After an intense three hours, the workshop on pornography I have been leading is winding down. The 40 women all work at a center that serves battered women and rape survivors. These are the women on the front lines, the ones who answer the 24-hour hotline and work one-on-one with victims. They counsel women who have just been raped, help women who have been beaten, and nurture children who have been abused. These women have heard and seen it all. No matter how brutal a story might be, they have experienced or heard one even more brutal; there is no way to one-up them on stories of men’s violence. But after three hours of information, analysis, and discussion of the commercial heterosexual pornography industry, many of these women are drained. Sadness hangs over the room.
Near the end of the session, one woman who had been quiet starts to speak. Throughout the workshop she had held herself in tightly, her arms wrapped around herself. She talks for some time, and then apologizes for rambling. There is no need to apologize; she is articulating what many feel. She talks about her own life, about what she has learned in the session and about how it has made her feel, about her anger and sadness.
Finally, she says: “This hurts. It just hurts so much.”
Everyone is quiet as the words sink in. Slowly the conversation restarts, and the women talk more about how they feel, how they will use the information, what it will mean to their work and in their lives. The session ends, but her words hang in the air.
It hurts to know that no matter who you are as a woman you can be reduced to a thing to be penetrated, and that men will buy movies about that, and that in many of those movies your humiliation will be the central theme. It hurts to know that so much of the pornography that men are buying fuses sexual desire with cruelty.
It hurts women, and men like it, and it hurts just to know that.
Even these women, who have found ways to cope with the injuries from male violence in other places, struggle with that pornographic reality. It is one thing to deal with acts, even extremely violent acts. It is another to know the thoughts, ideas, and fantasies that lie behind those acts.
People routinely assume that pornography is such a difficult and divisive issue because it’s about sex. In fact, this culture struggles unsuccessfully with pornography because it is about men’s cruelty to women, and the pleasure men sometimes take in that cruelty. And that is much more difficult for people — men and women — to face.
…This doesn’t mean that all men take sexual pleasure in cruelty. It doesn’t mean that all women reject pornography. There is great individual variation in the human species, but there also are patterns in any society. And when those patterns tell us things about ourselves and the world in which we live that are difficult, we often want to look away.
Mirrors can be dangerous, and pornography is a mirror.
Pornography as a mirror shows us how men see women. Not all men, of course — but the ways in which many men who accept the conventional conception of masculinity see women. It is unsettling to look into that mirror.
A story about that: I am out with two heterosexual women friends. Both are feminists in their 30s, and both are successful in their careers. Both are smart and strong, and both have had trouble finding male partners who aren’t scared by their intelligence and strength. We are talking about men and women, about relationships. As is often the case, I am told that I am too hard on men. The implication is that after so many years of working in the radical feminist critique of the sex industry and sexual violence, I have become jaded, too mired in the dark side of male sexuality. I contend that I am simply trying to be honest. We go back and forth, in a friendly discussion.
Finally, I tell my friends that I can settle this with a description of one website. I say to them: “If you want me to, I will tell you about this site. I won’t tell you if you don’t want to hear this. But if you want me to continue, don’t blame me.” They look at each other; they hesitate. They ask me to explain.
Some months before that someone had forwarded to me an email about a pornography site that the person thought I should take a look at — slutbus.com. It’s a website to sell videos of the slutbus. Here’s the slutbus concept:
A few men who appear to be in their 20s drive around in a minivan with a video camera. They ask women if they want a ride. Once in the van, the women are asked if they would be willing to have sex on camera for money. The women do. When the sex is over, the women get out of the van and one of the men hands the women a wad of bills as payment. Just as she reaches for the money, the van drives off, leaving her on the side of the road looking foolish. There are trailers for 10 videos on the website. All appear to use the same “plot” structure.
