Pressure

What the hell is pressure? I mean, there’s the kind of pressure that is obvious, like studying for an exam pressure and then there’s the kind of pressure that is subtle. Now, I think that everyone here can easily spot the more obvious types of pressure, you know, the pressure to meet a deadline, the pressure to pay your mortgage. But subtle pressure is a critter of a different stripe. Subtle pressure is all about masking the pressure, making it invisible to those who would otherwise become angry or frustrated at it. Subtle pressure is perhaps the more dangerous of the two because of how it works in the mind.

This patriarchal society is hands down the best at exuding a subtle pressure. It’s the sort of pressure that kind of sneaks in and encompasses you until you fail to even realize that it’s there.

So what has gotten me to thinking about all this pressure? Well, as a feminist I constantly think about pressure and I recognize many of the pressures that women are under just because they weren’t born with little floppy bits. Pressure, in the arena of women, is not something that I’m a stranger to, but have you ever had one of those moments when you thought you knew what kind of pressure you were under and then you had a big revelation that showed you that you underestimated that pressure so much that it became an entirely new animal?

Yeah, well color me pressurized I just had one of those moments the other day.

As a self-proclaimed feminist it is my job, and my obsession, to constantly look inwards and decide what is important to me. I take self-analyzing to a new level as I am constantly turning my thoughts to my own psyche. I ask myself constantly, “Do I really understand what is going on here? Am I really living by a set of guidelines that make sense? Is my ‘moral compass’ consistent with where I want it to be? Am I really living up to my own expectations? Do I completely understand why I think and feel the way I do?” etc. etc. and so on and so forth until my brain shuts down entirely and smoke spews from my ears.

Considering that I’m always looking at myself I am normally pretty surprised when something turns out to be not what I expected.

Now, this summer, after recognizing the subtle pressure placed on women to conform to a pre-pubescent beauty standard rigidly set in place by a bunch of horny white dudes I decided to experiment with shaving. The first step was to see if my crotch fell off if I didn’t ‘trim’ my bikini line during my daily showers. Several months into the experiment I realized that my crotch neither fell off, nor did I smell like rotten tuna (as men would have us believe) plus I had ‘shaved’ (pun intended) a few minutes off my normal routine. No more pulling hairballs from the drain after my shower, no more razor burn and most importantly a few more minutes onto my schedule.

“Wow, this is pretty cool” I thought to myself with smug satisfaction. Maybe I’ll try this on other parts of my body!

And so I did. I began to go longer and longer between shaves, cautiously inching my courage up a bit at a time. At first it was only a few days before I began fretting and thinking strange thoughts about turning into a gorilla or some hideous hell beast. Then slowly the time lengthened, day by grueling day and I found, much to my surprise that I didn’t ‘look like a man’ afterall. In fact, I looked quite like a woman and, once again, I had shaved precious minutes off of my shower.

“Wow!” I remarked to myself one morning, “It used to take me 20 minutes to shower, shave, shampoo, condition and so forth. But lookie here BB, you’re down to around 12 minutes or so! Way to go!” I found that the longer I went between shaves the angrier I was at ‘having’ to shave at all. And yet, I still didn’t see the vast amount of pressure that women are under to engage in the practice at all. I just figured I was resentful at having those extra minutes stolen from me once again.

In any case, I found as the weeks wore on, that when I ‘had’ to shave (i.e. when the weather was going to be really hot and I had to wear shorts *grin*) that I kind of regretted watching that fuzzy growth get washed down the drain. Slowly but surely I was becoming hairy. My crotch hadn’t fallen off, I didn’t smell like dead fish and my legs were actually kinda cool, plus I saved myself a whole 7 minutes!

So far I had come up against little or no resistance and while I still wasn’t brave enough to venture my hairy self outside in daisy dukes I was pretty content. My sons checked out mom’s new hair (on my legs of course!) and responded with mild disinterest even while I did the “Look at me! I have hair!” dance (yes, sadly, I did indeed do a sort of victory dance). Hell, I couldn’t get them to pay attention at all! Must be this shaving thing is really a no brainer eh?

Emboldened by my newfound confidence and the lack of my kids actually giving a shit I decided to take the leap. I removed the shaver entirely from the shower and I let my armpits go a few days. It was tough but I was kind to myself and when I found myself biting my lower lip in anxiety I would hop from the shower, soaking wet, grab the razor and have at it. Hell, the last thing I wanted to do was shock myself back into submission, therefore I did it slowly.

However, as the hair began to grow it began to dawn on me just how much subtle pressure we are under to keep ourselves nude. I began to understand when I really wanted to wear shorts but couldn’t muster the courage to walk out the door all hairy that there’s a hell of a lot of pressure out there. Where did this pressure come from? I wondered. And why, oh why did I never see the sheer VOLUME of it before now? Sure, I was aware of it, as a feminist I kind of have to be eh? With all that introspection and so forth it’s tough to miss it, but what I did underestimate was the sheer AMOUNT of the pressure.

I watched as the hair grew and I decided I liked it. Indeed, here’s a dirty little secret, *whispers*…..I realized that I kind of liked the way I smelled. Now, before anyone gasps and accuses me of flipping my stack or being a slob let me explain. Humans are supposedly gifted with their own unique smells; back in my swooning 20’s I would often smell my husband’s shirts while I was folding laundry. It was always something that was comforting to me and indeed, I noticed that men all do have a different smell. Now, I’m quite past the stage of sniffing my partners clothes while folding his laundry (ok, I’m past the stage of folding his laundry at all *grin*) but it occurred to me that I never knew how *I* smelled.

