Thursday, 23 April 2009
IS THERE A NEED FOR FEMINISM?
As an answer to all the questions, yes there is a need for Feminism leading to the idea that there is no personal agenda rather an urgency to change the situation of today. What is a ‘gentlemen?’ a man opening a door for a woman, but refuses to speak out when she is being harassed by others? Only helping a woman when it suits themselves, then expecting absolute gratitude; although they sit in silence whilst seeing a woman go through agony? What does that say about men that only some are labelled ‘gentle?’
May be, there is a need to be like a gentleman; everyone that is. However it is called ‘common courtesy’ under female terms.
The word lady is not a term used nowadays, it represents an old-fashioned English upper class society that existed before. The proof is that girls in schools are no longer addressed ladies but women. Similarly, the idea of the gentleman should not exist, but the idea of courtesy should be universally used by both men and women.
Anti-porn does not mean anti-male, anti-sex or does not aim to be a censor. But as we are addressing the issue, there is a fine line between being a censor and anti-porn, as through societal terms, it automatically makes you a right-wing prude or someone who accepts that exploitation is the norm. Women are now seen as ‘prudish’ for not accepting that objectification of women is appropriate and conditioned into society, (that children will see it when they are older so it is fine to expose them to porn at an early age, when this should not even be the case). Hence feminists are not able to speak out at all ie. It is now us who are censored for apparently being ‘dictators.’ Yet, some more vulnerable people in society uncovered to the industry are free to be exploited.
Suddenly, we have seen that in society you can only be one or the other. ‘Censorship’ has been coined after many years of oppressive regimes, that only tyrants use censor, so if you are to use it- you automatically become the oppressive. Yet as we have such a lack of voice today-ultimately we are the oppressed by pornographic styled censorship.
There are always counter-arguments that women like to be filmed and pictured this way on newspapers and ‘lad’s mags,’ as well as watch porn themselves. However, why do they need to feel that the only way of being happy with oneself is to be able to expose and be naked in front of everyone, to be expected to be perfect? A prime example of these are reality-shows such as ‘How to look good naked?’ Does that mean because Gok Wan or any other dictatorial fashion designer tells me that the only way I will be happy is through getting a haircut or changing anything to my physical appearance, my life will be more satisfying?
What this does is continually drive and fuel the fire that female appearance is more important than the person themselves, thus losing individuality. Subsequently, WE ARE NOW OBJECTS.
Object is a strong word, but completely appropriate for this situation. The focus is not on the individual women who pose naked for money or pleasure- it goes much deeper beyond that. We address the underlying issue of society's expectations, of trying to fulfil the image of 'perfection.' You would not see a larger woman posing on these papers, because the main focus is of selling. For the woman, she believes its an ego boost because society tells her that the only way of getting ahead is through her body. She sells herself like a CV to get ahead. Yet now the only possibility to fulfil her aspirations is through her physical self. Her mind is totally undermined even if she did not want that as her focus of sale- thus creating the paranoid image that as soon as her body fails her from age and what not, she will be obsolete- an object. Worst of all this is in all aspects from life not just through porn.
A case of a young porn star who was not named for legal reasons, was interviewed for a documentary. It was a study on why women choose the porn path, the reasons they do it. She continually mentioned that she was a Law student and was this was a means of funding her education, and had no intention of doing this in the future. However, she was totally overlooked because the interviewer said that she was not saleable for having any other reasons.
The reason men are not put on page three is because women do not see them as bartering tools rather they aspire to be like men, thus the idea of a Female Chauvinist Pig is created. It is all about 'If you can't beat them, join them,' in order to get ahead with women. Men should be grateful that they have a choice between their mind and body to get further in the world.
Feminist groups do not blame individuals for this, rather it is society as a whole who are instigating covert misogyny. Anti-porn does not target the women who choose to model in this fashion, rather the indoctrination targeted at men, women and children to say that it is terrible to objectify a homosexual in a tutu or the horrible image of a black slave in shackles, but it is fine to see a woman as a ‘sex object/ slave.’ This leads to further demeaning of women. Furthermore lesbian porn is seen to prescribe sex. ‘Girl on girl’ porn for example stereotypes that all women must be actively sexual with other women. This loses any individuality for a person and detracts the women’s choice in sexual freedom and enjoyment. If we continually had a bombardment of racially discriminative images on Page Three of ‘The Sun,’ it would become a part of everyday as well as used in everyday life. For this reason, not only are women meant and seen to be passive, be ‘up for it’ whenever and wherever, the passivity has spiralled to the point that it is okay for a man or society to use violence against a woman in order to fit to her ‘social status.’
Originally, hardcore pornography was much more clandestine and sex was seen to be much more of a taboo. By addressing the issue was one way of educating the masses, but by commercialising porn, saturating into all of our daily lives created the exploitation of women. Businesses that profit from objectification, exploitation and dehumanisation of women are the real culprits behind the mass production of misogyny in all spreads of the media.
The porn industry has escalated to the point ‘torture porn’ has been introduced, seeing the brutal rape and killings of women as entertainment. Whilst, there has been wide grumbles about the topic and there is a big issue to ban it- we ask ourselves the question where does a horror film end and torture porn begin? Does this mean that the more we are inundated with violence against women, the more ‘natural’ it will become to abuse women in society just as it is to be naked on Page Three?
A key example is seen through 1972/ 2005 documentary based on the film ‘Deep Throat,’ as well as autobiography ‘Ordeal’ and ‘Out of Bondage.’ Linda Boreman aka porn actress Linda Lovelace spoke out against pornography, drawing from what she stated were her own experiences of coercion and abuse, before government hearings on pornography, provoking an intense controversy over both her charges and her objections to the pornography industry as a whole. She stated that “When you see the movie Deep Throat, you are watching me being raped. It is a crime that movie is still showing; there was a gun to my head the entire time.” However, the decision was overruled as it in ‘public’ interest as entertainment to see Boreman be horrifically raped. This reiterates the law that rape is still considered a 'common' crime such as burglary unlike GBH which is sectioned as 'hate crimes.' Now after thirty years, it has come back on its head with ‘torture porn.’
The organisation that I am part of focuses on the commercialisation of porn rather then ‘home-made’ porn, that remains at home; whilst the main issue that women (and some men) are not equal in society and demeaned psychologically, mentally and physically day-to-day with all the expectations is being addressed. Ask yourself why are there no male page three models with erect penises?
‘Consuming’ porn describes the addictions that come part-in-parcel with it. But because we see less outer effects (apart from proven mental and psychological breakdowns)it is considered a pleasure-but because drugs, alcohol and cigarettes has a physical overt consequence , there are many more devices to make it end, even naming it a ‘self-inflicted disease.’ So why is it that there is ‘censorship’ for drugs and alcohol, but no measure for a woman’s right to live?