Notes for Pornography Happens to Women

* "The word fetish comes from the Portuguese feitico, which means 'charm' or 'made thing.' A fetish is a magical, symbolic object. Its first meaning is religious: the magical object is regarded with irrational, extreme, extravagant trust or reverence (to paraphrase Merriam-Webster). In its sexual meaning, the magic of the fetish is in its power to cause and sustain penile erection....

"No sense of her own purpose can supersede, finally, the male's sense of her purpose: to be that thing that enables him to experience raw phallic power. In pornography, his sense of purpose is fully realized. She is the pinup, the centerfold, the poster, the postcard, the dirty picture, naked, half-dressed, laid out, legs spread, breasts or ass protruding. She is the thing she is supposed to be: the thing that makes him erect. In literary and cinematic pornography, she is taught to be that thing: raped, beaten, bound, used, until she recognizes her true nature and purpose and complies--happily, greedily, begging for more. She is used until she knows only that she is a thing to be used. This knowledge is her authentic erotic sensibility: her erotic destiny...." Dworkin, Pornography: Men Possessing Women (New York: E.P. Dutton, 1989), pp. 123, 128.

See Andrea Dworkin, "Objects," in Pornography: Men Possessing Women (New York: E.P. Dutton, 1989), pp. 101-28.

** Der Sturmer is the outstanding example of anti-Semitic propaganda that reached the threshold of pornography while advocating race hate. Founded in 1923 by Julius Streicher, a rabid anti-Semite who joined forces with Hitler in 1921 after an independent run as a Jew-hating rabble rouser, Der Sturmer had Hitler's strong support, from the years of struggle (as the Nazis called them) through Hitler's reign, the years of persecution and annihilation. As late as 1942, Joseph Goebbels, minister of propaganda, wrote in his diary: "The Fuhrer sent word to me that he does not desire the circulation of the Sturmer to be reduced or that it stop publishing all together.... I, too, believe that our propaganda on the Jewish question must continue undiminished: (cited in Telford Taylor, The Anatomy of the Nuremberg Trials [New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1992], p. 377).

*** Tried at Nuremberg, Streicher was convicted of crimes against humanity and hanged on October 16, 1946. On his way to the hanging scaffolding he shouted "Heil Hitler!" and on it he shouted the bizarre--but in the circumstances clearly anti-Semitic--words, "Purim festival, 1946."

In his fascinating recent account of the Nuremberg trials, Telford Taylor, who was one of the prosecutors for the United States, suggests that Streicher was wrongly sentenced to death because "there was no accusation that Streicher himself had participated in any violence against Jews, so the sole (and difficult) legal issue was whether or not `incitement' was a sufficient basis for his conviction." (Taylor, p. 376) This is a distinctly U.S.-based revisionism in keeping with the increasing fanaticism of First Amendment free-speech absolutism. In Nuremberg, a relationship between sexualized hate propaganda and genocide was demonstrated. Many western democracies responded by criminalizing the kind of hate speech, or incitement to genocide, in which Streicher engaged, indeed, at which he excelled. The United States has apparently, as a matter of law and public policy, decided to masturbate to it.

**** ....and even if there's laws by the time they have hurt you you are too dirty for the law; the law needs clean ones but they dirty you up so the law won't take you; there's no crimes they committed that are crimes in the general perception because we don't count as to crimes as I have discovered time and time again as I try to think if what he did that hurt me so bad was a crime to anyone or was anything you could tell someone about so they would care; for you; about you; so you was human." (See Dworkin, Mercy [London: Secker & Warburg, 1990], pp. 303-4.)

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