Turns out I smell pretty damned good.

With my new scent grabbing hairiness I found myself actually inhaling deeply and smelling…what else but ME! I found myself smiling because hell I’m a pretty good smelling gal. Now, here I’d like to point out that perhaps I’m a shade different than many other folks. I’m an honest to goodness earth person and I mean that literally and spiritually.

I have always been a very ‘smell centered’ person. Perfumes are generally too strong for me, I don’t personally wear them, and one of my biggest pet peeves is being stuck in a movie theatre with someone who is doused in perfume. Hell, most lotions are too smelly for me. The smells I love and adore are musky, earthy, outdoors smells. The smell of spring in the air, or of a thunderstorm (yes, thunderstorms DO have a smell *biggrin*). The smell of dirt on my hands when I’m in the garden is one of my all time favorites. Warm smells, earthy smells, I’ve even been known to grab a handful of good compost hold it up to my nose and cry, “Wow! That’s some might fine dirt!”. The smell of saddles and horse sweat in the barn mingled with the smell of hay is a smell that goes down on my all time favorite. These are all smells that I love. I guess I should just face it, I’m a ‘smelly’ person (yep, another pun that was intended).

The point is that when I began to get hairy I began to realize that I too have a smell and it was pretty good. I found myself sniffing and smiling happily at my newfound ‘trick’.

But then disaster happened.

About 3 days ago I changed into a tank top to do some work outside. My youngest son who is a mere 11 years old, looked oddly at me and proclaimed, “Gee Mom, don’t you think it’s time you shaved?”

I couldn’t keep the look of stunned surprised off my face. My little boy who is so sensitive and wonderful and who speaks so many wonderful truths about feminism is telling me in that patronizing way that I should shave so that I am more acceptable with his view of what a woman is ‘supposed’ to look like. He’s only 11 years old! This child of mine who decided two years ago that he liked to paint his nails and who did it just to prove that people should be equal (Yes, I know that his method is a bit flawed but he was only 9 at the time). My little boy who didn’t pay a bit of attention to my hairy legs was now telling me that I was, in essence, not holding up to my gendered status.

I was crushed.

And then I was angry.

And then I had my epiphany.

Wow, pressure. It seeps into us all, hiding beneath as a sort of expectancy that awaits unseen until you refuse to succumb to it. A child of eleven gets that there’s something ‘wrong’ with his mother if she doesn’t shave her armpits. When I asked him why I should shave I got a puzzled expression coupled with this, “I don’t know….it’s just weird you look funny mom.” And with that all the courage and pride I had been building just kind of seeped out of me.

And here, I had even tried wearing a sundress actually out without shaving my legs first. If my own son who has been raised in a feminist household, couldn’t see past the hair and felt the need to speak up, then what of the rest of this male dominated society? Whatever would I do when some dude stepped up to me, not to say, “Hey, nice ass” but instead to say, “Hey, why don’t you shave you freaky woman”. How was I going to deal with that?

And in one fell swoop it hit me like a stack of bricks. Pressure. It was all about pressure. Pressure of the sort that I never really ‘got’ in its entirety. Here I was fretting about what insult some horny dude would throw at me that I was terrified once more, my confidence was stripped from me, the implied threat of persecution for just being a woman snapped completely into place. This is not the sort of pressure to buy a given brand of shoes, that pressure I’ve never succumbed to. No, rather this is the culmination of the sort of pressure that one experiences when one understands that a threat that has always been implied could now bear fruit.

I realized that my fear of going out with hairy pits, or hairy legs, was akin in a very real way to the pressure I felt when I tried to thwart my abusive x husband’s agenda. There was always the ever looming fear that if I thwarted his plan that I would pay for it. This was the sort of pressure that, at its core, was all about fear. And not just fear of not conforming, fuck, I know all about not conforming, it was different somehow. It had a different feel to it, a different energy altogether.

In my mind I began to see monsters, a group of men standing outside the store became more frightening than ever and I finally got it. I finally understood this sort of pressure, the pressure for women to be sexually titillating to all men at all times, for what it was.

Talk about a revelation.

This summer I stopped shaving entirely and I found that there were parts of myself that I didn’t know about before and that I really kind of liked. In one fell swoop from the mouth of an 11 year old boy, I understood another important thing. This pressure that we are placed under is so pervasive that it causes the sort of anxiety that is at best uncomfortable; at worst it can be mind-numbing.

I understand a little more of this pressure now that I can see it for what it is. Seeing the enormous pressure placed upon women for this little tiny thing gave me a big start and it also made me question myself again.

For what it’s worth the hair is still there and I still like it, I’m not leaving the house in a strappy sundress anytime soon, but for me, for now, I’m happy.

Now, this post seems to be about shaving, but really it’s not. It’s about uncovering and examining the pressure that women experience that is totally unlike the pressure that men experience. This post is about confronting that pressure and the fear and understanding what it is that you are so scared of.

When I got to thinking about why I was so scared to leave my house with my new hair I realized that my worst nightmare involved having a man physically assault me because I was brazen enough to tell him to fuck off when he made a comment. Beneath it all was the horrifying fear of physical assault from someone who was so offended by my being a woman and bucking the status quo that he would physically assault me. In my minds eye I allowed my greatest fear to unfold just so that I would be able to pinpoint the exact thrust of my fears.

In my scenario I saw myself pumping gas or leaving a store and having a guy, or a group of guys, comment about my new hair. I saw me giving them the finger, telling them to fuck off and then saw them throwing something at me. Maybe a Coke bottle or a half-empty Snapple bottle. I saw me being powerless to stop it for what could I do?

