind that because they get even with the women they can’t have.”

Meanwhile, women tell us the stories of their rapes, the obstacles and shame they’ve encountered seeking abortions, the humiliation they’ve experienced from boyfriends who take their cues from pornography in whispers and through tears.

 Why should a woman feel she has to whisper to us about birth control and then add, “I hope no one hearing this gets offended”? Why should a woman be embarrassed to tell us how humiliated she has been because, “Every guy I have ever dated has begged me to let him ejaculate in my face”? Why should a woman break down in tears not because she feels guilty about having had an abortion but because she had gone her whole life without anyone ever saying to her that it is okay to feel good about her abortion?

It is time for women to stop choking on their anger and pain, to stop turning it inward. And it’s time for the men who want no part of this to stop going along.

We know that the body count of battered women – three to four women killed every day – never makes the front page. We know it’s easier not to consider the crushed spirits and ravaged bodies of the trafficked women who are locked inside the “massage parlors” we walk past. We know it’s degrading to consider how many of the men we interact with get off on depictions of women being “throat-fucked” til they gag. We know its a lot of energy to respond every time a religious fascist insists women “keep their legs closed” and be forced to bear children against their will. We know it is painful to confront that most people—including most progressive people —have learned to accept and to live with this escalating hatred of women.

But we also know that this is not the only way the world can be. We know there is a reservoir of people, women and men, young and old, who hate this relentless assault on women’s lives, rights and futures. We know that there are millions more who can be won to see that all this is intolerable. We know that not all men hate women. We know that women are not innately weak and passive and destined to lay down for this shit. We know – and we have already seen in our work building up for this protest – that, when people come together to confront the woman-haters and speak up defiantly in an uncompromising voice, tears and whispers can transform into righteous anger and defiant political action.

 By standing up together, by confronting the institutions that concentrate the war against women, we can shake off our own passivity. We can plant a pole that challenges and changes what other people feel they just have to accept. We can create a situation where the anger that is simmering, often stuffed very deep down in women everywhere, can be brought to the surface and unleashed to fuel powerful thinking and action. We can give inspiration and backing to people of all genders who everywhere who want to be part of bringing a better future into being. We can forge a vehicle, a new movement, that changes the terms throughout society and gives people a meaningful way to act.

On Saturday, our protest is not symbolic. It is a beginning. It is a declaration. From now, until we win the full liberation of women, this war on women will be resisted with conscience, anger, imagination, massive mobilization, and relentless determination to turn the tide.

End Pornography and Patriarchy: The Enslavement and Degradation of Women!

Abortion On Demand and Without Apology!

Fight for the Emancipation of Women All Over the World!

Saturday, March 10th 
12:00 NOON
ST. PATRICK’S CATHEDRAL:
Fifth Ave. btw 50-51st. Streets  

 

 

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To schedule an interview with Sunsara Taylor please contact Communications Director Rachel Perrone at rachel@rhrealitycheck.org.

  • blasianbytch

    The language in this is EXTREAMELY hetero-sexist.  What about pornographers that make porn for women, for lesbians, for gay men, for bisexuals? What about pornographers that are WOMEN. 

    Ejaculating on some one’s face is not necessarily an act of violence.  When a woman cums in man’s face on film is that an act of violence. So is all gay porn anti-male?  If you do not like violent pornography that’s fine but don’t make a blanket statement that like this is the only pornography available or try to speak for the men and women that perform in adult movies and other sex workers. We have mouths and can speak for ourselves. 

    Talking like 90% of films are all Facialabuse.com paints and unrealistic picture. If YOU find a man ejaculating in your face terrible that’s fine.  I do not and I engaged in the act far before ever seeing it in pornography. 

    Hatred of porn already has added to the legislation of women’s bodies in this country. LA now requires the use of condoms in filming taking away women’s rights to chose how they are penitrated. 

     

    I’m a woman, I do not support patriarchy but that doesn’t mean I can’t also enjoy some porn.  Non-Patriarchal feminist porn exists if you care to look for it and find it. 

     

    N’jaila Rhee of BlasianBytch.com

  • sunsarasworld

    We are not fighting for a ban on pornography nor condemning sex or depictions of sex.  We are fighting for people who’ve been inundated with pornography and a pornified culture to be challenged and invited to get out of that and into something much more liberating.  Pornography comes from the greek root “pornagraphos” which refered to depictions of women sex slaves or concubines.  Erotic comes from “eros” which refers to passionate love or sexual desire.  We need more real sex-ed, more open atmosphere around sexuality, more space for all of that.  Pornography is the sexualized degradation of one person by another, and because we live in a patriarchal society it is most often the degradation of women by men.

