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Moham Monifi
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Moham Monifi

Feminism  - 
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Rape  - 
A Natural History of Rape by Thornhill and Palmer is grounded in Darwinian theory. The authors argue that rape is a sexually motivated behavior, not an act of power and control. Rape is viewed as adaptation to historical environmental changes, although the two authors do not agree as to whether rape is an adaptation designed to increase males’ reproductive success or whether it is an adaptational by-product that facilitates males’ access to consenting females. Both authors do agree, however, that the rape adaptation in human males is psychological. As support, they use the example of male scorpionflies who have a notal organ (clamp) located on the top of their abdomen that, as far as the authors can tell, was designed specifically for rape. This organ is only used to gain sexual access to unwilling female scorpionflies when males have no nuptial gift (hardened salvia or a dead insect). Human males do not have a similar rape organ, but the authors argue that the rape adaptation is found in the male psyche.
However, it is not only the male psyche that leads to rape. Thornhill and Palmer spend Chapter 2 discussing the evolution of sex differences that create an environment conducive to male rape. In short, in this environment females control access to what males want—sex—for whatever purpose—copulation or reproduction. It was this situation that set the conditions for male competition for voluntary sexual access to females or involuntary sexual access in the form of rape. While the two authors do not agree which of two competing evolutionary hypotheses is correct—that rape is a byproduct of men’s adaptation for the pursuit of casual sex with many partners, or that rape is an adaptation in and of itself—they do view rape as being centered in men’s evolved sexuality. Their argument seems to be that under the right set of environmental conditions, all men will rape. As a social scientist I do not believe that all men will rape, and if I were a man I would find this book highly offensive. Thornhill and Palmer argue that if females were less discriminating and agreeable to more sexual activity with males, there would be no need for the rape adaptation. Likewise, if males were more discriminating and desired only sexual intercourse with consenting females, rape would not be needed. The only reasons human males rape—and they argue that rape is a male-only phenomena—is that the evolutionary selection process favored one adaptation over another.
As Darwinists, these authors see themselves as having the only valid explanation of rape. Throughout the book they dismiss social science and feminist theories and research as being nonscientific. Because of this assertion, the authors propose that rape prevention programs should direct attention to the sexual dimensions of rape rather than to the theory of power and control proposed by feminists and many social scientists. The authors propose in Chapter 8 that schools develop rape prevention programs that teach males about their sexuality and how they must learn to control their natural sexual impulses to prevent themselves from raping. They offer some possible incentives such as “take the course or you don’t get a driver’s license.”
However, if males rape because women deny them access to sex whenever and with whomever they desire it, then females must be educated about the differences between male and female sexuality. The authors propose that females, separately from males, also be required to take a rape prevention course. The course would focus on learning about males’ natural sexual impulses, which under certain conditions lead to rape, and the females’ responsibility for preventing this. What are their suggestions for females? Avoid dress, behavior and situations that increase the risk of rape. In Chapter 10, the authors propose some age-old and modern-day practices. These include separate bathrooms, chaperoned activities, self-defense for women and programs that teach both males and females the dangers of the two sexes being alone in isolated and private areas. The authors quote an evolutionary anthropologist from New Guinea: “Men and women both assume that if a young woman is encountered in an isolated area by a man who is not closely related, that man will rape her” (p. 186). This type of thinking reinforces the belief that if women are raped it is their fault.
For those in the criminal justice system, Thornhill and Palmer note that rape may be entirely based on biology, but men can consciously choose not to rape. They argue that rape could be prevented if laws and punishments treated it as having only a sexual origin. The authors suggest that incarceration is a good deterrent because it removes young males from the competition at a critical period in their development. Monetary penalties that reduce their social status and thus their attractiveness to females would also be good deterrents. Acknowledging that modern societies, for ethical reasons, would oppose literal castration, the authors advocate for the use of chemical castration and hormonal treatments that reduce sexual drive. They view current treatments and penalties that do not consider rape a sexual act as doomed to failure. I, however, do not see the treatment model for sex offenders proposed by Thornhill and Palmer as a viable alternative to current programs that emphasize the importance of cognitive, behavioral, and emotional components as well as the sexual aspect.
As a social scientist, feminist and woman I found this book offensive, as I believe will most men and women who do not agree that all men, given the opportunity, will rape and that women play a role in their rape victimization. The tone of the book is also extremely condescending with respect to the social sciences. For example, the authors state that “not only is the bulk of the social science literature of rape clearly indifferent to scientific standards; many of the studies exhibit overt hostility toward biological approaches. The message of these studies is clearly political rather than scientific” (p. 148). This is only one of numerous “put downs” of social science and feminist studies of rape.
Further, from this reviewer’s perspective, Thornhill’s and Palmer’s book is seriously flawed. First, the book does not provide convincing answers to such questions as why men rape, how rape can be prevented, and what the penalties and treatments should be. There are too many equally or more plausible explanations for rape than those derived from Darwinian theory. Throughout the book the authors criticize and dismiss feminist and social science explanations of rape and related research. Their view of culture and learning is that an individual’s cultural behavior is merely a product of environmentally-related genetic adaptations. It was in opposition to this narrow view of human behavior that social science and feminist theories and corresponding research emerged. Thornhill and Palmer would have us return to the days of Darwinism, yet provide less than convincing data to support their position. Most examples used to support their view come from the insect world, with very few references to primates, such as apes and monkeys, to which humans are more closely related in the evolutionary chain. The few cited studies that make use of human populations are flawed and based on nonrepresentative samples.
In addition, the book presents an image of all males as little more than sexual predators who must be controlled by environments that prevent them from raping. This means that females must be continuously on their guard so as not to excite males sexually and, likewise, not place themselves in situations where they can be raped. This line of reasoning returns us to the “blame the victim” attitude that feminists have so long fought to eradicate and replace with an attitude of “perpetrator responsibility.”
The Darwinian theory used by these authors has as a premise the idea that only males can rape. The definition of rape used by the authors is: “an event that occurred without the woman’s consent, involved use of force or threat of force, and involved sexual penetration of the victim’s vagina, mouth or rectum”—but both males and females can rape and be raped, and more than a penis can be used to accomplish rape. A weakness of the book is that the authors do not pursue or present their theory with any in-depth consideration of these points.
As a social scientist concerned with sound scientific research as well as finding ethical and sensible strategies for rape prevention, intervention and deterrence, I would not recommend this book to those who share these concerns. Thornhill and Palmer’s book is extremely egocentric, touting Darwinism as offering the sine qua non explanation for rape. They dismiss as inconsequential all feminist and social science theory and research because it highlights power and control factors rather than the sexual dimension of rape. While not all rapists may be motivated by a desire for power and control, certainly not all rapists are sexually motivated. The thinking advocated in A Natural History of Rape would return us to the days when social policies and the justice system were based primarily on the belief that biology is destiny. If you share this perspective, this book is for you.
Sharon K. Araji is Professor of Sociology at the University of Alaska Anchorage.
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Moham Monifi

