Violence Rendered Invisible When It’s Women Being Sexualized

Man dragged off plane

Image: David Dao suffered a concussion and broken nose and lost two front teeth after being violently dragged off of United flight 3411.

Dr. Gail Dines, president and CEO of Culture Reframed, wrote an op-ed piece for the thought-provoking website, Feminist Current, called, “We know abuse when we see it, unless it’s women who are being hurt,” which calls out how violence against women is rendered invisible in porn because it is sexualized. From the article, which appeared in Feminist Current on 4/17/17:

Recently, I’ve seen many people on Facebook sharing Andrea Dworkin’s response to the question, “Can you explain why you are so opposed to pornography?” Her answer:

“I find it strange that it requires an explanation. The men have made quite an industry of pictures, moving and still, that depict the torture of women.”

Being shared even more is the awful video of Dr. David Dao being assaulted and brutalized as he is dragged off a United plane, blood dripping from his mouth, screaming “just kill me.” The CEO of United only inflamed this PR nightmare with his initial apology explaining he had to “re-accommodate… customers.”

Employing that very basic human mechanism of empathy, people everywhere took to social media to express their outrage at seeing the violence done to this man, and the way United tried to pass it off as just an unfortunate incident caused by overselling tickets. Notice that we didn’t need hundreds of peer reviewed academic studies or a Government-commissioned study to explain to us that what happened to Dao was violent, traumatic, and inhumane.

People saw the video, put themselves in Dao’s place, and came to the very sensible conclusion that what they were watching was a level of callous brutality that is unacceptable in a civil society. Andrea Dworkin would not have found our empathy strange because, despite her sadness and anger at the cruelty in the world, she always had faith in the ability for people to do the right thing.

What is strange, however, is that there is no public outcry over porn. You can type “porn” into Google and in 10 seconds come up with images that are so violent, so brutal, so dehumanizing that they take your breath away. You can see people being raped, tortured, strangled, beaten, electrocuted, and physically destroyed to the point that many must be thinking to themselves: “Just kill me.”

Why no outrage? Why no demands for the companies who produce this brutality to apologize? Because these people are women, and when women are brutalized in the name of sex, the violence is rendered invisible. As long as it is semen, not blood, dripping from her mouth (and usually from every other orifice as well), and she is saying “just fuck me” as she is grimacing, crying, and sometimes screaming in pain, it seems, as Dworkin pointed out, people require an explanation as to why this particular brutality is not acceptable.

Read entire article here.

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