Review & commentary: “The Porning of America”

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Where to start on this lovely compilation of porn goodness? I use "porn" instead of "pornography" because the authors of the book I'm reviewing, “The Porning of America” by Carmine Sarracino and Kevin M. Scott, made clear the distinction is simply that there was once a word called pornography and it contained items to hide in a closet or cause shame. Today the word has become slang to mean anything amazing, euphoric, or generally visually pleasing or enticing: porn is mainstream while pornography is passe.

Everyone should read this book. It has been the single most fascinating presentation of intellectual views on porn I've hit in a long time.  Being I've poured myself into porn research over the past few years watching numerous documentaries on the topic, reading interviews from porn makers and stars, hunting down good books and articles, skimming through a lot of porn, and conceptualizing the next step in my painting it, this book gave me pause. I'm still digesting the information for myself because it was jam packed but I think this book's presentation on how pornography has turned into simply "porn" and what it all means is vital information to pass along before I digest the whole book for myself. To quote the authors on their view of where pornography will go (which was written 20 years ago so keep that in mind): 

"Pornography will have shrunk to porn and porn further shrunk away altogether, disappearing because it can no longer be distinguished from what we see everywhere around us on the Internet...on cable television, in movies, magazines, advertisement, music videos. Porn will have become our cultural wallpaper" (47).

Ah, or in my contributory way, wall art. I'm totally guilty of contributing to it but to be fair, I really like it.  When my youngest kid finally leaves on her own in five years, my walls will only contain erotic art.  Glad to know I can start a wallpaper company and maybe make it... and inviting the Jehovah Witnesses into my home will be an outstanding act of fun.  Good times ahead, my friends.  Good times.

On a serious note, the above quote struck me because I realized how true the statement was, even more so now than when the book was written in 2008, after my 2nd child and never-mind when I was a teenager, the era when people went bat shit crazy over Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” tour and George Michael’s "I want your sex" video. I thought the video was fucking hot and Madonna’s masturbation simulation on stage an act of mockery to self-pleasure’s judgment and shame. Being masturbation is a solo activity and therefore safe and Michael was promoting monogamy, the outcries showed how people don’t think before they react to sexual content. It also shows now how pure and prude we were because what exists now would never have been accepted in the 80s.

The past 20 years of my life have been a whirlwind of experiences and distractions called motherhood which have minimized a broader view of porn, what it is, what it was and most importantly, where it's going.  This realm is truly fascinating to me.  The porn of today has morphed and it's continuing to. It's ignorant to say porn isn't affecting young boys and men (girls and women too) and thus their relationships but one can't blame only the porn industry for porn consumption and thus, creation.  Masses seek porn and pornography, like hungry animals.  The porn industry is complex. There are too many players and too much value and too much corruption to loose control, plus it’s a human constructed need created entirely upon a biological craving.

The anti-porn movement is just something to do, not something that will actually work. Why? Because society needs porn and if it didn't, it wouldn't be so damn mainstream. Period. Society won't accept what it truly does not want: American mainstream society has said "okay" to pornography and its evolved form called "porn" and so now we have readily available, an act that took sometimes months if not years for a guy to get. I was speaking with a 20-something friend who informed me that today, you sleep together first and if you get a call back, it’s good news. Is this how far we've come* and bigger question, is this truly how we want to continue?

*side note: (Keep in mind that there’s no point in investing romantic energy into another person unless you know they are a good match sexually. Love blinds reality but sex speaks truth about the other and builds more trust and intimacy than words or other actions can. Love binds, yes, but remember the missing “l”. It blinds too. This doesn’t diminish the value of love but without sexuality, you’re left with friendship. Basically women have come to meet men at their level: sex first and if that’s great, then you’re worth more effort. If not, why bother the investment? It seems clear such a paradigm shift has occurred because independent women apparently don’t need men or love or that marital security blanket anymore so it seems logical as to why and how they have adapted and adopted the typical male view of sex and relationships. Unfortunately, that’s a tip of an iceberg discussion but this sexual shift hasn’t led to a happier sex life in many relationships from my understanding.) 

