[Marxism] Spit out that Patriarchal System!

usman x sandinista at shaw.ca
Thu Nov 27 12:31:22 MST 2003


[CP-List] Pornography: You are what you eat, so spit out that patriarchal
system!
christinekaratnytsky at juno.com christinekaratnytsky at juno.com
Mon, 9 Sep 2002 14:24:31 -0400

You Are What You Eat: The Pervasive Porn Industry and What It Says about
You and Your Desires  (ARTICLE BELOW)

Robert Jensen
School of Journalism
University of Texas
Austin, TX 78712
work: (512) 471-1990
fax: (512) 471-7979
rjensen at uts.cc.utexas.edu

copyright Robert Jensen 2002
http://uts.cc.utexas.edu/~rjensen/freelance/pornography&masculinity.htm

Clamor magazine, September/October 2002, pp. 54-59.
http://www.clamormagazine.org/issue16.html

by Robert Jensen

Before we get to the debates about how to define pornography, or whether
pornography and sexual violence are connected, or how the First Amendment
should apply to pornography, let's stop to ponder something more basic:

What does the existence of a multi-billion-dollar pornography industry
Say about us, about men?

More specifically, what does "Blow Bang #4" say?

This is what pornography looks like

"Blow Bang #4" was in the "mainstream" section of a local adult video
store. For a research project on the content of contemporary mass-marketed
pornography, I asked the folks who work there to help me pick out typical
videos rented by the typical customer. One of the 15 tapes I left with
Was "Blow Bang #4."

"Blow Bang #4" is: Eight different scenes in which a woman kneels in the
middle of a group of three to eight men and performs oral sex on them. At
the end of each scene, each of the men ejaculates onto the woman's face
Or into her mouth. To borrow from the description on the video box, the
Video consists of: "Dirty little bitches surrounded by hard throbbing cocks.
And they like it."

In one of these scenes, a young woman dressed as a cheerleader is
Surrounded by six men. For about seven minutes, "Dynamite" (the name she
gives on tape) methodically moves from man to man while they offer insults
that start with "you little cheerleading slut" and get uglier from there.
For another minute and a half, she sits upside down on a couch, her head
hanging over the edge, while men thrust into her mouth, causing her to gag.
She strikes the pose of the bad girl to the end. "You like coming on my
pretty little face, don't you," she says, as they ejaculate on her face and
in her mouth for the final two minutes of the scene.

Five men have finished. The sixth steps up. As she waits for him to
ejaculate onto her face, now covered with semen, she closes her eyes
Tightly and grimaces. For a moment, her face changes; it is difficult to
read her emotions, but it appears she may cry. After the last man, number
six, ejaculates, she regains her composure and smiles. Then the narrator off
camera hands her the pom-pom she had been holding at the beginning of the
tape and says, "Here's your little cum mop, sweetheart -- mop up." She
buries her face in the pom-pom. The screen fades, and she is gone.

You can rent "Blow Bang #4" for $3 at the store I visited, or buy it
Online for $19.95. Or if you like, you can track down one of the other six
tapes in the "Blow Bang" series. "If you love seeing one girl sucking on a
bunch of cocks at one time, then this is the series for you," a reviewer
says. "The camera work is great."

Even a cursory review of pornography reveals that great camera work is
not a requirement for success. "Blow Bang #4" is one of 11,000 new hardcore
pornographic videos released each year, one of 721 million tapes rented
Each year in a country where total pornographic video sales and rentals
total about $4 billion annually.

Pornography's profits rely not on quality of camera work but on the
Ability to produce erections in men quickly. There are many pornographic
videos less harsh than "Blow Bang #4," and some that push much further into
"extreme" territory with overt violence and sadomasochism. The company that
Produces the "Blow Bang" series, Armageddon Productions, boasts on one of
its websites that "Vivid Sucks/Armageddon Fucks," taking a shot at the
reputation of Vivid, one of the industry leaders that is known for tamer
videos with slicker production values, or in Vivid's own words, "quality
erotic film entertainment for the couples market."

This is what quality erotic film entertainment for the couples market
Looks like

"Delusional," a Vivid release in 2000, is another of the 15 tapes I
viewed. In its final sex scene, the lead male character (Randy) professes
his love for the female lead (Lindsay). After discovering that her husband
had been cheating on her, Lindsay had been slow to get into another
relationship, waiting for the right man -- a sensitive man -- to come along.
It looked as if Randy was the man. "I'll always be here for you no matter
what," Randy tells her. "I just want to look out for you." Lindsay lets down
her defenses, and they embrace.

