Archive for August, 2007

By saying, “But pornography is a direct denial of the power of the erotic, for it represents the suppression of true feeling. Pornography emphasizes sensation without feeling”, Lorde (1989) establishes a clear boundary between pornography and erotics. What makes erotics so significant, so different, so acute, regardless of gender or sex, is the pleasure the subjects experience or, oftentimes, conjure up. This is a similar parallel with objectification and subjectification where the former is passive and the latter is active. However, I have been a little suspicious of such ‘objectification’ in pornography where sex pleasure may not be realized in the action but by exhibiting the action in absolute details by the actors whereas for (some) audience, their enjoyment  may be incurred simply by watching such actions. Surely, their enjoyment could be related to sex, or other, such as s&m ones, etc. But one thing seems clear to: such incitements may vary among individuals and therefore become individualized. And even this individualization may not be formed overnight and keep evolving over time. An once pornographic entity may be eroticized some other time. This comes back to Chong’s comment on the problems for Critical Theory has been long critiqued. That is, general claims are made to be inclusive of all subjects from one single or a limited number of so-called perspectives only because they are interested to the author.   


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The problem of ‘objectification’ lies in the Chinese translation rather than the term itself. Instead of “物化“, “客体化” can be a better alternative. The connotations of the two words in Chinese are utterly different. How can they be termed together or used interchangeably? Also, I guess a linguist’s understanding of “object” and “objectification” would be much more dynamic and inspiring. In this regard, I guess, many problems of theory’s dissemination through Chinese come from inappropriate translation rather than the theories themselves. The intended manipulation of Maxist concepts are classical examples, of which “物化” is a typical one.

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Here are two readings listed in a MIT course:

Dworkin, Andrea. “Pornography Happens to Women.” Speech presented at Speech, Equality and Harm: Feminist Legal Perspectives on Pornography and Hate Propaganda. University of Chicago Law School, March 6, 1993.
McElroy, Wendy. “Banning Pornography Endangers Women.” International Society for Individual Liberty pamphlet.

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Based on the readings we collected so far, I propose to summarize the process of sexualization briefly as follows:


Private & domestic -> make p & d partially visible -> more personal,more human, softer -> intro sex/ sexual activity into the public inhititedly: men only, and concealed from general public view ( only found in limited media forms) -> invasion of sex into various media -> pervasive and abundant in media: not only representational, but more active, and even interactive (e.g. cybersex)

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