Porn & Rape?

“The more pornography women use, the more likely they are to be victims of non-consensual sex,” said Mary Anne Layden, professor of sociology and women’s studies at Wheelock College in Boston. “The earlier the male starts using pornography, the more likely they are to be the perpetrators of non-consensual sex.”

[Taken from The Washington Times]

Some of you may have read that paragraph and asked yourself, “I didn’t hear about that study, where is the source of that information?” and dear readers, I asked myself the same question. I couldn’t find one, but surely a self-described feminist wouldn’t exploit the horrendous crime of rape as a way to fear monger women curious about pornography. Surely.

Then again, the article also has a few other gems in it that I would like to share here. Bear in mind, this is an article about women accessing pornography.

Men in general have always been considered the more visually stimulated of the two sexes. Before the advancements in technology, young women who wanted a sense of emotional gratification would live vicariously through romance novels. Young men would get some of their sexual gratification from photographs of scantily clad or nude women, or go to strip clubs.

Even in an article about the “record setting” number of women utilizing porn, the article still relies on the age old dichotomy of women as emotional creatures for whom sex is a means to love and romance and men are just horny visually stimulated animals. Not just men, of course, young men and women. That’s because being sexual is something that you grow out of when you mature, of course. When gender is singled out in this manner it reiterates the notion that women who are interested in sex for fuck’s sake are unnatural aberrations. It’s also known as slut shaming. As a whole, more women stated preference is for sexual literature but that is because it makes their genitals gush rather than their hearts. No one read them in the bathtub because they were thinking about how they were going to tile the floor when prince charming rescued them. Cheap paperback editions mean that no one cries when it gets dropped into the suds when the shower nozzle is pulled out.

But hey, the title of the article itself is, “More women lured to pornography addiction.”  This is because women are sweet and innocent emotional Red Riding Hoods websurfing their way to Grandma’s House of recipes and quilting when the Big Bad Pornographic Wolf found them and led them astray. I don’t think women are that naive. I think women use that search bar, read those reviews, and comment on the forums because they want to watch porn. They were never on their way to Grandma’s House, that’s just their home page. But just when you thought they couldn’t use another cheap fear mongering tactic…

“Pornography is the drug of the millennium and more addictive than crack cocaine,” said Donna Rice Hughes, president of Enough Is Enough, a Virginia-based nonprofit that works to make the Internet safer for children and families. “[EIE‘s] goal is that there be as much protection online as there is offline.”

I am not going to discuss a hierarchy of addiction for those who do truly suffer from it but I do feel that it is vital to mention a few things about why this comparison is very deeply unethical.

1. The term “addiction” is rarely used in appropriate diagnostic terms in regards to porn.

There are clinical guidelines for diagnosis. Someone is not an addict by merit of the fact that you don’t like what they’re doing. Call it a vice, call it a bad habit, but unless you are a licensed professional you do not get to diagnose someone. Not that this won’t stop people from trying. If you Google “pornography addiction treatment” you will meet thousands upon thousands of people trying to sell you their DVD’s, their books, their workshops and seminars, and their computer software. No one is going to sell you a DVD to put an end to that pesky crack cocaine addiction that pisses your wife off so damn much.

Science and medicine are really misused, misquoted, or completely disregarded to fit an agenda. When reading something like this, ask yourself a few questions about what is being said, who is saying it, what their source is, and most of all whether or not that source is even applicable to the original statement.

2. Pornography addiction is a white collar menace. Crack cocaine is an inner city problem.

At the end of the day, there was a good reason why you decided to move the spouse out to the suburbs to raise the kids, right? Better schools, nicer lawns, and you don’t have to deal with…those kinds of problems. I must be wrong though. Much like the fact I’m sure no self-respecting feminist would exploit rape as a fear mongering tactic, I’m also sure that crack cocaine is not being invoked because porn addiction is mostly discussed and treated within middle to higher income white family oriented circles while crack cocaine is very much associated with lower income people of color. That would just be tacky, Donna Rice Hughes.

Well, the article is just one serving of bullshit after another but it is the issue of rape that sticks with me the most. The article accepts that “boys will be boys” when it comes to watching porn but carefully wags its fingers at women who do or might consider watching porn. “If you hadn’t worn that skirt…” it seems to say. “Nice girls don’t go out alone on dark nights.” It is, quite literally, making the claim that if you watch those dark images that they will literally manifest themselves into your life. It’s the stuff of mythology or the Twilight Zone and it is a little interesting that this quote pops up on the heels of more and more women speaking out about their interest in porn.

Threatening people with rape is a common tactic of war. It’s been used in the past and in the present by those who don’t concern themselves with collateral damage so long as they are able to impose their will.

It is a very, very ugly lie to tell.

8 Comments

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8 responses to “Porn & Rape?

