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Jan 07 2006

In The Morning, In The Evening, Ain’t We Got Porn?

For the past week the Twisty inbox has been overflowing with various blurbs imparting the shocking news that men and women “use the Web differently.” Get this:

American men are more likely than women to check the weather, news, sports, political and financial information, the Pew Internet and American Life Project reported last week.

Weather and news, my ass. Who’s lookin’ at all that kiddie porn? Your mom?

The Pew Internet and American Life Project appears to have overlooked the number one use of the internet.

Remember young Masha Allen, a.k.a. “Disney World Girl,” the Russian orphan adopted and exploited by a fucktard American pornbag, hundreds of photos of whom are still floating around the internet like a vegetarian’s turds in a toilet bowl? She’s in the news again; John Kerry—remember John Kerry?— is re-exploiting her to advertise Masha’s Law, his new crowd-pleasin’ child porn bill.

John Kerry declaimed in a press conference yesterday that the penalty for illegal music downloads is stiffer than the penalty for downloading kiddie porn. It’s common knowledge that as a result of those stiff penalties, nobody rips off music on the internet anymore! No doubt Masha’s Law will have the same effect on music downloads. I mean pedophilia.

Don’t get me wrong. Notwithstanding my natural resistance to laws of any kind, I’m not totally opposed to legislation that purports to put internet child molesters behind, as TV crime show writers like to pass off as dialog, bars, or that will give their victims additional avenues of redress. My reservation is this: laws that punish aberrant behavior are good for politicians because they feed the ravenous public maw the bitter vengeance it craves, but they do nothing to address the underlying malignancy that is the growth medium for all species of exploitation. In fact, because such laws are ultimately tools of the patriarchy, they feed the malignancy. Note that the public’s fascination for imagery of frightened girls in torn negligees and wild-eyed deviants who go mano a mano with Johnny Law is reflected in the popularity of shows on the Teen Sex Slave Channel like “Law & Order: Sleazy Perv Unit.”

The malignancy to which I allude, of course, is the paradigm of dominance and submission, the Founding Principle of Patriarchy. Until it is given the heave-ho, child porn, the universal demand for which underscores the egregiously crappy status of young girls the world over, will flourish like the throbbing carcinoma in my former boob.

Which is excellent news for pornographers. Porn is the direct result of culturally-mandated misogyny. When the glazed, bloodshot eyes are poked out of the “male gaze” and women are accorded fully human status, rather than sex class status, by our oppressive patriarchal culture—i.e., never— pornography will cease to exist.

And yes, because I do not live on Mars, I am aware that boys are also exploited, so put a sock in it, ye who think giving a damn about the plight of abused girls makes me a manhater.

83 comments

  1. SneakySnu

    Yet another standing ovation for you, Twisty. A perfect analysis of the situation.

    I completely agree with you that the Amber Alerts and other such laws-as-public-practice feed the desire to see violated children and young women. Freud would definitely have something to say about a photo where the girl is wiped out, leaving only a ghostly image and our imaginations to fill in the blank.

    The question of identification with the image is an important one, too: I’m thinking of the alternating desire to dominate and desire to be dominated in looking at these images. That is, I don’t think it can be said that men, in general, desire to dominate while women desire to be dominated, even though that is the preferred cultural narrative.

  2. Ms Kate

    In the medical world it is called ‘treating a symptom’. In public health it is known as failing to address primary prevention.

    While acute responses such as amber alerts have their place, just as we need appropriate emergency care for car accident victims and such, legislatures are supposed to be making policy … and policy should address the broader issues of prevention.

    Then again, ain’t no corporation ever made money off real prevention.

  3. Pinko Punko

    Too bad all the OCD sufferers in your readership won’t be able to get past the hotel-room bedspread. Yuck, talk about DNA.

    Fine form on the post, though.

  4. Summer

    A world without porn?
    Without patriarchy-induced, male gazin’ eyes?

    I can’t even imagine what such a world might look like. Which, on a lazy Saturday morning, is really quite sad.

  5. shara

    i would say…porn as we know it would cease to exist. i think some people will still like watching other people do sexy things and some people will be into being watched while doing sexy things.

  6. Hattie

    Porn as we know it…gone the way of welfare as we know it…

  7. Mandos

    As I understand it, people apparently claim that in an equal society, images would lose their titillative effect. I’m not sure how this works.

  8. Twisty

    I apparently claim that in an equal society, “sexy,” would be meaningless. The concept is so deeply rooted in the collective consciousness as to seem absolute or inextricably entwined with or determined by biology, when in fact it is nothing but a stylized behavior rooted in the patriarchal construct of dominance and submissiveness.

  9. Tony Patti

    I’m so sick of porn that I am starting to think that extreme censorship would be preferable to having it in everyone’s face everywhere you go. Would I have ever looked at pornography if it had been a lot harder to come by?

    At the same time, I think looking at a woman’s breasts should be mainstreamed and forgotten about. The human gaze loves beauty, too, and I think the excesses of porn sexualize breasts more when they are hidden in order to identify them more strongly as porn.

