What Is Wrong With Watching Pornography?

Has pornography really become morally and socially acceptable? If a fluff piece reposted on the Herald website is any indication, the answer is: Yes, it has, and for your information, it is now opposition to pornography that is morally and socially abnormal.

The article in question informs us that an American woman by the name of Claire Dolton was recently pilloried online after jilting her fiancé for the stupidest of reasons. “And the reason?” asks lifestyle reporter Vanessa Brown and then answers her own question: “Well, the guy liked to watch porn—gasp!”

Consider that sarcastic, editorialising gasp. It leaves the reader in no doubt of Venessa’s opinion. Claire Dolton is a pearl-clutching prude and her decision to break up with her fiancé over pornography is absurd. If pornography is to be approached with any moral reservation at all (and it is not clear from Vanessa’s article that it should) then, presumably, it is on a level with double-parking and the late return of library books: A naughty foible unworthy of serious concern.

If it is absurd to be solemnly opposed to masturbation and pornography then the Christian Church has been absurd for twenty centuries. The Catechism of the Catholic Church declares that, “pornography does grave injury to the dignity of participants,” and lists masturbation as a mortal sin—where “mortal” means serious enough to destroy one’s relationship with God. Luther and Calvin believed likewise as is clear from their voluminous writings. And there is no possible reading of Matthew 5:27-28 (in which men are forbidden to, “gaze at a woman to lust after her,”) that does not proscribe pornography for any man who wishes to obey the teachings of Jesus. [1]

In the digital age, meanwhile, pornography has never been more abundant, more accessible and more accepted. [2] Clearly, then, there is a chasm between what the Church teaches and what society practices. In what follows it will be my concern to show that Christian teaching on this issue is morally coherent. My argument will be that the Church upholds and promotes an ideal of human sexuality that is most conducive to the production of virtue and happiness while forms of human sexuality that deviate from this ideal, and in this instance pornography and masturbation, are productive of vice and therefore morally wrong.

It Is Disordered

Let me begin with a modest claim about masturbation and pornography: It is highly doubtful that a good counterargument can be mounted against the view that it is disordered—where “disordered” is understood to mean, “contrary to the normal and healthy functioning or purpose of something”—in this case, human sexuality.

Clearly enough, a boy who discovers that he enjoys rubbing his genitals has not discovered the unitive and procreative ends towards which the motivating urge is directed. Who can deny that he still has an important further fact to learn about sex? Or, if the masturbator is an adult man, who can deny that what is missing from the room when he masturbates is as critical to the completion and fulfilment of human sexuality as is an opponent to a solitary man on a tennis court who wishes to play a game of tennis?

The theologian Peter Damian has even suggested that masturbation is a form of low-grade homosexuality—a point which entails masturbation is disordered ipso facto for heterosexual men whose sexual desires are directed at the female sex. [3] I will admit that I initially laughed at Damian’s suggestion—but it is nevertheless reasonable on reflection. For consider what is happening when a man masturbates: In a room in which a woman is nowhere to be found, a male hand is bringing a penis to orgasm—so be it that the hand and penis belong to the same man. In The Porn Trap, Wendy and Larry Maltz make the further point that, for this very reason, heterosexual boys have always tried to use pornography to “heterosexualize” masturbation,

Rather than focus on the fact that they are stimulating male genitals, they can focus on the reassuring presence of a female.

The obvious qualification that no female is actually present gives the lie to the attempted deception: For in the final analysis masturbating to heterosexual pornography is no more a form of “heterosexual sex” than a shoe is “food” if while eating it I look at pictures of bread.

Here an objector may simply allow that pornography and masturbation are disordered and ask: Is what is disordered necessarily wrong? Thomists think the answer to this question is Yes and their position, called Natural Law Morality, is not as easy to refute as you might think. But showing that masturbating to pornography is wrong does not depend on a defence of Natural Law Morality. There are far less scholastic and more obvious objections at hand.

