Ghomeshi played the role of a feminist ally, but in private he was fully enmeshed in porn culture

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been interviewed by male journalists who have been clearly antagonistic to my feminist, anti-porn position. I can usually tell within the first five minutes of the interview that these guys are very upset by my argument that porn shapes male sexuality in ways that normalize sexual violence. They often become hostile and insulting, and end up accusing me of being an anti-sex prude who hates men.

Because I’ve been on the receiving end of so much hostility from male interviewers, I remember well those who were particularly sympathetic to the feminist view. One who stands out in my mind as a thoughtful interviewer is Jian Ghomeshi, former host of the popular CBC radio show, Q. Ghomeshi had not only given my book Pornland a close reading, but also expressed empathy for the women in porn whose bodies are sexually used and abused for male entertainment.

So imagine my shock when news started to leak out that women were coming forward accusing Ghomeshi of sexually assaulting them in ways that mimic the violence in porn. From gagging his victims with his penis to verbally abusing them during the assault, Ghomeshi’s behavior fits perfectly with the standard porn scenes that can be accessed within 15 seconds of typing “porn” into Google.

The second time I was a guest on Q, Ghomeshi facilitated a debate between me and John Stagliano, a well-know pornographer who is credited with popularizing violent anal sex against women. Stagliano, AKA Buttman, runs the site Evil Angel, which touts itself as a leader in “hardcore anal sex videos. With a love for all things ass, EvilAngel.com brings you the best lesbian anal, big tits, Milf porn, interracial ass fucking, hardcore double penetration movies, extreme insertions, and so much more.” Stagliano explained recently in an interview for an Australian documentary, Love and Sex in an Age of Pornography, that anal sex appeals to him because, unlike with vaginal sex, “you can’t fake pushing her limits sexually.”

Knowing the misogyny of Stagliano, I was prepared to do battle, but the debate was actually made a lot easier because of the way Ghomeshi took the side of feminists. During the discussion, Stagliano kept interrupting me, and Ghomeshi stepped in a few times to tell him to be quiet and let me speak. On a number of occasions Ghomeshi actually challenged Stagliano for producing porn that could lead to real-world violence against women.

During one exchange in which Stagliano argued that porn was becoming more violent because the women themselves came to the set asking for more extreme sex, Ghomeshi asked Stagliano if he really expected anyone to believe that. Throughout the show, Ghomeshi’s hostility toward Stagliano increased, and I remember the show as one of those rare occasions where the host did some of my work for me.

So how can we reconcile the Ghomeshi on Q with the real Ghomeshi, who acted like a typical male porn performer by using women as disposable sex objects? I don’t know Ghomeshi personally, so I can’t offer any psychological analysis of what drove him to assault women. What is evident is that he had a brand to protect — a thoughtful, reflective journalist who had a reputation for being a sensitive, woman-friendly host. Siding with a pornographer who is renowned for his misogyny wouldn’t have done much for his reputation.

But when the stories started to appear in the Canadian press, Ghomeshi ended up sounding a lot like Stagliano by claiming that the women had wanted it. He wrote on his Facebook page on October 26th that “I have always been interested in a variety of activities in the bedroom but I only participated in sexual practices that are mutually agreed upon, consensual, and exciting for both partners.”

The “partners” tell a very different story. According to an article in Slate, three women interviewed by the Toronto Star “allege that Ghomeshi physically attacked them on dates without their consent. They allege that he struck them with a closed fist or open hand; bit them; choked them until they almost passed out; covered their noses and mouths so that they had difficulty breathing; and that they were verbally abused during and after sex.”

I wish I could say that these types of assaults are news to me, but I have seen thousands of porn scenes that map out exactly the acts these women describe, and have interviewed hundreds of women who recount the same type of violence. Of course porn isn’t the only reason men assault women, but when you hear the same stories over and over again, from being choked till they almost pass out (and many of the women I interviewed have indeed passed out) to being verbally assaulted during the attack, then, as a sociologist, I have to ask: What “playbook” are these guys following?