    But mostly, I must remember that I really really really hate men. I really love a good man, but Men, you know, anyone who hasn’t proven himself to me as worthy, I distrust and despise. Especially the porn mongers with so little wit and imagination that all they can conceive of to entertain me is to titlllate my cave man gaze.

    As for the soulless animals who have descended to the depths of exploiting children for sexual use, I really think that we need to try total castration and hormone therapy. Can’t they be implanted with estrogen? And sitting down to pee is actually restful compared to standing, isn’t it?

    So many people fetishize male genitals by thinking it somehow unthinkable to live without them, when, in fact, I have noticed women living quite happily without them everywhere I go.

  10. Ken C.

    If Mistriss Twisty commands us, “No more dominance and submission!”, we can only obey, quivering with anticipation. When we think that getting excited by games of dominance and submission comes from more than patriarchy, we’re being so, so bad. Punish us, Twisty, punish us!

  11. Tony Patti

    Maybe we should start a game where everyone has to have a drink every time I suggest we castrate rapists. I’m sorry I’m like a broken record about this.

  12. mythago

    In the post-patriarchy we won’t find other people sexually attractive or thinking about sex as interesting? Isn’t that kind of like saying in a world where we stopped judging women on their body-fat levels, nobody will read Gourmet?

  13. Jodie

    I think you’d still find your partner delectable and attractive. But your partner wouldn’t have to play any games to be that way, and you’d be free to appreciate her/him in whatever way you deem best, without any “must be thinner, nose is too big, not blonde enough, etc.” kind of thoughts creeping in. At least that’s the way I’d hope it would work…it’s the way I appreciate people now. Our definition of attractiveness is very stringent for females but somewhat looser for males; as a middle aged woman who is beginning to look somewhat grandmotherly, I’m invisible to the world at large…but my partner finds me irresistible.

    In addition I hope it would mean that anyone could walk down the street without catcalls or other ugliness.

  14. Julia

    Good post. I can always count on Twisty to cut through the crap and get to the point.

    Even though I agree that laws won’t stop the porn problem, I think they will help. If only 1% of the garbage that uses this stuff are eliminated, well that’s 1% to the good.

    As for punishment for those who exploit children, I think that they should be put in prison with the general population. Problem solved.

    Of course, there are those who say this is a mental defect (ok…I’ll go that these guys are defective…so what?). If that is the case, then lock them in a facility to keep them away from the rest of the world. For the rest of their lives. I keep hearing they can’t prevent them from re-offending, so never let them out. That would work for me too.

  15. Mandos

    That’s highly akin to saying that we wouldn’t have “better” or “worse” senses of aesthetics. Do you also believe that aesthetics is a product entirely of domination and submission?

  16. Twisty

    Sure, on accounta money creates taste, and patriarchy creates money.

  17. Mandos

    So, to take a trivial example, it’s money that makes excrement disgusting and a flower beautiful?

  18. LMYC

    … extreme censorship would be preferable to having it in everyone’s face everywhere you go.

    The problem with this is that I don’t trust ANY government to do it. We all know what would happen — the porn isn’t censored. WOMEN are censored. Degrading images of breasts wouldn’t be censored — breasts themselves would be censored. Women’s legs, women’s hair — we’d be in burqas before you know it.

    And we’d be that way because the world can’t tell the difference between porn and a real, live woman. The problem is the fact that men equate sex with degradation because they are hierarchical little creatures and believe that if they get their docks in anyone, said recipient is automatically a loser.

    But they won’t go that route. So that leaves censorship — and pretty soon we’re blacking out the windows of houses where women live. In a world where men can’t tell the difference between porn and actual female existence, censorship means burqas, for you and for me and for your mother adn yoru daughter, and for every woman you know.

  19. LMYC

    If only 1% of the garbage that uses this stuff are eliminated, well that’s 1% to the good.

    Assuming of course that that 1% is the only effect that happens.

    I think we need to look past to the other effects that such laws have. If you win 1% and lose 20% someplace else, that’s a net loss.

  20. Rene

    Tony Patti writes:
    >

    Ah, but where do you draw the line? One person’s exploited child is another person’s nubile consensual sex partner, the seemingly willing beneficiary of “pubic rites.” Obviously, there are degrees of culpability: When a 17-year-old fucks a 14-year-old, it seems more forgivable than when a 35-year-old fucks a 12-year-old, and there are lots of twentysomethings out there who lack the emotional maturity of some precocious 12-year-olds. Lots of card-carrying NAMBLA members insist that the sex they’re having is consensual, and children sometimes act out in sexual ways. And one can’t really go by the onset of puberty, given the fact that some girls are reaching puberty now at the age of 10 or younger. A girl at my mom’s school just had a baby at the age of 11; the guy who impregnated her was also 11, or at least that’s what she said.