Porngraphy  - 

Pornography Happens to Women

by Andrea Dworkin
Copyright © 1993, 1994 by Andrea Dworkin.
All rights reserved.
[Andrea Dworkin delivered this speech at a conference entitled "Speech, Equality and Harm: Feminist Legal Perspectives on Pornography and Hate Propaganda" at the University of Chicago Law School March 6, 1993.]

For twenty years, people that you know and people that you do not know inside the women's movement, with its great grass-roots breadth and strength, have been trying to communicate something very simple: pornography happens. It happens. Lawyers, call it what you want--call it speech, call it act, call it conduct. Catharine A. MacKinnon and I called it a practice when we described it in the antipornography civil-rights ordinance that we drafted for the City of Minneapolis in 1983; but the point is that it happens. It happens to women, in real life. Women's lives are made two-dimensional and dead. We are flattened on the page or on the screen. Our vaginal lips are painted purple for the consumer to clue him in as to where to focus his attention such as it is. Our rectums are highlighted so that he knows where to push. Our mouths are used and our throats are used for deep penetration.
I am describing a process of dehumanization, a concrete means of changing someone into something. We are not talking about violence yet; we are nowhere near violence.
Dehumanization is real. It happens in real life; it happens to stigmatized people. It has happened to us, to women. We say that women are objectified. We hope that people will think that we are very smart when we use a long word. But being turned into an object is a real event; and the pornographic object is a particular kind of object. It is a target. You are turned into a target. And red or purple marks the spot where he's supposed to get you.
This object wants it. She is the only object with a will that says, hurt me. A car does not say, bang me up. But she, this nonhuman thing, says hurt me--and the more you hurt me, the more I will like it.
When we look at her, that purple painted thing, when we look at her vagina, when we look at her rectum, when we look at her mouth, when we look at her throat, those of us who know her and those of us who have been her still can barely remember that she is a human being.
In pornography we literally see the will of women as men want to experience it. This will is expressed through concrete scenarios, the ways in which women's bodies are positioned and used. We see, for instance, that the object wants to be penetrated; and so there is a motif in pornography of self-penetration. A woman takes some thing and she sticks it up herself. There is pornography in which pregnant women for some reason take hoses and stick the hoses up themselves. This is not a human being. One cannot look at such a photograph and say, There is a human being, she has rights, she has freedom, she has dignity, she is someone. One cannot. That is what pornography does to women.
We talk about fetishism in sex. * Psychologists have always made that mean, for example, a man who ejaculates to or on a shoe. The shoe can be posed as it were on a table far from the man. He is sexually excited; he masturbates, maybe rubs up against the shoe; he has sex "with" the shoe. In pornography, that is what happens to a woman's body: she is turned into a sexual fetish and the lover, the consumer, ejaculates on her. In the pornography itself, he does ejaculate on her. It is a convention of pornography that the sperm is on her, not in her. It marks the spot, what he owns and how he owns it. The ejaculation on her is a way of saying (through showing) that she is contaminated with his dirt; that she is dirty. This is the pornographer's discourse, not mine; the Marquis de Sade always refers to ejaculate as pollution.
Pornographers use every attribute any woman has. They sexualize it. They find a way to dehumanize it. This is done in concrete ways so that, for instance, in pornography the skin of black women is taken to be a sexual organ, female of course, despised, needing punishment. The skin itself is the fetish, the charmed object; the skin is the place where the violation is acted out--through verbal insult (dirty words directed at the skin) and sexualized assault (hitting, whipping, cutting, spitting on, bondage including rope burns, biting, masturbating on, ejaculating on).
In pornography, this fetishizing of the female body, its sexualization and dehumanization, is always concrete and specific; it is never abstract and conceptual. That is why all these debates on the subject of pornography have such a bizarre quality to them. Those of us who know that pornography hurts women, and care, talk about women's real lives, insults and assaults that really happen to real women in real life--the women in the pornography and the women on whom the pornography is used. Those who argue for pornography, especially on the ground of freedom of speech, insist that pornography is a species of idea, thought, fantasy, situated inside the physical brain, the mind, of the consumer no less.
In fact we are told all the time that pornography is really about ideas. Well, a rectum doesn't have an idea, and a vagina doesn't have an idea, and the mouths of women in pornography do not express ideas; and when a woman has a penis thrust down to the bottom of her throat, as in the film Deep Throat, that throat is not part of a human being who is involved in discussing ideas. I am talking now about pornography without visible violence. I am talking about the cruelty of dehumanizing someone who has a right to more.
In pornography, everything means something. I have talked to you about the skin of black women. The skin of white women has a meaning in pornography. In a white-supremacist society, the skin of white women is supposed to indicate privilege. Being white is as good as it gets. What, then, does it mean that pornography is filled with white women? It means that when one takes a woman who is at the zenith of the hierarchy in racial terms and one asks her, What do you want?, she, who supposedly has some freedom and some choices, says, I want to be used. She says, use me, hurt me, exploit me, that is what I want. The society tells us that she is a standard, a standard of beauty, a standard of womanhood and femininity. But, in fact, she is a standard of compliance. She is a standard of submission. She is a standard for oppression, its emblem; she models oppression, she incarnates it; which is to say that she does what she needs to do in order to stay alive, the configuration of her conformity predetermined by the men who like to ejaculate on her white skin. She is for sale. And so what is her white skin worth? It makes her price a little higher.
When we talk about pornography that objectifies women, we are talking about the sexualization of insult, of humiliation; I insist that we are also talking about the sexualization of cruelty. And this is what I want to say to you--that there is cruelty that does not have in it overt violence.
There is cruelty that says to you, you are worth nothing in human terms. There is cruelty that says you exist in order for him to wipe his penis on you , that's who you are, that's what you are for. I say that dehumanizing someone is cruel; and that it does not have to be violent in order for it to be cruel.
Things are done to women day in and day out that would be construed to be violent if they were done in another context, not sexualized, to a man; women are pushed, shoved, felt up, called dirty names, have their passage physically blocked on the street or in the office; women simply move on, move through, unless the man escalates the violence to what the larger patriarchal world takes to be real violence: ax murder; sadistic stranger rape or gang rape; serial killing not of prostitutes. The touching, the pushing, the physical blockades--these same invasions done to men would be comprehended as attacks. Done to women, people seem to think it's bad but it's okay, it's bad but it's all right, it's bad but, hey, that's the way things are; don't make a federal case out of it. It occurs to me that we have to deal here--the heart of the double standard--with the impact of orgasm on our perception of what hatred is and is not.
