The trans writer's work is full of porn-inspired misogyny
Pornography drips with misogyny. Teenage boys can easily find scenes of rape and sexual torture on their phones, changing the very idea of what constitutes “normal” sexual practices. It’s so nasty that you’d imagine prestigious institutions would run a mile from anyone who publicly enthuses about it. Not any more, evidently.
All a porn enthusiast has to do is link their habit with the magic word “transgender” and it is instantly transformed into something radical and progressive. It’s a form of cultural blindness so widespread that an author and academic who claims that violent porn persuaded him to “change” his sex has this week been awarded a Pulitzer Prize for literary criticism. “Sissy porn did make me trans,” Andrea Long Chu, formerly Andrew, once wrote.
Chu writes book reviews for the publications New York and Vulture. Whatever ideas there are about being female appear to come from pornography and popular culture, including an admission that transition was “for gossip and compliments, lipstick and mascara, for crying at the movies, for being someone’s girlfriend…”
Chu clearly has a very distorted idea of what being a woman is, conflating the idea with being passive and victimised in language so extreme that it’s distasteful to quote. The writer describes being a “sad, pretentious boy, furious about rape, hopelessly addicted to pornography”, which he would look at for hours in the bathroom while his girlfriend was asleep. Apologies to sensitive readers, but what Chu learned from this experience is that “getting fucked makes you female because fucked is what a female is”.
Vulture describes Chu as having a “one-of-a-kind mind”, as well as “prose that swoops and soars like an Olympian”. Were they thinking of “Pornography is what it feels like when you think you have an object, but really the object has you. It is therefore a quintessential expression of femaleness.” Or perhaps it was when Chu described the anus as “a kind of universal vagina through which femaleness can always be accessed”?
Whatever is going on here, and it owes a great deal to the sub-genre known as “sissy porn”, it has nothing to do with actual women. Porn is a huge commercial operation that makes money by defining and controlling women’s bodies. It offers not just arousal but an ideology which integrates violence into sex, so much so that young women increasingly report demands for so-called “rough sex”, including strangulation.
It’s a perfect fit for the most extreme excesses of gender ideology, whose philosophy, like that of porn, is based on the idea of womanhood as performance. What they have in common is the idea that being female involves high heels, lipstick — and passivity. It exists in a universe far removed from the concerns of most women, including the threat of sexual and domestic violence that is a feature of many women’s everyday lives.
At one level, the awarding of a Pulitzer to a minor academic with a back catalogue of cringe-inducing utterances about women is just another example of an institution destroying its own reputation. But it also demonstrates the way in which gender ideology is destroying critical faculties, allowing misogyny into the mainstream in a prettified new costume.