    Personally, as much as I hate rapists and child fuckers, I hate the idea of castration and mandatory hormone therapy even more. I am opposed to it for the same reasons that I’m opposed to the death penalty: 1) it isn’t a real deterrent; 2) innocent people are occasionally, if not often, found guilty, and there’s no way to correct a mistake if additional evidence should come to light later; and 3) it is immoral to indulge in what is obviously rank retribution.

    Rene

  21. Rene

    See, this is why I resorted to lurking, Twisty. The new “comments” section is totally confusiing to me. Although I snipped the relevant passage from the message to which I was trying to reply, it somehow disappeared. Could it be because I enclosed the quoted material in double carets? Ack. I guess I should just go back to lurking, since I’m too dumb to figure out this comment-posting deal.

    Rene

  22. Twisty

    Money permits humans to make such arbitrary distinctions. Beauty, like sexy, is a construct.

  23. Twisty

    Sorry, René. I realize the comment format is idiotic. I tried to go back to the regular old system a couple of days ago but was dee-nied. Apparently i’m stuck with it until I learn the nutty computer language that will allow me to fix it, which, let’s face it, isn’t gonna happen any time soon. Anyway, I hope you give it another try someday. Your comments are pure gold!

  24. Emma Goldman

    I’m wondering how much child-porn-loving is a result of the patriarchy, too. Would the mental defect that seems to be causing this behavior still exist and express itself the same way in a non-patriarchal society? (I’m not at ALL defending or excusing child porn or sexual exploitation, mind you; I find it despicable and loathsome.)

  25. Mandos

    So it’s an arbitrary distinction between excrement and flowers? Forgive me, but this thesis strongly stretches credulity if you wish to insist that it is patriarchy (or some system of dominance and submission) that underlies EVERY SINGLE social distinction of preference and quality.

  26. Steph

    Twisty, for me your posts underlies the fact that women really are treated like children. So we’re treated like crap and so are kids. Same fucked up patriarchy steals kids for sex and rapes women.

    And for me the issue is not about ideas of attractiveness (which you’re right are a societal construction) but systems of domination.

  27. antelope

    The Mayans (historically, I dunno about now) equated exrement with gold because they had figured out how to treat human shit so that it would become incredibly useful as fertilizer – much easier to collect than animal shit, too. You could draw a line between shit as inherently useful/beautiful and shit as the first step in producing plants that are both beautiful & edible but either way it had high cultural value.

    As for human bodies, I think we’ll always find beauty in them, but it would be SO stunningly easy to change some cultural practices so that we could learn over time to find beauty in a much wider range of types, or even, unimaginable as it might seem, in everyone. So easy, but it’s not going to happen anytime soon.

  28. Burrow

    hell yeah. and people wonder why i get so pissed off/depressed seemingly for no reason.

  29. AyMayZed

    Censorship?
    Crippling those who abuse others?

    This has wellsprings in the approach to smoking and illegal addictions that has the already-addicted being cast more and more in the ‘perpetrator’ role and getting ostracised for behaviour that has nowt to do with self-realised badness and most to do with complex induced reactive behaviour.

    I blame the Patriarchy and all of its purveyors of porn. It has so little to do with the ‘freedom’ and ‘censorship’ cries of its distributors and so much to do with profit.
    They revel in the confusion of standards that has people arguing over the finer points of ‘child’ and ‘abuse’ Just the same as cigarette purveyors are still able to con people into believing that there is a single instance where one of their cancer sticks is acceptable.

    I pity the addicted and refrain from blame and retribution even though their behaviour disgusts me.

  30. Mandos

    Nevertheless, I rilly rilly doubt that for the purpose of the titillation of the visual-aesthetic or olfactory senses, the Mayans would have preferred excrement to flowers. Maybe I’m just bigoted or something—but I do think that Twisty is attempting to hold onto an untenable thesis, because REALLY she wants all distinctions to emerge from patriarchy.

  31. Lil

    I agree with Julia. Twisty’s analysis is one more says-it-like-it-is, but laws are absolutely essential in combatting the problem. It’s really a mistake to criticize Kerry (!) for doing what he’s doing to change things. Should we wait until everyone reads Andrea Dworkin and is magically transformed head to foot? Or ufos with armies of female furies land on earth to transform planetary conciousness? Change is made inch by inch. Those who are doing the difficult practical work are the last ones we need to criticize. !!!

  32. Donna

    Uh huh…Supermodels and bikini’d valet parkers are flowers and other women are excrement. That’s what your analogy would seem to suggest. It’s not just inapt, it’s offensive.

  33. Mandos

    Firstly, that’s illogical and presumably design to deflect my argument without dealing with it: analogies don’t suggest equations like that. In fact, it defeats the entire purpose of an analogy if you can equate the objects in the analogy other the entities being analogized. BUT even so, it wasn’t an analogy directly to those matters—so your post is an irrelevant drive-by smear. Which I will respond to anyway.

    Twisty is claiming that all aesthetic preferences are constructed by a dominance/submission system. I think that this is absurd, and I constructed an extreme example to demonstrate why I think it is absurd. Note that: an extreme example, a borderline case.

