Month: May 2013

Rape myth

One myth about sex crimes is that a woman is more likely to be raped by stranger than someone she knows. This myth is supported by the false idea that crimes are committed by one type of people, criminals. When in reality there is no group of people that are criminals because every community has crime regardless of class, race, gender, and sexuality. The same is true with rape. According to the FBI’s Uniformed Crime Report 2009 data, “Every two minutes someone in the U.S. is sexually assaulted.” This fact with the  help  of the media, political policies and  cultural  norms would have  citizens believe that  these attacks are being committed by  strangers on the street corner late at  night and  could have been  avoided, if the  woman  was  safe in her home or  not  dressed sexy.

            One reason the general public believes in the rape myth is because of the idea of the justice and economics.  Our “social perceptions are often tainted by personal need…to view the world as just place in which you get what you deserve” (Hammond 244). This thinking puts blame on the victim and not the attacker. The women must have done something to instigate the assault; otherwise the stranger wouldn’t have attacked her. If  the women that  are assaulted are seen as an innocent  victims,  others would have  to come to terms with the  idea that  they  are vulnerable too. The belief that victims are only assaulted by strangers gives individuals a sense of control. They can be safe, if they avoid being alone with strangers. The fact that victims are innocent, but vulnerable to things out of their control disproves the idea that the world is just and functions economically.  Individuals need to believe in the rape myth because “a myth is a way of making sense in a senseless world” (Ryan 774).

            Another reason individuals believe in the stranger rape myth is because of educational, legal, medical institution support the myth.  Children are taught to not talk to strangers and be afraid of them. At a young age strangers are already seen as a threat. When doctors, cops and lawyers discuss sexual assaults “they will rarely label it as ‘rape’ if it does not approximate the stranger rape stereotype” (Anderson 226).  In court, a rape case has a higher probability of conviction if it follows the stereotypes of the rape myth. 

            “Rape expresses the essence of patriarchal relationships” (Martinez 152).  According to feminist perspectives, men benefit from rape myths. “Rape myths…serve to deny and justify male sexual aggression against women” (Ryan 774). The myth that rape is committed by strangers against women of low moral character benefits the patriarchal and religious structures in our society. “Those who hold more conservative sexual attitudes tend to view women as subservient to men and to be more accepting of rape myths” (Hammond 243). Rape myths that blame victims and ignore the majority of rapists continue to keep women in a lower position and inferior to men. These ideas about women’s inferiority and support of rape myths were present in the 2012 U.S. Senate elections. Republican Representative of Missouri, Todd Akin, believes that if pregnancy is a result of a rape that woman wasn’t really raped. Todd Akin told reporters, “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut the whole thing down” (Moore 1). President Obama responded to the comment by  taking a feminist stance by  calling Akin’s comment “an  example of why  politicians  should not make health care decisions for women” (Moore 1). The idea of questioning what is or isn’t legitimate rape reinforces the real rape script that shapes the rape myth. “The real rape script involves a sudden and physically violent attack on an unsuspecting woman, usually by a stranger. The woman is alone at the time of the attack” (Ryan 776). Any other sexual assault that does not fit into that script isn’t seen as legitimate rape and that victim’s   experience is silenced and trivialized.  Men tend to believe in rape myths more than women because of man’s lack of identification with victims. Women are more likely to be raped or know other women who have been raped, which allows them to empathize with victims. Men have apathy because men are not sexualized or associated with their bodies the way women are. “Not only do men agree with rape myths more than women, they also empathize less with the victims than women, blame the victims and hold less tolerant attitudes towards victims” (Anderson 228). The inability for males to identify with rape victims can influence how policies regarding sexual crimes are formed in government agencies, and how sexual crimes are discussed in the media in our patriarchal society.  “The fear of rape keeps women off the streets at night. Keeps women at home” (Martinez 1530.  The fear of stranger rape is used as tool for voluntary consent and conformity to the patriarchy by women passive and out of the public sphere.

