The Lowdown on dirty pictures
From yesterday's treeware edition, my take on the misogynistic turn that porn has taken.
Understand that, overall, I have no problem with 99 per cent of porn and do not advocate its censorship -- or, indeed, censorship on any kind. But some of this stuff freaks even me out.
Listen, I am no prude. I get a kick out of some porn. I was at a strip club as recently as last month. I love sex. I talk dirty. But when I can easily find websites that show women subjected to what can only be described in a family newspaper as waterboarding by ejaculate – or simultaneous impalement on more than one fire pole, or sexual practices that will cause E. coli infections – I have to wonder where the industry gets these ideas.
Not exactly the fun and games most of us enjoy in the bedroom (or wherever your pleasure). It's as if, just like TV reality shows, the fear factor/cruelty/shock value has to be continuously ratcheted up to get them into the tent, especially online. And make no mistake, when you see women being brutalized this way, you are not seeing an act. That woman really is gagging, really is gasping for air, really is drowning.
Every second, 28,258 Internet users are viewing pornography.
That's a lot of women who, for whatever their reasons, and most likely they are economic, are being tortured.
That's a lot of sticky keyboards.
There's a huge market for the domination of women.
I have received some email on the matter, including this missive from 'Dark Lady'' who says she works in the porn industry.
Let's ignore the fact that most porn really doesn't involve rougher sex.
Let's ignore the fact that most of those women involved with it
*request* it. Let's ignore the fact that most of the women in porn are
either there for the money or using it to explore all kinds of sex they
can't get from their prospective boyfriends. Let's ignore the fact that
the women are paid really well for their efforts. Let's just focus on
the fact that WOMEN DOMINATE MEN in porn, as well.
Oh, and that MEN DOMINATE MEN, also.
All that may be. The thing is, when some pretty sadistic stuff -- albeit between consenting adults -- goes mainstream, something has gone horribly awry in how men regard women, and how women see themselves.
UPPITY DATE (28/01/08): Two things.
I have received lots of email telling me that there is plenty of evidence to suggest that porn leads to more violence. Writers have provided a number of links and stories but I haven't had a moment to dig too deeply into them. For example, here is Against Pornography, "a feminist anti-pornography website which aims at raising the awareness about the harms of pornography (as well as of prostitution) to women and children."
This story from last year, which suggests that sex offenders are getting younger and more violent, lends credence to what some critics of my piece have said: Children's easy access to online porn is a big problem.
The number of children under 18 accused of forcible rape, violent and nonviolent sex offenses rose from 24,100 in 1985 to 33,800 in 2004, the AP’s analysis found. Violent offenses include attempted rape and sexual assault, while nonviolent offenses including fondling, statutory rape and prostitution.
By comparison, rape and sexual assaults by adults decreased more than 56 percent from 1993 to 2004. Comparable statistics were unavailable before 1993.
The AP analyzed state and federal crime statistics, as well as independent research on juvenile sex offenders. Sources included the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics; the National Center for Juvenile Justice, a Pennsylvania-based nonprofit that specializes in statistical and policy research; and The Safer Society Foundation Inc., a Vermont nonprofit that works to prevent sexual abuse.
Today in the Star, education reporter Louise Brown had an eye-opener about how girls are subjected to increasing sexual harassment in school.
They can get grabbed on the breast or the backside at any time in the halls.
They hear girls being called "skank," "ho" or "slut" every day at school. Every day, sometimes from other girls.
And with sad regularity, they hear guys yell out which part of the male anatomy they want them to suck. "Guys always say that – it's disgusting, but a lot of girls laugh it off," says 16-year-old student Megan Brownlee.
"I'm shocked when girls don't get mad, because deep inside, you know the guys don't respect you."
Yet in the sexually charged halls of today's high schools, where lawyer Julian Falconer's recent report on school safety in Toronto uncovered "alarming rates" of harassment and assault, many girls don't seem to know how to say Stop, according to a group of young Scarborough women who attend what may be the only all-girls centre in Canada.
Listen, I live in what you might call a very nice neighbourhood, very close to a middle school. As I type this, I am watching the kids out on lunch (and litter the street) break.
What I have witnessed over the years shocks and saddens me.
A couple of weeks ago, as my guy and I were pulling into my driveway, we saw two boys go up to several girls and knee them in the crotch. Not hard kicks but sexual probes. The girls laughed but I could see that they weren't happy. As adults, we stepped in. The boys skulked away. The girls seemed relieved.
Draw your own conclusions.