Men use sex to hurt us. An argument can be made that men have to hurt us, diminish us, in order to be able to have sex with us--break down barriers to our bodies, aggress, be invasive, push a little, shove a little, express verbal or physical hostility or condescension. An argument can be made that in order for men to have sexual pleasure with women, we have to be inferior and dehumanized, which means controlled, which means less autonomous, less free, less real.
I am struck by how hate speech, racist hate speech, becomes more sexually explicit as it becomes more virulent--how its meaning becomes more sexualized, as if the sex is required to carry the hostility. In the history of anti-Semitism, by the time one gets to Hitler's ascendance to power in the Weimar Republic, one is looking at anti-Semitic hate speech that is indistinguishable from pornography ** --and it is not only actively published and distributed, it is openly displayed. What does that orgasm do? That orgasm says, I am real and the lower creature, that thing, is not, and if the annihilation of that thing brings me pleasure, that is the way life should be; the racist hierarchy becomes a sexually charged idea. There is a sense of biological inevitability that comes from the intensity of a sexual response derived from contempt; there is biological urgency, excitement, anger, irritation, a tension that is satisfied in humiliating and belittling the inferior one, in words, in acts. *
We wonder, with a tendentious ignorance, how it is that people believe bizarre and transparently false philosophies of biological superiority. One answer is that when racist ideologies are sexualized, turned into concrete scenarios of dominance and submission such that they give people sexual pleasure, the sexual feelings in themselves make the ideologies seem biologically true and inevitable. The feelings seem to be natural; no argument changes the feelings; and the ideologies, then, also seem to be based in nature. People defend the sexual feelings by defending the ideologies. They say: my feelings are natural so if I have an orgasm from hurting you, or feel excited just by thinking about it, you are my natural partner in these feelings and events--your natural role is whatever intensifies my sexual arousal, which I experience as self-importance, or potency; you are nothing but you are my nothing, which makes me someone; using you is my right because being someone means that I have the power--the social power, the economic power, the imperial sovereignty--to do to you or with you what I want.
This phenomenon of feeling superior through a sexually reified racism is always sadistic; its purpose is always to hurt. Sadism is a dynamic in every expression of hate speech. In the use of a racial epithet directed at a person, for instance, there is a desire to hurt--to intimidate, to humiliate; these is an underlying dimension of pushing someone down, subordinating them, making them less. When that hate speech becomes fully sexualized--for instance, in the systematic reality of the pornography industry--a whole class of people exists in order to provide sexual pleasure and a synonymous sense of superiority to another group, in this case men, when that happens, we dare not tolerate that being called freedom.
The problem for women is that being hurt is ordinary. It happens every day, all the time, somewhere to someone, in every neighborhood, on every street, in intimacy, in crowds; women are being hurt. We count ourselves lucky when we are only being humiliated and insulted. We count ourselves goddamn lucky when whatever happens falls short of rape. Those who have been beaten in marriage (a euphemism for torture) also have a sense of what luck is. We are always happy when something less bad happens than what we had thought possible or even likely, and we tell ourselves that if we do not settle for the less bad there is something wrong with us. It is time for us to stop that.
When one thinks about women's ordinary lives and the lives of children, especially female children, it is very hard not to think that one is looking at atrocity--if one's eyes are open. We have to accept that we are looking at ordinary life; the hurt is not exceptional; rather, it is systematic and it is real. Our culture accepts it, defends it, punishes us for resisting it. The hurt, the pushing down, the sexualized cruelty, are intended; they are not accidents or mistakes.
Pornography plays a big part in normalizing the ways in which we are demeaned and attacked, in how humiliating and insulting us is made to look natural and inevitable.
I would like you especially to think about these things. Number one: pornographers use our bodies as their language. Anything they say, they have to use us to say. They do not have that right. They must not have that right. Number two: constitutionally protecting pornography as if it were speech means that there is a new way in which we are legally chattel. If the Constitution protects pornography as speech, our bodies then belong to the pimps who need to use us to say something. They, the humans, have a human right of speech and the dignity of constitutional protection; we, chattel now, moveable property, are their ciphers, their semantic symbols, the pieces they arrange in order to communicate. We are recognized only as the discourse of a pimp. The Constitution is on the side it has always been on: the side of the profit-making property owner even when his property is a person defined as property because of the collusion between law and money, law and power. The Constitution is not ours unless it works for us, especially in providing refuge from exploiters and momentum toward human dignity. Number three: pornography uses those who in the United States were left out of the Constitution. Pornography uses white women, who were chattel. Pornography uses African-American women, who were slaves. Pornography uses stigmatized men; for instance, African-American men, who were slaves, are often sexualized by contemporary pornographers as animalistic rapists. Pornography is not made up of old white men. It isn't. Nobody comes on them. They are doing this to us; or protecting those who do this to us. They do benefit from it; and we do have to stop them.
Think about how marriage controlled women, how women were property under the law; this did not begin to change until the early years of the twentieth century. Think about the control the Church had over women. Think about what a resistance has been going on, and all the trouble you have made for these men who took for granted that you belonged to them. And think about pornography as a new institution of social control, a democratic use of terrorism against all women, a way of saying publicly to every woman who walks down the street: avert your eyes (a sign of second-class citizenship), look down, bitch, because when you look up you're going to see a picture of yourself being hung, you're going to see your legs spread open. That is what you are going to see.
Pornography tells us that the will of women is to be used. And I just want to say that the antipornography civil-rights ordinance that Catharine MacKinnon and I developed in Minneapolis says that the will of women is not to be used; the Ordinance repudiates the premises of the pornography; its eventual use will show in the affirmative that women want equality.
Please note that the Ordinance was developed in Minneapolis, and that its twin city, St. Paul, passed a strong city ordinance against hate crimes; the courts struck down both. I want you to understand that there are some serious pornographers in Minneapolis and some serious racists in St. Paul and some serious citizens in both cities who want the pornography and the racism to stop. The Ordinance that Catharine and I drafted came out of that political culture, a grass-roots, participatory political culture that did not want to tolerate either kind of cruelty toward people.
