Is it Possible to Abolish the Patriarchy and Pornstitution?

What do we mean by using the word “possible”?

There are several things we could mean.

Is the scenario logically possible? That is, is there a logical contradiction in proposing the world without the patriarchy?

In other words, can we imagine a possible world where there is no patriarchy in a way that we fail to understand a possible world where there are square circles, or where two is equal to one, or that a particular flower is both green all over, and entirely not green?

I believe that a world without patriarchy is logically possible.

Is the scenario nomologically possible? That is, is the scenario possible given the current laws of nature?

Given that a world without patriarchy does not alter the speed of light, or violate the law of conservation of energy, or any other law of nature, I believe that a world without patriarchy is nomologically possible.

Now, is the scenario a real possibility? That is, is it possible to abolish patriarchy in the actual (that is- our) world?

If it is possible, does this imply that we should hope for this possibility, work towards this possibility, plan for this possibility, etc.?

Some people say that “abolishing prostitution/the patriarchy is impossible.”

What do they mean by this statement?

Surely they don’t mean it is logically impossible, and that there is a logical contradiction involved in imagining a world where women are not sold to men to be sexually used, and therefore cannot come to be.

Surely they don’t mean that it is nomologically impossible- that is, that ending pornstitution would contradict a law in nature and would change the gravitational constant, or super cool matter to absolute zero.

Do they mean, then, that ending prostitution is impossible in the real world, given the way it is right now?

If so, then they lack vision of what the future could become. They are presuming that because the patriarchy exists now, that it will always exist, and that because women are treated like chattel now, that they will always be so treated. In other words, these folks lack imagination.

Or, perhaps they mean to make a stronger claim- namely that there is no way the world as it is now could change in order to free women from sexual slavery.

It may be impossible to completely end prostitution right now given the existence of the patriarchy, and the concentration of power in male hands.

HOWEVER, we do not have enough information about how the world could change, just by observing the way our world happens to be now. If that is their argument, then it is weak indeed.

I believe that it is possible, sometime in the future, to abolish the patriarchy, and remove mandatory male access to women.

In stating that a world without prostitution/patriarchy is possible, I am not stating that I know how to bring this world about. I’m merely stating that I have a vision of the world without constant male access to women’s bodies. I don’t know what the long way forward looks like. But I believe it is possible. Dee Graham recommends that we use science fiction, and our imaginations to think of what such a world would be like. In reading The Holdfast Chronicles, Herland , and the Daughters of a Coral Dawn series, I’m expanding my vision to include a world outside of male dominance and power.

Men do not define what is possible, and by dreaming of the long way forward now, we find the power to fight against male power today.

About smash
Women's liberationist.

20 Responses to Is it Possible to Abolish the Patriarchy and Pornstitution?

  1. Mary Sunshine says:

    One obvious way to eliminate patriarchy and prostitution within a certain area of the planet is to create very large male-free spaces. Like, no males within a 500 mile radius.

    Theory is great. The gnarls are in the logistics.

  2. This post is superb! I hate it when people say, “patriarchy has been with us forever. So we should just make it kinder and gentler.” The truth is, it HASN’T been with us forever. In fact, for most of human history, patriarchy as a system has not existed nor has pornography (a subset of the patriarchal system). If patriarchy has only been around for a minute bit of human experience, why is it impossible for us to exist without it?

    When people say that prostitution is the world’s oldest profession, it’s been around forever, so let’s just make it nicer, I ask them: Would you say, “we’ve prosecuted Jews forever. That’s just how we’ve always done it. But we can do it in a kinder fashion next time around”? This logic doesn’t work unless you’re attempting to justify a practice.

    • smash says:

      Thanks WOAJ, you are so right. Even if patriarchy had been with us forever, moral beings are capable of making changes in the world to bring about a more just society. The pro-porn pro-male dominance individuals are, as you say, attempting to justify practices.

      I love your Jewish analogy, because in both cases, a minority is oppressed. The thing is, the case of women is not seen because it is so prevalent.

      Thanks to all for your comments.

  3. LOVE this post! nothing like the radical’s ability to simplify something to essentials and really get at the core.

    i too agree that it IS possible and that the soution lies in creating womyn’s spaces. and yes for at least a very long period of transition those spaces need to be womyn’s ONLY spaces. and those spaces need to NOT be temporary. my feeling, after many years of trying to figure out how to get back/forward to that place/time/space where we lived in a matriarchal, matrilineal, matrifocal society is that the answer lies in clansteads. so my personal decision is to direct my energies over the long term towards creating a matriarchal clanstead for myself and my children. my eldest daughter, now 19 also wishes to do this and it is in her long term plans to join her energies to mine in this enterprise when the time is right. (i don’t have enough land right now, just a house with a large yard in a small town. i foresee purchasing acreage within five years)

    I know that there are many other women who want this. i talk to them online all the time. the trick/hard part is helping thm to see 1/ we need to maintain communication/co-operation between our outposts/oases as we build over the next decades and 2/ this MUST be done as separatists. number 2 is the harder and yet more important part IMHO. if nigel is allowed to take over it all goes to shit again!

    • smash says:

      Thanks CB for your kind words :). I love that you and your daughter are on the same page with this plan. It’s very exciting!

