When the movie Braveheart (1995) was first released, there was media attention around the treatment of horses. The impalement of the horses on pikes in the battle appeared so realistic, that audiences were shocked and upset. The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals formally investigated the treatment of the horses in the making of the film. We were told that the clever stunt filming in Braveheart did not hurt any real horses, any more than the human cast, but films today often provide reassurances to audiences such as ‘No animals were harmed in the making of this film’.
There is no similar statement in pornography or prostitution, saying that ‘No women were harmed in the making of this film’. There is no Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Women to investigate such films made using real torture on real women.
It Gets Inside your Head…..Not in a Good Way. (aka “Advertising Works”)
Porn does get inside your head and really fucks it up, for both men and women with a major difference. Men-as-a-class don’t suffer consequences of the cruelty of porn, as women do. Being objectified as an instrument of torture, is not the same as being objectified as the victim of torture. Porn is designed to promote cruelty to women, as well as ‘femininity’ (ie weakness, softness, vulnerability). Even when occasional males are in the victim position, they are presented as ‘feminine’, and vice-versa with women in sadism, although more often women are torturing other women. Such a value system promotes the torture of the weak by the strong. Being everywhere, it permeates our minds from infancy throughout life.
These lesbian-feminist second-wavers, spoke in 2006 about their youth consciousness being raised over 25 years earlier:
Romantic Rape fantasies.
As Linda Bellos mentions above, the knowledge that many women have rape fantasies is not new. While our conscious minds may prevent most of us from engaging with it in reality, our sub-conscious/unconscious minds still process it. When does it get planted? Are we just born sexual masochists? Grooming and conditioning masochism into girls minds is not new either, whether through child sexual ab/use, social conditioning by fathers and other males in male-supremacist rituals of modern society (including dirty jokes, bullying, name-calling, humiliation), along with constant bombardment in adolescence through commercial imagery – which is Porn-Lite. Unlike the real pornography, these images (often associated with the beauty industry), are staged and performed with photo tricks. These are the introduction, including increasingly sexualised, increasingly younger girls. Sex sells, but it doesn’t just sell products, it sells and promotes values, including sado-masochistic heterosexuality often presented as “romance” with just a touch of torture.
Jean Kilbourne first made the connection between advertising and sado-masochistic violence against women in 1979, with her first release of “Killing Us Softly”. In 2010, Killing Us Softly-4 and 3rd update of her pioneering Killing Us Softly series, 30 years after the first, Kilbourne takes a fresh updated look at how advertising traffics in distorted and (self)destructive ideals of femininity:
If you can’t beat them, join them – (the ‘Surrender’)
Yes. It has gotten worse, as Jean Kilbourne mentions after 30 years. Its no wonder that many women, particularly young women, have rape fantasies. Subliminal images do have power. Companies don’t spend that much on it, if it didn’t work. As time has gone by, improvements in technology have made them even more powerful. Like the old joke, ‘rape is inevitable, so you may as well lie back and enjoy it’ – like the ‘surrendered wife’, many women also ‘surrender’ to the masochism of the rape fantasy, and call it ‘liberating’ and ‘feminist’. Neither Madonna nor Whore is ‘feminist’, both are compliance with, or surrender, to the cruelty of male-supremacy:
Love is Hate. Sadism is ‘Romance’. NewSpeak becomes OldSpeak.
Thirty years ago I was first introduced to a radical feminist analysis of pornography in viewing the Canadian documentary: “Not a Love Story” (1981). It is as powerful to me now, as it was then – but on revisiting recently, I was stunned at how little had changed in 30 years, or maybe I shouldn’t be so surprised?
How many more generations of young women will ‘surrender’?
Many ‘early feminists’ adopting 60s-style sexual liberation learned too late, but some admitted their mistakes in the hopes that future generations of feminists would not repeat their error. As Greer discussed her personally painful experiences in developing “feminist erotica” in 1960s London Soho district, she pointed out:
“ Sexuality might be the most subversive thing, but female sexual display, from the artistically tasteful to the most grotesque, is pure sexual conformism to the dominant male sexual paradigm.
What (we) so painfully learned from the pointless surrender of our own privacy, was the true extent of our powerlessness, in that female sexual display, whether hostile or seductive, submissive or dominant is a weapon that can only inflict injury on the displayer…. (emphasis mine)…
Ohh.. Little Sister, don’t you do what your Big Sister done.
Herstorical Note: This post was originally posted here, at the Radfem HUB, on August 14, 2011, and was authored by HUB author Rainsinger. On May 28, 2012, Rainsinger left the HUB and indicated that she wished to have this post removed from the HUB, and no longer desired to have her name associated with the HUB. Instead of allowing content to be deleted from the HUB which would be deleterious to our herstory, it was proposed by the remaining HUB bloggers, and agreed to by Rainsinger, that, as a compromise, the substance of the post would be left intact and authorship would be changed to the generic HUB user, “HUB Newsfeed”. However, the HUB now regrets making this compromise, and believes that changing the authorship of the post was also deleterious of our herstory. The post should have remained intact, in every respect. We regret this error in judgement, as well as the fact that this change is permanent and cannot be altered. — Eds. 6/15/12