    Because it’s a borderline case, it doesn’t mean that I’m claiming that supermodels vs most women is the same kind of case. I can’t even claim that the distinction has nothing to do with dominance/submission, and in fact it would be absurd of *me* to say that. But what I *can* say is that it’s extremely unlikely that a post-patriarchal world will rid the world of hierarchies of preference, possibly including sexual aesthetic preference hierarchies, and if you’re waiting for that to end before you declare victory, then you’ll be waiting hopelessly forever. It also perhaps suggests that a system of dominance and submission is not, in itself, patriarchy.

  34. Mandos

    I’m sorry but if their work is anti-democratic and is likely to legitimize many sorts of perverse effects, then people doing the “difficult practical work” are precisely those who need the criticism most.

  35. Laurelin

    I managed to get past it! Perhaps that’s because I have a different type of OCD, but nonetheless, we’re pretty tough people :)

    Wonderful post Twisty. Wish I could add something more intelligent, but at this time in the morning I’m just gonna go with unrestrained adoration of you.

  36. Julian Elson

    Could it be that while men are more likely to use the internet for porn viewing than women, the differences in the amount they use the internet for weather, news, sports, finance, and politics are greater than the porn-viewing differences?

    Say, if 55% of men use the internet for porn, and 45% of women do, but 65% of men use the internet to check the weather, and 35% of women do, then the difference in using the internet to check the weather would be more significant than the difference in pornography consumption, although the difference in pornography consumption would still exist. I’m having difficulty finding many statistics, though. All I can find is this BusinessWire article. It claims that internet porn usage is 70% male, 30% female, and I find it difficult to believe that things like weather, politics, sports, finance, etc, are even more skewed than that. So, probably they just oh-so-tactfully dropped pornography usage out of the survey.

  37. Teenagecatgirl

    So porn should be harder to get hold of so men don’t feel bad for having looked at it?

    And your punishment for rapists is to give them oestrogen, and make them sit down to piss? Isn’t that rather insulting to women?

    LMYC is right, the way to stop porn is to make men see women as people and not masturbation aids, and extreme censorship won’t do anything to stop that. The way some fundamentalist religious groups treat women is a perfect example.

  38. Twisty

    I adore you, Mandos. It always boils down to the post-patriarchy with you.

    Unfortunately I’m not smart enough to envision in detail the implementation of a post-patriarchal ideology. I do assert that currently, at least when it comes to social order, “preference” reflects fashion, customs, and taboos dictated by patriarchal forces the function of which is to define social status. Furthermore, I hypothesize that, absent those forces, preference might actually proceed from pure sensuous perception (and by “sensuous” I mean “received by the senses,” not “sexy.” Which I addend (not a real verb) because once, long ago, this was a discussion on porn).

    Which means that we might not actually be in total disagreement; I concede that, regardless of social order, and based on pure sensuous perception—which is to say, perception that is uninfluenced by an aesthetic constructed to further the interests of a dominant culture—some humans may always prefer lingering near things that don’t stink to lingering near things that do. Although I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. For instance, to someone whose intestines are perpetually frozen by anti-nausea drugs, a good shit is so rare as to be considered beautiful above all else, and that’s no joke.

    Anyway, even if your social system does not feature white males as the primary beneficiaries, if you have a social order based on dominance/submission, you will have something indistinguishable from patriarchy.

  39. Twisty

    Although I cannot say how often they go online to check the weather, I construe from the well-known fact that pedophiles are overwhelmingly male that consumers of internet child pornography are likewise overwhelmingly male.

    I am not personally acquainted with any women who admit to using the internet for porn. But then, I lead a sheltered life.

  40. Mandos

    It’s about the “post-patriarchy” for me in that when people propose social change, I’d like to understand what wer’re supposed to be buying and how we’re supposed to get there and whether it’s even possible. I wouldn’t necessarily mind a radically different world myself, but I’m still inherently skeptical about radical claims of what that world would look like. Just as, I suppose, I’m also suspicious about claims that the world is The Way It Ought To Be.

    For example, I’m not convinced that “social order” and “dominance/submission” are actually separable concepts even though I recognize that it’s probably a good idea if they were.

  41. Craig Ewert

    I’m having a drink now. Keep up suggesting it; I like the idea.

    However, you should kill them after; Just Cause suggests that they can be extra mean if they get loose after the cutting.

  42. Craig Ewert

    I am not satisfied with chemical castration, and I hope Tony isn’t either.

    I want them cut with a knife, or maybe circular saw. Then I want them hurt in various other ways until they die.

  43. Craig Ewert

    I think the omission of porn from the stats is more a “dog bites man” issue; of course more men than women look at internet porn, regular or deviant. The only news would be if it were not so.

    What’s ever so slightly more newsworthy is that more men than women use the internet for non-porn. Although given the well-known male slanting of technology, and the long standing cultural practice of discouraging women from using or becoming adept at that technology, I can’t summon surprise at those stats, either.

  44. Craig Ewert

    I second Twisy; you keep speaking, Rene; you do it well.

