Getting Off: Pornography and the End of Masculinity

Getting Off: Pornography and the End of MasculinityIn Our Culture, Porn Makes The Man So Argues Robert Jensen In Getting Off Pornography And The End Of Masculinity Jensen S Treatise Begins With A Simple Demand Be A Man It Ends With A Defiant Response I Chose To Struggle To Be A Human Being The Journey From Masculinity To Humanity Is Found In The Candid And Intelligent Exploration Of Porn S Devastating Role In Defining Masculinity Getting Off Seamlessly Blends Personal Anecdotes From Jensen S Years As A Feminist Anti Pornography Activist With Scholarly Research In His Trademark Conversational Style, He Shows How Mainstream Pornography Reinforces Social Definitions Of Manhood And Influences Men S Attitudes About Women And How To Treat ThemPornography Is A Thriving Multi Billion Dollar Industry It Drives The Direction Of Emerging Media Technology Pornography Also Makes For Complicated Politics These Days, Anti Porn Arguments Are Assumed To Be Anti Sex And Thus A Critical Debate Is Silenced This Book Breaks That Silence Alarming And Thought Provoking, Getting Off Asks Tough, But Crucial, Questions About Pornography, Sex, Manhood, And The Way Toward Genuine Social JusticeRobert Jensen Is An Associate Professor In The School Of Journalism At The University Of Texas At Austin He Is The Author Of The Heart Of Whiteness Confronting Race, Racism And White Privilege And Citizens Of The Empire The Struggle To Claim Our Humanity

Robert Jensen is a professor in the School of Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin, where he teaches courses in media law, ethics, and politics He worked as professional journalist for a decade before his academic career Jensen is a board member of Culture Reframed, the first health promotion effort to recognize and address pornography as the public health crisis of the digital age, a

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  • Paperback
  • 200 pages
  • Getting Off: Pornography and the End of Masculinity
  • Robert Jensen
  • English
  • 24 October 2018
  • 9780896087767

10 thoughts on “Getting Off: Pornography and the End of Masculinity

  1. says:

    This book destroyed me Jensen does say that these ideas will hurt women namely that mainstream heterosexual pornography facilitates American rape culture and misogyny I cried the first night I began reading But I kept reading because, as a radical feminist, I want to know I want to know the arguments against porn, something which as a liberal I have often felt obligated to defend No Mainstream heterosexual pornography is a visual, pervasive symbol of the patriarchal cancer that eats away at our society.

  2. says:

    Excellent Thoughtful, provocative, sensitive The only other male I ve known who writes and speaks out on this issue with such thoroughness and sensitivity is John Stoltenberg I find so few men who take on pornography, not to mention the whole idea of the need for an end to masculinity, in favor of humanity that it moves me to hear a man delving into this It is encouraging Robert Jensen also takes on the racism involved in pornography.Jensen did a study of the type of pornography that is most commonly viewed While I usually go through books rapidly, at least books that I like, this one took me awhile to read It is emotionally difficult to contemplate the details of the effects of pornography, despite having already read quite a bit about about the pornography industry But I think this is one of the most important books I ve read because of the implications and the information it provides I am among those who cannot stomach studying pornography in any depth because it infuriates me to know that this can go on to such an extent with so many defending it or being complicit Therefore I am thankful that there are individuals who will take on this emotionally draining work And not just any individuals, but pro feminist men who are seeking greater justice and deeper connections between human beings.There are plenty of women who study and write persuasively about pornography, such as Diana Russell, Andrea Dworkin, Gail Dines, Katharine MacKinnon, Laura Lederer and many But there are not as long a list of men, the gender that consumes most of the pornography And there are certainly not many men who speak with the level of sensitivity as Robert Jensen This is not his first book on pornography He joined Gail Dines and Ann Russo in the 1998 published book Pornography, The Production and Consumption of Inequality At the end of the book, Jensen seeks to find what characteristics are strictly male and not found in females He draws us toward the idea of questioning the value of any characterizations as masculine, versus human when he finds none that are absolute This is another important issue worth exploring for its impact on human relations I highly recommend this book Of all the over 600 books I ve posted to goodreads, this is one of the most important because the issue is central to the lives and relationships of so many people While it deals with heterosexuals, the issues it raises is pertinent to the intimate relationships of any two people I hope that it is widely read and stimulates deeper, caring relationships, as well as activism challenging the ever growing, ever violent pornography industry.

