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Lessons from Art: Feminism Gets Semen All Over Your Face

Oh, hey! It turns out The British are up to something both pleasant and amusing, for the ladies. It is a “feminist postcard art auction,” with images intended to demonstrate something or other about the state of contemporary feminism. So far, so well-intentioned. Thumbs up, The British!

But have you ever wondered, ladies, what a DUDE ARTIST might contribute to such an auction? Specifically, whether or not he could find a way to make the point that feminism has rendered everything terrible? And also, whether he could work a cum shot into it? Because if your answers are “maybe,” “no,” and “oh, Jesus Christmas, really???!?” I have got your answer! (Fair warning: Your answer is NSFW.) (Because he put a cum shot in it.)

Behold the work of David Rusbatch, as he illustrates the Fall of (Wo)Man!

Before feminism, you see, the ladies were adept in the arts and such. We learned these skills at the feet of great and powerful male Artists, who slept with us, and also occasionally our sisters. Oh, sure! It seemed like a raw deal! But then, the suffering fueled our Art! We were also capable of finding recognition for our work, and of being relatively powerful activists, because that was totally common and not at all a very rare exception to The Rules. We lived in lush and beautiful paintings, and there was some sort of monkey involved.

Then, feminism came. All the ladies were gross and mad, and there was yelling! Like Germaine Greer, who — as has been pointed out by redlightpolitics, our source for this important yelling-related news — was actually kind of regarded as a sex symbol, in her time? Whether or not you like the lady’s politics (I pretty much don’t!) it takes a certain commitment to staying on-message to find the most unflattering photo ever in the world of The Saucy Feminist That Even Men Like and present that as your face of Feminism. And, of course, the message is: Feminism came, and all the ladies were gross and mad, and there was yelling!

Then there is “post-feminism.” Which, as far as I can tell, has so many potential uses that it might not even be a word. Like, it could mean: “Taking place and/or existing in an era that has come after the second wave of feminism, and the change in gender roles second-wave feminism has affected,” in which case I’m post-feminist, and so are you. And so is your mailbox! And your dog, Roscoe! And the band Wavves! OR, “post-feminism” can mean “possessing an ideology significantly informed by and in accordance with many of the tenets of second-wave and first-wave feminism, but standing outside of and possessing freedom to criticize those movements.” In which case, I am also a post-feminist. And so is your dog, maybe, but I have no idea. (“Third wave” basically means this same thing, by the way, but if you type it people will vomit. We are all sick of the wave-talk, right now! We are through with waves, forever!) The other other thing “post-feminism” can mean, however, which is the reason you are ill-advised to use it in polite conversation even if the only other choice is to use the term “third wave,” is “let’s all hit ourselves on the head with bricks until we can take Camille Paglia seriously.” Which, yikes.

So, “post-feminism.” It’s a complicated concept! And in the midst of this confusion, a man — no mere man, but an artist; no mere artist, but David Rusbatch — has come forth, with yet another definition. The definition is: Cum shots.

So, to recap: First, we were geniuses. Then, we were harpies. And now, we’re whores. Such are the works of feminism! Behold them, and tremble!

Fortunately for David Rusbatch, I fancy myself quite an expert on this whole “feminism” deal, as well. In fact, I have created an Internet weblog upon the subject! This is basically the equivalent of several doctoral degrees. As an expert on feminism, I would advance to you, the audience at home, that the whole “pre-feminist/feminist/post-feminist” deal occurs, not only in the macrocosm of world history, but in the microcosm of each individual lady or gentleman’s life. “Pre-feminist” and “post-feminist” are states; “feminism” is the catalyst that takes you from one to the other.

According to this theory, we can imagine each woman’s life as a long plane ride. It is cramped, it is full of obnoxious strangers, and the snacks are always disappointing. Also, there are sexists in it. Flying it! Giving safety instructions in it! Handing out disappointing snacks! Pre-feminism is the point at which the woman comes to think, “you know, I think maybe the arrangements on this plane are unfair? Maybe even sexist?” Feminism is the point at which she realizes, “holy shit! This plane is full of sexism!” And then there is the “post-feminist” stage of life, during which the woman announces to all and sundry, “I AM SICK OF ALL THIS MOTHERFUCKING SEXISM ON THIS MOTHERFUCKING PLANE.” Also, she gains the power to extend jokes several years past their natural life span. It’s just how these things work! I don’t know why!

Accordingly, a woman viewing this Important Piece of Art may have several reactions, depending on where she stands in her own personal plane journey. Allow me to chart them for you!

Pre-Feminism: There’s something off about this. It makes me uncomfortable. I’m tempted to say something, but, you know, I don’t want to be disruptive or sound harsh or anything. It’s art; maybe I don’t get it.

Feminism: Men have occupied a position of unfair privilege within the arts for, lo, this many a century, and have also been granted an unacceptable authority over the truths of women. They craft our narratives; they decide on the merits of our behavior; they are even granted more authority when making proclamations on our essential character and motivations than women are. We, as women, must reclaim our power and our narratives once more! We must not grant men the illusion of authority or expertise when we know they do not possess it in reality!

Post-Feminism: Shut the fuck up, David Rusbatch.

Granted, the first position on this spectrum is where a lady is supposed to find herself. It’s where all ladies are supposed to find themselves in relation to all male artists, and also males in general, forever. It’s nice, it’s appreciative, and nobody has a problem with it. It can get you far. Truly, there is nothing that the “gawrsh, Mister, you mean you’re going to let little old me sit here and listen attentively to your various opinions? Can I nod appreciatively and agree with you sometimes, too? Why, I’m the luckiest gal the whole gee-golly-darn world” attitude can’t buy you. Except for, you know, self-respect. And the possibility that these dudes might shut the fuck up eventually. For that, we have to proceed through Phases Two and Three of the imaginarily jizz-splattered continuum.