            Some feminist critics blame the media for supporting rape myths and rape culture. “The media shapes public opinion about sexual violence and its perpetrators” (O’Hara 248).  Film and television programs express the idea that “sex defines masculinity, heterosexual men objectify women and heterosexual men are sexually preoccupied” (Ryan 779). These gender norms define men as individuals that use women as sexual objects and women as submissive sexual objects. These ideas of gender are most present in pornography. “Pornography is correlated with sexual coercion and…Rape myth acceptance” (Ryan 779). Hardcore pornography uses plots of rape fantasies of submissive women happily waiting to be raped and men performing aggressive and violent sexual acts with force and coercion. Media images influence how public discourse of rape and sexual assault are shaped in our society.  “Misleading representations of sexual violence may cause the public, police, and members of the court to revert to these understandings when establishing definitions of rape” (O’Hara 257). The majority of the news coverage of rape and other sex crimes tend to focus on the criminal and the shocking nature of the crime in order to get more viewers. When the victim is mentioned, the media “does not address the harm done to the victim” (O’Hara 252).  The victim is disregarded in most news coverage, or at least depersonalized. The victim becomes just an object that this monstrous thing attacked, making it seem like a random senseless act. The media use the monstrous rapist motif to sell their stories. This reinforces the idea that rapists are “sick emotional disturbed men” (O’Hara 250). The news media helps silence the threat of rape because it “regularly described (rapists) as “beasts” or “perverts” and distanced from “ordinary” men” (O’Hara 248). The news media only  focuses on  the  most  sensational  cases  to attract  the  most  viewers and  make high advertisement revenue.  “When rape is sensationalized by the press, the perpetrator is transformed into an ‘other’,” which makes women more vulnerable to more common forms of rape (O’Hara 251). The sensationalism  stranger,  gang rapes,  and serial rapists news coverage cause  the  public’s knowledge and  interests in  more common types of rape committed by  people the  victim knows.   “The  news media gives disproportionate  coverage to certain types of rape, which  can  cause the  public to have an overly narrow understanding of rape that excludes the  most  common type of rape, acquaintance rape” ( O’Hara 250). 

            Believing in the rape myth puts more women at risk of rape and sexual assault because it ignores the reality of sex crimes and the majority of sex criminals.  Women  are focused on  avoiding  stranger rape to  the  point that  they  ignore their vulnerability of  being assaulted by  someone  they know. “Fear of rape is assessed as fear of real rape (stranger rape), not fear of acquaintance rape” (Ryan 777). Acquaintance rape is often interrupted as only a miscommunication issue and not real rape. On college campuses, “many administrators and officials think sexual assault is less a violent crime than it is a misunderstanding about consent between two students. That fuzzy area, often referred to as gray rape” (Jones 3).  The situation is describe by victims and victimizers as the  male  receiving  mixed signals and  going too far,  while the women negotiates what  she  is willing to do sexually to avoid force.  This is interrupted as compromise based on gender roles. “Men believe in  a yes/ no form of consent,  whereas women may  see consent as negotiated through an ongoing  process that  involves  a series  of gates, in  which they  are willing to  do some  things but not  others” (Ryan 777). There is common belief that these strangers committing rape are “obviously different from other men” (Ryan 779). This implies that  you  couldn’t  be  raped  by  a friend or  family member because they  are  not seen as abnormal or threatening.  The rapist is usually described as a “brutish male aggressor…sex crazed, deviant sociopath…who had no previous acquaintance with the victim” (O’Hara 151). Acquaintance rapist may be able to gain access of “potential victims because he does not resemble the myth” (Ryan 779).

 “The rape of a woman is a violent and alarming common crime often committed by men the victims know and trust” (Hammond 243). The majority of rapes are committing against women, but men are also victims. According to the FBI’s Uniformed Crime Report 2009 data, “1 out of 6 women and 1 out of 33 men have been raped or experience attempted rape.” The report also states that only 31 percent of rapists were strangers and 2 out of 3 victims knew the rapist. 23 percent of attackers were previously intimate with the victim, 3 percent were relatives and 36 percent were friends or acquaintances. The myth of being attacked by a stranger walking alone at night can be disproven because only 43 percent of all rapes (not only outdoors) happen between 6pm and midnight. Another study found that “43 percent of rapes happen in the victim’s home” (Anderson 228). A study focusing on college rape found that when American college women were asked to describe their experiences they  “described a date/ acquaintance rape more frequently than rape perpetrated by a stranger” (Anderson 227). The reality of rape is actually the opposite of the myth of the dangerous violent stranger. Some believe that if the victim didn’t struggle enough, it was not legitimate rape. That simple isn’t true either.  In fact, “84 percent of rapes involved a man known to the female victim and involve little aggression, no weapon, and little injury to the victim” (Anderson 226).

