Pornography and Patriarchal Culture Imprisons Some While Others Profit
The May 2017 issue of the Family Fun magazine (owned by the media conglomerate Meredith Corporation) has produced and distributed an advertisement that meets the federal definition of child pornography. The ad shows a boy duck-taping a prepubescent girl to a garage wall. The image does not depict any nudity or sexual activity, but this does not matter under the law, which defines "sexually explicit conduct" to include "sadistic or masochistic abuse."
[One prisoner] found out the hard way. He is serving a 97-month federal prison sentence, to be followed by a lifetime of "supervised release" and registration as a dangerous "sex offender" for having received a similar but less explicit image. "All I remember about getting it was that it was in some ZIP file," said [the prisoner]. "I didn't think anything of it, as there was no nudity or anything sexual about it. But the government has destroyed my life."
"Then a friend of mine in prison saw this ad for Capri Sun," [the prisoner] said. "It is worse than the image I was sentenced for in every possible way. It shows clear and unambiguous active bondage; the girl is younger; her legs are spread; and there is a masochistic smile on her face." [The prisoner] wrote Kraft Heinz, the President, congress and as many civil rights and legal assistance organizations as he could. [The prisoner] continued, "Although the Capri Sun ad is tasteless, sexist, and more than a little disturbing, I don't think anybody should go to prison over it. Yet I am in prison and the rest of my life is destroyed for receiving an image that is mild by comparison."
MIM(Prisons) responds: Although we couldn't find a copy of this magazine ad, we don't doubt that this and many other magazines and so many other capitalist advertisements include pornographic images. Even billboards feature girls who look like they are 10 modeling skimpy clothing with a sexy pout on their faces. It is this patriarchal culture that puts pornography out in everything we see. And it is this culture that teaches people to enjoy pornography, coercion and sexual assault. Essentially capitalism is creating rapists while pretending to be shocked and offended by them.
People who get locked up for sex offenses are right to claim a double standard. That doesn't make what the sex offenders did right, it just makes society so very wrong. And as a result we're left with a criminal injustice system that gets to pick and choose who they want to prosecute. No surprise we end up with a disproportionate number of New Afrikan and Chican@ men locked up for these crimes.
It will take a revolutionary culture, and many years of fighting to eliminate the patriarchy, before we can truly eliminate pornography and sexual assault from humyn society. We will need to not only revolutionize our culture, but also re-educate everyone who has been inundated with patriarchy from birth. And those who internalized it to the extent of acting out violent sexual assaults and other crimes against the people will need even further re-education and rehabilitation before they can safely re-integrate into society.
For now, whether you are locked up justly or unjustly we urge you to take a hard look at your views about gender, how you treat people and how you view people, and consider how this is conditioned by patriarchal culture. We welcome all revolutionary activists to take up the struggle, regardless of your past, but we all need to be conscious of the effects of the patriarchy on our actions and beliefs.