And yet, there is a price to pay! The price is that dudes will depict you as a shrieking harpy or jizz-soaked harlot. On a postcard, or maybe just when they’re out with the bros. Also, they’ll get very mad about the “shut the fuck up” dictum, because they were under the impression that they were specifically licensed to talk forever, pausing only to have high-minded debates (which are nothing like the shrill and base accusations hurled by you, Super-Bitch) with their fellow men. So, you know. Harsh!

Except not really. Of all the things in this world that can possibly happen, changing important parts of a violently unjust system and then having an unflattering photo of you put up on a postcard with the implicit accusation that you’ve led every girl in the world straight to a life of non-stop bukkake actually ranks near the top of the list. Never having to take this business seriously at all? Even better. Not having to live in a world where a dude can hand in a bukkake shot taped to a piece of white paper with a caption reading “post-feminism” to an art auction, and have that piece accepted by the curators of said auction, who I imagine to have said something like, “wow, thanks for your totally on-point and innovative contribution; our favorite part is how we can tell you were really trying, and took it seriously as well” — well, that might have to wait until the post-post-feminist era. But that will be the sweetest day of all.


  1. Garland Grey wrote:

    Man, the hazing at Cinnabon has gotten Out. Of. Hand.

    Tuesday, October 5, 2010 at 3:16 pm | Permalink
  2. I went to art school, and there was really, truly, NOTHING worse than having to sit in class and critique some bullshit trustafarian’s ballpoint pen bored-in-art-history-lecture napkin drawing with the same seriousness that we afforded actual works of art from students who actually put thought and craft and time into their pieces. And there was ALWAYS some dude teacher practically creaming himself over the lazy dude’s “audaciousness” or “brute expressionism” and it was so fucking painful and infuriating.

    But *this* crap is sub-napkin-drawing material, and FFS the dude is represented by Saatchi, and that is pretty much why I hate everything in the world right now.

    Tuesday, October 5, 2010 at 3:19 pm | Permalink
  3. AMC wrote:

    Grr/Clint Eastwood growl

    This guy is an asshole. I could say more, but it’s pretty self-explanatory from his “art”.

    Tuesday, October 5, 2010 at 3:28 pm | Permalink
  4. TheDeviantE wrote:

    Folks, to you I pose The Question of Our Times:

    David Rusbatch: Bad Artist, or the Worst Artist Ever?

    Tuesday, October 5, 2010 at 4:03 pm | Permalink
  5. AngryPunkPixie wrote:

    so this is art?……….HAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    Tuesday, October 5, 2010 at 4:06 pm | Permalink
  6. no wrote:

    I want to bring up the possibility that the postcard could be “intended ironically.” I can’t really tell, and I am so disinclined to research his other “art” that I will probably never find out.

    Even if it is “intended ironically,” it’s still really fucked up, and not good art at all.

    Tuesday, October 5, 2010 at 4:20 pm | Permalink
  7. Nancy wrote:

    In the every-cloud-has-a-silver-lining department, we now have a handy three-part illustrative example to put next to the definition of “misogyny” in the dictionary.

    Plus, a picture of the artist next to “tool”. At least the connotative definition.

    Tuesday, October 5, 2010 at 4:51 pm | Permalink
  8. Samantha B. wrote:

    @FridyThirteen, my understanding is that he has uploaded images of his paintings to saatchionline, which is not so much the same thing as being represented by Saatchi. (Although I wouldn’t tend to find that the greatest of compliments regardless. I can’t say it wouldn’t be remunarative, though.)If you look at the list of artists chosen by Sarah Maple there, it’s all basically scenesters more than anything else. But, erm, yes, how is the word “feminism” do anything but make people’s heads spin if “Feminism in London” is represented as such? I hope the raise a lot of money in order to, enable what exactly?

    Tuesday, October 5, 2010 at 4:56 pm | Permalink
  9. Fuchsia wrote:

    I really love Frida Kahlo’s work – huge fan, she was an amazingly talented person. And a total non-conformist. Oh, and dreadfully unhappy.

    So, I think that David Rusbatch has at least got the first panel right: pre-feminism was a time when amazing and unconventional women were made miserable through desperately trying to carve a place for themselves in an unforgiving world. Doesn’t sound very pleasant to me.

    Tuesday, October 5, 2010 at 4:59 pm | Permalink
  10. Aoede wrote:

    no, no, guys, it’s Art. Art is meant to be Controversial. your indignation is just proving the need for this kind of Art!!

    Tuesday, October 5, 2010 at 5:32 pm | Permalink
  11. Traitorfish wrote:

    I saw this on, um, I forget where the other day, and I was wondering what Sady would make of it. She certainly didn’t disappoint.

    (I also wonder how many of TVTrope’s “True Art is…” pages apply here, but that’s just me being a dork.)

    Tuesday, October 5, 2010 at 6:08 pm | Permalink
  12. Nora wrote:

    No pomo.

    Tuesday, October 5, 2010 at 6:14 pm | Permalink
  13. Meg wrote:

    Frida Kahlo? That’s who he picked? WTF? Not to mention that there were a whole wave of feminists before 1953, and more stretching back hundreds of years before that.

