Monday, May 11, 2009

Pornography Use and Other Violations: A Conversation Between Two White Men, part two

Here are the links to the whole conversation:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8
Part 9

CAUTION: What follows is a conversation between two men about their abusive behaviors toward girls, women, and others. Any survivor of child sexual abuse, rape, or other form of sexual violation and objectification may be quite triggered by portions of this exchange. All violative behaviors are named as such by at least one of the two people, critically, with remorse and/or regret. Both people do not currently use pornography.

Response/email #2 from USguy:
I am very glad to connect with you.

Regarding this portion of your email:

"There is a lot to say to you about my situation and where I'm up to etc. if you want to get involved and help. I know you're a random stranger, possibly from another country, so you'll have to set a boundary on how deeply you want to attend to me in particular. I'm ready to write you about 500 chaotic words on where I'm at, and have a good D&M if you're up for it."

What country do you live in? I'm in the U.S.

I'd prefer to see this connection as "mutually beneficial" than "me helping you." I'm not sure to what degree I can be of help, for one thing, and think it might be good for both of us, in terms of possibly developing a model that is radically feminist, not intensely white male supremacist and Protestant to boot.

I am not easily shocked. Tell me whatever you want. I can be upset by things, of course, as I'm sure you can, so I'll just let you know when something is upsetting to me, and why.

How does that sound as a way to proceed? The only other thing I'd ask, if we're going to correspond, is that weeks not go by between correspondence. I'll explain that request: I've been in many, many situations with men in which I am engaged in a process that attempts to hold them accountable to various things that we men do that harms women. And my experience is this: virtually all men find every reason in the world to deal with anything and everything else first. Everything is a higher priority than dealing with our own misogyny and sexist behavior. And I'm so "done" with men who don't commit to a process. This process could include, however, you letting me know "I'm feeling really overwhelmed right now." I don't wish for you to be invisible in the process, or to develop a process that simply isn't working for you. Does that make sense?

So where are you at, and tell me a bit about your history with pornography. Especially this: how old were you when you first encountered it? And what were the circumstances? Take me through your teen years, in terms of answering that. I find that the early parts of men's stories often hold lots of information that is important. And I'm also not one to take a psychoanalytic approach to explaining why men use pornography. I believe we use it primarily for three reasons:

1. We can. (It's mass produced and made available to us.)
2. We desire to. (And we are, or believe we are, entitled to objectify women in any number of ways, at our own whim.)
3. There are virtually no systems of accountability set up to keep our behavior from harming women. (Which is also to say, there are usually no consequences so meaningful as to warrant us shifting our behavior dramatically.)

I look forward to hearing back from you soon.

Response/email #2 from Aussieguy:
Thanks for your reply. I feel very comfortable with all of it and I will respond to the specifics and questions a bit at a time.

About commitments, I am happy to commit to ongoing and frequent communication. I don't check this email every day but I can confidently say that I will be able to email about twice a week. What we commit to other than frequency of communication can be an ongoing discussion.

I would like it to be mutually beneficial too. I'm interested in what you are trying to gain, so that I can help our contact to give us both what we're looking for.

I'm in Australia.

So, here's an intro to my story. I'm sure there'll be more to fill in later.

When I was about 9, I was swimming at the creek just near our house. My brother and sister went home and I stayed a little bit longer. A couple of teenage boys and a teenage girl came down to swim. The boys started swimming around the girl and trying to take her clothes off her. They told me to help. I swam over and was very excited. I started telling them all the things they needed to undo to take the girl's top off and things. After harrassing the girl for a while, they gave up without taking her clothes off. We all got out of the creek and the boys gave me all the change out of their wallets and told me not to tell anyone.

I used to think that this incident was the beginning of my objectification of women. It was probably a significant event but I now think more along the lines of what you said: "I believe we use it primarily for three reasons:


1. We can. (It's mass produced and made available to us.)
2. We desire to." ... etc

At primary school, I started perving up girls' dresses. I also discovered wanking when I was 10 or 11 and still at primary school. I used to position myself on the bus so that I could look up a girl's dress across the aisle if she sat the right way.

At high school, I continued perving on girls, looking up their skirts as they went up stairs, and looking down their tops. I thought it was a kind of seedy thing to do but I did it anyway. A friend of mine at school said "There's somethign wrong with you if you don't look down girls' tops." I thought that wanking was wrong as well and that I would have to stop when I started ejaculating or people would find out.

We lived in the bush from when I was 10 until I went to uni. In the summer, I used to watch people who came down to the river form the other side. I saw 3 women sunbathing in small bikinis and I hid and watched them and masturbated. After that, I used to come down to the river often and I sometimes saw people swimming naked. I would masturbate then too. Whenever I heard voices down at the river, I wanted to come and see who it was.