    1) it isn’t a real deterrent;

    It isn’t much of a deterrent, but every little bit helps.

    2) innocent people are occasionally, if not often, found guilty, and there’s no way to correct a mistake if additional evidence should come to light later;

    This is a good reason to be extra careful with these ultimate punishments. And death penalty administration in America is given extra scrutiny.

    3) it is immoral to indulge in what is obviously rank retribution.

    I’ve never understood why some people think retribution is immoral. Punishing wrongdoers for their wrongdoing seems to me to be demanded by justice.

    Finally, « this is quoted » and « and this is how » If I make it past WordPress’s filter.

  45. Ms Kate

    Go mandos go mandos go go go!

    In the environmental community, I checked out on a number “anti” groups a long time ago, and have been a part of groups now changing their vision toward a positive future.

    This isn’t an exercise in imagination: it is an exercise in survival. When you are no longer “anti”, you remove yourself from being controlled by the actions of the dominant order. You seek then to specify what the new order will be without their permission, consent, or input. Fuck you, I’m going for the new world.

    Most “anti” groups are more about purity than about real, meaningful, workable-if-still-flawed social change.

    That’s not to say Twisty isn’t about social change, but to say that “anti” has severe limitations. We will never have a perfect world, but that shouldn’t mean that we can’t have a better one.

  46. mythago

    Yeah, they tried that ‘extreme censorship’ thing in Canada, and surprise surprise, the first thing to go were non-porn publications for queers. Why does everybody assume that patriarchal BS will suddenly go away when we want it to?

  47. mythago

    “More” meaning “not a hugely significant number”.

  48. Chris Clarke

    Most “anti” groups are more about purity than about real, meaningful, workable-if-still-flawed social change.

    I hear this kind of thing all the time. I strongly disagree. You don’t have to allow the patriarchy to call the shots to work to fight – say – extinction. Working to build a new world without challenging ExxonMobil means that new world – whenever you get around to building it – has a lot fewer species in it.

    It’s easy to be in favor of good stuff. Doing that without calling out what’s bad is, to my mind, a cop-out. Do you withhold support from rape-crisis centers and fioghting the fundamentalists trying to control your body in favor of educating your grandsons to support women, so that someday women might have a better chance and too bad about the women who die in the meantime?

    I am never going to see that better world, and most descriptions of that better world I’ve heard give me the freaking creeps. Except for the descriptions that are basically negative. A world without rape. A world where other species are not valued solely on an economic basis. A world where tacos are not frowned upon.

  49. Tony Patti

    I’ve been hearing this urban legend ever since I was a kid, and I’ve never seen a shred of evidence to back it up. However, I remember hearing in grade school that when the nazis carried out castration experiments in the death camps the men became fat and happy. We need a study on this, and I volunteer anyone serving a second sentence for any kind of rape or child molestation.

    Note that I advocate complete, balls-and-dick castration.

  50. Tony Patti

    How is that insulting to women? And why did you ignore the main point, castration?

  51. Tony Patti

    You are, as you so often are, very correct in your opposition to castration; it wouldn’t be a deterrent -though it might if there were a lot of dickless guys walking around, I still always doubt the idea that punishment deters crimes of passion, it could victimize the innocent – since our courts are unjust, and it must seem like rank retribution to someone who can’t understand that having a dick might be something of a burden. My point, though, is that it’s not as bad as everyone thinks to go without a dick.

    I would much rather live in a perfect world where such things don’t happen than advocate castration for rapists and child abusers.

    Drawing the line:

    The inability of the law to mandate sexual crime is nothing less than an inability to judge. The current climate of lawmaking seems to be one in which judgement is superseded by laws that carry mandatory sentences and attempt to provide clean-cut moral choices in one of the most ambiguous areas of life.

    Yet I still stand by my feeling that some men are better off relieved of their sexual organs if they are incapable of controlling the impulses these organs engender. Whether or not the courts are capable of making such judgments is highly debatable, as you might agree.

    I tend to distinguish, as the law cannot, between real child abuse and children abusing each other. I also tend to despise any kind of abuse. There are so many women out there being abused who haven’t even a fraction of the support and recourse a child has because they are over 21.

    Consensual sex between teenagers and very young men is something that was once laughed off. Yet if the Catholic Priest scandal has taught us anything, it is that there is effectively no statute of limitations for such a crime. I expect to be led off in chains any minute. At your pleasure, my dear old friend!

  52. Tony Patti

    A child is a powerless, dependent person who fits the sadistic and controlling urges of the will to dominate and control that are the very essence of the sickness of patriarchy.

  53. antelope

    Leaving child porn aside, I think what a lot of porn addicts are deeply into is getting a sexual thrill in a “no-pressure” way. Even guys who are married to hawt chix get deeply into internet porn b/c it gives them no worries about getting it up, dealing w/ foreplay, etc. Every time I get one of those spam-from-hell about viagra or some sort of magic pills to make the precious penis bigger, I think wow, what if there were 1/10th as many messages floating around saying, “amaze your woman, make her beg for more… learn all about foreplay and the clitoris.”