    But besides that, she was a Communist, of the equal-gender-roles variety. Her work was about herself and her ambivilent relationship with her body, about birth, the cultural role of “woman”, about her disability and culture heritage and race and womanhood and the intersections of all those things. Men sleeping with her and her sister? Well, sure, but she also slept with men. And women, for that matter.

    In short, she is way more post-feminist than any cum shot.

    Tuesday, October 5, 2010 at 6:37 pm | Permalink
  14. N'Awlins Contrarian wrote:

    How can anyone take this as anything other than a big “F&#* you!” to the entire project? I mean, I don’t know Rusbatch or his work, so maybe there is some context I’m missing, but by itself, that’s the only reasonable way I can see to take Rusbatch’s, um, ‘contribution’.

    That said, of only secondary importance here, the likely answer to my question is that most of the art world suffers under the dual limitations of their emperor’s-new-clothes approach to what is art (or worthwhile art), and admittedly some legitimate issues of interpretation, innovation, universality, etc.

    Tuesday, October 5, 2010 at 6:37 pm | Permalink
  15. innocentsmith wrote:

    Do you suppose the guy actually spent the whole four minutes on Google image search and then Photoshop required to make this masterpiece? Or did he just go to 4chan and rip off some anonymous thirteen year old’s work? Am I insulting the cropping and sizing skills of thirteen year old trolls?

    I can’t even be offended, it’s such weaksauce.

    At least it inspired a Sady post. That’s always a good thing.

    Tuesday, October 5, 2010 at 6:43 pm | Permalink
  16. MissaA wrote:

    @ Innocentsmith

    I can’t even be offended, it’s such weaksauce.

    It’s sub-cheezburger quality. I’m more offended on behalf of the other artists participating in this auction, that their work has to appear alongside this.

    Sady – well done on turning something worthless into the basis for a thought-provoking post.

    Tuesday, October 5, 2010 at 7:49 pm | Permalink
  17. Laughingrat wrote:

    The irony is that while decrying the whoredom of the ladies, and sneering at the whoredom of the ladies, the David Rusbatches of the world would also be absolutely incensed if there was no lady-whoredom to sneer at and decry, because the David Rusbatches of the world really, when it comes down to it, think the ladies are here to be the grateful recipients of their cum-shots. Well, maybe or to make dinner and clean for them, if we are not pretty, or if perhaps we are fat. So, basically, it’s all just another day in the Patriarchy.

    Tuesday, October 5, 2010 at 8:51 pm | Permalink
  18. Tatyanna76 wrote:

    Oh this is priceless, just priceless. YOUR writing, YOUR piece, just to clarify. Not the “art.” Why is it that so often, when men feel threatened/intimidated/etc. they go directly to placing the woman in the cum-shot? Literally or figuratively, that’s where they put her, first thing, when they want to re-build their egos in a jiffy. WTF.

    Tuesday, October 5, 2010 at 9:09 pm | Permalink
  19. patrick wrote:

    can i interject here to bring up the amazing snakes on a plane reference? i managed to not see it coming and had to take a solid minute laughing break. ALSO: apparently snakes on a plane is a surprisingly useful metaphor for describing how feminism can change your life?

    Tuesday, October 5, 2010 at 9:33 pm | Permalink
  20. SBE wrote:

    Wow, that was really funny but totally missed the point. No, not all are is good nor even great but perhaps you should have looked up the organizer of the exhibition, Sarah Maple, before jumping off. Her work revels in inappropriate (and really obvious) joke and it’s clear that she prefers artists working in a similar genre. I mean, Jesus, Maple is proud that people compare her to Tracey Emin.

    Tuesday, October 5, 2010 at 10:49 pm | Permalink
  21. katiemonstrrr wrote:

    If I had the money: I’d fly to Britain, find Mr Rusbatch, and slap him with a fish a la Monty Python. The fish would be named Post-Feminism.

    Also, I agree with Meg @ #13 that Frida is an odd (odd meaning stupid) choice for “pre-feminism.”

    Tuesday, October 5, 2010 at 11:03 pm | Permalink
  22. Alicia wrote:

    Let me try something here:
    Pre-feminism: Frida Kahlo.
    Feminism: Frida Kahlo.
    Post-Feminism: Frida Kahlo.

    Amazing! I have made a more insightful piece of art than Rusbatch’s in six seconds!

    Imagine what an actual artist could have done. Imagine what all the other actual artists are doing. Imagine how much better the whole world would be without this crap.

    Tuesday, October 5, 2010 at 11:17 pm | Permalink
  23. Renee wrote:

    @ Meg

    That’s exactly what I was thinking, but I couldn’t get my brain to go past WTF!

    @ Alicia


    Tuesday, October 5, 2010 at 11:46 pm | Permalink
  24. Ennu wrote:

    I don’t care what anyone says. The Snakes on a Plane reference will never be too old.

    Wednesday, October 6, 2010 at 4:22 am | Permalink
  25. Jane wrote:

    I love this peice!!!!Whats wrong with you people?

    and you all seem to be taking the shocked cliche feminist shock view!!!

    can no one see the irony?


    Wednesday, October 6, 2010 at 5:16 am | Permalink
  26. Oh dear wrote:

    Oh dear. You guys do not get it was a fucking JOKE! The idea that feminism or ‘empowerment’ is now perceived to have the freedom to get fucked for money! Now to be overtly sexual is now perceived as ‘power’.Get a fucking brain and have a sense of humour!

