Still Not a Love Story

When the movie Braveheart (1995) was first released, there was media attention around the treatment of horses. The impalement of the horses on pikes in the battle appeared so realistic, that audiences were shocked and upset. The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals formally investigated the treatment of the horses in the making of the film.  We were told that the clever stunt filming in Braveheart did not hurt any real horses, any more than the human cast, but films today often provide reassurances to audiences such as ‘No animals were harmed in the making of this film’.

There is no similar statement in pornography or prostitution, saying that ‘No women were harmed in the making of this film’.  There is no Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Women to investigate such films made using real torture on real women.

It Gets Inside your Head…..Not in a Good Way. (aka “Advertising Works”)
Porn does get inside your head and really fucks it up, for both men and women with a major difference.  Men-as-a-class don’t suffer consequences of the cruelty of porn, as women do.  Being objectified as an instrument of torture, is not the same as being objectified as the victim of torture.  Porn is designed to promote cruelty to women, as well as ‘femininity’ (ie weakness, softness, vulnerability). Even when occasional males are in the victim position, they are presented as ‘feminine’, and vice-versa with women in sadism, although more often women are torturing other women.  Such a value system promotes the torture of the weak by the strong.   Being everywhere, it permeates our minds from infancy throughout life.

These lesbian-feminist second-wavers, spoke in 2006 about their youth consciousness being raised over 25 years earlier:

Romantic Rape fantasies.
As Linda Bellos mentions above, the knowledge that many women have rape fantasies is not new. While our conscious minds may prevent most of us from engaging with it in reality, our sub-conscious/unconscious minds still process it. When does it get planted? Are we just born sexual masochists?  Grooming and conditioning masochism into girls minds is not new either, whether through child sexual ab/use, social conditioning by fathers and other males in male-supremacist rituals of modern society (including dirty jokes, bullying, name-calling, humiliation), along with constant bombardment in adolescence through commercial imagery – which is Porn-Lite.  Unlike the real pornography, these images (often associated with the beauty industry), are staged and performed with photo tricks.  These are the introduction, including increasingly sexualised, increasingly younger girls.  Sex sells, but it doesn’t just sell products, it sells and promotes values, including sado-masochistic  heterosexuality often presented as “romance” with just a touch of torture.

Jean Kilbourne first made the connection between advertising and sado-masochistic violence against women in 1979, with her first release of “Killing Us Softly”. In 2010, Killing Us Softly-4  and 3rd update of her pioneering Killing Us Softly series, 30 years after the first,  Kilbourne takes a fresh updated look at how advertising traffics in distorted and (self)destructive ideals of femininity:

If you can’t beat them, join them – (the ‘Surrender’)
Yes. It has gotten worse, as Jean Kilbourne mentions after 30 years. Its no wonder that many women, particularly young women, have rape fantasies.  Subliminal images do have power.  Companies don’t spend that much on it, if it didn’t work.  As time has gone by, improvements in technology have made them even more powerful. Like the old joke, ‘rape is inevitable, so you may as well lie back and enjoy it’ – like the ‘surrendered wife’, many women also ‘surrender’ to the masochism of the rape fantasy, and call it ‘liberating’ and ‘feminist’. Neither Madonna nor Whore is ‘feminist’, both are compliance with, or surrender, to the cruelty of male-supremacy:

Love is Hate.  Sadism is ‘Romance’. NewSpeak becomes OldSpeak.

Thirty years ago  I was first introduced to a radical feminist analysis of pornography in viewing the Canadian documentary: “Not a Love Story” (1981).  It is as powerful to me now, as it was then – but on revisiting recently, I was stunned at how little had changed in 30 years, or maybe I shouldn’t be so surprised?

How many more generations of young women will ‘surrender’?

Many ‘early feminists’ adopting 60s-style sexual liberation learned too late, but some admitted their mistakes in the hopes that future generations of feminists would not repeat their error. As Greer discussed her personally painful experiences in developing “feminist erotica” in 1960s London Soho district, she pointed out:

“ Sexuality might be the most subversive thing, but female sexual display, from the artistically tasteful to the most grotesque, is pure sexual conformism to the dominant male sexual paradigm.

