Who is James Deen? No, not James Dean, the movie actor who died six decades ago in a car crash, but the other James Deen, the porn star and feminist heartthrob.
For some of us feminism is the gift that keeps on giving. You recall when feminists insisted that they wanted to be respected for their minds. Now, they have gone out and idolized a porn star whose primary talent was his oversized phallic appendage.
It doesn’t happen all that often that women become fetishists. Normally, the task is reserved for the male of the species. We can thank feminism for having taught women to worship the almighty phallus. One suspects that it’s the next best thing to a dildo.
Feminists have been saying that they loved, adored and idolized Deen because he declared that he was a feminist. Given how difficult it is to find a man who will take that leap into the ideological void, feminists happily embraced Deen. They might not have been able to wrap their minds around the abusive but consenting sex he had with women on screen, but they thrilled to the prospect of wrapping themselves around his gigantic phallic appendage.
Good to see that feminists, who insist that they do not want to be taken to be sex objects, idolize a man whose primary qualification is his large schlong. Good thinking, girls!
Now, feminists like Ann Friedman and Amanda Hess are distressed because several women have accused a man who made his living simulating rough sex with comely porn actresses of having stepped over the boundary and sexually assaulted them off camera.
One notes with dismay that when one Bill Clinton was accused to rape and sexual harassment, many feminists dismissed the charges as politically motivated. So little do they care about what happened to the women who accused Bill Clinton that they now want to put his enabling wife in the oval office.
If you think I’m kidding, read what Ann Friedman wrote in New York Magazine. Apparently, I count among the few who missed the feminist cult to James Deen:
That was right around the time Deen was starting to become known beyond the world of adult entertainment as a porn star that you’d love to hang out with (which, by implication, damned other male performers as ones you wouldn’t want to hang out with). Whether his rising star was due to his sense of humor, his boy-next-door looks, his savvy use of social media, or his outspoken support of sexual consent and communication was the matter of some debate. But dozens of magazine profiles agreed: His fan base was women. Feminists pointed to him as a role model. His younger fans, known as “Deenagers,” followed him on Twitter and shared the aforementioned GIFs — despite his website requiring visitors to be 18 or over.
Let’s not go all dainty and delicate here. Feminists did not just want to hang out with James Deen. They wanted to be impaled on his you-know-what.
Friedman says that feminists made Deen their role model. Huh? Just when I was about to respect feminists for their minds, Friedman offers a perfectly incoherent thought. What does it mean for a woman to make a male porn star her role model? Does it mean that they are suffering from a chronic case of penis envy? Have they read too much Freud or suffered too much therapy?
Perhaps I am being unfair. Perhaps they want James Deen to be a role model for the men they would want to hook up with. If that is true, that means that they want a man who has had sex with hundreds if not thousands of women. Does that make sense to you?
Once Deen was accused of rape, all bets were off. Worse yet, from Friedman’s point of view, the assaults happened on the workplace. That would be on a porn set.
Without having any specialized knowledge of the world of porn, I will guess that porn shows a certain amount of simulated violence against women. Women get slapped around; they get hit; they experience something that can easily resemble an assault. Of course, they are consenting. They are getting paid… usually more than their male co-stars… and yet, they are not exactly living out anyone’s romantic fantasy.
James Deen is not a major porn star because he is kinder and gentler.
Porn stars live within the world of male fantasy. Let’s underscore this point. Porn is largely a male domain. The audience is male. True enough, feminists have tried to invade the domain, but, by and large, porn is not made for women. Women’s erotica is more like romance fiction and less like gang rape and bukkake.
True enough, it’s all play acting, but the organs and the bodies are real. The bruises that women receive from being slapped and spanked are not, I presume, cosmetic.
Of course, by today’s standards Deen is presumed guilty, no matter what. Just as Bill Clinton is presumed innocent, no matter what.
Friedman notes that Deen committed workplace violence:
Several of the reported assaults happened on set, in the workplace.
Deen’s followers-- the ones who were drooling over his every onscreen slap, who believed that Deen’s virile organ was the closest thing to a totally organic strap-on-- were especially distressed.
We feel their pain… sort of.
Anyway, Friedman explains how feminists have felt that their love has been unrequited, that the man of their dreams turned out to be … a vulgar and common porn star:
This news has been particularly upsetting to some of his admirers because Deen was a porn actor that women thought they could feel good about — if only because they knew lots of other women were watching him, too. “The bar he had cleared was not set particularly high,” writes Amanda Hess at Slate. “To me, it was more impressive that these women had surveyed a pornographic landscape made for men and managed to pluck him from the scenery, pick up these signals, and build their own fandom around him.” He never claimed the feminist mantle himself — his fans did that for him. "I wouldn't consider myself a feminist," he toldElle earlier this year. "At the end of the day I want everyone to have the respect that they deserve and to respect people's civil liberties and rights. I don't know, maybe I am a fucking feminist!" The equivocation didn’t really matter. Jezebel called him “totally dreamy” in 2013.
One can only imagine what these Jezebelles dream about… but maybe we should not go there.
Note well, we no longer ask what women want. We are concerned with what feminists want. If you missed the transformation, you have been asleep.
So, what do feminists want? It’s not Prince Charming. Presumably, it’s not a man whose mind they can respect. Friedman explains:
Feminists have roundly rejected the Prince Charming myth when it comes to romantic partners, but seem to end up looking for men who exceed their expectations, anyway. Deen was just one of many male celebrities we have been quick to venerate for their supposedly decent feminist politics.
They want men who will say they are feminists:
Women are desperate for prominent, positive male-feminist examples. But saying the right things doesn’t make you an icon. It makes you someone who’s in line with the mainstream politics of the moment. Yet, even if you don't call yourself a feminist, we're happy to offer generous interpretations of your interview comments about how you love strong women.
Feminists are horrified to discover that some men will say anything to get in a woman’s pants. If feminists just learned this yesterday, one can only believe that they have been watching too much porn and dealing with too few men.
Are they so desperate for male attention and affirmation that they will drop to their knees any time a man declares himself to be a feminist? Did they ever imagine that their ideological zeal was blinding them to the truth and attracting all of the wrong kinds of men? Were they thinking with their minds or with their genitalia?
Time for a bit of soul searching, especially about men who say they are feminists:
“Thinking about my own dating history, some of my most fucked up relationships were with men who talked the talk,”writes queer pornographer and writer Kitty Stryker. “Men who center social justice as part of their core identity can become very dangerously defensive if their actions are critiqued. They become dependent on the women in their lives to cover for them so they don’t lose their feminist cred — and so they demand our silence.”
Or we’re so distracted when we hear men say the right words about feminism that we don't bother to assess the behavior that accompanies them.
And then there is this curious remark, symptomatic of Friedman’s own blindness to the truth:
The fact is, Deen is well-liked, whereas women who work in the sex industry are typically distrusted and reviled. I find myself asking today whether our pseudo-feminist veneration of Deen made it even harder for those women to speak their truth.
Distrusted and reviled by whom? In truth, they are distrusted and reviled by other women. They normally make more money than men and are the bigger stars. Many of them are major draws on the strip club circuit.
If all of those feminists out there are lusting after James Deen’s virile organ, aren’t they all identifying with the female porn stars who are the on-screen objects of his erotic ministrations? What does that make them, if not self-loathing?