      • well I am now going to expand the scope of my kind words because I have gone back and read all your posts. great reading! i especially enjoyed the exchange between you and Katie S in the comments on your first/last post. (i read backwards) I am going to share your blog with my daughter so I can predict you may get a few more kind words.

        as seems to be the consensus on the majority of the radfemblogs that I am trying to read my way through, it really DOES suck that none of us are able to meet other radical/actual feminists in real life. i feel this too, but at least I have my eldest daughter! here’s hoping i do so well with the 4 younger kids i am raising by myself right now! especially my two sons.
        but aside from my own brood i really WANT community with other women. i miss that space from when i lived in the city and attended women only rituals. i’ve been pondering starting a womens’ spirituality/discussion/bookclub/community group in this town. perhaps i will actually get that off the ground this year? maybe a start to some good propoganda?

        • smash says:

          You are awesome- thanks for saying so!

          I really want community with other women. I’ve got a feminist book club that has been an absolutely awesome starting point. I do think it is a great place to begin sharing good propaganda- we read _Pornland_ in my book club and the women were stunned by it.

          I wish all of the feminist bloggers I know were women I knew in real life. We would have such amazing gatherings!

          I look forward to hearing what your daughter thinks- hopefully this (and many other blogs) will spark some great feminist spinning between the two of you :).

  4. spindel says:

    Excellent post. And I agree with WOAJ that it serves as a justification for patriarchy and its gynocidal institutions.
    Additionally, it is a mind-trick intended to prevent women from finding “the power to fight against male power” that you mention.

    Your post also reminded me of this Mary Daly quote from Amazon Grace:

    “I suggest that the movement-stopping, consciousness-slopping power of this illusion/delusion stems from the fact that the phallocrats, neocons, heads of corporations, et cetera subliminally and overtly spread and repeat their message that ‘things have always been like this,’ or, more precisely, ‘patriarchy has always been around.’ The implicit conclusion is ‘You can never stop it; this is how things are.’ When women buy this message, we die inside. Consciousness crumbles. We stumble around, stupefied.”

  5. Hecuba says:

    Wrong prostitution is not the world’s oldest profession – it is men’s oldest oppression of women. As regards world’s oldest profession that is agriculture. Also slavery is not now dominantly accepted as ‘inevitable and can’t be changed.’ Men who supported and profited from enslaving women, girls, men and boys claimed ‘slavery is inevitable because those enslaved aren’t human and anyway they are far better being enslaved that free and not able to support themselves.’

    Dominant views on slavery did eventually change but slavery still exists – only now it is called the Sex Industry and the enslavers are still the same – men sexually enslaving women and girls.

  6. MistressofBoogie says:

    Fuck, yeah!

  7. Four_minutes says:

    Great post! Not only do you debunk this myth clearly and categorically, your view is full of hope and optimism.
    I personally find it very disturbing when women I talk to subscribe to the idea that prostitution is the world’s oldest profession. When I point out that it’s actually the oldest profession in patriarchal society (not the world), their eyes tend to glaze over. So yes, the message has been repeated and hammered into all of our heads by all the actors listed in the Daly quote above (thanks spindel for sharing!)

  8. FCM says:

    i thought midwifery was the worlds oldest profession? i dont remember where i heard that, but its profound (and plausible) IMO. if true, its also a profound reversal to have women’s sexual slavery to men replace women healing other women reproductively (as women, including when we are used by men sexually) and to have that lie occupy that place in EVERYONES consciousness forever.

    BTW who cares if prostitution *is* the “worlds oldest profession”? what a bizarre thing to say, or to care about. why do we “know” what the oldest profession is for women, but not for men? and were women professionals before there was any such thing as professionalism? we invented it? the whole thing is bizarre.

    • smash says:

      I absolutely love the idea that midwifery is the oldest profession. I’m going to research that!

      Thanks for sharing. In philosophy we called this fallacy “argument from tradition”; meaning that just because something has been practiced in the past is no justification that is is moral or a good idea for our future. We can free ourselves form the present and the past, and dream of something better. WE do not need to be bound by male imaginations.

      • smash says:

        FCM, I didn’t mean to be condescending by using the phrase “in philosophy, we”. It came out that way, but that wasn’t my intent. Thanks!

  9. Noanodyne says:

    Great post, Smash, thank you for holding that space for believing that the end of the patriarchy is possible. Having a vision of something better gives us hope and energy and we need that. Plus, believing in a world without the existence the patriarchy is fundamental to radical feminism. We need the understanding of the patriarchy as something that can cease to exist to even be able to position it as the system that we are fighting against and proposing eradication of. If it were unchangeable, we would have no way of showing the ways in which is operates as a separate creation from just baseline human reality. But of course we do. Radical feminist theory looks at both the products of the patriarchy (like pornstitution and gender) and what life would be without those products. And that’s what makes radical feminism the most powerful force for women’s liberation.

  10. Jennie says:

    Hello hello everyone! I love this entire blog-thanks for creating it Smash! I never knew how much I hated men until I moved to a large American (I am half American) city. Evil men are everywhere! (I still live in this large city but know how to “handle myself” better. Funny how I have had to adapt to such a hostile male-dominated environment. I have been robbed-raped and sexually harrassed all of my life. I’m soo glad I found Radical Feminism. I didn’t understand why these men made my young life hell for many years! NOW I am a little bit older and plenty wiser. A world without men?? Yes please! When is the next ship leaving?! Haha! Much love to all of my RadFem sisters!! 🙂

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