One government policy, which deals with the reality of sexual crimes, is the federal Violence against Women act of Title IX, the federal gender equality law. The Title IX law makes colleges and  universities  “adopt and  publish grievance  procedures and  develop  education and  training programs to help students and employees to  recognize and  respond  to sexual harassment and  violence” (Jones 2). In 2011, the Obama administration expanded this to include the requirement of colleges to “respond if a sexual assault is reported, even if law enforcement officials decline to pursue charges” (Jones 2). The  law  is a step in  the  right  direction of  recognizing  that  women can be rape by  professors and classmates, but  the lack  of  enforcement is a new problem.  The lack of enforcement shows that society still does not take non-stranger sex crimes seriously.  “Few students found responsible for sexual assaults face punishment at their universities, and the cases are seldom turned over for criminal prosecution” (Jones 2). 

The destruction of the stranger rape myth makes men and women accountable for their violent actions, sexual relationships and sex crimes. It starts to address real issues of date rape, sexual assault on college campuses and incest rapes. The true nature of sexual crimes should open debate on the social meaning of consent, masculinity and femininity, socioeconomic inequalities, and hyper sexualized American culture, instead of blaming victims and defending victimizers. Honest dialogue about rape is the first step of to dismantle the rape myth. Kristen Lombardi, a journalist for Center of Public Integrity, writes a series on sexual assaults on college campuses.  Lombardi believes that education and awareness about sexual assault with help destroy rape myths and make attackers accountable for their actions.  “The level of awareness (about sexual assault on college campuses) has been raised   immensely… a lot of schools review policies, knowing that the OCR (U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights) is serious about these kinds of issues” (Jones 4).

One  way  of looking  at rape as a social  problem is to  place it  into  the macro  content of social  norms associated  with sex and gender.  Sexual  assault  is  only  one injustice within  a patriarchal  society,  where inequality, domination, subordination, and exploitation (based on gender) are common” and  “inequality among men and women have social  causes and consequences” ( Martinez 149).  Sexual crimes committed by men will continue to happen as long as men are socialized to believe that “violence (is) a masculine characteristic” (Martinez 149).  Binary gender constructions mean that women are what men are not.  If its masculine to commit violence, then it means being feminine includes  being a  victim  of  violence.  Rape  and sexual  assault  are  separated from  other  forms of assault, but  they  do  fit  into the history of  violence  against  women.  “The use of stereotypes hinders the discussions about real causes of sexual violence. If the perpetrator is a devious monster, rape becomes a random act of violence rather than a society problem” (O’Hara 256).  Rape and sexual assault needs to be viewed as a crime that is committed by all different types of people and that all members of society are vulnerable.  Sexual crimes can’t only be seen as random uncommon occurrences, but a real problem that is social constructed. 


Marx wage-labour

There are three main economic conditions, which created the capitalist class. The first condition is the relationship between wage-labour to capital, slavery of workers, and the rule of capitalists. The second condition is the destruction of the middle class. The third condition is the exploitation of workers by the market.

Marx believes that capitalists do not buy a worker’s labour, but their labour-power. Labour-power is a commodity that the worker exchanges for another commodity, such as money. The amount of money or another commodity given to the worker is determined by the amount of time the labour-power is used. The exchanged is called an exchange-value. The exchange-value of the commodity in terms of money is the price. The capitalist purchases the labour-power from the worker the same way the capitalist buys the materials needed for the product. To the capitalist the worker’s labour-power is another material for the means of production. The work done by the worker is what the worker sells to another person in order to secure a wage in means of survival. The money is the worker’s goal, not the finished product. The product belongs to the capitalist. Free-labour is also known as slavery. In slavery, the worker and his labour-power are for sale as a package. The slave is the commodity and the slave does not own their labour-power. 