    Wednesday, October 6, 2010 at 5:17 am | Permalink
  27. Suzanne wrote:

    There is a certain sense there, because so many of us are so sick of the shrieking crazies that embody modern “feminism” that we’d prefer a face full of cum to being lumped in with those wenches. Feminism as it has been popularised is a self-destructive movement, claiming to promote equality, but really just reducing the women involved to bitter old nutjobs tilting at windmills.

    Here’s the thing: that chick chose to take a facial, and probably got paid for it. She can’t help but know the options open to her now, and made that choice. If Rusbatch had tied her up and spunked on her against her will, I’d say fair enough, but chances are that’s not the case. So why is he being berated?

    Honestly, post-feminism should be defined as having the right and the ability to make choices without asking permission of men, and not having to put up with the shrill shrieking of the die-hard feminists should you choose to not flaunt your dominance every second of the day.

    Wednesday, October 6, 2010 at 6:11 am | Permalink
  28. Moneypenny wrote:

    Dude. The Cinnabon thing, I literally fucking guffawed.

    Wednesday, October 6, 2010 at 6:54 am | Permalink
  29. Samantha B. wrote:

    @SBE, if everything that idiots said and did no longer held cultural relevance because of the aforementioned idiocy, I believe feminism’s job would be done, no? The world would be such a pretty place! And yet we’re still here, in the same old dingy, tired realm, chock full o’ backlash.

    Wednesday, October 6, 2010 at 8:11 am | Permalink
  30. k not K wrote:

    “no pomo”. AHAHAHAHAHA.

    Wednesday, October 6, 2010 at 9:12 am | Permalink
  31. Em wrote:

    Nora wins.

    Wednesday, October 6, 2010 at 9:25 am | Permalink
  32. Catherine wrote:

    Okay, I didn’t start intending to take this seriously. But one way to read this art (or “art”) might be that the “post-feminist” postcard represents the abandonment of feminism, not the inevitable result of feminism. Kahlo is speaking, but in subtle, subversive way, through creating a self-portrait. But like the third photo, she’s represented as silent. Greer is the only one actually speaking. It’s so hard for me not to see her, not Kahlo, as the “high point” of the arrangement–and I don’t think that showing her angry is unflattering.

    FWIW, I still hate it.

    Wednesday, October 6, 2010 at 10:38 am | Permalink
  33. Garland Grey wrote:

    @25-27 I approved your comments because you are stupid, and I really thought we needed to round out our commentary from the ignorant.

    Wednesday, October 6, 2010 at 11:12 am | Permalink
  34. Emily wrote:

    It is my eternal lament that Gchat status length constraints continually prevent me from quoting entire paragraphs of Sady’s writings into my status. People need to know about the motherfucking sexists on the motherfucking plane!!!

    Wednesday, October 6, 2010 at 2:19 pm | Permalink
  35. @Garland I was wondering where the influx came from. It’s not usual beatdownish fare.

    It’s tempting to argue, but why waste the energy when I could keep laughing about the world’s most awesome Cinnabon joke?

    Wednesday, October 6, 2010 at 2:30 pm | Permalink
  36. CassieC wrote:

    Been thinking about this since I saw it this morning. What Catherine says rings true: feminism allows (allowed, since it is shown in the past?) to speak up. The punishment for that is sexual humiliation.

    pre-feminism: silent but beautiful and interesting woman
    feminism: woman expressing herself and her anger with oppression
    post-feminism: woman is not only silent but directly humiliated by men who get off on her humiliation.

    Basically, this art shows the artists viewpoint of what he wishes on all women who have the temerity to speak up: they should suffer the worst consequences a patriarchical world can inflict.

    Thanks dude, but there will be no post-feminism: we’re all way to tired of this bullshit to shut up about it. Also, if talking women shrivel your dick, that’s double bonus points, really.

    Wednesday, October 6, 2010 at 3:17 pm | Permalink
  37. alanna wrote:

    @ 26, and with apologies to everyone else for feeding the trolls: I will let Veronica Mars respond to your urging everyone to get a sense of humor. “I would, if something FUNNY would EVER HAPPEN.”

    Wednesday, October 6, 2010 at 3:43 pm | Permalink
  38. Regina wrote:

    @Oh Dear

    A few points! First, a woman can legitimately choose and enjoy any sexual act and be “liberated,” even if that act appears degrading. But that’s an issue for another day.

    More importantly, if you read Sady’s post, you’ll realize that the last thing anyone can accuse her of is not having a sense of humor. And since Sady — and many of the commenters here — have a greater understanding of feminism than is covered in your average Intro to Women’s Studies, I’m sure the argument that feminism was actually bad for ladies because OMGDirtyFilthySexualLiberation is not unfamiliar. But thanks for explaining it!

    Women understanding and appreciating sexual autonomy doesn’t mean they’ve turned themselves into nothing but objects for male pleasure. Institutionalized sexism and the people who participate in that (i.e., a lot of men) do that. The idea that feminism is responsible for men ejaculating on women’s faces is so ludicrous that I’m actually embarrassed for anyone who argues it. Men can objectify women and women can objectify women and men and women can objectify themselves. But the idea of women as cum receptacles? I’m going to go ahead and say that’s not really a product of feminism but, I don’t know, the opposite?

    This was a purposeful selection, by a man, of an image of a sexual act that is generally perceived as degrading to women. He intends it to be received and interpreted as degrading. He is doing so to impugn a movement that he views as hostile (maybe ostensibly to women, but really to him)…and so he does it in the most hostile, aggressive way possible. And it attempts to take men out of the equation, as though men are not responsible for objectifying women, even if that is their ejaculate all over ladies’ faces.