It Is Paradigmatically Selfish

That the act of sexually pleasuring yourself is paradigmatically selfish is, I hope, fairly obvious. John Paul II, in his Theology of the Body, argues that, “pornography and masturbation represent the destruction of the symbolic and nuptial meaning of the human body.” For, as he says, “God gives all men and women erotic energy,” that, “forms part of that attraction between men and women.” That, of itself, is a profound good. But it follows that,

Sexual energy needs to find its outlet in love, not lust: In masturbation that erotic energy is turned in on oneself. Masturbation, therefore, is a symbol not of love but of loneliness.

Here an atheist reader will object that I have smuggled God into my argument. But the point is scarcely affected by the substitution of “Nature” for God as the origin human erotic energy. It is an obvious general truth that when the pleasure of sex is shared it opens one up to erotic and romantic affection and, ultimately, family love. Thomas Nagel, himself an atheist, sees this reciprocity as being what is essential to human sexuality.

Nagel proposes that sexual interactions in which each person responds with sexual arousal to noticing the sexual arousal of the other person exhibit the psychology that is natural to human sexuality. In such an encounter, each person becomes aware of himself or herself and the other person as both the subject and the object of their joint sexual experiences. Perverted sexual encounters or events would be those in which this mutual recognition of arousal is absent. [4]

On Nagel’s criterion viewing and masturbating to pornography would qualify as, “perverted sexual events” since there is not and cannot be a mutual recognition of arousal between two conscious selves.

It Therefore Impedes Virtue

Consider, by contrast, a man in a loving and monogamous marriage who refrains from pornography and masturbation. Such a man constrains his sexual activity to one woman with whom he is in love. He thereby enjoys the imposition of what is probably one of the few constraints upon the male libido that is stronger than the male libido—love itself. In other words, a loving husband who enjoys sexual release with the woman he loves and in no other way quickly discovers that in the interests of cherishing and respecting her he will frequently need to overcome and set aside his carnal urges—to give up on the idea of fulfilling some erotic fantasy that his wife finds embarrassing, for example; or to give up on the idea of having sex altogether in order to nurse his wife because she feels unwell. In this way, over time, and by force of habit, his love and respect for the other must operate against and surpass his strongest instinct for pleasure. And as Plato said, “A man becomes brave by acting bravely.” He means that we shape our moral character over time by our moral choices. The implications of this should be obvious

You might object here that a loving husband who does not so constrain himself does all these things too only he also masturbates to pornography in private from time to time—perhaps the better to control his carnal urges. But this objection entirely misses the point. For the man who has an orgasm whenever he wants and with whatever fantasy or pornographic aid he wants does not enjoy any inter-personal constraint upon his sexual release. C. S. Lewis understood this well when he wrote,

The real evil of masturbation would be that it takes an appetite which, in lawful use, leads the individual out of himself to complete and correct his own personality in that of another and turns it back; sends the man back into the prison of himself, there to keep a harem of imaginary brides … For the harem is always accessible, always subservient, calls for no sacrifices or adjustments. Among those shadowy brides he is always adored, always the perfect lover; no demand is made on his unselfishness, no mortification ever imposed on his vanity.

And It Promotes Vice

Much of what I have said so far could be applied to masturbation alone. But masturbation is almost always coupled with pornography abuse—and this is much graver. Lewis himself wrote well before the spread of online pornography. But his warning has only become more relevant and more urgent.

It is logical: You cannot love, respect and will the good of another human being and simultaneously find pleasure in watching them do something harmful or have something harmful done to them. The question arises: Is choosing to become a pornographic actress a good thing for a woman to do?

The question can be brought home by imagining that your mother, sister, daughter or wife is the woman in question. Sexual intercourse has the potential to be the most wonderful experience of human life—from its romantic and unitive force in a loving relationship to its production of children and so of family love. Contrast this with the life of a pornographic actress for whom sex and love are alienated so that her body can be objectified for profit.