Pornography as it is presented today, "modern porn" if you will, is a topic that goes deep and wide so it gets confusing to navigate; but the authors have final suggestions on how to combat, manage and accept pornography into our lives and how to create alternative ways to experience sexual pleasure.  You have to read the book to find the answer yourself - because, not everything should be free on the Internet. The book it worth it anyway you slice this. 

There's so much to unpack here that I had to pull back from all I wanted to point out about it. I will highlight what struck me.  Once I marked all the interesting quotes in the book, I realized I could write my own book about this book so I'll try to keep it to a minimum and hopefully entice you to visit the library or buy it.

Highlight quotes and my commentary:

ONE

Referring to our cultural acceptance of porn that in its particularly humiliating and more violent nature, such views and “acceptance” of it appeared in the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal in 2004 where in Rush Limbaugh compared it to a place next to family values: "Rush Limbaugh, for instance, all but pooh-poohed the controversy, describing the events as 'fraternity hazing' and calling the photos 'standard good ol American pornography', as if there was a place reserved for 'American porn' right beside Mom and apple pie" (139). Well...I mean, I bet there's a lot of people reading this who knew exactly what "standard good ol American pornography" actually stood for and that in itself speaks volumes to us, no?

TWO

Returning to the feminization of males as presented in my last book review "Are Men Necessary", this completely validated what Maureen Dowd's commentary presented, that men are being feminized by culture (and primarily feminism) but in the case of pornography and again, through humiliation and degradation and violence, feminization is a brutal hit for masculinity, or specifically, masculine-powered cultures. Again referring to the Abu Ghraib scandal: "When Armin Cruz, along with others, handcuffed male detainees together in a sexual position and put his book on their buttons to simulate anal sex, he 'feminized' the detainees.  In the ideology of al-Sheweiri and in the view of the guards as well, shaped by violent porn, women are inferior, weak, passive.  Only women then, can be raped.  To degrade a male, you must first turn him into a female by raping him" (147).  To add weight here, al-Sheweiri, one detainee, was quoted saying "...They wanted us to feel as though we were women, the way women feel and this is the worst insult, to feel like a woman."  That's right. Take it, bitch. Clearly, this is a man (and society) who has no idea that to be a woman is to be God's choice for following through with life's creation and is an amazing gift. Culture can create such bullshit as truth, can't it? The insult would merely be created within the ignorance of masculine dogma. In this particular case, American "violent" pornography was a themed circus act of "fuck you" to a culture that cultivates harm and clear discrimination onto women in the first place. You pick your morals here.

Everyone possesses relative equal potential to create life but females manifest that potential into reality. Seems to me that embedded deeply within the male psyche, males are simply jealous of female capability, and as my hero, Dr. Leonard Shlain discussed in his book “Sex, Time & Power”, what creature can deliver a human being into the world and bleed for a week every month yet not die? People try to control that which they do not understand and women seemingly are still a mystery.

THREE

Continuing with shocking and violent porn, I was shocked to discover how intense and stupid the porn of 20 years ago was, which of course really puts things into perspective now. The authors bring up a website called Pinkeye wherein the male ejaculates into the female's eye until it's inflamed.  There is absolutely nothing sensual about this act, they claim and for good reason: it's true! They explain that the "psychological kick of causing the woman discomfort" is the main attraction. The act of humiliation and pain, etc., is the turn-on. Of course, if it's consensual, at what point do we as individuals and as society say, that's enough or free will is free will? The point is the humiliation, degradation and violence onto another person, and it is in fact, mostly onto women.  

Is Pinkeye kink? I think most people might agree that some porn is simply stretching the boundaries but isn’t that what humans do anyway? Don’t we need to push the edge to see how far the edge can truly go, be accepted, be normalized and then mainstreamed? So who has this power? The porn producers or those consuming? Isn’t your sexual desire ultimately relative in morality or perversity? The only workable resistance to porn on Pinkeye’s level is not to watch it and not to participate in it but fact remains, life presents us with idiots who will do anything for money or attention all the time. Do we ban free speech because we don't want to hear President Trump's bullshit or do we accept his sliver of crap, move on and view the good that there still exists?  (off topic there but a fine example if you ask me)  

Websites with intense and extreme porn meant to only capture the degradation and humiliation aspects within sexuality do present the question of how male-ish of an act is this type of sexual violation versus is this an act by a male who has embedded mental health or perceptual issues? How far does one judge this act opposed to hitting for sexual pleasure? Does anyone know of this stuff within the homosexual community? I mean, if a heterosexual male would get a kick out of it, wouldn’t a homosexual male too? Are there gay men ejaculating into their male lover’s eyes? Why aren’t there homosexual Pinkeye websites, or are there? If not, then it points to a clear sexual high off of sexism. Further, this also begs the question, of where is the female’s mentality to submit to such an act. Is money really the full pull because if you can get a job in porn, why choose that particular job? Is this a show of one’s level of self-respect or pain tolerance? Why would one female say yes and another no? It goes deeper than money, or does it? Do we seek or suggest psychological care for the extreme porn minded or do we drop it on the fact that in sex, "different strokes for different folks"?  Weird shit turns people on is the truth here. Sex for many is self-discovery. When do we claim a certain action is "wrong" or “unacceptable” for a sexual high when consent is on the table?  Just a few big questions on the freedom of sexuality. (probably too many)

FOUR

Undoubtedly, the authors bring us to the anti-pornography movement and their pioneer stars, Andrea Dworkin and Catherine MacKinnon. In porn, as in marriage, there are positive and negative examples. Some happen out of passion and honesty and others out of family arrangements, force or coercion (or false promises).  I don't see any anti-marriage propaganda.  Ever. More people get hurt by the pain caused by marital bullshit than there are porn-stars or wannabes but no one highlights that because it is disguised under "love" whereby therapists make the money, not porn producers or porn stars. That's acceptable, even "en vogue'. Plus, it plays to our feelings and not our primal fleshy desires, which can be harsh to our sensitive Human-greater-than-thou eyes.  

Thanks to Dworkin and MacKinnon, several cities in the US between 1983 and 1992 tried passing anti-pornography civil rights ordinances and their "model ordinance defined pornography as 'the graphic sexual explicit subordination of women through pictures and/or words."  Um.  So if you like to call your woman a whore, see her shaking her booty and tits for you or if your woman likes to be slapped around or held down or something rather "violent" in sexual action, you may be a pervert who deserves “criminal” as a title. So realistically, what the truth here is, is that it might be okay to express yourself sexually as a wild animal behind closed doors because we have to be true to ourselves, but just don’t tell anyone and please, don’t film that shit so we don’t give others any ideas that women might like a little deviance from their missionary and feminist duties.

What a damn shame for the good person trying to watch a little hard core fucking to reach a little of his or her primal nature, which is mostly what porn is an expression of. Interestingly, we can see that many people like the “subordination” aspect sex delivers with the explosion of amateur sex videos. Someone has to be in charge and someone has to take it. People don’t fake that shit. Porn stars do. The internet has given us an open view to examine ourselves and our sexual selves and we are a fucking horny species who gets off (typically) with bad words, some degree of violence and modest to high levels of control and submission aka examples of subordination.

My definition of pornography, if you don't know, is simpler because it states the facts and not the tilt of opinion in them: “Sexuality is universal, and pornography acts merely as the unedited documentation of sexual behaviors.”  We edit them to show what we want but we edit to SHOW and not to imply.  I've given a lot of thought to it over the years, and it did modify it a little by the time I finished my Back It Up show but essentially, pornography is sex documented as we are "in the state of rawness" not as we dress up to be. Erotica dresses up but porn shows us what we are and when not turned on, it has potential to be ugly. We are used to covering up what makes us uncomfortable to see. Porn doesn't let you.

FIVE

 We’ve come a long way, baby, for sure.

We’ve come a long way, baby, for sure.

While not in the book because this officially happened “in the future”, I feel it important to add this. Getting back to the original idea of how pornography will be our cultural wallpaper, it reminded me of a fantastic point the proves these authors’ beyond a reasonable doubt. Three words: President Donald Trump. In no presidency would have we dared to see an intentionally posed nude photograph of the First Lady (left), never mind the array of sexual misconduct choices by the president himself, which top all other presidents together I think. If this isn’t the epitome of porn as cultural “wallpaper”, it’s going to have to get much worse to make the point then. Do we really want to go there?

