Has the 'era of porn' led men to think rape is OK?
Depressing article, depressing comments.
How ironic that it should take Raquel Welch — a woman whose very name is a byword for sexual fantasy — to identify one of the most urgent problems society faces today: an overwhelming and deeply damaging obsession with sex.
The very fact that Welch became "a byword for sexual fantasy" forty years ago ought to indicate that "society" has been interested in sex for a while. Obsessively? Damagingly? The only differences I can see are that 1) women are now able to admit they have sexual fantasies too (even ones about Raquel Welch), and 2) advertisers and the entertainment industry now systematically use sex-porn-fantasy to market everything under the sun.
Raquel, now 71, blames today’s ‘era of porn’ for turning us into sex addicts: ‘We have equated happiness in life with as many orgasms as you can possibly pack in . . . where is the anticipation and the personalisation? It’s an exploitation of the poor males’ libidos. Poor babies, they can’t control themselves.’
That's not a description of sex addiction. It's a critique of those who would measure sexual satisfaction with a counting stat, as one finds in some women's magazines and sex manuals.
In recent years, pornography has moved with terrifying speed from a niche pursuit to one that is ubiquitous and hugely profitable. For a teenage boy only a decade ago, porn was just a mucky magazine, bought only after weeks of steeling himself to saunter nonchalantly into a newsagent’s and grab it from the top shelf.
Today, more than a quarter of internet users have visited a pornographic website.
It seems the video era escaped the Parsons household. No acknowledgement yet from Parsons that women might be interested in pornography. No analysis, either, of why it would be okay for a boy to bash the bishop over a solipsistic fantasy involving Raquel Welch or Pan's People but not while watching a real couple having sex.
Internet porn is frequently violent and aggressive. Practices that only a few years ago would have been regarded as abnormal are now mainstream. Male desires that previously would have remained dark fantasies, or have been kept in check, have now become both popularised and legitimised.
Women's desires, of course, have always been soft and pure. Cuddling. A bit of tickling. Then lying back and thinking of England.
For men, the key attribute is learning to keep their non-missionary-position fantasies "in check". This had a 100% success rate in the era before the internetz. There was no prostitution, no extra-marital affairs, and no sexual assault.
it cannot be a coincidence that sexual violence against women in Britain is on the increase.
Neither coincidence nor true. We don't know whether sexual violence is increasing or not. All we know is that there's still too much of it.
A recent survey of 1,600 women on Mumsnet revealed that an astonishing one in ten women say they have been raped, and more than a third subjected to sexual assault.
These figures are staggering, almost unbelievable. But they become less surprising when you consider that images of women being pulled by their hair and roughly handled during cold, impersonal sex are commonplace on the internet.
At a guess, given that it's mumsnet, I'd say a majority of the respondents who reported being raped were attacked in the golden era before porn.
Almost all pornography is sexist. It's made for men and appeals to (a travesty of?) particularly male fantasies of domination and virility. Does it create those fantasies? I doubt it. It just eroticises a kind of strong-man passive-woman cliché which can be found in everything from comic books to the division of labour.
As a mother
I find this simply terrifying. What will the consequences be for my daughter, exposed to a generation of boys who have grown up watching this stuff?
She may develop an enviably toned figure, which she'll flaunt to the paparazzi while wearing a VERY revealing bikini.
She may have to say 'No, honey, I'm not into that', and then hope that Honey isn't a rapist — just like in the good old days. This is an area where I think the ubiquity of pornography — and women's growing openness about sex — is
problematical: it's too easily taken for granted that, just because a woman likes sex, she will be eager to try every kind
of sex. Pornography, like other consumer products, creates unrealistic expectations. But then, forty years ago, so did marriage. The key is discussion and negotiation between the partners — something that pornography airbrushes out of existence.
And what of my ten-year-old son — how can I hope to protect him from such degrading and desensitising filth during his teenage years?
Make sure your computer filters out 'dailymail.co.uk'
Sex used to be the most powerful gift a woman could bestow. And the pursuit of this prize encouraged men to regard it not as some bestial form of domination (which is how it’s frequently portrayed on the internet) but as a demonstration of love and respect.
This doesn't even make sense. Again it assumes that women have no sex drive of their own, and that prior to about 1995 all men wore a hat and a nice suit and won a lady's hand by serenading her under the moonlight. And wouldn't the idea of sex "as a prize" just encourage
macho behaviour? "Love and respect" require that couples treat each other as fully fledged human beings — something absent from both pornography and Parsons' Pavlovian notion of sex as a reward for chivalry.
Not much love and respect in the comments:
The serious crime of rape would be taken more seriously if the courts were not full of women being tried for false allegations of rape and celebs stopped dragging up a past "rape" (always by somebody unnamed or deceased!) in order to help sell a book, get some public sympathy etc, etc,
- choppy, birmingham,england, 14/3/2012 9:44 Rating 7
For "the courts", read "the tabloids".
Look down the right hand side of these pages. There you will see young women queing to remove their clothes for money. Young women dress like tarts and assert their rights to do so. Then they get drunk and flirt.Many will admit to looking for one night stands. I do not condone rape in any circumstances but how do young men ,often drunk themselves, know if they should carry on or not. As Raquel says in the past young men knew exactly what the answer was. A few young ladies were generous but most had respect for themselves and we knew when the answer was no it meant no.
- Happyexpat, Almeria Spain, 14/3/2012 8:51 Rating 31
"I do not condone rape" but I excuse it, justify it and make it seem logical and inevitable. And I'm a massive fuck-off misogynist to boot.
Men do not think rape is ok, monsters do. This feminist assumption that every man is a potential rapist has to stop.
- Mark B, Birmingham, 14/3/2012 7:50 Rating 13
Ah, a Mailite favourite. Andrea Dworkin never said "every man is a rapist": she merely observed that since rapists don't wear a distinctive colour of socks or wander around with a Paul Thomas-style banner reading 'I am a rapist', women had to accept that any man — even the nicest of the nice guys — could
be a rapist. Also, lots of men do
think rape is ok, as any visit to the Unilad forum would have demonstrated. Or any comment by Tom of Los Angeles:
"Has the 'era of porn' led men to think rape is OK?" Nope. Its women giving it away so freely is what makes men think they can take it by force. So much for women's liberation,huh?
- Tom, Los Angeles, USA, 14/3/2012 1:26 Rating 12
I'm blinded by the illogic of this argument as much as by its extraordinary hatefulness.