In the fall of 1983, Catharine and I were asked by a group of neighborhood activists to testify at a local zoning committee meeting. The group represented an area of Minneapolis that was primarily African-American, with a small poor-white population. The City Council kept zoning pornography into their neighborhood. For seven years they had been fighting a host of zoning laws and zoning strategies that allowed pornography to destroy the quality of life around them. The city could write off their neighborhood and others like it because they mostly were not white and they mostly were poor; the pornography was purposefully put in such places and kept out of wealthier, whiter neighborhoods.
These activists came to us and said: we know now that the issue here is woman-hating. That is virtually a direct quote: we know now that the issue here is woman-hating. And we want to do something about it. What can we do?
They knew what to do. The organized MacKinnon and me, that's for sure; and they organized the City of Minneapolis. The whole city was organized on a grass-roots level to stand against the woman-hating in pornography. That was our mandate when we drafted the antipornography civil-rights law; and constituencies of poor people, people of color, were organized in behalf of the lives of women in those communities. A city in the United States was organized by an ever expanding feminist wave of political workers that brought in working class women, current and former prostitutes, academics, out and visible lesbians, students, and, inter alia, a small army of sexual-abuse victims, to demand passage of an amendment to the municipal civil-rights law that recognized pornography as sex discrimination, as a violation of the civil rights of women. This amendment, which MacKinnon and I later redrafted to be a free-standing statute, is commonly called "the Ordinance."
The Ordinance got the massive, committed, excited support it did because it is fair, because it is honest, and because it is on the side of those who have been disenfranchised and oppressed. People mobilized--not from the top down but from the bottom up--to support the Ordinance because it does stand directly in the way of the woman-hating in pornography: the bigotry, the hostility, the aggression, that exploits and targets women. It does this by changing our perceptions of the will of women. It destroys the authority of the pornographers on that subject by putting a law, dignity, real power, meaningful citizenship, in the hands of the women they hurt. No matter how she is despised in the pornography or by the pornographers and their clients, she is respected by this law. Using the Ordinance, women get to say to the pimps and the johns: we are not your colony; you do not own us as if we are territory; my will as expressed through my use of this ordinance is, I don't want it, I don't like it, pain hurts, coercion isn't sexy, I resist being someone else's speech, I reject subordination, I speak, I speak for myself now, I am going into court to speak--to you; and you will listen.
We wanted a law that repudiates what happens to women when pornography happens to women. In general, the legal system's misogyny mimics the pornographers'; abstractly we can call it gender bias, but the legal system incorporates an almost visceral hatred of women's bodies, as if we exist to provoke assaults, like them, lie about them--and are not really injured by them. I have a character in Mercy--named Andrea--who says that you have to be clean to go before the law. ** Now, no women are clean, or clean enough. That is what we find out every time we try to prosecute a rape; we're not clean.
But certainly the women who have been turned into pornography are not clean, and the women being sold on street corners are not clean, and the women who are being battered and pornographized in their homes are not clean. When a woman uses this Ordinance--if a woman ever gets a chance to use this Ordinance--she will not need to be clean to say, with dignity and authority, I am someone, therefore I resist.
When the Minneapolis City Council passed this Ordinance they said, women are someone, women matter, women want to fight back, we will give them what they want. The Minneapolis City Council had an idea of the will of women that contradicted the pornographers'; they got that different idea from the women who came to testify for the Ordinance, especially those who had grounds to use the Ordinance. The Ordinance's clarity and authority derive from the flesh-and-blood experiences of women who want to use it: women whose lives have been savaged by pornography. The Ordinance expresses their will to resist, and the enormous strength, translated into a legal right, of their capacity to endure, to survive.
The woman using the Ordinance will be saying, I am someone who has endured, I have survived, I matter, I know a lot, and what I know matters; it matters, and it is going to matter here in court, you pimp, because I am going to use what I know against you; and you Mr. Consumer, I know about you, and I am going to use what I know even about you, even when you are my teacher, even when you are my father, even when you are my lawyer, my doctor, my brother, my priest. I am going to use what I know.
It was not a surprise to Catharine MacKinnon and myself when, after the Ordinance was passed, the newspapers said--aha, it was a rightwing, fundamentalist achievement. They were saying to us, to MacKinnon and me, you are no one, you can't exist, it could no have been your idea. And it was not a surprise to us when people believed it. We did not like it, but it was not a surprise.
And when the court said to the injured women who wanted to use the Ordinance, you are no one, the pimp is someone, he matters, we are going to protect him, it was not a surprise. And when the court said, the consumer is someone, none of you women are anyone no matter how much you have been hurt but he is someone and we are here for him, that was not a surprise. And it was not a surprise when the court said to women: when you assert your right to equality you are expressing an opinion, a point of view, which we should be debating in the famous marketplace of ideas, not legislating; when you claim you were injured--that rape, that beating, that kidnapping--you have a viewpoint about it, but in and of itself the injury does not signify. And it was not a surprise when the court said that there was a direct relationship between pornography as defined in the Ordinance and injuries to women, including rape and battery, but that relationship does not matter because the court has a viewpoint, which happens to be the same as the pornographers': you women are not worth anything except what we pay for you in that famous free marketplace where we take your actual corporeal reality to be an idea.
None of this was a surprise. Every little tiny bit of it was an outrage.
We wrote the Ordinance for women who had been raped and beaten and prostituted in and because of pornography. They wanted to use it to say, I am someone and I am going to win. We are part of them, we have lived lives as women, we are not exempt or separate from any of this. We wrote the Ordinance in behalf of our own lives, too.
I want to ask you to make certain that women will have a right and a chance to go into a U.S. court of law and say: this is what the pornographers did to me, this is what they took from me and I am taking it back, I am someone, I resist, I am in this court because I resist, I reject their power, their arrogance, their cold-blooded, cold-hearted malice, and I am going to win.
You here today have to make that possible. It has been ten years now. It has been ten years. Count the number of women who have been hurt in those ten years. Count how many of us have been lucky enough to be only insulted and humiliated. Count. We cannot wait another ten years; we need you, we need you now--please, organize. 
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Moham Monifi