If you cannot with perfect equanimity entertain the prospect of one of your female loved ones becoming a pornographic actress then you are morally compromising yourself every time you watch and masturbate to pornography. For to enjoy pornography and masturbation one has to follow the opposite moral path of the man who constrains his sexual activity to one woman with whom he is in love; namely, he has to allow his sexual desires to eclipse his love and respect for the other; he has to view woman and girls with limited financial and emotional agency as objects worthy to be used and misused for the sake of his own sexual enjoyment. And to do so—and to make a habit of doing so—is, Plato reminds us, simply to become a perverse, selfish, callous and unloving person.

This argument holds with respect to any form of pornography whatever; but it holds a fortiori with respect to the sort of pornography that has become almost normative online in recent times. There are various studies that can now be found on the prevalence and frequency of verbal and physical aggression towards woman in pornographic videos today. A fairly typical example reviews 304 popular videos and reports that,

88% of scenes contained physical aggressive behavior, such as choking or hitting, and 49% contained verbal aggression, mostly name calling. Almost all (94%) of aggressive behavior was directed towards women and elicited a positive or neutral response.

The Herald itself should know better. A month before it posted the above article, it ran a story on an online discussion among pornographic actresses in which it was revealed that, “rape, abuse and exploitation are shockingly common.” And when it is remembered that viewing pornography online produces ad revenue for those that promulgate it, it is not an exaggeration to say that men who view pornography are helping to fund the rape, abuse and exploitation of vulnerable women and girls. In this light, Claire’s mortification at her fiancé’s enjoyment of pornography does not seem quite so absurd.

The coherence of Christian teaching on this subject is, I believe, a small item of further evidence for the truth of the Christian Faith.

—————————————————-

[1] In this article I address myself to the problem of heterosexual men viewing heterosexual porn with a focus on the exploitation of women. This is because it is primarily men that view porn and it is primarily woman who are exploited. However, the same arguments could with very little need of emendation account for viewers and actors of any gender and orientation.

[2] The Broadcasting Standards Authority would likely agree with Venessa Brown—having decided that a show in which headless human beings are selected worthy or unworthy of romance by an examination of their genitals was fit for prime time New Zealand television. You can read about their decision here.

[3] For the coherence of Christian teaching on homosexuality see Revelation: From Metaphor to Analogy by Richard Swinburne, p.303-306.

[4] Quoted from this article on the Philosophy of Sexuality.

8 replies
  1. Richard
    Richard says:

    “If it is absurd to be solemnly opposed to masturbation and pornography then the christian church has been absurd for twenty centuries.” I agree, they have been absurd, but for a lot longer than that. If masturbation is so wrong then why would god make it feel so good? At the same time the church advocates for no sex before marriage and also no masturbation… How is that fair? Masturbation is, in fact, healthy for the body and men that ejaculate multiple times a week have lower rates of prostate cancer. What about men that can’t find a wife? Should they never masturbate at all? What about female masturbation?

    “The theologian Peter Damian has even suggested that masturbation is a form of low-grade homosexuality—a point which entails masturbation is disordered ipso facto for heterosexual men whose sexual desires are directed at the female sex. [3] I will admit that I initially laughed at Damian’s suggestion—but it is nevertheless reasonable on reflection.” You should have continued laughing as that is absurd! When a heterosexual man masturbates they are most likely thinking of a woman, maybe even their wife. How can that be homosexual? And why does it matter if they do think of a man sometimes or both a man and a woman?

    Is it god that cares about all this or just you and the church? If it is god then for such an all-powerful being it really does care an awful a lot about what we do with the pleasure it made us able to have.

  2. Ben Mines
    Ben Mines says:

    If masturbation is so wrong then why would god make it feel so good?

    “It feels good therefore it is not immoral” is a very bad argument. If granted, we would have to conclude that the sadist, necrophiliac and rapist were not immoral insofar as they are able to claim that their respective perversions “feel good” to them.

    Masturbation is, in fact, healthy for the body and men that ejaculate multiple times a week have lower rates of prostate cancer.

    Actually, the situation is not as clear cut as you make out. Some recent studies suggest that, “frequent masturbation in young men is linked to higher risk of early prostate cancer.” [1] However, all this is entirely besides the point since the health benefits of an act are irrelevant to the moral quality of that act. Suppose it were proven that eating young children was good for your health. Would that give us moral justification for eating young children?