Fact is, not only is porn normalized in the White House, athletes are being sexualized unlike ever before and everyone is getting naked unlike ever before. As the authors mention, download and streaming porn sites have made everyone into a porn star. No one is immune, even grandma. In a strange way, in my opinion, perhaps that’s not so bad. In our nudity and sexuality we are most vulnerable and perhaps Americans unconsciously are enacting a stretch into being vulnerable for the sake of being fulfilled in some way. They are clearly for a search for more. The question is how much more is needed before satisfaction?

 LASTLY

As I said, this book is jam packed. I planned to write much more direct review but truth is, it all centers around the central theme of how pornography will in fact disappear and 20 years since that was written, I would say it in fact has. It’s full of great examples and quotes. So much of the book is now more true than when written that it’s almost scary and it’s really altered my view on pornography and its infiltration into the social system of acceptance. It’s not bad or good just very provocative in ways I never got and so I feel more commentary was needed for this book review.

Porn is such a normalized part of life that we aren’t even allowed to separate from it. I agree we do need such places. Church is a fantastic one. Schools, public places where professionalism and focus are needed and not sex. Proper dress at work and minimal sexual flirtations help but fact is, our sexual selves are hungry animals inside us. Like peacocks, some in our species like to show their feathers. Sexuality is what makes that male/female dynamic worthy in its gendered form. We spend so much time outside of our sexual realm that our true homo sapiens self must emerge somewhere and I think hormones are stronger than mind when the right cocktails emerge if you know what I’m sayin’.

I think less porn on the streets and more porn in the bedroom in action rather than in film is the best solution to a happier society but since that won’t happen, deal with the porn on the streets and increase yours at home. Intimacy and touch are vital to our health. I understand and accept porn as a tool to achieve whatever a person needs and needs are relative. I was influenced sexually by the smut books of Rosemary Rogers (that was my porn) that I would buy for $2 at the used book store across my high school; and of course, the environment of bikinis and sexy bodies growing up on the beaches of Miami influenced me on comfort of showing one’s shoulders (I do have a local child who told me she couldn’t wear sleeveless tanks because her mom doesn’t let her show her shoulders as I’m wearing a strapless sundress). Sexual imagery and words had always been embedded in my life. I think sexuality is great. How nice to go about your boring day in your boring attire to your boring x, y or z and suddenly you see a hot and sexy woman or man. I like that. A lot. It gives me a jolt and a smile.

Sexuality is constantly in battle with our mind and our mind is built up on societal perspectives, on paradigms, on culture, on beliefs often created by others and not ourselves. When we consider that as a society we also face a high alcohol glorification to mix with porn glorification, well, it seems evident as to why we have high “porn culture”, #metoo movements and bad political votes. Drinking and porn are normalized (so is stupidity and that infuriates me but it’s off topic). Sex for most people requires drinking to let down inhibitions so you have a culture that 1) provides the chemicals needed to let your walls down and 2) provides the seductions to want to engage in sexual activity and 3) gives you shame no matter which road you take. You have to expect sex to at least come up in the spectrum of possibilities when you mix drugs and porn just like when you mix males and females; and then you have to expect to test your morals and get a grip over the intoxication and seduction. It’s a terrible cycle that begins in college (high school?) every year. Does porn seduce us more than booze? Does the normalization of booze give us justification for the porn we want to participate in but inhibitions and societal morality constructs prevent us? Is porn on the rise just a result of a repressed society that is acting like a risky, horny teen, somewhat experimenting with what can be done?

Knowing when to put on the brakes and when to surrender is a fine line. Porn will always exist and we will always create and find it. The only way to control its directions is to control what you watch and thus support further creations of that. Producers produce what sells not what you like but what you buy shows them what you like so that’s what they sell. 1 + 1 = 2.

I think that since porn is becoming more violent and extreme, it’s a natural progression of our inner nature exploring how far we can go. Porn only really popped up big-time with the advent of Playboy and went shamefully mainstream in the 70s, considered the Golden Age of Pornography, so it’s still new to us, to our senses. No wonder the Internet is basically a porn database with other info in it to give it substance and “value”. With virtual porn on the rise, and (so much to talk about!) the recent interview with Elon Musk on the Joe Rogan show (a must see in its entirety), where Musk discusses how we’re going to evolve into cyborgs with maybe eventually 10% of humanity within us in the future - it makes me want to ask, how will Humans change pornography and what sexual needs will be necessary to meet when our biology will be overtaken by technology? We can already produce life artificially so, where do we go from here? Sex has already evolved from procreation to entertainment to extremism. Where else will humanity take it? I didn’t really look that far ahead until I read this book. The authors presented fantastic questions for inquiring minds. Cyborg sexual problems are centuries away maybe but fact remains, right now, we are human beings. We need real sex and real people to get us off in ways it is impossible to do solo. Porn is the expression of that and it’s here to stay.