Porngraphy  - 
Is porn the new smoking? Our culture seems to be very nonchalant about porn addiction. Here’s an honest look at it. Every Friday my syndicated column appears in a bunch of newspapers in southeastern Ontario and Saskatchewan. This week let’s talk about the slippery slope of our culture. Plane rides as a young child were …
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Moham Monifi

Feminism  - 
The following is taken from Radical Feminism Facebook page.

fun and thoughtful look at women and science from cartoonist Randall Munroe of xkcd.

Polish physicist and chemist Marie Skłodowska-Curie was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize and remains the only person to have won Nobel Prizes in multiple sciences (Physics and Chemistry). For several books for young readers about this incredible scientist and a fun Marie Curie finger puppet, visit A Mighty Girl's "Marie Curie Collection" at

For Mighty Girl books about famous women trailblazers in the sciences, arts, sports and much more, visit our "Biography" collection at

To see more from xkcd, the popular webcomic of "romance, sarcasm, math, and language," visit
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Moham Monifi

Rape  - 
Born to rape?

All men are potential sex criminals, say two evolutionary psychology proponents in a controversial new book.
By Margaret Wertheim

It was a figure I kept hearing again and again: 50 percent of South African women can now expect to be raped sometime during their lives. Everywhere I went on a recent visit to the beautiful troubled city of Cape Town, people were talking about rape. An elderly neighbor of the couple I was staying with — a women in her 80s — had not long before been brutally raped in her home, then bound and gagged and imprisoned in a closet. Her son had found her several days later, and she died soon afterward in the hospital. After hearing several not dissimilar stories and endless accounts of the endemic rape in the squatter camps and black townships, I began to see that the horrific statistic might just be true.
For the past 30 years, rape has been seen as a byproduct of social conditioning and chaos. According to this line of reasoning, the situation in South Africa must be explained by a complex set of factors including the destruction of traditional tribal cultures, 50 years of apartheid and the aftermath of several centuries of colonial oppression. But a new book challenges such sociocultural accounts of rape and asserts that it is a built-in adaption that has evolved naturally because it confers a reproductive advantage on the men who do it.
“A Natural History of Rape: The Biological Basis of Sexual Coercion” sets out a strictly Darwinian view. Writing recently in the Sciences, the authors, biologist Randy Thornhill and anthropologist Craig Palmer, state their position bluntly: “We fervently believe that, just as the leopard’s spots and the giraffe’s elongated neck are the results of aeons of past Darwinian selection, so is rape.” Elsewhere they proclaim: “There is no doubt that rape has evolutionary — and hence genetic — origins.” If so, South Africa must be a hothouse for such genes.
As the latest salvo from the burgeoning “evolutionary psychology” movement, the book is a symptom of an increasingly heated border war — the fight over who controls the intellectual territory of human behavior. Traditionally, the study of what people do and why they do it has been the domain of the social sciences — cultural anthropologists, sociologists, psychologists and political scientists — but increasingly, evolutionary biologists are claiming that the key to human behavior lies not in our culture and social structures but in our biological makeup. In the case of “A Natural History of Rape,” this is more than just a rhetorical battle; our whole approach to rape prevention is potentially at stake.
Ground zero for Thornhill and Palmer is the notion that rape is a strategy for helping males to procreate. Central to their argument is a rather Aristotelian distinction between what they call “ultimate” and “proximate” causes. While they acknowledge there may be social situations that enhance the likelihood of a man raping, according to them these must always be understood as just the immediate or proximate cause of his actions. Underlying all such causes, they say, is the ultimate cause, which is a biologically built-in mechanism. In other words, whatever cultural conditions prevail, the “true” explanation for rape — and in their view the only legitimate explanation — is to be found in a man’s genes.
In support of their evolutionary view, Thornhill and Palmer point out that the majority of rape victims are young women at the peak of their fertility and hence of their child-bearing potential. Why? At great length they explain that Darwinian evolution would have selected for mechanisms in males that would target these young women for rape. Since, in their view, procreation is the “ultimate” goal driving rape, it is only logical that this sexual strategy would focus on women at their reproductive zenith.
To corroborate this view the authors assert that studies have proven that it is women of child-bearing age who suffer the most psychological trauma in the aftermath of rape. Child rape victims and elderly victims supposedly suffer less because, although they have been physically violated, their reproductive potential has not been compromised. To quote: “The more a woman’s reproductive success would have contributed to the genetic success of her mate or her relatives in evolutionary history, the greater the suffering of those individuals is likely to be after she is raped.” It is married women in particular, they say, who suffer most from mental anguish after rape because a married woman risks reprisal or even rejection from her husband and his relatives.
Feminist arguments against all this will be thrashed out at length elsewhere — and rightly so — but what astonishes me as a veteran science writer and someone trained as a physicist, is what mind-bogglingly sloppy science this constitutes. To steal a quip from Anthony Lane, I’ve had bowls of spaghetti that were more tightly structured than this argument.
