Twitter is not the problem. Porn is.

Twitter isn't the problem.

I stared at the screen, horrified. Sometimes you wish you can un-see words. I had read Vicky Beeching’s recent blog post detailing the some of the Twitter abuse she had received following her support of the #LoseTheLadsMags Twitter campaign. It made my jaw drop to see the extent of the vile and misogynistic tweets. I had read of the appalling response to Caroline Criado-Perez’s bank notes campaign, and had been shocked by it. But this time they were targeting my friend, and it brought it home in a whole new way. I felt sick.
 

These were my questions:
– Why do some men think it’s okay to write obscene things to women and threaten rape?
– Why were there some women who were jumping to the defence of lads’ mags?
 

I had a browse around the underbelly of Twitter, and I got my answer.
 

Scrolling down the tweets of one of the worst offenders, I found a slew of similarly lewd tweets he had sent to other women. They had not protested.
 

One had thanked him. She was a glamour model and had over 50,000 followers.
 

And suddenly it started to make sense. If your entire Twitter interaction with women is to make lewd comments to glamour models or porn stars, it is not that you switch into a different, abusive gear when you interact with a Vicky Beeching or a Caroline Criado-Perez – it is your normal way of being, and a completely reasonable way to converse.
 

In the eyes of the Twitter abusers, it seems the world of women is divided up into two categories: models with big breasts who like to be ‘naughty’ and encourage you to lust after them, versus angry, ugly feminists who resent the models and want to take porn and Lads’ Mags away and spoil everyone’s masturbatory fun. And, really, all women always want sex with you, and if they don’t, well, they should be forced. They need to be put in their place.
 

There are some who say, ‘What’s the problem with Lads’ Mags? It’s just a bit of naughty fun. It’s not oppressing women – the women who are modelling feel great about themselves.’
 

And the answer is this: porn affects all women, not just those in the magazines. It turns all women into objects and depersonalises them. You just need a cursory glance at the Twitter abuse thrown at feminists this fortnight to see that.
 

Jesus once said, “Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.” (Luke 6:45b) If Twitter is society’s mouthpiece, then our collective heart is very sick.
 

*****
 

The destructive lie of pornography
 

Porn is normal, and by normal, I mean that it has become ubiquitous, not that is is healthy. I was once party to a conversation where soldiers’ wives were choosing the best porn magazines to send to their men away at war. One soldier’s mother had helpfully sent a few magazines to her daughter-in-law. They were chatting about it like it was the most natural thing in the world.
 

Studies have shown:

  • There is a strong connection between pornography and devaluing women’s rights in society. The more porn you watch, the less likely you are to be sympathetic to women’s rights.*
  •  

  • There is a strong connection between pornography and violence against women.
    The best-selling adult DVDs have acts of sexual violence on average every 90 seconds. The vast majority of these are men being violent to women. What about non-violent porn? Men – and, surprisingly, women – exposed to non-violent porn for just six weeks thought that rape was a lesser crime and deserved a shorter prison sentence than they did at the start of the study.
  •  

    But what about Lads’ Mags? They’re not so bad, surely? In a recent study, members of the public were shown extracts from articles about women in Lads’ Mags, and quotes from convicted rapists. They found it difficult to tell which was which because they were so similar. Lads Mags and rapists use the same language to talk about women.

     

    Porn tells the lie that women are merely objects for male sexual gratification.
    It tells the lie that sex is something you get, you purchase, you demand as your right; rather than a physical expression and celebration of faithful love, mutually given.
    It tells the lie that it is acceptable to treat women as property, to lust after them, because they enjoy it.
    It tells the lie that women are constantly desirous of sexual attention and will be grateful for it.

    We are in a porn culture, and we’ve believed the lie for so long we’ve forgotten it’s a lie.
     

    ****
     

    What should we do?
     

    Many people were asking: Why should women campaigning about bank notes be the victims of such horrific rape threats?
     

    Perhaps there is something in the timing of events:

     

    The success of the feminist bank note campaign was sandwiched between two stories that target porn. The public are just waking up to the harmful effects of porn, and saying we need to curb it. The offensive tweets came from people who feed that industry – both viewers and models. What Vicky Beeching and others faced in the last fortnight was the backlash of a huge and powerful industry which is starting to feel under threat.
     