I believe more females are needed in pornography’s production to help even out the playing field. As Elon Musk said to something totally unrelated, “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em”, and that’s basically what women need to do. When they join in, they can shift the paradigm. It’s a Trojan Horse scenario and it’s a much more intelligent plan than supporting anti-porn options. I think those with money to invest should invest in women who produce various forms of pornography and thus evoke positive changes that would benefit the future of man and womankind and most likely, our collective sexuality.

I highly suggest this book. - TvT

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Book Review: "Are Men Necessary?"

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So, are men necessary?  That’s the question a book title asked me and you're right: I was sucked in.

According to Maureen Dowd, author of “Are Men Necessary? When Sexes Collide”, ah, well men are not necessarily necessary and there’s quite a bit of evidence to support it!

The most notable reason is biological: the Y chromosome is shrinking (138), apparently like the egos of the masculine men in the subsequent age of the feminist takeover. 

The book is a tongue in cheek representation of feminist views that makes good points among the rhetoric of feminist dogma and philosophy.  Don’t get me wrong as I believe in women’s rights and first on that list is freedom of reproductive choice and health.  However, my feminist views don't fall in line with common feminist views (as in this book) and so I read the book purely for information worth noting, so I'll focus there.

Let's begin

The best segment of “Are Men Necessary?” was on the Y chromosome.  According to several doctors, experts, research and studies, the Y chromosome is not only shrinking literally but there have been several reproductive miracles from technological advances that have proven males are not needed for reproduction. At all. We know of the cloned sheep but more striking, Japanese scientists created a 'perfectly normal female mouse without using a male at all...it's not cloning.  They took the egg from one mouse, and then instead of mouse sperm, they took the DNA from another egg.  Bingo!', said Dr. Sykes, a leading British researcher on sex chromosomes (141). Mouse cock not needed. Imagine what this must do the the Mouse King? Certainly this shakes things up a bit.  Maybe Virgin Mary was in fact, a sweet tight one. The idea of artificial insemination by aliens is more realistic than the Bible version but we can debate that later.  Clearly, males were simply the prototype.

A few experts discussed a world without men and ultimately led to how it couldn’t really work in the idealistic “Wonder Woman/Diana Huntress” way we might imagine because "there's always a subgroup that becomes the aggressors" (145). Hence, in this case, aggressor females would essentially be “replacing” the males and their aggression. In other words, there is no stopping the natural order of control and submission. Even if we think equality, as in team effort, there still has to be less Chiefs than Indians or it doesn’t work so someone has to be in charge.  Therefore, in short, a world full of lesbians would eventually create a subgroup of “male-like” females and in that case, why rid of the males?  Gender isn't the problem.  Sex and communication and responsibility are actually the core weak points.  

Clearly the idea of an all female planet isn’t realistic on many levels but it does feed the mind the thought experiment of what if men did not exist?  Besides less lies and porn (we think), would it be more peaceful and frolicy? Would there be less violence and sports bars? Sex would surely be different.  The Lesbian Planet is ultimately what we would have, which suits, well, lesbians.  One researcher posits that eventually a new kind of gender would come about, this synthesized being of female egg and female egg. Being society is digesting the male/female/trans gender debate, why not bring on a new challenge to keep it interesting?  

The Cosmo Girl and the Modern Boy

It is men who make me feel like a woman.  Women make me feel like a friend and a mom peer.  There is no debate on this one.