As porn becomes the main form of sex ed in the western world, we are going to see more and more men internalize the values, norms, stories and narratives of porn. And the violence in porn, by virtue of its consistency and repetition, will be played out on an increasing number of women and girls. To suggest otherwise would be to argue that the multi-billion advertising industry has got it wrong, and that images have no impact on behavior. If this is true, then we have to believe that men are just violent by nature. But all the feminists I know refuse to accept that men are natural-born predators. Even Ghomeshi.

 

Gail Dines is a professor of Sociology and Women’s Studies at Wheelock College, a founder of Stop Porn Culture, and the author of  “Pornland: How Porn has Hijiacked our Sexuality.” Her new documentary, based on Pornland, can be found online.

 

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Meghan Murphy
Meghan Murphy

Founder & Editor

Meghan Murphy is a freelance writer and journalist. She has been podcasting and writing about feminism since 2010 and has published work in numerous national and international publications, including New Statesman, Vice, Al Jazeera, The Globe and Mail, I-D, Truthdig, and more. Meghan completed a Masters degree in the department of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University in 2012 and lives in Vancouver, B.C. with her dog.

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  • aladywrites

    Not arguing that porn doesn’t affect attitudes, but he’s been doing the same thing since at least 1988, when extreme porn was much less readily available.

    “Another former student, Kerry Eady, now an arts and crafts teacher in Nova Scotia, recalls attending an informal meeting at York University in the fall of 1988, where residence advisers (senior students) “told us they’d had reports from a couple of young women who had bad dates with Jian Ghomeshi … that he had hit them.” One female student had told the residence advisers she was choked, Eady said.”

    http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2014/11/04/ghomeshi_was_focus_of_complaints_during_york_student_days.html

    • Carnation

      Less readily available but still really, really available in porn stores and cable and video shops that weren’t Blockbuster Video.

      • aladywrites

        ok, comment retracted

    • Bridget

      My brothers had access to violent porn in 1963. They were only 12-14 years old. I was only five at that time. I discovered it. It messed with my own ideas about sexuality for many years. . Do not tell me it was unavailable.

  • derrington

    Exactly right. Having spent 20 years working in media and 3 years training as a psychotherapist it is telling that whenever an actor is tried in the dock the jury is requested to try the person standing in front of them, not their screen character. Actors playing parts that are evil on screen frequently state that they are harangued on the street by people who believe their character is them. Why would this then not happen in sexual media? Does oxygen behave differently in France than the UK? Does media have a totally different effect when its sexual media as opposed to every other media? Where do men learn to call women and children by hate speech that is only diseminated in sexual media? Men and women that use sexual media are fooling themselves that they are somehow above subconsciously ingesting the attitudes and language of hatred. Grooming is a recognised phenomenon, why is it so difficult for them to acknowledge self grooming is just as dangerous to others basic safety? People say if you dont like porn dont watch it or turn it off. The trouble is, you cannot just turn off the gender psycho on a hair trigger that so many men conceal within themselves.

  • hypatia

    Wonderful piece. So awesome to see Gail Dines on Feminist Current!

    • Meghan Murphy

      Yes!!! We are so happy to feature her work here.

      • I am thrilled to see Gail Dines here. She is a powerful voice against pornography and we need more of her words around the Internet and around the world.

        • Meghan Murphy

          YEAH!

      • It’s-a-Me

        Came here to say this! Gotta say, my top two modern feminist heroes are Gail Dines and Meghan Murphy. Thank you guys so, so much! You’ve drastically improved how I view my place in this world.

        Almost finished reading Pornland. I recommend it to everyone.

        • Sabine

          I’ve only just started it but I absolutely agree already, It’s-a-Me; everyone should read this! Especially the porn-defenders with their worn-out, bullshit “This is sexual freedom” banners. I’m with you on your modern feminist hero list too!

    • jo

      Yes. Thank you for all your important work, Gail Dines.

  • Louise

    Oh God – yet another brilliant article from this website – and profoundly disturbing.