The price of a commodity is determined by competition, and supply and demand in the market. The buyers want to get a product as cheaply as possible and the seller wants to make the highest profit possible. When there is a large supply and little demand, prices are low.  When there is a low supply and high demand, prices are high. A high supply and low prices is more common than low supply and high prices.  A profit is determined by the production costs of the commodities that are being exchanged. A high profit is made when the cost of production of the commodity being received was higher than the cost of production of the commodity being given in exchange. The price of a commodity is above or below the cost of production. The rise and fall of the price balance each other, matching the cost of production in a type of industry, not individual products.

Wages rise and fall based on competition, and supply and demand.  Wages are determined by the time need for production, and the training of the worker. The less time its takes a worker to complete the task, the lower the wage. The wage is also determined by the cost of taking care of the worker’s basic needs, so they can continue to work. But, when a worker is no longer able to work, like a piece of machinery, new workers replace them.  The large supply of workers leads to workers being paid a minimum wage.

Citizen United

I’m against Citizen United. The Citizen United Supreme Court Case ruled that not allowing corporations to spend unlimited funds towards political campaigns is not constitutional because it goes against the first amendment.  The Supreme Court ruled that money is considered a form of free speech. The corporations also do not need to disclose to consumers how much money they gave and to whom. Citizens United gave corporations the human right of free speech, but corporation are not people and have no one body to keep accountable for their actions.    Money shouldn’t be a form of speech because in a democracy every one has a right to be heard, not just the corporation with the largest check.

Two organizations that are already fighting to bring democracy back to the people and out of the payroll of corporations are Citizens United Against Citizens United and Democracy is for People.

The main sets of beliefs are simple. Corporations are not people and shouldn’t be able to buy influence in our government. Democracy is for the people and we have the right to make our politicians accountable for corruption, such has special interest groups controlling government spending because they paid for it.  Individuals are more important than money and their value isn’t defined by their wealth.  Politicians are public servants that work for us, not corporations.

The problem: “On January 21, 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court unleashed a flood of corporate money into our political system by announcing, contrary to longstanding precedents, that corporations have a constitutional right to spend unlimited amounts of money to promote or defeat candidates. The decision in this historic case – Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission – overturns a century of campaign finance law.

The court overruled two existing Supreme Court decisions. In Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce, the court held that the government can limit for-profit corporations to the use of PACs to fund express electoral advocacy. McConnell v. FEC applied that principle to uphold the constitutionality of the McCain-Feingold law’s restrictions on “electioneering communications” – that is, corporate funding of election-eve broadcasts that mention candidates and convey unmistakable electoral messages. Striking down these decisions unleashes unlimited corporate and union spending in candidate campaigns, and dooms the 1907 Tillman Act, which also prohibits corporate contributions to candidates.

Reversing the well-established laws and judicial precedents barring direct corporate and union financing of elections is a radical affront to American political culture and poses grave dangers to the integrity of our democracy.”

Facts and solution:  “On January 21, 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court unleashed a flood of corporate money into our political system by ruling that corporations have a First Amendment right to spend unlimited amounts of money to promote or defeat candidates. This is a devastating blow to our democracy unless we act. Americans are outraged by the court’s decision. Nearly nine in ten Americans say that big companies have too much power in Washington D.C. Eight in ten Americans oppose the court’s decision in Citizens United. Across the board, Republicans, Democrats and Independents believed that the ruling is having a negative effect. Americans want corporations to give full disclosure of their money in politics. small business owners view the Citizens United ruling as bad for small business.

In the 2010 congressional election the U.S. Chamber of Commerce spent more than $32.8 million on “electioneering communications.” Outside spending made a big difference in the 2010 congressional elections. Outside groups backed the winners in 58 of the 74 contests in which power changed hands.

Super PACs, which were created after an appeals court applied Citizens United, have collectively spent more than $45 million during Campaign
2012. Overall spending in the 2012 election is predicted to reach new heights – up to $8 billion!

