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mot Pornografi

The People's Organisation against Pornography

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Osynlig rutaMenypil  Preface
Osynlig rutaMenypil  The example
Osynlig rutaMenypil  The industry and its product
Osynlig rutaMenypil  The allusion
Osynlig rutaMenypil  The politicians & the Legislation
Osynlig rutaMenypil  Society
Osynlig rutaMenypil  What to do
Osynlig rutaMenypil  About FmP

To The Swedish Women's Front

The texts from the back covers of pornographic films we quote in this pamphlet are all taken from films that are distributed in ordinary video rental stores, not from specific porn shops.

"His name is Todd. He is big. He is black. And in his pants he is carrying a lethal weapon. 30 centimetres and always at the ready. 30 centimetres of pure terror. So big that it makes big holes in the wall as he undoes his pants.
     With his 'weapon' he gets all girls on their backs. Or rather on their faces. Because it is their bottoms he is after. He wants to see the girls sweat beneath him. Eyes wide open. Clenching their teeth.
     And he only chooses white girls. That makes it even more taboo. A black giant thrusting it DEEP into a little cute, white girl - he loves the feeling.
     His friends want to have a go, too. But the girls say; 'no, no, it hurts'. Then one of the guys has an idea. 25 000 dollars to the girl who is the best ass fuck. And if they don't get the money - so what?!"

Text from the back-cover of the porn film
"Get your rump put, girl!".

The Lord of the Creation!

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Pornography in Society

To only
see the sexual violence that women and children are subjected to in pornography, without analysing it, probably only causes resignation and confusion. That is why it is important to understand pornography in its societal context.Photo of a wodden rocking-horse
     When we see the pornography of allusion and understand the workings of the porn industry, we see also that child pornography is only the tip of the iceberg. Neither child pornography nor pornography on the whole are isolated phenomena. They are linked to all of men's sexual violence against women and children; rape, women battering, prostitution, incest and other forms of sexual abuse. And they are linked to sexual harassment in schools and on jobs, to "sex jokes" and to touching in buses and underground trains. These are all examples of sexual oppression. And sexual oppression is a part of the oppression of women.
     In Sweden there is much talk about equality and sex roles. As if the difference between the sexes would disappear if only we made some slight changes in the roles. The question of who benefits from the difference, who has the power, is not asked. Our society is built upon the premise that men have power and women are subordinated. Women and children are simply not worth as much as men are.
     The result of this is that men are the norm of our society; on the labour-market, in the medical service, in the media, culture, religion, economy, politics – everywhere.
     The fact that men are the norm gives men the preferential right of interpretation. That is why child pornography is not discussed from the perspective of the rights of the child, but rather the rights of the man. The public debate is more about the risk of an innocent man being convicted of sexual abuse, than about the risk that a child keeps being exploited and is left without legal rights. And that is why society demands more of the child/victim than of the man/perpetrator even in cases where there is no doubt about the sexual abuse having taken place. In Sweden today someone who has raped a minor can be given a more lenient sentence with for example the motivation that a girl in her early teens tried to "seem more experienced" than she actually was. Or with the motivation that two 9 year-old girls had behaved "seductively". Or that an 8 year-old girl did not make "enough" resistance. She – the child – is expected to take responsibility for her behaviour. From him – the adult – society does not demand similar responsible behaviour. How come adult men accept to be declared incapable and thus not responsible for their own actions in this particular context, but not in others? And the argumentation of the lay assessors, that adult men are expected to think that a little girl would want to have intercourse with them if she does not make "enough" resistance – where did they get that from?

