Dankprofessor’s Weblog

A weblog examining sexual politics in higher education and beyond.

Rape on film at Yale

It was only a couple of weeks ago, February 13 to be exact, that the dankprofessor blogged on the escalating rhetoric at Yale regarding male fraternity members holding up a “Yale sluts” placard in the front of the Women’s Center; the Women’s Center Board characterized the placard incident and photos of the incident being circulated on email “as fraternity- sponsored or enabled sexual harassment, assault and rape”. Certainly, the fraternity members use of this placard was untoward, but the statement that the placard in essence sponsored rape seemed to the dankprofessor as inflammatory, and ultimately functions to “trivialize” rape. Name-calling should not be conflated with rape; words should not be conflated with actions. Social scientist know based on decades of research that words are not predictive of deeds.

Presently Yale is having its annual “Sex Week at Yale”. The dankprofessor was not surprised to learn that a component of sex week was on pornography. As reported by L. Brent Bozell on on the Media Research Center blog, the sex week organizers invited Paul Thomas of Vivid Entertainment to show films and have a question and answer period. The Vivid films were shown without any pre-screening by the sex week organizers. “Some of the footage shown by Thomas included graphic rape fantasies and the labeling of a woman as a “slut” who “deserved” violent sexual degradation.”

Before the films excerpts were completed, feminists from the Yale Women’s Center entered and “Presca Ahn, who is the “fellowship coordinator” there, declared: “In porn, sex is not a normal, healthy part of normal, healthy lives; it’s fetishized, exaggerated or embellished. Porn isn’t honest. We need to talk honestly about it: it hurts women.” Then the session went right into Q and A.

The Yale Daily News reported that Colin Adamo, Sex Week event coordinator, called the screening a grave mistake. “We really dropped the ball on this one,” he said. “No one watched the movie before Paul showed it to the audience.” But the Vivid representative “insinuated that he (Adamo) was a prude and just needed to watch more porn.”

The dankprofessor has no comment on the prudishness characterization of Adamo; certainly Adamo can be characterized as naïve. To assume that Vivid porn DVDs would not cause offense to some of those in attendance is naïve. I would also consider it to be naïve that holding a sex week which would not be offensive to some of the Yale students some of the time is extremely naïve. To have a completely inoffensive sex week one would have to go back to the American tradition of sex censorship. To really deal with the offensiveness issue, Yale would have to prohibit sex week.

As for the Yale Women’s Center rep indicating that porn “hurts women”, such is a problematic characterization. What we do know about porn is that porn leads most of the time to viewer masturbation. Just about everyone knows this, the producers, the actors, the observers, the condemners, the viewers. So if one holds that male masturbation hurts women then the Yale Women’s Center rep has a point.

However, solitary “consensual” masturbation, or mutual consensual masturbation is now ofen viewed as safe sex. But obviously some hold that so-called safe sex is actually hurtful sex. And when it comes to masturbation from an historical perspective, those believing in the hurtful scenario carry the day.

So I do not think I am going out on a limb when I state that too many campus feminists, too many Yale campus feminists, too often engage in traditional anti-sexual Puritanism, an anti-sexual Puritanism that has not been unknown in Yale’s home state, Connecticut.

(Click here for an addendum on this post.)

—–
If you wish, you can write to me directly at dankprofessor@msn.com
Guest commentaries should also be submitted for consideration
to the same email address.

Barry M. Dank aka the dankprofessorTM
© Copyright 2008

March 6, 2008 Posted by | ethics, feminism, higher education, masturbation, pornography, rape, sex, Yale University | 2 Comments

   

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 49 other followers

%d bloggers like this: