Posts tagged porn culture

1) There are no more excuses. It is not ok to work with this man. The entire fashion industry is enabling him. His assistant appears to be enabling him. Celebrities are enabling him‬. Everyone who pays for his photographs are enabling him. Harper’s Bazaar, GQ, Rolling Stone, Vogue — this is on you, too.

2) This is porn culture. You hear me? What Richardson is doing is mainstreaming porn. You cannot separate his behaviour from his work. They are one in the same. The work he produces is pornographic. I want everyone — especially so-called feminists — to stop trying to draw lines between the exploitation and degradation of women, pornography, the way women are treated and viewed and how women feel they must behave in this culture. It is ok to say that something is not ok. Just because it’s “sex” doesn’t mean anything goes. This perception of “sex-positivity,” this “No judging! No shaming!” shit that is ever-popular in online feminism and was enabled by the third wave has made space for the culture we are in now and made room for Terry Richardson. And while yes, Terry Richardson is responsible for Terry Richardson, and patriarchy is also responsible for Terry Richardson, the condonation of pornography and the pushing of the idea that women should be cool with objectification (and not just “cool with,” but “empowered by”) is also responsible.

There is such a thing as porn culture and we’re looking at it. There is no separating “fantasy” from “reality.” We can see the ways in which they bleed together. What Terry Richardson is doing he is doing because of power, but he’s also doing it because we live in a culture raised on and saturated in pornography. This is what we learn is sexy — what Richardson is doing is a porn fantasy. He is making porn and he is doing porn to women.

Decades ago, Andrea Dworkin said: “Pornography happens to women.” Get it? Open your eyes.

Is it not ok to work with Richardson now but it never was. And all you feminists out there calling him out for being a sexual predator are great and all, but it’s time to start making some fucking connections.

'Putting selfies under a feminist lens' by Meghan Murphy via The Georgia Straight 

"Gail Dines, a professor of sociology and women’s studies at Boston’s Wheelock College and the author of Pornland: How Porn Has Hijacked Our Sexuality, doesn’t believe the selfie is about vanity.

“I think it’s the human desire to be visible,” the scholar and activist told the Georgia Straight by phone.

Men, according to Dines, can gain visibility in a variety of ways. “But for us [women and girls] there’s only one way to visibility, and that’s fuckability,” she said. “To call it narcissism is to take an individual, psychological approach as opposed to a sociological one which asks: ‘What is the culture offering girls and women as a way of visibility?’ ”

The Steubenville rape case: This is masculinity 

Two high school football players from Steubenville, Ohio were found guilty of raping a 16 year old girl on Sunday. They were both convicted of digitally penetrating the victim, and one was found guilty of illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material.

The allegations against the young men, Trent Mays, 17, and Ma’lik Richmond, 16, came after a series of photos, videos, texts, and social media posts were brought to light last August. One photo showed the victim “lying naked on the floor at a party, with semen from one of the defendants on her chest.” Another, widely circulated, showed the two young men carrying the passed-out girl by her arms and legs. Mays and Richmond have been sentenced to at least one year in juvenile jail, but can be held until they are 21.

These young men have been both pitied and vilified (but mostly pitied). Anyone who followed the reaction online after the verdict was announced on Sunday will have likely witnessed some of the horrific victim blaming that went on (and continues). Matt Binder documented some of the many Tweets arguing that the victim should be charged for underage drinking, that if “you don’t want to get raped, don’t get blackout drunk,” or that “of course the girl is going to cry rape once her parents find out after videos go viral.” It got much worse than that. Two girls were arrested today after sending death threats to the victim.

I don’t pity these boys. For once, men are being held accountable for their behaviour. It’s abnormal, for sure. No wonder people are shocked. After all, we’re used to dicks reigning with impunity. We’re used to hearing stories, whether in the media or in our own lives, about rapes going unpunished. What’s shocking is not that this happened in the first place, but that these young men were found delinquent (the juvenile court equivalent of being found guilty).