What often leaves me disappointed is this continuous feminist discussion that leads to the subtle hit of the pretty girl or the one who likes to be a girly girl and thus the one who likes to give out to boys because pretty and girly and slut are apparently synonymous with each other.  The author drew an interesting vision for her readers when discussing Helen Curly Brown, the former long time editor of Cosmo magazine (back in the days when I still read it and at the height of its success).  Dowdy pointed to how devoted feminists in the 80s were on Capitol Hill fighting for women’s rights - for example, in the middle of the Anita Hill and Clarence Thomas trials - and Brown’s magazine merely suggested a myriad of ways to “please your man” and how to entice the inner sex kitten to come out and play with him.  While written as respectfully as possible, the subtle hints of Brown’s girly support as “less than” was evident. Though the author mentioned Glamour magazine as headed into the sex crazed and sex selling genre following suit to Cosmo, it was not the case when I was reading it in the 80s that I can recall. I was a magazine collector to put it mildly.  It's all I had available pre-Internet days along with books to gain an education outside the boredom-sphere of public school education.  

I had a choice of Glamour magazine, created for “smart girls” called feminists and then Cosmo magazine, created for the “pretty girls” called potential sluts I learned later (the advertising didn’t come out that way in my mind back when I began buying them at 14 years old).  In reading both magazines regularly (I also read Discover Mag, National Geography, Conde Naste Traveler, the Enquirer and more), I eventually dumped Glamour in favor of Cosmo because the male bashing was thrown into every chance it could be.  I held the same view as Brown, Cosmopolitan's editor, that sexuality played a vital role in our relationships with men and that sex and being pretty was fun and worth exploring. 

Screw the grimacing feminists of Glamour magazine and the dirt they often saw around the male view doing little than throwing blame - and I considered myself a feminist but I didn't consider myself a feminist because I blamed men.  I considered myself a feminist because I was in favor of female reproductive and health choices as female rights and ultimately, that's the card women cannot ever give away again.  All else is negotiable. 

It’s not that those typical male views weren't true in action to women across the nation but it’s that many feminists didn’t seem to know how to take those male advances or sexualized views and embrace or reform them for their better good. Instead they dismissed, judged and shunned the sexuality behind them, and with it, a subgroup of women who basically catered to it.  I’m not suggesting that asshole men don't exist or that "boys will be boys" is the response for stupid, immature behavior but there have been truly few assholes in my life who have been males who have fit the mold of what feminists claimed men were like.  I found it confusing because I wondered where these men were?! 

Relationships themselves in general are the asshole of our lives, not a specific gender.  And truly, no matter what gender, we all want some sexual or feel good or loving attention.  This is human nature.  To downplay it is downplaying a human need for a balance of emotion that makes us healthier and usually happier.  

To quote the Cosmo editor herself:

"I was accused of hurting the cause [feminist movement] because I was still talking about women as though they were sex objects.  But to be a sex object is a wonderful thing and you're to be pitied if you aren't one... I have this possibly benighted idea that when a man finds you sexually attractive, he is paying you a compliment...when he doesn't, that's when you have to worry"(172).

I agree. However, I do want to make note that "sex object" today is a far cry from what it was back in the 70s and 80s when Brown described it.  (Research into more modern porn has been an eye opener which I'll discuss in future posts)

The last notable section of the book I want to bring up (though there are more, just not as interesting for me to write about) is then Men's Health Magazine editor in chief, David Zinczenko's comments about how men, confused by feminism, are becoming less masculine and more feminized: 

"Society sends men confusing signals.  Society tells men to be more like women, more sensitive, more caring, more thoughtful. And you know what happens then?  They end up in 'Styles of the Times' in stories about why men are becoming more like women, ordering wine by the glass as well as the bottle"(184).

Ed Needham, Maxim's then editor, however, describes men as simpler: "Eating, sex and sports are the Europe, Asia and Americas of the male mental map.  That doesn't leave a lot of room for much else" (185).

I agree there too.  

In Conclusion

It’s wonderful for a man to love and admire a woman.  It really is, and vice versa. Ultimately each have strengths and weaknesses built up from evolution of our biology and our culture, so not everything we dislike about the opposite sex can change.  However, there’s something to be said about the value of getting wet for a man who can love and fuck too, one who can balance the caring with the masculinity that makes his Y chromosome worthy in the first place. That's just as much pressure on males as females have to be a porn stars in the bedroom and Madonnas in the public-sphere.