Why a Constitutional Amendment?

A constitutional amendment is the long-term solution to fully reverse the court’s decision, restore our rights and assert once and for all that democracy is for people, not corporations. Our elected officials cannot support the wellbeing of society when they fear that millions of dollars of corporate money will go to defeating them in the next election, if they defy corporate interests. A corporation is not a person. It does not vote and should not be able to have such tremendous influence over election outcomes. A constitutional amendment is ultimately the only way to finally overcome the profound challenges to our democracy posed by the Citizens United decision.”

Government systems

Parliamentary systems are systems in which voters elects members of parliament only, and parliament elects the prime minister. In this system, voters elected the party members of parliament, which gives control of the government to the party members. The government is formed by the party, which received the majority of votes. The Prime Minister elects members of Parliament to be members of his cabinet. The cabinet guides ministries of the government. The majority of parliament must support it, otherwise the cabinet falls and new members must be elected. Party members will elect a prime minister that shares their values and interests. The Prime Minister is elected by Parliament, but can’t be removed from office. Parliamentary systems have fusion of power. The legislative and executive branches are connected. The connection between branches allows for legislation to pass by the Prime Minister quickly because the Prime Minister is involved in creating the legislation. The Prime Minister working with Parliament allows there to be accountability between him and the majority party voted in by civilians. Two examples of Parliamentary systems are Great Britain and Sweden. A different party being elected in different elections allows for diversity in the history of a nation’s government, but causes political instability because decreases the chance of policies lasting long term.  

            Presidential systems have separate elections to elect the executive president.  The president is elected directly by the voters. Voters also elect members of parliament.  The United States of America is an example of a presidential system. The president has control of the executive branch. There is a separation of power to make sure none of the three branches of government abuses its power. Federal laws need to be passed by parliament with a majority vote. But, the president has the power to veto the law. When parliament and the president have different values or interests it’s difficult to create legislation. The president and legislators are elected for a fix term. The president can be impeached from office by parliament, only if he is proven guilty of illegal activity. The lack of collective responsible and control of the government creates the lack of government accountability.  The two party system and majority rule does not allow for much diversity, but encourages political stability.

            The semi-presidential system is a system that has both a president and prime minister that share executive power. The way power is shared may vary  depending  on  state. In France, the prime minister deals with domestic policy and the president deals with foreign policy. When the  president and prime minister are from the same parties it can be an efficient government. When their political parties differ it is  called cohabitation. Cohabitation can  be  used as a checked and balanced system or it can be  used to block  the opposing party.  It depends on the individual  politicians involved. 

Marilyn Manson’s sexuality

Marilyn Manson celebrates the performance of sexual deviance, which rejects dominant ideals of heteronormativity and gender binaries, and is accepted and demonized by critics.  Rock critics that lean more liberal and accept the rock star life style, such as Rolling Stone Magazine, are fans of Manson. But, more conservative critics, such as fox news and religious groups, fear that he has a negative effect on society.  Controversial aspects of Marilyn Manson’s public image include satanic worship, BDSM, bisexuality, dressing in drag, drug use, group sex, and androgyny and self-harm. He uses the mostly sexual imagery during live performances and makes erotic fetish music videos in order to express his sexuality.

Marilyn Manson is the front man of the American rock band Marilyn Manson, beginning in 1989 to the present. He was most popular in the music scene from mid 90s to early 2000’s. He is a controversial figure because of his anti-religion lyrics and unfiltered sexuality. Many critics refer to his live performance and music videos as obscene and offense. This is the one of the reasons that he appeals to his audience. He encourages people to be themselves, regardless of how others feel. Thinking for you and expressing yourself is an inspiration for Manson.