But I’m also not interested in vilifying these individuals. What I think we need to understand is that, yes, this behaviour was absolutely disgusting and horrific and that absolutely this must be treated as a crime, these young men are not monsters. They are just regular guys. Regular guys who play football, go to high school, and go to parties with their friends and who have learned, growing up male in a rape and porn culture, that women aren’t real, full, human beings. They’ve learned, as many boys and men learn, that women exist for the entertainment of men; whether on stage at a strip club, on screen in porn, or blackout drunk at a party.

The transcript of the text messages which led to the convictions in the Steubenville rape trial has been posted online (warning — the transcript is graphic). The conversation between these young men is very difficult to read. They ‘lol’ about raping the girl before realizing that sharing the photos of the assault could be incriminating. Their primary concern is not the well being of the victim; far from it. She is mostly irrelevant. A toy to be played with and mocked. The real concern is getting caught. They knew full well that what they were doing was wrong:

Sean McGee to Trent Mays: U shouldn’t have did it if she was that hammered

Trent Mays: Only a hand-job

Sean McGee: I saw the pics, bro. Don’t lie.

Trent Mays: She was naked the whole time but she was like dead

Sean McGee: If she tells someone, it could get back to her parents and then back on u

Trent Mays: She knows what happened

Sean McGee: No, she don’t

The conversation continues:

Multi-media picture message from Trent Mays sent to Anthony Craig and Mark Cole: (picture is that of a naked Jane Doe; has a caption) Bitches is bitches. Fuck ‘em.

The boys try to plan a cover-up:

Trent Mays to Evan Westlake: Deleate[sic] that off You-tube. Coach Sac knows about it. Seriously delete it.

Evan Westlake: Deny to the grave.

Trent Mays: Her dad knows, and if our names get brought up, if asked, she was just really drunk.

Trent Mays: They knew she stayed at Mark’s. You just gotta say she was asleep by the time you got there.

Trent Mays to Cody Saltsman: Nodi’s running his mouth saying how dead she was. If anyone asks, we just took her to Mark’s, and she fell asleep.

Trent Mays to Mark Cole: Just say she passed out at your house if anyone asks.

Mark Cole: IDK she was fucked up. It was her fault she was fucked up.

Cody Saltsman to Trent Mays: I got you, man. I’ll say that you all were just taking care of her.

They’ve learned the art of victim-blaming well.

My point in sharing this conversation is, again, not to vilify. These boys aren’t monsters. These are men I’ve known. Men I went to high school with. Men I went to parties with. Men who raped my friends. These young men are no anomaly. This is masculinity. This is male culture. Regular, “normal”, every day male culture.

By no means do I intend to say that all individual men and boys behave in this way. They don’t. All men are not rapists. All individual men don’t literally see and treat women as fuck-toys. I know many men, in my life, who I love deeply and who are men who treat women like human beings. But these young men from Steubenville are also not abnormal men. There’s nothing “wrong” with them. They aren’t mentally ill. This is the culture we live in. Where life is a porn movie. Where rape is punishment for getting too drunk. Where sex acts are filmed and posted online so the world can see what women are really for. So women can be mocked and blamed and assaulted simply for existing in a rape culture.

These are men I have known. These conversations documented in the transcript, are conversations that have happened many times over. What happened to this girl has happened many times over. To women we know. If you’ve managed to avoid witnessing masculinity and male culture manifested in this form, count yourself lucky. I can only assume you’ve never been to a frat party, to a strip club, or watched porn. That you’ve never been to high school. Or, if you have, you were somehow protected from this behaviour and these conversations. You’re lucky if this conversation shocks you. It isn’t shocking. This is no seedy underground. This is our life, our world, our men and boys.

Revenge porn is about porn 

If you haven’t yet heard about revenge porn, you’re lucky.