  • David

    You are right in saying men are not natural-born predators. It’s the misogynistic rape culture that we live in that makes us that way. While it includes porn, it so much more than that. It’s reinforced in most rap music, movies and tv shows for example. Sadly it’s even reinforced by our own parents often times. As a man, I will honestly tell you I have had to wrestle with this, and how I view women. The fact is, like just about all men, I’ve had thoughts and even done things in the past that basically showed that I, like basically all men, have some sort of hatred for women. This article to me was a real eye opener for me, and while the author uses quite a bit of hyperbole in this article, I have found that the main points made in this article are true, and they are all points that I have struggled with and still struggle with even today. Most men will deny it, and say none of it’s true for them, but I believe they’re only fooling themselves. http://www.cracked.com/article_19785_5-ways-modern-men-are-trained-to-hate-women.html

    • It’s-a-Me

      What about the article was hyperbolic?

    • EEU

      Good points, but I’m sick of the “it’s all natural” excuse that the author makes. Objectification is not natural. Men are socialized to sexualize women’s bodies and fetishize women’s bodies. All you have to do is look at other cultures. In the west, for example, women’s breasts and buttocks are sexualized. In China they used to see women’s feet as sexual so they practiced foot-binding. In some cultures women’s necks are fetishized. There are cultures in which women’s breasts are not sexualized and are seen as just a normal non-sexual part of women’s bodies. Men need to realize that there is nothing sexual about women’s bodies, that women’s bodies and body parts do not exist to give them erections.

      • C.K. Egbert

        The “men feel powerless” seems to me to be a typical manipulative tactic to elicit sympathy for the abuser (I mean, honestly? Do they know what happens to women and girls every single day? Animals have more rights than women do!). Men are not powerless at all, and it is absurd to act as though the powerlessness a woman feels is at all the same as the supposed “powerlessness” men feel.

        And the “it’s all for you” is ridiculous. They always get what they want from women through the use of coercion, manipulation, and force. Men don’t care at all at “impressing women”; they want to hurt women, use women, and dominate women.

        I think the hatred really stems from the fact that men know that women are not inferior to men and so they must constantly terrorize us for fear that they would have to face us as equals if they didn’t.

        I know he was being hyperbolic, but this to me this just sounded like a male violence apologist tract. I don’t buy it.

        • corvid

          Haha, the “it’s all for you” thing really is silly. If it were all for us, would men systematically disregard women’s input to the extent they do? To follow the author’s reference to pop culture, in many films and shows a female character offers some really practical advice why the male protagonist shouldn’t do such-and-such, but of course he ignores her and does it anyway. Wars and wartime rape, that was made for us? The skyscrapers, those towering phallic monstrosities, those are for us? An economic system that shunts women into dependent status at every turn? That was made for us?

          They shouldn’t have! (But oh, they did.)

        • Syl

          Given the rise of feminist vegan groups, I’d suggest staying away from comments like “animals have more rights than women do!” Lots of animals are females and are being exploited by virtue of their sex just like human females. In fact, many people become vegan precisely because of their feminism. So, to pit oppressed groups against one another is just to overlook the overlapping spheres of oppression each group faces. Also, just as a matter of fact, animals certainly don’t have more rights than any human group regardless of which conception of “right” you’re employing. (Yes, I am also a philosopher so I’ve got loads to say about competing “rights” theories. .. I’ll spare the audience though for the sake of brevity.)

          Sorry to have momentarily derailed from the main conversation, but I’ve seen this ‘animals being favored over women’ rhetoric a disturbing amount of times in Feminist Current comment threads and as someone who specifically works with these issues (feminism and animal rights/ intersectionality in the animal rights movement/ critical animal studies) I felt I needed to lend my voice here. Let’s remember that animals are sexed beings as well and have to bear the weight of patriarchial practices in ways that most of us choose not to think about.

          Carry on. . .

      • Sabine

        “Good points, but I’m sick of the “it’s all natural” excuse that the author makes.”

        Which author are you referring to? Just for clarification. I agree with everything you say! We are living in a culture that has completely hijacked the female form and fetishized it to the point that we have been reduced to our body parts and rendered invisible beyond them. It’s so tightly woven into every aspect of our lives that most people barely notice it as anything but “the way it is”…

        • EEU

          Exactly! I was discussing the article David linked to. The author mentioned that men think that women owe them sex all the time and when women don’t ‘give it’ to them, men blame women. I thought that was a good point, but the ‘objectification is natural’ argument really pissed me off.

          • Sabine

            Ah, ok I get you now. I thought you were referring to THIS post! I haven’t read the linked article but if that’s what it’s saying (that “objectification is natural”) then I don’t think I’ll bother. I, too, am heartily sick of that bullshit excuse! The notion that objectification is in any way object-IVE is pure nonsense.