I fear one unfortunate direction we may be headed into in the long term based on all this science and evolutionary change is men will be "downsized" to less than and as such, their innate masculine testosterone aggression – their fight for their place in this world and dominated by their own flood of hormones and genetics – will eventually seep into culture as perhaps it has seeped already via slices of modern day Internet pornography, specifically. No debate porn is growing in violent and degrading exhibitions towards women and it's worth pondering that in part, it may be an unconscious reaction males desire a place to express the masculine-power feminism has boxed inside them further than society itself has.  Don't blame it ALL on the porn industry when it is the private consumer who decides what ultimately gets produced and what doesn't.  

Will the modern male come to learn what it means to be a "weaker", second sex themselves or to be put down and used? Outside dominatrix quarters, it doesn't happen much, does it, that men are "put into place"? Maybe now it is more so with the #metoo movement but we also face a very touchy and sensitive society these days that it's hard to tell who was getting revenge for past mistakes and who was actually in the wrong.  I am not defending the assholes but remember, women can be bitches so take your pick on the gender scale. I'm equal on shitty people here. Gender makes no difference there.

How best to exert this growing male subordination (and the unconscious anger behind it) but to act out violently via sex through a Millennial Pornography Lens onto women or to humiliate or degrade the very femaleness that seems to lure men in like a siren’s call but acts out like a black widow onto them?  Men are in a precarious position. 

Perhaps there is a Karmic spirit for the females but I like men for their masculinity and women for their femininity and clear strength and superiority over men (childbirth and motherhood).  Why would a woman want to be a man when the right man can cater to her inner woman?  Maybe what we need to look into is what defines a female being, looking like and feeling like a woman rather than just being female? 

In porn, men have a place to outlet their Y chromosome bullshit.  It has been proven that more porn consumption lowers rape practice and not the other way around.  Men need sex and women are taught to not need sex but modern times shows they cater to their own sexual objectification more and more (i.e. sexting, porn live cams, loose attitudes on sex and hooking up, etc. )  Women don't go around raping men: women seduce them. As anthropologist Helen Fisher, author and expert on love and mating said, "...every time a man is sleeping around, he is sleeping around with a woman.  It's basic math..." (141). What I'm saying is that heterosexual women need men because ultimately they need what men offer and what they offer is different for each one; however, the baseline is feel-good-attention that revolves around Human Sexuality.  Females have enough friends, thanks.  Furthermore, female friends' compliments don't go as deep as the guy's compliments and that's because the opposite sex adds the erotic element all females need to feel like an extra dose of woman.  Girl looks pretty, guy gets hard, they have sex, life is good (total reality until the kids come). 

Yes, men are very much needed.  Their lies and bullshit aren’t but that’s not a male thing.  That’s a relationship thing and it extends to all of us so let’s call it out where it truly sits. Until technology takes over our bodies and minds for clear benefits or Borg-like control, we still need each other in our utmost humanity in its physical form.  For some, it is primal and primal often equates to some form of aggression or control (or surrender and submission).  Really we are tapping into the humanity of our sexual selves. What is needed more than the discussion about our need for each other is lessons on communication between the two, both inside and outside the bedroom. Now that's a harsh "C" word for any relationship, female or male.

Next up, do we need pornography as much as we need men?  I’ll be reviewing “The Porning of America” by Carmine Sarracino and Kevin M. Scott next. It's the best book I’ve read since my review of "Sex at Dawn" (an even better book).

Hope I offered some interesting thoughts for you to ponder today. Back to painting I go. 

tvt 

New Art: Her Monarchy

I've misplaced my quality SLR camera so I am unable to take proper art photos of my finished paintings until I find it. Pardon the phone pic quality but I do want to get this out and I can do a switch later.  As I complete the unfinished paintings that have been up against a wall for months, I have been hit with some questions about where this is all going. Being I'm designing a new life, art should be part of my main conversation.  

I had a terrific idea in May/June upon which to base the next art show on but it's kinda fizzled. There's been too much going on, too much of a mess to clean up from the fragments left by the sudden shift in life.  As I stated before, I paint very intuitively and recently, I've been struggling to reach that place because of the constructs of what I had envisioned for the next show, which wasn't intuitive: it was planned.  It was based on something very specific and I've not been able to pull all the pieces together. I tried to lay out the visuals I had and play with my compositions and it wasn't working and I don't feel the desire to figure it out in a rush to meet a self created deadline. This all has to be created in a proper state of mind or it won't be good enough and we all know what that feels like.