    Wednesday, October 6, 2010 at 4:21 pm | Permalink
  39. Flavia wrote:

    Regina, if I can give it a bit of UK context, I would like to add to your points. The artist produced this “art” in the context of the conference Feminism in London. Since I live in Amsterdam, I looked into the program with the intention to attend back when it came out. Half the program was devoted to presenting pornography as “the worst plague for women”. There were numerous talks, round tables and speakers to promote banning pornography, passing legislation against it, etc.

    Since the art auction was to benefit Object UK (the group organizing the conference and the strongest feminist anti porn lobbying group in the UK), I suspect the “artist” might have also been trying to tell us that “porn is bad” and we should all be lobbying to have it banned.

    This is an extremely popular opinion in the UK at the moment. Object is getting a lot of air time in Sky News to promote this agenda. Wanna hear what’s not so funny? Sky News is owned by Murdoch, who also happens to own Fox News (in the US). So this supposedly feminist organization is being used to push a very conservative agenda.

    Actually, I am the one who posted this originally @redlightpolitics but I only realized all this context I am now providing in this comment after the fact. At the moment I was too upset to connect the dots.

    Wednesday, October 6, 2010 at 5:21 pm | Permalink
  40. jessica wrote:

    this is amazing. that is all.

    Wednesday, October 6, 2010 at 8:02 pm | Permalink
  41. latinist wrote:

    For an image connected to Sady’s (superior) definition of post-feminism:

    Wednesday, October 6, 2010 at 8:07 pm | Permalink
  42. Garland Grey wrote:

    @Magniloquence My moderation policy is that comments should be about 90% TBD Mutual Appreciation Society and 10% people who remind us that stupidity exists in the world.

    Having said that, if one of them gets out of line I will personally Slap Chop them into confetti.

    Wednesday, October 6, 2010 at 8:55 pm | Permalink
  43. Woo, confetti!

    … as long as I don’t have to clean it up. If we could harness the amount of energy expended on cleaning up tiny bits of sparkly fun, we could power the world.

    Thursday, October 7, 2010 at 12:09 am | Permalink
  44. EmilyBites wrote:

    I’m an activist in Object. when you say that Object is being used to push a ‘conservative agenda’ do you mean our anti-pornification stance? Cos I don’t know if you’ve heard of the feminist argument from equality, but there’s more to the pro- and anti-porn debate than conservative prudes v liberal fun-lovers.
    Love the post. A cumshot is still a cumshot whether it’s ironic or not!

    Thursday, October 7, 2010 at 4:48 am | Permalink
  45. Nicolas wrote:

    Drive-by commenting from @awl: I see you namedropping Wavves, but I haven’t found the Tiger Beatdown take on Best Coast (after a lazy, cursory googling). Plz tell me whether I’m sexist for liking her record (art-dude-asshole’s-girlfriend band, basic submissive lyrics, etc.) kthx

    Thursday, October 7, 2010 at 5:34 am | Permalink
  46. Flavia wrote:


    I have many ideological differences with Object. I can only evaluate it from the material that is out on the website and from the news where spokespeople for Object are quoted so, forgive me if I am missing something, but I’ll tell you where my biggest clashes with Object are:

    1) it comes across as a transphobic organization (i.e. it is not inclusive or representative of all women and there have been situations in the past where Object purposefully negated spaces for transwomen and supported statements along the lines of “transwomen are not really women”).

    2) Object is prohibitionist. The agenda is towards banning pornography and eliminating all sexual representations from the public eye. Moreover, Object’s discourse towards porn is very negative, stigmatizing and alienating towards both people who work in the porn industry (even those who work in porn that can, in no way, be constructed as oppressive)

    3) Object presents sex work only under a negative light. I agree that there is human trafficking and oppression within sex work but to present all sex work under a negative light is disingenuous and dangerous and it negates the experiences of thousands of sex workers who do the work legitimately and out of their free will. By portraying all sex work as “an evil of society”, Object comes across as patronizing and insulting towards the people who do choose to do sex work. Also, by stating (as it has been the case in the past) that people choose sex work because precisely they have no other choices is sort of a mechanism to obturate all discussions. If I say “That is not true, there are people who choose sex work in an informed manner and they want to do it”, then your statement that such a choice is false because there is no other silences my argument and there is no way to advance the discussion. In that regard, Object is an oppressive institution that doesn’t give space to a variety of voices and experiences.

    4) Object, perhaps not out of choice or out of a conscious decision is currently being used to push a conservative agenda. I am in no way suggesting that Object desires this position but that’s what’s happening. Since mass media is not really fond of nuanced discourse, then all the prohibitionist statements are being passed as proof that, even the “feminazis” think that porn and sex work are bad! I am not saying that your org wishes to be put in this position but since your ideology is one of banning, prohibiting and eliminating representations from the public eye, then it serves the right wing’s purpose of advancing their own cause. I am afraid that, whether you intended it or not, Object is being used in this manner.

    5) and finally, and this is a personal issue: I really dislike the invention of this so called “pornification of society” paradigm (hell, I was even interviewed on the subject a few weeks ago and I had to bite my tongue not to groan at the question). I deeply dislike the terms because a) it implies that porn is negative and we should all be against it and b) it, again, negates other realities and points of view. If, instead, I heard about objectification and an objectifying gaze, perhaps I could get on board. However, again, it implies that porn = negative/ bad/ dirty.