After about three minutes of kissing and removing their clothes, Lindsay
begins oral sex on Randy while on her knees on the couch, and he then
performs oral sex on her while she lies on the couch. They then have
intercourse, with Lindsay saying, "Fuck me, fuck me, please" and "I have
Two fingers in my ass -- do you like that?" This leads to the usual
Progression of positions: She is on top of him while he sits on the couch,
and then he enters her vaginally from behind before he asks, "Do you want me
to fuck you in the ass?" She answers in the affirmative; "Stick it in my
ass," she says. After two minutes of anal intercourse, the scene ends with
him masturbating and ejaculating on her breasts.

Which is the most accurate description of what contemporary men in the
United States want sexually, Armageddon or Vivid? The question assumes a
significant difference between the two; the answer is that both express
The same sexual norm. "Blow Bang #4" begins and ends with the assumption
that women live for male pleasure and want men to ejaculate on them.
"Delusional" begins with the idea that women want something more caring in a
man, but ends with her begging for anal penetration and ejaculation. One is
cruder, the other slicker. Both represent a single pornographic mindset, in
which male pleasure defines sex and female pleasure is a derivate of male
pleasure. In pornography, women just happen to love exactly what men love
To do to them, and what men love to do in pornography is to control and use,
which allows the men who watch pornography to control and use as well.

When I do public talks on pornography and the feminist critique of the
commercial sex industry, I describe -- but do not show -- these kinds of
videos. I explain the other conventions of the industry, such as "double
penetration," the common practice in which a woman is penetrated by two
men' s penises, vaginally and anally, at the same time, and in some of those
scenes the woman also performs oral sex on a third man at the same time.
I explain that virtually every sex scene ends with a man or men ejaculating
onto a woman, most often in the face, what the industry calls a "facial."

Many of the people in the audience, particularly the women, tell me that
they find it difficult to hear about these things, even when the acts are
described with the kind of clinical detachment I try to maintain. One
Woman approached me after a lecture and said, "What you said was important,
but I wish I hadn't been here. I wish I didn't know what you told us. I wish
I could forget it."

For many of the women who feel so defeated by knowing, the most
Distressing part doesn't seem to be simply learning what is in the videos
but knowing that men gain pleasure from what is in the videos. They ask me,
over and over, "Why do men like this? What do you guys get from this?" They
want to know why the mostly male consumers spend an estimated $10 billion a
year on pornography in the United States and $56 billion around the world.

It is an important question with, no doubt, complex answers. What does is
say about our society when men will take home a tape like "Blow Bang #4"
And watch it, and masturbate to it. What does it say about our society's
conception of sexuality and masculinity that large numbers of men can
Find pleasure in watching a young woman gag while a penis is pushed into her
throat followed by six men ejaculating on her face and in her mouth? Or
That other men, who might find that scene too extreme, prefer to watch one
man have sex with a woman that begins with tender words and ends with "Do
you want me to fuck you in the ass?" and ejaculation on her breasts? What
Does it say that such a video, made for men to masturbate to, is considered
classy and upscale?

I think it says masculinity in this culture is in trouble.

A footnote: Why has the feminist critique of pornography been attacked so
strenuously?

There are many points in the pornography debate on which reasonable
People can disagree. Legal strategies raise important issues about freedom
and responsibility, and definitive connections between media consumption and
human behavior are always difficult to establish. More generally,
Sexuality is a complex phenomenon in which wide human variation makes
universal claims suspect.

But the feminist critique inspires an apoplectic reaction from
pornography's defenders that, to me, has always seemed over the top. The
political debate that the critique set off, both within feminism and in the
wider culture, seems unusually intense. From my experience of writing and
speaking publicly, I can be fairly certain that what little I have written
here so far will cause some readers to condemn me as a sexual fascist or a
prude.

