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Groovy! I'm A Finalist For A Piece I Wrote For Hustler!
It's in the Magazine Feature/Commentary category of the LA Press Club Awards:

*Amy Alkon, Hustler, "Gail Dines, Enemy Of The State"
*Johnny Dodd, People magazine, "A Rockin' New Life"
*Michael Goldstein, LA Times West, "The Other Beating"
*Oliver Jones and Sandra Marquez, People magazine, "Out on the Range"
*Lorenzo Benet, People magazine, "Mary Kay Letourneau & Vili Fualaau: One year later"

Hustler is actually the only publication in LA that shows any interest in publishing my writing. And I have to tell you, as Cathy Seipp (who was paid rather handsomely for writing for Penthouse for a number of years) and I used to say to each other, if you want to see real exploitation, write for a women's magazine. Hustler lets me write the way I want, language and all, and not only are they very nice to me, they always pay me right away -- and nobody ever tells me a check is "stuck in accounting," like it's some vast, winding large intestine-like place that simply can't be navigated by mere mortals.

But, back to my story -- it's about radical feminist attempts to perpetuate what I call The Victim Industrial Complex, and why they're so damaging to the women they profess to protect. Here's an excerpt from my piece (note: Dines and Jensen are Gail Dines and Robert Jensen, who are not just radical feminists, but, most horrifyingly, are also college professors):

Another big theme for Dines and Jensen -- a perennial favorite of the ever-literal and painfully unfun victim feminists -- is that porn isn’t a realistic depiction of female sexuality. In their book, Dines and Jensen complain -- and hold on for a big shock -- “…women in the videos in our sample never said no and were always immediately ready for sexual activity.” Most astonishingly, women “…are expected to express pleasure during sex through facial expression and moaning.” And then, hang on for another shocker: “Women…were typically dressed in clothing that maximized the visibility of their bodies, such as low-cut blouses and short, tight skirts.” And, finally, “Anything the man did to the woman was depicted as producing intense pleasure in the woman, and everything the woman did to the man also made her orgasmic.”

Are these people retarded? What man wants to watch a video showing a fat woman in a housedress who always has her period? It’s fantasy, ladies. What’s next, attacking chick flicks on the grounds they inaccurately depict male sexuality since they always end with the guy proposing, not suggesting that he and the girlfriend have a threesome with her best friend?

Like all radical feminists, Dines and Jensen claim they’re only looking out for women (literally a dirty job in their case, since it requires watching piles of porn). In reality, feminist lies and disinformation usually hurt those the feminists profess to protect. A classic example is the phony-baloney claim that one in four college women get raped, widely circulated by feminists whose careers depend upon convincing white, upper-middle-class women that they’re victims. Luckily, one white, upper-middle-class woman, Kate Roiphe, smelled something in the one-in-four statistic, writing, “If 25 percent of my women friends were really being raped, wouldn’t I know it?” Of course she would. Of course we all would. Yet, as Roiphe’s punishment for daring to even question the statistic, Dines suggested to Newsweek that Roiphe was just trying to suck up to the “white-male patriarchy,” calling Roiphe “a traitor” and “the Clarence Thomas of women.”

It turns out Mary Koss, the Kent State psych professor who directed the study, got her statistics from responses to questions like “Have you ever given in to sex play when you didn’t want to because you were overwhelmed by a man’s continual arguments and pressure?” Sure, a “yes” could mean you were a rape victim -- or, maybe, that you were simply a victim of your own weak will: “Oh fuck, we could sit around arguing for an hour, or I could just blow him.” And take the question “Have you ever had sexual intercourse when you didn’t want to because a man gave you alcohol or drugs?” Let’s be real: If a woman’s passed out on the floor, and a bunch of guys have sex with her, sure that’s rape. If, however, she simply has one-too-many Long Island Iced Teas, and does something she later regrets, is that rape, or is it just…bad judgment?

Researchers who used sound scientific methods came up with much lower figures than Koss; for example, the finding by the University of Washington’s Margaret Gordon showing 1 in 50 women is a rape victim. Truth-in-feminism advocate Hoff Sommers notes the paucity of headlines generated by researchers like Gordon, who based their statistics on solid data. Gordon described pressure from “really avid feminists…trying to get me to say that things were worse than they really are,” but refused to budge from what good data told her was the truth.