Pornography shifts limits
Pornography helps to perpetuate society's sexual power structure. The misogyny of pornography is a magnified mirror image of the contempt for women that permeates the whole of society, but pornography also influences the image of women. Through pornography men's sexual violence against women and children is turned into something "normal", something sexually arousing – pornography blunts our perceptions of sexual violence. The more widespread pornography becomes, the more we are affected by it. All of us – not only the men who are perpetrators of sexual abuse.
     This also makes it less incomprehensible that neither the Swedish Child Pornography Act nor the Sexual Violence or Coercion Act are in fact implemented. To dehumanise women and children, to objectify someone, is the first stage of the violence process. Pornography shifts the limits for what is seen as acceptable to do with women and children.
Photo of a teddybear     An example of how pornography shifts limits is that it has not been possible to condemn pornographic films and magazines with "fistfucking" according to the Sexual Violence or Coercion Act. Folkaktionen mot Pornografi struggled for many years, trying to create public opinion and calling on authorities before succeeding in getting the Chancellor of Justice to propose a reconsideration of the earlier standpoint on fistfucking.
     The American professor of law, Catharine A. MacKinnon, described it like this, when she participated in a conference hosted by ROKS (Riksorganisationen fšr kvinnojourerna i Sverige) (The Swedish Organisation of Emergency Shelters for Battered Women) in Stockholm a few years ago:

     "...the problem is that it is just this that pornography destroys: the ability to see that violence against women is violence. Pornography transforms violence into sex."
     "When a society has been drowned in pornography for twenty years, like Sweden, has a law saying that we are not to distribute representations of sexual violence, it is not surprising that this law is not implemented. It does not matter how much violence a woman is subjected to, it is still perceived as sexual, it is perceived as if the woman gives her consent and it is not perceived as violence" (12).

     It is not perceived as violence by the courts, not by the men perpetrating the violence, and soon enough not by the women subjected to it either. Women too are taught to watch these representations of sexual abuse of women, to think that violence is one of sexuality's natural elements and that the subordination of women is a natural part of being a woman. Oppression of women is normalised.

Pornography & Racism
Pornography's structure of domination and subordination is also racist. Just like in the example with the text about "Todd" (above) black men are almost always portrayed as brutal rapists. Black women are often depicted as particularly "sexy", and/or carnal. But the most worthless women in pornography are Asian women.
     Sweden today is a multicultural society and different forms of racist influences are often discussed, both in the media and among people in general. In spite of this, so far nobody has brought up the discussion of the sexualised racism that pornography spreads.

Pornography & other media
In the media pornography is hardly ever described from the perspective of the sexual abuse which is the basis for pornography. Pornography is more often discussed in glossy entertainment shows than in serious debates on TV, various celebrities' general opinions are substituted for knowledge. And in newspapers and magazines sexologists answer letters about pornography, that pornography is only fantasy, a "spice" for your sex life. Young girls who write wondering what they should do when their boyfriends are consuming pornography all the time, are told to consume it together with him, or at least not question his right to consume women's bodies. S/M (sadomasochism) is described as exciting play – despite the fact that women actually die as a consequence of this "play".
     Pornography is not a marginal phenomenon in Sweden today. It is not about a small number of sick men. Most men in our country have periodically consumed pornography, many do it regularly. Consumers of pornography are everywhere, and in all social classes. And of course they are affected by the pornography they consume, just like they are by all other media, information, commercials or propaganda that they encounter.
     In a society where pornography is everywhere, there should also be an interest in discussing what message pornography conveys and what the consequences of its distribution are. But that is a discussion most people want to avoid. Pornography tells something about what women are worth in our society. The American anti-pornography activist and writer, Andrea Dworkin, expressed it like this:

     "When your rape is entertainment, your worthlessness is absolute" (13).

     Pornography confirms to boys and men that they are masters and that women are utility goods. It hands down the notion of men's power and women's subordination to the next generation. Pornography is the sexualisation of inequality.

International Oppression
All over the world men give themselves the right to exploit women and children. But in Sweden women have been made to believe that we live in a society where there is equality between the sexes. That is why women often blame themselves for what they are subjected to and look upon oppression as something which happens to them as individuals.
     Only when many people see what pornography actually is and why it exists can we make things change. Pornography is simply going to remain as long as not more people protest.

     That applies both to pornography in general and to child pornography. And it is us adults who bear the responsibility. and the sex traffic taken together constitute one of the world's largest industries.

12. Catharine A MacKinnon: Pornografi och jämställdhet (Pornography and Equality) in Pornografi – verklighet eller fantasi? (Pornography – reality or fantasy?), ROKS, p.60.
Since we have not had access to MacKinnon's original text, we have translated this quotation from the Swedish version of the text back to English. Up arrow
13. Andrea Dworkin: Letters from a War Zone, Secker & Warburg, England 1988, p. 279. Up arrow

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