One obvious reason for the strength of these denunciations is that
pornographers make money, hence there is a profit motive in moving
Quickly with maximal force to marginalize or eliminate criticism of the
industry. But the more important reason, I believe, is that at some level
everyone knows that the feminist critique of pornography is about more than
pornography. It encompasses a critique of the way "normal" men in this
culture have learned to experience sexual pleasure -- and the ways in
Which women and children learn to accommodate that and/or suffer its
consequences. That critique is not just a threat to the pornography industry
or to the personal collections that men have stashed in their closets, but
to everyone. The feminist critique asks a simple but devastating question of
men: "Why is this sexually pleasurable to you, and what kind of person
Does that make you?" And because heterosexual women live with men and men's
sexual desire, those women can't escape the question -- either in terms
Of the desire of their boyfriends, partners, and husbands, or the way they
Have come to experience sexuality. That takes us way beyond magazines,
movies, and computer screens, to the heart of who we are and how we live
sexually and emotionally. That scares people. It probably should scare us.
It has always scared me.


Another footnote: What is the feminist critique of pornography?

The feminist critique of pornography emerged from the wider movement
Against sexual violence in the late 1970s. The previous moral debate about
Obscenity between liberals and conservatives had pitted the critics of
"dirty pictures" against the defenders of "sexual liberation." The feminist
critics shifted the discussion to the ways in which pornography
Eroticizes domination and subordination. Those critics identified the harms
to women and children that are connected to pornography, including the harm:
(1) to the women and children used in the production of pornography;
(2) to women and children who have pornography forced on them;
(3) to women and children who are sexually assaulted by men who use
pornography; and
(4) in living in a culture in which pornography reinforces and sexualizes
women's subordinate status.

There is much more to say about it, but that should suffice for now.

Troubled masculinity

The focus of my work, and the feminist anti-pornography movement more
generally, has been the harm to women and children. But that movement has
long understood that coming to terms with the violence, sexual violence,
sexualized violence, and violence-by-sex that are endemic in this culture
requires the we confront masculinity. Just as we have come to see that
racism is a problem of white people, we can say that sexual abuse and
violence are problems of men. Just as we can start to deal with the
pathological nature of the culture's conception of whiteness, so also we
Can start to come to terms with the pathological nature of masculinity.

The traditional traits associated with masculinity in this culture are
control, domination, toughness, hyper-competitiveness, emotional
repression, aggressiveness, and violence. A common insult that boys hurl at
each other is the accusation of being a girl, a being who lacks strength. No
insult on the playground is worse than being called a girl, except perhaps
being called a "fag," a derivative of girl. Feminism and other progressive
movements have tried to change that definition of masculinity, but it has
proved to be difficult to dislodge.

Not surprisingly, pornography reflects that conception of masculinity;
Men generally are trained to view sex as a realm of life in which men are
naturally dominant and women's sexuality should conform to men's needs.
Like any system, there is variation both in how this plays out and how
Specific men experience it. To point out patterns of male dominance in
Socialization and behavior is not to say every man is a rapist. Let me
repeat: I am not asserting that every man is a rapist. Now that I have said
that, I can be sure of only one thing: Some men who read this will say,
"This guy is one of those radical feminists who believes every man is a
rapist."

So, let me put this in the first person: I was born in the United States
In 1958, the post-Playboy generation. I was taught a very specific sexual
grammar, which Catharine MacKinnon has succinctly summarized: "Man fucks
woman; subject verb object." In the world in which I learned about sex,
Sex was the acquisition of pleasure by the taking of women. In the locker
room, the question was not, "Did you and your girlfriend find a way to feel
passionate and close last night?" but "Did you get any last night?" What
does one get? One gets "a piece of ass." What kind of relationship can
One have to a piece of ass? Subject, verb, object.

Now, maybe I had an idiosyncratic upbringing. Maybe the sex education I
got -- on the street, in pornography -- was different than what most men
learn. Maybe what I was taught about being a man -- on the street, in the
locker room -- was an aberration. But I have spent a lot of time talking
To men about this, and I don't think so.

My approach to all this is simple: Masculinity is a bad idea, for
everyone, and it's time to get rid of it. Not reform it, but eliminate it.


Masculinity, not

While most everyone agrees masculinity needs to change, few are
Interested in eliminating it. Take the "real men don't rape" campaigns. As a
Response to men's violence, those campaigns ask men to think about
redefining what a "real man" is. It's hard to disagree with the goal of
reducing men's violence, and one can see how as a short-term strategy it
might work. But I don't want to redefine masculinity. I don't want to
identify any set of traits that adhere to being biologically male. I want to
get rid of masculinity.

But wait, some might say. Just because at this point the traits assigned
To men are pretty ugly doesn't mean we can't assign different traits. How
About redefining masculinity as being sensitive and caring? What's wrong
with that? There is nothing wrong with asking men to be more caring, but the
question raised is obvious: Why are those specifically masculine traits?
Are they not human traits we might want everyone to share? If so, why label
Them a feature of masculinity?