    There will inevitably be conversations now about the fear of over-censorship, the right to freedom of speech, and these are important discussions to have. But let’s not get side-tracked. The time has come to fight the spread of porn.
     

    *****
     

    We’re shocked when we see the abusive and lewd nature of the tweets and the threats that feminists have received. We’re right to be shocked, because this is terrible (and sometimes criminal) behaviour. But we shouldn’t be surprised.
     

    Much of the debate has focused on Twitter, and how people respond in a different way when they’re on social media to how they do in ‘real life’. There is definitely a case for this, but we need to remember that these misogynistic and threatening comments do not just happen on Twitter, they happen in ‘real life’. They happen in business meetings, behind the backs of female colleagues. They happen in factories and police headquarters. They erupt violently behind closed doors in respectable looking homes.
     

    Twitter does not cause this horrible abuse: it reveals it. This past fortnight Twitter has held up a mirror to our porn-riddled society. And it is not a pretty picture.
     

    Twitter is not the problem. Porn is.

     

     

    For further reading and excellent analysis of the research into the effects of porn:
    Jon Marlow – Chill out, it’s just porn.

     
    *(71% of men in control group supported women’s rights at the end of the study, versus 48% in the intermediate group and just 25% of men in the ‘massive exposure’ to porn group. It’s worth noting that the ‘massive exposure’ was 5 hours of porn videos per week, an amount which is seen now as ‘average’.)

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    59 Responses to Twitter is not the problem. Porn is.

    1. John 6th September, 2013 at 4:48 pm #

      I’m sorry to use this analogy, but your concerns and principles, which I agree with 100%, are leading you to p*ss in the wind, as to speak – it’ too late to stop the filth that is porn – that’s liberalism and freedom for you – and for these reasons so many died in WW2.

      What will become of us, watching porn in our metal huts, shielded from a destroyed environment through years of environmental destruction – this is what will become of us.

      • Chris 8th September, 2013 at 3:43 am #

        John,

        We have to fight the evil that is before us in our own generation. The very nature of porn is that it is never enough. It is all consuming not to only the lives of those who view it and to those who are viewed, but also to all of humanity that has been cheapened by pornified minds. This is why such vile and misogynistic tweets are delivered to those who would dare to stand against it.

        We fight it not for our own comfort (it is certainly not comfortable) but for human dignity and the lives of everyone who is hurt and will be hurt by it. We must speak truth. Even if it only encourages one person to question their own involvement or complacency, those of us who know must speak.

        I’m afraid I may smell a bit like piss, but history is full of such wind swept messengers.

        • Tanya 9th September, 2013 at 11:32 am #

          Thanks, Chris. 🙂

    2. Caroline 10th August, 2013 at 2:39 am #

      Brave Girl!
      Pornography (sexual immorality depicted) perverts every good sexual impulse in both men and women.
      My husband has been a porn addict all his life. Literally weaned (3 years old) on “soft” nude pics and a daily addict to hard core porn by age 11. This was back in the day when it was “hard to get”, unless of course your parents used it, which they both did. He has struggled our entire marriage and only recently in the last few years can say he’s truly “in recovery”.

      I came into the relationship tainted by porn as well. Molested by a porn addict for years as a child, and raped by another in my teens (none of this reported, by the way, thought it was normal and my fault for getting into the situations) I had a very distorted view of what was OK. Truth be told, my own husband should probably be in jail for some of what I have endured over our years together.

      We have had to fight for every clean encounter we’ve ever had. Fight evil, not each other. I HATE PORN and I’m no feminist, whatever that is. I am for male and female, made in God’s image. Human flesh is sacred, so we have special rules for what can and cannot be done with it.

      Yes, a hatred of woman (and children) is universal. Every savage society has its history. The disturbing thing about our increasingly pornified culture where 5 year old children are becoming addicted to porn is that it is happening in Gods house the same as everywhere else.

      My husbands father was a pastor.

      Thanks for writing this post and answering all the comments.