Notorious dickbag, Hunter Moore, is big into the revenge porn game. He can be credited with mainstreaming the concept of punishing your ex by posting their nude photos online without their permission via his website, IsAnyoneUp.com.

Doesn’t take much to get rich these days, just a complete lack of anything resembling a soul.

Not only would Moore post the photos, but he would also post the person’s name, location, and link to their social media accounts, also helpfully facilitating comments under the images critiquing the person’s appearance. Innovative, right!

Eight months after his original site shut down, Moore, committed as ever to cretin status, announced he would be launching a new site: HunterMoore.TV.

Of course, the fact that he manages to keep this up this seemingly “legally questionable” endeavour begs the question: “How is this actually legal?” explains, in an article for The Guardian, that (in the U.S.) under section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996, “website proprietors are not liable for content that is submitted to them by third parties.”

Even with that loophole, it’s clear that these sites aren’t going to get off scot-free.

Another revenge porn site (Gosh, it’s just a mystery why degrading women via porn is so popular!), Texxxan.com (and their hosting company, GoDaddy.com) is being sued by approximately two dozen women on the basis that the site was “significantly designed to cause severe embarrassment, humiliation, and emotional distress.”

The deal with revenge porn is that someone you once trusted enough to let take a photo of you engaged in a sexual act or text a photo of yourself naked to, now hates you enough to want to seek ‘revenge’ by turning you into publicly consumable porn.

Now, while the purpose of revenge porn is indeed, as Jill Filipovic writes for The Guardian, “to shame, humiliate and destroy the lives and reputations of young women,”(i.e. not just about masturbation), I would add that the existence of revenge porn is very much a result of a porn culture.

When we look at the ways women and girls are harassed and abused online, we see that it often isn’t just about words, rather it is often about porn. We see this in the Amanda Todd tragedy which happened back in October. While Todd was bullied and harassed, both online and by kids at school, she was also a victim of porn culture. As many feminists pointed out after she killed herself, Todd was not only ‘bullied’, as most of the mainstream media put it, but she was harassed in a completely misogynistic way. What many news outlets failed to mention was that Todd was turned into porn. A man she’d been chatting to online coerced her into showing her breasts via a webcam, later threatening to share the image with her friends and family unless she gave him a “show.” He followed through on his threat, circulating the image of Todd, who was in grade seven at the time, online.

Sound familiar?

It isn’t possible to separate what happened to Todd from this ‘revenge porn’ phenomenon, which is also why it isn’t possible to separate ‘revenge porn’ from ‘porn’.

Revenge porn is about degrading and humiliating women. It doesn’t work on men because men aren’t hated on a mass scale, as women are, and because men’s bodies are not used against them, in order to punish them.

Just as revenge porn isn’t simply about naked bodies, neither is mainstream porn. It’s the power dynamic that’s ‘sexy’ and it’s the degradation that separates both revenge porn and ‘regular’ porn from straight-up nudity and sex. When women are objectified, they lose power and men gain power. The male gaze is a disempowering one.

The fact that pornography is being used as a means to publicly harass and degrade all women (regardless of whether or not the woman in question was compensated for her image and/or the use of her body) should tell us something about pornography and about our misogynistic culture. It tells us that porn isn’t ‘just about sex’ or about ‘loving women’s bodies’ and that it isn’t somehow completely neutral.

The fact that 12-year-old girls are being pressured to text ‘sexy’ photos of themselves to boys and men (as well as older girls and women) is as a result of a porn culture. Porn cannot be separated from larger culture; isn’t something relegated to ‘adult only’ sites. It’s what we’re all supposed to be, as women, and it’s used against us. Feminists say ‘porn harms’ and often the public isn’t sure what that means. Well here’s an example.

Men like Hunter Moore grew up in the same culture that the man who harassed Amanda Todd did and in the same culture boys are growing up in today, learning that to coerce girls to turn themselves into porn gives them power.

It should be clear by now that porn is not about loving women.