    So, sorry for my extensive comment here, but I felt the need to clarify where I was coming from with my issues regarding Object’s activism.

    Thursday, October 7, 2010 at 6:03 am | Permalink
  47. Maggie wrote:

    Wow, that is a frankly impressive level of douchebaggery.

    I don’t really have anything to say about it that anyone else hasn’t said, I’m commenting because, coincidentally, I have just encountered a more extensive albeit less malicious example of Dudes Telling Feminists What Feminism Is, over here:

    It, yes, appears to be some sort of unholy hybrid of feminist and pick-up-artist blogs.

    Yes, really.

    I mean, it seems to have reasonable people involved? Like I said, not particularly malicious, and the type of feminists they complain about who don’t think misogyny hurts men do exist. Although it really can’t be that hard to find all the other ones, I wasn’t even trying, seriously.

    I am particularly amused that they only ban ad hominem attacks and posts that “Casually use racist or sexist terminology in a potentially offensive manner” in their “newbies and feminists” threads, as opposed to the “regular parallel” – that seems like an EXCELLENT idea.

    But what do you think, Sady? I am torn between “well hey, if there is any hope for the PUA community or at least those within it who are not irrevocable dicks, this is probably it” and the sort of hysterical laughter generally aimed at the dude who just got up onstage at the talent show and announced that he was going to do the Aristocrats on the kazoo with My Little Ponies as an allegory about world hunger.

    Thursday, October 7, 2010 at 8:46 am | Permalink
  48. anna travers wrote:

    I prefer my own version…that man is an idiot and a fine example of why i stand up for womens rights….I am a survivor or protitution and he wound me up to the max…but at the same time he just stoked the fire in my belly …

    My version here

    Thursday, October 7, 2010 at 9:35 am | Permalink
  49. Garland Grey wrote:

    @Nicolas There’s nothing intrinsically sexist about liking Best Coast. Sometimes people are submissive in relationships, but Feminism tries to make that submission optional and not automatically assumed to be the “feminine” position, if you know what I mean. My last boyfriend told me at the start of our relationship that he wanted me to make all of the decisions and be in control of things (what movies we went to see, how we spent our time, etc.) That didn’t automatically make our relationship abusive or unhealthy, it just meant that we wanted a power dynamic that worked for us, and he knew he had full veto power if he wanted to exercise it.

    So, yes, that is your Garland TMI for the day.

    Thursday, October 7, 2010 at 10:37 am | Permalink
  50. Sady wrote:

    @Nicolas: I don’t know, but I really like Marnie Stern?

    Thursday, October 7, 2010 at 11:14 am | Permalink
  51. agentofdesire wrote:

    @Flavia I am an activist with OBJECT.
    You need correcting in some areas. This fundraiser was to fund ‘Feminism In London’ a conference organised by the London Feminist Network – not OBJECT.
    1. OBJECT is not a transphobic organisation and this statement “there have been situations in the past where Object purposefully negated spaces for transwomen and supported statements along the lines of ‘transwomen are not really women’ is completely made up. I have no idea where you got that. OBJECT has never been accused of transphobia – well until your post as far as I know.
    2. OBJECT opposes those who exploit women in pornography, not the women themselves. OBJECT also seeks to end a culture where pornography (including its violent, absuive, dehumanising and misogynists treatment of women) is becoming normalised, and more women and girls feel pressurised to be ‘hot’ above all else.

    3. OBJECT seeks to give a voice to the silent and silenced majority in prostitution, for whom it is not a ‘choice’ or ‘work like any other’ – but experienced as exploitaion and abuse, rather than the very vocal and privileged minority who claim to speak for all.
    4. OBJECT is apolitical. In a world that has a moral spectrum including perpetrators of abuse, exploiters of vulnerabilty, and the effects of vast inequalities, some behaviour must be prohibited in the name of human rights- surely?
    5. You are not alone in wanting it to be: porn=good. Unfortunately however much you might want it to be true – abuse, sexism, misogyny, trauma, addiction and misfortune are all part of the production of porn. What about that is not bad?

    Thursday, October 7, 2010 at 2:22 pm | Permalink
  52. Treefinger wrote:

    @49 re: second sentence

    This is completely true, but Best Coast is an artistic/media representation and thus all the lyrics contribute to a cultural atmosphere of submission being an inherently feminine thing in the way a person’s sexual/relationship choice can’t. And also Best Coast, being as its not a person can be held to a standard of responsibility about what they produce and the messages it sends, whereas it would be unfair to do the same to a person just trying to live their life the way they want.

    From the perspective of a domme who fully supports sub women in expressing and claiming pride in their sexuality, but can’t help but roll her eyes in a club when the 56nd song of the night with such themes comes on and some douchebag who thinks Dom is short for Dominica takes it as his cue to come grind up in a particularly aggressive way, cause that’s what all ladies like.

    But yeah like Best Coast as much as you want, there’s no obligation to boycott something just because it’s problematic.

    Thursday, October 7, 2010 at 5:55 pm | Permalink
  53. anodynelite wrote:

    The obvious narrative of the piece is “how come feminists today aren’t like those other feminists who colored within the lines and had proper respect for manly Authority and Important Patriarchal Values, who played second fiddle to narcissistic men like Diego Rivera with nary a complaint or objection registered?”

    I love me some Frida Kahlo, but if you look at her life, she embodied a lot of the contradictions of her era. Female artists then were ALWAYS second fiddle to male ones, and I think she was aware of her subaltern status, played around with identity a lot trying to subvert this, but was ultimately aware of the limitations society placed on her vis-a-vis her male counterparts.

