Why is it that people can recognize abuse, unless it’s in porn?

Gail Dines, writing for Feminist Current, discusses the interesting fact that people can easily recognize when people are being abused, unless it’s in a pornographic context.

People saw the video, put themselves in Dao’s place, and came to the very sensible conclusion that what they were watching was a level of callous brutality that is unacceptable in a civil society. Andrea Dworkin would not have found our empathy strange because, despite her sadness and anger at the cruelty in the world, she always had faith in the ability for people to do the right thing.

What is strange, however, is that there is no public outcry over porn. You can type “porn” into Google and in 10 seconds come up with images that are so violent, so brutal, so dehumanizing that they take your breath away. You can see people being raped, tortured, strangled, beaten, electrocuted, and physically destroyed to the point that many must be thinking to themselves: “Just kill me.”

Why no outrage? Why no demands for the companies who produce this brutality to apologize? Because these people are women, and when women are brutalized in the name of sex, the violence is rendered invisible. As long as it is semen, not blood, dripping from her mouth (and usually from every other orifice as well), and she is saying “just fuck me” as she is grimacing, crying, and sometimes screaming in pain, it seems, as Dworkin pointed out, people require an explanation as to why this particular brutality is not acceptable.

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