So for me, I found that while my worst fear is probably pretty unlikely to happen, its roots were in fear. This society has at least taught me that there is always a threat hanging over my head. This threat, this silent warning is always ready to show itself if I step out of line. Now, this threat probably manifests itself in different ways for different women, but for me, I recognized that in this arena, as in others, I felt threatened by men. I feared that someone would do the unthinkable over such a little thing.

Which got me to wondering. If a man doesn’t shave for a few days does he fear a physical repercussion from women? Does he fear bodily harm from a pack of renegade females who dislike his beard?

Now, I’m not blind to the fact that this fear is probably baseless. I’m aware that it’s likely that the most I will ever get is strange looks or a few screams, but never mistake it, behind those catcalls lies that same veiled threat. Behind those reproachful looks and the snide remarks or the giggling lays the same threat. The threat that women live under their entire lives, the threat that “We will hurt you if you fuck up”.

Men have made an art form of violence. They violate each other, they violate the planet and they violate women. And women are left feeling small and weak in the face of the violence that they wreak with such cunning precision. Women are told and shown that to resist the violence of male’s means that they will then target their violence toward them. We are taught this and we know this as surely as we know our own genders. We know that there is rarely anyone who will speak out against their violence. We are taught that their violence is natural and normal and so we live, with the pressure of their expectations smothering us.

The promise is always that if we follow enough of their expectations that we won’t be targeted for their violence. That somehow we will escape it. But we always know that it’s there, and this is reinforced everywhere we go. We see the haunted eyes of women and the jumpy, overly-eager-to-please dispositions and we understand that this is a woman who has been reminded of their violence. And her pain becomes our prison and our pain, likewise becomes hers and so it culminated for me in the small voice of an 11 year old and I understood that the fear which lurks beneath so many of our actions and reactions is waiting just beneath the surface to remind me to shave my legs and armpits.

Pressure is a funny thing, how much pressure are you under? What ways does it manifest? How does it make itself known to you? Is there fear beneath your pressure as well?

~BB

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Published in: on April 26, 2008 at 10:41 am  Leave a Comment  
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Women and Pornography: My Story

Mink Stole brings up a point from ‘Lesbian Caricature’ that I have been meaning to address for a long while but have been unable to formulate words on the topic. Women and porn. 

It’s high time I did something on it though because, quite frankly, it comes up rather frequently. It’s almost as if the phrase, “But BB, women look at porn too” is intended to completely remove any and all problems with porn just because, ‘women look at it too’. 

It’s a topic that needs addressing and, quite frankly, I’ve held off on it because I don’t want to alienate any women reading who are currently ‘on the fence’ so to speak, over pornography and the harm it does. Unfortunately it’s been coming up more and more lately and I don’t think I can hold off on it anymore. 

First I want to acknowledge Mink Stole and her (rather brave) comments. Kudos to you for telling us about your experiences as well as filling in some of the blanks I had on gay male pornography. And now I’m going to jump right onto the bandwagon and come right out with my story.

I too used porn and I am a woman. For a many years when I was younger, I looked at pornography. My soon-to-be-X really started it for me. Until that time I had obviously seen porn and I had even watched it at the prodding of my first X but I never ‘used’ it myself, as in, I never popped in a video when I was by myself to masturbate to. My second husband changed all that and within a few months of moving in with him I was actively watching it as well. 

Like Mink I also watched quite a bit of BDSM porn. It didn’t start out that way, but it sure as hell ended up that way. My X inaugurated me into it and my ‘porn phase’ lasted around 2 years (give or take). Mind you, that was 2 years that I was actively using it myself rather than just watching it to pacify the man I was with. 

Like Mink I too changed my mind. This happened slowly however. What I can tell you from my experiences as a woman is that initially I was repulsed by pornography. My stomach would churn and grind and my face would remain frozen in a mask of disgust and, I daresay, apprehension and fear. Slowly though, this changed for me, but it never changed completely. 

Even whilst I was actively seeking porn out I would always feel dirty and stained after I watched it. I would look for the stuff I wanted to see, watch it, masturbate, orgasm and then promptly go and shower. It’s a very difficult sensation to describe, this sort of revulsion coupled with the compulsion to look at it in the first place, this strange cycle of compulsion, justification, masturbation, revulsion and cleansing. 

I began to realize that there was a serious problem when, one night, I was having sex with my husband and realized that I was seeing porn images in my head while we were being intimate. I noted this relatively early on and it troubled me. It bothered me that I was ‘seeing’ porn in my mind, that I was seeing the degradation of women (and yes, it was pretty much always women) and getting off to it even when the actual tapes were no longer playing. 

At first this was an unsettling occurrence, a strange intrusion, but I wrote it off. I would recognize the image in my head and I would try to turn my mind elsewhere, like maybe onto my actual husband, the man whom I loved and cherished (at that time anyway). But, after a time, focusing on my husband began to feel strange, harder somehow than just thinking about the images I had seen before. It was easier to regurgitate the stuff I had seen earlier in the day, or earlier in the week. 

There came a point where this became very troubling. A point in which I began to feel dirty and stained from the images my head and my television were spewing out at me. There came a time when I began to shower after sex, NOT because I just wanted to shower, rather because I felt just as dirty as I did when I was watching the porn. 

There was a problem and it was making me feel simultaneously dirty, sexual and self-conscious. Slowly but surely I began to question the things I was seeing. I began to wonder why I despised those women and yet was using them, even in my own head, to get off to. Slowly the veil began to thin and the guilt and disgust I would feel afterwards would grow stronger than the compulsion to look at the stuff in the first place. 