The end is nigh. And the proof lies in Breast Cancer ‘Awareness’ Campaigns 

Well this is it. The end is upon us.

By now you’re probably near-bald from tearing your hair out over the effed-upedness that we are subjected to every time Breast Cancer Awareness Month rolls around. Suddenly we’re inundated with pink crap as every company around tries to glom on to the breast cancer epidemic in an offensively opportunistic fashion.

From makeup, to laptops, to Swiffers (clean for the cure!), to ugly-ass jewelery, to one million stupid pink candles, it’s fair to say that pinkwashing has gotten totally out of control. And as if the feminizing pinking of absolutely everything (because breast cancer is so soft and delicate and lady-like) and the concerted efforts to make breast cancer all about consumerism directed very specifically at women (because effecting change can only be done by buying more stuff), there must be, of course, the pornification of women’s cancer diagnoses (because why the should anyone care about women unless they are fuckable).

First there are those idiotic ‘Save the Tatas‘, ‘Boobies Rule‘, and ‘Touch Some Breasts‘ campaigns/businesses which sexualize breast cancer by making women’s suffering about the male gaze (classy!). Then there’s this horrible video which came out of Chile recently that tries to get men on board by reminding them that breasts exist only for male pleasure. Which is, of course, why they matter. Get it? Women don’t matter — it’s their sexualized body parts that are important (are we starting to understand how objectification hurts women now?).

And finally, I somehow managed to miss the worst of them all earlier this month (I think I must have started blocking this stuff out as a coping mecanism) — the icing on the porn-culture-is-everywhere cake — having realized that they weren’t exploiting absolutely every aspect of women’s lives, Pornhub.com jumped on board (not linking to the campaign page, nope, no way) the breast cancer awareness train.

While originally the company tried to partner with the Susan G. Komen Foundation, the organization (who is capable of making ethical decisions every once in a while) refused to align themselves with Pornhub and said they wouldn’t accept any donations from them. Apparently they are still looking for a charity to donate to.

Corey Price, vice president of Pornhub says, pervily: “Our viewers will be raising money and awareness by doing something they already love: watching porn.”

Uh huh. Right. For sure all those dudes are “raising awareness” about breast cancer via masturbation – the cure for everything.

So now porn is being presented as something that saves women’s lives. Or at very least cares about them. I’m thinking this is what the end of the world looks like.

The problems with awareness campaigns have been well documented. Most of these campaigns either don’t actually do anything and some of the companies who use ‘breast cancer awareness’ in order to sell products are actually part of the problem. Awareness campaigns tend to focus on unproductive solutions that ignore and distract from the root issues.

Organizations like Breast Cancer Action point out that “despite better treatments and increased access for many women, 40,000 women still die from the disease each year. A woman is diagnosed with breast cancer every two minutes. In the 1960s, a woman’s lifetime risk for breast cancer was 1 in 20. Today it is 1 in 8.”

What the hell is going on here? Is it possible that we all just aren’t watching enough porn?

Well, no. In fact porn is not the missing link.

While awareness campaigns and pink ribbon crap are on the rise, so is breast cancer. The reality is that we still have minimal understanding around causes of breast cancer, though we do know that “involuntary exposures to toxins in the environment” are a factor. Toxins and environmental factors are not addressed by awareness campaigns or pink ribbons. I assume this is because these issues have nothing to do with masturbation or profit. If only there were a way to sex up carcinogens.

Pornhub hates women. Which makes it all the more sickening to read statements such as this one,  from their actual press release:

It doesn’t matter if you’re into itty-bitty-titties, the perfect handful, jumbo fun-bags or low-swinging flapjacks, what matters most is that your kind and selfless gesture will go a long way towards helping our sisters to find a cure.

“Sisters”?? Go die.

Porn culture is the beginning of the end. If we aren’t talking about the objectification and sexualization of women as a key issue in the feminist movement then we may as well give up.