     

    The fact that there is some porn where females degrade men, or that there is gay porn where gay people degrade one another, or that there are some women who are in on producing porn does not change the fact that it is objectively the sexualization of degradation and enslavement.  And that the overwhelming majority of the degradation is enacted on women’s bodies.

     

    Ejaculation in a woman’s face as an institutionalized act which is standard in porn and taken to extremes in bukakke porn is a reflection of a society that has no respect or regard for women.  The story above, of a woman who is whispering about how humiliated she is that every guy she’s ever dated has begged her let them do this reflects NOT personal preferences being negotiated through two full and equal human beings in the bedroom — but the social conditioning of two people by a world of degradation and increasingly degrading porn.  That is why she felt defensive and they did not.  It was NOT an equal negotiation.

     

    And to say that insisting on condoms is a violation of women’s right to be penetrated any way she wants?  That is just ludicrious.  No one is regulating condoms in every bedroom — they are saying that when women are getting paid to be penetrated (or anyone else in porn) there should be a condom.  Women in porn are essentially renting out their bodies, they are not “choosing” how they want to be penetrated — and insisting on condoms will save some lives and lots of disease, not intrude upon their rights.

  • blasianbytch

    No they are not regulating every bedroom, but they are still telling a group of women what can go in and out of their bodies setting a dangerous precedent.  If LA County can force us to use condoms , who will force us not to? Performers need that choice. My body , my decision of how it is used, displayed , pleasured and showcased regardless of my profession, age, race, gender, or my sexual orientation.  Why create a sub-class of women that forfeit their right of voice if they choose to go into sex work?  

    I understand what you are trying to illustrate using that story, but that is not the case for every woman, man or trans-person that has engaged in that act.

    I understand that not all porn is sex, but in the blanket condemnation of pornography you extinguish the voices of those that are creating an alternative to the images you find offensive.  Its the equivalent to saying that all films most be destroyed because there is sexist imagery in film. Of course there is disturbing subversive sexist imagery in film but many use film to speak against sexism.  Pornography isn’t the problem, patriarchy is but if we condemn it all without letting those that want to use the medium for their own empowerment we lose a great opportunity to have a more comprehensive conversation about sexuality and how we relate to each other. 

    If you want to rally to say max hardcore, Facial abuse, ghetto gaggers, and we punish sluts are selling a violent anti-women fetish image, I’m right there with you. Just don’t tell me that I can’t create a new image to replace it.  I have a mouth and if I need to scream I’ll holler. 

  • blasianbytch

    No they are not regulating every bedroom, but they are still telling a group of women what can go in and out of their bodies setting a dangerous precedent.  If LA County can force us to use condoms , who will force us not to? Performers need that choice. My body , my decision of how it is used, displayed , pleasured and showcased regardless of my profession, age, race, gender, or my sexual orientation.  Why create a sub-class of women that forfeit their right of voice if they choose to go into sex work?  

    I understand what you are trying to illustrate using that story, but that is not the case for every woman, man or trans-person that has engaged in that act.

    I understand that not all porn is sex, but in the blanket condemnation of pornography you extinguish the voices of those that are creating an alternative to the images you find offensive.  Its the equivalent to saying that all films most be destroyed because there is sexist imagery in film. Of course there is disturbing subversive sexist imagery in film but many use film to speak against sexism.  Pornography isn’t the problem, patriarchy is but if we condemn it all without letting those that want to use the medium for their own empowerment we lose a great opportunity to have a more comprehensive conversation about sexuality and how we relate to each other. 

    If you want to rally to say max hardcore, Facial abuse, ghetto gaggers, and we punish sluts are selling a violent anti-women fetish image, I’m right there with you. Just don’t tell me that I can’t create a new image to replace it.  I have a mouth and if I need to scream I’ll holler. 

  • trustingwomen

    Sunsara,

    I so appreciate your passion for women’s liberation and reproductive justice.

    And, it is comments like these that shut me down and turn away:

    “In reality, there is no meaningful difference between the Bible’s view of women and pornography’s view of women. Both reduce women to “things” to be controlled by men. The church reduces women to breeders. Porn reduces women to sex objects to be brutalized and degraded. We are neither. Women are human beings.”

