Woohoo – the Internet erupted the other day when the iconic men’s entertainment magazine Playboy announced that it is giving up on featuring naked women in its pages! And that Pirelli, another distributor of nude prints in the form of its annual calendar, came up with one this year that features clothed women. Is it victory for feminism in any way? Hardly, I would say, as we are living in an age which is deeply saturated with pornography and overt and covert sexualization of women and girls.
There are several other pressing issues beyond Playboy and its kin. While pornography is rampant and freely available on internet, the world is coming face to face with another brutal horror – revenge porn. Besides that, media has been extensively sexualized to an extent that it has started glorifying rape and reducing women to mere sex objects. Some of the issues that demand urgent attention include:
- Curious case of Playboy
- Porn Industry
- Revenge Porn
- Sexualization of women and children
- Increase in Labiaplasty surgery and the role of pornography
- Celeb Hacks
Curious case of Playboy – The folks at Playboy woke up one day and decided that they have served enough porn and caused much damage to the society and they should switch to the sanitized version. Was it the case? No, certainly not. Its sales have been plummeting over the years due to proliferation of pornographic magazines and other portals serving porn. It was simply beaten in its own game, the niche it had carved up for so long. A number of other such denigrating magazines have already shut their shops, unable to cope up with dwindling sales.
Sexualization of women and children
Pornography is everything about denigration of women in the most graphic format. Women who are lactating, pregnant, mothers and grandmothers – all are objects of sexualization. Teenagers and even children aren’t spared. The claim can be substantiated with the increasing number of reports about arrests for possession of child porn and criminal gangs forcing young women to prostitution.
A case in point is about young women desperate for few moments of fame showering their near or completely naked images on a plethora of platforms, including Tumblr, Twitter and private websites. Media, as well as regular porn websites would rather latch them with glee. Such women are completely fine with getting pictured in obscene poses to make a quick buck. Sadly, there is no dearth of such women lusting for short cut route to fame and money.
Porn Industry – Sex sells, pornography helps in augmenting sales and as per a research study, http://vaw.sagepub.com/content/16/10/1065.short, aggression helps in selling pornography videos. From 304 scenes analyzed during the course of the study, as much as 88.2 percent involved physical aggression, which involved slapping, gagging and spanking. Pornography is all about exploitation of women and hardly anywhere near the supposed sexuality of a woman. As per a recent report, porn is $97 billion industry, http://www.nbcnews.com/business/business-news/things-are-looking-americas-porn-industry-n289431 .
The porn stars provide consent for getting beaten, whipped, gang-banged, mutilated and getting subjected of ghastly acts. http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/10/24/ex-porn-star-reveals-the-horrors-of-working-in-the-sex-industry/ A case in point is that of former porn star Vanessa Belmond, who revealed how she contacted Chlamydia, gonorrhea and suffered serious injuries that required heavy medication as she was left bleeding and torn after such acts.
Revenge Porn – ‘Is Anybody Up’ caused a storm – virtual and a real one – in the lives of young women when it glorified revenge porn – a process of uploading their risqué pictures, mostly by jilted lovers and exes. The said pictures would have been shared by the unsuspecting women during sessions of ‘Sexting’, another gory trend popular among youngsters these days. Extreme humiliation follows as the photographs are usually accompanied by names, addresses, employment details and much more.
Emancipation of women – hardly any!
Increase in Labiaplasty surgery: Numerous experts have sounded alarm over increasing instances of labiaplasty – for having designer vaginas. The disturbing trend is being attributed to pornography. Studies have suggested that increasing number of young men and women are consuming porn and an increased level of exposure to pornography is leading them to resort to surgery.
While the prospect of having designer private parts might seem to be lucrative, it is fraught with dangers such as irritation, bleeding, permanent scarring, and increased or decreased sensitivity in case wrong nerves get operated upon. “The private sector is not recorded, audited or regulated,” says UK based Professor Linda Cardozo, a gynaecologist. “We have no way of knowing how many surgeries take place there. It’s possible to go on a [surgery] course for $75,000 in the US, come back with your own laser equipment and set up. At least if you have it on the NHS you have to go through your GP and that’s a gatekeeper.”
Celebrity Hacks: Then there are the much hyped celebrity hacks. Remember when the private iOS accounts of major celebrities, read women, were hacked and their private photographs splashed all over the internet? Well, whether those photographs should have been clicked in the first place or not is completely another domain. However, the bigger issue is regarding stolen imagery and targeting of women. P.S. a male celebrity got caught in the crosshairs, but that would have been mainly due to his model girlfriend rather than being the direct target.
Free speech is indeed the devil’s advocate when it comes to circulation of pornography. Porn is not free. Immense cost is being paid by the most vulnerable section of the society. Is it a moment to rejoice? We need to think out loud!