    The piece also seems to be making a sort of invidious comparison between “high art” (Kahlo) and teh PR0N- as if every feminist today thinks that porn is a lofty aesthetical endeavor.

    Sady is OTM.

    Thursday, October 7, 2010 at 6:54 pm | Permalink
  54. Hugh Ristik wrote:

    Maggie said:

    I don’t really have anything to say about it that anyone else hasn’t said, I’m commenting because, coincidentally, I have just encountered a more extensive albeit less malicious example of Dudes Telling Feminists What Feminism Is, over here:

    It, yes, appears to be some sort of unholy hybrid of feminist and pick-up-artist blogs.

    Hi, I’m the author of that post. is mostly about criticism of feminism, though one of our 3 bloggers does identify as a feminist, and I consider myself significantly significantly influenced by feminist theory. Don’t worry; if you want the word “feminism,” I’m not going to have a tug of war with you over it; it’s all yours.

    We do run two versions of every thread: one for posters who are interested in having constructive discussion with feminists, and one for posters who aren’t interested in being so charitable with feminists.

    I’ve never seen someone try to start a feminist pickup blog. That would be kind of awesome, and yes, unholy. If you ever see something like that, please drop me a link.

    For now, I’m probably the person who writes the most about pickup who has a value system closest to feminism, though I don’t identify as a feminist. See this post for some ideas in pickup that may be consistent with feminist values.

    Thursday, October 7, 2010 at 9:44 pm | Permalink
  55. Nicolas wrote:

    Thanks. I don’t feel very strongly either way about Marnie Stern, but I found her take on Best Coast to be very Jezebel-y (ladies slammin’ ladies!) or maybe it’s just the way it was reported. But yeah, basically I enjoy it a lot even though it’s triggering my cis-straight-white-dude guilt for the reasons Treefinger outlined.

    Friday, October 8, 2010 at 6:49 am | Permalink
  56. N'Awlins Contrarian wrote:

    @Garland Grey:
    “My moderation policy is that comments should be about 90% TBD Mutual Appreciation Society and 10% people who remind us that stupidity exists in the world.”

    What, no room for the possibility that somebody might disagree with something that is posted on TBD, and actually have a valid, reasonable, intelligent, fair point? If the comment was serious, I’m very disappointed. Because I had put TBD right after Leonard Pitts (Miami Herald syndicated columnist) in the category of having made some very valuable contributions, and usually being a good read, even though I sometimes disagree.

    Is it just me, or does anyone else think it unfortunate that the discussed alternatives seem to be mainly ban-it versus free-for-all, whether we are talking porn, prostitution, drugs, etc.? Am I the only one who hesitates to tell consenting adults what they can do in private, even when their motivation for doing it may be financial, but at the same time thinks light should be shined on the crappiness of the common (which is NOT to say universal) realities of what porn, prostitution, drugs, etc. often mean to the people involved with them? And while not necessarily making laws, nevertheless encouraging practices that tend to make things better for those involved?

    Friday, October 8, 2010 at 10:51 am | Permalink
  57. Sady wrote:

    @N’Awlins: I personally don’t mind people disagreeing with each other, or even with the post itself, in comments. Once upon a time, when this was my personal blog, I just deleted any comment that personally irritated me. But now, the volume’s so high that I think it’s fair for people to fight an issue out amongst themselves, and almost none of our business if they do. People who are gratuitously rude or who clearly Wanna Be Starting Something still get deleted, though. And occasionally they get deleted because their comment personally irritates me. I am not a model of democratic and fair blog-comment-moderation policy. Other editors, like Garland or CL, are both able and entitled to make their own choices about what gets through, too. So basically, it depends on which way the wind’s blowing on any given day.

    Friday, October 8, 2010 at 11:19 am | Permalink
  58. Garland Grey wrote:

    @54 Hugh, by defining yourself as critics of Feminism, don’t you worry you’re allowing your critical faculties to be bounded by Feminism? I understand you aren’t aligned with the “Men’s Rights” movement, but there are already well-established critical movements within and outside of Feminism – why not join one of them? And last, do you believe in Mansplaining?

    @56 Disagreeing doesn’t expel you from the TBDMAS. And I was largely joking.

    Friday, October 8, 2010 at 11:30 am | Permalink
  59. Samantha b. wrote:

    @Nicolas, Stern’s said her words were taken out of context, but she’s also specifically emphasized that she objects to the notion that women can’t be critical of other women. Which strikes me as fair enough. I don’t know why women should be obligated to be somehow lobotomized because the subject in question is another woman.

    Friday, October 8, 2010 at 11:37 am | Permalink
  60. Jane wrote:


    DOES ANYONE KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT THIS ARTIST?…id be intrigued to see more of his work, maybe find out what context this postcard should be read.

    One of my friends in london went to one of his exhibitions once in london that sold all the peices on the first night and the media were declaring him as the s0-called “NEXT BIG THING”, im sure some of you could come up with an alternative name for him?

    Saturday, October 9, 2010 at 9:51 am | Permalink
  61. Hugh Ristik wrote:

    Garland Grey said:

    Hugh, by defining yourself as critics of Feminism, don’t you worry you’re allowing your critical faculties to be bounded by Feminism?

    We do criticize people other than feminists; we are just focused on feminists right now. When we are tired of, perhaps we will start up or

    I understand you aren’t aligned with the “Men’s Rights” movement, but there are already well-established critical movements within and outside of Feminism – why not join one of them?

    I don’t feel like I quite fit into any of the current gender political movements.