  1. Pingback: Feminists say women who watch porn get raped | Our Porn, Ourselves

  2. This would be what Sam Keen would call a “Scientific Wild Ass Guess”. Though to be honest, there sounds like very little science behind it. What is these conclusions based on? Did they actually ask a large number of women that had been raped about their porn habits? Given how many men who view porn how can they say that they are more likely to do it than the general population, when the number would probably be only slightly less than the general population? Did they base it on the 0.001 percent of men over 18 years old that never watched porn. How did they find these guys?

    This is just another ‘sermon’ by someone ‘perching to the choir’.

  3. Ari

    First of all, to totes give props to Ms Furry Girl for linking to you, Maggie.

    You take a very precise scalpel to dissect a horrifying article, and I applaud you for it. But I think by doing so you perhaps give the author too much credit. As you said, “…the article is just one serving of bullshit after another…” and this is so readily apparent to anyone willing to engage their brains before getting swept up in the fear-laden imagry.

    The absurd bias that would make any real journalist or scientist’s blood boil is pretty fucking apparent in the first few paragraphs. Although personally, as a budding sex researcher, any sentence that starts with the phrase, “Researchers have long known…” tends to prick my ears for a possible gross over-statement of theory contourted into supposed facts because hardly anything in my field is irrefutable and uncontested… As you point out, the use of the phrase “porn addiction” pretty much sets up the entire article to be complete hogwash, doubly so when they suggest that “researchers” have seen an “increasing number of women” suffering from a “diagnosis” that doesn’t fucking exist. But, and sue me for being biased, as soon as they start quoting from “Today’s Christian Woman” they’ve lost all hope of being credible to me.

    It was hard to even read the damn thing without puking.

  4. Asehpe

    Even though I am totally in agreement with the previous commenter, who said that the article you criticize is so obviously wrong (it reminds me of those articles who ‘show’ — by fiat and argumentum ab auctoritate — that homosexuality is a disease or paraphilia, and one that can always be ‘cured’), I do think there is a point in criticizing them — namely, that such articles are in fact propaganda attempts hiding as (pseudo)science. There are sufficiently many people out there who will believe it (they don’t have much experience with thinking about the topic and believe what they’ve been told) — so it is good to have refutations and counterarguments available that can be shown if need be.

    Because this shows that there are people who actually do care about the truth, about actual fact-checking, about actual science. People who can trace the origin of anti-porn activism to its origin — old temperance movement, old Victorniam prudishness, old stereotypes about things that good girls don’t do. It used to be work that good girls didn’t do; they had to remain fresh and pretty for their future husbands. It used to be that the whore-madonna dichotomy would generate the conceptual space in which men (and women) thought about women. Anti-porn activists, being ‘progressive’, of course refuse all that and are happy that it has been overcome — while remaining oblivious to the link they themselves have laid between this ugly past and the future they are trying to achieve.

    How similar is anti-porn activism to 19th-century anti-masturbation activism! To anti-homosexuality activism! It would be funny — if it weren’t sad.

  5. Kate

    I’m sorry, you’re saying science in misquoted, misused etc, where exactly did you receive your qualifications rendering YOUR use of the term correct, and learned sociologist’s use incorrect?
    Ted Bundy himself, along with several other serial killers rapists etc have blamed pornography, or cited pornography as part of their downward spiral.
    Considering most pornography shows women have sexual intercourse who aren’t even physically aroused (no swelling of the vulva/clitoris, no wetness, no visible colour change in vulval tissues), and then before they achieve orgasm, their pleasure is haled, only to be ejaculated upon, I think you’ll find it does, in fact, encourage the use of women for sexual objects, without them deriving any pleasure from the act.

  6. Kate

    And the comparison of anti-pornography with the anti-homosexuality campaigns is sad and completely laughable.

  7. Pingback: Election 2012 | Maggie Mayhem Speaks

  8. Joab Jones

    For what it’s worth Bundy’s psychopathology might have had more to do with what was most likely an abusive childhood (we’ve never been able to figure it out quite for sure since he wasn’t the most reliable reporter and told people different things at different times) and what Dr. Dorothy Lewis tentatively diagnosed as either bipolar disorder or dissociative personality disorder. His constant blaming of everything other than himself–including true crime TV, alcohol and the news media–is pretty common among men with his personality profile, according to a lot of criminologists, including Petherick and Van Zandt. David Berkowitz even said that Satan was sending him messages through his dog. Dobson–not a very good psychologist, counselor or theologian, in my opinion–proved a credulous audience and the consummate liar Bundy just spun him a yarn that he was all too ready to hear. Jonathan Pincus, of Georgetown, also reported that Bundy’s autopsy showed a brain which was consistent with a sufferer of manic depression but which also showed no other significant damage.

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