When I was about 14 or 15, I found a porn mag at a family friend's house. I can't remember what magazine it was but it wasn't very hardcore. My brother and I looked at it. We wondered why your penis gets hard when you look at the pictures. I remember saying "Maybe you're getting ready to have it off."

When I was about 16, I was camping with friends. Someone brought a few copies of Mayfair magazine and we all had a look at that. I was really drawn to it and kept going back to have another look.

After that, I started buying some of the magazines that you don't have to be 18 to buy. They're pretty sexist but the pictures are not that explicit, although they are fully nude. I also started stealing the ones in packets from the newsagents.

When I moved to Sydney for uni, I discovered the restricted premises where you can buy hardcore porn. I started buying those magazines then, and we also watched some porn movies that someone got from somewhere. They were really hardcore, with scenes of two penises fucking the same vagina and stuff. I remember thinking at the time that the sex is really not loving or nice at all.

After I left uni, I travelled around for a while and continued buying porn magazines. I also kept perving on women. When I have stayed in youth hostel dorms, I have lain awake with my eyes nearly closed and watched while a woman checked to see that I was 'asleep' and then quickly got changed.

My perving has gone to shameful lengths. I was on a little camp once and there was a communal shower block. The showers had a curtain and then another curtain for a door. I pulled the outer curtain open a little way when a woman was showering so that when she opened the other curtain, I would be able to see her. When she did that, she saw me and was very alarmed and pulled her curtain closed again and reached out for her towel. I was very ashamed.

A few times, I have used mirrors to look in on women in the shower.

In the last few years, I have discovered porn on the internet. I first found it at uni but it was so slow it wasn't practical then. In the last 5 years, though, it has been my main way of looking at porn. I look at sites where people post photos they have taken of unsuspecting women getting changed and things like that. I also found some sites where there are totally explicit sex clips posted, many of them from standard porn sites and also some home made ones and you can just go on and see them without any signing in or anything.

I'm back at uni again now and I have to go to a class so I will finish this story later. I'll just say for now that I think it's time I stopped this shit. I'm on a new run of being strong with it a the moment and seeing a counsellor and it's going well.

until soon
END OF POST.

7 comments:

Philip and Pauline said...

When i was 11 over 20 years I saw two women getting changed across the road from me one of then had red knickers on and her boobs showing and the other girl was naked. This really should not have been and the girls will be oldr now and should be ashamed.

Julian Real said...

First, is this Philip or Pauline?

And second, why should those women carry shame about that? You don't say how old they were.

Bigdog said...

Maybe I'm in need of serious help but, it seems to me there is a double standard here. First, I think that it should be made clear that there is nothing wrong with a man being aroused by a woman breast and vise-versa. Secondly, a woman should be ashamed to show her body in public because it is an object of sexual arousal. Your argument leaves out the natural attractions between the sexes for procreation. I don't understand this about some of the feminist views as a man it causes me to feel that a lot that's being said is hogwash. My sister and mother have breast and they are beautiful women but I am repulsed to see or think about them nude.I'm sure my father and brother- in - law thinks differently. Of course it's the soul and the person inside we are attached to but part of that person's identity is their body, smell,ect.

Julian Real said...

Hi Bigdog,

What follows by way of response is in a few parts.

Part 1:

Maybe I'm in need of serious help

Aren't we all?!? :)

but, it seems to me there is a double standard here.

I don't believe so, but I'll hear you out and will respond.

First, I think that it should be made clear that there is nothing wrong with a man being aroused by a woman breast and vise-versa.

Already we're not even speaking about the same thing. I don't speak about men who find women's breasts attractive as "part" of the whole of who many women are. I doubt you'll find that much of my writing is ever about that.

I see nothing wrong with men being attracted to women as full human beings. And many, but by no means all, women, have breasts. As do some men. So if you're attracted to women's and men's breast tissue that's not an issue for me.

Julian Real said...

Part 2:

However, if you objectify women's breasts, and fetishise breast tissue stuffed tight with silicone blobs, then we're talking about something else, that IS what I discuss. That's not an attraction to women's natural breasts. That's an attraction to a socially constructed idea of "breasts" that is not at all natural. Breast implants are, by definition, not natural, right? And most women in industry pornography do not have "natural" (unmodified) breasts. Whether modified with implants, or Photoshop, industrial strength pornography does nothing even remotely close to showing "natural naked women". And I'm not recommending they do. I'm recommending they stop pimping images of pimped women to procurer-consumers of women-as-sexxx-things that "exist" only for men's use and abuse, within the themes of the pornography itself, or through the unethical 24/7 access to women's bodies granted by pimps to men generally.

