I agree with Gail Dines on quite a few levels. The way in which women and men are currently depicted in the media is often terrible. Women’s bodies and sexuality are often used to sell products, to the point where female sexuality is turned into a commodity by the mainstream media. I don’t have to get into this – Dines does a good job of introducing the topic in the talk posted on the Ramapo Women’s Center blog .
Instead of going through the ways in which I agree with Dines, I want to talk about the places where I disagree in order to give voice to an opinion that has not gotten airtime yet on this blog. My disagreement comes when we start to talk about where these negative portrayals come from, and what needs to be done about them. In my opinion, at least, this isn’t the problem of a porn-infused society so much as the problem of a society that has co-opted female sexuality as a means of selling things to people, thus turning women (and their sexuality) into objects. Its the problem of a society that has deep roots in racism (that much of Dines’ speech I agree with) that we are not willing to examine, which leads to us sexualizing women of color in even more dehumanizing ways than we do white women. This isn’t the problem of porn, though. The horribly racist, misogynistic, violent, scary porn that is out there… that’s just a symptom of a larger cultural issue; just as the racist/misogynistic/generally awful non-pornographic movies and books and television shows are symptoms. Basically: the medium is not the issue, the message is. I believe that if women and people of color were treated as equals in our society and our media then the representations of these groups would be better across the board – in magazines, television, movies, and yes, even porn.
I am aware of the fact that violent porn exists, I am aware that people who perform in these movies are sometimes treated poorly… but I am also aware that we live in a world full of shades of gray. At the same time as there is misogynistic, terrible porn out there, there is also awesome, inclusive, feminist porn.
10:40am: Now I am in No Homo: Prejudice and Homophobia Within the Gay Community with Brandon B,who used to be an improv actor back in Los Angeles! He does a lot of things bit one thing he does is write the Inqueery, a website that reviews sex toys and things for male-bodied people and sneaks in safer-sex information and sex positive information! He has glitter on his eye, so he’s already cool in my book!
This post over at Transgression is simply amazing.
Need some proof before you click? Check out an excerpt:
If you hate, dislike, or mistrust trans women, you’re misogynistic. Trans women are included in the big ol’ group known as women. Want proof? Well look at their name, silly. We call ‘em trans women, not trans chia pets, not trans beach towels, not trans schmeggeggies. Remember high school algebra? Oh hush, yes you do. Let me remind you of this lovely little mathematical rule:
If a=b and b=c, then a=c
If trans women= women and hating, disliking, or mistrusting women= misogyny then…then what? Solve for c.
Ok technically that would be trans women= misogyny but you know perfectly well what I mean and I hate that you even questioned my math.
But I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “But Gus, I think trans women=/= women so therefore it’s totally not misogynistic to hate, dislike, or mistrust trans women.” And I understand that. Really, I do. But here’s the thing. Now listen carefully, my little chickadee, cuz I’m about to blow your mind.
Not only are you wrong, but even thinking that silly, silly, thing is unbelievably, incredibly, fantastically MISOGYNISTIC. And it offends me as a woman. Yes, yes it does. And here’s why.
Now, go read the whole thing!
So I just finished confirming the arrangements & I have a super-exciting announcement to make…
next weekend two weekends from now I am going to be launching the (almost) Month of Social Justice Conferences! Even better, I plan to take my cute now blue netbook with me so that I can liveblog the whole thing for my fantastic readers!!
The first conference is
New York Collective of Radical Educators (NYCoRE!) Women, Action, & The Media: WAM It Yourself NYC Conference on March 26th! I was originally going to attend the NYCoRE Conference on the same day, also in NYC, but I ultimately ended up deciding that this conference was a tiny bit more relevant to my interests.
I am SO excited to meet many of the bloggers from the blogs that I follow obsessively (like Lori Adelman from Feministing and Feministe’s Sally)!