Great quote from Gloria Steinem (via Ms. Magazine)
We are human beings first, with minor differences from men that apply largely to the act of reproduction. We share the dreams, capabilities, and weaknesses of all human beings, but our occasional pregnancies and other visible differences have been used — even more pervasively, if less brutally, than radical differences have been — to mark us for an elaborate division of labor that may once have been practical but has since become cruel and false.
And Steinem wasn’t even talking about toys. Well, specifically about toys. Target, are you listening? Can we all please stop training a new generation to accept gender stereotypes as “natural?”
Margot there is only one answer to the question ‘how to make men understand that women are human beings’.Teach them that they are.You have to start early,when a boy is very young.One doesn’t need to be a genius to figure out that relentless exposure from a very young age to media/movies/books/toys/ads/magazines etc in which girls are either victims/sex objects or don’t exist at all (i.e. girls are boring/worthless so we don’t bother with them e.g. TinTin,first Hobbit movie etc) and then to the misogyny of modern heterosexual porn will likely create a sexist man.
IMO What to do…
1)before the age of 12.Pretty much what Margot says in this blog.Teach your boy to play with girls (and not only with other boys) and read books/watch movies with strong girls in them.Show to him that a powerful girl is smth cool and beautiful.Talk to him about the bravery and smartness of females throughout history.Raise your son to respect girls and women.
2)age about 12 and above.This is where the worst part of ‘media’ comes.The swirling abyss of modern porn.Forget the days when ‘porn’ was a stack of Penthouse magazines.Those days are gone.Today ‘heterosexual porn’ ‘rape culture’ ‘sociopathic male behavior’ and ‘guys will be guys’ are ALL essentially the same thing.Mainstream porn-typically in the form of High Definition video files and movies – is the first exposure almost all boys have to sex in this day and age.Tons of it is free (or easy to find for free),super easy to download,watch and distribute via smartphones,tablets,i-pads,and there are countless sites to choose from (plus torrents).99% of boys,even from the age of 11 to 12,start to watch them and in many cases collect and trade them.Just like music and movies.And the message in porn is vastly more dehumanizing to women than that in most other media.
Most of modern het porn is way more misogynistic than porn used to be back in the early 90s.What was ‘disturbing’ back then is ‘normal’ these days.Its the worst anti-woman propaganda you can imagine.Features girls in humiliating and painful sex with multiple men for the pleasure and profit of other men.Girls being choked,spit on,being slapped and called filthy names,anally gang raped etc and thats the relatively mild stuff.And every year,as boys/men become more and more desensitized, they require progressively more violent,brutal and degrading sex.Actually this is not ‘sex’ anymore-its hate.Punishment to a girl’s body and spirit (for being female).So much that girls in porn now are nothing but a set of holes to be used and abused in the worst possible way.They are not just sex objects in the movies ,they are filthy trash.Its a huge industry horrifically misogynistic,completely unregulated (STDs etc) where women are disposable,have no recourse to legal protections they are routinely abused,are usually addicted to xanax and vicodin and rape is impossible to prove.Actually i doubt that the average life expectancy of the girls working in European porn industry is over 30 y/o.Its like Hollywood from Hell.
And this porn today IS ‘visual entertainment for kids’ for ages 11-12 and above just like superhero films or video games.This is why i write this post-It is a serious problem affecting teens now.
Sure you don’t see a film like ‘Tanya abused by 4 guys’ in cinema like ‘Hobbit’ but they all end up in a boys computer/tablet etc in high quality video files,next to each other.
Disturbing but this is the reality.And the message modern porn gives to the boy is that a female is smth utterly worthless,vile trash that he can use like a toilet.She’s not a human being.And then we wonder why so many teenage boys rape or treat females like subhumans?Or why Beth Tweedle was treated that way?Even Ariel Castro used porn to justify his actions. Also girls in modern porn are getting younger and younger (no surprise…) and its easy to see that many are inexperienced/hurt/traumatized.
Many mothers read Reel Girl.I know it isn’t easy for a mother but these days she,and the father, of a boy must do ‘the talk’ with their son.And early.At about 11-12 y/o.Talk to him about porn and what really is.It is NOT ‘guys will be guys’ fun.That these girls do NOT like this treatment,the sex is cruel, degrading and hurtful.And sometimes is in fact rape.
And to try to just imagine what the girl in the movie is going through, what it must be like to be her during the shooting and after the camera shuts off. It takes empathy and a bit of imagination, but I believe most boys (and men) can accomplish this.
Tell him that most girls in porn have been coerced into it in one fashion or another — from their pimps using them to make more money, to being tricked, or drugged, or literally being kidnapped and trafficked as sex slaves.That often the plan involves the “taming” of girls and their “initiation” into porn via incredibly savage sexual abuse.Many producers look specifically for naive girls who don’t know the hell they are going to get into.
And that no the ‘some girls make money’ (the ‘pornstar’ myth) isn’t real…For 3 girls who made money from porn there are 50 who are poor and have nobody.Producers simply throw them away like trash when they are not ‘barely legal’ anymore.
Most men are completely ignorant (or choose to be ignorant) about what the modern porn industry is really like behind the scenes.So a father of a boy may not even understand the seriousness of the problem (or even be a porn fan himself).This puts a lot of weight to the mother.She has to educate her son and sometimes her husband.
the ‘porn series’ articles in the rageagainstthemanchine blog
That was 10 years go-things now are worse:
this site has some pretty terrifying statistics.
This is why Margot’s work is so important.If a boy is raised to respect girls,is used to see females as important/strong/smart in kids films,then it will be much harder for him to accept brutal misogyny (in porn and generally in media) as ‘cool’ when he becomes a teen.