Pornography made for strange bed fellows -- conservative bible-thumpers, and radical feminists. Porn has thoroughly seeped into the mainstream, and some of its users even think of themselves as "edgy" or "transgressive." But is it all the same porn? And is there a simple yes or no answer to it?
I am not your senorita
I am not from your tribe
In the garden I did no crime
So, they upheld Prop H8 in California, denying homosexual people the right to marry. Not that that right would even amount to much on the federal level anyway, in case you'd wondered. It's quite surreal. As women (and lesbians, and whatever else), most of us are used to systemic and institutional discrimination, to threats, to the emergent properties of all that¹, but it's still surreal to so very openly see it in codified law of a Western country.
Sure, we already live in a golden cage in that as women, we can't easily go to live and/or work in countries that severely limit our freedoms and legal rights², so that's another way our work-options are limited versus men's, but seriously, it feels like suffrage in Switzerland (complete in the early '70s), or interracial marriage in the US ('60s): Open discrimination in actual law seems like a thing of the past in the west, like something from our mothers' and grandmothers' generations. It's like saying, "Yeah, we're discriminating against you, whatcha gonna do about it?" Where is our Loving v Virginia? And will it have as memorable a name?
Woman, John Lennon sang in '72, is the n… of the world; a phrase coined by Yoko. While that phrasing is unfortunate especially by today's standards and invites oppression Olympics, it is very tempting to compare the (nominal) vote for black men and women's suffrage (~50 years lag from the former to the latter), interracial and homosexual marriage (~50 years and counting), the first black president vs not even having had a female vice president. Which all in all seems to guarantee only one thing: black lesbians finish last. That's intersectionality for you.
Clearly the Detox Series (123) was too cryptic to those readers with better things to do than keeping tabs on persistent trends in fashion photography. I published those pictures here to make a comment on the ongoing trend of the eroticizing of women's discomfort in fashion photography, such as in police brutality, war crimes, withdrawal (the latter having the most obvious connection to my set), the infamous D&G gang rape chic ad, sexy corpses on Next Top Model (which in turn is echoed in shows like Law & Order — Sexy Female Corpse Unit), et cetera. And those, you see, are just the ones I remember off the top of my head; I remember a rape victim shoot in German Vogue ten years before that, and stuff before that, and stuff before that. It's not new. It's just converging, it seems, with the outright torture porn, and the ever-growing tendency towards cruelty in mainstream pornography, because, you see, there is a finite combination of orifices and hair colours, but cruelty is boundless — something to consider if you want to sell more than ten movies.
If you do have a P-approved body, you don't get out, either. If you do mainstream pornisation, some men will get off on it. If you do mainstream gross-out, many men will still get off on it. You only get to choose between signifying sex or signifying chicks are dumb sluts (and therefore unthreatening). You do not get to quit the game.
But no worries, 40, 45, 50, something like that, we'll quit the game for ya, and you'll become invisible. Welcome to the Patriarchy.
The [conviction rate of reported rapes] is just under 6%, down from 33% in 1977. Given that informed estimates suggest only a small proportion of victims report rape, should the conviction rate drop much lower, it really will be more than mere rhetoric to invoke a "right to rape," according to J. Conaghan, professor of law at the University of Kent.
So I quoted back in '04, in one of the first articles on this weblog. Unfortunately, we had to revisit that theme over the years, and things do not look bright in Blighty.
I'm mentioning this for historical context, for continuity. I'm mentioning this because it's literally "too close to home." And I'm also mentioning this in the hope of avoiding, when I write about Afghans later, the kneejerk reaction of, oh well, it's those crazy yellow people again, what do you expect, they're just not as enlightened as we are.
So, Afghans establish the Right to Rape. Yup, women are chattel. It's not just sexual self-determination, it's also that you can't even see a doctor without your owner's approval. Points for being upfront about it, though.
In other countries where you can't easily make that sort of shite official law (although it's altogether too close for comfort to make prostitution legal and require the unemployed to accept pretty much any job, with only the statement that nobody will be asked "that", but no out-and-out law to back that up), you need to push the rape culture from legal theory to legal practice. (Article in German about this rapist abducting a woman, and the police not checking his flat etc. when a witness calls in the case and they work out from the number plate that he's a known predator (prematurely paroled after raping and torturing a 16-year-old, then caught with a 13-year-old and child porn, but never charged). I know I like to recite the tired ol' when every second counts, the police are just minutes away, but I'll acknowledge it's inappropriate rhetoric. When every second counts, the police are just 18 hours behind. Because that's how long his recent victim's ordeal lasted, simply because the police could not be bothered to take action.)