    The Bible’s view on women? There is no such thing as “THE Bible’s view on women.”  The Bible is a complex collection of stories and meanings.  Indeed, there is a lot of misogyny in the Bible– because there is a lot of misogyny in the world.   And many a woman have found deep spiritual resources within Christian communities. Your comments suggest to me that you have little experience engaging the Bible– instead, I suspect you have been seduced into believing the hateful idoltry of Conservative Christian Fundamentalists.

    I’m not saying it’s not complex– I am saying I wish you would convey more nuance and complexity.  Because our lives, women’s lives, are full, complex, and nuanced.  We need to create spaces for more difference and complexity, not fewer.

    If you have interest in engaging feminist and womanist religious folks, I would recommend womanist theologian Delores Williams’ Sisters in the Wilderness or Catherine Keller’s ‘From a Broken Web: Separation, Sexism and Self.’

    There is so much pain and suffering because of white-supremacist hetero-patriarchy.  Unfortunately, I think when you make gross oversimplifications, you end up perpetuating silence, and feeding the exact thing you so want to destroy. 

    In solidarity, hope, courage, and love

    TW

  • sunsarasworld

    TW — I appreciate your comments and thoughtfulness.  I will work with progressive religious people and often do and I recognize that many attempt to interpret the Bible in ways that are non-patriarchal and that they draw inspiration from the Bible.  But, the fact is — and I am extremely familiar with the Bible and have debated with religious people as well as united with them around the country over scripture and Biblical morality — in its essence and in any honest historical read, it is objectively shot through with patriarchy and male supremacy.

     

    Take, Ephesians 5:22, that women should submit to their husbands as their husbands to the Lord because the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church.  There is not much room there for “interpretation” that is not outright contortion that doesn’t come to the conclusion that that quote upholds the outright enslavement of women to their husbands.  Or, Deuteronomy where men are commanded to stone women to death if they are not virgins when they get married.

     

    Or, since everyone always wants to make an exception out of Jesus, how about the emphasis placed on the fact that he is of a “virgin birth.”  The cult of virginity is alive and strong in the myths surrounding Jesus.  Further, there would be NO NEED for Jesus to have come back to redeem all of man kind if not for the “original sin” which was allegedly committed by Eve/Woman.  This is hardly a minor element of the Bible.  It is the foundation and creation story together with the whole purpose of Jesus’s being “sent to earth.”  To redeem mankind for this original sin on woman’s part.

     

    Or, even one of the “kinder” seeming quotes about Jesus.  John 3:16 — For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son so that he whoever believeth in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  As Bob Avakian gives great emphasis in his very important book, Away With All Gods! Unchaining the Mind and Radically Changing the World, why is the emphasis here on “only begotten son”?  First, if god really were all powerful he could have as many sons as he wanted, so the idea of “only begotten son” is absurd.  But, even more critically, why a SON?  Why not a daughter?  Because the patriarchal men who wrote the Bible, who made up those myths and pieced together those stories, when they were dreaming up the biggest sacrifice they could imagine from the perspective of the prejudices of the times, it was a real sacrifice to give up a son.  This myth would “prove” god’s love.  Whereas daughters, they could be given away to be raped — as they were in the story of Lot.  I could go on and on with this.  I have often challenged audiences to open the Bible to any page at random and we will either find outright commandments to enslave women OR we will find assumptions and values which reflect the subordinate status of women embedded on every page.

    It took me having to really read the Bible and get into it to actually become an atheist.  Growing up, I used to just push those passages away in my mind.  But when you really examine what the Bible says, there is no escaping that it is saturated and woven through with the enslavement of women.

  • colleen

    I’ve been hoping that we would start protesting at religious right churches, just as those churchs have been protesting in front of women’s clinics for decades now. I am certain that y’all won’t do what the church inspired folks do…burn buildings down, blow buildings up, vandalize property, lie, assault the women going in and coming out and, of course, murder the occasional Doctor or other clinic employee. Religion generates such hatred and intolerance.

    There are so many things to protest. There are the attempts to codify canon law in a secular state. (Just those parts of canon law that reduce the lives of women to breeding livestock, of course. )Nothing in the political activities of the Catholic church indicates that any of the Bishops or Cardinals have read the Beatitudes ad then there is all that evidence that the Church tolerates and protects employees who physically, emotionally and sexually abuse children. At some point we need to realise that the Catholic church as an institution, cannot be trusted to treat children decently and stop pretending that they have any right at all to claims of moral authority.

