Posts Tagged ‘lads mags’

Feminist guilt culture

Friday, July 6th, 2012 | Religion & Politics, Thoughts

One of the days that religions very effectively control their followers is through guilt culture. The idea is that just living your life, having natural thoughts and urges like who you want to go to bed with, is “sinful.” Of course we’re genetically wired to want to go to bed with people we find attractive and so just being a normal, well adjusted human being leads up to having thoughts, that The Church then tells you is as evil as having done the act itself and that you must repent in a financial way (and as luck would have it, they’re God’s official debt collectors).

It’s a fantastic way of keeping people under your control for making them feel guilty when they haven’t done anything wrong. In fact, it’s impossible not to think like that, so everyone feels the guilt and therefore stays under control.

As with many of religion’s best ideas (and it is one of their best from the stance of their insidious motives), people see how well it works and attempt to emulate it. Make a customer out of them while they’re young for example, has been a marketing technique that has proved hugely successful for McDonald’s – they’re the largest toy distributor in the world. In 2009, I blogged about how the green movement had also adopted a lot of Best Practice from religious institutions.

As an equal rights campaigner, I’ve had the chance to meet a lot of cool people who are also interested in equality. As with any field though there are some people with good ideas and some people with not so good ideas. Indeed, most people probably have a mix of both, I’m sure many of my ideas would be classified by some people as being in the not so good pile.

So called Lads Mags are a good example of this. Some of my friends would frown on me buying a copy of FHM It objectifies women and is therefore degrading – even though they’re professional models who voluntarily choose to have photos of themselves in exchange of large amounts of cash. This view is entirely at odds with equality – everyone should be free to choose what they want to do, and imposing Feminist Ideals to prevent them from doing so no less oppressive than the Patriarchal Culture we’re trying to escape from. Rachel Barker sums the debate up very nicely on her blog. As she points out, there are instances where people are exploited – and we need to work together to stop such cases! But Katie Price’s £45,000,000 fortune does not fall under that banner.

More widely, I resent the attack on men who consume such content (I use the term men, because it’s mostly men who are attacked for it). If I buy an FHM, it is indeed for the sexually alluring content. But you know what – I like looking at tits. That is a perfectly healthy, natural, biological urge that most people have. Human beings, and indeed all reproductive animals, are wired to find others attractive. And I do.

So given I was born this way, I’m not going to apologise for enjoying such content any more than I’m going to apologise for the way I look or the colour of my skin. I shouldn’t feel any more guilty about it than a homosexual should feel guilty about their feelings when a conservative tells them that their feels are wrong or unnatural.

I mean, what I am supposed to do? Should I lie and pretend that I don’t enjoy looking at scantily clad women? Should I go to my GP, or perhaps a mental health provider, and tell them I appear to be suffering from attraction to other human beings? Or is it a case that “it’s fine to have these feelings, we understand you are born this way – as long as you don’t act on them.” Where have we heard that before?

Furthermore, I resent the idea that my entire gender is so simple-minded that just because one of us may look at such pictures, he is then unable to treat anyone with respect. I see my girlfriend as a sex object because I find her very attractive and enjoy having sex with her. I also deeply value her personality, her opinions and her kindness. I see her as a whole human being, sexuality included. Such suggestions of viewing women in a single dimension hold no more weight than the idea that someone who plays violent video games must be a violent criminal.

Attacks against such magazines, freely bought by consumers, featuring models who freely chose to appear in them, are not only an assault on freedom of expression and the right for women to choose their own career in life, but also an attempt to control the population through guilt culture, convincing them that just being who they are is somehow a violation of morality. Such action is bigoted, morally wrong and intellectually bankrupt. It also creates a diving line between Feminist Politics and those interested in equality.