  3. says:

    This book deeply disturbed me In fact, it upset me so much I had to stop reading it and made my partner get rid of it Because as much as I was horrified by it, I couldn t put it down Ultimately, however, I didn t finish it I couldn t It was wrecking my ability to look at or talk to my man That being said, Jensen brought out a lot of things that I keep in a small closet in my brain The things that I don t want to take out and look at Jensen s analysis of porn is that it is violently anti woman and that it is getting worse And I don t mean that its anti woman in the sense that women don t like porn or that its made and marketed for men Its anti woman in the sense that the messages it conveys about women are violent and horrible Jensen spends a lot of time breaking down differnt porn scenes The things that he points out are the details Like to woman who was on the verge of tears, or the women who have pained looks on their faces Or the woman who was literally chocking on a dick Or the women who scream in pain not pleasure Even worse than that this happens is that the editors choose to keep these things in the porn Worse still are the movies where the commentary actually acknowledge those things and make a joke of it Frankly, how the hell is it funny that some dude s sexual actions hurt a woman Now, I ve seen plenty of porn in my life I m not one of those girls who is horrified by the idea of seeing sex I don t find it threatening to my relationships or think that my man watching porn means that he loves me less BUT, porn has changed in the last ten years I wasn t really old enough to watch much porn before then I have been distinctly and uncomfortable with porn as the years have passed I haven t been able to really put my finger on it Or, probably, I haven t wanted to look at why I am uncomfortable I m uncomfortable because I can t imagine that anyone enjoys having a penis shoved down the back of their throat, or that its anything other than painful to have two penises in any orifice I m uncomfortable because most male female porn shows things that I KNOW have to be physically uncomfortable at best, terribly painful at worst This book made me look at something I didn t want to see I have a live and let live attitude, but Jensen did an excellent job of pointing out the anti woman attitude of general porn Its not just the extreme porn that has this attitude that women are just things to act on sexually, and that their pain is funny at best and a turn on at worse I feel that Jensen did a great job with his thesis, but I didn t like his voice He came off like a sanctimonious asshole No, really He s so much enlightened than everyone else And he s a feminist He feels it necessary to tell you that he s a feminist at least once a page He also name drops every radical feminist from the past 25 years The book is interesting, he does an excellent job proving his theory But this book is VERY hard to read You have to be really ready to look at gender relations in order to read this I imagine this is just as hard to look at as a man or at least a man who likes to think of himself as someone who likes and respects women as it was to look at as a woman However, I think its a conversation that is worth having and is important to examine how society reinforces sexual violence.

  4. says:

    This book was at times deeply, deeply disturbing to me parts of it were so sick I could barely get through it but also oddly funny sometimes and certainly very interesting overall I would recommend it only to people who are prepared to think very hard about feminism and gender equality you can t just skim it and go back to your happy flirting with drunk strangers at the bar life Jensen s thesis is essentially that the conception of masculinity in our culture is one of dominance and aggression, usually expressed on over women he goes so far as to call it rape culture one where sexual violence has been normalized In the first part of the book, he uses content analyses of mainstream heterosexual pornography to illustrate just how deeply ingrained and extreme this misogynistic paradigm is in our culture The rest of the book is spent on arguments proving that this paradigm of masculinity is harmful to men, women, and a healthy society at large, and discussion of how we can combat it While the format is at times inconsistent Jensen alternately repeats himself, gets too philosophical and academic, and gets too personal and caught up in his own life , the straight up descriptions of the pornography in the middle of the book is something that EVERYONE man, women, transgender, porno fan, whomever should read Everyone could use a wakeup call to the fact that this shit exists out there, is wildly popular in fact, and, as Jensen points out, happens to REAL women in the REAL world Yes, the stuff is supposed to be fantasy and yes, the women are paid to do it, but it is still a deeply disturbing experience to read about in graphic detail and realize what it really means that the patriarchy is alive and we have a whole lot striving for womens rights and equality to do.