Secondly, a woman should be ashamed to show her body in public because it is an object of sexual arousal.

A colleague of mine, Nikki Craft, was a supporter of "shirt-free rights" decades ago, and is clearly anti-pornography. The confusion here is with your equation of "naked women" and "the fetishised images of pimped and raped women in pornography".

Your argument leaves out the natural attractions between the sexes for procreation.

No, it doesn't at all. In fact, my argument is that men ought to be attracted to human women as human beings, for pleasure, intimacy, fun, and mutual growth. I have no problem with men being attracted to women. I accept that not every component of heterosexuality is socially constructed and politically enforced, although there's little about heterosexuality in men that isn't socialised and political.

How can I say this? Well, just look at what many het men are attracted to: women with shaved and plucked unnatural faces; bleached, straightened, waved, unnatural hair; shaved armpits, legs, and crotches--all completely unnatural; one basic body type, which is extreme and unnatural: large fake breasts, thin wastes and thighs, low body fat, painted faces, especially eyes and lips; poreless skin; tight abdomens--most unnatural for most women and especially for anyone who has carried and birthed a child or more than one child; the addition into images of supposedly "naked" women of fake fingernails, high heeled shoes, lingerie, or bondage geer--none of which is in any way natural; I hope you're beginning to "get the picture". The pictures pimps produce of "women" for mass distribution and consumption are about as "unnatural" as images of women can be. They celebrate not the individual physical beauty of any woman, but the mass production of manufactured, manipulated "genres" of women. So even when there's "variety" it is never about individuality, but only about generating other unnatural "types" of f*ckable women/things.

Have you seen any actual women naked? They don't look like pimped women who have been photographed and (ahem) "retouched" by master image manipulators.

Have you see this video? It gets at what I'm saying is the difference between "natural attractiveness" and "manufactured oppressive 'beauty'". The latter is highly influenced by corporate pimps who cannot market women's individual attractiveness, and who don't assume women exist "not FOR men".

Julian Real said...

Part 3:

I don't understand this about some of the feminist views as a man it causes me to feel that a lot that's being said is hogwash.

I'll link to a few more discussions and writings that I hope will clue you in more to what the "hog-wash" actually is. It's patriarchal jerks deciding what "pretty" means, and culturally imposing and enforcing that misogynistic, racist, classist, ageist, ableist, heterosexist standard on all women and girls. The hogwash is not to be found in a critique of women being exploited by men. I hope you aren't FOR women being pimped and exploited. Are you?

I hope you realise that industry pornography wouldn't and couldn't exist without pimping, incest, rape, and trafficking of girls and women. There's nothing natural about any of that.

My sister and mother have breast and they are beautiful women

And I hope you'd consider them beautiful if they didn't have their breasts. I hope you finding female "breasted" human beings "beautiful" if they, for example, have very little or not breast tissue. And I hope you don't find "fake breasts" attractive.

but I am repulsed to see or think about them nude.

I wish all fathers and brothers felt this way.

I'm sure my father and brother- in - law thinks differently.

One may presume so. And I have no way of knowing the degrees to which they find the specific physicality of their partners attractive, of just the "shape and size of their breasts".

Of course it's the soul and the person inside we are attached to

I'll assume you are speaking here about you, your father, and brother-in-law. Because you and I both know that "normal" men, perhaps including your brother-in-law and your father and you, enjoy accessing images of pimped women from the Internet.

but part of that person's identity is their body, smell,ect.

Yes. And how many het boys and men, of any age--whether twelve or seventy-two, comment when congregating without women around on the scent, identity, and soul of women positively, in your experience? I've rarely to never heard a group of het men speak this way about women. What I hear is het men speaking about women's "hot" body parts, women as "f*ckable" things, women as trash, wh*res, b*tches, who need to wash out their crotches more often. That's what I hear men talking about who say they find women "attractive". It's amazing to me how ugly men are, often enough, when speaking about how attractive women are. And it amazes me, sort of, that these men don't get the difference between a Photoshopped image of a pimped woman and actual in-person "natural women". And how many het men wish their girlfriends and wives would try and approximate, as closely as possible, what pimps make "their" women look like for procurers.

Julian Real said...

Part 4:

I welcome you to read the following links, and please respond here, ok? I want to know if any of what I've said and say below, or what others say, makes sense to you as responsible discussion, rather than "hogwash". Seriously, I want to know what you think after reading this.

See this, on prostitution and trafficking.

See this, on pornography and the construction of sex as sexxx.

See this, on Playboy and men.

If you only read one of these linked to pieces, please read this one on what I discuss briefly in my response to you so far.

See this, for a het man's commentary on this matter.

I look forward to your reply.