Hoff Sommers also references New York magazine reporter Peter Hellman’s 1990 investigation into rumors of a rape outbreak at Columbia University. Upon investigation, he found only two rapes were reported to the Columbia campus police that year, and fewer than one thousand on college campuses across the entire country -- which works out to fewer than one-half of one rape per campus. Nevertheless, Columbia was pressured by feminists to install an expensive rape crisis center at the university. Hoff Sommers quotes Hellman describing a typical Saturday night for the three peer counselors sitting around at the center: “Nobody called; nobody came.”

So, while Dines professes to be acting in women’s best interest, Katie Roiphe, in doubting the “one in four” statistic, was actually the one best serving women –- calling into question the pervasive campus rape hysteria. Sounding the alarm when there’s little need for an alarm, or such a loud and persistent alarm, comes with a price. It means deflecting attention and funding from where it’s really needed; for example, in preventing the very real risk that homeless inner-city women will be victims of violent sexual assault -- a topic which doesn’t gather quite the crowd as does fomenting unnecessary fear of men on a campus of coddled women. As for the real issue in pornography -- women and children in the developing world being sold into sex slavery -- the victim feminists can’t worry so much about that; they’ve got a “Take Back The Night” march across campus.

Who do we really have to fear? Legal scholar and ACLU president Nadine Strossen points to “the feminist procensorship movement.” In her book, Defending Pornography – Free Speech, Sex, and the Fight for Women’s Rights, Strossen explains, “Women’s rights are far more endangered by censoring sexual images than they are by the sexual images themselves. Women do not need the government’s protection from words and pictures. We do need, rather, to protect ourselves from any government infringement upon our freedom and autonomy, even – indeed, especially – when it is allegedly ‘for our own good.’”

In other words, Dines, Jensen, and the “Big Sister”-hood are the real victimizers here: pseudo-intellectual thugs who demonize men, infantilize women, and use the media to beat up anyone who dares question the unsupported contentions they pass off as truth. In reality, you don’t protect women by convincing them they’re victims, but by telling them they’re powerful enough to protect themselves, teaching them how, and insisting they do it. You teach women they have choices, and must be personally responsible for those they make. And, you celebrate critical thinking and truth-seeking over blind acceptance of “the facts.” Only by throwing off the yoke of victimhood can women alert themselves to real dangers instead of busying themselves with phony ones -- those that pay the salaries of Dines and Jensen, and give them a level of status they probably couldn’t attain any other way.

Posted by aalkon at May 11, 2007 1:32 PM


Good stuff.

Posted by: doombuggy at May 11, 2007 3:28 AM

Hustler is actually the only publication in LA that shows any interest in publishing my writing. And I have to tell you, as Cathy Seipp (who was paid rather handsomely for writing for Penthouse for a number of years) and I used to say to each other, if you want to see real exploitation, write for a women's magazine.

Amy: Am I misremembering that Cathy Seipp also once said, nevertheless, that writing for Hustler would be crossing her personal Rubicon?

I've read some pretty decent - if self-serving - arguments by women who write for adult men's mags and I always wondered whether one totted up a qualitative difference between an X mag and an XXX mag - or whether it was simply a matter of taste?

Posted by: Jody Tresidder at May 11, 2007 4:53 AM

Amy, wow! You are so clever. Thanks for a good read!

Posted by: Brenda at May 11, 2007 6:09 AM

Here's the piece:

An excerpt:

My friend Amy Alkon writes for Hustler regularly and likes it and enjoys the fast and fair way they pay her, and I certainly have no problems with her decision. But for me, Hustler crosses a line. They asked me to write for them several years ago but it wasn't hard to say no.

And while, as a girl, I'm not interested in the pictures in Hustler, I'm a fierce advocate for free speech, and I agree with Strossen above.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at May 11, 2007 6:16 AM

Thanks Amy,
I'm relieved I had a passingly accurate recall of Cathy Seipp's point.

Naked capitalism and free speech often make a cute couple!

(I'm not outraged by the existence of Hustler either, just a little squeamish.)