Eventually I sat down and had an honest discussion with myself. I asked myself honestly, what was I getting out of porn? The answer surprised me. It terrified me. It shamed me and disgusted me and the twist in my gut that I felt when I heard my own answer, the defensiveness and immediate arguments that sprang to my mind proved, more than any lie detector test, that the answer was indeed correct. 

I was getting a sense of power from watching the humiliation and degradation of the women on the screen. 

I was claiming power, the all-elusive power that women strive for their entire lives, from degrading and enjoying the degradation of other women. I had absorbed a lesson from the patriarchy: women are easy to degrade, weaker, and more vulnerable, so much so that even another woman can take their power. Watching women being slapped and hurt was filling that void within me that was taken so many years before by men. It allowed me to feel powerful and in control. 

That’s what I was getting out of it. I was getting a sick satisfaction at watching other people be humiliated.

For me it had to be women I watched. The thought, the very idea of taking control from a man could not, ever, manifest in my mind. The idea of humiliating a man was so foreign to me that my mind discounted the possibility of it immediately, before it even blinked on the radar. I had spent my life with men controlling me it was clear, at least to me, that I would never get power from them. Instead, I turned to women even more vulnerable than me. Women who were even EASIER targets to take power from than I was.

Clearly, these women were pained, and I watched it. I saw it in every movie, in every picture, in every scene. I watched and heard the fake screams and I took power from their misery. I watched their faces twist for just a moment into a face of pain when they were penetrated anally; I saw it and I used it to make myself feel better. In some way I was taking their power. It was ME, it was certainly ME wielding the power over them in my mind, and it was the thought of ME taking their power on the screen that brought me to climax. 

It wasn’t the sex, it wasn’t the vaginas or the breasts or the tanned skin. It wasn’t some sort of biological excitement from seeing two people having sex (although, that’s what I told myself for a very long time). It was the power that is inherent in degrading and humiliating another human being that brought me climax. I was stealing THEIR power, taking it from them in my fantasies and on my TV. With every orgasm I was stealing the little dignity that these women had left and using it to feed my own, seriously lacking, seriously damaged, sense of power and control and self-esteem.

And I hated them for it. I hated them for reflecting my own weaknesses back at me. I despised them for allowing their dignity to be taken from them, just as I had done myself. These women were, in so many ways, a reflection of me, of my OWN powerlessness, and I hated them for ‘letting’ themselves be used in such a fashion.

At the same time I hated MYSELF for using them. I hated myself for being a vampire of sorts, a kind of ‘self-esteem vampire’. A creature which was incapable of making her own self-esteem and who therefore took it from other humans. But self-esteem garnered at the expense of another human being does not, and never can, replace your own. It simply drains from your body because it never belonged to you in the first place. Power that is stolen from another person is always empty power, it never fulfills, it never leaves its mark on you for more than a few days, sometimes even a few hours.

This is the hallmark of EVERYONE I have ever met that uses pornography, males and females alike: low-self esteem and a horrible fear of being exposed as being weak. The common theme inherent in everyone that I have ever met who uses porn is low-self esteem, oftentimes depression, a sense of worthlessness, and a sense of being out of control. Porn becomes the mechanism by which these folks, males and females alike, gain control. There is an almost universal deep-rooted sense of insecurity, combined with a fear of failure. And these fears and these worries are alleviated, at least for a time, through porn.

But it’s not as simple as that because stolen power is never power and the sense of control only lasts for a little bit before the same old fears come creeping back in. The same old doubts, the same fears of failure, the same insecurities.

Pornography is about control. It’s not about sex, it’s not about lovemaking. There is nothing natural, normal or healthy with pornography.

Yes, women use pornography, but the fact that women use pornography doesn’t make the dangers of pornography disappear. Rather, it brings them into sharper focus. Women who are using pornography are getting high on the same sense of control that men are. Women who are using pornography are degrading the women in their mind and hating them for the same reasons that men are. The difference is that women will many times wake up of their own accord. Since we ARE women, we see the degradation and we, just as men, train ourselves to get off to that degradation. Unlike men however, we realize that we ARE women and sometimes, oftentimes, this realization hits us when the men we’re with begin to want to degrade US in the same way that WE are degrading the women in our minds, or the women on our computers or on our TV’s.

It is then that many times we will realize the dangers and see that WE were only a tiny margin away from being THAT woman ourselves. When our partners begin to want to degrade US the way that they degrade THEM, the false distinction that we make in our own minds between US and THEM disappears entirely. Then we realize that we are just as vulnerable as they are. It is then that we understand that we are no different than the porn stars, we are just as vulnerable to men as they are, and the power and control that we believed we were getting was simply not real. It was just a phantom, and now we’re being asked to perform those same acts.

That moment comes for many women. That moment when their partners ask for the things that the porn stars did. And we recognize the trap that we’ve laid for ourselves.

That’s what happened with me. Soon my husband began to ask me to do the same things for him that the porn star was doing. What could I say then? I mean, after all, I was watching the same damn thing he was and he knew it. If I didn’t do those things then I would have to admit to myself that they were degrading and I’d see the paradox, I’d see the holes in my illusion. I’d be forced to see that I wouldn’t want those things done to ME, and yet I wanted to see them done to other people.

So I did them. I did them and I tried to pretend that I liked them. I tried to act like the porn star because I was invested. Soon however, I began to see JUST how horrible it felt to have cum on my face. Just how terrible I felt when he called me a ‘whore’ and a ‘slut’. I realized that when he asked me, “Do you like that you little whore?” and I moaned “Yes, fuck me harder” that I really didn’t like the way I felt afterwards.