      • The author, Gail Dines, does not make the argument that men naturally objectify women or behave in a violent, dominating way towards them. Read this quote again carefully.

        “To suggest otherwise would be to argue that the multi-billion advertising industry has got it wrong, and that images have no impact on behavior. If this is true, then we have to believe that men are just violent by nature. But all the feminists I know refuse to accept that men are natural-born predators.”

        In other words she is saying that if the pro-pornography, media-images-have-no-influence-on-behaviour, liberal viewpoint were right, then that would mean that males are violent by nature, but the view is not right, so they are not.

        The rest of your comment is completely right. I am sick of pro-pornography men claiming that any image from a hunter gatherer culture that features breasts is proof that pornography has been around since the beginning of human existance. Yet, they probably think I am the Western-centric one.

        • EEU

          I was talking about the article David linked to.

          • Oh, my mistake. Yeah, I hate it when people try to claim that certain behaviours are “natural”. Even if they are, that does not make them acceptable and it does not mean that they cannot be changed.

      • It’s-a-Me

        Exactly.

        Also, excuse my previous comment, I thought he was talking about Gail Dines’ article.

        From the Cracked article: “Science doesn’t seem to totally understand why the “base urges” part of the brain reacts differently in men. Maybe it’s just a matter of having 10 times as much testosterone in their system, or maybe society has trained us to be like this, or maybe we’re all spoiled children. My theory is that evolution needs males who will stay horny even in times of crisis or distress, and thus cuts off the brain’s ability to tamp down those urges. Whatever — nailing down the cause isn’t the point. The point is that a man can be giving the eulogy at his own grandmother’s funeral, and if there is a girl in the front row showing cleavage, he will be imagining himself pressing those boobs in his face, with his own dead grandmother not five feet away.”

        I guess that article could be a gateway eye-opener for men, but I would hope more men would realize that “nailing down the cause” is very much the point. The article didn’t even go near the fact that the reason someone would want to “press… boobs in his face” at a funeral could be based on porn culture. He just kind of discussed how men tend to “get the girl” at the end of many stories. Which is absolutely true. But he didn’t even touch the sacred ground of pornography. The author of this article doesn’t exactly know what he’s talking about, but I guess it’s good to see an inkling of realization on a popular site.

        Also I think you should be careful, David, when you say that porn culture is reinforced “in most rap music.” It’s not just rap music, it’s basically everything. It’s just that rap, as a genre, has the ability to be more explicit. So it’s easier to notice.

        • also, bio-evo-bunk warning for: “evolution needs males who will stay horny even in times of crisis or distress.” human children require more than a spurt of semen to carry on the species. but you know, nevermind 9 months gestation and ~12 years care & protection before reaching sexual maturity: i’m sure both are easily achieved during “times of crisis or distress” via the maternal magic that flows from the be-uterused with no exertion or help at all, and which in fact flourishes in an environment of horny men with no self control. (Pardon while I overdose from sarcasm)

      • Lola

        I’m a bit confused. As far as I have read, the author actually makes the opposite point saying that men are not “born like that” (meaning “sexually violent”).

    • “This article to me was a real eye opener for me, and while the author uses quite a bit of hyperbole in this article, I have found that the main points made in this article are true, and they are all points that I have struggled with and still struggle with even today.”

      Good for you for struggling with this this. Read Michael Laxer’s previous blog post previous to this one for a reminder as to why you do, as a moral person, need to work against your own indoctrination as hard as you can.

      http://feministcurrent.com/9789/it-is-all-men-our-culture-of-predatory-misogyny/

      Please be aware, though, when you say “the author uses quite a bit of hyperbole in this article”, you’re actually demonstrating your prejudice and expressing your contempt. There’s no “hyperbole”. There are some factual pieces that you don’t like and when you hear things that make you uncomfortable from a woman (those people put on earth to buoy up your ego and serve your needs), you turn your guilt and discomfort back on her with inappropriate labels. Other than that little surreptitious shot below the belt, good start.