  5. says:

    If you like porn, read this and see why it is that you shouldn t

  6. says:

    I really, really want to give this book a second star but there is no justification The author says that men in the feminist movement by the way you only have to call yourself a feminist once I got it the first time, I don t need to be reminded three times a page how you are with the ladies, and the multiple reminders that you are bi, while interesting are not terribly relevant to the content try to be white knights and shouldn t You know what is highly victimizing to women never mentioning the fact that men are harmed as much by the types of pornography that he is against as women these are fairly specific types I also find it difficult to connect with the fact that he is talking about the majority of the porn industry, yet I have never heard of a porn remotely similar to any of those he is critiquing I mean except the ones mike use to download to my computer as a joke when we lived together And while I haven t ever watched a porn, I am relatively aware of porn and the fact that most if not all of my male friends watch it and several of the females, but none of them are watching gang bang 15 People I know just have class than watching the 15th sequel of the same movie If I am wrong please correct me, but this is the impression that I am under This boo was a personal rant I mean we have gone over with dawkins I don t like when personal rants pretend that they have significant meaning outside their rantiness The sad thing is I am sure there are good arguments against pornography, but claiming that pornography proves that our culture hates women is not that argument Also if I don t believe video games are necessarily related to columbine will I really believe that porn is necessarily related to rape doesn t sound like the kind of inductive leap I want to be known for.

  7. says:

    I ve read Getting Off Pornography and the End of Masculinity by Robert Jensen over the past couple of weeks The book isn t long just under 200 pages , but it isn t easy reading and I couldn t really stomach reading than 15 25 pages at a time Trigger Warning This post will discuss issues of pornography and violence, questions that are important, but might be difficult to handle.From the back cover Pornography is a big business, a multi billion dollar industry It also makes for complicated politics Anti pornography arguments are frequently dismissed as patiently anti sex and ultimately anti feminist silencing at the gate a critical discussion of pornography s relationship to violence against women and even what it means to be a real man In his most personal and difficult book to date, Robert Jensen launches a powerful critique of mainstream pornography that promises to reignite one of the fiercest debates in contemporary feminism At once alarming and thought provoking, Getting Off asks tough but crucial questions about pornography, manhood, and paths toward genuine social justice My Thoughts on Pornography and ProstitutionI ve always found the issue of pornography and, taking things a step further, prostitution very difficult I grew up in a very religious Christian setting, and as a child and teenager I was against both, purely based on religious grounds As I began questioning religion, I also began questioning the ethics, values and belief that I had previously accepted without consideration.As many other feminists and liberals I have had a long period of thinking and believing, that whatever you do, as long as it doesn t hurt or harm someone else, that is your own business Consequently, if someone made the choice to participate in pornography or engage in prostitution, I didn t feel I had the right to judge that choice or tell other people how to live their lives.However, over the past couple of years I ve come to realize that it isn t that simple nothing ever is No choice is ever made in a vacuum There s a vast difference between the choice made by a middle class, educated woman to become an escort, and a lower class, single mum to become a prostitute More often than not, the women who talk about their right to choose to do sex work belong to the first category, with a natural interest in justifying their choice.But of course pornography isn t the same as prostitution, but the two definitely intersect and that is where Getting Off Pornography and the End of Masculinity by Robert Jensen comes in I don t agree with everything in this book, but it definitely raises some very powerful questions that deserve consideration.Masculinity and PornographyThe main focus of Getting Off Pornography and the End of Masculinity is the intersection between our culture s understanding of masculinity and pornography.Jensen sees masculinity as highly problematic and toxic Be a man, then, typically translates as Surrender your humanity.To be a man, then, is a bad trade When we become men when we accept the idea that there is something called masculinity to which we should conform we exchange those aspects of ourselves that make life worth living for an endless struggle for power that, in the end, is illusory and destructive not only to others but to ourselves.One response to this toxic masculinity has been to attempt to redefine what it means to be a man, to craft a kinder and gentler masculinity that might pose less of a threat to women and children and be livable for men But such a step is inadequate our goal should not be to reshape masculinity but to eliminate it The goal is liberation from the masculinity trap.Why do men often get incredibly hostile when people question the concept of masculinity The first step is simply to ask why men feel such a deep investment in the notion of masculinity, no matter how the term is defined What are we afraid of losing I think the answer is simple enough Masculinity any notion of masculinity provides men with a way to be assured that they are not, and never will be, a woman Masculinity guarantees a man that no matter what happens to him in the world, he is not woman In any culture that hates women, such a guarantee is bound to feel good, even for pro feminist men who wouldn t ever dare say such a thing out loud That guarantee is also bound to keep us from fully confronting that woman hating and experiencing our full humanity.Some men speak in defence of masculinity and patriarchy, saying women and children need to be protected by men All this talk is a cover for a simple, ugly fact Women and children don t need to be protected by men they need to be protected from men This talk of protection should be seen for what it is A protection racket One man or group of men promises to protect women and children from other men And to do that, these good men must have the power to protect, which means the power to control.Being a man, and as such, being a part of the oppressing group, doesn t mean that the system is always to the advantage of every single man, but that doesn t change the nature of patriarchy Pornography and ObjectificationFurther he questions the way pornography reduces women to objects, and in a very real sense dehumanizes them It hurts to know that no matter who you are as a woman, you can be reduced to a thing to be penetrated, and that men will buy movies about that, and that in many of those movies your humiliation will be the central theme It hurts to know that so much of the pornography that men are buying fuses sexual desire with cruelty.It hurts women, and men like it, and it hurts just to know that.People routinely assume that pornography is such a difficult and divisive issue because it s about sex In fact, this culture struggles unsuccessfully with pornography because it is about men s cruelty to women, and the pleasure men sometimes take in that cruelty And that is much difficult for people men and women to face.Jensen brings up the fact that many of the liberal defenders of pornography, often defend indie erotica instead of looking at the mainstream pornography that make up the vast majority of what men watch.There are obvious differences in the type of sexual activity and the level of overt denigration of women, but in both features and gonzo the same three rules apply All women always want sex from all men, and the sexual acts they want are the ones that men demand, and any woman who doesn t immediately recognize her true sexual nature will understand as soon as sex is forced on her At the most basic level, contemporary mass marketed heterosexual pornography feature or gonzo is the presentation of the objectified female body for the sexual satisfaction of men.The book also points out how porn has become increasingly crude, denigrating and violent they have to keep pushing boundaries in order to keep the porn exciting and stimulating In the words of John Buttman Stagliano, aka the father of gonzo The psychology is that some people like to abuse other people, in real life, in real situations And I worry that we re creating art that feeds on that, that kind of reinforces that and says it s a good thing, and makes people a little comfortable with certain psychological things that I think they should be uncomfortable with because they re bad.In the words of one pornography industry executive, as to why anal sex is appealing Essentially, it comes from every man who s unhappily married, and he looks at his wife who just nagged at him about this or that or whatnot, and he says, I d like to fuck you in the ass He s angry at her, right And he can t, so he would rather watch some girl taking it up the ass and fantasize at that point he s doing whatever girl happened to be mean to him that particular day, and that is the attraction, because when people watch anal, nobody wants to watch a girl enjoying anal.To a certain degree, some pornography use pain and denigration as a way to sexually excite men Part of the sexual charge of some pornography is that the women are being denigrated and the men watching know that the women don t like it Part of the appeal of images of women being hurt in a sexual context is that the men watching know it really does hurt the women But at the same time, the ideology of pornography is that women actually like things that may appear to be denigrating or hurtful, again because it is their nature So men s enjoyment of pornography is sometimes