I finally saw it all for what it was and I finally sat down and had that talk with myself. I finally saw my intentions and what I was getting from the porn, what I was getting from watching women be called names and be spanked. I saw it and it fucking scared me to death. It scared me and it shamed me and even now, at 6:30 pm on a Monday night a full 12 years later I am still shamed.

This was a post I didn’t want to write. This is my own confession; this is the story of a woman who watched pornography, who consumed the pain of other women to soothe my own painfully damaged confidence and self-esteem.

It was only after I pushed the pornography from my life that I was able to feel good about myself. It was only then that I began to be able to be honest about the things that I liked and didn’t like. My husband didn’t like it. He raged at me, angry that I would ‘suddenly’ take away ‘his right’, that I would do such an about-face.

He continued to watch. He continued to ‘indulge’, openly at first, and then on the sly when he realized that I refused to let it in my home. I watched his slow progression into wanting more from me. The way he took his confidence from me, the way he fought the battles with me over sex, over the things I would and would not do for him.

For those men and women who insist that pornography is harmless I ask, why do you watch it?

For most people that answer is, ‘Just to masturbate to’, but I’ve found that I’ve never met someone who watches porn who is truly confident.

When I was watching porn I was more insecure than I have ever been in my life. I was chaotic, I drank too much, I self-medicated with alcohol and sedatives to numb myself to my own sense of worthlessness. I allowed degrading things to be done to me because I was numb, I was dead inside I was always waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Since I have stopped watching porn, since I stopped allowing it in my life and in my home, I began to heal. That healing took a long time; it was hard to do when I was living with a man who was still taking power from a real, live woman, the way he and I had both taken power from the women on the screen.

For those of you out there who do not believe that pornography is degrading to women, I ask you something. For men, would you want your daughter, your sister, or your mother being treated the way that men treat women in pornography? Think for just a moment about your father calling your mother a whore while making love to her? How about the thought of your daughter laying on her back spreading her vagina wide open for a stranger and the camera?

You don’t think porn is degrading? I suspect that if you ask yourself the above questions honestly you will find yourself with answers that belie what you say to others.

For women. If you don’t believe that you’re getting power from pornography then ask yourself, would you really WANT to have 3 men ejaculate on your face? Would you really want a woman to don a strap on and fuck YOU doggy style while calling you a whore and a slut?

Would you be a porn star yourself? With everything it entails, rather than the Jenna Jameson fairy tale? Would you be the free internet girl?

Then why should you be orgasming to them?

~ Biting Beaver

Published in: on April 20, 2008 at 5:16 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Chicken or Egg?

It has been pointed out as of late that rape existed long before pornography did. This is generally used as a blanket statement to exonerate porn from any ill effect. Obviously, there are several problems with this idea, though it seems like a strong enough thought on the surface.

 Sure, rape has existed before pornography was invented, if we assume that cave paintings aren’t pornography. (For those of you who use the defense that porn has been around in the form of cave paintings for that long I’d also like to point out that rape has been around that long as well so you’re kinda shooting yourself in the foot with that defense) For the purposes of this discussion we’re going to assume that porn, as we know it, has been around for about 30 years give or take.

For us to determine what role porn plays in rape, we first have to determine what rape is. Is rape sex? Is rape control? Is rape a hybrid between the two? 

Rape is using sexuality as a weapon to punish or control another human being. For rape to occur at least one other thing must happen. The rapist needs to see his victim, not as a human being, but as a creature that is less than he is. He has to have lost his ability to empathize with her pain. He has to view his victim as little more than an object. Objects do not feel. Objects do not object to their treatment. Objects do not have a say in what they are, they just are. 

Here’s what I contend. Porn causes rape because porn is built on the same principals that rape is built on. Control, domination and objectification. Porn doesn’t cause all rape, but all rapes share the same values that porn shares. Control, domination and objectification. 

These things are present in each and every rapist. The core belief that a woman’s desires are less important than a man’s desires. That a man’s desires have a right to be fulfilled by any means necessary. The core belief that women are simply a means to an end. An ideology that includes controlling people around him. These are all touted, with great reverence, in pornography. 

In pornography, sex becomes violence. Slapping buttocks, calling women names, dehumanizing them, all are part and parcel of pornography. All of this does a fine job of conflating sex with violence and those are the VERY things that rapists have in common; conflating sex with violence. 

Rape is a crime that perverts control with sex. It is a way to hurt women through their sex. To control women via their sex. 

Porn perverts sex with control. It defines women by their sex, objectifying them in the process. Pornorgraphy is a medium through which pain and pleasure become almost inextricably linked. 

Rapists are not born, they are made, and our society is making them. Porn is making them. It is making and creating rapists by instilling the very same notions of control, dominance, submission and sex that all rapists have. 

No, porn doesn’t cause all rapes. Nobody has suggested that. Although, the porn apologists have a hard time seeing that and they make an assumption that if rape has been around since before porn that porn cannot be causing rapes. What they’re NOT looking at is that porn holds so many of the same ideologies that rapists hold that the two are intrinsically linked. 

In porn we see a woman being fucked by a man. Her screams of ‘pleasure’ are eerily similar to a scream of pain. As he is fucking her he may be slapping her on the buttocks, he may be calling her ‘Whore’, ‘Cunt’ or ‘Slut’. 

In rape we see a woman being fucked by a man. Her screams are screams of pain, which are eerily similar to the screams of ‘pleasure’ from a porn star. As her rapist is fucking her he may be slapping her, he’s probably calling her a ‘Whore’, a ‘Cunt’ or a ‘Slut’. 

