Quick thought on misogynist lyrics and rape porn, following a conversation with a friend who sees things (very) differently than I do:
There is a lot of disgusting shit out there – disgusting, misogynist, hateful lyrics. Grotesque, disturbing, porn. I don’t listen to that music, don’t watch that porn.
Some people think such music and porn cause violence against women. Some think it’s a symptom of societal attitudes. The most nuanced think there’s a dynamic relationship between attitudes, behavior and culture – attitudes shape culture and behavior; culture shapes attitudes and behavior; behavior shapes culture and attitudes.
There are good, solid, strong, earnest arguments to be made about the impact rape-y music or porn has on young men’s (and women’s) attitudes and behavior. And/but….
The way to change attitudes is to change attitudes, behavior, culture – not to censor (or censure) taste and desire. In the UK recently, “rape porn” was criminalized. We have a long history of banning child pornography (which is different, in that it simply can’t be made without a crime’s being committed against a child).
There’s lots of stuff that’s unclear, that, like Blurred Lines, is itself on a blurry line. Many people have denounced Robin Thicke for glorifying rape, for suggesting that consent can be a blurred line. Many others find the song, and the video, insanely hot.
As far as I’m concerned, it’s all kinda like technology or the Bible (or the Qur’an): if you come to it with a pure mind, filled with love, you can do some amazing things.
But if you are filled with hate, you can use just about anything to advance your disgusting views and behavior.
[I may follow this up with some more thoughts – this post feels unsatisfyingly incomplete to me.]