A brief submitted to the Commission D'Etude sur le Cinema et l'Audiovisuel

Masculine Collective Against Sexism
Year Published:  1982
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX2709A

The MASCULINE COLLECTIVE AGAINST SEXISM, based in Montreal, was established following Quebec's Colloques Regionaux sur la Violence, where the group's members recognized the will of certain men to make others aware of the reality of rape and various other forms of violence against women. The COLLECTIVE has organized public meetings, led a personal and political reflection on sexism, worked out a statement of principles, and seeks to intervene publicly against sexism as manifested in rape, pornography, and advertising. There are ten regular partipants and about 75 other active members, who are informed and consulted on the group's decisions and activities.

In December, 1982, the COLLECTIVE submitted a brief on pornography to the province's Commission D'Etude sur le Cinema et L'Audiovisuel. The brief identifies the negative impacts pornography has on both men and women. It debunks fallacies about the positive role potn might play in satisfying individual and social "needs", and situates the growth of pornography within a political, eocnomic and social framework.

The authors of the brief stress that their anaysis of the position on pornography should not be reduced to some puritanism or other form of moratlity." Rather, it is a matter of human rightrs. The statements made by port contravene basic rights and freedoms of women as citizens and serve the same purposes as "racist propaganda." Pornography is "profoundly discriminatory." The support of government in its spread represents a move to "institutionalize civic inequities".

The brief points out that the marketing of pornography is being done more and more efficiently -- porn videocassettes, which currently constitute 75 per cent of the market, bring it into individual household. Porn is a $5 billion dollar industry in North America. "How can we attempt a sexual deconditioning or a quality sex edcuation when the State itself talks of joining the fray?"

As for the "need" which porn serves, is that not "a need to demean women?" The myth of romantic love, which earlier served to keep women 'in their place', is progressively being replaced by images of submission and extreme hate intended to serve the same purpose of controlling women, the COLLECTIVE notes.

As for freedom of choice in consumption, this is illusionary. "No one is forced (to view porn) but what five-year-old can escape the porn display at the corner variety shop or outside the neighbourhood theatre? No man we know has managed to escape the systematic pollution of his vision of women....That's oppression, well-rooted in our lives and in those of the women who bear it with us...We can testify of its long- term effects on our relationships with women and wither other men.

The authors of the brief argue that the issue of pornography must be addressed by social activists because its spreading influence subverts the work of the progressive movements in which they are engaged. Porn advocates unequal power relationships and violence. It falsifies the nature of our sexuality, depicts men and women as natural enemies, isolates us, and dehumanizes us. "Pornography initiates us into society." It is a potent socialization into violence. The result is an "escalating desensitization that plays so nicely into the hands of those who otherwise control our lives in the workplace or on imminent battlefields."

"Pornography offers men sterotypes of women as victims on which to dump frustrations accumulated at the job, behind the wheel, anywhere. Thousands of women and men are working at putting people in touch with true, comprehensive and far-reaching solutions to these accumulated frustrations....why should we let the State give free rein to a 5 billion dollar industry whose entire activity directly opposes the process and the struggle so many of us are leading?

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