The thing is, it's not the yellow people. When men here haggle about whether it's really rapeif she says yes and changes her mind, if you bully someone into it etc., it's exactly the same: I don't care about the woman's fun or feelings, I just want to get off and not go to jail for it.
The Afghan Right to Rape is more upfront about it. That is all.
The bit above is Għana; essentially, ancient Maltesebattlerap. I'm posting this video partially because Malta hasn't been British for quite a while, so using my usual "limeyCat" icon might give offense.
Now, Malta. It's nice and it's warm and most people there speak English. (And Maltese. And a host of other languages.) For all I know, it's not as overrun by yucky and/or lethal critters as Oz. But, there is no divorce legislation and abortion in Malta is illegal., Wikipedia says.
241. (1) Whosoever, by any food, drink, medicine, or by violence, or by any other means whatsoever, shall cause the miscarriage of any woman with child, whether the woman be consenting or not, shall, on conviction, be liable to imprisonment for a term from eighteen months to three years.
(2) The same punishment shall be awarded against any woman who shall procure her own miscarriage, or who shall have consented to the use of the means by which the miscarriage is procured.
So, they'll even prosecute the woman (not just the abortion-provider), if not for murder outright. Fear not though, they also dig into the providers especially in articles 243, 243A.
This bears further investigation as it's a sad fact that usually, characteristics of women-hating usually travel in droves. The legal texts show us, aside from such peculiarities as the White Slave Traffic (Suppression) Ordinance being followed by the Potato (Cultivation) Ordinance, this:
But first, there's my Don't hate me because I'm beauti-- er, thin — reloaded (and, alas, in German), wherein happens much blaming and questions such as, Why are people so concerned with whether young women pick skinny models as, well, role-models, when the question is why they choose models at all? are asked. Part of the problem of course being that as a member of the sex class, you do not get to opt out of the hawtness contest entirely. More so when these days, you exist to the degree that you exist in the media and your primary currency (as a member of the sex class) is self-pornification.
When the white male is the default human being, the standard, you're set up to fail at that standard. When by those standards the only thing males aren't supposedly better at is "female hotness", the results are somewhat predictable. In the same vein, twisty has this on feminity:
Behold the neat trick. First, you make women act like simpletons, broodmares, janitors, mannequins, and sex slaves before you grant them social approval. You call this behavior “femininity” and explain that it is their essential nature, and that any deviation from the program will be punished. Then you infantilize and ridicule the ones who get it right, and vilify and abuse the ones who get it wrong (you can also vilify and abuse the ones who get it right, because, let’s be honest; the world is your oyster).
With so much riding on it, whether femininity is performed right or wrong is an issue of enormous concern to women. That’s where the Empowerful Pink Marketing Juggernaut comes in.
Femininity is a set of practices and behaviors (boob jobs, FGM, "beauty"™, the "veil"™, the flirty head-tilt, pornaliciousness, BDSM, fashion, compulsory pregnancy, marriage, et al) that are dangerous, painful, pink, or otherwise destructive; that compel female subordination; […] that are overwhelmingly represented by ‘girly’ feminists as a ‘choice’; and that are overwhelmingly represented by [conservatives] as ‘natural instincts’. In fact these practices and behaviors are nothing but inviolable cultural traditions in abject compliance with which comfort, contentment, and personal fulfillment are [available], and from which deviation is discouraged by the threat of ingenious punishments ranging from diminished social influence, to unemployability, to ridicule, to imprisonment, to rape, to murder, to the policing of feminist blogs. […] The flipside […] of the concept of femininity as-self-policed-subordination is femininity as-survival-skill.
Another fallacy is to assume that just because the feminine role is problematic, the masculine role isn't. Patriarchy hurts everyone — just to different degrees, depending on your intersection of privilege (based on race, sex and gender, wealth, age, …).
I think transcending those (false) dichotomies may be a good way to an epiphany or two.
Kann Feminismus Spaß machen?, ist gefragt. Und ehrlich, ich finde das etwas merkwürdig gefragt. Macht Kampf gegen Sexismus Spaß? Das ist doch das selbe wie, Macht Kloputzen Spaß? Wenn mans nicht tut, erstickt man halt irgendwann in der Scheiße.