Thursday, November 20, 2008

ABC Hearts TPoP

Big surprise that a piece of lying anti-porn propaganda would find a warm welcome at ABC (Anti-porn Bullshit Conveyer).

You will note that in the generous ABC Web site gloss, not one sentence is given to anyone who might articulately rebut the many lines given over to smarmy maundering by Bob Jensen and the protestations of objectivity from Chyng Sun. From our side, nary a word.

But of course, the nice folks at the ABC News Web site helpfully provide a live link to the TPoP promotional site, with no adult content warnings whatsoever. Wonder if that makes them accessories after the fact to the commercial distribution of non-2257 compliant sexually explicit materials.

This kind of MSM coverage does seem to validate my concern that TPoP would get wide and unquestioning exposure at all of our expense. It's creators can go anywhere they want and say anything they please about us and we get no opportunity to reply.

I can't say I'm surprised, but I am mildly nauseated.

Here's the write-up:

Shot at the AVN Show, "Price of Pleasure" Documentary Highlights Violence in Porn Videos

--ABC News

A new documentary being shown on college campuses takes aim at violence against women depicted in the $10 billion U.S. sexually-oriented video industry.

The film "The Price of Pleasure," was screened at the University of Texas last week, kicking off a five-month nationwide tour at 13 college campuses and community centers.

Filmmakers Chyng Sun, Miguel Picker and Robert Wosnitzer teamed up with University of Texas professor Robert Jensen and researcher Gail Dines in 2004 to document the Adult Video News annual pornography convention and to juxtapose it with trends of sexual violence. Sun invested $60,000 into the movie for research and resource access. The remaining $20,000 to produce the film was funded by a few donors and the NYU Research Challenge Fund.

Jensen has researched the pornography industry for more than 20 years.

"I had used pornography like most men do in this culture and had a pretty normal experience with it," said Jensen. "When I went back to graduate school, I started reading feminist literature, and it opened a whole new way of seeing the issue."

Last week, the film was shown to a packed lecture hall where UT students overflowed into the aisles. Some of the material presented in the film focuses on the subset of porn that includes scenes of graphic violence, mainly directed against women. The graphic scenes prompted some viewers to cover their faces during the movie. When the lights went up, Jensen appeared at the podium to address the silent audience.

Rachel Willis, a senior at the college, wiped tears from her eyes as she spoke about what she saw.

"I have never watched porn consistently but I never minded it until now," Willis said. "I think the quote that resonates with me most is that 'When violence is sexualized, it becomes invisible.'"

Senior Amena Sengal, who works for UT's Gender and Sexuality Center as a research assistant studying pornography, said what she saw made her "more cautious" about watching porn."

"Actually, during the film, I was trying to analyze whether or not the films we were showing the participants [at the center] are in any way degrading," Sengal said. "Then I remembered that the films we show are the ones geared to women -- the 'femme' production ones. So, I feel a little better, but still not that much better about porn in general."

Junior Buddy Schultz said after seeing the film he would re-evaluate his own views as a porn user.

In 2004, filmmakers Chyng Sun and Miguel Picker teamed up with University of Texas professor Robert Jensen, pictured here, to document a major annual pornography convention and to juxtapose it with trends of sexual violence.

"It [the movie] made me think about myself," said Schultz. "I'm definitely going to think about it a lot more in the next few days. There are a lot of concepts that I never thought about, and I think I will change the things I do."

Porn videos do serve a legitimate purpose, said journalism senior Albert Alvarado.

"If someone wants to go home and get online and watch porn, then what business do I have telling them him or her what to do?" he said.

Jensen said he is preparing to screen the documentary at Augsburg College in Minneapolis on Friday.

Jensen said he was inspired by feminist theory that originated in the late 1980s by Andrea Dworkin and Catharine MacKinnon. His interest led him into a dual role as researcher and activist.

Porn has become more normalized in the U.S., said Jensen, who hopes that the release of "The Price of Pleasure" will promote reflection and discussion of porn's place in society.

Sun said the documentary is aimed at promoting "an open discussion about the topic...I have no plan of shutting down the industry. But looking into it is a great way to see how racism and sexism interlock and can stir up the core of sexuality."

Sun met Jensen when she was making her second film, "Beyond Good and Evil," and met Dines, a professor at Wheelock College who has researched pornography for more than a decade, while making her first film, "Mickey Mouse Monopoly." Sun said she was impressed with both scholars and looked into their own specific research.

"They had both worked on pornography, so we talked about the possibility of making a film on the topic," Sun said. "I came into the film with no agenda because there are so many conflicting and complex issues that I had to think through. This one medium [pornography] has so many outcomes, it just depends on how people use it."

Theories about the affects of sexually explicit films on society abound. Some say that porn, which is largely protected by the First Amendment, sexually liberates women, while others argue that porn has indirectly increased sexual violence toward women and eroded relationships.

Though there's no definitive study on porn and violence, most research, including a 2002 article in the Journal of Sex Research, found no connection between those committing rape and the viewing of pornography.

