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mardi 1er juin 2004
The sexual sadism of our culture, in peace and in war
The Abu Ghraib images have all the hallmarks of contemporary porn
DANS LA MEME RUBRIQUE
Burkini Is a Feminist Issue Too
The notion that it’s ok for disabled men to pay for sex is rooted in misogyny and ableism
Egyptian doctor living in Zurich produces educational videos about health and sexuality for the Arab world
Amnesty International and Prostitution : Not in Our Name !
Open letter to rabble.ca - Support Meghan Murphy suffered a misogynist campaign by the sex industry lobby
"Insectual - The Secret of the Black Butterfly", by Barbara Sala
Canada’s New Sex Trade Law
Sharia Law, Apostasy and Secularism
“Harm reduction” is not enough to appropriately analyze prostitution
True Progressives Encourage Women’s Equality, Not Their Prostitution
Sexual mutilations outside Africa : new report and new denial except the Iraqi case
FGM slowing down ? The UN asserts it, the Indonesian case contradicts it
Prostitution, STRASS and the senator - When opacity becomes relevant
Is equating prostitution and rape ‘intolerable violence’ ? Really ?
Obama, Madonna and us
After Ontario Courts rule on Bedford : a rant
Comparing Sex Buyers and Non-Sex Buyers July 2011 (Boston)
Sex resistance in heterosexual arrangements
Abolitionists of the prostitution system : who we are, what we want !
Women Living Under Muslim Laws Statement on Libya
Prostitution is a Threat to Humanity
Prostitution - Call for Australia’s prostitution laws to be tightened
Violence - An Open Letter from Black Women to SlutWalk Organizers
Nothing that is sexual can be considered criminal : hidden sexual violence in the DSK case
The Truth about Global Sex Slavery – A Book by Lydia Cacho
Why reproductive rights and prostitution are not the same thing : A response to one decriminalization argument
Prostitution - The abolitionist project within the conference Women’s Worlds 2011
Montreal - The Turcotte jury got it wrong
Reasons I Will Not Go On the Slutwalk
International Sex Industries and their Accomplices Hamper the Autonomy of All Women
Ten Critical Reasons for getting rid of Harper’s Conservatives
Real solidarity with prostituted women is in the fight for abolition of prostitution
Decriminalize prostituted persons and criminalize those who exploit them (‘johns’ and pimps)
Polygamy in Canada Should Remain Illegal
My fears of the push for indoors prostitution
We cannot be satisfied with the simple harm-reduction model
The Native Women’s Association of Canada is Worried About Himel’s Judgement on Prostitution
Ontario Court Decision Abandons Aboriginal Women and Women of Colour to Pimps
Response to the VPD review in the cases of the Pickton Murders
Speech - The effects of globalization of political Islam on Women’s Rights, the question with polygamy, the Niqab and Honour Killing
Quebec Forges Enlightened Trail on Burkas
Breast Cancer a Disease, No a Marketing Opportunity
The International Campaign To Closedown Iranian Embassies
Violation of rights in Iran, a window from my experience to a broader picture
"Sex worker" ? Never met one !
The One Million Signatures Campaign has been awarded the prestigious Global Women’s Rights Award from the Feminist Majority Foundation
Prostitution - Feminist Perspectives, a book
Prostitution : Violating the Human Rights of Poor Women
More than 1 000 american historians call for equity in the stimulus package in open letter to Obama
Order of Canada Awarded to Dr. Morgentaler - Acts of intimidation should not rule Canada
Femaid report on Afghanistan, May 2008
Time for Quebecers to be more open : Bouchard-Taylor report
Canadian Bar Association supports strengthening equality in the Quebec Charter
Zero Tolerance for Johns : How the Government of Sweden Would Respond to Spitzer
Politicians are responsible for toxic, misogynist environment facing girls
Spitzer - The Myth of the Victimless Crime
Goodbye To All That (#2)
The freedom to never prostitute oneself
NO legalized brothels for the Olympics 2010 - Aboriginal women’s Action Network statement on prostitution
CLES says NO to the violence of prostitution
Does Porn Make the Man ?
A Trip Into the Absurd
Mothers File International Complaint Against United States
Prostitutes are victims, not criminals
Anthology of Québec Women’s Plays in English Translation, Volume I (1966-1986)
The Concertation des luttes contre l’exploitation sexuelle (CLES) intervene during the upcoming provincial election
Prostitution - Three Women and a Debate
Men Favour the Apolitical Discourse on Prostitution
The Whole Truth Must be Told : Sylviane’s testimony on her experience of prostitution
Democracy and Religious Obligations : an Impasse ?