Marilyn Manson is a conceptual performance artist that states that his intent is to “make a mockery of gimmicks, to make something that was faker than everything that was fake” (Heath 1). The sexual and religious imagery is a satirical performance and personal life choice that intends to make the audience question their personal beliefs and how those beliefs are formed. He is a criticized for encouraging kids to engage in drugs, sex, self-harm and suicide. Manson openly engages in drug use and has called drugs an “amusement park for adults” (Heath 9). He started cutting himself in high school and often cuts during in his performances to show people his pain. This is then sexualized and fetishized by his audience. Marilyn Manson challenges gender binary by dressing in drag or androgynous clothing and wearing make up.  “I wear make up like a girl wears make up. I always have make up” (Scaggs 2). Marilyn Manson wears his androgynous clothing and make up for photo-shoots for music magazines, such as Rolling Stone Magazine. Being on the cover the most popular music magazine help Manson create an image of androgynous sex deviant. This publicity gave him new fans and critics to celebrate and demonize his nonheteronormative sexuality.  A controversial music video only increased his deviant sexual image.

In 2003, Manson produced his music video for his song (S)aintThe video has been label art, obscene, erotic, pornographic, and disturbing because of the sexuality, drug use and self-harm. In the video, he uses cocaine and heroin, and cuts himself. The bloody nose and agitated movements after the effects of the drugs are gone is a comment on the after effect of extreme drug use that comes with being a wealthy sex symbol. He cuts himself in an aggressive sexual way and plays with his blood to show that he is fetishizing the pain, which is part of BDSM. There are a few BDSM uses of imagery, along with other deviant sexual acts. Women are bound and gag waiting for him to come have sex with them, which celebrates BDSM acts.  There is group sex with men and women, which rejects dominant Christian values about sex being between one man and one woman.  The group sex includes homosexual acts that are usually not depicted in music videos.  Queer sexualities are normally ignored in pop culture. Manson has one character in the video that starts off as a woman and turns out to really be a man. This transition starts with Manson touching himself while touching a female actress.  Later on, the actress is replaced with a male actor in drag playing the same character. Manson sees the switch happen and realizes that it is a man, but does not stop touching the man or himself. This is a comment that in his alternative sexuality the gender of the person isn’t important to sexual pleasure. The source of sexual pleasure isn’t from person; it’s from the act itself.  Manson’s sexual imagery attempts to normalize fetishes by giving the viewer permission to desire “the other.”  His queer and alternative sexuality has received attention from critics.

Marilyn Manson has become a symbol for moral decay of society. He has been blamed for school shootings, such as Columbine, because his lyrics celebrate suicide, death, and destruction.  National Review, a conservative magazine that comments on American society, refers to Manson as   a “derange Satanist” (Lowry 1). Conservative critics believe that Marilyn Manson commits obscene acts during live performances because of the lyrical content of his songs and appearance.  During his live performance, he does rips apart the bible and wears make up and women’s lingerie. This imagery rejects the dominance of Christianity in American society and celebrates alternative sexualities. Some nonfactual beliefs about him are “that the band hands out drugs to be consumed and puppies to be ripped apart at concerts, that Manson had a rib removed to facilitate autofellation and that he had sex with a sheep onstage” (Heath 1). One media company that reports on nonheteronormative stories and nonconformists with a disapproving bias is Fox News.

In 2001, Marilyn Manson appeared on The O’Reilly Factor on a segment called Children At Risk. O’Reilly factor accuses him of harming children by influencing them to perform morally “bad” behavior. He gives Manson the opportunity to explain himself, but in the end they agree to disagree. Rejecting gender binaries and embracing alternative forms of sexuality are labeled morally bad and wrong because it goes against the Christian beliefs that Fox and their audience follow.  These beliefs and repetition of them   promotes heterosexuality and gender conformity as the only form of morally right sexual performances.   O’Reilly asks Manson about the profanity, suicidal messages and Satanist references in his music and implies that children are going to start to model this behavior. O’Reilly refers to Manson’s public image as “bizarre.” They discuss if he encourages children to have sex and gay sex. O’Reilly believes that if his audience see him performing gay sex acts, they will go out and do them too. O’Reilly implies that homosexuality is wrong when he asks about the act Manson performed on stage.  Marilyn Manson states that he is only presenting alternative ideas to make people question their own, but doesn’t force any lifestyle on any one.  O’Reilly sticks with his narrative of alternative sexualities and lifestyles are morally bad through out the entire interview, which promotes heteronormativity as the only acceptable behavior.

