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without the veil

2007-05-08 13:31:32.607003+00 by Dan Lyke 6 comments

[ related topics: Sexual Culture ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2007-05-08 14:43:17.842361+00 by: ebradway

I'm not sure if I follow your line of thought here. Evelyn Thronton's article seems to suggest that it is the ubiquity of imagery that objectifies women that is the source of her problems.

My wife read part of the other pornography thread the other day. She pointed out that it's not really an issue with the women, but rather the men who are consumers of the objectification of women who are the problem.

For instance, as Evelyn Thronton points out blondes are a minority in America but are they represented as a minority in TV and commercials, especially among women who are essentially objectified? Evidently the people important American imagery to the East are emphasizing the objectification of women to the point that having blonde hair or wearing jeans in India makes a woman a target for harassment.

No, it's not the women in the imagery who are at fault. It's the men (or women trying to market to men through the imagery) that continue the objectification.

#Comment Re: made: 2007-05-08 14:44:57.329043+00 by: ebradway

Oh yeah, that article right after Evelyn's is important to note. While it's nice to live in the post-modern bubble of Marin County where the sex shops are run by fully-actualized Lesbians, in the rest of the world women are objectified to the point where they are actually traded as property (human trafficking).

#Comment Re: made: 2007-05-08 15:16:54.23584+00 by: Dan Lyke [edit history]

She may suggest that, but I believe that it is the men who have no baseline but a heavily proscribed set of actions who are the source of her problems. She'd be far less harassed walking down the street here than there, and here the imagery and even the matching behavior abounds.

There, any woman who dares deviate from the repression risks that behavior, or worse.

And on the immediately following article, you'll notice that those things tend to happen in places where women's sexual expression is repressed. I'm not going to make a cause and effect argument, but there's a strong correlation. Strike that, I am going to make a cause and effect argument, because that's what I've been doing. Prostitution and pornography happens. There's always a demand, and there'll be a supply as long as it's either profitable enough for women to engage in it voluntarily, or women are repressed enough that they'll be pimped. I'd rather the voluntary behavior.

#Comment Re: made: 2007-05-09 21:27:12.929304+00 by: ebradway [edit history]

And the argument here is when is the behavior truly voluntary?

In the Bay Area, you probably see instances where this behavior is voluntary (or appears that way). But in the rest of the world, women are treated as objects even to the point of human trafficking.

At what level is this voluntary behavior encouraging the non-voluntary behavior? If I were well off and wanted to get laid, I'm sure I could hire a high-priced escort who generally enjoyed their work. Does the existence of this voluntary behavior make it easier for me to convince myself that this crack-whore who's offering herself to me for $50 is really doing it voluntarily?

#Comment Re: made: 2007-05-09 21:35:29.042114+00 by: Dan Lyke

Or, can the behavior ever be voluntary if the decision is never permitted?

#Comment Re: made: 2007-05-09 23:52:53.335497+00 by: Dan Lyke [edit history]

Following up to your edit: I think we're conflating two issues here. One is a matter of economic freedom, which is your crack whore example, but I think that's not useful because too quickly it starts to descend into issues of sanity and free will at the basest level. If someone refuses, for instance, to abide by the rules at a homeless shelter or halfway house, do we owe them room and board? Or do we commit them, or give them freedom and choice?

Those are hard questions, especially the ones about free will and commitment to an institution, but any answers there are applicable to this example. Because the issue in the "crack whore" example isn't about sex, it's about drug abuse and self-destructive behavior. It's not the "whore", it's the "crack", the whoring is just another job that probably pays a little better than begging.

Let's go to a higher level: In helping the hypothetical abused woman that you've brought up in that other thread, do you criminalize any appropriate gender or romantic relationship they may want to have until they're declared cured?

We could even make part of this easier and say that they come to you of their own free will, wanting to get out of the abusive relationship. Do you think that making help contingent upon them accepting the criminalizing of any such relationships will make them more or less likely to seek help?

The questions here aren't about people whom we'd generally consider to be incompetent or commitable. In those two articles we're specifically talking about women in college who may have some minor substance abuse issues, but in college, who doesn't?

I've had deep talks with a few women who have been raped. In the first such conversation, we talked for a while, and then she asked "but what do you think of me?" Obviously, the question set me back pretty hard, she was the victim, I saw no reason for my view of her to change. That's not how she saw it. The circumstances of the rape weren't particularly violent, it was a "date rape", what was most damaging wasn't the actual rape itself (although I don't for a moment mean to downplay the impact of that), it was the cultural reaction to the rape.

In subsequent discussions I've run across it again, in one case with a woman who likes it kind of rough, and the circumstances of her rape were rough, which made the issues all that much more complex. Luckily, by that point I'd had some experience with BDSM and could all the better avoid judgement.

If you criminalize the behavior, as those two links in the previous day's entry propose, you're not going to stop the behavior. College kids, and college age kids, are going to get drunk and do things. Sex will continue, even when it's forbidden. As the number of kids busted for "child porn" that they made themselves with a digital camera attests, even if pornography doesn't happen on a professional level, it'll still happen on an amateur one.

So the only thing you do is to make it harder on the women involved.

I think the examples of, among others, Mao and Pol Pot have shown pretty heavily that you can't build a new culture by destroying the old one first, you have to evolve to the new one. Heck, the Soviet Union has several examples of a better culture and society, and despite how successful the initial revolution was, they're still having trouble getting out of the old one.

And you don't build a better world by taking away choice and making more people criminals.