In the United States there are men who buy videos with that simple message: Women are for sex. Women can be bought for sex. But in the end, women are not even worth paying for sex. They don’t even deserve to be bought. They just deserve to be fucked, and left on the side of the road, with post-adolescent boys laughing as they drive away — while men at home watch, become erect, masturbate, obtain sexual pleasure, and ejaculate, and then turn off the DVD player and go about their lives. There are other companies that produce similar videos. There’s bangbus.com, which leaves women by the side of the road after sex in the bangbus. And on it goes.
I look at my friends and tell them: “You realize what I just described is relatively tame. There are things far more brutal and humiliating than that, you know.”
We sit quietly, until one of them says, “That wasn’t fair.”
I know that it wasn’t fair. What I had told them was true, and they had asked me to tell them. But it wasn’t fair to push it. If I were them, if I were a woman, I wouldn’t want to know that. Life is difficult enough without knowing things like that, without having to face that one lives in a society in which no matter who you are — as an individual, as a person with hopes and dreams, with strengths and weaknesses — you are something to be fucked and laughed at and left on the side of the road by men. Because you are a woman.
"I’m sorry," I said. "But you asked."
In a society in which so many men are watching so much pornography, this is why we can’t bear to see it for what it is: Pornography forces women to face up to how men see them. And pornography forces men to face up to what we have become. The result is that no one wants to talk about what is in the mirror. Although few admit it, lots of people are afraid of pornography. The liberal/libertarian supporters who celebrate pornography are afraid to look honestly at what it says about our culture. The conservative opponents are afraid that pornography undermines their attempts to keep sex boxed into narrow categories.
Feminist critics are afraid, too — but for different reasons. Feminists are afraid because of what they see in the mirror, because of what pornography tells us about the world in which we live. That fear is justified. It’s a sensible fear that leads many to want to change the culture.
Pornography has become normalized, mainstreamed. The values that drive the slutbus also drive the larger culture. As a New York Times story put it, “Pornography isn’t just for dirty old men anymore.” Well, it never really was just for dirty men, or old men, or dirty old men. But now that fact is out in the open. That same story quotes a magazine writer, who also has written a pornography script: “People just take porn in stride these days. There’s nothing dangerous about sex anymore.” The editorial director of Playboy, who says that his company has “an emphasis on party,” tells potential advertisers: “We’re in the mainstream.”
There never was anything dangerous about sex, of course. The danger isn’t in sex, but in a particular conception of sex in patriarchy. And the way sex is done in pornography is becoming more and more cruel and degrading, at the same time that pornography is becoming more normalized than ever. That’s the paradox.”
This essay is excerpted from Robert Jensen’s book, Getting Off: Pornography and the End of Masculinity, published by South End Press. (x)
i really really wanna be excited about the deadpool movie but wade is probs gon be one or more of the following:
- only scarred enough to be manly but not enough to be ‘deformed’
- a really ableist parody of schizophrenia or
- just an neurotypical guy who likes to ‘act crazy’
and i’m not all about that jazz
From A Series of Unfortunate Events DVD commentary track.
if you haven’t watched this film with the commentary then you are missing out, it’s hilarious. “Lemony Snicket” was completely unhappy with the film and wanted no real part of it and so in the commentary he just fucks about. Seriously, at one point he gets out an accordion and drowns out the director with his playing
"nearly all of my life"
Lemony Snicket sass is what I aspire to in life.
"Lemony Snicket" (Dan Handler) was asked if he liked the movie.
He said “I love the movie as much as someone who wrote 8 drafts of a movie before being fired from his own creation could possibly be.”
The man’s life is sarcasm and it’s beautiful.
HAPPENING NOW (9.24.14): The situation in Ferguson is escalating quickly. Protests continue, following this morning’s burning of a Mike Brown memorial, and another frustrating Ferguson City Council meeting.Looks like the same “antagonize over de-escalate” tactics are back online. Prayers to all those out in the street of Ferguson right now fighting for their right to exist. #staywoke #farfromover (PT I, PT II, PT III)
Bringing back the dogs, choppers, charging the crowd, attempting to bottleneck protesters into an area, AND live shots possible fired into the crowd… what the ever-living fuck is Ferguson PD trying to do?! We’re a month and a half into this saga, and they still don’t know how to de-escalate a situation. Pray y’all. That might be all we got right now.