For a start, although the authors never say so explicitly, their text is suffused with the assumption that U.S. patterns of rape are universal. A 1992 national study they cite reported that 13 percent of American women over the age of 18 say they have been raped. The study did not include any figures for those under 18, but with this group included the total percentage may actually be higher. The same study reports that 29 percent of adult women surveyed were under the age of 11 at the time they were raped. Another study (not cited by the authors) has reported that 45 percent of rape victims were under 16. Since rape of children and teenagers is on the rise, the researchers I spoke with all expressed the view that the overall percentage of rape in America was now higher than 13 percent — perhaps as high as 20 percent, several suggested. But even at 13 percent that’s one in seven women, and this is still far higher than in many other societies, says Peggy Reeve Sanday, an anthropologist at the University of Pennsylvania who is an expert on rape and the author of “A Woman Scorned: Acquaintance Rape” and “Fraternity Gang Rape.”
As the author of a cross-cultural study on rape in 95 different tribal societies, Sanday stresses that its incidence varies wildly from culture to culture and there are many societies in which rape is rare. Far from being the norm, she says, America is one of the most rape-prone of all contemporary cultures. If the biological imperative to rape is as powerful, and as universal, as Thornhill and Palmer insist, why does its frequency vary so much from culture to culture?
Mary Cameron, an anthropologist at Auburn University, points to another flaw in Thornhill and Palmer’s thesis: “It doesn’t begin to account for male-male rape, or incest,” neither of which confer any evolutionary advantage. If, by the authors’ own admission, almost one-third of rapes are inflicted on children under 11, it is hard to see how reproductive imperatives could possibly be responsible.
Anne Fausto-Sterling, a research biologist at Brown University, questions the very foundation of Thornhill and Palmer’s thesis: “If rape is about reproduction,” she says, “then how many rapes end in pregnancy? I’d want to see the data on that.” Such figures are notably absent from “A Natural History of Rape.” And there could well be other explanations for the fact that the majority of rape victims are young women of peak child-bearing age. After all, most rapists are themselves young men and they may simply be raping within their peer group.
Particularly woolly is the authors’ claim that women of child-bearing age suffer from more psychological trauma than children or elderly rape victims. In perhaps the book’s most eyebrow-raising chapter the authors try to convince us that this is a proven fact, but I must say I found their “evidence” entirely underwhelming. Children who have been raped can suffer a lifetime of psychological scarring (in addition to serious physical harm), and an informal poll of my female friends suggests that for many women there are few more traumatic prospects than the thought of being raped in the heightened physical vulnerability of our old age.
Trying to quantify a human being’s anguish and measure it against the suffering of another is the sort of notion that ought to make any sensible scientist run screaming from the room. It’s not just that it’s repugnant to say that a raped 7-year-old feels less pain than a raped 21-year-old, it’s also simply daft to insist that any such “objective” comparison can be made. The whole exercise is reminiscent of medieval attempts to quantify sin.
Furthermore, while the authors are right that married rape victims may indeed fear reprisal from their husbands or relatives, the very fact that the consequences of rape are so much worse in some societies than they are in others indicates that we’re talking about cultural forces here. For example, religious women in Muslim communities probably fear this more than secular women in America; it’s the difference between a fundamentalist and a liberal value system — not biology. Do the authors of “The Natural History of Rape” have any clear understanding of the distinction? Thornhill and Palmer might just as well assert that black men in the Bronx feel nervous around the NYPD because they’re hard-wired to dread authority figures.
All of which raises the question of scientific standards. To quote Fausto-Sterling: “When you make a hypothesis you really need to be able to back that up with data.” Yet data is just what is missing from this book. As with so many other neo-Darwinian accounts of human behavior now being offered by proponents of the new “evolutionary psychology” movement, Thornhill and Palmer’s analysis of rape relies not on hard evidence, as they would have us believe, but on speculative flights of fancy. Taking a leaf from Rudyard Kipling, Stephen Jay Gould has dubbed such theories “just-so-stories.” (His point being that they have not a whit more validity than Kipling’s fanciful tales of how the leopard got its spots and the tiger its stripes.)
For most of its 150-year history, evolutionary biology has relied on careful field work, but now, says Fausto-Sterling, “What you have is this new group of ‘evolutionary psychologists’ who have very different standards of proof.” Thornhill and Palmer are part of this movement, which is in effect E.O. Wilson’s old “sociobiology” under a new name. Although still in its infancy, the movement is rapidly gaining adherents, to the consternation of many scientists — most notably Gould, who has written at length on the patent inadequacies of much of this work.
The social agenda behind “A Natural History of Rape” comes into clearer focus as the authors claim that not only is evolutionary theory the only way to understand why men rape, but the only way to understand how to combat this heinous crime. Having offered their explanation for the former they end their book with a suggested program for the latter. Since, according to them, all men — by their very nature — are potential rapists, they advocate that young men be required to attend a rape education course before being granted a driver’s license. By stressing the evolutionary basis of rape, these courses would teach men where such urges come from and thus empower them to resist those urges.
Ironically, by insisting that all men are, in essence, rapists, Thornhill and Palmer are propagating a view similar to that of feminist extremists like Andrea Dworkin. The authors are aware of the parallel and it seems to unsettle them, feminists in general being a group they despise. When feminists do make this kind of claim, the public reaction is almost universally negative — Dworkin is routinely portrayed in the media as a half-crazed man-hating harpy — yet in Thornhill and Palmer’s hands the same proposition magically becomes acceptable. Respectable publications like the New York Times and the Sciences are now giving this idea a serious number of column inches.