Real men, in this sense, would be like real women. We would all be real
people. Traits would not adhere to biological categories. But once we
Start playing the masculinity/femininity game, the goal has to be to find
some things that men are and women aren't, or vice versa. Otherwise, there
is no sense to assigning the same qualities to two groups and pretending
that the qualities are masculine and feminine, male and female. If that is
the case, they are human traits, present or absent in people to varying
degrees but not rooted in biology. The fact that we still want to assign
them to sex categories shows only how desperate we are to hang onto the
notion that the sex categories are indicators of inherent social and
psychological attributes.

In other words, so long as there is masculinity, we're in trouble. We can
mitigate the trouble in some ways, but it seems to me much better to get
Out of trouble than consciously deciding to stay stuck in it.


"Blow Bang" revisited, or why pornography makes me so sad, part I
Like many men in this culture, I used pornography through my childhood
And early adult years. But in the dozen years that I have been researching
And writing about pornography and the feminist critique, I have seen
Relatively little pornography, and then only in very controlled settings.
Five years ago, a co-author and I did an analysis of pornographic videos
that required more exposure to pornography than I had had in many years, and
my reaction to the material took me by surprise. I found myself struggling
to understand the sexual arousal I felt while watching, and it took me some
time to deal emotionally with the brutality of the material and my sexual
reaction to it.

When I undertook this recent project, a replication of the earlier work
To look for changes in the industry, I was prepared to deal with my physical
reactions to the tapes. I had come to understand that it was completely
predictable that I would be aroused by videos, which after all were
Produced specifically for the purpose of arousing people like me. I talked
through things beforehand with my co-author and other friends. I was ready
to do the work, though I wasn't looking forward to it. A friend joked, "Too
bad you can't subcontract this job out to someone who would enjoy it."

I had about 25 hours of tape to watch. I treated the work as any other
scholarly project. I went to work at 8 a.m., setting up in a conference
Room at the university where I work. I had a TV and VCR, with headphones so
That no one in adjoining rooms would be bothered by the sound. I typed notes
Into my laptop computer. I took a lunch break. At the end of a long day, I
put the tools of the task away and went home for dinner.

I was alternately aroused and bored by the tapes -- predictable given how
intensely sexual, and at the same time rigidly formatted, the genre is. I
was prepared for both of those reactions. What I wasn't prepared for was
The deep sadness I felt during the viewing. During that weekend and for days
afterward I was flooded with a wild range of intense emotions and a deep
sense of despair.

I assume this was partly due to the intensity of watching so much
pornography in such concentrated form. Men usually view pornography in
Short bursts to achieve a sexual result; pornography is primarily a
Masturbation facilitator. I suspect men rarely watch an entire videotape,
given the heavy use of the fast-forward button. If men finish their
masturbation before the end of the tape, it's likely most don't finish
viewing.

When viewed episodically like that, the sexual pleasure dominates the
experience of consuming pornography. It's difficult to see what lies just
beneath one's erection. But when viewed one after another, in this
Numbing fashion, the pleasure wears off quickly and the underlying ideology
Becomes easier to see. After a few tapes, it becomes difficult not to see
the concentrated woman-hating and subtle (and sometimes not-so-subtle)
Violence that saturates most of these "mainstream" videos. I think that
leads to empathy for the women, something that the typical pornography
consumer doesn 't experience.

Such empathy is a pornographer's nightmare. The men using pornography are
supposed to identify with the men in the video, not the women. If men ask
the question, "Do women really want to be penetrated by two men at the
Same time?" the pornographic game is over. Women must remain less-than-human
If pornography is to work. If women become anything more than -- in the
Words of notorious "extreme" pornography producer Max Hardcore -- a "cock
receptacle," then the men seeking pleasure might stop to ask how it feels
for the real woman in the scene, the woman-who-is-a-person.

"Blow Bang #4" was the sixth tape I had watched that day. By the time I
Put it in the VCR, my body had, for the most part, quit reacting to the
Sexual stimulation. At that point, it would have been difficult not to
wonder how the woman in one scene felt as eight men did their best to make
her gag by grabbing her head and pressing it down on their penis as far as
possible. On tape, the woman said she loved it. Indeed, it's possible that
woman enjoyed it, but I couldn't help but wonder how she felt when it was
over and the cameras were turned off. How would women who watched this feel?
How would women I know feel if it were happening to them? That's not denying
women's autonomy and agency; it's simple empathy, caring about another human
Being and her feelings, trying to understand the experience of another
person.