(9.23.14) — Another morning in Amerikkka. Somebody thought it would be fun to desecrate the Mike Brown Memorial early this morning. I… I really can’t even. #staywoke #farfromover
Here’s a picture of some cops watching the memorial burn although there seemed to be no police at the scene when the fire department arrived.
gather ye children for here are the policies that labour has so far announced in conference season:
- raise the minimum wage to £8
- halve low paid jobs
- create 1 million green jobs
- free childcare for 2-3 year olds
- freezing energy bills
- introducing a british investment bank
- a publically owned competitor for railways
- ending exploitative zero hour contracts
- giving tax breaks to companies that pay a living wage
- become a world leader in the green movement
- mansion tax and tobacco tax to pay for a better NHS
- repeal the health and social care act
- bank levy
- reversing the cut on corporate tax
- ending the bedroom tax
- raising the top rate of tax to 50p
- clamping down on tax evasion
- build more social housing
- lowering the voting age to 16 (!!!)
- more apprenticeships
- a senate to replace the lords
- english devolution and a constitutional convention
- reformation of the EU by /staying in it/
- an LGBT envoy (!!!)
- fight for a two state solution (the first major party to outright condemn israeli occupation btw!!!)
Remembering Injured/Killed African-American Victims of Police Brutality
Dymond Milburn, 20-Year-Old African-American Teenager Assaulted By Police Officers When She Was 12, Then Charged With Assault By The Cops That Assaulted Her, & Police Alleged She Was A Prostitute
Three police officers in Texas accused a 12-year-old black girl of being a prostitute, beat and kidnapped her, and none of them ever faced any consequences for their actions.
On August 22, 2006, 12-year-old Dymond Milburn was outside her home flipping a breaker switch to help her family after the electricity went out, when a blue van pulled up and three men exited the vehicle without identifying themselves. The men were cops in plain clothes with the Galveston police and they accused Dymond, who is black, of being a prostitute.
“You’re a prostitute,” an officer declared. “You’re coming with me.”
They then tried to drag Milburn into their van while she scratched and clawed in her struggle to stop them from taking her. She screamed for her father to come to her rescue while the angry officers began beating her in an effort to force her into the van. One of the officers, David Roark, muzzled the girl’s mouth with his hand to silence her.
Hearing her screams, Dymond’s parents arrived on the scene and told officers, “That’s our daughter. She’s twelve.” But Roark didn’t give a damn. “I don’t care if she’s twenty-two, thirty-two, or forty-six,” Roark responded.
Along with Roark, the other officers included Sean Stewart and their Sergeant, Gilbert Gomez. They believed they had the right to take Dymond Milburn away without consulting her parents. Horrified, Dymond’s parents were devastated and powerless as the officers literally kidnapped their daughter before their eyes.
The officers decided to bring Dymond to the hospital for medical attention, and the level of her injuries was devastating. As a result of the brutal beating by police, the little girl suffered a head injury, a throat injury, abrasions on her arms, a sprained wrist, two black eyes, and lacerations as well as spinal injuries. On top of all these physical wounds, Dymond also suffered nightmares and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. In all, her injuries resulted in a hospital bill totaling $8,000.
But police still weren’t done putting Dymond through hell. When she finally returned to school following her release from the hospital, police embarrassed her further by showing up at her school. They arrested her in front of her classmates at Austin Middle School in revenge for putting up a fight. The charges? Assaulting a police officer and resisting arrest.
You read that right. Cops beat the hell out of this girl and they charge HER with assault. Plus she resisted the officers because that’s what we tell our children to do when strangers try to force them into a vehicle against their will.