However, according to Thornhill and Palmer, education about rape prevention must also extend to women. Since evolution has predisposed men to rape, women must understand these innate drives and the conditions that exacerbate them. In particular, they should realize that provocative clothing and flirtatious behavior can have violent biological consequences. Here, of course, “A Natural History of Rape” departs from the Dworkinian theory of who’s to blame for rape. Thornhill and Palmer strongly imply that the rapist is the one breed of criminal who, if sufficiently inflamed by miniskirts and cleavage, can’t be held entirely responsible for his crime.
Dworkin aside, Thornhill and Palmer rail against feminist views of rape throughout their book. Feminists and other social theorists, say the authors, are misguided, forever driven by ideology. Evolutionary psychologists like themselves, however, are supposedly clear of
this “sin” and are guided only by the “pure” light of reason.
With increasing vehemency, evolutionary psychologists and their champions (men such as E.O. Wilson and MIT’s Steven Pinker) have reiterated this casting of the social sciences as an impediment to a “true” understanding of human behavior. In his 1998 book “Consilience,” Wilson led the charge by declaring that in the coming decades most social science departments will be made irrelevant as their subjects of enquiry are taken over by evolutionary psychology. Thornhill and Palmer reiterate such sentiments; for them, as for Wilson, there is only one legitimate source of illumination when it comes to human behavior, and that is Darwinian theory.
Perhaps it’s not surprising that in the battle for who gets to define human nature, the proponents of evolutionary psychology take no prisoners. It seems they can’t stop at simply asserting a role for their own science in understanding human behavior — they have to annihilate the competition. And it’s not hard to guess that these attacks are the covert motivation for “A Natural History of Rape” itself.
According to Thornhill and Palmer, social science approaches to rape are not simply wrongheaded; by not being based on a “true” understanding of the problem, such strategies “may actually increase it.” We are offered no explanation of why this may be so, but again and again we are told that as long as the “social sciences view of rape” prevails the problem will never be solved. Their hearts on their sleeves, the authors write: “In addressing the question of rape, the choice between the politically constructed answers of social science and the evidentiary answers of
evolutionary biology is essentially a choice between ideology and knowledge. As scientists who would like to see rape eradicated from human life, we sincerely hope that truth will prevail.”
But what is “truth”? For Thornhill and Palmer, as for most evolutionary psychologists, it is a Platonic reality untainted by social or political force, a reality that only “pure” and “unadulterated” science can discover. But how “pure” can science ever be when it’s dealing with such complex and politically charged issues as rape? And how “scientific” can Thornhill and Palmer’s own assertions be when they’re based on interpretations of data that can’t be subjected to rigorous testing? The history of biology — when the science has been extrapolated to explain human behavior — is riddled with ideology posing as science, as Fausto-Sterling’s “Myths of Gender” and her current book, “Sexing the Body,” as well as Gould’s “The Mismeasure of Man” have shown. Ideology posing as science was also at the heart of the eugenics movement — both here in the United States, and more devastatingly in Nazi Germany. To paraphrase philosopher of science Donna Haraway, biology is politics by another name.
The ideological proof in Thornhill and Palmer’s pudding is clear from the fact that although they devote several chapters to berating social scientists’ understanding of rape, they give us no analysis whatsoever of the actual rape prevention programs and strategies arising from that understanding. With mantralike frequency they tell us that current approaches to rape prevention are wrong, but by what criteria? By what standards are they evaluating those programs?
It only stands to reason that before you dismiss a program as ineffective you should check its results to make sure that it doesn’t actually work. But despite the cloak of disinterested, objective science Thornhill and Palmer have wrapped around their work, they’re not really interested in the facts or a careful, cautious weighing of all evidence. The powerful irrational emotions underlying “A Natural History of Rape” and other similarly reductionist theories indicate how close the mania for evolutionary psychology comes to religious fundamentalism. While the Christian fundamentalist takes the Bible as his foundational text, insisting on the most literal interpretation, so these new scientific fundamentalists insist on the most doggedly literal interpretation of their chosen “text.” Here the “words” are not those of the Hebrew scriptures, but the codons of the DNA chain — which take on for them an almost divine status.
It goes without saying that Thornhill and Palmer’s book does women an immense disservice. But even more depressing to me is the disservice these authors do to science. Over the past decade the once-golden image of science has been sorely tarnished and there is a growing perception that scientists are an arrogant elite, many of whom are out of touch with ordinary people’s lives. When books like this offer up such a sloppy, illogical and downright lazy analysis of such a complex social problem they only help to fuel that perception. If this is the kind of rubbish that “science” turns out, is it any wonder people are turning away?
Fortunately, the brand of Z-grade analysis that reigns in “A Natural History of Rape” is not indicative of the majority of scientific thinking, or of evolutionary thinking, and there are many scientists who find the current abuses of evolutionary psychology as irksome as I do. Those of us who love science and believe in its potential have an obligation to expose this nonsense for what it is. If we don’t, then who will?
Margaret Wertheim is the author of "Pythagoras' Trousers: God, Physics, and the Gender Wars," and most recently "The Pearly Gates of Cyberspace: A History of Space From Dante to the Internet" (W.W. Norton).
Faryshta Mextly's profile photoMoham Monifi's profile photo
Mr. Mextly, I don't think so. Everyday feminism achieves progress. Be closer to the reality.
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Moham Monifi