What is liberation ? Feminism past, present and future
Books by Andrea Dworkin
Globalization, Militarism and Sex Trafficking
Muslim Groups Denounce the Cultural Relativism of a Certain Left
Canadian Muslim leader alleges her veil views sparked vandalism
Prostitution : CATW’S Post-World Cup Statement
NOW to denounce so-called parental alienation
Prostitution : for an Abolitionist Bill
The dimensions of trafficking for purposes of prostitution
"Charm is a Guise ; Batterers Belong in Jail, Expert Says"
Interview with Catherine MacKinnon : Are Women Human ?
Danish cartoons - Doing away with the Enlightenment ?
It’s happening next door : from incestuous girls to alienating mothers
Green Light for Pimps and Johns
Buying Sex is not a Sport
Prostitution is Violence Against Women
The Ideal Site for the Crime
Tell me, what does "gender" really mean ?
Gunilla Ekberg : « The best thing we can do for our sisters is to support them to get out of prostitution »
Interview with Catharine A. MacKinnon : « They haven’t crushed me yet. »
Decriminalizing prostitution, a magnet for pimps and johns
Declaration on Religious Arbitration in Family Law
Prostitution : Towards a Canadian policy of abolition
Prostitution inseparable of violence against women
The need for a public debate on prostitution and its social consequences
Prostitution of First Nations Women in Canada
270 000 $ granted to Stella for a four days event on sex work
IN MEMORIAM : Andrea Dworkin or The passion for justice
Decriminalizing prostitution will not improve the security of prostituted women
Dworkin - Taking Back the Night
Backlash and Whiplash : A Critique of Statistics Canada’s 1999 General Social Survey on Victimization
Helping the prostituted women or promoting prostitution ?
The Need for a Public Debate on Prostitution and its Social Consequences
The legalization of prostitution and its impact on trafficking in women and children
Prostitution Links, Women’s Justice Center
"If you don’t take a job as a prostitute, we can stop your benefits"
Sweden Treating Prostitution as Violence Against Women
Forced marriage as crime
Why Women Must Get out of Men’s Laps
International Campaing Against Shari’a Court in Canada
Decriminalize prostituted women, not prostitution
Canada Contributes to the Sexual Trafficking of Women for Purposes of Prostitution
Fathers’ Rights Groups in Australia and their Engagement with Issues in Family Law
Women Rage Against ’Rape’ in Northeast India
Sexual domination in uniform : an american value
Tribunals Will Marginalize Canadian Muslin Women and Increase Privatization of Family Law
Queer theory and violence against women
The Legalisation of Prostitution : A failed social experiment
Globalization and the Sex Trade : Trafficking and the Commodification of Women and Children
Will Paternal Paranoia Triumph ?
Ode to Survivors
Court confirms any woman’s human right to organize with peers
Program produces motherless kids
Legitimating Prostitution as Sex Work : UN Labour Organization (ILO) Calls for Recognition of the Sex Industry (Part One)
Legitimating Prostitution as Sex Work : UN International Labour Organization Calls for Recognition of the Sex Industry (Part Two)
Elisabeth Badinter distorts feminism the better to fight it
Prostitution : Rights of Women or Right to Women ?
The "Stolen Feminism" Hoax : Anti-Feminist Attack Based on Error-Filled Anecdotes
Hormone Replacement Therapy, the "Magic Bullet" Ricochets
For the sake of the children : the law, domestic violence and children contact in England
Friendships between women good for health
Children of divorce need our protection
Divorce Bill’s flaws inadvertently aid abusers
Problem isn’t little boys, it’s little minds
A report from Status of Women Canada about the discursive denial of gender inequalities
Ten Reasons for Not Legalizing Prostitution
Poem for Peace
Peace Rally Speech of a 12 year old American Girl
Good clone, bad clone ?
Canadian Women’s Health Network
So hard to say goodbye
I received some horrific photographs by email yesterday. Purporting to be from Iraq, they depicted the sexual abuse of women by US servicemen. On some, chadors were hitched up over the women’s heads. On others, the women were naked while they were raped by groups of men. It is impossible to tell whether the photographs are real - those images we know have been seen by American senators - or faked. They make you sick to your stomach. And they look strangely familiar - like the XXX films in hotel rooms, like those "live rape !" emails sent to internet users, like porn.
If the photographs are genuine, they are the visual evidence of the sexual abuse of Iraqi women - abuse which we already know is common, with or without these grotesque images. We know that such images exist, because a US government report confirmed it. And we know that Iraqi women are being raped throughout the country, because both Amal Kadham Swadi, the Iraqi lawyer, and the US’s own internal inquiry say that abuse is systemic and widespread. We also know this because all wars feature the abuse of women as a byproduct, or as a weapon. The ancient Greeks considered rape socially acceptable ; the Crusaders raped their way to Constantinople ; the English invaders raped Scottish women on Culloden Moor. The first world war, the second world war, Bosnia, Bangladesh, Vietnam - where the gangrape and murder of a peasant woman by US soldiers was photographed in stages by one if its participants.
