ThinkProgress Has Lost the Game

Another “progressive” website has shown it’s true colors when it comes to oppressed classes especially women today. ThinkProgress has posted an article about the European Union’s recent motion to ban all pornography in their media. As an anarcho-feminist, I consider this to be good news and before any fellow Anarchist tells me that I am a “hypocrite” for supporting the government for this; I am still anti-government and anti-state. I am still fighting for a world in which women will no longer need to depend on a patriarchal government to survive in the world. Why I do support this motion is because the government is at least doing something right even though it may not be completely successful. The government is putting WOMEN first and this is what I like to see. ThinkProgress, however, seems to have an issue with a government that is concerned with putting women’s liberation from Patriarchy first as they are demonstrating their male-entitled outrage in an article called “Why the European Plan to Ban Porn is a Bad Idea” by Zack Beauchamp.

The author starts off by stating what is happening next week when the European Union is planning on a vote to ban all pornography in the media and they are very upset at this, as you can tell.

Early next week, the European Union Parliament is planning to vote on a resolution calling for a sweeping ban on pornography in the name of gender equality. If it passed, the resolution could be the first step towards a continent-wide ban on pornography on a wide swath of media. But, good intentions aside, that would actually be a bad move for both Europe’s women and the EU’s commitment to free speech.

The Parliament vote scheduled for next week would recommend this resolution on gender equality (which includes the porn ban) to the EU Commission, which would then turn it into legislation which would then, finally, be enacted into binding law by the Parliament. As Wired UK notes, the Commission would have the discretion to simply leave out the provision calling for “a ban on all forms of pornography in the media” — which could well cover all online pornography — in the final law.

I find it incredibly odd that they would call this action a “bad move” for free speech when just several weeks ago, they were celebrating the bankruptcy of Girls Gone Wild. Oops. Did somebody perform a hypocritical act and not realize they were doing it? Did they just say that the exploitation of women is “free speech” and yet they were shouting to the heavens about how awful a PORN company is to young girls? I think that ThinkProgress just did! What they don’t seem to realize is that abusing women through filmed rape is not “free speech.” I am quite certain that the Human Rights bill did not state that pornography was “free speech.” I must not be very fluent in white-dude speak.

They continue their little spiel about the poor state of Europe’s “free speech” by stating that lab tests for sexual aggression in men after watching pornography “is not real world evidence.” That argument could be used in any context regarding media. They seem to conveniently forget that the test subjects were actual men, men who WATCHED the pornography and responded to it. These men did not just appear out of thin air or were in the imagination of these scientists that performed the study. I guess it could be said for scientists that try to prove that pornography DOES not influence behavior by only talking to men who claim not to be influenced by porn in any way, shape, or form. What those scientists would totally miss is the men who have quit pornography and are better people because of it. Though quitting anything that is addictive is a difficult task and the addict will relapse on the substance they are addicted to; it is very worthwhile and that addict will become a healthy person as a result of quitting. The author of this article does not seem to want to believe it, unfortunately.

But if the ban were to make it into the final law, it would likely do more harm than good. Though a few studies have found that, under laboratory conditions, porn makes men more sexually aggressive, there’s no real-world evidence bearing out the claim that this translates into sexist attitudes or sexual violence. According to Professor Milton Diamond, director of the Pacific Center for Sex and Society at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, “[t]here’s absolutely no evidence that pornography does anything negative.”

Money and boners is what is being defended here, above all else. We must think of the boners. We must make ridiculous studies that have no evidence to back up their claims otherwise our capitalist patriarchy will crumble on our heads! It doesn’t matter that we may screw around with the evidence or mess around with facts or that our test subjects may LIE about it. Let’s ignore all of those! Let’s do studies that will solidify our bias no matter how damaging that bias may be! Sure, let’s all believe that a degrading media does not influence perceptions of human behavior and how they interact with other humans (AKA women) or how they view their sexuality. Let us all ignore, for example, how those early Disney cartoons were portraying Nazis as Socialists when they clearly were not.

Why do I bring Disney up, I hear you ask? Because Disney and pornography are staples in our culture. They are the things that created our popular culture and how we view each other. Sure, the young kids that watched those cartoons probably grew up and realized that foxes do not talk to hounds or that mice do not know how to sew but some of the messages that were in those cartoons and movies stay with you even after you hit puberty. We either internalize the messages that they sent us or we don’t internalize these messages and we do something about it! THAT is media. Media has a message and pornography is a form of media with a negative message towards women AND men, but mostly focused on women with the agenda of normalizing dehumanization and degradation. No, your PERSONAL experiences with pornography do not automatically debunk the collective experiences of women that faced horrors from pornography whether they participated in the film or that their partner viewed these films.

Beauchamp continues his descent into a horrifying train-wreck of an article by quoting an empirical study. See that the phrase empirical study is in italics? That must mean that this study should be taken very seriously even though the shit from it could be smelt from a mile away but it is empirical evidence. When men use fancy font in their articles, it means that they are intelligent primates. So, it must mean that it carries no bias.