Rape  - 

Shiney Ahuja, the Bollywood Actor, Raping a Child: Can She Speak?

O Rose thou art sick.
The invisible worm,
That flies in the night
In the howling storm:
Has found out thy bed
Of crimson joy:
And his dark secret love
Does thy life destroy.
By William Blake

” a human beings under the age of 18 years”
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child defines the child

I am still stunned completely for the new release of the new  2012 film starring Shiney Ahuja, the rapist of children. I don’t know how the public, in India, received such a film whose lead is a rapist who, in the film, torturing a woman by crucifying her. Yeah, there is no distinction between the reality and the fiction. The rapist is the rapist. The victim is the victim
It’s a crime that disturbs the feminists in their graves. It’s a crime that didn’t disturb the women in India!!!???. We know how the western feminists get furious about the death of Sylvia Plath, accusing Mr. Hughes, her husband, of “murdering” the young poet. The death of this great poet – the loss of the American literature- is  because of the sexual violence, that accompanies Ted Hughes, the womanizer.
Tell me. Who will speak in behalf of this child maid? Who will get angry for her? Who will embrace her to assuage her dilemma? The western Feminists? Or the Indian women? The western feminists have no business with this servant, having a lot of issues considering their sisters in the occident. On the other hand, the Indian women have no time, they waiting at the doors of the cinema to watch the new passé romance, they dancing, they singing, they raped, they silenced, they torn, they asking for more rape due to the handsomeness of the full-of-muscles- and-dark man.
The brave , innocent womanhood and the sense of humanity inside that child were crying loudly and urging her to not be mute, asking her to speak out, to save herself, and to save all the Indian girls from those criminals with whom the streets are replete: one after one borne to learn the etiquettes of the Indian streets.
Then, she went to the court, ” the Shop of Justice”- but the justice is very expensive, and she cannot afford it although  the Forensic Sciences Laboratory examines the blood in his and her clothes, the semen on the bedsheets, the torn hymen , and it proves the sexual criminality of the rapist actor.
Mr. Rapist was sentenced to seven years. But he was released when he got bail from the court which trade the genitals of the female children with Mr. Rapist.  They cost  Rs. 50,000 (nearly $900). It seems that Ministry of Finance prepares India’s budget through the beneficial exchange between the genitals of female children and the male money.
What on earth is happening? How on earth this judicial system legitimize the rape, legitimatize the crime against the female children. How on earth this shop of Justice allows the process of purchasing the women to be raped( then the budget will be full of money, and this erotic trade( the rape) gives rise to the capitalism). This government is proposing the human dignity of this poor girl on sale. After raping whom do you desire, you come to the cashier and pay for the rape.
Yeah, we are the government , we are responsible for those citizens, we should take money for what we prepare for you to arouse you sexually, to fulfill your orgasm. Annihilating the childhood, and raping a child are goods; you can buy them at the Shop of Justice.
Sell rape and buy rape become on the formal level.
This child was working as domestic helper in the rapist’s house. The Indian society, protected and raised by the government, has left her in the streets, to encounter with that society that has no mercy but it was plotting against her. Finally, she got at home(she entered the house calmly and innocently and childishly) , the house where her Eve has collapsed; and she cannot realize what is waiting for her: 36-old-year male villain raping her childhood. Her crying voice is still there, in the wall, in the air(which became thick with her perpetual cries), awakening the sleeping feminists.
Does anyone help her? No( No should be pronounced as Andrea Dworkin pronounced it). Does anyone support her? No. Does anyone commiserate with her? No. Does any feminist protest for her? Noooo. After millions of Doeses , “No” must be written after the question mark.
Why that? She is a woman, who is a daughter of a woman, who is a daughter of a woman… . That is what Mrs. Dworkin has said in her speeches.
The women in India are the bourgeois class, are the poorest creature in the society, especially the Muslim women. Logically speaking, the child should be in the school to be educated, not in the house to be raped. But she has no choice but to knock the doors of capitalists to look for money after everyone has forsaken her to be between the clutches of the wolves’ fangs. Then, those capitalists exploit the poverty of women, the second status of women, and exploring their genitals.
The social feminists claim that the economic debility of women is the main hindrance for their independence. Therefore, the women are not free, and are not powerful since they depend on the males in terms of economics.
Now, this girl, the raped maid, is free in the perspective of the social feminist in a sense, because she went out in search for work to be not independent on the capitalist males.
The child went to the house so as to work , but she is raped(not free from the sexual savagery of males). This work draws her to the rape. What can she do? So, it is not strange that the radical feminism is asking for a national home for the women, a pure women society, which is free from men.
The relation between the child and the 36-year-old man is the relation between the poor and the rich. She is a housemaid, and he is a an actor. That man is more powerful( I mean the Foucauldian power) and forceful( I mean violence might be included) than the maid because of all attributes that he has for being a wealthy actor.
This unbalance between the wealth and the non-wealth creates the existence of the poor in the aristocrat society which will employ its privileges as a powerful class, such as rape. Reasonably, realizing that he is the master, he is the colonizer, he is the Word in the house, he is the owner of the money that she wants desperately, he can achieve what he wants from his victim. On the contrary, if the girl is not poor, not housemaid, is she exposed to such sexual destruction(rape)?
Charlotte Perkins Gilman is the curse of this Child. At the very beginning of the twentieth century, Ms. Perkins tries to professionalize the housework to be a kind of career: the women can hire other women to do the household chores rather than them so that the Lady of House can go out to share in the potential arenas. I don’t know if the housework is a career in India, but the point is that the girl went there- the house. Eventually, this Gilmanian work shows the superiority of the Master and his Lady, who is very happy for being out of the kitchen and the bathroom, and the inferiority of the Girl. Then, the Superior will subject the Inferior to his maxims. On that level, there are two superiors , and there is one poor inferior. One of the Superiors is the Lady, the wife of Shiney, who wants to save herself from being bounded to the chains of the housework, attempting to positivize the atmosphere of the housework by denying the proved-by- the-laboratory crime rather than helping her sister. She commented on that case ”  a lie, utter rubbish”. But she is a LIE, uttering not rubbish but more than rubbish.
I don’t think that she is a real woman.
Analytically speaking, we have two women and one man, so the existence of one of the women cancel the arousing sexuality of the other women: the intimate relations fluctuating between them in one direction from light to left: the relation, that is supposed to come from the corner, is cancelled because of the activity of that relation. The husband-wife relation is enough to frame that primary relation to be away from the secondary relations; the baby, the family, and the stability of the society are the main hindrances for the construction of the secondary relations.
In the actor’s house, there are Shiney, his wife, and the maid. The primary relation, in the house, is between Shiney, and wherever and whenever they are on the contact( by the voice, by the seeing, and by the body), the action of the relation will be triggered frequently. But the absence of the of wife leads the interminable sexuality of Shiney to be tied( through rape or through the private or secret marriage) with another receiver, who is poor or rich- it depends on the circumstances. ( I will speak later about that in a different essay)
And we should know that the action of  sexuality is created by the context of the male(a text) and of the female(a text), so it can be annihilated  by another context with another text. So, his borne sexuality is directed(after the absence of his primary relation) towards a weak, poor, from-second-status, can-be-blackmailed, and unmarried girl, who is a child. These features of the girl is known fro him due to the recognition that is done by the close, social behavior between the two sides. Knowing the weakness of the girl, he started to molest her(this is the beginning of achieving the sexuality) to sense the immediate response to that molestation. Such outside sexual behavior arouses the anger inside the girl, for the girl does not want that, and the will-be sexual intercourse is a kind of subjugation and of torment mentally as well as physically. When the reaction to that molestation( the molestation can be in the form of the voice and sound, and in the form of the physical contact) is passive and not sexual , that actor resorts to the sexual violence, the rape.
 I don’t know how he felt the sexual enjoyment while the child was resisting. Does he feel that orgasm or does he think of the how to control her to fulfill the borne sexuality that wants to feed on the girls’ bodies? Really, I do not know.
Even though the scientific examination had proved the rape, the child admitted that she is not raped. That blood is not her blood. That semen is not his semen. That DNA is not his or hers. There is no maid. There is no Shiney. There is no rape. Finally, those capitalist, who have absolute power in India, claim that the scientific examination , having proved the guilty of the rapist strongly, are conducted by illegal laboratories.
But her voice is raped, and this subaltern cannot speak.
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