Posted by: Jody Tresidder at May 11, 2007 7:08 AM

The one consistent thing about porn which is geared towards men, is that the women always appear to be very aroused and orgasmic. This means that it is important for men that women enjoy the experience. This totally contradicts the concept that the victim-feminists have, that men are all basically rapists.

The only drawback that I've experienced is that guys have to unlearn the incorrect techniques they pick up from watching porn. You have to show them how the female body actually works, and some are a little resistant to admitting that everything they know is wrong. If you let them know that they either do things the way you want, or they can go home and jerk off, they eventually come around.

Posted by: Chrissy at May 11, 2007 7:12 AM

A friend of mine was starting out as a freelance writer and she was a feminist. She was so happy when her first article was going to be published in a mainstream woman’s magazine. What she didn’t know that the magazine was one of Larry Flynt’s mainstream periodicals published under LFP, Inc. Until I provided the information and watched her involuntarily crossing the Rubicon of principles versus paying the rent. Well, the rent was paid that month. It was my little contribution in assisting an educated woman from the strident nature of gender feminism to a more pro-sex variety.

Posted by: Joe at May 11, 2007 7:21 AM

"It was my little contribution in assisting an educated woman from the strident nature of gender feminism to a more pro-sex variety..."

Well, I hope your previously "so happy" feminist friend walloped you with her hemp handbag for undermining her first professional thrill as a freelance, Joe.

Posted by: Jody Tresidder at May 11, 2007 7:52 AM

This is a really well-written article, and I happen to agree with your points. This is a point of view which needs more exposure (HEE!).

Posted by: Melissa G at May 11, 2007 8:16 AM

“…women in the videos in our sample… are expected to express pleasure during sex through facial expression and moaning.”

The one consistent thing about porn which is geared towards men, is that the women always appear to be very aroused and orgasmic.

Dines and Jensen must have sampled better quality porn than I used to watch. I always thought the women looked completely bored. Any mainstream R flick had sex scenes where the actress did a better job of simulating enjoyment.

Posted by: Rex Little at May 11, 2007 8:18 AM

Second paragraph in my comment above should also be in italics. Don't know what happened to the tags.

Posted by: Rex Little at May 11, 2007 8:21 AM

Oh, she has had her cross moments with me in the past, Jody. I tend to leave memorable impressions on people and they reciprocate through leaving their own. In some cases, dents and bruises on yours truly.

Posted by: Joe at May 11, 2007 9:50 AM

I wrote for Hustler once and found them nothing but professional.

Never written for a women's magazine (other than Vogue, which picked up a story I'd done for another publication). My screw-overs came from a comedy magazine and the "alternative" press.

Posted by: Kevin at May 11, 2007 10:05 AM

Congratulations on the nomination Amy. While the pictures in Hustler certainly don't appeal to me, I've always enjoyed their articles. Whether I agreed with a particular author's point of view or not, I admire the uninhibited way in which they write.

I enjoyed your article as well. I think men, most of them, anyway, do realize that porn is fantasy. I'm sure some porn victimizes women, but then I'm sure some victimizes men. Some people are just victims, and easily taken advantage of, regardless of the job they're doing.

I've got to comment on the rape on campus numbers, though. While I know 1 in 4 is high, one-half of one rape per campus is laughable. Maybe that's the number the security at various campuses reported, but I'm guessing it's not a true number.

I attended a small, expensive liberal arts university. Less than 1500 students, with something like 90 percent living on campus. In one year my suitemate was raped and I was attacked and JUST saved from being raped.

My suitemate was a freshman, her rapist a senior football player she thought was a friend. She was scared no one would believe her and didn't report it. Didn't even tell us until he'd graduated. My attacker lived down the hall in my dorm. I did report it to the Dean of Student Life after being treated at the health center for a wrenched shoulder and numerous bites and bruises. The Dean, a woman, asked me what I'd done to provoke my attacker. Umm, was watching a movie in the TV room after midnight when he came in and pounced. I was already in shock, and her attitude just pushed me further into myself. I was told the matter would be taken care of on campus, and that reporting it to the police wasn't necessary. Hell, I was 18 and scared and did what I was told. He had to work with the landscapers for a weekend.

