An actor who recorded 10 hours of catcalls and remarks from passersby in New York City has received rape threats in response to a video detailing the harassment, the advocacy group that commissioned the video said on Tuesday.
In a two-minute video, actor Shoshana B Roberts was told to smile, told, “Somebody is acknowledging you for being beautiful – you should say thank you,” and comments were made about her clothes and appearance.
At one point in the video, which has been viewed nearly 5m times in fewer than 24 hours, a man walked alongside her silently for five minutes.
Another followed her, while offering to give her his number.
“The rape threats indicate that we are hitting a nerve,” Hollaback director Emily May told Newsday. “We want to do more than just hit a nerve though, we want New Yorkers to realize – once and for all – that street harassment isn’t OK, and that as a city we refuse to tolerate it.”
QotD: “The idea that women should ‘experiment’ and perform sex acts that they do not want to has become a popular model for women’s sexual behaviour in heterosexual relationships since the ‘sexual revolution’ of the 1960s. It is an idea frequently reinforced and legitimated through sex therapy”
The idea that women should ‘experiment’ and perform sex acts that they do not want to has become a popular model for women’s sexual behaviour in heterosexual relationships since the ‘sexual revolution’ of the 1960s. It is an idea frequently reinforced and legitimated through sex therapy (see Jeffreys, 1990). Women are still encouraged by therapists to sexually fulfill their male partners, even if they have no desire to do so, or experience pain or discomfort (Tyler, 2008). For example, in the widely recommended self-help manual for women Becoming Orgasmic, therapists Heiman and LoPiccolo encourage women to try anal sex (an increasingly ubiquitous sex practice in pornography) if a male partner is interested in it. The advice from the therapists is: “If any discomfort does occur, try again some other time” (Heiman and LoPiccolo, 1992, p. 187). The central premise is that pain and discomfort for women are not acceptable reasons for discontinuing a sexual practice, but, rather, are reasons for women to undergo further ‘training’, ‘modelling’ and coercion. Instead of understanding that using pornography as a coercive strategy is harmful, sexologists extol pornography’s virtues, stating for example that it is useful for “giving the viewer permission to model the behavior” (Striar and Bartlik, 1999, p. 61).
Exactly what type of behaviour women are expected to model from pornography further exposes the way in which the promotion and legitimation of pornography in sex therapy poses harms to women’s equality. Even at the most respectable end of therapist-recommended pornography, sadomasochistic practices and acts such as double penetration, or DP as it is known in the porn industry, can be easily found. Take for example, the Sinclair Intimacy Institute, run by a “well known and respected sexologist, Dr Mark Schoen” (Black, 2006, p. 117). It consists mainly of an online store that sells therapist-recommended pornography. On the Institute’s Website, customers are assured that the pornography available is reviewed and approved by therapists who choose only “high quality sex positive productions” (Sinclair Intimacy Institute, 2007a, n.p.). Among the list of “sex positive productions” are the mainstream pornography titles The New Devil in Miss Jones, Jenna Loves Pain, and Deepthroat.
The choice of Deepthroat is particularly revealing given the amount of publicity surrounding the circumstances of its production. Linda Marchiano (Linda Lovelace at the time of filming) detailed her extensive abuse at the hands of her husband and pimp in her book Ordeal, explaining how she was forced, sometimes at gun point to perform in pornography (Lovelace, 1980). She once stated that: “every time someone watches that film, they are watching me being raped” (quoted in Dworkin, 1981). That such a film is labelled ‘sex positive’ by therapists should be serious cause for concern. But Deepthroat is not an isolated case.
Big Porn Inc: Exposing the Harms of the Global Pornography Industry
When discussing issues related to Gag Factor or kink.com, the conversation often drifts into the question of choice: did the woman who was gagged or whipped freely choose to go into the industry? Such questions concern the autonomy and agency of women in pornography. Christine Stark, a writer and anti-porn activist who has worked with hundreds of women in porn and prostitution, problematized the focus on choice to me:
What difference does it make how someone gets into pornography? Why do you have to have this extreme amount of violence incurred in getting into pornography in order to make it matter, to make you matter? It’s like you have to prove that you’re a good victim. Do we sit and have endless conversations about domestic violence victims? ‘Did you choose to walk down the aisle with that man, because if you did, I’m not sure if this is really a form of sexual violence.’
Stark raises an important point regarding the need to shift the focus from the conditions that shape porn performers’ decisions to enter the porn industry and towards the conditions created by both the pornographers and the consumers, under which those performers work.
Diane Defoe, a black woman from Hawaii, entered the porn industry in 1999, first as a performer and then later as a director. She has seen many performers come and go:
This industry definitely attracts a certain mindset. You normally have to be a little bit liberal … but you also have to be very young … eighteen, nineteen, twenty years old with little education, little business sense, little financial skills and they’re making ten, twenty times more than that seven dollars an hour they were making at Jack in the Box …
“Making ten, twenty times more” than in a low-wage job is indeed a strong allure for young women getting into the porn industry. For example, Annie Cruz started in pornography when she was 19; at the time of our interview she had worked for a year and already had appeared in 150 movies. She constantly receives emails from women seeking employment in the industry, who write, “I only got eight dollars in the bank account – to my name. I really want to get in bad.” Both Cruz and Defoe observe that there are many women who do pornography for emergency reasons, such as paying off credit card debts or back-up rent, and then get out.
