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Transcript of Women's 310
Sam Levitus Porn And
Violence http://movies.netflix.com/WiPlayer?movieid=70204329&trkid=8631527 The Price of Pleasure Affects on Women Pieces of Meat
Sexual Animals Awaiting Conquest
Sarah Baartman Pornography and Black
Women's Bodies 24% of married women experienced unwanted sex act
Porn diminishes the consumers ability to distinguish sex from violence (382) Porn codes how to look at and treat women
...it eroticizes hierarchy, it sexualizes inequality
the illusion of freedom coming together with the reality of force
The victim must look free- choice is how she got there
"They want you to think that you can zip up your pants and zip up your mind, but it leaks into your life" (Price of Pleasure)
Huge business- who benefits?
"She had a way of pouting her lips exactly like what we have observed of an orangutan. Her ear was like that of many apes. These are animal characters." p. 393.
Netflix: 33.5 What can we do? Pornland: How Porn Has
Hijacked Our Sexuality The Price of Pleasure “Who Wants to Be a Porn Star? Sex and Violence in Today’s Pornography Industry”
“It’s Easy Out Here for a Pimp: How a Porn Culture Grooms Kids for Sexual Exploitation” stoppornculture.org/ Erotica vs Porn Involuntary, out of economic desperation
Poverty and lack of economic alternatives
Money, control of earnings, sense of power and independence
Way to work out personal issues
(Our Bodies, Ourselves) Sex Workers
Play conforms to scripted roles. Fantasy expresses ideology, is not exempt from it.
Porn succeeds in constructing social reality, it becomes invisible as harm.
89.8% presence of aggressive acts
48% verbal aggression
82.2% physical aggression
The issue is not what the harm of pornography is, but how that harm is to become invisible
When chosen, is valid and not shameful occupation
Good working conditions, decent health care, control of one's earnings, and protection from harm are crucial
Sexworkersproject.org (New York)
Most health studies so far have focused on sex workers as vectors of disease rather than as disease victims
Criminal justice system
Minneapolis group- Breaking Free (breakingfree.net)
"Turning a Corner" film based in Chicago
Activist View Is “feminist porn” an oxymoron?
Try to conceptualize a confident, assertive woman who self-assuredly displays the same feminine qualities (nurturance, compassion, depth of emotion, etc.) that are so devalued in a patriarchal society. Is this combination even fully conceivable?
Are all of our dominant value systems “pornographic” in the abstract? In other words, is my claim true?
Should porn be legislated against? What about freedom of the press—in other words, should the First Amendment be modified to exclude any material that is harmful or degrading to certain people? If so, who would make these determinations?
What differences exist between racism 150-200 years ago and the way women of color are portrayed in porn today?
What is the difference between black man/white woman and white man/black woman porn in terms of the underlying power structures expressed?
Is capitalism intrinsic to porn, or is porn intrinsic to capitalism, or both?
Some women have said that they feel empowered by being in porn and doing what they want with their bodies. Is this a contradiction? As Chris put it, does freedom entail the freedom to be a slave? Discussion Questions There are plenty of transitive verbs referring to domination: take, seize, lay claim to, conquer, penetrate, impregnate, invade, own, dominate, etc.
But…there are few transitive verbs referring to feminine qualities: “help” is generic; “fix” and “repair” are mechanical and impersonal; and “heal” is usually an intransitive verb. One fairly good example is “nurture,” but this is a rare word when used in this context.
Traditionally feminine qualities are incredibly devalued by a patriarchal society, and are always associated with weakness, subordination, and submissiveness.
In other words, almost ALL of our dominant cultural values are pornographic in the abstract! ***Pornography = Patriarchy = Kyriarchy*** Linguistic Patterns (continued) Sentence structure: Subject > Transitive Verb > Object
The subject is the rational actor endowed with free will; the object has no control over the subject’s actions toward him/her/it.
For heterosexual sex: The man FUCKS the woman instead of
The woman EMBRACES/ENVELOPS the man.
When the woman is the grammatical subject, the act becomes nonviolent; it becomes a type of intimate hug instead of a penetration.
Homosexual sex is inadmissible under patriarchy because it lacks this sharp, visible power differential.
The very basis of patriarchy is to deny women this subjectivity. Porn’s Principles in Everyday Language Porn and patriarchy are both necessary and sufficient for each other.
The pornographic value system pervades all of society
Killing Us Softly 3 and 4: “cutting women down to size” (Jean Kilbourne)
The numbers used for clothes sizes: Men = Big, Healthy; Women = Small
Shaven pubic hair—women should be reduced to LITTLE GIRLS
On the radio yesterday: “overweight, middle-aged woman”
“Middle-aged” as an epithet—preference for LITTLE GIRLS shown again
But…Men are supposed to be BIGGER STRONGER TOUGHER!!!
Older man/younger woman relationships; Taylor Swift’s music, etc. The Porn Value System and its Prevalence The “money shot” (cum shot)—the most dehumanizing and degrading position possible. The STRONGEST and MOST COMPLETE tangible expression of misogyny.
Blowjob—The man derives pleasure from literally SILENCING both the woman’s body and her voice. The POWER embodied in his penis is the gag.
Lesbian porn—Men seek to invade a space that is strictly for women only. (Credit goes to Barbara Kernan for this insight.) Porn is Inherently Violent Bumper sticker: “I brake for Billy Carter”—suggests car in motion, used as a weapon. Car and truck culture is yet another manifestation of patriarchal violence.
Woman is made non-human by the label “BEAVER” in the caption.
The ropes and guns make it clear that this act is non-consensual.
“Man as hunter owns the earth” Power of Sex = Power of Conquest—this is the philosophical basis for ecofeminism.
Conquest is the nature of man. “Male erotic trinity” = Sex, Violence, Death
My own interpretation: Sex, Violence, DESTRUCTION (not necessarily death) Dworkin’s Analysis (continued) The men are fully clothed and “shielded” by way of being inside the Jeep.
They are “self-possessed” with their own power and are confident in it.
The woman is literally “possessed” by the two men—she is naked, bound, and exposed. They OWN her. “He is, he takes; she is not, she is taken”
Recurring grammatical theme: Subject > Transitive Verb > Object—to be discussed later
The “hunt” is common practice in ANY sexual relationship (dating games, etc.)
Men will profit (monetarily) from the photo—the woman is also the publisher’s “trophy.” The two men in the photo are sportsmen who hunt for profit and pleasure, not for food. Woman = Poor; Man = Wealthy—an economic theme Dworkin’s Analysis of the Photo Andrea Dworkin was/is a radical feminist writer from the 1970s-80s.
Porn is the ultimate expression of male power over women.
(the power of terror, of owning, of money, and of sex)
Penis = Weapon (the Latin word “vagina” means “sheath”)
Male power is concerned with itself and itself only; it achieves power through degrading the female. Pornography: Men Possessing Women (1981) By Sam Levitus (who couldn’t think of a better title)
Porn and Violence:
A Kind-of Sort-of Radical Feminist Analysis Shows two white men holding rifles, sitting inside a black Jeep
Angle of the Rifles = Erect Penis
My own insight: Bullets = Semen AND Gun Control = Castration
A naked white woman is tied to the hood with thick ropes.
Her legs are spread and her vulva is shown prominently.
Her head is also tied down; she may or may not be alive.
Caption at bottom mentions that the two men have “bagged their limit” and “stuffed and mounted their trophy” afterward The “BEAVER HUNTERS” photo