That same year two other girls on campus were raped viciously enough to be hospitalized. Their cases were reported to the police, and the rapist, another football player, was arrested. My guess is if they hadn't been so badly hurt the police wouldn't have found out. Or maybe they were smarter than I was then and would have reported the attacks. I don't know.

Now this was 15 years or so ago, so maybe things have changed. Or maybe despite its reputation my school just sucked at caring for its students. My point is that what's "officially" reported isn't necessarily the whole truth.

Oh, and after months of putting up with my attacker's frat brothers and friends treating me like a lying whore, I had the pleasure of many apologies when, at the end of the year, he dressed in cammies (he was Marine ROTC, I heard), went to the security office, and took them hostage at knife point for a few hours.

Posted by: Kimberly at May 11, 2007 10:16 AM

"...In some cases, dents and bruises on yours truly."

I figured you had a thick skin, Joe:)

My screw-overs came from a comedy magazine and the "alternative" press.

Ain't that the bloody truth, Kevin - slightly off-topic, you DON'T want to know what stuffy old Reader's Digest pay freelancers. I've never had the pleasure myself, but I was making mildly rude remarks to a friend who did some bullshitty science "lite" stuff for RD and their rates make even Penthouse look peanuts. (I've just checked - it doesn't appear to have anything to do with Larry Flynt either.)

Posted by: Jody Tresidder at May 11, 2007 10:30 AM

Maybe this should go with the other blog post, but Prager once said something neat about the bookworm feminist belief that submissive depiction in porn was yet another way that women are oppressed. He said go look at gay porn: The little fellows in there play in settings just as stupid and submissive as anything in straight stuff. Masculinity is the same wherever you go... Women shouldn't take it personally.

This is what bugged me about Anon's shoulder rides yesterday, too. There's a strain of sexual naivete and cowardice in academe. I think it includes the feminists who Amy's talking about in this post, and it includes the people who trained Anon's divorce counselor. They think masculinity is yucky, like something from a weird corner under the hood of the 1997 Tercel. In the rhetorical realm, they argue that it doesn't exist except as a political construct. And in the political realm, they struggle to suppress it, as by not letting fathers touch daughters... As if maybe it would take the hint and just go away, so that a golden generation of single mothers could elect that nice, slow-talkin', sweater-wearin', Tipper-lovin' Al Gore and get on with things.

If you think divorce is a problem (and I think it's the worst thing happening these generations, far worse than global warming or health care policy), this kind of thinking should be explicitly resisted. Men know about the mysteries of femininity. Well, it's not that they understand, but they know what's expected of them to handle it. They have to make nice with her (irritating) friends, listen to talk about feelings, be a responsible father to the kids, and not be too obnoxious about checking out other women when they're in public. And these were the same rules (or insights) that they needed to observe a hundred years ago. We know how to tame masculinity.

Feminine wisdom seems to have been derailed by the GI bill. So much was changing in feminine life after the war that they lost track of the core of masculine nature that they need to make peace with. And they do need to make peace. If we're going to bring Mohammed Atta and his seventy-two virgins online in the 21st century, we're all going to need to move with clarity about this stuff.

Was that high-falutin' enough for you? Joe? Eric? Everybody? Jody? Just let me know...

Posted by: Crid at May 11, 2007 11:01 AM

I think you've got the makings of a lovely Reader's Digest piece there, Cridlet.

Posted by: Jody Tresidder at May 11, 2007 11:07 AM

Attn: Mr. Gregg, Ops Sup.
Re: A clue

It takes forever (well, 20 sec.) to load individual comment pages from home blog page. But once one's loaded, the neighbors load instantly through the "«Previous|Home|Next»" dialog.

Posted by: Crid at May 11, 2007 11:10 AM

Still do. Weathered under the hot M.E. sun

I do enjoy testing women who must inform me that they are feminists. My response is: "Oh, that is an interesting hobby." It's my little way of testing them on how dedicated they are to the cause. Results vary.

Posted by: Joe at May 11, 2007 11:12 AM

Heh heh, that's funny, Joe.

And Crid, thanks -- I know it's been slow, and I don't know why. Just e-mailed your comment above to Gregg.