What (we) so painfully learned from the pointless surrender of our own privacy, was the true extent of our powerlessness, in that female sexual display, whether hostile or seductive, submissive or dominant is a weapon that can only inflict injury on the displayer…. (emphasis mine)…

Ohh.. Little Sister, don’t you do what your Big Sister done.

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41 comments
  1. FCM said:

    hey rain

    i have seen something documentary-like on the “gang bang girl” before, i have often wondered about what happened to her, so appreciated this update. what she says about “exploring female sexuality” and all that shit is so striking, not only in the context of her allegedly doing porn as a response to the “reverse patriarchy” in a womens studies class that enraged her, AND that she was a self-mutilator on top of it AND left the industry pretty broken, and without ever being paid for her work…but that what she really means when she says “exploring female sexuality” seems to be “exploring her ability to be used by men” or exploring her own capacity to be abused, which may or may not be even greater than what most men think. or something? what shes exploring has NOTHING to do with an authentic female sexuality at all. taking what men normally do, and amplifying it times 250 (or whatever) isnt authentically female, or even sexual. its just male-centrism, amplified times 250. thats all.

    theres something so orchestrated and ultimately male-pleasing and male-centric about this kind of “rebellion” isnt there? and no matter how “liberating” it might feel in the moment, the shelf-life of a female porn star is extremely short, only a couple of months or maybe a couple of years. its nothing thats sustainable over the long-term, or compatible with life. that should tell us everything we need to know.

  2. kurukurushoujo said:

    I totally agree, fcm.

    Being a “prude” or a “willful virgin” is truly rebellious because it doesn’t serve men. Even conservative Christians aren’t served by a woman who abstains because they place so much importance on the majority of women becoming indentured servants and breeding machines. Contrary to popular belief they wouldn’t like it at all if women decided to separate their sexual being from male pleasure since patriarchy is based on dependence caused by impregnation. Valerie Solanas was completely aware of what function “female” sexuality has in patriarchy and named it. But then again you can’t go and quote Solanas at the political correct mass of libfems, e.g. at Jezebel, can you?

  3. FCM said:

    yes, conservative men are as on-board with PIV as liberal progressive men are, as socialist and communist men are, as disabled and minority men are, as all men are. this means that womens liberation from men will not be found in PIV or male-centric sexuality on any terms. doesnt it? the videos rain embedded here were so disturbing. a woman fellating a handgun etc. this shit is poison, and its anti-woman and its anti-sexuality. it bothers me so much that not everyone can see it for what it so obviously is. there is no working with this, or the minds who invented these images OR the people who benefit from them (ie. all men, regardless of whether they watch it or not). its just absolute poison. and beginning with a clip about advertising was smart: men love money so much, would they waste literally billions on advertising every year if saturating the populace with images meant to create desire, perception and social values DIDNT WORK? hello! it works.

  4. rainsinger said:

    i have seen something documentary-like on the “gang bang girl” before, i have often wondered about what happened to her, so appreciated this update. ,..

    Her real name is Grace Quek, stage name ‘Annabel Chong’. She is human, not ‘the gang bang girl’. She was gang-raped in London, before she went on her sexual masochism trip in California. Her capacity for ab/use, is a form of self-harm following trauma. If she had had some quality feminist therapy after her rape, perhaps she would not have continued to re-enact it.

    theres something so orchestrated and ultimately male-pleasing and male-centric about this kind of “rebellion” isnt there?

    I was trying not to focus on the women, but the *system* which causes it. Compassion, in that having rape fantasies is understandable, we are ALL socially conditioned into masochism, self-hate, self-harm. Into ‘surrender’. Even lesbian separatist radical feminists talked about it, and struggled with it. As Susan Griffin says in the last one ‘Should any class of women be assigned to take the brunt of the abuse?’