      • C.K. Egbert

        I think he was referring to the article written by the guy at Cracked. Just my opinion, but it did seem hyperbolic in tone and certainly in his conclusion that men demand women’s submission because we hold some strange sexual power over men (in which case, where did all the misogynist gay men come from?).

        • Oh ok. Thanks.

          Good point about misogyny amongst gay men too.

    • river

      I and many other feminists disagree: men are natural born predators. The only feminists I know who will say differently are in heterosexual relationships and/or have male children under puberty.

      • Meghan Murphy

        Men most certainly are not “natural born predators.” If they were, why on earth would feminism exist? Like, if we thought we couldn’t effect change at all, why bother with the movement?

      • Sabine

        That’s more like the definition of a man-hater NOT a feminist. Big difference.

        • Morag

          “Man-hater” is a term used against women for one purpose only: to shame them into silence. It’s disheartening to see it used by a woman against another woman in a feminist discussion.

          It has never lost its power as a bullying insult. Women still take the bait and scramble to deny the charge–to prove to the accuser that she really really does love or like men. Why? What for? Why do women/feminists have to constantly assure others that we are nice and harmless and that our liberation won’t hurt men’s feelings?

          It’s my dream that every woman who’s called a man-hater will simply smile and carry on with her business. Why waste time on such an obvious tactic?

          • Sabine

            When somebody says all men are natural born predators, basically announcing they are beyond ALL hope and therefore essentially evil, yep I call that man-hating and absolutely NOT feminism in my view. If you read any of my other comments throughout this blog you would soon see there is nothing “harmless” or “liberal” towards “men’s feelings” in my stance when it comes to the feminist movement. This has NOTHING to do with men’s feelings but I will not be told that being a feminist means I am required to utterly denounce the entire males species now and forever more. Men have been socially conditioned for hundreds and hundreds of years into being our enemies and to say they are all inherently rapists-at-heart renders the feminist movement redundant, as Meghan pointed out. If they CANNOT change then what the hell are we doing all of this for? It means we as women are inherently unable to “change our ways” also, being human beings too. With this stunted view the entire human race is fucked. And I do not subscribe to that. It was not meant as a bullying insult. More as a WTF?!!!

          • Read the S.C.U.M. Manifesto. It might open your eyes. Or it might not. But it’s worth a shot.

          • Sabine

            Hi Francois. I Just want to clarify whether your comment is addressed to me or the person above? (And what are your feelings about the manifesto?)

          • Yes, it was addressed to you. Sorry if I was unclear. I thought it was great, personally. I think it deserves a wider reading.

          • Sabine

            Sorry Francois but I am with Derrington on this…it opened my eyes alright, but not in the way you hoped!

          • derrington

            I read the SCUM manifesto in summary, and think it is the writing of someone that sounds like they have gone over the edge in sanity, for whatever reason (someone on this blog said the author had been raped repeatedly but I might be mistaken). Saying you will end violence in the world by killing half of the world seems to be illogical in the least! My own take on males is that if you look at them as babies, toddlers, small children and up til their around 12, they are perfectly decent human beings in general, as are girls. And then the gender socialised notions of dominance/submission begin to kick in and it all goes to ratshit after that. It takes a strong character to resist a call to arms by your brothers in arms who are manning the paraphets of male supremacy against the milling hordes of females and children with their untimely insistence on having been raped, robbed or subjected to some other form of domiminant violence against them. So I support the men that can see through that crap as allies and think they are important messengers for equality back to brothercamp and I support the women that see through the bullshit too in their sistercamp – I believe that brothers and sisters in the fight for equality/meritocracy have more in common than not and bickering amongst each other simply does the enemies job for them. Unite and fight or argue and die.

          • corvid

            ibleedpurple said something to the effect of this on a long ago thread here: “male abuse of power creates female hostility against men.” Negative feelings on the part of the oppressed for the oppressor are not the same as the reverse. Valerie Solanas, to use Francois’ example, was raped for a living and experiencing something like that can radically alter one’s perception of men in general. Although I am definitely with you and Meghan regarding hope for change, I don’t begrudge women their hard-won pessimism around this and I don’t think the “man-hater” trope is doing anyone any favours.

          • Meghan Murphy

            I certainly wouldn’t criticize any woman for ‘hating men.’ Hating men makes a lot of sense if you’ve been used and abused and raped and emotionally and psychologically manipulated and cut down and disempowered by them your whole life.

