Paul at The Fundy Post has a 50/50 post up on a teacher barred from teaching for life because she posed for Penthouse. The good 50 is where Paul dissects the pretty dubious nature of the complaint (i.e. that it was made by the President of the Teachers’ Council, vs a member of the public or other member of the profession, among other things) and the bad 50 is where he agrees with Michael fucking Lhaws:
And where, as Michael Laws asks, are the feminists, the liberals? Looking the other way, it seems. This feminist liberal cannot help but think that if Ms Whitwell had done something pervy – some BDSM erotica or whatever – then there would have been hordes of other liberals complaining about vanilla privilege, the latest opportunity for overprivileged people to claim they are oppressed. But because she posed in an old-fashioned way in an old-fashioned dirty mag, the liberals won’t touch her. If she had done erotica (the name for middle-class porn), she would have been defended as someone who was celebrating her sexuality; but appearing in a magazine like Penthouse is simply participating in the kyriarchy, allowing oneself to be objectified into male stereotypes of female heterosexuality.
Um, fuck you, Paul. Maybe we’re “looking the other way” because we don’t read Michael fucking Lhaws’ columns, since they’re 99% guaranteed to piss us off royally and there’s far higher-quality wank in the world to get our delicate feminist knickers in a twist over. There could also be this tiny thing about Feminism not being an actual hivemind and not actually anointing Official Spokesbitches, hence why Chris fucking Trotter ends up valiantly fending off attackers with his glorious moustache on our behalfs (and we aren’t even grateful, bitches that we are).
But since you’ve brought up the topic: no. I don’t draw a magical fucking line between porn and erotica (cf. terrorist and freedom fighter) and no I don’t fucking write off a woman because she chooses to engage in a form of sex work while being employed in a profession which people like to ascribe all kinds of pure/noble/selfless values to.
Which is not to say I assume she was “celebrating her sexuality” either because I don’t think a woman (or other adult) has to be a sex-positive goddess of clitoral worship and soul-affirming breast massage in order to “justifiably” engage in sex work. She could, and this might shock you, have just wanted to make some extra money and counter-exploited patriarchy’s commodification of her body to do so, and may ascribe no more emotional/spiritual weight to it than selling off some old shoes on Trademe.*
Sure, Paul, maybe there wasn’t much pickup of this story on the feminist blogs. But you could probably point that out without slapping a big ol’ cliched “hates mainstream porn but loves kinky erotica, the double-standard-having flip-floppers” label on them. And I’m not even touching the whole “you just want to be oppressed so you invent new forms of privilege just to feel like martyrs!” thing.
TLDR? When you find yourself saying “Michael Laws has a point, feminists are stupid” you’re probably just a douche in need of some fresh air.
*This is obvs a really, really complex topic which I’m not fully exploring here for the sake of getting to bed at a semi-reasonable hour.