Marilyn Manson isn’t as scary or kinky as his image would portray according to ex-girlfriends. His image as the man to fear has decreased over the years as details of his personal life have surfaced. Manson is a romantic in his personal life. He wrote his album, Eat Me, Drink Me, to seduce his girlfriend at the time, Evan Rachel Wood.  Jenna Jameson states in her book, How To Make Love Like a Porn Star, “I couldn’t believe how intelligent and thoughtful he was. I had a preconceived notion that the sex would be crazy, but he was so tender and loving.” (Jameson).

Marilyn Manson’s deviant sexuality and popular success in the 90’s presented an alternative script to mainstream America. His performance of sexuality rejected the dominant Christian morality judgments surrounding physical appearance based on gender, BDSM, group sex, and homosexuality. Manson’s hyperbolic performance of deviant sexuality questions heteronormativity and gender binaries and makes queer and alternative sexualities more visible.

Mad Men and desire for “the other”

The idea of giving up pleasure in order to be successful reminded me of the AMC show mad men. No matter how hard they work or how much money they make, the majority of the characters are unhappy. They use sex, smoking and drinking to try to obtain happiness and experience pleasure. In the second season, Paul is seeking out pleasure in the other and trying to prove that he is progressive by dating a black woman. Joan, a coworker and ex-girlfriend, calls him out on it. The show is set in the 1960’s, but I think the argument is still valid. Are you dating the other for romantic reasons or are you with them only because they are the other?

Lane Pryce is another character that falls in love with a young black woman. Lane is a junior partner and main financial officer of the ad agency. His work ethic has caused strain on his marriage and led to him seeking pleasure in the other. His irresponsibility towards his family and relationship with the other has caused his father to react with hostility and racism.

Gender as performance

Butler and Doane both believe that gender identity is socially constructed and is performed by an individual within the confines of social norms, but Butler believes gender is a series of acts and Doane believes it is a mask that can be put on and removed.

Judith Butler and Mary Ann Doane agree that gender identity is socially constructed. Butler views gender identity as performative acts that are repeated to construct gender. Doane views femininity as a masquerade that can be put on and taken off. They agree that gender identity is expressed by using actions, language, gestures, symbols that contain socially meaning of gender. The social constructions are part of a binary structure of masculine and feminine. Within the binary structure, an individual can be either masculine or feminine, but not both. The physical body within itself has socially meaning relating to gender. The body can perform gender because gender norms are based on the sex of people.  Males are masculine and females are feminine.   One is what the other isn’t. Gender only exists as performance that conforms to ideal norms based on the sex of the person.

Butler believes gender expression is a series of repeated performances. It is the history of social performances that makes up their gender identity. The history of women within a society influences gender identity.  Public policies regarding   population control and family planning put restrictions on women and gender identity.  Butler believes the body should be used in different ways to change women’s political and social structures. Women need to perform acts in the name of women, while knowing that gender identity isn’t singular.  Not all women are the same. The script of gender roles is already written for women and each woman has to negotiate with the script. Women can  choose on  an individual level what  they  want to  take  and  reject  from the script  to create their  own gender  identity. An individual can choose to rebel against the script, but they will not be understood by society.   Gender identity can only change over a long course of time because it is based on a history of personal behavior of performing either feminine or masculine traits.

Doane believes the gender is constructed to have masculinity dominate over femininity.  Men are active subjects and women are passive objects, which create a masculine dominated view. This view creates a social environment in which women don’t signify anything outside being a pleasurable object for male voyeurs.  Voyeurism is gaining pleasure in watching someone in controlling way. Women can’t represent ideas because they are too closely identified with their bodies. Femininity is seen as natural or inherits to women. The male gaze is structured to make women be image of desires and desirous images. Femininity has representations that don’t reflect women’s desires or allow women to receive pleasure from these images.  These images reflect the social norms women are defined by their bodies, while men are not.  Males can look at images of themselves and women can only look at themselves from a male view point.  Social norms of gender create the idea that women don’t have desires and their gaze does not exist. The masquerade of femininity created when a person over acts or exaggerates performances of femininity. Hyper-femininity allows her to be active, which is a threat to the binary of gender representation. The mask allows the women to become the subject, instead of object by performing masculine traits. The masquerade of being a subject is a masculine trait, which allows women to have more sexual mobility than men.  Women can make masculine traits feminine by performing them. Unlike Butler, Doane believes that one can alter their gender identity over time by performing different gender acts, language and gestures.  One example, females wearing glasses is masculine because it gives her control of the look or gaze, and gives her intelligence. Her new gender identity  makes  her less desirable  from  the  male perspective  because  she  isn’t conforming  to norm of passive femininity. Her masculine performance is punished for not conforming.