  5. developing said:

    Some of the issues raised here are why I felt uncomfortable about the “Slutwalk” marches that happened across the (western) world recently – “reclaiming” the word “slut” – like conforming to men’s wishes about women’s sexuality is the way to liberation. I may have misinterpreted the whole “Slutwalk” thing – but I can’t help thinking men saw this and just sat back laughing…

    And I feel bad for the young women involved in stuff like this – I think they’re going to have all sorts of negative experiences and might not find anyone willing to listen to their concerns (ie: some people will tell them they’re worthless and what did they expect, and others will tell them they just need to be even less ‘prudish’)

  6. FemmeForever said:

    I couldn’t bring myself to watch all the videos, but the ones I did watch were awe-inspiring. I feel like I want to burn DVDs of Killing Me Softly and hand them out to everyone I know as well as down at the supermarket and the mall. Excellent.

  7. FemmeForever said:

    Make that Killing Us Softly.

  8. maggie said:

    That’s so right. Prudishness is the new ‘fear’ to put upon women. It’s so tied in with pornography which is rape as we all know. Rape fantasies stem from the constant bombardment of advertising – and it does seep through the closed door of our consciousness. Women are reduced to zero come adolescence and then fed the lie that to reclaim self worth she must don: makeup, surgery, youthfulness, and most of all, a fun filled sex life – sex being always PIV. It’s simply unattainable and set up to make us failures.

  9. maggie said:

    Sorry that should be “closed door of our subconsciousness”.

  10. sea said:

    I just noticed the term VIP is really PIV backwards! Has anyone seen the recent coverage of the relationship between Brooke Hogan and her father, wrestler Hulk Hogan? There are photos of him rubbing suntan lotion into her bottom and inner thighs, and “controversy” over her taking him as her “date” to a photo exhibition where she posed naked in a cage with implied masturbation to “raise awareness” about animal cruelty. I wish the media would stop pretending it’s so shocked about this when the father-daughter fantasy generates billions of dollars in the porn industry. Also, how can the “women in cages” exhibition pretend that highly sexualised images of naked, apparently aroused women with bleached blonde hair and heavy makeup is in ANY way thought-provoking or shocking? It’s completely generic and mainstream! They may as well have pitched the exhibition thus: “come and perve at objectified women and we’ll give your money to charity.

  11. Thanks so much for this! I’ve been trying to talk to my friends about the horrors of porn and the way so many women today are mindlessly pandering to increasingly degenerate male desires (requests for anal + ubiquitous infantilisation, anyone?). They really don’t value their own (right to) pleasure at all. And they don’t seem willing to say “hey buddy, what you’re asking me to do a) scares me, b) degrades me and c) is fucking DISGUSTING” – because they don’t want to be seen as a “prude”.
    Because being a prude = social ostracism!
    I like to point out that if a group of modern men and women are all marooned on a desert island with no access to cosmetic tools or enhancements, and the women were forced to grow hair and be saggy – the men would want to have sex with them ANYWAY. Because they are biologically programmed to want to have sex with us, no matter how hairy or saggy or wrinkly or squishy or dappled with cellulite we may be. And perhaps then the women would rediscover their innate sexual superiority, and remember that they have the power to simply say NO without fear of ostracism.
    But for some reason, that basic fact has been forgotten.
    And I am viewed as this terrifying, strident “terrible” feminist for airing my views. In fact, one friend has actually referred to me as a terrible feminist, because I unapologetically point out (criminally epidemic) rape statistics, and I refuse to pander to male egos. I didn’t realise that being a “good feminist” today means unthinkingly loving the cock + coating every fact in male-friendly sunshine and rainbows and compliments.
    Anyway, I will stop rambling. Just wanted to let you know that this hub is so refreshing and I love you all so much.

  12. AmazonMancrusher said:

    ‘Being objectified as an instrument of torture, is not the same as being objectified as the victim of torture’

    This is the best one liner come back for people who say stuff like ‘porn objectifies men as well..blah blah blah’

  13. sea said:

    P-watch, great comment, full of passion! You’re not a terrible feminist and i bloody well wish you and the rest of the hub community were at my place right now where my housemate’s guests are crying ‘what about teh menz’ and demanding feminism be sugar coated with male-friendly sunshine. I’m asked to explain it to them bit I cannot be FUCKED. If only you had all turned up for dinner at my place instead, I wouldn’t be in my room checkin in with the Hub for some sanity; I’d be weeping with joy instead.

