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Lecture 19

HIST 3010 Lecture 19: Notes 02.09.17

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HIST 3010

Cameron and E. Frazer, “On the Question of Pornography and Sexual Violence” in Feminism and Pornography C. Smith and F. Attwood, “Emotional Truths and Thrilling Slide Shows: The Resurgence of Antiporn Feminism,” in The Feminist Porn Book CAMERON AND E. FRAZER: • Arguments that porn causes violence are inadequate, but porn isn’t to be ignored completely • There is a way a better way to address the issue of representation beyond simplistic notions of cause and effect PORN AND MURDER: CAUSE AND EFFECT? • Both conservatives and radical feminists see increase in sex-crime as bad • Conservatives want to stop all sexual expression and return to traditional family values • Feminists want to stop misogynistic sexual expression and blame family and religion as part of problem • Confirm that there is connection between porn and misogyny and sexual violence, but it’s not just cause and effect CAUSAL MODELS AND THE CASE OF TED BUNDY • Ted Bundy makes people think that violent porn makes people want to go and rape and murder and also increases the level of violence that they want • This is called the COPYCAT MODEL and ADDICTION MODEL, respectively • Copycat model can be explained without causal model, causal model is too deterministic • Addiction model appeals to some men because it makes them look like victims of addiction who had no power to stop • We can’t trust what Bundy says about himself o Many sex killers blame porn o mother-blaming became popular in movies and popular culture in 1960s and then in real life trials in 1970s o feminists blamed porn in 1970s, Bundy blamed porn in 1989 (see the pattern?) o use of cultural cliches to justify crimes must be watched out for THE POLITICS OF ADDICTION • Justice system is already laced in sexism and ideology • Husband gets lighter punishment for murdering wife because she was nagging • Feminists who introduce addiction model risk providing another defense that men can use to make themselves seem more like helpless victims in the face of porn addiction • Saying that porn causes violence allows sex offenders to blame porn instead of assuming responsibility BEYOND CAUSE AND EFFECT • All this isn’t to say that porn has no relationship with violence against women • It does, we can make it other than causal WHAT’S WRONG WITH CAUSAL EXPLANATION? • Causal accounts are inappropriate to explain human behavior • Humans are not animals or billiard balls of physics, it is not deterministically caused • Two arguments might be made: • 1. Sex is the animalistic part of humans and therefore is predicable o But sex is a biological phenomenon and sexuality is a social/cultural construct o Sexuality reflects human consciousness and has to do with desire, not bodily need • 2. Sex crimes are too bizarre to be analyzed as “possible and intelligible” o But even with Bundy we can see that his desires are not completely unintelligible to us o The actions of an autistic person would be unintelligible to us because we don’t have the code to their behavior, only they do o But Bundy and Jack the Ripper’s code of sexual murder does have a culturally meaningful act that they choose consciously to perform and that we can analyze and better understand • Back to addiction model, there is a difference between need and desire • Drug addicts need the drug and they simply take it and feel its effects but violent porn-viewers desire porn and they must interpret the images violent porn gives them and examine what it means to themselves • The meaning isn’t magically there in porn as the effect of the drug does “magically” take hold in the user • Dismissing porn as causal and addictive overlooks the meaning and humanity of the viewer’s imagination, culture, society, motivations, desires, and thought process CONCLUSION • To stop sexual violence, we must change the normal and normative sexual practices of our culture C. SMITH AND F. ATTWOOD INTRO • With new visibility of porn on internet, resurgence of anti-porn feminism • Claim that society has been pornified and many women come forward saying how porn has seeped into culture, addicted their men, and toxified relationships SEXUAL PANIC • Claims that contemporary porn is different from porn in the 1970s and 1980s • Current anti-porn feminists draw from Dworkins’ work and anti-porn feminists of the 1970s and 1980s work • Fear because what was once considered unthinkable is now ordinary • Claim that pornographers are misogynistic and cruel and that audiences are calling for even more violent porn • Men over 40 have softcore porn but (developing) men today and their “natural inquisitiveness” with sex view violent porn and are affected adversely – Aitkenhead • These outbursts from anti-porn feminists are more akin to “sex panics” than “moral panics” because any deviant sex from outside heterosexual marriage has always been frowned upon • Not so interested in arguing against anti-porn feminists, but rather seeing how they contribute to society’s demarcation of what is “good”, “normal” vs. “the problem” • There are divergent porn arguments out there for sex worker activists, pro-sex feminists but anti-porn takes the main stage • Anti-porn is criticized for its lack of analysis, but it finds its greatest purchase in drawing on the common sense and emotional intelligence of its audience because sex is already so negatively viewed in society • Anti-porn makes the norms of society feel included with “us” and “we” must be protected from “___ of porn” while pro-sex arguments often argue for a marginalized population of society that most people cannot relate to • Main argument for porn now is “free speech” and individual’s ability to choose to engage in porn, which flattens the argument and doesn’t challenge different kinds of porn, degradation of certain porn, kids seeing porn “too early”, etc. “WE ARE ALL SITTING HERE WITH OUR COMMON SENSE” ACADEMIA AND ANTI-PORN FEMINISM • More and more anti-porn feminism shows a greater hostility to academia as they claim it minimizes women’s feelings and reactions by asking for evidence • Anti-porn feminism relies heavily on shocking their (usually inexperie
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