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Pre-2008 Posts

“The Pornography of Everyday Life”


This looks good, and particularly since one of its producers is Jane Caputi, who has authored several amazing  books, one of my favorites being Gossips, Gorgons and Crones, the Fates of the Earth.

This trenchant and provocative documentary essay will generate thought, analysis, and discussion in a wide variety of courses in women’s and gender studies, psychology, sociology, and popular culture. It incorporates more than 200 powerful images from advertising, ancient myth, contemporary art, and popular culture to demonstrate how pornography (defined as the sexualized domination, degradation, and objectification of women and girls and social groups who are put in the demeaned feminine role) is in reality a prevalent mainstream worldview.

The film illustrates how the pornographic worldview is a generally accepted discourse, a habitual mode of thinking and acting that underpins not only sexism, but also racism, militarism, physical abuse and torture, and the pillaging of the environment. As such, pornography appears not only in overt, “hard-core” forms, but also in virtually every aspect of everyday life.

As the film illuminates, even though pornography is generally thought to be the opposite of religion, it actually is an irrational belief system analogous to a religion. Like much patriarchal religious tradition, pornography is shown to be misogynistic and homophobic, and defines sex as “dirty” or debased and the opposite of the mind or spirit.

Pornography is also shown to support the worst tendencies of patriarchal religions by appropriating previously sacred and potent images of women, sex, goddesses, and the feminine principle, colloquially known as Mother Earth or Mother Nature, and then ritually profaning and defaming them. This works not only to demean women but to justify and legitimize male divinity and worldly authority.

The film concludes by suggesting alternatives and by illustrating how visionary thinkers and artists resist the pornographic worldview by re-imagining and restoring respect to eroticism, female sexuality, and the female divine, and by calling for new understandings of sexuality, nature, and society.

The Pornography of Everyday Life is a superb and invigorating cultural exploration that will stir thought and engender classroom debate. It was written by and features Jane Caputi, Prof. of Women’s Studies at Florida Atlantic University, and produced by award-winning filmmaker Susan Rosenkranz. (Bolds mine, the parts I particularly liked.)

You can order it here.  Tip of the fedora to Awakened Woman, whom I am adding to the blogroll forthwith.  🙂




17 thoughts on ““The Pornography of Everyday Life”

  1. It’s become such a part of everyday life, that your parents can help you make movies and mail your used panties to your perverted viewers.

    “I’m a product,” Sunny says. “And I know that, and I’m a danged good product.”

    Posted by Miranda | March 18, 2007, 10:57 pm
  2. I will be ordering my copy! jane Caputi co-authored mary daly’s Wickedary…an essential read and reference tool for every feminist!

    Posted by Pippa | March 18, 2007, 11:10 pm
  3. What an amazing story, Miranda! Yes – pornographic view of life – and, I suspect, S/M culture (which is why I do not tend to think of S/M as ‘alternative’ or ‘transgressive’).

    Posted by profacero | March 19, 2007, 5:21 am
  4. I agree Heart, that film looks very worth having. But at $225.00 it’s a little out of my reach!

    Posted by witchy-woo | March 19, 2007, 9:00 am
  5. appropriating previously sacred and potent images of women…and then ritually profaning and defaming them

    Patriarchal model in a nutshell?

    I’ve just finished reading Ariel Levy’s ‘Female Chauvinist Pigs,’ and this looks like a good followup. Shall see if I can find it in my area.

    Profacero – S/M to my mind is just logical progression from some of the prevailing underlying opinions in our culture, in particular the relationship between sex (both the act of, and gender itself) and power. But that’s getting a little offtrack, sorry!

    Posted by Serenity K.B. | March 19, 2007, 9:03 am
  6. Yes, it sounds like a “must see/have” !
    But *gulp* at the pricetag (£116) 😦

    Also, I wonder about the compatibility/encoding for those of us outside the States.

    Posted by stormcloud | March 19, 2007, 9:50 am
  7. Gah, Stormy!

    Wouldn’t it be great if we had so many radfem real life friends who lived close, it would just be a matter of chipping in $5 a piece U.S. or a couple of your £’s 🙂 to buy a movie like this? Wouldn’t it be great if we still had the great feminist bookstores and coffee shops that would carry something like this?


    I didn’t even look at the price. Sigh.