If empathy is part of what makes us human, and pornography requires that
Men repress empathy, then we have to ask a rather difficult question. While
Men watch pornography, are men human? More on that later.


Why pornography makes me so sad, part II

At the end of the first day's viewing, I was driving home. With no
Warning and no apparent provocation, I began to sob. The images from the
videos flooded over me, especially the young woman in "Blow Bang #4." I
found myself saying to myself, "I don't want to live in this world."

I realized later that the sadness was very selfish. It wasn't at that
Moment primarily about the women in the videos or their pain. I believe that
at that moment, the feeling in me was a reaction to what the videos say
About me, not what they say about women. If pornography helps define what a
man is sexually in this culture, then it's not clear to me how I can live as
a sexual being in this culture.

I live in a world in which men -- lots of men, not just a few isolated,
crazy men -- like to watch and masturbate to images of other men
Ejaculating onto a woman-made-less-than-human. The videos forced me to
remember that at one point in my life, I watched. I am past feeling guilt or
shame about that; my reaction is more about my current struggle to carve out
a place for myself in a world in which being a man is associated with sexual
pleasure at the expense of women. I don't want to always have to fight that
association, in the world or inside my own body.

When I watched those videos, I felt trapped, as if I had no place to be a
man and be a sexual being. I don't want to associate myself with
masculinity, but there is no other obvious place for me to be. I am not a
woman, and I have no interest in being a eunuch. Is there a way to be a
sexual being outside of what the culture tells me I should be?

One possible response: If you don't like it, then create something
different. That is an answer, but not all that useful. Trying to build a
different approach to gender and sex is not a solitary project. I have
allies in that project, but I also have to live in the wider society,
Which constantly pulls me back into the conventional categories. Our
identity is a complex combination of the categories that the society we live
in creates, of how the people around us define us, and of who we actively
will ourselves to be. We do not create ourselves in isolation; we cannot
will ourselves to be something new, all alone, without help and support.

Another possible response: We could talk honestly about why these images
exist, and why we use them. We could try to answer women's questions:
"Why do men like this? What do you guys get from this?"

Do not mistake this for self-indulgence or whining. I am aware that the
people who bear the most serious costs of this sexual system are the
Women and children who are most vulnerable to sexual invasion. As a white
adult male with privilege, my psychological struggles are relatively
Insignificant compared with the pain of those others. I talk about this not
to focus attention on my struggle, but to connect to the collective struggle
Against masculinity. If men are to join in the project of taking apart
masculinity, we must have some sense that we can find an identity to replace
it. If we don't talk about the sadness and fear that come with this
struggle, masculinity has nothing to worry about. It will endure in its
present form. Men will keep marching off to war. Men will keep slamming into
each other's bodies on the football field. And "Blow Bang #4, and perhaps
someday #104, will keep doing a brisk business at the adult video store.


The humanity of men

To be clear: I don't hate men. I don't hate myself. I am talking about
masculinity, not the state of being a male human. I am talking about
men's behavior.

Feminists are often accused of hating men. Radical feminists in the
anti-pornography movement are accused of being the most man-hating of the
feminists. And Andrea Dworkin is typically held up as the most fanatical
Of the fanatics, the ultimate castrating feminist. I have read Dworkin's
work, and I do not think she hates men. Neither does she. Here's what
Dworkin has written about men:

"I don't believe rape is inevitable or natural. If I did, I would have no
reason to be here [speaking to a conference of men]. If I did, my
Political practice would be different than it is. Have you ever wondered why
we are not just in armed combat against you? It's not because there's a
shortage of kitchen knives in this country. It is because we believe in your
humanity, against all the evidence."

Feminists believe in the humanity of men, against all the evidence of
Rape and battering and harassment, of discrimination and dismissal. That
faith in men's humanity is true of every woman -- heterosexual and lesbian
-- I have met and worked with in movements against sexual violence and the
Commercial sex industry. They are women who have no illusions about the way
the world works, yet still they believe in the humanity of men. They believe
in it more deeply, I suspect, than I do. There are days when I have my
doubts. But indulging such doubt is a luxury of privilege. Dworkin reminds
men of that, of how hiding behind our shame about what we do is cowardly:

"[Women] do not want to do the work of helping you to believe in your
humanity. We cannot do it anymore. We have always tried. We have been
Repaid with systematic exploitation and systematic abuse. You are going to
have to do this yourselves from now on and you know it."