Might be server (1and1) and might be MT (my blog software), but I'm betting it's 1and1.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at May 11, 2007 11:14 AM

> a lovely Reader's Digest piece


Also, that "message to my sons" blog post you commented on at mefi was about the weirdest piece of shit I've ever seen on the World Wide Web.

Everybody have a great weekend!

Posted by: Crid at May 11, 2007 11:15 AM

Perfecto, Crid. My sentiments exactly.

Posted by: Joe at May 11, 2007 11:33 AM

Don't get the ref, Crid?

Posted by: Jody Tresidder at May 11, 2007 12:46 PM

Ref? I'm not even on the court. I have a babychild's hatred of ballgames played over my head.

Posted by: Crid at May 11, 2007 1:15 PM

No, no Crid - the mefi message to sons thing?

(It kind of shrivelled my spleen to think I'd written some excessively weird shit over there when I wasn't at all sure what you meant? My ref to a "ref" was nothing to do with ballgames - just meant your reference!)

Posted by: Jody Tresidder at May 11, 2007 1:27 PM

You and I are too hip for each other's rooms. Will review the mefi later, gotta thing this afternoon.

Posted by: Crid at May 11, 2007 1:42 PM

Congratulations, Amy!!! Thanks for posting the excerpt, brilliant as always (and I loved the second paragraph).

Posted by: soleil at May 11, 2007 1:47 PM

Thanks, Crid.

(Be kind if/when you do, okay? Wish I'd bloody used a different name over there. Stupidstupidstupid!)

Posted by: Jody Tresidder at May 11, 2007 1:47 PM

Thank you so much, Soleil.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at May 11, 2007 2:18 PM

Great piece, no pun intended.

Now when I tell my wife I only read Penthouse for the articles maybe she'll believe me.

Posted by: Trickish Knave at May 11, 2007 2:47 PM

Just to add a bit of clarification (or confusion.) I wasn't sure if I should mention it or not, but though I am sure she thought of herself as a feminist, I think the divorce mediator's issue had more to do with the cross around her neck than did her feminism.

(It didn't help that my ex complained I gave my daughter the evil shoulder ride at the synagogue, and left me to clarify that it was in the social hall during a party and not during the Silent Prayer on Yom Kippur.)

Posted by: anon at May 11, 2007 2:54 PM

Speaking as a feminist, a fattie in a loose-fitting dress, and someone who's on her period (It's a trifecta!) I have to say I'm not bothered by pornography at all. The kinds of folks feminists who oppose porn end up aligning themselves with are far more dangerous to women's welfare than Tap That Ass #36. Christian fundamentalists wouldn't stop at taking our copies of that new Jenna Jamison movie; no, next would be birth control, Head Start, sex ed, WIC, abortion rights, science in the public schools, AIDS research and prevention programs, and nearly every conceivable public policy change that could take this country right back to...well, where Saudi Arabia and Iran are right now.

Compared to living in the Kingdom, I'll take Big Boob Bangaroo #7 anyday.

Posted by: Rebecca at May 11, 2007 2:57 PM

Rebecca, that is often how I feel about non-Jews that are so quick to call themselves proud friends of Israel. I think I am a proud friend of Israel. But I harbor suspicion that when non-Jews are so adamant about it that they are working on a completely different agenda than I am, and that I might appear on that agenda without knowing it.

Posted by: anon at May 11, 2007 3:30 PM

You're completely right, anon. Many American Christian fundamentalists are pro-Israel simply because (according to their beliefs) Israel has to exist in order for the Second Coming to happen. Once their Big Magic Friend in the Sky shows up, all bets are off. They won't give a fuck about the Jews. And let's face it, deep down in their hearts they really don't now.

Posted by: Rebecca at May 11, 2007 4:57 PM

> Wish I'd bloody used
> a different name

You are so busted...

Posted by: Crid at May 11, 2007 5:18 PM

> Might be server (1and1)
> and might be MT (my blog
> software), but I'm betting

Better your wager than mine. I didn't mean to be snarky about the 'clue'. There are a thousand reasons why a blog might be slow, and I thought Gregg might want to know about a technical detail from the customer side of things. But I think it's great that it's a tall guy who has to work the math to figure out what the problem is.

