Getting in on the Action

August 14, 2013

Everyone is talking about this song. Maybe you’ve already heard it.  The song is called ‘On Fraternity,’ and the debate, in a super abbreviated form, is about the way male musicians “do” feminism…which is also a longer conversation about people of privilege trying to be allies. Anyways, I actually find the song kind of sweet.  I also find it very brave that he is calling himself a feminist and that he’s opening up publicly about his own sexual abuse in interviews. I mean I don’t wanna lead a parade for every guy who isn’t afraid to say ending sexism is important to him. But like I said, I find the song kind of sweet and endearing. And, truth be told, I like it. That is just my gut reaction to it.  It’s so interesting that what one person finds offensive another likes or loves or is indifferent too.

More interesting to me than the song itself is that his original moniker was ‘Dead Girlfriends’.  I guess it is supposed to be a Dworkin reference, but I just don’t get how if you care about the women in your audience (and I think this guy really does) why oh why would you name your project ‘Dead Girlfriends’ ? Because you think ALL women read Dworkin and think her work is awesome? It’s just weird. I’ve read Dworkin and didn’t even get the reference. I think he knows it was an unfortunate choice and that’s why he changed the name of his project to ‘Default Genders’.

Getting back to Dworkin though, I was never a fan of her politics. She came to Washington state when I was in school there and tried to drum up support for this law that would require all sex workers to register with the cops. She wanted them/us to be fingerprinted!!!!!!And to give the cops our address’!!! Which is brilliant right? As someone who stripped my way through college I really wanted the cops to know where I fucking lived so one of them could come to my house and rape me, afterall, who would be believed, a cop or a stripper? Also what woman who is working as a prostitute is gonna walk into the police station and say “I’ve come to register myself as a prostitute?”

When Dworkin spoke about this at my college she acted like sex workers needed this helping hand because none of us understood what we were doing. To be completely clear I NEVER saw stripping as empowering, but I did know what I was doing. A  gross job that paid the bills. I think she saw the law as a deterrent to sex work and also a way to “keep women safe”? Her views seemed super paternalistic to me and also she was SO incredibly obsessed with pornography. She began her talk by describing really hideous porn images in great detail, in this gruesomely long way. I stepped to the mic during the question period and told her I was paying my way tuition by stripping and that I thought the law would actually hurt me and not help me. She told me, in front of a packed lecture hall, that I was misguided, would be haunted forever by being a stripper, and that it would ruin my life. It seriously felt like she was a priest telling me I was going to hell. Or someone giving me a sexual death sentence while patting me on the head.

Getting back to the guy who wrote a song that seems to be sympathetic with women called ‘On Fraternity’ under the name ‘Dead Girlfriends’ and putting it out on an ep called ‘Stop Pretending’. Has anyone noticed that the title ‘Stop Pretending‘ was already used by perhaps the best all girl garage group of all time, The Pandora’s ??? So in addition to everything else, dude accidentally ripped off both a song and album title by an amazing all girl band.  I mean it’s almost like a crazy psychedelic feminist musical nightmare. Though again, I do like the song and appreciate what he’s trying to do. I hope this whole thing doesn’t deter his further experiments because he has really got people talking and blogging …he got me to write something and I have been seriously slacking on my blog! I also just want to applaud him for putting himself out there and making mistakes, because how else is anything left of bland ever going to happen?

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