December 20, 2007
I’m getting famous*, but not the way I wanted to.
(*relatively speaking, of course)
WordPress is a bit limited in terms of its statistics gathering: at the moment I can only see the number of overall hits a particular post has gotten if the title is short enough. So, I think my number-one post in terms of hits is my Bridge to Terabithia post, but I’m not certain. If I’m right about that, then this post, a quick hit on the movie Hounddog and the Catholic League’s reaction to it, is rapidly closing the gap. WordPress does show the search terms people use to find my blog; enter “rape scene in movies” or “porn rape movies” into Google, and that post is the seventh item down. With “rape porn movies,” my post is fourth. (And I’d always thought word order didn’t matter in search engines!) With “rape porn movie,” I’m second.
What I find disquieting about the attention that post has been getting is that I suspect the people entering those search terms aren’t trying to find the random musings of a progressive twenty-something. I can’t even bring myself to click on most of the links those searches bring up, and I’m hardly a prude. I’m familiar with Rule 34, and I think there’s a similar rule when it comes to fetishes/sexual proclivities. Maybe there aren’t too many people who get off on slurping orange jello while sitting naked on a metal folding chair and watching “TV Bloopers and Practical Jokes,” but I bet they’re out there. What consenting adults do by themselves or with other consenting adults is none of my business, and they’re welcome to all the orange jello they can handle, as far as I’m concerned.
That’s the thing, though — there are two very important words in that previous sentence: CONSENTING and ADULTS. Rape obviously doesn’t fit into that equation. Even porn gets to be a bit of a sticky situation (if you’ll pardon the pun): if I had to pick a label to describe my feminism I suppose that label should include (though not be limited to, if I have anything to say about it) “sex-positive,” but I’m nonetheless aware of the power imbalance when it comes to women in the porn industry, and I know full well that much of the porn out there is degrading to women. So, then, pornography depicting rape as an act that’s meant to titillate makes me very, very nervous. One of the links I did click on when performing the previous searches was an article from Slate stating that Internet porn reduces sex crimes. Would that still apply to rape porn, though? If someone has fantasies of raping another person, is pornography geared toward that person likely to sate that desire, or is it more likely to stir it up further?
And I wonder about supply and demand in these situations. I suspect that kind of porn wouldn’t exist if there weren’t an audience for it, just as I can’t imagine child pornography existing if pedophiles weren’t already out there. That makes me think of a parallel: I assume (read: desperatey hope) that most of the rape porn that’s easily accessible is simulated — does simulated child porn prevent pedophiles from acting on their desires in real life?
I don’t have answers or solutions to any of this. And it’s sort of painfully funny to think that posting these musings is going to put a whole lot more of those search terms into play. I guess all I can do is hope, like I often hope, that my words will make someone think, perhaps even consider their behavior in a new light.
What can I say — I’m an optimist.