based in knowing the woman is in pain, but at the same time being told that it s not really pain because this is how women find their true sexual selves.Free ChoiceDefenders of pornography often maintain that the performers have made a free choice to participate, but is that true A meaningful discussion of choice can t be restricted to the single moment when a woman decides to perform in a specific pornographic film but must include all the existing background conditions that affect not only the objective choices she faces but her subjective assessment of those choices There is not much systematic research specifically on the women who perform in pornography But from the research and the testimony of women who have been prostituted some of whom also are used in pornography we know that childhood sexual assault which often leads victims to see their value in the world primarily as the ability to provide sexual pleasure for men and economic hardship a lack of meaningful employment choices at a livable wage are key factors in many women s decisions to enter the sex industry We know how women in the sex industry not all, but many routinely dissociate to cope with what they do in one study of 130 street prostitutes, 68 percent met the diagnostic criteria for post traumatic stress disorder We also know that pimps often use coercion and violence to keep women working as prostitutes In the words of one team that reviewed research from nine countries, prostitution is multitraumatic For the sake of argument, let s assume that a specific woman in the sex industry has made a completely free and meaningful choice to participate, with absolutely no constraints or limitations on her, as woman in the industry often assert That could be the case, but it does not change the patterns described above, and the unavoidable conclusion that some number of women in the industry likely a majority, and quite possibly a significant majority choose under conditions that make choice complicated And in most cases, the consumer has no reliable way to judge which women are participating in the industry as a result of a meaningfully free choice When a consumer plays a DVD at home, he has no information that could help him make such a judgment Therefore, he most likely is using a woman whose choice to perform was not meaningfully free.So what about the women who maintain that this is their own, free choice While we should listen to and respect those voices, we also know from the testimony of women who leave the sex industry that often they are desperate and unhappy in prostitution and pornography but feel the need to validate it as their choice to avoid thinking of themselves as victims In a survey of 130 people working as prostitutes, 68 percent were identified as meeting the psychological criteria for a diagnosis of post traumatic stress disorder, and 88 percent stated that they wanted to leave prostitution and described what they needed in order to escape As I argued already, the question of choices, and the measure of freedom women have in their choices, is complicated Respecting the decisions women make does not mean we should ignore the pattern of women speaking quite differently about those decisions later In a complex world, the way we make sense of our lives is, not surprisingly, full of paradoxes and contradictions.Overstepping Women s BoundariesAnother scary consequence of pornography is the way it teaches men to continuously push and overstep the boundaries of women, to a degree where the boundaries of consent becomes muddled Rape is defined legally as penetration without consent In reading the section on rape in the Texas Penal Code, I am reasonably sure I have never violated that law But I also realize that much of my sexual training as a man was about gaining women s consent to sex in whatever way one could It s illegal to compel a woman to submit or participate by the use of physical force or violence to sex, but as a young man I was taught that sometimes you have to push a little harder when she at first says no, because she really wants it It s illegal to impair a woman s judgment by administering any substance without the other person s knowledge, but as a young man I was taught that sometimes you have to spike a woman s drink with extra liquor or encourage her to drink one beer, just to get her in the mood Like many young men, I was taught that a woman s no to sex could mean no, or it could mean maybe, or it could mean yes, but you have to come get me The only way to know if no means no was to push Men push, and women either push back or give in Even if I never played it particularly well, that s the game I was taught to play.Pornography s Affect on RelationshipsAccording to Psychologist Ana Bridges, who specializes in the impact of pornography on romantic relationships Studies on compulsive pornography use suggest that viewers habituate become used to certain images and sex acts, and thus require and deviant materials to achieve sexual arousal My own research suggests that the harm created in relationships when one person uses pornography while the other does not can be substantial and devastating Still others were disturbed that their partners were asking them to participate in sexual acts seen in explicit videos, without regard to whether or not she would find these acts unpleasant or degrading On the whole, these women reported a strong decline in intimacy and connection with their partners, leaving many to consider breaking off the relationship altogether.In conclusion I am against pornography in part because I believe that the rewards of domination, which are seductive, are in the end illusory I believe that love based on a commitment to equality articulated in our core philosophies and theologies , compassion based on our common humanity , and solidarity based on our need to survive together can anchor our lives at every level, from the intimate to the global I believe those things in part because of my necessary faith in the better angels of our nature, as Abraham Lincoln put it, but also because of my experience In my life, weighed down as it is sometimes in struggle and failure, I have experienced that intimacy Once experienced, it s difficult to return to the illusory Pornography claims to take us on a path to a door that will open into creative erotic space, into imagination, into a garden of sexual delight Just open this door, pornography tells us, and you will step into a expansive world But it turns out that going through the pornographic door typically leads into a prison cell, with four thick walls and no window It is a dead end It doesn t give a way to expand our imaginations but a way to constrain them, handing us a sexual script that keeps us locked up and locked down The pornographers walk away with the money and we are left with the illusion of pleasure that comes at the expense of joy What Can Men Do Robert Jensen has 6 things that every man can do Most obviously, we must never use or threaten to use violence against a partner or child Beyond that, we must examine our behavior for subtle attempts at controlling the behavior for subtle attempts at controlling the behavior of a partner, such as insulting a partner in a way designed to undermine self esteem, withholding affection to gain a desired result, or demanding sexual activity in the face of resistance.We must stop supporting men who batter, rape, and abuse Often men talk fairly openly about their abusive behavior When that happens, we must make it clear that the friendship or work relationship will not be business as usual until the abuse ends and steps are taken to prevent it in the future.If we ever have reason to suspect someone is being abused, we must offer support and assistance in whatever way the person can accept.We must stop telling or laughing at misogynistic jokes.We must stop using pornography, patronizing strip clubs, or using prostituted women.We must remove ourselves from relationships of domination that institutionalize the subordination of women When men in our lives talk of such activity, we must challenge them to think and act differentlyConcluding ThoughtsI m still not entirely certain how I feel about these things, but I think Jensen raises a lot of very important points, topics that are being ignored instead of discussed What do you think How do you view pornography Prostitution Society s view on masculinity