    Posted by womensspace | March 19, 2007, 9:56 am
  8. I think that the US$225 is an institutional price tag, and there is a button to opt for a discount (I’m assuming for personal copy).

    It may be worthwhile enquiring about a personal (non-institutional) price. I would guess that it would probably only be about a 30% discount. 😦

    As far as a communal copy, the site has a huge section on copyright do’s and don’t’s (the link was at the bottom of the page I think).

    Posted by stormcloud | March 19, 2007, 3:22 pm
  9. Miranda – That story is just sickening. Is it just me, or does that seem like a crazy case of “whatever my little precious daughter wants, she’s going to get, by golly!”. Yuck.

    Posted by Delany | March 19, 2007, 4:23 pm
  10. I would have to say that the news piece that Miranda left is a bit disturbing. It sounds as though her parents are using pornography as a means of sheltering her from getting her heart broken.

    Posted by anita | March 19, 2007, 6:16 pm
  11. Delany and Anita, I think what you both said considers the parents as people who see their daughter as a daughter, sort of a distorted form of overprotection and overindulgence. I disagree. To me, the parents do not see her as a child of theirs at all. Instead, she is a commodity, plain and simple. They seem to be using acceptable social mores within parenting (protection, indulgence) to justify what they are doing to her, but they are still “pimping” her plain and simple. And the daughter is too, (she is legal)that whole bit about “looking younger than she really is.” That is manipulating (thus perpetuating) the whole assault women have to deal with in society.

    It is by far one of the most disgusting cases I have ever read, and an extreme example of the evils of capitalism.

    Posted by chasingmoksha | March 19, 2007, 7:12 pm
  12. You can disagree with me, that’s fine, but I don’t see why it has to be an either/or. It’s probably a good chunk of both.

    I still think that, in part, this is a screwed up case of of overindulgence. I see helicopter parents all the time (my husband teaches high school and also coaches 3 sports), and it doesn’t even begin to stop at when the kid turns 18. I’ve seen parents call and complain to their twenty-something kids’ *bosses* about scheudling and pay and work assignments. I see no reason why it shouldn’t spill into other aspects of life as well. Porn has taken such deep root in our culture, and is so acceptable, that young girls aspire to it. It’s an easy way to get instant adoration and be told that you’re beautiful and special constantly.

    I grew up a little before the “self-esteem” generation, or maybe it’s just that I grew up poor in the South, but we were expected to suck it up when we failed, and we’d be laughed at if we expected trophies for 6th place or mere participation. In the people just a few years after me, though, I’ve noticed a strong need for regular ego-stroking and praise and rah-rah-rah (I know, what a way to stereotype a generation!), and I can easily see how, in the age of the internet, it would be easy for a pretty, perky girl to be lost in a sea of other equally pretty, perky girls and feel the need to do something like porn in order to make themselves stand out – and for parents who’ve always given their child whatever they wanted to aid her in achieving that, *especially* if it will earn them shitloads of money. You have an ugly combination of greed, need for adoration, no stigma for porn, and the technology to do it fairly cheaply on your own.

    Posted by Delany | March 19, 2007, 11:31 pm
  13. No it does not have to be an either/or. I am sorry for framing it that way, I did not mean to. I am just so disgusted with her parents that I do not even want to give them credit for being protecting. They are exploiters and nothing more, in my opinion.

    Posted by chasingmoksha | March 20, 2007, 1:11 am
  14. Speaking of helicopter parents. I just read an excellent article in the October 2006 edition of The Atlantic. “The Drama of the Gifted Parent, Hey! Leave those kids alone!” by Sandra Tsing Loh.

    Reading it comes on the heels of reading someone’s blog, an academic, I do not remember who now, who said that they are getting graduate students coming in for interviews with their parents and at times spouses. UGH!

    Posted by chasingmoksha | March 20, 2007, 1:14 am
  15. I saw this film at the Boston antipornography conference and Jane said that nonprofits and private individuals should be able to buy a copy for under $50.

    Posted by Sam | March 27, 2007, 12:41 am
  16. I have visited your site 702-times

    Posted by Visitor452 | July 22, 2007, 8:33 am
  17. Yeah, Visitor 452? You should comment more!



    Posted by womensspace | July 22, 2007, 7:57 pm

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