I found a website called “Elance” a while back, which is a kind of social network designed for freelance writers, artists, and other creative types. It’s a bit like online dating, except the program suggests jobs based on your criteria instead of dates.
I found one job possibility today that entailed fashion writing, and since I’ve never considered fashion I started investigating what fashion writing entails. My search brought me to “The Best Fashion Writing of 2013” and as I perused the articles I found one that caught my eye: “When Did Fashion Become Porn?” by Caryn Franklin.
Franklin’s article begins by noticing the sheer accessibility of pornography and the false expectations it arouses. She comments that there is a growing market for Viagara and even penile surgeries.
“Masculinity now, just like femininity,” Writes Franklin, “is prey to a whole host of marketing promises and pressures.”
And it may only get worse, where pornography was presented as “a misogynistic standard from a shabby back-room printing press for most of the 20th Century, now pornography is produced on an industrial scale as never seen before and, courtesy of continually developing digital markets, commands huge revenues although over 80% of young users access it for free.”
And this is problematic for developing healthy, supportive relationships whether sexual or not. According to Franklin, “Boys also have little idea of what makes sex pleasurable for women. And neither it seems do today’s young women, studies reveal girls expect relationships to be controlling and sometimes violent.”
Pornification of our popular culture is happening right under our noses.
But these children don’t necessarily learn these behaviors from pornography, they learn it from popular culture. Franklin writes that “Pornification of our popular culture is happening right under our noses.”
And it takes the form of “Grooming”, a form of media that says, “This new media porn is all a bit of innocent fun, nothing to make a fuss about. Just give us a little flash of your honey-pot and stop being so uptight.” and is presented as little more than “media at its edgiest”.
“That’s how sexual groomers work in both seedy and shiny surroundings isn’t it?” Writes Franklin, “When repellent ideas are given a fun or adventurous spin, they are always easier to carry out.”
And such seems to be our media environment. The slow development of pornographic world where humans are objects of pleasure, and pornography is matter of artistic creativity.
Franklin writes that “Grooming by individuals or an entire industry, is morally corrupt”.
But what can we do to create a popular culture that is morally sound in a world of changing moral ground? And what does it mean to be moral?
Though I can’t answer these questions today, or really at all, I have a few ideas of my own that I will present as an argument towards a new moral code which preserves “old fashions” while challenging the modern morals with reasonable constraints.
I aim to challenge the pretense and superficiality of the mass media and learn what it means to empower women and the human individual, and how to practice that empowerment.
“And so we come full circle.” Concludes Franklin, “Standard viewing of barely adult girls engaging in demeaning acts of sexual posturing, finger sucking, fanny massaging and arse waving. Cheap shots from fashion, a luxury industry loudly trumpeting its taste-leadership credentials, and music, pretending to empower all young women. Not all of us are taking it lying down.”