Filth Caves and Vulgar Peverted Masses
An Object supporter on twitter this week called lap-dancing venues ‘Filth Caves’ which I found fascinating. I have reproduced this from the 29.03.14 edition of the Daily Mail. It is correspondence between a concerned reader and ‘Agony Aunt’ Bel Mooney. It represents beautifully the Mary Whitehouse ideas that are parroted wholesale by many in the media regarding pornography and the sex industry. The language of revulsion, disgust and hatred is clear. It appears that whether one likes the existence of pornography or not (and indeed what is porn?); whether one consumes porn or not, the adult industry is being used as am ambiguous threat that’s a stand in for so much more.
“This tide of filth is ruining my life
Sometimes I feel like I’m the only female in the world suffering this problem, and I can’t tell anyone I know for fear of them thinking me terribly prudish.
The only people who know how it affects me have been the men in my life. I’m 46 and loathe the over-sexualisation of women, everywhere.
It seems that every night there are TV programmes involving women getting naked. If that wasn’t bad enough there are the women cavorting on the adult channels — and as for the internet, well, don’t even go there.
When I was about 19 I caught my then boyfriend leering over a calendar and I felt angry and betrayed.
Later, at a workplace, I found a stash of porn magazines in a drawer, and discovered that my boss swapped them regularly with a delivery driver. I couldn’t say anything as it was a male environment.
I once caught a boyfriend watching a blue film, then discovered he had a secret hoard of filth. I went ballistic and made him put it all on a bonfire.
I really hate the porn actresses and models for making me feel so miserable about myself. The men that use them, watch them and profit from them are the lowest of the low.
My revulsion is physical — it feels like my stomach literally flips.
At the moment I’m devastated as my relationship has just ended. I loved my partner dearly but this issue was definitely one of the main reasons we split up. Incidentally I do enjoy physical intimacy — as long as a boyfriend doesn’t let me down by joining the vulgar, perverted masses.
I know I can’t live in a bubble. Society is so wrong, and I know I can’t change it — but how do I get the strength to get over this and stop it affecting me in this way?
Any advice would be much appreciated but please don’t suggest CBT — I tried it through my GP but it didn’t work.
You are certainly not alone! You must be aware that this newspaper has strong views on the very things that concern you, and that writers like myself have often expressed them.
Yet I have spent more years than I want to remember writing and debating this issue in public and in private, and should feel entirely on your side — were it not for the fact that I’m worried your attitude is over-the-top.
You know it, too, and that’s why you have written.
To be angry that this society still encourages males to view and treat women as sex objects is one thing.
There’s ample evidence that things are getting worse, not better — and all those who believe in equality and in human dignity should be concerned.
The boundaries have been pushed out very far, so that fashion photography, girls’ clothing, pop videos, you name it, all reflect the tawdriness of a culture that believes that anything goes and control is bad.
I can tell you that when I’ve viewed (free) pornography online in order to research an article, I too have found myself experiencing physical revulsion, including dry mouth, heart rate increasing and nausea.
But for you to allow this to so dominate your life that it becomes an obsession is unhealthy. The fact that it even destroys your relationships with men really worries me.
There seems to be an underlying issue concerning body-consciousness and self-esteem, which adds a deeply personal (and seemingly uncontrollable) layer of acute anxiety to a normal dislike of this aspect of our society.
I’m wondering if you might not channel your feelings and ideas more usefully. Instead of futile angst try activism.
You could look at the websites for Stop Porn Culture and Object and No More Page Three (to name but a few) to learn what is going on and how many other women — and men too, which is very important — feel as you do.
And I think you should perhaps be less judgmental about your menfolk. To be honest, I don’t regard it as a heinous crime for a man to glance at pornography, because men always have.
Some women enjoy it, too. I might not like this fact, but there it is.
It seems to me that you could usefully try to step back from taking this issue so personally (it is not about you, so it would be good if you could see it in general terms as bigger than your relationships) and make it your business to master all the intellectual and sociological issues involved.
Don’t just get sad or mad, lady — but take it on….”