Defoe also reports: People are entranced by the idea that you can go and make an entire month’s salary in a day, and they think that they’re going to be able to do it everyday, and you’re not going to be able to do it everyday. You may not be able to do it, you know, next week. No matter how smart you are, beautiful you are, how many people you know, if there’s a girl coming behind you … that’s better than you, you’re going to be out … It just has to do with who’s … going to do something cheaper than you.
Big Porn Inc: Exposing the Harms of the Global Pornography Industry
QotD: “a form of social engineering to force children to conform to rigid gender categories is taking place”
In the 21st-century, decades after sexual surgeries on the ‘unfit’ for eugenic, punishment and therapeutic reasons were mostly abandoned, a similar practice is increasingly being carried out on children who are considered to be innately ‘transgender’ because they are disobeying culturally accepted gender roles, a form of social engineering to force children to conform to rigid gender categories is taking place. The history of sexual surgeries needs to be connected with this contemporary practice in order to cast a more critical light on what is happening today.
Sheila Jeffreys, Gender Hurts, p140
From the Bewilderness
Some suspected paedophiles with images of child abuse are likely to escape prosecution, according to Britain’s leading law-enforcement officer, who said that authorities had to rethink how to pursue suspects and how they could be prevented from perpetrating crimes.
Keith Bristow, director general of the National Crime Agency (NCA), said it was uncomfortable to accept that some of the 50,000 people in the UK who regularly access indecent images of children will not end up facing justice. He said that law-enforcement agencies must instead focus on the highest-risk offenders, who at the top end were criminals who sexually abused children. This meant that the lower-risk suspects could fall through the net.
“It’s 1pm and already we’re talking about masturbation,” declares pint-sized bodybuilder Antonietta Moch, with a broad smile across her face.
“Masturbation is very private,” she hollers across the classroom. “Masturbation is about having sex with yourself. It’s about pleasuring yourself.”
“Don’t put it on Facebook,” she says, to uncomfortable giggles from her audience. “And when it comes to having sex, that’s private too.”
Moch is giving a sex and relationships tutorial to teenagers at a college near Milton Keynes. She is honest and informative and everyone in the room leaves having learned something new.
Under current arrangements, not all children get sex education at school. Free schools and academies, which are not obliged to follow the national curriculum, can opt out and the pressure on the curriculum at other schools means provision is patchy and in some places non-existent. But momentum is growing for change.
On Friday MP Caroline Lucas’s private member’s bill to ensure that sex education is a statutory requirement in schools will get its second reading in the House of Commons. The personal, social, health and economic education (statutory requirement) bill will make PSHE, including sex and relationships education(SRE), a compulsory part of all state education. It also requires PSHE to include teaching on ending violence against women and girls.
This week MPs on the education select committee, who are considering the effectiveness of current PHSE and SRE, were told that the quality of sex education in schools was a postcode lottery. Some youngsters were growing up not being taught even the most basic information about their bodies, while others had no understanding about rape and sexual consent. In the absence of a comprehensive sex education, young people were relying on myths from the playground and increasingly on pornography and the internet to fill the gaps.
Before the tutorial she holds a drop-in session in the student common room where she sits surrounded by condoms and leaflets on oral sex while girls question her. “Why can you get married at 16 but you can’t watch porn until you’re 18,” asks one. Another asks about the anatomy of the clitoris; there are discussions about smear tests (“That’s disgusting, I would never do that,” says one girl) and chlamydia tests, and more talk of the impact of porn, which seems to be a big deal. Boys watch it on their phones in the common room, says Moch.
“Boys try and become like the porn stars,” says one young woman. “They say they are going to ‘beat’ or ‘bang’ a girl. When you begin to do it, they get quite aggressive and put their hands round your throat.”
So do these young women feel well equipped to deal with this? Some say they didn’t get a great deal of sex education at school and welcome the opportunity to talk informally with someone who is not their teacher. “That’s just embarrassing,” says one 16-year-old. “You have to see them every day afterwards!”
One of the workshops today will challenge so-called ‘sex positive’ thinking, the idea that all sex that isn’t obviously coerced is good, that ‘sexual liberation’ can only mean saying yes to any and all sexual activity. I ask you to take that critical thinking and apply it to the sex industry.
To be truly positive about sex is to say that sex actually matters, that being forced, directly or indirectly, into sexual activity you don’t want is wrong and is abuse, that the right to be able to say no to sex is just as important as the right to be able to say yes.
liberal feminism for many women, is a desperate way to try to achieve liberation with the only tools they think they have.
For men, it is the feminism they always wanted. Women catering to men and thinking it is empowering.
The Northern Ireland Assembly has voted by 81 to 10 in favour of making it a crime to pay for sex.
MLAs spent several hours on Monday debating the measures, which formed part of a private member’s bill on human trafficking and exploitation.
Clause six of the bill makes it illegal for someone to obtain sexual services in exchange for payment.
Northern Ireland is the first part of the UK to vote in favour of the measure.
There is still some way to go before the bill becomes law, but the prospect of a ban on paying for sex in Northern Ireland has taken a significant step forward.
Research published last week suggested that about 17,500 men pay for sex each year in Northern Ireland.
The study by Queen’s University, Belfast, was commissioned by the Department of Justice in response to Lord Morrow’s proposed bill.
Meanwhile, another poll has indicated that almost 80% of people in Northern Ireland support the criminalisation of paying for sex.
The Ipsos Mori survey found support for the Human Trafficking Bill was strongest among people aged between 16 to 34.