      Women follow men. This is documentable and

      • Tanya 10th August, 2013 at 10:43 am #

        Oh my. I am so saddened to hear of your and your husband’s story. The thing that most stood out for me was your comment, ‘none of this reported..l thought it was my fault…’ This is my concern for our generation, that so many women are abused, and believe it is their fault.

        It is not your fault. I know you know that, but I want to take your hand in mine and look you in the eyes and tell you truly – it is not your fault.

        And I was so shocked and saddened to learn that your husband’s father, who was exposing a three-year-old to porn, was a pastor. Lord, have mercy.

        Thank you so much for sharing something of your story.

        • Caroline 10th August, 2013 at 9:35 pm #

          Tanya
          Thank you for your precious words.

          Yes the “explosion” in numbers that a former comment wanted so badly is already happening, and in the nursery mostly. If he bothers to look, I hope he can bear what he finds. Numbers for cases of sexual abuse are rising, and at the same time, the standard of what is acceptable is sinking. So unreported offenses (like mine) will increasingly go un-tallied. Dr Dan B Allender in Seattle has spent his life working with victims of sexual violence and warns of the darkness in this new generation of porn.

          Even “regular porn” (whatever) is featuring ever younger looking actresses to be violated so “normal” men’s tastes are being quickly trained for that which at one time would have been unthinkable to them: children as partners. There is clear link between the viewing of child porn and men seeking child prostitutes and/or messing with the preteens at church…so why the violent porn would be thought to have a different effect on men’s desires and actions is rather silly.

          As for my marriage, sadly, our story is as common as dirt. Recently, I found an online support group website called “Women in the Battle”. Its an arm of “Every Man’s Battle” from NewLife ministries here in the United States. It is filled with the heartbreaking and encouraging stories of traumatized wives whose Christian husbands (many many who are pastors) have ruined so much with various forms of perversion and sexual addiction, nearly always started by porn use, but almost never ending there. We are the other face of porn.

          But I agree, the effect on the children is the most tragic. Porn warps the understanding of what God intended. It tells horrific lies about who God is, and who man is. It is hard work sorting through the ancient rot, but He is so faithful. He uses it all to mold and shape and grow us. I can really say my husband and I are both being prepared to fight, because we see this as all out war for the soul of the church and our society.

          For such a time as this.

          Correction: when my husband was a wee boy playing with “harmless” nudes, my father in law was not yet a pastor. Not that it matters a whole lot, as he never gave up his perversions even after being ordained, but I didn’t want to overstate the matter! However, the man that raped me as a teen was a Christian ministry worker and soon afterwards went on to seminary.

          • Tanya 11th August, 2013 at 11:34 am #

            Thank you so much for this. These words need to be heard by many.
            (And thanks for the clarification on your husband’s father.)

    3. Caleb Suko 8th August, 2013 at 5:22 am #

      Wow, thanks for this post! I think you’re right on, guys who abuse women on twitter have most likely had their minds terribly altered by the use of porn.

      I think it’s time for other guys to also stand up and make a loud and clear statement against porn. After all porn doesn’t just hurt women, it hurts our society as a whole, men, women and children!

      • Tanya 10th August, 2013 at 10:37 am #

        Thanks, Caleb – it’s great to have men standing against this. You’re right, it affects us all.

    4. Helen Murray 6th August, 2013 at 4:45 pm #

      Well done. Great article on many levels. You must be exhausted fielding all the comments!
      What a world we live in. I’m praying for better days.
      Thank you for this.

    5. Sarah 6th August, 2013 at 2:02 pm #

      Brilliant Tanya, I am so glad your voice is back and so utterly on form.
      Just as the voices of women saying that porn is ok, and “normal”, are more damamging than men’s voices saying it, so is it stronger and more powerful to hear men speaking out about it. They are heard. Women’s voices saying it is ok, and that feminists “can’t take a joke” (recently on a facebook interaction I had), etc are so much more powerful. It grieves me that women think like this, believe these lies. Society indoctrinates from the cradle, and until we stop labelling boys misbehaviour as ‘just being boys’ and discourage girls from physically challenging activity we will not get to the root of the problem.

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