Saturday, August 8, 2015

Pornography: The Propaganda of Patriarchy by Mickey Z.

Mickey Z. -- World News Trust
Aug. 8, 2015

“Radical simply means ‘grasping things at the root.’” (Angela Davis)

Every branch of activism seems convinced that “their” issue is the most urgent but -- outside of a select few -- none of these activists appear ready or willing to grasp for the root of all social justice issues. 

From corporate culture to rape culture, from domestic abuse to environmental abuse, all systems of oppression and exploitation can ultimately be traced back to Male Supremacy.
Call it patriarchy, misogyny, sexism, male privilege, or any other name but it still adds up to Male Pattern Violence -- pervasive, relentless Male Pattern Violence on both the micro and macro level.
The numbers are as shocking as they are real. The violence that rises virtually unchecked from a foundation of male supremacy grew tentacles like white supremacy and class supremacy and has now brought us to the brink of collapse. 

But before I’m flooded with Male Tears™, before the cries of “not all men” echo from sea to overfished sea, I’d like to introduce the focus of this article: Pornography. It’s the new Sex Ed and it’s where patriarchy does some of its most insidious and effective outreach. 

Let me be clear: This article is not about sex workers, “ethical” porn, or liberal feminism. This article is about male supremacy being the cornerstone of the dominant culture and thus, the primary source of all violence and oppression. It's about these words from Sheila Jeffreys: “Pornography educates the male public.”
Pornography is a potent teacher of both beliefs and behaviors, and in fact provides the ideal conditions for learning,” explains Mary Anne Layden, PhD, Director of the Sexual Trauma and Psychopathology Program Center for Cognitive Therapy. “It can teach not only specific sexual behaviors, but general attitudes toward women and children, what relationships are like, and the nature of sexuality.”

Layden continues: “We learn better when aroused. If something activates our sympathetic nervous system, we are more prepared to remember the information received at that point. The arousal may come from excitement, joy, fear, disgust, or sexual tension. We tend to remember any experience we have in those aroused states. And learning is better if it is reinforced. Behavior that is rewarded is likely to be repeated while behavior that is punished is less likely to be repeated. Sexual arousal and orgasm are extremely rewarding experiences.”

In case you’re wondering how these “rewards” might manifest, consider this study that found pornography seemed to “condition participants to trivialize rape.”

Let me also be clear about this: I’m not here to columbus or mansplain. For deeper context from those who’ve studied this issue, please click on the many hyperlinks in this articles. 
While you’re at it, please also ponder the words of feminists like…
Andrea Dworkin: “Any violation of a woman's body can become sex for men; this is the essential truth of pornography.” 

Sheila Jeffreys: “Pornography as propaganda, according to feminist analysis, represents women as objects who love to be abused, and teaches men practices of degradation and abuse to carry out upon women.”

Gail Dines: “The porn industry has hijacked the sexuality of an entire culture and is laying waste to a whole generation of boys. And when you lay waste to a generation of boys, you lay waste to a generation of girls.”

Perhaps the only chance we have to stop the damage and create the drastic social change we need is to recognize and address the source: Male Supremacy. A major step in that direction would be to address one of its most cunning branches: pornography.
What can each of us do besides making individual changes? As Gail Dines elucidates in the video below, the answer may lie in what could be viewed as a form of counter-recruitment, e.g. anti-porn education, using the public health approach.

Again, I urge you to please take time to explore the links embedded throughout this article (and below) before drawing any conclusions.

Mickey Z. is the author of 12 books, most recently Occupy this Book: Mickey Z. on ActivismUntil the laws are changed or the power runs out, he can be found on the Web here and hereAnyone wishing to support his activist efforts can do so by making a donation here.

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