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nina hartley

Way to go, Greta!

As always, a cogent and well-reasoned plea for some freaking sanity on this issue. All points well taken, and well made.

When I started stripping in 1983, the Porn Wars were barely stirring. I was already pissed at those feminists who were wagging their bony fingers in my face, telling me how expolited I was, blah, blah, blah. Excuse me? I read the same Ur texts as they did and simply, due to a combination of factors, came to a different conclusion on the issue of exhibitionism, exploitation, objectification, et al, a conclusion that fits my life and desires.

So, I was using my mind and predilictions to, gasp! forge MY OWN way in the world, just as I had been taught to do by those self-same feminist thinkers. They were pissed at my audacity then, and they're pissed now. Aren't they tired of being pissed all the time?

Twenty-three years later, the discussion has not got far. True, there are folks like me, Greta, Annie, Carol, Tristan, etc., who walk together, but the anit-porn group hasn't changed its tune at all.

As well, good point about the boys. Well, we all know that men are no good, you see, and we, as caring feminists, don't have to concern ourselves with these budding patriarchs, now, do we? Men don't, after all, have feelings and emotions and vulnerability, do they? (Tongue firmly in cheek).

You go, girl!

BTW, I LOVED "Bending!" Really well written and insightful.

Anthony Kennerson

Absolutely perfect article, the right balance of blasting the GGW founders as the jackasses they are, while actually treating the girls as human beings and not mere "sexbot" androids or feckless victims.

In short: the best example of true sex-positive feminism to date.

Well said and said well.

May I have permission to link a few tidbits for my blog?

Anthony Kennerson

Tony Comstock

"not all censorship battles can be about Ulysses"

Fair enough. But do they all have to be about Rob Black or similar? It's embarrassing and wearying.

Chris Stehlik

Hi Greta, nice to see your last week :)

Ok, I knew he was bad but didn't know he was that horrific, why isn't he is jail?

While I agree with your point that sexual liberation should extend to all women, even to women who want to take off their shirts on film in public for little compensation . I can also see that people who read the argument out of context of the article will take it as a sort of faux libertarian rationalization, "well, they're young and dumb, they superficially agreed, so they can be taken advantage of to the Nth degree".
That's a rationalization that I really don't like. Sometimes it's hard to communicate the one with out the other.



Nice article.

We need to separate two things: (1) the women on the videos from the men who produce the videos, and (2) the behavior on the videos from the behavior outside the videos.

From the article in the LA Times, based on (2), the producer probably should be in jail. But that has nothing to do with what the women do on the videos, you are absolutely right.

Now, I was always taught that my behavior and its consequences were my own responsibility. So I would extend that to other people as well. Whether you're taking off your shirt for Joe Francis, Nina Hartley, the King of Spain, or Jane Goodall, it is, after all, you that's taking off your shirt.

If you are doing it while you're drunk, it was, after all, you that took the drink.

This would seem obvious. We are all able to make choices and live with the consequences. But a surprisingly large number of people still don't get that.

I don't agree with Chris that anyone might seriously think "they can be taken advantage of to the nth degree." This seems to indicate the idea the mindset that "once she's said yes, she's said yes to everything." This would seem to assume that consent is a slippery slope and not a series of choices. And what could "superficially agreed" possibly mean? That consent is not an actual, meaningful decision, but rather a sort of surface performance, a social act with no more meaning than saying "I'm fine, how are you"? This trivializes the women as rational beings. (I won't even comment on "they're young and dumb.") Yes, maybe someone _could_ read it that way, but only someone who didn't respect them in the first place and considered them worthy of exploitation. This is the "lock up your daughters" argument. You don't need "context" to read the argument the other way. You just need to think that women are people.

(BTW, Nina: No, they aren't tired of being pissed all the time. They actually _enjoy_ it.)

Donna Gore

Another intelligent essay from Greta! Especially about the "guys gone wild" and the popular misconception that anything outside the mainstream is "wrong" or "sick."

One could argue about who is being "victimized" and "manipulated" - the girls who shake their titties, or the guys who pay to see it.

As far as the girls being "taken advantage of" while they're drunk, a reputable business does not hire anyone to work for them while under the influence. It's legally very risky to do so - nowadays that is just common sense risk management.

I do think those videos are lame and I don't see how anyone (beyond puberty) could possibly get turned on by it !

Jane S

I have to admit that I was turned on by the two GGW videos I have seen so far ("Girls Who Like Girls" and "Girls Gone Bad"). I enjoyed the tension while the girls got over their initial shyness and then the moment when they decided they were going to do this (be that taking off their clothes or kissing another girl or whatever). I think the ones where they just get women to show their breasts at Mardi Gras over and over would probably bore me, but that's just a taste thing.

I agree that it's bad policy to make money off drunk people. Joe Francis seems like he's probably crazier than a shithouse rat, so he's probably not all that good at policy decisions. He does get them to sign a waiver, which should be a sobering influence on anyone who really doesn't want to do it. However, sober people sign stuff they haven't read all the time, so I'm not sure there's much difference.

Hopefully, Internet sites, the likes of, will help connect the exhibitionist directly to the voyeur and the middle men will become much less powerful.