  • colleen

    I have a book suggestion for you. It is Karen Armstrong’s The Gospel According to Women: Christianity’s Creation of the Sex War  in the West. She’s  a former nun and thus has a great deal of experience “engaging the Bible”. She is also an honest woman and a scholar.

     

  • rweresponsible

    An absolute curiosity drives you to traverse the distance from St. Patrick’s to the porn shop; conflicting understanding and ideology. 

    “In reality, there is no meaningful difference between the Bible’s view of women and pornography’s view of women.”

    1. Have you ever picked up a bible?
    2. Have you ever watched porn?

    “Both reduce women to “things” to be controlled by men”.

    3. This is not true. It is your opinion.  Woman play unimaginably integral parts as woman in the (catholic?) religion.

    “The church reduces women to breeders”.

    4. No She doesn’t.  How so?

    “Porn reduces women to sex objects to be brutalized and degraded”.

    5.  I see your point but not entirely.  What is so degrading about porn?  Is it because you recognize dignity in a person as opposed to a thing?  Porn shows us the lust and skin… but what if porn were gentle and compassionate? Is it still degrading and brutal? 

    Porn simply doesn’t show enough of the human person; it reduces the person to their sexual value.  Being what it may, who’s to say that this is right or wrong?

    “We are neither. Women are human beings”.

    6.  Agreed.  It’s just that to be human, men and woman must act in accordance with the entirely of the human (i.e. body, mind, intellect, etc. as ONE)

    Marching from a church to a porn shop tells me you could care less to understand what a church teaches, and this ignorance you equate with a basic understanding of pornographic philosophy.

    How about taking off your blinders and realizing that the whole problem IS
    “Abortion On Demand and Without Apology!” and the mentality if fosters.
    If you only realized how simply you separate your body (from your person) as a thing to be used when you propagate such access to abortion and contraceptives. 

    I ask:

    How is using a man or woman’s body parts for porn any different from using a man or woman’s body parts for the single purpose of consensual enjoyment? 

  • letstalk

    How disappointing to see Ms. Taylor’s courageous position preceded by this smarmy Editor’s Note… Aren’t all issues of appropriation of women’s bodies “heavily debated”? Is this a reason to warn readers of the editors’ reticence, before they even read her opening paragraph? Cop-out.

    As for the comments from sexual liberals attacking her feminist critique of pornography, I just get a feeling of déjà vu

  • colleen

    Porn shows us the lust and skin… but what if porn were gentle and compassionate? Is it still degrading and brutal? 

    You make my skin crawl.

  • prochoiceferret

    1. Have you ever picked up a bible?
    2. Have you ever watched porn?

     

    2.5. Do you know how to comprehend an argument that goes beyond superficial distinctions?

     

    “Both reduce women to “things” to be controlled by men”.

    3. This is not true. It is your opinion.  Woman play unimaginably integral parts as woman in the (catholic?) religion.

     

    Yes, kind of like how Blacks played an unimaginably integral part in the antebellum South.

     

    “The church reduces women to breeders”.

    4. No She doesn’t.  How so?

     

    Not letting women have control over their own reproduction via contraceptives and abortion tends to have that effect. Oh, and given that the power structure of the Catholic Church is 100% male, with women barred from same by fundamental church law, I think it’s pretty clearly a “he.”

     

    “Porn reduces women to sex objects to be brutalized and degraded”.

    5.  I see your point but not entirely.  What is so degrading about porn?  Is it because you recognize dignity in a person as opposed to a thing?  Porn shows us the lust and skin… but what if porn were gentle and compassionate? Is it still degrading and brutal? 

     

    Gentle and compassionate porn… where would you find that in the adult-video shop? Would that be a bit after “facial-loving sluts,” or right before “cum-dumpster whores?”

     

    Porn simply doesn’t show enough of the human person; it reduces the person to their sexual value.  Being what it may, who’s to say that this is right or wrong?

     

    The Catholic Church certainly doesn’t seem to think it’s wrong, if “sexual value” includes reproduction.

     

    Marching from a church to a porn shop tells me you could care less to understand what a church teaches, and this ignorance you equate with a basic understanding of pornographic philosophy.

     

    No, I think she understands what this one particular church teaches a little better than you do, seeing as how she actually has to deal with the reproductive consequences of those teachings, and you don’t.

     

    How about taking off your blinders and realizing that the whole problem IS
    “Abortion On Demand and Without Apology!” and the mentality if fosters.

     

    Yes, this crazy notion that women should have control over their bodies and thus over their own lives! It’s positively mental!