In porn we see women, stripped, the focus is on their parts they are objects for consumption. 

Rapists do not rape humans, they rape objects

Porn creates rapists by hardening them to a woman’s protests, by hardening men to women as HUMANS first and women second. The values taught in porn are identical to the values of the rapist. 

There can be little doubt that porn causes men to view women through a callous lens. It allows them to disassociate from them entirely. In porn, women are presented as objects, nothing more, and the number one thing that a rapist has to possess is the ideology that women are objects. 

There is no way around this. Sure, there are other mediums in which women are objectified, it happens all the time, but porn is the only media which displays sex, objectification and control all in ONE package. It is the ONLY medium in which pain and pleasure become inextricably linked. The ONLY medium in which women are so clearly dehumanized and degraded. And those people who refuse to see it, those people who claim that they CAN’T see it, the ones who say that there is nothing dehumanizing about being called names while engaged in sexual intercourse, are already dead to women. 

If a person is unable to see how the acts in pornography degrade, dehumanize and objectify women then they are already useless to women. They are already on their way to meeting at least one of the criteria of a rapist, that criteria being decreased and/or no empathy towards women. 

I say that the ideas and messages inherent in pornography, in ALL pornography, is a glorification of the rapist’s mentality. Pornography is not just a byproduct of a sick society; it is a documentary of a sick society, a reflection of a sick society, and an instruction manual for being a member of a sick society. Just like the Gladiatorial Games were a reflection of, a documentary of, and an instruction manual for the brutality of ancient Rome.

And if an Emperor in ancient Rome passed decrees and laws intended to make Rome a peaceful, less brutal place with peaceful people, but without changing or banning the Gladiators, it wouldn’t do a damn bit of good. You’d have a Rome that preaches peace but whose people were still violent. 

Apply that to pornography. Want a real-world example? Look at Sweden. Every politician has to claim to be a “feminist” to get elected, and they have scads of “feminist” laws on the books… but they still have rape, sexual violence, glass ceilings, and most of the other problems associated with mindsets. Not just any mindset, but mindsets that porn promotes. 

A society can often be judged by its most popular form of entertainment. Pornography is a 56 billion dollar a year industry, which is more than the NFL, MLB, NHL, and NBA combined. That’s more than the yearly revenue of ABC, NBC, CBS, and Fox combined. Pornography is unquestionably our most popular form of entertainment. It is a reflection and a reinforcement of what our society values. 

Are the porn values the same values you’d want your children to learn in school? Porn values nothing more the degradation and dehumanization of half the population to make the other half feel secure in their dominance. 

Pornography and rape are not related by some mystical “common cause” any more than bomb making and publishing the Anarchist’s Cookbook are. They are simply reflections of each other, and pornography FEEDS rape. Rape FEEDS pornography. It’s a vicious cycle that has to be broken somehow. But that’s another post . 

Pornography causes rape. The evidence shows it no matter how you try to twist it around. The “common cause” of pornography and rape could be said to be a society that exists on the domination and oppression of a female sex class, but then you have to take into account how both pornography and rape help create that society. It becomes a chicken-and-egg scenario, and as long as we keep chasing our tails trying to find out for certain which one is the REAL root cause before we try to fix any of it, it won’t get fixed. 

Pornography is a documentation of rape. It is not a symptom of a sick society; it is a propaganda reinforcing the values and methods of the sick society. Maybe it was a symptom at one time, but now it has become an equal part of the problem. 

How can we work for equality for women while ignoring or promoting(!) an industry that feeds off of inequality at every level? How can we claim we want equality, respect, and justice for women when we traffic with an industry that shows, documents, promotes, and glorifies the exact opposite of those things? Is being called a “cunt” empowering? Respectful? Equal? 

Is it possible for a white guy to call a black man a “n****r” (I tried, but I still couldn’t force myself to type that word out) and still not be racist? Is it possible to empower African Americans through black face and minstrel shows? Is it possible to work for the ACCEPTANCE and EQUALITY of African Americans while we still watch, support, and absorb the concepts displayed in minstrel shows?

Porn is a minstrel show, with women instead of African Americans (and there’s a ton of racism in pornography as well, which we’ll get to in another post). Minstrel shows didn’t cause all racism, but will anyone say they didn’t significantly contribute, in a causative manner, to a racist society? 

Arguing about a “common cause” or “what came first” is ineffective and a distraction. Pornography is a cause of rape. Eliminate pornography, and we will eliminate a lot of rape. Sure, there are other problems to address, other things that condone, support, and contribute to a rape culture, but pornography strengthens ALL of them. Pornography is the mouthpiece of the Patriarchy, through which all if its values are disseminated. 

Until we begin to deal with that mouthpiece, until we stop allowing men to use women’s vaginas, breasts, and anus’s to speak their own agenda, our rape rates will continue to climb. Until we figure out what to do with this megaphone called pornography, we will continue to see women suffer at the hands of it. And make no mistake about it, women ARE suffering. 

Perhaps porn, as a medium, didn’t cause my rapes. Porn didn’t force my x husband to rape me. What it DID do was reinforce that his desires were appropriate. That sex and rape were interchangeable. That my pleasure and my pain were indistinguishable. It told him that I’d like it. It also gave him the boner he needed to do the job effectively. It was ammunition for him, showing him creative ways he could rape me. It Showed him that fisting was something that women liked. That I should like it. 

Pornography was a reflection of a society that told him that these things are normal, acceptable and pleasurable. Until people stop being selfish and understand that there are other human beings, other lives outside of their own existence, we will never have freedom. 