  14. AmazonMancrusher said:

    And this for when people say ‘but sex sells blah blah blah’

    ‘Sex sells, but it doesn’t just sell products, it sells and promotes values, including sado-masochistic heterosexuality often presented as ”romance” with just a touch of torture’.

    Rain, you should write one of those cheat sheets – you have the best responses.

  15. rainsinger said:

    Thanks Sea and AMC 🙂 I might hang out for the animal rights being extended to human females – at least they can be honest with a disclaimer at the beginning of such films “women were deliberately harmed in the making of this film”.
    PETA commercials anyone?

  16. Hecuba said:

    Proves for the umpteenth time women are not human but are still men’s dehumanised sexualised commodities. Remember if women aren’t human then ‘no human was harmed in the making of (insert number of porn/malestream films/advertising promotions etc) this product.’ That is why men as a group and so many women too, when viewing images of animals depicting said animals being harmed and maimed, immediately protest and demand proof that these animals were not harmed. Whilst it is right that animals not be subjected to men’s sadistic and callous cruelty women are still rendered invisible because women are not human and hence men cannot subject women to sadistic callous torture.

    Reason why radical/revolutionary feminists continue to be demonised is because they went/still are going to the root of the issue and that is centuries old male supremacist system.

    Patriarchy/male supremacist system has successfully sold women and girls the lie we exist solely to serve men and men’s definition of what supposedly passes for human sexual expression. However since men continue to define what is and is not ‘truth’ this means male sexuality continues to be constructed as male sexual dominance over women and therefore sadistic male sexual cruelty against women is not ‘aberant’ – rather it is normal and reason is it is ‘normal’ is because men learn as boys how male sexuality continues to be constructed and maintained by a male supremacist system. Male sexuality is not biological – rather it is socially constructed and hence can be changed but that would mean curbing/eliminating male domination over women and the world would indeed be turned upside down if that happened. Phallocentricism continues to be the sin que of supposed ‘male sexual expression.’

    Radical/revolutionary feminists did excellent work in uncovering how and why women learn as girls to internalise the lie that female sexual expression is not autonomous but only exists when one or more person who is predominantly male enacts sadistic sexual violence against the subordinate non-human who is predominantly female. Male supremacy has succeeded in promoting the lie that sexual dominance is ‘erotic and sexy’ and has totally erased the fact subjecting a human being to sexualised violence is not ‘fun’ – rather it is the embodiment of a male-defined notion of what supposedly passes for human sexual interaction. Domination and submission are the supposed sin que of human (meaning male-centric) sexuality and this belief has seeped into lesbian sexuality and homosexuality and so we have the grotesque picture wherein ‘lesbian and homosexual’ expression becomes just more of the same phallocentric notions of male-centric sexual domination over the supposedly ‘feminine’ submissive.

    It is the male supremacist system which causes so many women and girls to have rape fantasies and we need to recognise how such conditioning occurs. Male supremacist system succeeds when it successfully sells to women and girls that being a male/males’ sexualised commodity is the supposed epitome of being a female human being. Men have long defined themselves as autonomous human beings which is why men are so quick to recognise violations of male human rights. But because male supremacist system continues to proclaim the lie women and girls are not human too many women and girls continue not to recognise when their human rights are being violated. Instead we worry about whether or not we are meeting men’s pseudo definition of what it means to be that supposedly dehumanised being – aka a biologically born female. We also continue to believe the lie that a female’s sole value and worth lies in serving males 24/7 in whatever way or capacity men want. This includes being men’s disposable sexual service stations – because women aren’t human are they? Only animals and men have rights according to male supremacist system.

  17. maggie said:

    From today’s Guardian (UK), an article on UKFeminista Summer School

    “‘This woman said: ‘When people ask you why you’re a feminist, your response should be: ‘Well, why aren’t you?'”

    Let them sweat out the answer.