Sun decided to take a deeper look at the porn/violence connection by organizing a team of researchers to analyze the amount and type of aggression used in popular porn films. Sun compiled a list of the most-rented and best-selling porn videos during a seven-month period, as reported by AVN. She then randomly selected 50.

"In many cases, anti-pornography groups use the worst- case scenario, but porn is very diverse," Sun said. "We decided to look into popular pornography to make our study reliable."

Her team then recorded each instance of aggression (including spanking, gagging and verbal abuse). Their definition of aggression included "any action causing physical or psychological harm to oneself or another person, verbally or physically."

"Overall 94.4 percent of the aggressive acts were targeted at women," she said, and "95.5 percent of the female characters who were the targets of aggression actually expressed enjoyment or had no response at all."

"Violence is met with acceptance or pleasure. So what does that mean for the viewer?" Sun said.

In the course of her research, Sun noted a much higher frequency of aggression than reported in an earlier group of content analysis studies that also evaluated porn, conducted in the early '90s. This may be partly due to the way the researchers choose to define aggression in the films studied.

Says Jensen, "The question is often asked, 'Does pornography cause rape,' and the answer is obviously 'No.' I think the question is better framed, 'Does pornography contribute to a culture in which rapes happen at the epidemic levels it does?'"


  1. So I guess Jensen's claim of this: ""I had used pornography like most men do in this culture and had a pretty normal experience with it," said Jensen. "When I went back to graduate school, I started reading feminist literature, and it opened a whole new way of seeing the issue."" is unique to him since he turns around later and says that porn contributes to the endemic of rape in our culture. AGAIN ignoring countries that have rape stats through the roof are also the ones that have little to no public sexual expression. And conversely the countries with the least amount of resistance to sexual expressions having much lower rape stats.

    But that'd be quibbling to them, I'm know.

    Then spake Jensen: "Says Jensen, "The question is often asked, 'Does pornography cause rape,' and the answer is obviously 'No.'"

    Is it really? Because many of his colleagues, included the late, sainted Andrea Dworkin, explicitly say so. And since he's been influenced by them so much that he went from having a positive experience with porn to seeing it as an appropriate scapegoat for all the ills of the world (in his opinion), I do wonder why he says this. This bs, in combination with Diane Sawyer's upcoming mauling of Ashley Alexandra Dupree...ugh. Rough waters ahead, everybody.

  2. I opened an Andrea Dworkin book once in a bookstore. There I read that according to Dworkin, all sexual relations between men and women are actually acts of rape against women. I had to reread the passage several times because it was just too fantastic to believe someone could hold that view and still be at the very least, selling hardbacks at the local bookstore.

    I have to admit that I could not make it half way through TPoP. It was just too ridiculous.

    There is an "ethics" professor at USF, who has whipped his students into such hystria about "sex trafficking" and "modern day slavery" that they go to massage parlors, stalk workers and video tape them without permission. He has got them thinking they are the modern day abolitionist.

    How they recon that bringing Immigration Customs Enforcement to the door of immigrant workers is rescue is really beyond me.

  3. It's beyond all of us, Lisa, because we're a sane and sensible people.

  4. Let us all remember who we are talking about here:

    This is ABC, who thought that Rush "Donavan McNabb is overrated because the liberal media hearts Black quarterbacks" Limbaugh was good enough to be an NFL football analyst.

    This is ABC, who hires John Stossel to be their house "libertarian" (though he tends to favor freedom only for corporations and the wealthy conservative over that of the public).

    And this is ABC, producers of 20/20 and Primetime, who excel in the art of antiporn "feminist" boosting and porn-baiting; who were able to send Diane Sawyer to make Belladonna cry for their antiporn propaganda, but can't seem to find Nina or any other critic of antiporn activism anytime.

    Of course, they would heart TPoP. It's their primary ideology.


  5. Oh, and on Bob the Guilttripper's claim that he didn't see the "harm" of his personal porn habits until he got "radicalfeminist" religion: Gee, Bob, but what about most of the rest of us men who also happened to consume porn and had the usual "normal" experiences...without disrespecting women at all?? Or does it depend on whose meaning of "normal" is??

    Of course, Jensen has to say that he doesn't believe that porn causes rape DIRECTLY, since saying the opposite would reveal his inner sex fascism...but that wouldn't quite mesh with him promoting himself as a "progressive" critic of porn, wouldn't it??

    As for that professor at USF that Lisa quoted: now he wouldn't be supporting those who've been vandalizing and defacing American Apparel billboards with the slogan "This is how women are raped", right?? OR, would he be supporting that man in New York who recently raised a stink about a billboard for a strip bar which happened to show a bit too much of a woman's nipple....even going as far as to film and post patrons of that establishment.

    The only thing different between these fools and the traditional fundamentalist Right wingnuts who spout "Obscenity!!! SMUT!!!! FILTH!!!!" smack is exactly....little if nothing. Different hymnal, different deity....but same goals and same results.