It doesn’t matter whether rape was around first or whether porn was around first. I think that everyone can agree that rape is a crime of power. 

To that end, pornography is a medium of power.

~ Biting Beaver 

 

Published in: on April 20, 2008 at 9:14 am  Leave a Comment  
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Against Male Sexuality?

I have often been accused of being ‘against male sexuality’ from, surprise, men. These statements always bother me, and not in an “OMG! You’ve helped me to see the light!” but rather in a “What the hell are they talking about?” kind of way.

 I am always rather surprised when some dude steps forward to say, “What the hell BB? You’re so anti-male and anti-male sexuality!” because, quite frankly, it makes no sense to me. When a man asks me the question, “How are we supposed to act in regards to women?” I am always floored, so much so that I rarely bother answering the questions because it seems so frigging simple to me. Nevertheless, I have decided that I shall create a list of sorts in which I posit exactly what I’m asking for. It has become apparent to me that I need to do such a thing because apparently, long, well-thought out posts that detail every given aspect of behaviors that I find reprehensible are not doing the trick. 

So here, for the convenience of my male readers who don’t ‘get’ it and who ask me to please explain better (after I’ve done 300 and some odd posts that average six pages a piece on every aspect of female oppression at the hands of males that I can think of) I have attempted to devise a list.

What do I expect from males? It’s really rather simple.

 1.   No means No: I take this one very literally. She says “No” you stop. Period. No begging, no harassing, no arguing, no guilt trips, no nothing. All attempts at sexual behaviors stop here, at this one little word. If the word “No” escapes her lips at any time during the activities it is YOUR cue to a full stop. No more “if you loved me you’d do x” No more excuses, no more bullshit. No means No. Get it? Got it? Good.

2. Stop othering us- This is another of my pet peeves. Stop thinking of women as just being ‘wired differently’. Just because your mother cleaned up after you your entire life doesn’t mean she ‘just likes it’. Just because the women in the porn you view appear to love having dicks crammed in every available opening doesn’t mean that SHE likes it. We are not fundamentally ‘different’ from you. When you use this as a basis for your expectations of female/male relationships you will always, each and every single time, attribute the exact OPPOSITE characteristics to a female that you attribute to yourself.

3. Stop staring at us- We are not freaks in a zoo. Our purpose in this world is not to be YOUR eye-candy. Just stop it. Stop staring at the woman in line who you think is ‘fuckable’. Stop undressing us with your eyes. Stop muttering shit under your breath, stop giving us the full body stare. You know, I went to the zoo yesterday with my partner and my children and do you know how many ‘hotties’ were there?

 Neither do I. Why? Because, I’m not interested in grading people, ANY person, on their tits, their asses, their oh-so-manly 5’oclock shadow or their washboard abs. Seriously, I have no fucking CLUE if anyone there was ‘hot’ by societal standards. And no, not because I’m a fathairylesbiandykeprudebitchwhojustneedsagoodfucking but rather because I’m not so preoccupied with the thought of fucking that I can only see people as potential fuck toys. Seriously, this preoccupation with fucking and who is fuckable and who’s hottt and who’s nottt is ridiculous. So stop it. Stop staring at us and stop rating us.

 4. Put the porn down- Yep, you heard me. The suffering of MILLIONS of women is what you’re viewing. Stop making excuses, stop saying, “Well, it’s not in MY porn” when anyone who has done any research on the topic will tell you that each and every single large manufacturer of porn has had scandals involving under aged women, trafficked women, or otherwise. Just put it down. Stop excusing it and stop creating this fucking double standard that you have. Sure, you’ll boycott Nike, or Wal-Mart, but gosh fucking forbid that you give up your jerk off material. You want to know what I want from you? It’s simple. Stop ignoring our pain for your own chubby erections. 

 

5. Stop objectifying us- This goes hand in hand with ‘othering’ but it’s still worth a mention. Stop using our bodies as status symbols for you. Stop being proud that your girlfriend is ‘acceptable’ to your buddies. Stop being ashamed when she’s ‘too fat’ by the standards of your buddies. Stop the excuses and stop being blind to it. If you happen to fall in love with a woman who is culturally beautiful then stop patting yourself on the back when your buddies say, “Whew, good catch friend!” or when men stare at your girlfriends ass. Stop using her to bolster your self-esteem. We are not objects. We are humans and there is sooooooo much more I could write on this one but I’ll stop for the sake of becoming even MORE long winded than usual. 

6. Stop laughing at sexist jokes- That joke about the ‘dumb blonde’ on the Wal-Mart horse ride is sexist. Get over it. Stop supporting men in your work place when they leer at the company secretary who’s stuck in pink collar hell and who’s working to support 2 kids but who has nice tits that the other guys talk about at lunch. Stop laughing at rape jokes, stop taking it lightly and when you see it call out others on it.

 7. Stop giving your money to organizations that are misogynist- Stop renting movies like “American Pie” start putting your money where your mouth is and stop supporting industries that are harmful or send rotten messages about us.

 8. Stop buying us- Stop consuming women as though they were oatmeal. Stop believing that men have a ‘right’ to buy the use of a woman’s body for their sexual pleasure. Prostitution, strip clubs, pornography, all of these are excellent examples. Stop believing that because you have a dick, women, or a group of women should be available for you to buy. If you don’t believe that women should be available for purchase then you cannot support these industries.

 9. Stop believing that rape is rare- It’s NOT rare. It’s NOT a small occurrence being perpetrated by a select few individuals who are just ‘born that way’. Women, real live women who exist in this society, know that rape is NOT rare. Those of us who have studied these things know the official numbers and we know that the closer numbers can be closer to half of us. That’s NOT rare. That’s NOT one lone man running around violating up to half of the population of females. WE know this. It’s time for YOU to know it, internalize it, believe it and act accordingly as well.