    You’re all amazing.

  18. I remember the very first time I saw a female tied up and gagged on TV. I was about eight years old and it was in a child’s cartoon called Dogtanian and the Three Musketeers. This cartoon was about these (male) dogs who went around doing courageous things and I enjoyed it very much until one day something made me stop and stare. There was a female dog (I knew she was female because she was wearing a pink dress and had long hair on her head) was tied up and gagged in a small, dark room. I was stunned. I knew that *she* was female, and that *I* was female and something sort of “clicked” in my brain. Eventually Dogtanian found her and rescued her and she was ever-so grateful.

    The masochism of females (read:women) was implanted in my brain at eight years old.
    I’ve only recovered this memory recently.

  19. I can’t get over those anonymous bastards sitting around in the boardroom inventing and mass-marketing a child’s cartoon to eight year olds with a girl in the role of “tied up, gagged and passive” WHat utter *#$%#%#$s

  20. julia said:

    Hecuba, what a great post. ‘Men are quick to recognize violation of male human rights because they are autonomous human beings (and we are not)’ is brilliant – not your exact quote but the way I interpret it. And I love ‘feminism sugar coated with male-friendly sunshine’ !

    I am reading this on a public computer so I can’t watch the videos and maybe it’s a good thing- I already get disgusted enough looking at the local free weekly paper in town (liberal and progressive – if you’re a man) and even NPR. We are directly or indirectly insulted and at the very least, ignored or deleted.

    I got to feeling a little ill looking at the protest of the Womens and Trans Action camp who dressed up in ‘slut walk’ outfits and went to protest logging at a Forest Service Office in Oregon (PDX IMC). While I appreciate the action, it makes me ill to see them in male-defined sexy bikinis/underwear/dominatrix costume, etc . That coupled with the fact that
    they are women and while protesting the destruction of nature, promoting the destruction of women (i.e, nature) at the same time. Can’t post the photos here but it’s on the main page.

    It would be something if we could get together in person and organize….

  21. vliet (tiptree2) said:

    Hey, Julia,

    I too would like to meet IRL. I’m in central California but would travel quite a distance. Are there others of us on the west coast of the US?

    vliet

  22. On that note, my radfem sister and I are both in the Blue Mountains (west of Sydney, in NSW, Australia).

    Are any of you wonderful women going to the SCUM conference in Perth in September? If so, see you there 🙂

  23. rainsinger said:

    Thanks p-watch 🙂 Some Hub regulars I know of, are also going to the ends-of-the-earth-in-perth to join SCUM

  24. rainsinger said:

    I am reading this on a public computer so I can’t watch the videos and maybe it’s a good thing..

    Only Killing-Us-Softly-4 is in full on Youtube under creative commons licence. All the other videos I cut out heaps from the originals, to focus on mostly women’s / feminist’s Voices, and removing explicit scenes. Similarly with the editing of the pro-porn women’s piece, trying to show the real enemies who have so badly damaged these women.

  25. rainsinger, thank you so much for editing these videos to put on the Hub. I have heard wonderful things about “Not a Love Story” for years, but have never been able to locate a copy of the film. It doesn’t seem to be available even for purchase on amazon.

    Also, thank you for telling us more about Grace Quek. On a related note, I have noticed young women referencing gang RAPES as “gang bangs.” It breaks my heart. 😦

  26. rainsinger said:

    Thanks WoJ – I remember seeing ‘Not A Love Story’ way-way-back-when a few times on TV when it was first made. I’ve been looking for it for years – nay decades *sigh* – and finally found a home-recorded-from-TV copy on a film-sharing website, which inspired the blog post!

    It was never released commercially, but probably became buried in the Canadian film board archives (which produced it), or in college/uni library archives on cassette, before becoming erased through burial in obscurity. As many feminist films/documentaries of the 70s have been buried and “lost” in the same way. With the introduction of the VCR, many such pre-video era films were never released in a commercial video cassette format, let alone later remastered for a DVD version.

  27. zeph said:

    Thanks for this excellent post, Rain.