But even if the pictures are mocked up, it makes you wonder where the images came from. Some woman, somewhere, had to be raped, or make it look like she was being raped. The poses, the large numbers of men to one woman, the violence - they have all the hallmarks of contemporary porn. Indeed, there is suspicion that the photos are part of a gruesome new trend - the manufacture of films showing the rape of women dressed as Iraqis by men dressed as US servicemen.
There’s a difference, of course, between the making of pornography for money and the photographing of pornographic poses as war trophies : the consent of the woman involved. But to the consumer of these images, there’s no way of knowing if there’s been consent or not. They look the same.
Modern porn has become increasingly savage. "You’re seeing more of these videos of women getting dragged on their faces, and spit on, and having their heads dunked in the toilet," says even pro-porn campaigner Nina Hartley. At the same time, the multibillion-dollar porn film industry, bigger than Hollywood, is widely seen as acceptable ; just this week, EastEnders actor Nigel Harman told Heat magazine : "I have always wanted to make porn, I think the industry is very underrated." It is aggressively mainstream.
Nevertheless, right now the American pornography industry is in shock. Not only has the military stolen its thunder, with ritual sexual humiliations of its own performed for the camera, but also three performers have tested positively for HIV, which means that no porn films will be made for 60 days, until all actors are tested. So, in an intriguing quirk of timing, while the making of porn itself is halted, pornography is still being generated - by US soldiers recreating the images many will have seen at home.
Lara Roxx is 18, and arrived in California’s San Fernando Valley, the capital of the US porn industry, only days before she contracted HIV. She had moved down from Canada with the aim of making quick money. She was infected while being penetrated anally by two men, simultaneously, neither of whom was wearing a condom. This act is the vogue in pornography today : condoms are rarely used, and the double penetration of a single orifice, whatever the physical consequences or limitations, is seen as hot.
Porn directors are devastated by the news of Roxx’s infection. David Brett, CEO of Passion Pictures, told the industry’s website, AVN : "I would be mortified if anyone got sick in connection with one of my projects. I have to sleep at night... I would never earn my living at the expense of some other human being’s health and safety." So now there is some discussion of compulsory condoms. But there is no discussion of how "healthy" and "safe" it is to brutalise teenagers in the name of entertainment.
Roxx’s interview with AVN itself shows the fluidity of "consent" in these matters. "I told [my manager] I wasn’t interested in anal at all, and I was a little freaky about the no-condom thing too," she said. On arriving at the film shoot, she was pressured into performing the "double anal" scene by the director, Marc Anthony. She says : "So I get there and Marc Anthony tells me it’s a DA, which stands for double anal. And I’m like, ’What ? I’ve never done a double anal’. And he was like, ’Well, that’s what we need. It’s either that or nothing’. And that’s how they do it... I think that sucks, because he knew double anal was dangerous." Later, she says, she was in pain and could not sit down.
It is hard not to see links between the culturally unacceptable behaviour of the soldiers in Abu Ghraib and the culturally accepted actions of what happens in porn. Of course there is a gulf between them, and it is insulting to suggest that all porn actors are in the same situation as Iraqis, confined and brutalised in terrifying conditions. And yet, the images in both are the same. The pornographic culture has clearly influenced the soldiers ; at the very least, in their exhibitionism, their enthusiasm to photograph their handiwork. And the victims in both don’t have feelings : to the abusers, they didn’t in Abu Ghraib ; to the punter they don’t in pornography. Both point to just how degraded sex has become in western culture. Porn hasn’t even pretended to show loving sex for decades ; in films and TV most sex is violent, joyless. The Abu Ghraib torturers are merely acting out their culture : the sexual humiliation of the weak. So Charles Graner and his colleagues can humiliate Iraqi prisoners because the prisoners are dirt ; they can humiliate women, forcing them to bare their bodies and raping them, because that way they can show their power.
The annihilation of Lynndie England, while her superior Graner, clearly in control and already with a history of violence against women, was left alone, fits this story too. They are both repulsive, torturers ; but she has been vilified for her involvement, while his is passed off with a shrug. Some women in the military - if they are not themselves being raped by male soldiers (in February, US soldiers were accused of raping more than 112 colleagues in Iraq and Afghanistan) - seem to have to prove that they are one of the guys by sexually humiliating the only people less important than they are : Iraqi prisoners, of whatever sex. It’s a chilling lesson, that women can be sexual sadists just as well as men. Just give them the right conditions - and someone weaker to kick. It’s proof that sexual aggression is not really about sex or gender, but about power : the powerful humiliating the powerless.
The real images of sexual abuse of Iraqi women, if they are ever released, will at once appear on pornographic websites. They will be used for sexual gratification. People are already joking that England (though not Graner) can have a nice little future career for herself in porn. Of course we are horrified by these images. But we should be horrified too by their familiarity, and how much they tell us about our own societies.
May 22, 2004, Guardian
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Katharine Viner, "The Guardian"
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