    And last, do you believe in Mansplaining?

    Yes, and Womansplaining.

    Monday, October 11, 2010 at 1:53 am | Permalink
  62. Bebe wrote:

    I do agree with your (very funny analysis) to a certain extent, but just to be a bit English about the whole thing – in the UK, post-feminist is often how young women who wish to both benefit from and disown feminism’s struggles and achievements identify (as in, ‘don’t worry, I’m not going to make you feel uncomfortable by trying to make you talk about horrid girls and their horrid vaginas. I’m a POST-feminist. Look, I have a pint!’)

    I think this chap made his point very clumsily, but I think he’s suggesting that the bukkake shot is the inevitable result of active rejection of feminism by today’s young women (preferring to take the less threatening label of postfeminist) – so, if young women and girls deny their debt to feminism and only take from it dubious notions of self-empowerment, they will end up with jizz on their faces. I’m not really sure how Frida fits in, this is where my analytical genius runs out.

    Tuesday, October 12, 2010 at 5:25 am | Permalink
  63. k-sky wrote:

    This, from Dominic at poetix, was thoughtful:

    The implication here is not, I think, that the young woman in question is a disgusting, thoughtless whore, a traitor to feminism and therefore to her own (unrecognised) best interests. It is rather that, where feminism once sought to intervene at the level of public ideological expression, shattering and interrogating sexist gender ontology, post-feminism now accedes to the unchallengeable common sense of “market ontology”, valorising above all the economic choices of individuals. What this means, simply put, is that if sexual humiliation is what the buyer wants, the seller should be free to enact it for him: post-feminism can find no ideological justification for restraining the commercial freedom of the sex industry. For the post-feminist, the image of a woman drenched in slime represents a valid form of sexual self-expression (valid because validated by money) – rather than an instance of an increasingly ubiquitous form of sexist hate speech.

    The whole thing is interesting — he more or less calls Musbatch a troll, but a smart one.

    Tuesday, October 12, 2010 at 1:38 pm | Permalink
  64. anodynelite wrote:

    “I think this chap made his point very clumsily, but I think he’s suggesting that the bukkake shot is the inevitable result of active rejection of feminism by today’s young women (preferring to take the less threatening label of postfeminist) – so, if young women and girls deny their debt to feminism and only take from it dubious notions of self-empowerment, they will end up with jizz on their faces.”

    And how is this not exactly the oldest misogynist lie in the book- that if women leave home and hearth, they will end up ruined and defamed and rejected by “wholesome” folk?

    It’s the oldest, most bald-faced patriarchal load of BS in the book, Bebe. Wake up. If we don’t empower ourselves, and stop giving in to this sort of ridiculous backlasher’s blackmail, then who will do it for us?

    Women with pints, oh noez! Watching porn and appearing in porn and not having husbands! Oh the inhumanity…

    Tuesday, October 12, 2010 at 4:00 pm | Permalink
  65. anodynelite wrote:

    “The implication here is not, I think, that the young woman in question is a disgusting, thoughtless whore, a traitor to feminism and therefore to her own (unrecognised) best interests. It is rather that, where feminism once sought to intervene at the level of public ideological expression, shattering and interrogating sexist gender ontology, post-feminism now accedes to the unchallengeable common sense of “market ontology”, valorising above all the economic choices of individuals.”

    A) No, the *implication* is not that the woman in the third panel is a traitor to feminism. The very clear message of the piece is that feminism has followed a linear, narrative unfolding that has lead women straight into a position where they are now “exploiting” themselves by appearing in bukkake porn. The very clear message is that it’s feminism’s fault that some women (a very small minority within a minority of sex workers) choose to enjoy sexual activities that have traditionally been coded as “humiliating” and “dehumanizing” and “wrong” for women. This is classic dyed-in-the-wool conservatism. (See also: Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly, or any of Fox News’ pundits for more, if you have a strong stomach).

    B) If you *really* think that feminists don’t exist who have been “intervening” on these and other economic issues, and blame trends in marketing and advertising on “post-feminists” (a term invented by journalists to describe something very nebulous indeed, as Sady points out), then you simply aren’t looking. And you certainly haven’t read much contemporary feminism. Nor have you given a moment’s notice to the huge grassroots movements in the third world.

    I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m sick of the media insisting that “girl power” marketing strategies are somehow the direct result of third wave feminism, and that this has all gone terribly awry, resulting in whoredom 4 all. We’ve heard it all before, and it’s still a lame, toothless argument.

    Tuesday, October 12, 2010 at 4:10 pm | Permalink
  66. Bebe wrote:

    Anodynelite – Misrepresent-much? Rejection of feminism is not a rejection of home and hearth. I don’t particularly like this man’s work, but I don’t think he was saying that taking a load is a punishment for being a feminist – I think he was saying that it is the inevitable result of NOT being one (hence the use of the term post-feminist. Post-feminists say they are not feminists). Thinking that young women should proudly identify as feminists is hardly succumbing to the ‘patriarchal lie’.

    Wednesday, October 13, 2010 at 7:58 am | Permalink
  67. Mazarine wrote:

    i read through the comments, which made me laugh almost as much as the article. I haven’t laughed this much at a blog post in a LONG LONG time.

    Thank you for taking this ridiculous “piece of art” and turning it into something we can put in its proper place!

    (The dustbin, or perhaps, a book on feminist humor?)

    I would buy such a book. So Tiger Beatdown, would you get on this?



    Friday, October 15, 2010 at 11:24 am | Permalink