There is, however, empirical evidence that it reduces the incidence of sexual violence. One 2007 study by Todd Kendall compared the rates of crime between U.S. states with greater and lesser access to the internet. After controlling for other crime-inducing variables (like rates of urbanization and alcoholism), Kendall found that more internet access led to lower rates of two crimes only — rape and prostitution:

I find that internet access appears to be a substitute for rape; in particular, the results suggest that a 10 percentage point increase in internet access is associated with a decline in reported rape victimization of around 7.3%…internet has no apparent substitution effect on any of 25 other measured crimes, with the exception of the only other well-defined sex crime, prostitution. Moreover, I show that the effect on rape is concentrated among states with the highest male-to-female ratios, and that by age, the effect on rape is concentrated among teenage men, who are the prime consumers of pornography, and for whom the internet induced the largest change in availability.

Pardon me, Beauchamp but are you forgetting something? Of course, Sweden, for example, has a high percentage of rape along with the lowest percentage of prostitution in the world of course, women in Sweden are more likely to report rape then North American women but because there is a low percentage of rape reports in a certain country that does not mean that rape never happens in that particular country; universally, rape remains one of the most under-reported and under-prosecuted crimes, violent or otherwise. Nor does it mean that pornography, somehow, in some postmodern sense, makes men not rape women, had something to do with it. Has it ever occurred to you that women are shamed into not reporting their rapist? Have you seen the low conviction rate for rapists compared to drug smugglers or child murderers? Or even the type of sentences that rapists receive compared to the aforementioned? And North America, one of the biggest consumers of pornography right next to China also have very high percentages of rape as well. How did you or the researcher you cited, come to this conclusion? That pornography had something to do with the lowering of rape or prostitution? Correlation does not always equal causation. Understand?

Beauchamp then continues with his assertion that pornography lowers rape statistics by magic. But of course, if the statistics I provided in the links does not convince him that rape is definitely a HUGE problem in North America then I can safely say that he does not listen to women or even know the ACTUAL goals of feminism are not to please his sacred penis.

Two other studies support Kendall’s finding — one correlating the international spread of the internet with a concomitantly international decline in sexual violence, the other presenting survey evidence that, as Scientific American puts it, “patients requesting treatment in clinics for sex offenders commonly say that pornography helps them keep their abnormal sexuality within the confines of their imagination.”

Moreover, pornography bans defeat feminist aims in a more direct way: they result in restrictions on feminist and pro-LGBT speech. Since pornography is notoriously hard to define, laws generally ban “violent” or “degrading” depictions of sexual activity. However, such terms mean different things to different people: feminist literature often contains graphic descriptions of sexual assault, and, to a right-wing evangelical, same-sex sexual activity is intrinsically degrading.

Excuse me, who let this man be the spokesperson for Feminist discourse or theory? Who in the bloody hell said that pornography was “feminist speech”? No feminist that I know of except liberal feminists but everyone knows just how “inclusive” they are when it comes to multiple oppressions of women, correct? And pornography is “notoriously hard to define”? Have you read a dictionary? Do you know what it says? Or even the origin of the word “pornography”? I will give you a brief reminder in case you forgot.

Greek pornographos, adjective, writing about prostitutes, from pornē prostitute + graphein to write; akin to Greekpernanai to sell, poros journey Definition here

So, in case you don’t know how to read. Pornography IS THE WRITING OF PROSTITUTES! Which the majority of them are WOMEN! No one said that “same-sex acts” are degrading or “pornographic” either. Just because you, a white male, may not deem pornography as violent doesn’t mean that every woman in the world is free from the violence in pornography or that it never happens. I am also certain there is a difference between EROTICA and PORNOGRAPHY. Pornography is not “feminist free speech”. It is a product, made of the exploitation and degradation of women, for men to consume. It is made of women NOT being themselves. It is something derived FROM women, from the use of their bodies, constructed from men’s desires to see women dehumanized. At least, at its very best, that is what it is. I also cannot fucking believe that you even compared feminist writers that contains “graphic depictions of sexual violence”  to pornography even though the point of those depictions is NOT to get dudes rocks off but to make them understand how horrifying violence against women is!  You also forget that the highest percentage of porn consumers are men! How insulting this is, to the intelligence of your readers, those who follow you regularly as well as those who put themselves through this on the first and last occasion.

Beauchamp finishes off his awful article by quoting Nadine Strossen of the ACLU. Wait. Isn’t ACLU the organization that defended the Westboro Baptist Church’s hate speech towards the LGBT community? And did they also defend the Ku Klux Klan? Why, yes! And you thought that using the ACLU would save you from feminists calling you on your bullshit, did you? You honestly thought that an organization like American Civil Liberties Union, which defended HATE SPEECH could back your bullshit argument about the legal definition of pornography? How absolutely hilarious!