          • Sabine

            I quite agree that women have PLENTY of reasons to hate men but I personally do not believe hatred solves anything. It is a very destructive energy; for the person holding it within more than anyone else. It eats people up from the inside-out and shuts them down. It also clouds and warps perception; it is a very harmful lens to be seeing through and has destroyed many a person who cannot see beyond it. I am not concerned with men’s feelings being hurt but about women’s freedom and I do not believe there is any freedom to be found in hatred. Just because a reaction is understandable (resenting the HELL out of men; I certainly have and still do) it does not make it good thing. And no, I am not talking about swallowing anything down or keeping quiet or not being (rightfully) angry but about dealing with all of this dreadful shit in a way that is not harmful to US. Once again I will state that the notion that men are “born bad” and utterly beyond redemption is narrow-minded and reductive in my opinion. It would be dishonest of me to apologize for it because of the discomfort of opposition but I stand by it; I call a spade a spade. I am NOT using the term as a “shut-up and sit down” tool but in the pure sense of the word. It is not a casual insult to be bandied around because women are justifiably livid with being fucked over as part of an unrecognized minority group. I am one of those livid women! But I think it makes sense to assume that if somebody believes ALL men are innately, inherently BAD, they hate the male gender, right? It is every woman’s right to live completely separately from men if they wish, of course. And I wouldn’t blame them, especially women who have suffered in ways I can’t imagine at the hands of men. But I am looking at things from a broader perspective and writing off men as essentially unchangeable DOES make the movement pointless when we are calling for equality. Nothing meaningful would or COULD ever change if men are simply “natural born predators” and that is that. In that light, yes, the s.c.u.m manifesto would make sense! However, I do not believe eliminating men is the solution, which is the only logical conclusion we can come to if we follow this argument of “no hope” all the way.

          • Sabine

            “Just because a reaction is understandable (resenting the HELL out of men; I certainly have and still do) it does not make it good thing.”

            I just want to clarify I am not talking about resenting men as being a “bad” thing but about sheer hatred of men as a species being restrictive and crippling. Resentment is somewhat different to hatred and I just wanted to clarify what I was intending to say here.

          • corvid

            Let me put it this way. From what I’ve witnessed, experienced and read about men’s real-life individual and collective behaviour, I’m not at all shocked to hear a woman who has been brutalized say something like “men are natural-born predators.” I don’t think it’s threatening to men or to the feminist movement at large for a minority of feminists to harbour feelings like this. Which is not to say I agree with their assessment. But the onus is on men to prove this wrong, to use their power to do away with women’s subordination and craft a sustainable way of relating to one another. I could be wrong, but I think that, at best, it’s a way of putting men’s collective feet to the proverbial fire; a way of saying, “if you are naturally good as you say, then why does the subordination of women persist?”

          • Morag

            I like your comment, corvid. It is very sensible. Whether some feminists hate men (individually and/or as a class), or see the good and moral potential in men, is practically a non-issue. Because, either way, it doesn’t change men for the better.

            Our hatred is no threat, and our benevolence is not magic.

            It’s not up to women to change men–by coddling them and raising their self-esteem, or by encouraging them not to abuse and rape and oppress women, and handing out ribbons for good behaviour.

            To try to change men–and to censure the women who resent/hate them–is just more housekeeping. Or, worse yet, it’s a demented type of midwifery where we waste hours, years, decades and centuries coaching and attending to them as they (maybe?) give birth to their higher selves.

          • corvid

            “Our hatred is no threat, and our benevolence is not magic.”

            Agreed! I will continue to speak out about my own experiences and ideas as a woman in an effort to bring understanding. We will all continue to agitate for a better world. But men have to want to dissolve patriarchy in order to make that happen, and hopefully, in time, they will. I recall FCM’s question as to whether it makes sense to see patriarchy as some kind of mistake, and this is an uncomfortable issue that it benefits us all to think about. That men are “natural born predators” (an idea with which I ultimately disagree) is basically the mantra of patriarchy. Look at the glorification of the predator in patriarchy, it’s everywhere. I’m not going to fault individual women for observing these things and coming to that conclusion.