 10. Stop fantasizing about hurting us- STOP thinking of triplexxxteens. Just fucking stop it. Children are NOT acceptable masturbatory fodder. Raping women is NOT acceptable masturbatory fodder. Stop excusing it; stop accusing those of us who fear you because you think that rape is hottt of being ‘thought police’. If your thoughts are dangerous then you need to look at that. You think it’s so fucking wonderful? Fine, how do you feel about someone masturbating to the thought of violently raping your mother, your girlfriend or your daughter? You lovin’ that thought? Then YOU need to stop it as well. No excuses, no bullshit. Just knock it off.

 

 Now, if you men out there believe that this is all part and parcel of male sexuality then I’m afraid that you’re a bigger ‘man hater’ than you accuse me of being. If you believe that raping, objectifying, staring, leering, bullying, minimizing and supporting female hating industries are ‘normal male sexuality’ then gosh, do I ever feel sorry for you. I, for one, do not believe that this is the ‘normal’ state of affairs for men and I believe that they can pull themselves out of the poisoned society in which we live to carve out a more egalitarian society from which women and men would benefit. 

 

 If YOU believe that it is in the ‘male nature’ to visually assault, assess, grade, degrade and objectify each and every woman you see based upon your interpretation of her ‘fuckability’ then YOU are the one with the problem.

 If YOU believe that it is in the ‘male nature’ to enjoy, feed off, be aroused by, or masturbate to women’s pain in ALL porn, then it is YOU who has the problem. 

If YOU believe that it is in the ‘male nature’ to laugh at, joke about, bond over and find humorous the verbal assaults framed as ‘jokes’ on women, then it is YOU who has the problem.

 If YOU believe that it is in the ‘male nature’ to talk into, nag, harass, scare, intimidate, pressure, coerce or otherwise ‘get’ sex from a woman when she says “No” then it is YOU who have the problem.

 If YOU believe that it is in the ‘male nature’ to believe that women, or a class of women, should be available to you to buy and sell then it is YOU who have the problem.

 If YOU believe that it is in the ‘male nature’ to believe that women are somehow inherently different, strange, from Venus, confusing or ‘othered’ from you then it is YOU who have the problem.

 If YOU believe that it is in the ‘male nature’ to masturbate to children, raping, bestiality etc and that this is perfectly normal, acceptable, desirable, harmless, and even good then it’s YOU who have the problem. 

Does this spell it out enough? Because, see, I’m getting exhausted with the whole, “BB you just hate male sexuality” gig. It’s old. It’s tiresome and it’s clearly not true. When male sexuality does not impinge upon my right to exist and be free from YOUR sexuality if I don’t want it then you’re fine. However, when YOUR sexuality impinges upon my right to not be fearful, to not be intimidated, to not be stared at like a creature in a zoo it becomes MY problem.

You want to be sexual? You want to have your prized ‘male sexuality’ that’s fine and fucking dandy but DON’T impinge upon the rights of me and my sisters to live an existence that is FREE from YOUR sexuality. Stop forcing it on us and stop thinking that it’s your RIGHT to force it on us. Your rights end where MINE begin and I have a right to be free of whatever form of sexuality you decide to engage in.

 MY sexuality is cemented, formed and pursued in such a way that I’m NOT impinging upon the rights of others. I didn’t spend my day at the zoo grading men or women on their perceived ability to turn me on. They are people FIRST. Fat, old, skinny, young, they are fucking PEOPLE and their existence in this life is not dependent upon whether they can make me hottt under the collar. 

 MY sexuality doesn’t require me to think about THEIR sexuality before anything else.

 MY sexuality dictates that THEIR sexuality means exactly jack fucking shit to me because it’s simply NOT important unless and until we decide to become intimate with one another. THEN their sexuality, their hotttness factor, and everything else that’s wrapped up into it is probably something I should think about.

 When you use others for the benefit of YOUR sexuality then you are impinging upon MY right to exist free from the effects of YOUR sexuality.

 MY sexuality is not based around any thought I have given to whether or not a person will do something, say something, wear something or engage in any activity that I perceive to be hottt. 

MY sexuality has nothing whatsoever to do with attempting to get anything from an individual. From oral sex, to particular touching, to anything that I may or may not enjoy it is NOT my job to tell them anything or affect, influence or otherwise meld THEIR sexuality around MY sexuality.  

Sexuality is experienced it is not expected and MY sexuality tells me that influencing, asking, begging or otherwise affecting their sexuality is something I refuse to do. THEIR sexuality is akin to a flower. A flower just is it cannot, nor should it, be asked to be a different sort of flower. It cannot, or should not, be manipulated, controlled, or influenced by me despite what society has told me, and you, that flower shouldn’t be fucked with. I have no right to ask that flower to do something that doesn’t come naturally to that flower. Period. 

MY sexuality allows me to experience the sexuality of others with NO interference from me. No demands, No presuppositions, No judgements, No thought of what they can do FOR me. If the sexuality of me and my partner jive with one another WITHOUT my forcing a ‘jive’ then all is good. It is never, ever my place to turn an iris into a rose. Again, I repeat my sexuality is experienced not expected.

 Feel free to have YOUR sexuality, but don’t impinge upon the rights of me and my sisters to exist free from the effects of whatever the fuck you term as sexuality.

Period.

~ Biting Beaver

Published in: on April 19, 2008 at 12:45 pm  Leave a Comment  
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