Instead I've shifted perspectives and gone back to some of what inspired me in the past.  I sifted through a small percentage of my past photography and realized I have a lot of beautiful paintings to be created from them.  I've known that for a while but never truly looked at them long enough to envision them out of what they were, which was photographs. I think it's a way to review and recreate what was never given the chance to be shown and make it into something new.  This idea allows more freedom in the flow of Being and I have felt much better about painting since. While it's the original idea I had when beginning erotic photography - to paint my photos - I pulled away from art in lieu of the lens.  It's kinda full circle to have that photographic imagery inspire the art I now want to create.  I'm interested to see how it will present itself as a full body of work.  I still plan a show in December.

I recently completed two paintings that have been waiting patiently for me to finish.  One I'm showcasing today: "Her Monarchy". This is different than my norm, I think.  I was pulled towards that difference, or maybe I got tired of the open leg concept.  I put it aside early this year and struggled to finish this piece but the butterflies were bright and cheerful and so I focused on that to get me through the bushes so to speak.  I'm happy with it. 

It's been very satisfying to return to regular painting time.  It's a healing and nurturing process, so let me get back to it. :)

Enjoy the new art.  

"Her Monarchy", acrylic on canvas, 20" x 20".  

 
HerMonarcy2.jpg
 

August: moving onward

I've been lying low since March, when my stepfather passed away suddenly. It threw life into perspective.  A lot has changed and much of it deep so it's hardly in anyone's view. Some things have to be dealt with alone.  I had a pretty good blog written as a synopsis of the past few months but it didn't save and quite frankly, who cares about the past anyway?  We end up as photos to sell or photos to save, and a few stories to the ones who remember us. Perhaps if we are lucky we leave a legacy but most of us end up dust like the ashes I buried with my mom. I'm not sure what life means from the matrix world we all have to exist in, but from my little island, life means time just got that much more valuable and precious to me and that's a game changer.

TvT_BackitupPromo.jpg

To move forward, we move backwards: this week happens to be the one year anniversary of my showing in Las Vegas at the erotic museum.  I admitted on Instagram that I failed in my attempt for a new show by now, a promise I made a year ago. I figure divorce, death and debt are good justifications for the lacking output but I am going to give a huge go attempt for a small show in December in Savannah.

All the really difficult stuff of loss is behind me so I am itching to get lost in painting instead and recharge. That I have a few days a week I can dedicate a good solid 6 hours of painting on a regular basis for this next season is like handing me a little pot of gold because I've not had much of that since March and I miss the artistic state of mind, plus I have a great new pair of high heels to break in before I wear them in public. :) (I stand and pace quite a bit when I paint.)  

Refocus: I have three paintings almost done - not for the erotica show unfortunately but still, three works that need a few hours each and then I can begin posting.  I have one painting finished for the show but I can't reveal that one yet because it may or may not end up in the show.  The ideas are still building and commitments are tough at this stage.  I know. Artistic angst is so crippling.

I have a couple weeks before I begin teaching weekly so I'm planning lots of heavy painting time til then.  Being so out of practice for such discipline, I may have trouble sticking to this but you know, want it, do it. That's what it's going to take to catch up and still have time to do extra paintings for the ones that turn out wrong, awkward or loose the flow.  It's like an insurance policy; plus, sometimes paintings you thought would work in the final flow of a show just don't. 

When there's a deadline, there's a line between getting it done and doing it right so pacing oneself is super important.  I work on drawings between paintings to decompress from color mixing and practice weekly life figure drawing to improve my skills. I really don't feel like I get enough done.  I want to be 18, under my parent's care, in art school -- on solid birth control.

 life drawing sketch

life drawing sketch

 charcoal portraits

charcoal portraits

 life drawing sketches

life drawing sketches

Thanks for your patience and checking back to see what's going on with my art.  My devotion to it in February took an unexpected turn in March so I didn't get very far.  My 2nd attempt at painting devotion has basically begun and will continue until l have enough pieces for a December show. Exciting stuff!  Thanks for following along.

See the latest on my Instagram. - T