    Basically what I’m saying is that they wouldn’t need porn quite so badly if they weren’t quite so completely clueless about how to turn sex into a mutually satisfying experience!! (MOST men, that is.)

    Part of my vision of a post-patriarchal world is that there would actually be MORE sex. Yes, really. Less porn, less pole dancing, more good sex. For THAT matter, if guys learned a thing or two about mutually satisfying sex – maybe they would be a lot less paranoid about whether homos are having more fun than them.

  54. Ms Kate

    I hear this kind of thing all the time. I strongly disagree. You don’t have to allow the patriarchy to call the shots to work to fight – say – extinction. Working to build a new world without challenging ExxonMobil means that new world – whenever you get around to building it – has a lot fewer species in it.

    One reason I worked for Greenpeace once upon a time is that they didn’t LIMIT themselves to just the “fight against” sort of mentality.

    I have no problem with groups that call out the bad as they work for the good – but if that is the all of what you do then you are, frankly, wanking.

    My nuclear free group just went through a revisioning, with the focus changing as a result. It was very very interesting to see people wrestle with the idea of letting go of the “anti” and picking up the positive vision of the future that we REALLY seek in being “anti nuclear”. It meant dropping years of military mentality. For some, it was scary because they constantly define themselves in terms of “anti” and get their self esteem from being “better”. It means facing the “will I have a job if I win my fight” issue. Most certainly a can of worms.

    Yes, you can do good work in being “anti”, but I have to say that I am damn jaded at this point.

    And yes, I have seen good organizations, virtual and actual, go down in flames of a purity crusade – the local green party being the latest victim of that autoimmune stupidity. That is the “scary version” of which you speak – the MY perfect world or die heretic, and the left is as poisoned as the right on this account. But the “perfect world” is just another excuse for, well, wanking. It ain’t gonna happen, but the repetitive stroking continues anon.

    So I will concede that 1)positive vision can be scary if it is perfectionistic, unrealistic, and purity focussed and 2)being “anti” can have value BUT it is all pissing into the wind if a person or a group cannot focus on a workable vision of a better world – not perfect – better.

  55. Teenagecatgirl

    Because I’m not interested in your main point.
    And it’s insulting because you regard being forced to piss sitting down and containing oestrogen as a punishment.

  56. Sam

    I really hope this isn’t another repeating of the myth that there was ever an anti-pornography law passed in Canada that caused gay and lesbian lierature to be banned from Canada, because it’s just not true.
    Gay and lesbian publications stopped at Candian customs has happened for many years and was actually made illegal thanks to the Butler decision so often slandered by pornography defenders. The restriction of materials on the basis of a moral objection (such as homosexuality) was offically made unconstitutional for the first time thanks to the Butler.

  57. Sam

    I read somewhere recently that 25% of all search engine searches are for pornography. Judging from what Yahoo tells me is everyday’s “Most Viewed Image” I believe it.

  58. Teenagecatgirl

    Never mind the fact that castration used as a punishment for rape could easily be interpreted as an admission rape has a biological cause, and how fair is it to punish individuals for biology they did not choose?

  59. Chris Clarke

    Well, sounds like we agree more than we disagree.

  60. Craig Ewert

    I’ve heard of the “fat and happy” outcome as well. I think a lot will depend on who gets eunuched, and why, and where they go after.

    Alas, this is one of those studies you just can’t perform, unless you are a nazi death camp administrator or equivalent.

  61. Ms Kate

    Sorry, sometimes I’m a little burned out. Maybe challenging the nuclear industry is a bit different, but not that I see as I also work to end the use of toxics. The issues of alternative visions loom large in both arenas – there is always the fear mongering by industries that we somehow can’t have modern quality of life and end the insanity. As activists, we need to address the fears of unemployment and loss of way of life, quality of life or we get nowhere with the mainstream.

    But I think my speaking and writing on “uninformed non-consent” (no rights to resist pollution with materials with poorly documented safety) is more in line with the porn thread …

  62. Julian Elson

    Update:

    Unfortunately, it seems that the differences in finance, news, etc usage have not been reported in the original article. Total percentages using the internet are reported (68% male, 66% female +/- enough that it’s not statistically significant).

    However, it occured to me that Belle Waring recently expressed her surprise that Boing Boing readership was 85.05% male, 13.79% female, 1.16% both/neither. Boing Boing doesn’t seem to be particularly male oriented in some sort of obvious, ideological way (i.e., it’s not a men’s rights activism website or anything like that). Still, it is only one blog, and it’s based on a self-selecting readership survey, which readers answer on a voluntary basis, so it might not be representative. In this one case, though, it is skewed even more extremely than pornography consumption ratios.