As Nadine Strosser of the ACLU notes, this sort of vague law has long been used, historically speaking, to clamp down on activists agitating from women’s and LGBT rights on grounds thatthe content of their speech was, in a variety of ways, “degrading.” Indeed, a Canadian Supreme Court ruling (R. v. Butler) allowing for bans on pornography if it “predisposes persons to act in an anti-social manner” did not actually restrict “violent, misogynistic heterosexual materials” — but rather access to feminist and pro-gay writing, forcing the lead group whose briefs were cited by the Court’s ruling to “unanimously [condemn] the use of the Butler decision to justify the discriminatory use of law to harass and intimidate lesbians and gays and sex trade workers…[the ruling has been exploited] to harass bookstores, artists, and AIDS organizations, sex trade workers, and safe sex educators.”

Pornography crackdowns also tend to spillover more broadly, restricting free speech more broadly and stifling the real tech innovations (often of use to, say, Middle Eastern revolutionaries) created by online porn.

I am very certain that those “innovations” would have existed even without pornography, Beauchamp. And may I remind you not to bring revolutionaries into this! I am pretty sure they would be insulted by the mere mention of your defense of pornography by using them. Insensitivity much? And have you heard of the recent case of the cannibal cop? Apparently, he watched cannibal porn and chatted with his fellow freaks online about how he PLANNED to MURDER his wife? Was he exercising his free speech too? By sexualizing the hypothetical murder of his wife? A murder of which HE WAS PLANNING TO DO?  According to this article here, it states that “Valle, 28, has pleaded not guilty to kidnapping conspiracy and with misusing a national database to learn personal information about potential targets.” Even though there is evidence that he actually did those things and are you going to sit there and claim that pornography actually stops men from performing violent acts against women? How do you sleep at night, knowing that you say and believe the things you say?

There is ignorance and then there is absolute blind ignorance AND hatred of women. Beauchamp demonstrates his hatred of women without even so much as realizing as he does. Protecting the hate speech of women does not make you “progressive” or “pro-woman”, it makes you a vile hateful monster. It does not matter how a white male feels about pornography, what SHOULD matter is that women are severely abused and raped while working in the porn industry. The women who leave the industry and tell their stories about the abuse they endured while working there are important components in dismantling patriarchy. They would agree that the abuse and degradation of women is not “free speech.” It is hate speech. Plain and simple.

4 thoughts on “ThinkProgress Has Lost the Game

  1. Beauchamp conveniently ignores one fact concerning filmed pornography and that is ‘filmed male sexual violence is committed by real men against real women and girls.’ Meaning real men film other real men subjecting real women to real sadistic sexual violence and torture – not fake violence but real violence because this is what men want and what men demand. Does Beauchamp then believe these women being subjected to real sadistic male sexual violence, are not ‘real women’ but fantasy creatures?

    Racism is now widely condemned and yet there are no studies which can 100% prove the harm of racism. Many men and women hold racist views but not all women and men commit racial violence against non-white women and men, so why then does media not commonly promote/condone racism, given holding racist views does not automatically lead to the person committing violence against a non-white woman or man. Why shouldn’t media allow racist views to be uttered because media does not supposedly influence the male/female viewer? Oh but wait – racism affects men so therefore it is ‘real and important’ whereas mainstream pornography does not routinely degrade or dehumanise men, but reinforces mens’ misogynistic belief that men have pseudo sex right to any females, any time and men can subject any woman to whatever violence he wishes because she, unlike men, is not a human being.

    According to Beauchamp the media does not influence men or women so why then does the hugely profitable advertising industry create advertisements to be shown by the media? Because the media is a very efficient way of selling products to male and female consumers even when these consumers didn’t know they wanted the products until they had viewed them.

    Recently there was a UK newspaper news article on information obtained by the Freedom of Information Act concerning number of children committing sexual violence against other children. The results are not surprising because 98% of the perpetrators were boys under the age of 18 who had been influenced through regularly viewing pornography and had then subjected other children (I’ve no doubt the victims were primarily female) to the same pornographic acts these boys had watched. But according to Beauchamp there is no correlation between males viewing pornography and committing male sexual violence against women and girls.

    For Beauchamp’s benefit here is link to a large number of research studies carried out on pornography and does this mean all these studies are wrong, because Beauchamp considers mens’ right to view pornography supercedes womens’ fundamental right not to be reduced to mens’ dehumanised; disposable sexual service stations?

    Beauchamp doesn’t care because he condones male hatred/male contempt for women and mens’ right to attain sexual pleasure by viewing filmed male sexual violence committed against women is supposedly sacrosanct.

  2. Anyone who defends pornography by saying it reduces violence is not to be trusted or believed. Porn is the celebration of the debasement and commodification of women and girls, and as such IS violence against the class of women it purports to keep safe from harm. Porn TEACHES violence, teaches men how to procure the “services” of trafficked women and girls. Porn teaches that anything that gets men off is good (even when it clearly is NOT good). People need to open their eyes to the crap that passes for journalism. Porn is NOT free speech, it is poor speech at best and incitement to harm women through forced prostitution (or paid rape). Portraying any woman encourages the attitude that all women should be viewed as sexual things to be sold, used, and discarded.

  3. “[t]here’s absolutely no evidence that pornography does anything negative.” I guess this dick does not consider rape and killings of women to be negative. How telling.

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