[personal profile] flexibeast
Reading the sarcastically-titled "Save the sexually violent males" made me again ponder the issue of the extent to which we regard people in general, and men in particular, as responsible for their actions. In particular, it made me consider those feminists who claim that porn 'causes' men to behave badly whilst also claiming to defend the right of women to not have to avoid dressing 'provocatively' in order to avoid being sexually assaulted.

My feeling is that such feminists can't have it both ways. If porn needs to be banned because it incites men to treat women as sexual objects they can use and abuse, this must be because men have little to no control over their behaviour once they've interacted with porn. This in turn implies that we should ban anything that might, like porn, 'provoke' men into behaving inappropriately. Why shouldn't that include banning women from dressing 'provocatively'? Particularly given that any women who dresses in a 'sexy' manner is only doing it because she's internalised patriarchal values and is regarding herself as a sexual object whose primary purpose is pleasing men? :-P

No, as i've said before, i think that we shouldn't be giving men yet more reasons to not be held accountable for their behaviour, or to avoid thinking about their privileges and behaviours based on those privileges. Feminists typically don't think it's acceptable for men to defend their sexual assault of a woman based on how she's dressed; why should it be acceptable for them to use the "porn made me do it" defence?

Porn doesn't exist in a vacuum; most people have patriarchal culture instilled into them for at least a decade before they encounter porn. Given this, i don't think it's useful to spend more time lambasting the negatives of porn (which are legion) to the detriment of lambasting the general patriarchal beliefs and values to which people are exposed during most of our waking lives. After all, the latter form the crucial foundational context within which many people interact with porn. To me, the sexist perspectives often found in porn are a symptom of patriarchal society, not the cause. i don't feel that sexually explicit material is, and must always be, inevitably sexist, because that implies that sexuality is a purely male domain - and that, to me, is indefensibly essentialist twaddle.
 
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