  8. says:

    Jensen has written a wonderful 1970 s style second wave feminist tract in 2007 One might think some type of grappling with third wave feminism and I have to add my standard disclaimer whenever I use the wave metaphor that feminist theorizing and activism is a constant process that can t really be cut up into discreet waves as if nothing happened in between them might be called for Indeed, the back of the book even manages to promise something of the sort and the same text appears on the page when it notes that Anti pornography arguments are frequently dismissed as patently anti sex and ultimately anti feminist As someone who argues the anti porn anti sex anti woman position, this intrigues me But I don t think he s really interested in arguing with me, or any other feminist The things he doesn t seem to be interested in arguing about are legion, probably That s okay the people who write book copy frequently miss the point Just look at the back of Heinlein s Time Enough for Love At the end of the day, people on both sides of that discussion can be united at being against bad porn.But who in his since I think we re assuming it d be a he right mind would be for bad porn Okay, I m probably being naive, but I find it hard to believe than any of those people are going to actually bother to read Jensen s book So what s the point Part of the disconnect might be that Jensen and I simply different understandings of the relationship between theory and activism, and how and even if apologetics should be done For Jensen, all the side roads of definitions and such are distractions from his main project of showing men the damage of pornography But my mind doesn t work that way I could engage in a theoretical debate with another femnist, for example exposing heteronormative assumptions in their work, because I know there s a set of shared assumptions But to argue against Jensen s quintessential porn user For me, that would require showing all one s work, not less of it I know I m not up to the task I ve been wanting to make a post in my journal for years at this point on the anti sex is anti woman thing There are objections I don t know how to answer The most I could possibly do right now and probably ever is try to sketch out my worldview with the hope that an interlocutor could at least understand if not adopt it this is what I believe, and why I believe it but not this is why you should believe this But at the end of the day, Jensen s book is only secondarily about porn or the porn industry First and foremost, it s about masculinity, and I think recognizing that explains why he doesn t address some of the things he doesn t If the fundamental question he is answering is, How can a heterosexual man in a patriarchal culture mediate his sexual desires, experiences, and understandings through text and or images then well, I still don t think he s done a very good job of presenting a coherent vision, but he has at least put forth some do s and don t s, even if they re ones that might seem obvious to you or me.I ve seen a lot I like, too His insistence that what is needed is an abolition of masculinity, and not just redefine it 144 145 I m not sure whether he thinks an end of masculinity would usher in an end to maleness, or not That men must join women in women led causes as their primary mode of activism 147 And so forth.I do think it s possible to step outside my maleness without stepping outside my heterosexuality a project that, yes, I think would end up looking a lot like Jensen s Indeed, it almost seems to me that any reconstruction of masculinity which starts on Dworkinist premises is going to end up in this trap, which is ironic because of course Dworkin was a lesbian, and her partner and eventual husband John Stoltenberg, who is someone I have read and is the main person I m thinking of here other than Jensen, was a gay man And I see that Jensen s not a Kinsey zero either I m not quite sure why I should even feel this should be so Is it that they are just so deeply seeped in a 1970 s second wave aesthetic Is it a result of positioning this reconceptualization as a primarily feminist move which is to say making the moral criterion an essentially gynocentric one Or is it even that any constructive project is by its nature opposed to the very project of critical, and thus queer, theory Now, as noted above, Jensen discusses the move to abolish masculinity versus the move to redefine it, arguing for, as would I, the former This puts forward a possibility any attempt to reconstruct masculinity is essentially an attempt to keep it intact, to re inscribe separate gender roles, and since all sexism is ultimately heterosexist and vice versa , this is heteronormative I don t think this is the whole story, though especially since the premise of my original question assumed the project was being or at least, could be heteronormative while still being feminist which would presumably be to say, not sexist It does raise the question, though the two male feminists I know of who think that masculinity is something worthy of being discussed instead of simply stipulating it as undesirable and then getting on with the feminist projects of radical critique and liberal activism are both Dworkinists Is this significant Similarly I think it is possible to step outside of one s heterosexuality without examining one s maleness But these are probably unstable positions, and once one is used to the theoretical move of examining one s privilege, it does get easier with time One of the fundamental issues is whether sexual desire is, and or has to be, transitive, with desirers and desireds whether desire implies objectification or whether an intransitive form can be hypothesized if the former, then objectification would need to be in some way reclaimed and revalued, as giving up desire doesn t seem a viable option I think the question needs to be asked whether specific instances of sexual objectification can be broken off from its support of gendered patterns of oppression That at least some such instances can be such seems clear it can be used to satirize, to deconstruct, or expose those patterns, for example But writ large Objectification would need to be something that people do to each other like kiss or make love but which like kissing and making love they don t do all the time, something which can be turned off instead of being embedded in a persistent gaze of one gender towards the other The best treatment I really know which is fair to both sides of this debate is Joanna Russ s Pornography and the Doubleness of Sex for Women, as linked in the on line essay That Classic Combination Sex and Violence, which I found helpful in its treatment of Russ essay.

