Originally a comment by Marcus Ranum on Oops I forgot to do a title.
TRIGGER WARNING: serial killer, murder
1. The audience is different. Porn is for adults, whereas video games are generally at least in part intended for younger audiences.
Apparently you haven’t heard of the internet. Which is amazing, since you’re using it to post your comments.
2. Porn isn’t intended to be normative. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t function that way, of course, but it generally isn’t intended as such by either producer or consumer.
Intent is totally magical. Because if I don’t intend to hurt anyone when I drive drunk, it doesn’t count if I actually run over a dozen nuns, right? Of course porn is normative. Indeed, we have been effectively mainstreaming it and removing age controls for the last decade.
I don’t know if there have been any interesting advances in our understanding of fetishization and what used to be called paraphilias since I was an undergrad in the early 1980s but even at that time my impression was that “early impressions matter” (pace Freud) and a young person’s sexualization is critical to their adult sexuality (i.e.: sex is largely a learned behavior in humans). If that’s the case, then society may be reinforcing rape culture, dominance, and other fetishes in people at a younger age. If anyone reading this has any references on that subject, I’m interested; I’ll do some research of my own tonight during my evening reading time.
Kink exists. Kink is, in large part, about pretend scenarios of people abusing each other and getting off on it.
I am tempted to observe that you clearly know nothing about kink, or are so kinked that you see everything through the lens of your kink only.
Kink certainly exists. But, why? I am not saying there is anything wrong with kink – if you go back and re-read what I wrote earlier, the issue I am raising is whether there is something wrong with mainstreaming something that may not be understood by the viewer, deliberately or accidentally. I haven’t watched any gestapo/concentration camp porn but I’m rather willing to bet that the person in the SS uniform doesn’t grab the person in rags with the shaved head by the (oops, no hair) front of their rag smock and ask them politely if they consent. Maybe you can correct me, if I am wrong about this. I am very happy to be wrong about this.
Saying “kink exists” with the implication that kink will always exist does not get you automatically to “… therefore its OK.” Perhaps where we should be going is asking whether some kinds of kink reinforce and establish harmful societal norms. Perhaps some forms of kink should be put in the closet.
There are plenty of women who get off on porn that depicts women as weak and helpless. That’s not wrong.
I know a guy who gets off on porn that depicts women as murdered then used for sex. One of my kinkster model friends has been in a lot of those videos, covered in stage blood with a silicone throat-cut moulage. Sure, and it’s a safe and healthy way for a single mom to make a living but … sometimes she knows what’s going on in the videographer’s mind while he’s shooting it. Maybe what you see is a healthy escape-valve for a kinked guy and a safe living for a single mom who enjoys working the flexible hours. Me? It creeps me the fuck out, and I’m a kinkster and I’ve been a pornographer. I know another guy in the kink community (hey, maybe you know Moraxian?) whose idea of sexuality is pictures of girls (it’s always girls) “in distress” – by which I mean tied to a table about to be cut with a power-saw, or duct taped to a chair with a fake bomb in their lap. The images are consistently low quality and, when I asked him about it, he explained that high quality photography ruins his customers’ fantasies. Presumably because his customers’ fantasies consist of having a serial killer-style image stash. Who is unhealthy in that situation:
a) the photographer
b) the photographer’s customer
c) me, for thinking the photographer and his customers are disturbing
d) all of the above
The issue I am trying to expose here is the line between when two consenting adults do something for their own enjoyment, and when consenting adults mainstream something that may contribute to a dangerous cultural trend. Yes, we find it appropriate to critique mainstream movies (consider “Django Unchained” and its representation of racism and violence) if they appear to be promoting racism or sexism or fascism or … fuck, whatever’s dangerous. We find it appropriate when the Myth Busters say “don’t try this at home, kids!” when they are making explosions. We find it appropriate (most of us, anyhow, barring a few misogynist cranks) when someone makes a feminist critique of video games. It is appropriate to make a feminist critique of porn, too.
(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)