Judith Butler and Mary Ann Doane agree that gender identity is socially constructed. Butler believes gender is a series of acts and Doane believes it is a mask that can be put on and removed.

Pro vs. Anti porn

Arguments against pornography
1. Porn dynamics are set up to have active men and passive women. Sex becomes a thing that a man does to a woman. It reduces women to objects for male consumption.
  • ·      Creates social inferiority of women.
  • ·      Endangers children because many women are depicted as childlike or presented as under 18.
  • ·      Doctor and nurse & plumber and house wife fantasies show female economic inferiority
  • ·      Cum shots are degrading as an act of subordination.  When it happens on her face, it disregards her identity.
2. In bdsm porn (hetero and homo), women are forced into sexual acts using masculine power dynamics and reinforce women’s oppression.
3. Socializes men to be aggressive and violent towards women; socializes women to get sexual pleasure from being powerless.
4. Many of the female workers within the industries are being abused and/or have an abuse history.
5. Women’s sexual desires are ignored.
  • ·      Male performers receive oral, but don’t give it.
  • ·      Focuses mainly on a women’s body and gives minimal attention to the penis.
6. Homophobic
  • ·      Lesbian sex is performed for male audience.
  • ·      Male bodies are not focused on and male on male contact is absent
7. Unrealistic body image and desires.  No body hair, large breasts and butts with tiny waists. The porn fantasy sex give teens false ideas about sex and creates body image issues, such as eating disorders, for young girls.
8. Cause and effect theory. Porn makes rape and sexism acceptable.
·      Middlesex University London study found that college men couldn’t determine which statements about women were descriptions from porn or quotes from convicted rapists.
Arguments for pornography
1. Human beings are sexual people who desire to be desired by others and to pleasure and be pleasured by others, which may be seen as objectification.
2. People involved in BMSD take pleasure in being dehumanized and dehumanizing others.  They participate freely, making it liberating, not oppressive, when they see representation of their sexuality in porn.
3. Pro believes that anti
  • ·      Ignores issues of equal representations of sexualities based on race, class, gender, and sexual preference within our culture.
  • ·     Ignores the treatment and rights’ of workers within the porn industry by demonizing porn.
4. Porn made by women for women gives women opportunities to shameless explore their sexuality and see themselves as sexual people, instead of objects. Examples of sexualities shown in queer or alternative porn:
  • ·      Plus size porn actresses, gay and lesbians experiences, dominate females, submissive males, women wearing strap-ons, straight males enjoying being penetrated, multiple sex partners, comical / satirical situations and emotional sexual experiences.
5. Banning porn and male dominance of the industry
  • ·      Leads to guilt, shame and confusion about sex.
  • ·      Traps women in the bad girl/ good girl or slut/virgin dichotomies
  • ·      Creates the idea that there is only one normal sexuality, heterosexuality
6. A correlation between S&M porn viewing and committing rape and violence isn’t cause and effect theory.
  • ·      Correlations are not facts.
  • ·      Blaming porn ignores free will and removes responsibility from the individual
  • ·      Porn reflects macro cultural problems that will not be solved by banning porn
7. Porn made by women that include storylines, emotional connections with sex, and mutual fulfilling sex acts can change how sex is perceived.
8. Porn can be used as an educational tool to teach
  • ·      How to establish boundaries and consent.
  • ·      How to have safe sex.
  • ·      How to express desires to your partner(s)