Milburn and her family had to deal with two mistrials over a period of three years before the District Attorney agreed to stop pursuing the charges. By then, Dymond was 15-years-old and a huge chunk of her childhood was stolen from her. In retaliation, the Milburns filed a civil lawsuit against the officers who changed her life three year earlier. But none of them have been punished and a settlement hasn’t occurred. Basically, all three officers complicit in the kidnapping and beating of the then-12-year-old girl got away with it. Sean Stewart was actually named “Officer of the Year” sometime later and Gomez went on to be promoted prior to becoming a private detective.
Dymond Milburn is 20-years-old now and still hasn’t received justice for what these police officers did to her. She was just a black 12-year-old girl in front of her own home at night, and yet, police accused her of being a prostitute even though she didn’t do anything wrong and officers had no cause to accuse her of anything. In fact, the only reason the officers were around is because they were responding to a call about three white prostitutes allegedly soliciting in the area. However, they attacked a black child who obviously didn’t fit the description instead and accused her of being the prostitute. Remember, we’re talking about a 12-year-old girl who was at her house with her parents. She was an honors student helping around the house. She wasn’t out on the street hooking.
Police brutality against people of color is not just an epidemic today. It’s been around for a long time. And even children aren’t immune from illegal police behavior. If this can happen to one child, it can happen to any child in America. For too long, police have been able to do what they want to the citizens they are supposed to serve and protect with little or no consequences. That needs to change or police behavior never will. [PoliticusUSA]
Are you fucking kidding me
Stand Like This for 2 Minutes Per Day
No, for real, though—this is a thing. Not sure about the science behind it, but it makes me feel fancy and powerful regardless. I highly recommend it.
There actually is legit science behind this. In fact, here’s an entire TED Talk about the science behind it, and the confidence-related chemicals that your brain produces JUST BY YOU STANDING LIKE THIS.
This the best post I could have seen today. I’m going to stand like Wonder Woman.
So, hypothetically… if I could take a bunch of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) and read books at Barnes and Noble all day… and then be able to display my knowledge and understanding of the subject on an equal, if not higher, level than a college student… then, hypothetically… why is everyone paying for college again?
(Answer: Because a college degree isn’t about education, it’s a class marker. If we cared about everyone being educated, we would accredit free online courses and allow people to achieve intellectual growth and success without going into debt. But that’s not what college is for. I mean, yeah in college you can travel and learn from amazing professors and start your own anything and have access to facilities and resources and money, yeah, college is all that. And I’m not discrediting anyone who loves college but… college, at the end of the day is a business. College is just one more big way to perpetuate the system. But I say f**k the system, man.) #FreeEducationForAll #LearnRadically”
Vanessa Newman (Washington, DC) - haikuology.tumblr.com
harry and hermione’s relationship is so important because it shows that two characters can love each other deeply but not in a romantic way and there are not enough boy/girl unconditional, innocent friendships like that in books and that is why i am refusing to accept that J.K. wanted them together
@ShaunKing exposes Ferguson PD lie about distance from SUV
Huffington Post contrasts how the media treats white suspects and killers better than black victims.
107 more days until Grand Jury deadline.
This is a truly amazing story of twin sisters separated at birth who discovered each other at age 25 through social media (see Facebook message above in which Anais reached out to Samantha for the first time). One lives in London and the other in L.A. and the two have shared a close bond since meeting. They recently took a trip together to their birthplace, Seoul, Korea, and now they’re hoping to make a film together about their story. Check out their kickstarter campaign here. Story via buzzfeed.
"I DON’T WANT TO BE TOO LINDSAY LOHAN."
GUYS ONE IS FROM LONDON AND THE OTHER IS FROM CALIFORNIA I DON’T THINK YOU UNDERSTAND HOW PARENT TRAP THIS IS
When a financial institution asks me my “mother’s maiden name” as a security question. Because it’s assumed that I have at least one and no more than one mother in my life AND that she married AND that she gave up her own name AND that that part of her identity was erased enough from my public history so as to be a password to access my private information.
Holy crap, I never realized.