Black. Women in black. South African women in black. South African women in black during the first week of September. Mourning the loss of dignity. Mourning the loss of respect. Mourning the loss of the female race. Mourning the loss of lives. #Enough is Enough!
I stay away from the news. Maybe it’s good. Maybe it’s bad. Some may think I’m an ostrich with her head in the sand. Some may think it’s an escape. Some may think it’s okay. It let’s me live life with less worry. It also keeps me a little more in the dark about what is happening in the land I love so much. It lets me live a freer life in the land that has stolen my heart.
But yes, this land is filled, as every other land in the world, with injustice, with crime (it’s everywhere, people!), with godlessness and with sin. Where there is mankind, there is sin. In some places, it’s a stark reality. In others, it’s a more subtle evil. And this last week highlighted the horrendous deeds of men against women. And, it caused such a riot that even I heard about it. It popped up in my Facebook news feed and spilled over statuses on social media. Even I couldn’t miss the news.
The way women are treated is despicable. Objects for gratification. An article to be used and discarded. A toy for a boy. A moment of pleasure for him – a battered and bruised soul for a lifetime. It’s unspeakable!
How did we get here? What caused the objectification of women?
There are probably many causes. A major influencer?
How? Let me show you…
What is pornography? According to the top result on a Google search – “printed or visual material containing the explicit description or display of sexual organs or activity, intended to stimulate sexual excitement.”
Objectification. Suddenly what defines a relationship is gone. The deep love, emotional connection, electric chemistry, intense attraction and intimate bond is non-existent and replaced by burning desire, unquenchable lust and sexual arousal based off sensual images, erotic descriptions and explicit content. No longer is anything required from the consumer. No understanding, no love, no sacrifice, no compromise – nothing. He (or she) can sit and enjoy the full display of another person, revel in sexual pleasure at no cost and walk away with no ties, no baggage and be no “worse off”. He (or she) can “shop around” at leisure amongst the millions of websites, billions of hours and hundreds of thousands of porn stars ranging from soft-core to the obscene. Suddenly, a person with a soul, a life, emotions and feelings is seen by the brain no longer as a person but as an object. The part of the brain that identifies objects is the part that lights up when viewing porn.
According to an article posted on Psychology Today,
“Men who routinely look at pornography have a greater tolerance for objectification, irregular sexual behaviors, sexual hostility, promiscuity and even rape. This evidence has been seen in the recent news and spread across social media. “
Patrick Fagan (Former deputy assistant secretary for family and community policy at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)
So, essentially, what starts off as a glance at a scantily-clad woman can become something sinister, serious and abusive.
Ted Bundy, a notorious serial rapist and killer, stated the following in his final interview before he was executed,
“Once you become addicted to it, and I look at this as a kind of addiction, you look for more potent, more explicit, more graphic kinds of material. Like an addiction, you keep craving something which is harder and gives you a greater sense of excitement, until you reach the point where the pornography only goes so far – that jumping-off point where you begin to think maybe actually doing it will give you that which is just beyond reading about it and looking at it.
Those of us who have been so influenced by violence in the media, particularly pornographic violence, are not some kind of inherent monsters. We are your sons and husbands. We grew up in regular families. Pornography can reach in and snatch a kid out of any house today. It snatched me out of my home 20 or 30 years ago.
“I’m no social scientist, and I don’t pretend to believe what John Q. Citizen thinks about this, but I’ve lived in prison for a long time now, and I’ve met a lot of men who were motivated to commit violence. Without exception, every one of them was deeply involved in pornography – deeply consumed by the addiction. The F.B.I.’s own study on serial homicide shows that the most common interest among serial killers is pornography. It’s true.
“As we have been talking, there are forces at loose in this country, especially this kind of violent pornography, where, on one hand, well-meaning people will condemn the behavior of a Ted Bundy while they’re walking past a magazine rack full of the very kinds of things that send young kids down the road to being Ted Bundys. That’s the irony.”
Once watching porn, the addict needs something more. Suddenly the soft-core porn is no longer satisfying. Soon, the hardcore porn doesn’t satisfy. The body thirsts for more violent, more intense porn.
And what is frightening, as he says, is that these men are not inherent monsters but your sons and husbands from regular families.
Here’s another stat for you…
Most porn depicts violence to one or other party. The women in these videos show no response to the violence meted out or they respond with pleasure.
I think you’re starting to get the picture…
So, that said, I don’t know how much more I need to say to convince you about just some of the many harmful effects of pornography.
I also believe pornography has influenced the fashion industry. Dresses get shorter, shorts get higher, shirts get lower, material gets tighter and more transparent. Why? Sex sells. That’s the truth. What will draw attention to us? What will make us “feel sexy”? What will catch every eye and conquer every thought of every person we walk past?
You may argue that you’re wearing those clothes for you; to make yourself feel good. I would venture a guess that when it’s just you on a Friday night in your house, you don’t walk around in stilettos, tiny shorts and a diving neckline. I’m more likely to find you without make-up wearing comfy pants and a comfy T-shirt. And if you’re not wearing a bra, it’s certainly not to get noticed! So take a hard, honest look at your motives. A hard, honest look!
Because, if we’re really honest with ourselves, we want to be noticed. We do. If not by men, by our colleagues, friends, peers, role models – the list is endless. It doesn’t matter whose attention you are trying to attract. If you were only doing it for yourself, you would dress like that when you were by yourself at home too.
What I’m about to say may raise a few eyebrows and maybe placards bearing my name may be held outside my house in protest, but…here goes…
What are you asking for?
No, I don’t think any girl asks to be raped or killed. No, I am not blaming you for the despicable deeds done in the darkness. But you are demanding respect and dignity. You are raising placards that men “control themselves”.
Humour me for a moment and let’s flip this around.
Are you, likewise, respecting men when you dress in ways that you know will attract their attention (because you know they will be physically drawn to you)? Are you showing your dignity – state or quality of being worthy of honour or respect – when you dress suggestively?
You are feeding the porn-saturated minds of men. Not all men have bad intentions. Not all men are “inherent monsters”. Some are your “sons and husbands”. You are feeding the fire of the porn industry. Your plunging necklines, low-cut jeans, tight nude pants, bra-less tops and leggy dresses taunt the men around you to carry what they see of you further into their minds.
What do you want? What are you asking?
Because maybe, the respect and dignity you so vehemently and passionately demand is how they’d like to be treated too. As you say that they are responsible for their actions, may I venture to say…
So are you!
I’m just leaving this here…
Photo Credit: @typographyimagesTags: abuse, addiction, dignity, fashion, gender violence, human rights, murder, porn, pornography, protest, rape, respect, rights, south africa, south african, south african woman, south african women, treatment, violence, woman, women, women's rights