          • C.K. Egbert

            It doesn’t necessarily make the feminist movement redundant, because the main goal is still there: liberation from male violence and patriarchy. (Also, I don’t think that presuming someone might have a biological predilection for something removes moral culpability.)

            From what I’ve read about separatism as a lifestyle choice, I don’t believe a feminist could consistently critique it. Women are not morally compelled to have personal relationships with men, to love men, or to have children. In fact if women were to live completely independently of males (e.g., in a commune), I don’t see how that could possibly be criticized either (unless you were to make reproduction or association with men mandatory, and I don’t see how that could be supported from a feminist point of view).

          • Meghan Murphy

            I don’t have a problem with the idea of separatism (though I’m not interested in living without men, myself…) but I do have a problem with the notion that the entire male sex are natural born predators. That seems to be kind of a separate thing and, yes, to me kind of defeats the purpose of a feminist movement that argues ‘men don’t need to rape/buy sex/use porn, etc.’ I mean, why are we trying convince anyone that men aren’t naturally violent misogynists and that they don’t ‘need’ to behave in this way if we don’t believe it? That’s how I see those kinds of arguments rendering the feminist movement moot.

          • Sabine

            There is absolutely nothing wrong with women wishing to live in complete isolation from men. That garners no criticism from me. Some or even many of us might want absolutely nothing to do with men or having children and I see that as a human right, morals be damned. But on a worldwide scale as a solution to being free from male oppression? I still believe in positive change which is why I am engaged in the feminist movement.

          • Morag

            “It doesn’t necessarily make the feminist movement redundant, because the main goal is still there: liberation from male violence and patriarchy. (Also, I don’t think that presuming someone might have a biological predilection for something removes moral culpability.)”

            Agreed, agreed, agreed. Either there is something fundamentally wrong with male humans, or there isn’t. Either way, the very Earth, and everything alive, is vulnerable to suffering or perishing under men’s systems. Whatever the solution is, it seems obvious that it will have to include large numbers of women refusing to reproduce.

          • C.K. Egbert

            Agreed, Morag.

    • Xiao Mao

      “I, me, me, I, me.”

      Take a hike, dude. You’re a cliche. Nobody’s going to give you your pity cookie or whatever.

  • Kris Macomber

    Fantastic piece by Gail Dines. She is one of my absolute favorite feminists, sociologists, and writers. I especially like this: “As porn becomes the main form of sex ed in the western world, we are going to see more and more men internalize the values, norms, stories and narratives of porn. And the violence in porn, by virtue of its consistency and repetition, will be played out on an increasing number of women and girls. To suggest otherwise would be to argue that the multi-billion advertising industry has got it wrong, and that images have no impact on behavior.” To deny the impact of porn on men’s sexual behaviors is like denying that the rain gets the ground wet.

  • Missfit

    What if there was a widely consumed media, multi-billion dollar industry, which main’s feature was one group (let’s say white men) dominating, insulting, hurting another group (let’s say arabs, blacks, jews, muslims, whatever), with the latter group acting as enjoying the treatment? A few such occurances would be enough to have people worried. Not a lot of people would argue that this would have no effects on consumers’ beliefs and attitudes, that this is just fantasy. But you see so many people defending porn, arguing exactly this, screaming free speech. The fact that not all each and every porn consumer will act out violence against women is not sufficient to dismiss its dire effects. Not every smoker will die of lung cancer but still, smoking does cause cancer. We hear a lot of people denouncing violence against women, especially sexual violence, especially lately. But rarely do I hear people in the mainstream connecting the dots with social messages and porn culture. You can talk and teach about the importance of consent as much as you want, but contradictory messages are hardly successful. Men learn from porn that women are not to be respected and that hurting them is exciting, even they like that. Why would you care about someone’s wishes and consent when you don’t respect them and view them as there to please you?

    Here in Ottawa, a teenage girl has been convicted for prostituting other minors. She was tried as an adult and it was reported that the girl does not realize that what she did was wrong. The Court wanted the justice system to send a strong message. I wonder if it will be effective when accessible widely distributed messages on the internet tell that teenage girls exist for men to abuse and buy.

    Thank you Gail Dines for being the worthy successor of Andrea Dworkin (I don’t know Dines’ views on Dworkin but that is truly meant as a compliment)!