> I wasn't at all sure
> what you meant

Jody, it wasn't your comment, it's the blog post you were commenting on:

I'm OK with the Thompson part --I sent flowers to the funeral and got a polite card from his family. But it's spectacularly weird to express to toddler children how they're supposed to respond to an imaginary blowjob opportunity as teenagers in some future decade, like the the parents would have no say in the development of the kid's morality in the meantime. That's just fuckin' strange.

It's just sick. The parents are saying "We know we'll be old fogies when you need to know this, but we used to be young and cute and horny and...."

(Also, and truly parenthetically, it's notable that the parents of toddler girls didn't leave a web-browsable time capsule for their daughters. Isn't it?)

This is no less pathetic than parents in the 50's taking their kids to John Wayne movies to instill virtue. These blogposters are being even more control-freaky than their parents. I remember when Howard Stringer took over CBS News in the late 80's or early 90's... Whenever it happened, it was obvious to everyone in the world of telecommunications that CBS' glory days were over. Stringer had a good line for the business press who interviewed him, implicitly contrasting Edward R. Murrow with the stars of Knot's Landing, over whom he might have imagined supervising: "You don't get to pick the decade."

The magic word is boundaries. I don't have kids, but I have this strong belief that sexual expression is where every generation --in fact, every individual-- makes a break from what came before, no matter how excellent or twisted it was.

It's five --no, ten-- kinds of pathetic to see parents try to be backslapping buddies with their children in this way. But we can be confident that when the kids (eventually) read the blog post, they won't be paying attention. I'm reminded of a recent comment from a happy Hitchens about his oblivious children: "They're waiting for me to die!" Childless I may be, but as a boomer, I'm embarrassed for that blog post, because it's a boundary violation.

> Israel has to exist in
> order for the Second
> Coming to happen.

I was raised in the hinterland and named for a minister in the Methodist church (my grandfather): No one has ever said such a thing to me. I'm not saying such people aren't out there, but they're not a voting bloc you need to worry about.

Posted by: Crid at May 11, 2007 7:40 PM

Terrific, Crid.

(Thanks for letting me off...I mean it!).

Posted by: Jody Tresidder at May 11, 2007 8:33 PM

no prob.

1. You're the one who actually has children.

2. You deleted your own comments from the mefi stack, which undercut any offensive posture!

Posted by: Crid at May 11, 2007 8:44 PM

Methodists are not big on the Rapture, Dispensationalist, Premillennialism or any of the other nihilistic fixations derived from the Pentecostals faith. They are hung on that whole Grace thingy.

"I'm not saying such people aren't out there, but they're not a voting bloc you need to worry about."

Actually, the numbers of people who ascribe to a literal interpretation of their particular faith are declining. Especially in the modern secular Western and Eastern nations of the world. A startling change on the fastest growing belief system around the world is agnosticism and atheism:

-1900: 3.2 million agnostics and atheists around the world.
-1970: 697 million.
-2000: 918 million.

On the average of 8.5 million new converts to disbelief a year.

I would recommend reading Gregory Paul's "Cross-National Correlations of Quantifiable Societal Health with Popular Religiosity and Secularism in the Prosperous Democracies":

Or the condensed article by Gregory Paul and Phil Zuckerman called "Why the Gods Are Not Winning":

Posted by: Joe at May 11, 2007 9:02 PM

Well, I thought the Jody comments were deleted.... I bungled the text search... Never mind, the point is this!...

Mefi is a great site. Thanks for your attention o this matter.

Posted by: Crid at May 11, 2007 9:55 PM

..that did give me pause, don't think I've ever deleted a thing. (Remember though Crid, it's cheap to stoop to conquer...she said feebly.)

Posted by: Jody Tresidder at May 12, 2007 4:27 AM

I fucked up! It was late on a Friday! I'm sorry! I feel bad.

If you ever hear of anyone writing about about Thompson in My Lai, be sure and speak up.

Posted by: Crid at May 12, 2007 9:19 AM

(And be sure and buy a copy for your sons!)

Posted by: Crid at May 12, 2007 9:21 AM

Writing a book, I meant. Golly, I need proofreading lessonz.

Posted by: Crid at May 12, 2007 9:24 AM

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