  63. Donna

    Mandos I won’t even pretend to be as smart as you but here goes: The excrement/flower analogy is not useful to this discussion, offensiveness aside, because flowers and excrement will always be flowers and excrement, while aesthetic judgements of humans are not so concrete . JLo’s big ass made her more ‘excrement’ than ‘flower’ at one time but now the reverse is the case, according to the Gospel of Maxim. As a fairly ordinary woman, I find that my flower or excrement rating depends to some extent upon the whims of the guys assessing me, but more importantly on my behavior. It’s amazing how “ugly” I become when I don’t play nice with the boys and show them proper feminine deference. Surely you’ve seen this on blogs. “You must be a fat pig who can’t get a man..yada..yada…”

    Tell me that’s not about domination and submission. And like Twisty said, there is a huge difference between perceiving people sensually and just visually. I blame the patriarchy for the dearth of sensuousness in the world.

  64. Chris Clarke

    Don’t be sorry Ms. Kate. Your point makes perfect sense in the context of anti-nuke/toxics activism, and I’m sorry for being snippy.

    My professional emphasis tends to be on wildlife issues, where it is often perfectly legitimate and constructive to just be against something. If you’re campaigning against drilling in ANWR or opening of a Walmart on a wetland or damming a wild canyon, it’s perfectly legitimate to have “just don’t do it” as your alternative.

    In any event, I salute your burnout from the well-singed perimeters of my brain. Thanks for doing the good work.

  65. Chris Clarke

    It’s an honor just to have you commenting in the same thread with us, Mr. Vice President.

  66. shannon

    I agree with you. It seems that ‘beauty’ is supposed to be a thin white woman with huge tits and no ass- but many men (and women loving women)prefer all different types or women- but to hear some people tell it, if you’re not this cookie cutter type, you’re excrement.

    Not to mention, I’m vaguely reminded of those annoying people who say they aren’t attracted to black people- although black people come in a million shades, facial apperences, body types,etc, and personalities as well. It’s not black people they are against- it’s their own idea about what’s ‘down’ on the social ladder.

  67. Mandos

    I didn’t actually say anything that disagreed with you in that post, Donna.

  68. octopod

    Er…pretty sure that consumers of *written* porn on the Net are overwhelmingly female. Though to be fair, I don’t think you were talking about that stuff.

  69. sparklegirl

    Great post, Twisty.

    Just wondering about the allusion to SVU–I’ve gotten really addicted to it lately, and from what I’ve seen (which is a lot–one time I even watched 12 hours straight), it seems like a thoughtful treatment of issues in society, rather than an exploitation of the victims of rape and child abuse. The detectives are developed as characters who are affected by the things they see, and they treat the victims with care and respect. The shows deals with so many other issues, from modern-day slavery to the threats to the lives of prosecutors to biased judges to cops committing crimes to abortion to gay acceptance. It also stars a strong female character, Olivia Benson (played by Mariska Hargitay), who works just as hard and can be just as tough as her male partner.

    What I’m saying is that I haven’t seen misogynist overtones in SVU–if anything, what I’ve seen is celebration of strong women (Assistant District Attorneys Alex Cabot and Casey Novak and Medical Examiner Melinda Warner as well as Detective Benson)–and to me, it generally seems thoughtful rather than exploitative. I’m curious to hear what other people consider examples of such exploitation in the show.

  70. sparklegirl

    To clarify, “imagery of frightened girls in torn negligées and wild-eyed deviants who go mano a mano with Johnny Law” is not at all what SVU is about–it’s so much more complex than that–and for anyone who’s watched a lot of it to describe it that way seems to me like a deliberate misrepresentation of the show.

    But I definitely agree with that description as it applies to a cultural trend, and I’m sure there are other TV shows that do indeed exploit victims (not to mention the media obession with missing pretty white girls). I’m just questioning the reference to SVU because I love the show so much that a defense of it automatically pops into my mind, even though the reference was only tangential in a post I otherwise agree with. I find SVU’s treatment of sex crimes sensitive and thought-provoking in the same way that I find the discussion of such crimes on feminist blogs, not in the opposite way as this post suggests; I wanted to defend a show that I felt had been unfairly criticized, but I’m also open to hearing evidence of problems with the show, if anyone has specific complaints about it rather than using it to represent TV in general. I’ve learned a lot from all the feminist blogs I read, and I’m willing to examine even the things I love if there is a good argument for it.

  71. Pinko Punko

    Donna,

    Think the flower/excrement is one side of the continuum and all aesthetics being a construct of the patriarchy the other. Obviously the answer is in between (not necessarily the middle). I would say that strong evidence for aesthetic construction would be cultural specific body-image disorders. And possibly wine snobbery. As a humorous aside, I’m just trying to get the damn chicken roasted and the cookbook has to go on about what delightful wines to pair with the ill-fated bird? In reality, that very occurence did remind me of this discussion and what tastes are exactly constructed by society, obviously with big patriarchy calling the shots.

  72. Twisty

    I’m cured now, but for about a year I suffered “Law & Order” addiction. I’ve seen that “SVU” show about 167 times, and even though they get points for refraining from putting Mariska in a thong, it’s no consciousness-raising experience. In our porn-lovin’ world, a network television drama about rape and rapists cannot avoid being voyeuristic and lurid, because the producers have to give the audience what it wants, which is at least a few scenes per episode depicting whimpering, terrified women terrorized by psychopaths.