    It is the case that people often enact what they cannot say, therefore silence becomes a tool for forcing actions to repeat themselves. Create sexual abuse in children, seal the experiences off from healthy outlets, and you have adults with a drive to abuse or even be abused. Because memory is accessed and reinforced by narrative, the parts of our lives that are ‘unspeakable’ are often sealed away from memory itself, causing us to incorrectly classify them as innate.

  28. julia said:

    vliet, I’m in Oregon. Let me make a new email address and I’ll post it here and we can exchange phone #s if you want.
    I may be going to CA in September.

    Cheers,
    Julia

  29. KatieS said:

    Rain, these are exceptional! Thank you for making them available. Perhaps you can list all the youtube videos you have done on your website for easy reference. It looked like there were some others available.

  30. rainsinger said:

    Thanks Katie 🙂 I have linked my Youtube channel to my blog site. I have others available elsewhere, most of which are at: http://www.radfemspeak.org
    There is older stuff on http://www.radfemspeak.net – (which hasn’t been updated for years) for example if you go to the ‘Carnival’ page.
    My blog tends to focus on films in recent times, because I started to catalogue the hundreds of films I have lying around at home. Will probably be a looong continuing “Work-In-Progress’ 🙂

  31. vliet (tiptree2) said:

    Oh I would so like to go to Perth…

    OK Julia, great, I’ll wait to hear…

  32. rainsinger, I just finished watching the rest of the video on Grace. Whoa. My heart goes out to this woman, it really does.

    I might have just missed it, but what is the name of the documentary this came from?

    I think it would help folks to know at the beginning that she is a gang-rape survivor; it rather puts things into context.

    Look forward to checking out your YouTube channel!

  33. KatieS said:

    Thank you, Rain. It will be great to have them there for reference.

  34. julia said:

    Vliet and anyone else, feel free to email me at shyvirago@hotmail.com.
    Maybe we could make a small West Coast gathering at a campground or something else affordable. I wish I could go to Australia….

  35. KatieS said:

    I thought of this post when I read this story about PETA launching a porn website.
    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/08/16/peta_to_launch_animnal_pron_site/

    The website, at peta.xxx, will be “a pornography site that draws attention to the plight of animals”, according to Reuters, which cited a spokesperson.

    The publicity-hungry organisation is of course no stranger to pandering to the prurient interest – its long-running “I’d rather go naked than wear fur” ad campaign has persuaded celebrities from Eva Mendes to Khloe Kardashian to strip off for a bit of soft-focus photography.

    I am speechless.

  36. FemmeForever said:

    It would be something if we could get together in person and organize….

    Been wishing that for a looong time. I’m in for the meet but boo on camping. I would offer my 4 bdrm house. It’s very modest but it’s free.

  37. Maggie said:

    This is a very brilliant, heartfelt post, Rain. And it’s nicely combined with quite a few amazing and very interesting videos. My favo so far is ‘Angry Wimmin’. I’ve had time to watch them all apart from ‘Killing Us Softly’, which I’m gonna watch tonight or tomorrow night…

    Many people say “If you don’t like porn, then don’t watch it.” But how can they say that when pornography exists all over the place nowadays, in one form or another… even lots of hetero scenes in mainstream film are now packed with porn-riddled ideology…

    And the lesbian community is not immune to this. It deeply breaks my heart every time I see some lesbians defending the dildo (a pure imitation of hetero PIV) or wanting to participate in bondage/S&M. So awfull the lesbian community is also brainwashed…

  38. Maggie said:

    And poor Grace Quek! What she did was clearly pure re-enactment of her gang-rape in participating in that movie. She’s obviously not the only “porn actress” to do that. They virtually all do (re-enact previous abuse by taking more abuse)…

  39. FCM said:

    yes, porn imagery and references are literally eveywhere now. there is a geico commercial out now where one of the guys has what they call a “bro-stache” (a cheesy facial mustache) which you KNOW the writers wrote as porn-stache and the censors or whomever (mercifully) forbade the reference. but how many people got the reference? a lot, probably. i might post the vid here at some point if i can find it…

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