Smells like teen spirit…

24Aug06

“Agent Witchy-Woo‘s” recent submission about the two teenage boys assaulting the 21yo woman got me thinking. There seem to be more and more teenage boys committing rape and sexual assault, although most of the time, it is on young(er) girls. Of course these teen rapes have happened in the past, but they seem to becoming far more commonplace. So what are the causes?

Certainly we can’t do-a-Freud and blame it on the mothers, as die Kinder are far more likely to emulate the behaviour of same-sex role models (so that would be fathers, uncles, older male siblings then!). Any sexist/objectifying behaviour is speedily absorbed by children.What of pornography and Lad’s Mags? Whilst there are unverified reports of boys under 16 buying LMs, the fact is, they don’t need to. Children are curiosity-seeking missiles, and will find any stash of porn in the house (even the oh-so-carefully-hidden-in-the-wardrobe ones). And the sexist role models above, are the ones most likely to have this stash of porn – so these two points go hand-in-hand. But your average teen or pre-teen doesn’t even need to exert that much energy to seek out porn – just a computer – as even some of the most innocent of searches can yield porn results (try Googling feed my pussy with the moderate-safe search).If we were to assume that these teens didn’t have sexist role models, didn’t see porn/LMs, and didn’t Google their fingers off, what else would influence their hormone-fuelled little minds? The following list I consider to be the biggies in shaping the attitudes of the youngsters:Music videos, TV and film, video games and advertising. Music videos (aka ‘music-porn’). The majority of kids are drawn to pop-music as an expression of their generation. Not only are there more music programmes showing clips, but there are numerous channels dedicated to it (several available on Freeview). In the world of music-porn, ALL the young women are scantily clad, pout and gyrate as if they’ve just gotten back from a strip club. The men are almost without exception, fully clothed. The males have two types of role models, either a pimp or a drug dealer (especially if black) promoting hyper-masculinity, or; the ‘white-power’ model, either dressed in a suit and/or has scantily clad females fawning over him – but (he) always has more clothing. So the message promoted by music-porn is: Men are powerful and/or ‘tuff’ and have (many) women making themselves sexually available to them. Women ARE sex. The influence of music-porn is equally bad for both boys and girls. There is no regulation, as long as intercourse or full/partial nudity is not shown, it can be screened at any time of the day or night.TV and film. Sexual violence and rape are common themes – call it a ‘how-to’ manual if you will. Just last night I happened to see (some of) the start of the film “The General’s Daughter”. In this film, the female lead, an investigator of some sort, was attacked and threatened at the same location as the rape and murder of the title character occurred. This message was – she was a woman, she was vulnerable, she could also have easily been raped and murdered. Sure, there was other male-on-male violence, but these were testosterone contests of (relative) equals, and didn’t carry the same message as when the woman was attacked. It is a crap film. Slasher films are another breeding ground for sexual violence. Women scantily clad, women attacked, women screaming…women’s pain and suffering at the hands of the almost-always, male boogie-man. Sure there are many other examples in mainstream TV and film, but when sex, sexual titillation and violence are mixed, women in the real world will suffer.

Video games are getting more realistic by the minute. Certainly the main theme is violence, and most of it is male-on-male violence (guns, fists, whatever), but when women appear, there is always a sexual element. Lara Croft could easily share clothes with Barbie. In a TV ad I saw for the last Tomb Raider, there were many sexualised shots of Lara, notably from behind in those tight-tight shorts. Grand Theft Auto San Andreas used to have a ‘cheat’ that allowed the player to kick a prostitute to death without paying, complete with screams. A prostitute is of course, a woman whose ‘purpose’ is for sex. The cheat was apparently replaced after lobbying, with – a ‘lesbian’ porn scene. So in the land of video games, it is violence-sex-violence. And if you want to see something equally as disturbing online, check out Boneless Girl, which looks like a body dump to me (see also Biting Beaver’s post on this one).

Advertising – primarily TV advertising as it has the widest audience. Briefly (as this is a massive subject) it is a land where ‘gender’ roles are heavily enforced. Women are frequently scantily clad or naked. The majority of women are associated with sex (Herbal Essence is my pet hate). Magazine (and billboard) advertisements, in utilising the ‘best shot’, usually pick… the naked woman. Sex sells my arse; as I refuse to buy any product that relies on this sexist crap. The ASA does nothing, mainly they only uphold complaints that breech financial and misleading advertising. I’m in the process of making a blog to voice my disgust at the advertising industry: Grrrlcott.

So with all of these cultural influences on the young, (including porn when they find it), it is not surprising that these teens view girls and women merely as sex objects. The younger they are exposed to these attitudes, the more influential they become in shaping the adult.

On a final note, I would like to see two radfem blogs, one on music videos, the other on video games. Any takers?

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