  9. says:

    I found Getting Off profoundly unconvincing I went into this book with an open mind, but the author makes his argument with huge logical leaps, a lot of gender stereotypes , and a general lack of information He totally ignores gay pornography, which I think would provide some interesting insights with its own treatment of masculinity and femininity I still have high hopes for an interesting book club discussion out of it, but Jensen didn t make the case to me.I also found Jensen s work, at times, needlessly graphic Not content to describe offensive sexual language in a roundabout way that we can all imagine without much trouble, he busts out with it in the middle of paragraphs, like so Perhaps directing some of that anger and resentment at those people the immediate, front line face of the oppressive system is unavoidable, though we should always be channeling that anger into action to change the system as well But too often men react to women in positions of power with misogyny, often in sexualized terms I have heard men in such situations talk about how I d like to f that b and teacher her a lesson, for example censorship mine Some other excerpts of statements that annoyed me as I read them But pornography doesn t draw on emotion like traditional cinema , because films that exist to provide sexual stimulation for men in this culture wouldn t work if the sex were presented in the context of loving and affectionate relationships Men typically consume pornography specifically to avoid love and affection Andrea Dworkin was a woman I had been told hated men, and yet running through her talk was a profound compassion for men, and by extension, for me Here s what shje told those men in 1983 I don t believe rape is inevitable or natural If I did, I would have no reason to be here If I did, my political practice would be different than it is Have you ever wondered why we women are not just in armed combat against you It s not because there s a shortage of kitchen knives in this country It s becasue we believe in your humanity, against all the evidence One response to this toxic masculinity has been to attempt to redefine what it means to be a man, to craft a kinder and gentler masculinity that might pose less of a threat to women and children and be livable for men But such a step is inadequate, our goal should not be to reshape masculinity but to eliminate it.

  10. says:

    Robert Jensen recycles arguments from anti porn feminists against mainstream heterosexual porn with a few twists Jensen argues for male self censorship of porn rather than making it illegal He also argues that deconstructing and ridding culture of masculinity will help in this process while taking in account the reality of masculinity Getting Off was refreshing in that Jensen admits to uses of male privilige and challenges male feminists who decry other males for using male privilige but are unable to recognize their own uses of this or their misogynistic behaviors to be self critical.Even though Jensen admits to leaving queer porn out of the discussion on purpose to address the largest portion of porn users, heterosexual men, this is in fact problematic Jensen also admits that gay males aren t really on board with the anti porn movement Duh, Jensen and the other anti porns don t include critiques on gay porn that would compel gay dudes to join them Maybe that s because there are few or no reasons for gays to be anti porn.

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