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Mary Ann Sieghart - "Time To Overturn The Tyrrany Of Porn"

(16 Posts)
garlicbutter Mon 25-Jul-11 20:26:06

In today's Independent and i - another one of Sieghard's excellent feminist discourses on pornification or, as she aptly calls it, Barbification, this time triggered by media coverage of Christine Lagarde's sexiness: a woman gets one of the world's most powerful jobs, and everyone wants to talk about her looks, ffs hmm

Siieghard strongly recommends Caitlin Moran's book to readers of both sexes, I'm happy to report.

garlicbutter Mon 25-Jul-11 20:45:19

Oh, I can't spell tyranny blush

vesuvia Tue 26-Jul-11 13:15:07

Interesting article.

I find it ironic that the web page also included a link to a magazine with "High quality photo galleries of the world's sexiest women."

garlicbutter Tue 26-Jul-11 13:42:07

Vesuvia!!! Just visited to look (I'd read the article in the paper) and, sure enough, there's a column of Google ads for: GQ Girl Galleries; Laser Hair Removal; Spa Discounts; Beauty Discounts. Evidently picking up keywords in the article text - I don't suppose the Adwords engine does irony wink

sakura Wed 27-Jul-11 09:12:15

thanks for posting this.
I'm always wary of powerful women because more often than not they're tokens who are male-identified, because that is the prerequisite for being allowed to get anywhere! I read some glowing reviews by some men and thought Uh Oh, but then I saw some European Union chaps saying she was definitely the wrong person for the job and suddenly became a bit more hopeful grin If men are slagging you off (Harriet Harman anyone? shock ) you must be doing something right.

Really hope she's a good-un. What a male role though! I can't imagine trying to inject some female-ness into the IMF shock

sakura Wed 27-Jul-11 09:16:26

Didn't think much of this line though:
"Nor is it empowering to be encouraged to dance suggestively with a pole. It's tacky, it's tarty, it's undignified and it's wholly inappropriate unless you've embarked on a career as a prostitute. "

Who "embarks on a career as a prostitute?" hmm Are women slotted into groups of "us % them". IT's tacky and undignified for some women, but not for others? Is that because other women are Not Quite As HUman As Us?

Thinking about this and getting annoyed yet again that 'porn' is getting the blame for a serious fault in contemporary mainstream culture. I haven't got a neat label for the problem (yet, but am working on it) but what I see is a kind of cartoonization of the world, much of which is down to Fucking Murdoch and Fucking Blair. Those two, between them, were very very keen on encouraging the masses to stop seeing other people as people - everyone's a dole cheat, sex symbol, love rat, bogus asylum seeker, chav, the People's Princess, the Most Evil Woman In The World.... We're all encouraged to live on our feelings and disconnect our brains, and run bleating in whatever direction we're shown - Love this fictional extrapolation of someone with a moderate artistic skill and a tendency to learn nothing from experience. Oh, you hated the person yesterday for being a DRUG USER but never mind. Hate this person for gaining weight or refusing to engage with some or other public slobber fest. You can love her again if she gets hit by a car or something... Fear anyone who looks a bit unlike you or does something you don't know much about...

Of course, women suffer far more than men from this crap, but it's not The Porn Industry that's driving it, and never was.

SinicalSal Wed 27-Jul-11 11:58:50

I agree with what you've said SGB, but how can you disassociate the porn industry from that? If any representations are simplified/cartoonised/manipulative surely it's the representations of sex in porn.
More powerful, probably, as the sex drive operates from a different space than the rational brain. Even processing Bogus Love Cheat, 46, on Benefit Gravy Train takes a leetle more brain power than processing Big Tits phwoooar

Porn is a reflection of society, not the driving force. ANd there is plenty of porn being made that is about diversity and experimentation: this narrowing down, (specifically of women to silicone tits, false nails and brazilians) is not actually that common in a lot of porn.

sakura Wed 27-Jul-11 13:13:47

I didn't get what your comment was about SGB, and if I did I'd probably be against it, but fuck me if I didn't enjoy reading it.

" Love this fictional extrapolation of someone with a moderate artistic skill and a tendency to learn nothing from experience" grin

sakura Wed 27-Jul-11 13:32:19

"Porn is a reflection of society, not the driving force"

Not true. Media influences culture and society, and porn is a form of media. There is a correlation between rapes and porn. Lots of rapists re-enact porn scenes.
And the porn industry is a huge money-maker for powerful men (off the backs of women, naturally)

EldritchCleavage Wed 27-Jul-11 13:40:39

I agree with SGB, broadly.

Porn is influential, but the type of mainstream media treatment of women like Lagarde (just another ultra-right monetarist, gender irrelevant, don't get your hopes up) does not come from 'pornification', in my view.

It's the same old dismissive sexism that's always been there, and which has fuelled a media culture encouraging us to see everyone in simplisitically labelled categories, women most of all. Sexism fuelled porn, and now porn fuels more sexism. But the root of the problem is the sexism, not the porn.

garlicbutter Wed 27-Jul-11 17:27:57

Surely that's a chicken-and-egg debate? Sexism promotes porn/barb-ification; pornified reportage promotes sexism. Nobody raved about Mary Wollstonecraft's looks.

I agree that our societies have become far more image-conscious in respect of men and women: it's unlikely that any of our greatest PM's would have been elected nowadays, being stronger in brains than in looks. But the burden falls far more heavily on women. I really feel we need to be questioning this at every turn, not having to be thrilled on the rare occasions a journalist gets a page to write about it.

Sakura, of all the forms of entertainment media, porn is one of the most marginalized and least powerful. If you've bought into that myth about porn generating more money than the film and music industries put together, it is a myth - the figure was produced by some knob or other taking the profits recorded by the porn industries in and around LA, multiplying them by 50 and claiming that was how much money porn made in America (ie completely ignorning the fact that the US porn industry is pretty much concentrated in LA and some states have no actual porn industry at all...) It suits antifeminist agendas to blame everything on porn and tell horror stories about it (which isn';t to say that bad things don't happen within the porn industry).

sakura Thu 28-Jul-11 00:23:51

Hey SGB, don't misquote me all the time. I'm not blaming everything on porn, I'm blaming porn for certain things.

And you are wrong about the porn industry's power. I have seen lots of evidence to show that the porn lobby is enormously powerful. DId you know that recently the porn industry has started taking people who download porn ilegally to court. That's right. It has the time and resources to hunt people down and take them to court or get them to settle in out of court settlements. Porn piracy wars get personal

Of course, it depends how you define "power". The porn industry is not as powerful as, say, the oil industry.

Sakura, it's not all about you. I was paraphrasing, generally.
And your link doesn't so much demonstrate an 'enormously powerful lobby' as a smart but nasty geezer who has found a lucrative brand of legal blackmail to earn his living from.

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