Maybe a first step is identifying the markers of humanity. Here's the
beginning of my list: Compassion and passion, solidarity and
self-respect, the ability to love and the willingness to struggle. Add your
own to it. Then ask this question:

Can we men acknowledge our humanity if we find sexual pleasure in
Watching three men penetrate a woman orally, vaginally, and anally at the
same time? Can we and live our humanity to the fullest if we find sexual
pleasure in watching eight men ejaculate onto a woman's face and into her
mouth? Can we masturbate to those images and truly believe they have no
effect beyond the rise and fall of our penises in that moment? Even if you
believe that such sexual "fantasies" have no effect in the world outside our
heads, what does that pleasure say about our humanity?

Brothers, this matters. Please don't let yourself off easy right now.
Don't ignore that question and start arguing about whether or not we can
really define pornography. Don't start explaining that social scientists
have not yet established a definitive link between pornography and sexual
violence. And please, don't begin explaining how it's important to defend
Pornography because you really are defending free speech.

No matter how important you think those questions are, right now I am not
asking those questions. I am asking you to think about what it means to
be a
human being. Please don't ignore the question. I need you to ask it.
Women
need you to ask it, too.

What I am not saying

I am not telling women how to feel or what to do. I am not accusing them
Of having false consciousness or being dupes of patriarchy. I am not talking
To women. I am speaking to men. Women, you have your own struggles and your
Own debates among yourselves. I want to be an ally in those struggles, but I
stand outside of them.

What I am saying

I do not stand outside of masculinity. I am stuck in the middle of it,
fighting for my life. I need help, not from women but from other men. I
cannot resist masculinity alone; it must be a project we undertake
together. And Dworkin is right; we have to do it ourselves. Women have been
kind to us, kinder perhaps than is in their own interests, no doubt kinder
than we deserve. We cannot rely on the kindness of women any longer; it is
not inexhaustible, and it is not fair or just to continue to exploit it.

Here are some ways we can start resisting masculinity:

We can stop glorifying violence and we can reject its socially sanctioned
forms, primarily in the military and the sports world. We can make peace
heroic. We can find ways to use and enjoy our bodies in play without
watching each other crumble to the ground in pain after a "great hit."

We can stop providing the profits for activities that deny our own
humanity, hurt other people, and make sexual justice impossible:
pornography, strip bars, prostitution, sex tourism. There is no justice in a
world in which some bodies can be bought and sold.

We can take seriously the feminist critique of sexual violence, not just
By agreeing that rape and battering are bad, but by holding each other
accountable and not looking the other way when our friends do it. And,
Just as important, we can ask ourselves how the sexual ethic of male
dominance plays out in our own intimate relationships, and then ask our
partners how it looks to them.

If we do those things, the world will be a better place not just for the
people who currently suffer because of our violence, but for us. If you
Are not moved by arguments about justice and the humanity of others, then be
moved by the idea that you can help make a better world for yourself. If
You cannot take the pain of others seriously, then take seriously your own
pain, your own hesitations, your own sense of unease about masculinity. You
Feel it; I know you do. I have never met a man who didn't feel uneasy about
masculinity, who didn't feel that in some way he wasn't living up to what
It meant to be a man. There's a reason for that: Masculinity is a fraud;
it's a trap. None of us is man enough.

There are men who know this, more men than will admit it. We are looking
For each other. We are gathering. We search each other's eyes with hope.
"Can I trust you?" we ask silently. Can I trust myself? In the end, will we
both get scared and rush back to masculinity, to what we know? In the end,
Will we both reach for "Blow Bang #4"?

In a world full of the pain that comes with being alive -- death and
disease, disappointment and distress -- being a human being is hard
enough. Let's not add to our troubles by trying to be men. Let's not add to
the suffering of others.

Let's stop trying to be men. Let's struggle to be human beings.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Robert Jensen, an associate professor of journalism at the University of
Texas at Austin, is the author of Writing Dissent: Taking Radical Ideas
from
the Margins to the Mainstream and co-author of Pornography: The
Production
and Consumption of Inequality . He can be reached at
rjensen at uts.cc.utexas.edu.


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Women constitute half the world's population, perform nearly two-thirds of
its work hours, receive one-tenth of the world's income, and own less than
one-hundredth of the world's property. (UN Report 1980)





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