Greta Christina

Thank you, Jane. While on the whole I think the GGW videos are pretty boring, I'm fond of "GGW Bad Girls/Girls who Like Girls" as well, and actually consider it among the better porn I've seen. There was something about the documentary nature of it that gave it real unpredictability and suspense -- qualities that are sadly lacking in most porn. I'm curious: did you read about the vids in my Disinfo article (again, if anyone wants to read it, it's at, or did you find out about it somewhere else?

To answer Tony Comstock ("do they all have to be about Rob Black or similar?"): no, not all censorship battles have to be about work you find stupid or offensive. I love fighting for porn that I actually enjoy. (What's that Tom Lehrer Line? "Nobody wants to talk about the real issue: Dirty books are fun.")

But it's important to fight for porn (and other speech) that you don't like as well. It's harder to do, but it's important. If you don't stand up for someone else's right to express themselves in ways you don't like, you can't expect anyone else to stand up for you when you want to say something unpopular. And while from what I've read about it (I havent' seen it) I suspect I'd find Rob Black and Lizzie Borden's work rather upsetting, I do respect their refusal to cave in to the chickenshit adult industry self-censorship standards.


Three things its probably best not to do while drunk:

1) Drive a vehicle
2) Get a tattoo
3) Shoot a porno

As for the GGW tapes themselves, I'd seen them before this whole thing broke out, and my reaction was, "this is supposed to be sexy???" (And I say that as a confirmed porn fan.)

Jane S

I had been guiltily, and somewhat unwittingly, getting turned on by the GGW TV commercials for a while. Then I read your Disinfo article and realized I was not alone, as you were describing exactly what I was feeling. I chose the two I watched based on your reviews and I'm glad I did. I haven't seen any other titles that interest me, but I do keep my eye out. I had heard that Joe Francis was a huge asshole, so I downloaded the videos for free, instead of giving him the money.

Greta Christina

So glad you enjoyed my recommendations! Weren't the three girls in "Bad Girls" something? I especially loved the brunette, Rebecca I think her name was. I wish she'd gotten more screen time. I hope she gets her dirty kinky titties punished someday like she wanted, and that she does, in fact, become a porn director.


I wrote a blog entry today commenting on your essay (which was quite excellent, BTW) and the larger phenomenon of sexual elitism in some sex-poz writing. The article is here:

Karl Weiss

Simply another feminist essay that tries to exonerate women no matter what they do, and shift all the responsibility onto men.

I'll make a couple of counterpoints, even though I know it's hopeless against the modern attitude that women are always blameless.

1) From what I've read about how "Girls Gone Wild" operates, the camera crew etc. often include women.

2) You don't see the media equivalent of boys flashing their asses and dicks only because no one (except for a few gays) would want to watch it. If there were such a thing, the same digust would be turned against the men participating.

Laura Deal


I'm curious. Did you read Greta's article or just make assumptions about what she wrote and respond to what you imagined she wrote?

I re-read what Greta wrote and I can't find the part where she says men are to blame for anything.

She in fact seemed to go out of her way to point out that even if Joe Francis is the big jerk he seems to be, the "girls" involved are in fact responsible for deciding to take off their shirts and she suggests that we don't need to judge it as a bad choice.

C. L. Hanson

So you're "the Feminist Sex Writer Who Thinks The "Girls Gone Wild" Videos Are At Least Somewhat Defensible," eh? That's funny -- I've never read a feminist defense of Girls Gone Wild before aside from what I've written myself. And I'm hardly qualified to pronounce on the issue since I haven't seen any of the videos, and I haven't read up on the details of how they were made.

However, I ended up making some of the same points you did in a discussion of GGW with some other feminists here:

Here's the main part of what I wrote:

I'm not saying the video is feminist. But it sure as hell isn't feminist to treat women as children, saying "Sure they're adults and say they consented, but did they really consent? With the patriarchy and all, you can hardly take what women say seriously..."

Defending women's bodily/sexual autonomy necessarily means defending the right to make choices you personally wouldn't have made, just as defending free speech sometimes requires defending ugly statements. Redefining consent to the point of rendering it meaningless does not help advance the cause of women's rights.

I agree that women shouldn't be judged as "prudes" for not wanting sex any more than they should be judged as whores for wanting it -- I specifically addressed this point in the post I linked to above.

I'm ready to stand up and fight passionately for a woman's right not to have sex or be sexualized against her will, as I discussed in the follow up to my questioning objectification post. I hope that feminists in general are willing to defend the bodily autonomy of women whose perspective is different from one's own.

A feminist should be wary of the assumption that because you would find something degrading, all other women must naturally feel the same way (unless they're hopelessly broken by the patriarchy). That's insulting and it's simply wrong: it's projection. You say this video is all about the men's pleasure, but do these women see it that way? How do you know that? Are you in their heads with them? If you don't want people second guessing your supposed "prudishness," then please afford other women the same courtesy.

The way to see to it that women are making their own choices for real -- not being coerced -- is to ensure that as many options as possible are open to them (particularly economic, i.e. if you know you could support yourself if necessary, you're more likely to do as you please).

supra shoes

Very, very nicely done!

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