     

    If you only realized how simply you separate your body (from your person) as a thing to be used when you propagate such access to abortion and contraceptives.

     

    Yes, how simple it is to understand that when you have consensual, non-reproductive sex with another person, you’re turning yourself into a thing to be used. On the other hand, being required to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term against your will is totally glorifying of God and other such holy awesomesauce.

     

    How is using a man or woman’s body parts for porn any different from using a man or woman’s body parts for the single purpose of consensual enjoyment? 

     

    Consensuality—a.k.a. free will, a.k.a. liberty, a.k.a. the pursuit of Happiness—is one difference, though for you that appears to be an inconsequential distinction.

  • prochoiceferret

    Aren’t all issues of appropriation of women’s bodies “heavily debated”?

     

    Not necessarily within the field of feminist, pro-choice advocacy.

     

    Is this a reason to warn readers of the editors’ reticence, before they even read her opening paragraph? Cop-out.

     

    You haven’t read too many columnists, have you?

     

    As for the comments from sexual liberals attacking her feminist critique of pornography, I just get a feeling of déjà vu

     

    So did the editors. Only they were on-the-ball enough to get it before the article was published.

  • freetobe

    http://www.nobeliefs.com/DarkBible/darkbible7.htm

     

    After reading all of this crap in this link I do not care what any theologian says and trys to explain, to me it is HATE of women pure and simple and even though I do not bleeive that God wrote this or even translated it to any man to write it still hurts women every day. Men read this and use it to their advantage. Look at the state of women still in this world!

    In church they try to play it down as unimportant, for women it is everything. According to this Bible women might as well not even bother to be pure because God hates us all and does not care one way or the other if we rot in hell !

    This article only talks abut men hating women what about women like me who have had to go through years of therapy after an abusive marriage and was on the way to beleiveing that not all men are mean or hateful to women. I was containing my anger and my HATE of MEN well for years but ever since the GOP has been pushing all these hateful anti-women laws my anger is surfacing back to a dangerous level. We all know that nothing women do gets them very far so this is just a friggin waste of time. We might as well load the machine guns and let loose. Yeah that is the old angry me speaking once again! NO I am not crazy just damn mad and hateful at half the population for telling me that I am WORTHLESS! FUCK YOU ALL!!!

     

     

  • sunsarasworld

    I feel the need to go on record.  Exposing, politically resisting, and seeking to abolish patriarchy is different than hating men.  I condemn any acts of, or advocacy of, vengeful violence against men or any institutions that are part of enforcing the patriarchy.   History is made by masses of people acting consciously to resist and overturn their oppression, not by individualistic and revengeful acts of violence.  The former is essential, the latter is both wrong and damaging to the prospects of building the needed mass political resistance.  

  • crowepps

    While I agree with you that lumping all men together, saying they’re all the same and hating them as a group isn’t productive, that there are lots of men who also wish to abolish patriarchy, and that violence can be counterproductive, I also think it’s counterproductive to scold women about ‘tone’ when they express their hatred towards individual men based “on the content of their character” or groups of men based on their oppressive policies.

    It would sure be a nice change if just for once, a group of women could do something without the interference of that cadre of women whose role is critiquing other women for ‘correct womanhood’ in whatever form is fashionable and who put most of their effort into enforcing conformity.  Just for once, it would be nice to aim ALL of the energy and reforming zeal at men and institutions hurting women instead of diverting a major part of it to checking on the women next to them on the barricades to see if she is ‘advocating correctly’.

    Mass political resistance cannot happen if a few women try to seize control and insist other women must resist using only their methods.

    Since women are unique, acting consciously will not mean proceeding in lockstep to all think, believe, say and act identically.

    Women are individuals and they can act individually.  Individual actions flowing together into mass political resistance is what is effective.

    Women should not be pursing their lips and freezing out those who ‘protest wrong’. 

    Women should not be censoring each others spontaneous protest signs as ‘inappropriate’.

    Women should not be criticizing women’s speech or dress or behavior or FEELINGS as too ladylike/slutty/strident/accommodationist, etc.

    OUR ENEMIES WILL DO THAT.  DO NOT HELP THEM.

  • colleen

    I don’t believe that anyone who read your comments believes you (or anyone else in this thread) is advocating violence or hates men. Anger is an appropriate emotion in the face of injustice. Some people don’t know how to use their anger in constructive ways and are frightened of those who do. That is their problem, not yours.

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