Wednesday, October 03, 2007

what the military needs: more porn!

i can get the snark tone coming from archpundit. what's porn compared to a frakked up politically motivated war? i get it.

but...is it such a bad idea to protest more porn in the military? i mean, considering the military's already frakked up record with sexual violence against women (both within their ranks and outside of them), is this really a bad idea? i don't think we should pooh pooh it.

of course, there's the question of whether porn contributes to an environment of misogyny and sexual violence? well, it doesn't necessarily encourage the porneur (my word: porneur - one who reads or watches porn) to see women in ways other than a wet pink hole in the service of masculine power and sexuality, so i'd say yes - porn contributes to misogyny and sexual violence. in interviews, prostitutes reveal how often johns come in with pictures of what they want, or they describe what they've seen in porn; they also tell of pimps using porn to 'train' the prostitute's expectations - what they're expected to perform.

and, of course, one needs to ask if porn, misogyny and sexual violence is less important than war?

well, if you're a woman in the military, already keeping your head down from all the sexual harrassment and covered up rapes going on, and you're surrounded by all these guys reading hard core porn - or if you're an iraqi girl just minding your own 14-year old business surrounded by a bunch of drunk, angry soldiers reading porn that strongly suggests there's nothing better to solidify male bonding than a gang bang of a barely legal hot chick - then i'd say that you would find the situation pretty damn important.

historically, where soldiers are so exists rape, porn and/or a sex industry where women's individual or collective empowerment has never been the object. in the crimean war and as the british empire spread and british soldiers were stationed in far off 'exotic' colonies, so proliferated the creation, sale and dissemination of pornographic postcards, pamphlets, stories and pictures that reinforced the notion of british masculine hegemony and the racially marked 'whoredom' on the part of those colonized which offered an excuse to the occupying military for raping 'native' women; the existence of forced prostitution and camp bordellos for german officers, soldiers and collaborators during world war 2; japan's use of 'comfort women' and the enslavement of asian women for forced prostitution, also during world war 2; and during the vietnam war it was estimated that 400,000 prostituted women in thailand were procured for american soldiers on leave, as well as the now confirmed stories of american soldiers raping civilian women. more recently, the stories of soldiers raping civilian women during the serbian/croatian conflict, the ensuing trafficking from that conflict or even the current events in darfur as woman are raped by rebel soldiers.

what's porn compared to war? for women caught in the cross hairs of a heterosexual male fantasy of control via sexual power over a woman's body, porn is war.

(and sometimes i wish snarky male political bloggers would take a fucking step back sometimes to really examine the shit they're saying.)

4 comments:

bitchphd said...

Yeah, the "who cares about porn" thing is basically the "boys will be boys" argument.

Which given the problems of women soldiers being raped and harassed by their brothers-in-arms, not cool at all.

ding said...

i know. chaps my hide.

perhaps it's time for the know-it-all white hetero male liberal elite blogger to go the way of the dodo. i mean, shit, what the hell are they for??

i mean really. year after year, marginal groups find themselves shut out of discussions or dismissed on blogs since our issues are 'unwinnable' or can hardly compare to the manly exploits of war. they've been found to be sexist, ignorant and contemptuous of things like white privilege and racial justice issues, coercively heterosexist - what are they doing for the interests of women, gays, people of color and poor folks?

or is winning the ideological ground on the war in iraq somehow going to fix all the rest of this domestic crap, too?

shit it makes me mad!

ArchPundit said...

Too bad I wasn't making an argument that you are claiming I was.

I'm not arguing that typical pornography is a good thing or that sexual harassment and abuse are not problems.

I am arguing that giving the power to censor materials that contain sexual content to a bunch of people who think sex is a bad thing all around is not the answer to sexual harassment or abuse and it's a waste of time. The religious right's effort to ban all sexual related material in any context is far more dangerous in reinforcing sexism and violence towards women given it reinforces the attitude that women who are sexual are evil and deserve whatever happens to them.

Violence towards women is far more likely to result from troops who are exhausted, suffering from PTSD, and a chain of command that is so exhausted, it cannot enforce discipline.

Giving people who reinforce horrible sexual stereotypes, tend to be engaged in a whole lot of sexual harassment and discrimination, and think all public discussion of sex censor sexually oriented material isn't a healthy way to discourage pornography. It is a really good way to limit any discussion of sex healthy and unhealthy and reinforce all sorts of paternalistic views about women and sex.

Second, there is a First Amendment and I'm not terribly fond of limiting the reach of that because someone is in the armed forces. If you allow Hustler to be censored, you also give them the power to censor anything that is healthy and relates to sex.

Porn in the PX isn't creating a culture of sexism and violence. It might be reinforcing it to some level, but that could be said of many things that are commonly available in the PX.

Given the right wing religious element already present in the officer corps, I'm far more worried about attitudes in discipline related to women asking for it if they happen to engage in sex in another context than I am a bunch of young men hopped up on hormones and unhealthy sexual images they discovered long before they got into the military.

ding said...

you know, dude, i'm just interpreting the snark. you didn't make any argument, as far as i know. now you've made an argument.

i'm just saying that while the religious right is no friend to feminism, the call to limit access to printed porn ain't such a bad thing, from a feminist point of view. it's not as if porn hasn't already been limited by the military via the Military Honor and Decency Act. there's no First Amendment issue here since it's already been kicked in the pants.

does porn create a rape culture? why does it have to create the culture before anyone says it shouldn't exist? it certainly perpetuates a rape culture. and it certainly doesn't encourage those in the military, though they may have discovered these images before they were in the military, to really pause and think before they harrass or assault a fellow soldier or a civilian.

the vehicle for this story - religious folk - are incidental. misogyny, sexism, sexual harrassment, sexual assault and problematic ideas about sex and women don't just belong to the religious right. there's plenty of patriarchal bullshit to go around.

so yeah - as a woman, i'd rather not see porn (or alcohol, for that matter) in the hands of a guy carrying a gun.

i'm a bad progressive. waah waah waah.