  • I’m curious as to what’s hyperbolic in this article. I don’t think that guy has an answer and he’s just wanking on this article.

    Gail, you’ve helped me translate my feelings on pornography into every day language, for that I thank you.

    I am always amazed at men on the left. In Canada, after the passing of the Nordic Model that is meant to abolish prostitution, the men on the left are very angry. They want the state to become pimps through legalization and unions. It’s disgusting.

    We’re in for the fight of our lives and that’s what it’s always been= OUR lives on the line, not men’s.

  • jo

    What is extremely alarming is that apparantly men doing non-sexual acts of violence against women like punching and strangulation are described as sex now.

    A man who suddenly starts to punch a woman explains it away as a sexual preference.
    A man who assaults young women in the street explains it away as a “seduction technique”. Yes, I’m talking about Julien Blanc here.

    • Sabine

      Oh my God, I had no idea about this Julien Blanc creep! I certainly do now. I urge everybody to sign this petition urging hotels and venues around the world to ban him from spreading his hatred of women to wannabe PUAs. He got deported from Australia very recently for promoting the abuse and assault of women as methods of “seduction”. Here is his take on Japanese women:

      “At least in Tokyo, if you’re a white male, you can do what you want. I’m just romping through the streets, just grabbing girls’ heads, just like, head, pfft on the dick. Head, on the dick, yelling, ‘pikachu,’ with a pikachu shirt.”

      This misogynistic, racist, abusive, predatory sicko-jerk needs taking down! Sign the petition here:

      https://www.change.org/p/hilton-garden-inn-austin-downtown-take-down-julien-blanc-and-rsd-s-seminars-and-web-content-takedownjulienblanc

    • I find this to be very depressing and “extremely alarming”, too, but it’s definitely not new. This is what Andrea Dworkin was writing about in pornography: that for patriarchal males violence against women in and of itself is sexual and therefore defined as sex. However, that men have their patriachal birth right to use women for sexual pleasure at least partially denied is new – and entirely thanks to tireless radical feminist campaigning.

      • jo

        I agree, it’s not new. What is shocking is that it seems to just get more and more blatant, common and mainstream. Backlash against feminism – lots of angry men out there who really hate women and feel entitled to us – also fuelled by porn. Porn culture itself being part of the backlash.

  • Judy Wright

    Jian Ghomeshi was the great liberal, pro-homosexual, pro-choice hero of progressive liberals everywhere. So glad to see that such a man who represents every popular liberal belief has been proven for what he is: a vile human being. I hope the next time you attack Catholics for hiding “pedophile priests”, you remember what you liberals were “hiding” at the CBC.

    • Just so you know, most people here are not liberals. We do not believe in the notion that “anything goes” with regard to sex or anything else. Most (though not all) of us are left-wing radicals who want sexuality and society in general to be as free from power inequalities as possible.

      We support gay rights because we recognise that gay sexual behaviour does not inherently involve dominance and submission, not because we believe in the liberal principle that all “subversive” sexual behaviours should be celebrated. We support abortion rights in part because without them, women are often forced to enter into or remain in relationships that involve power inequalities (I know there are other reasons too, but that is a major one, in my view.) Whether you agree with us or not, do not lump us in with liberals.

  • Lee

    Keep talking, Gail dines. Please. You’re right, and a lot of people know you’re right, even if it doesn’t feel that way most of the time.

    • Lee

      I obviously meant Gail Dines 🙂 (My bad) I have utmost respect for her.

      She gives me hope. It’s so, so, so important to have a voice that is speaking truth. It’s such a taboo she is breaking. I think people are listening, though (secretly, in hiding, which is the exact opposite of a free and open society… will the liberals/libertarians get that? No. No they will not. We, who agree with Gail, or simply think she is making good points, are the ultimate heretics under the Porn State, and we, in many people’s minds, deserve to be burned at the stake for our thoughts. )

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  • Morag

    Well, Ghomeshi has been charged with sexual assault and will appear in court today:

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/jian-ghomeshi-charged-in-sexual-assault-investigation-1.2850661

    • Meghan Murphy

      I was literally at the CBC about to go on air this morning when the story broke. Weird.

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