    In other words, I’m hacked off by the notion of rape-as-entertainment.

    Also, just in general, “SVU” (like all versions of “Law & Order”) is so formulaic you can set your watch by the scene where Ice-T says something street. Then the judge throws out the gun as evidence, and the real murderer turns out to be the suspect’s mousy wife. Detective Benson, tough or no, is the most boring character on television.

  73. Donna

    I agree Pinko Punko and I’ll see your wine snobbery and raise you modern art. And don’t even get me started on home decor. God damn HGTV to the bottom of hell for fostering this current climate of frantic redecorating. I seriously blame the patriarchy for that shit.

  74. Tony Patti

    Any woman who has ever enjoyed a vibrator can understand the allure of pornography for men: It makes it easier to become aroused and to achieve orgasm for a man without any other more satisfying means of stimulation. Porn is the man’s vibrator, and like it, can become addictive and even render normal sex less satisfying. Not always, but for many deluded souls, it can be the doorway to a warped view of life that happens to be marked by extremely patriarchal sleazebag assumptions about men and their roles and women and their roles.

    I too see a post-patriarchal utopia as a place where younger people have more sex, and older people are happy to let their sex drives abate. Can you imagine that? A world where men are completely comfortable having less and less sex as they grow older?

    Since I am an old guy myself, I’m constantly struggling with what society tells me I need to do to be a man. One of the messages – and I don’t know where it comes from – is that I must maintain a high sex drive. Maybe it’s some kind of fear of competition. But it’s something I think is bad for me rather than healthy, though it might be a perfectly natural response to the inexorable passage of youth into decrepitude.

  75. Tony Patti

    Rape in entertainment trivializes it to the point that it becomes something worthy of consideration for the casual malcontent, like shoplifting or joyriding. It has a “Hey, everyone else is doing it!” kind of effect on our young men when they see it happening constantly on TV.

    As I mentioned above, I find it hard to believe that punishment is a deterrent to crimes of passion, though if they castrated rapists only on TV we could easily learn, over the course of a decade, whether or not this particular punishment would be a deterrent without actually ever using the faulty and dangerous courts to see if it were true. We believe anything we see on TV, even that rape is a hum-drum, everyday occurence, like murder and all the other sexual exploitations of women.

    That would be a great way to test my theory: Just make it so only on TV!

  76. Pinko Punko

    That is certainly patriarchy. People are encouraged that their entire lives are disposable. I mean women in the form of wives are disposable in the patriarchy, why not the living room? I live in a complex where people are constantly throwing out seemingly newish or nothing wrong with it furniture. Seems like calling Good Will is too much of a bother, but going to Ikea is clearly something for which time can be made.

    One more serious thought on aesthetics- it is clear that in the face of rampant Patriarchical opposition there still exists homosexuality, and not just in the two porn stars doing it solely for the benefit of Patriarchy. Given that there clearly exists a biological override of patriarchy for same-sex attraction, I think it is difficult to say how completely Patriarchy determines aesthetic judgements. I’m not arguing that it doesn’t, I just think I come down closer to Mandos than the Twisty, although that is a thoughful sandwich I don’t mind filling. Does that make any sense?

  77. Becker

    Having recently seen the vilified French movie Baise-Moi, I readily recommend it for if nothing else the rape scene alone for those with the stomach for it. It is brilliantly brutal and hurts one’s heart to watch, but it’s kind of a backhanded education in how erotically rape is presented in just about every other film or television show.

  78. Donna

    I don’t think Patriarchy determines all aesthetic judgements either and your point about homosexuality is illustrative of that. As is the existence of guys who dig fat women and my own affinity for short stocky men. I think Patriarchy perverts, exploits, exaggerates, appropriates, or overrides natural human desires as needed to perpetuate its unnatural, moneymaking, woman hating, warmongering self. Then tells you it’s natural. I hope THAT made sense!

  79. Chimp

    So in the distant future, after perfect equality has been established, what will my great-great-great-grandsons be whacking off to? My guess is: telescope pointed at the beach.

  80. Twisty

    Well, it beats kiddie porn.

  81. Donna

    Why the concern over the availability of whackoff material? Use your imagination. That’s what it’s for.

  82. Pinko Punko

    As someone not cursed with incessant and overriding wiener drive, I would suggest that just as the ol’ libido drops off, there is a parallel demise in the ability of imagination to do the trick. The Patriarchy demands Instawank.

  83. mythago

    Gay and lesbian publications stopped at Candian customs has happened for many years and was actually made illegal thanks to the Butler decision so often slandered by pornography defenders

    Exactly where did the Butler decision make stopping such publications illegal? Butler restricted material ‘demeaning to women’. (Though it hardly started with Butler.) Why is anyone surprised that the Customs agents were not queer-friendly feminists?

    Porn is the man’s vibrator

    Since men can’t enjoy vibrators and no sexually-explicit material arouses women. Sheeziz.

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