    What about men that can’t find a wife? Should they never masturbate at all? What about female masturbation?

    I argued that the Church upholds and promotes an ideal of human sexuality that is most conducive to the production of virtue and happiness while pornography and masturbation are productive of vice and therefore morally wrong.

    The critical part of the argument (and so the part an opponent of it needs to address) is that a man who only achieves sexual release with a woman that he knows and loves enjoys a control upon his libido that is mediated by his concern and respect for the other. That is productive of virtue. By contrast, a man who masturbates whenever he wishes enjoys no control upon his libido. Again, Lewis,

    The real evil of masturbation would be that it takes an appetite which, in lawful use, leads the individual out of himself to complete and correct his own personality in that of another and turns it back; sends the man back into the prison of himself, there to keep a harem of imaginary brides … For the harem is always accessible, always subservient, calls for no sacrifices or adjustments. Among those shadowy brides he is always adored, always the perfect lover; no demand is made on his unselfishness, no mortification ever imposed on his vanity.

    And if he abuses porn then the situation even far more morally inimical; for that man must put his pursuit of personal gratification before his concern and respect for the other—so long as we allow the quite uncontroversial postulate that separating sex from love and having sex on camera with strangers for money is an expression of human sexuality less conducive to fulfilment and happiness than having a monogamous loving relationship with one person that leads to family and family love.

    And yes, quite obviously, if this argument holds then it holds for both women and for unmarriageable men. Being female or unmarriageable does not change the fact that to enjoy pornography both are required to subjugate the wellbeing of the other to the pursuit of their own sexual gratification.

    When a heterosexual man masturbates they are most likely thinking of a woman, maybe even their wife. How can that be homosexual?

    I gave an argument and you have ignored it. Let me repeat: In a room in which a female is nowhere to be found a male hand brings a penis to orgasm—so be it that the hand and penis belong to the same man. Does an accompanying image of heterosexual sex render this act a simulation of heterosexual sex? No, it does not. And nor is a shoe “food” if while eating it I look at pictures of bread.

    And why does it matter if they do think of a man sometimes or both a man and a woman?

    My post was primarily about men masturbating to heterosexual sex. For the coherence of Christian teaching on homosexuality see Revelation: From Metaphor to Analogy by Richard Swinburne, p.303-306.

    Is it god that cares about all this or just you and the church? If it is god then for such an all-powerful being it really does care an awful a lot about what we do with the pleasure it made us able to have.

    To enjoy pornography and masturbation a man has to view woman and girls with limited financial and emotional agency as objects worthy to be used and misused for the sake of his own sexual enjoyment. This is perverse, selfish, callous and unloving. I also noted (vide Plato) that our moral actions ultimately determine our moral character. Thus to make a habit of enjoying pornography is to become a perverse, selfish, callous and unloving person. As Emerson wisely observed: “Sew a thought, reap an action; sew an action, reap a habit; sew a habit, reap a character; sew a character, reap an eternal destiny.”

    And I do not think you can reasonably deny that God is concerned with our eternal destiny.

    [1] https://www.webmd.com/g00/prostate-cancer/news/20090127/masturbation-and-prostate-cancer-risk?i10c.encReferrer=&i10c.ua=4#1

  3. Kahimilo Junior
    Kahimilo Junior says:

    Hello, the topic of pornography and masturbation in (men and women) is good topic to discuss among the church. I personally believe that pornography is morally wrong for any Christians who knows the Bible to be involved in. I believe its a form of adultery whether by looking at the (opposite or same sex gender) with lust eg looking at pornography or performing an act as a result of the enticement of looking lustfully to same or opposite sex eg masturbation. Lust is the desire of the flesh ( sinful flesh) where it needs to be satisfied by our actions whether through our thoughts or by physically doing it. i also believe pornography is form of covetousness where we desire to have or possess something we see or want but we do not have so we use ways to sort of satisfy that desire, and i think that pornography is one way of many some of us use to satisfy that desire which leads to unnatural sexual act as masturbation.
    Some of you say why is it (masturbation) feel good when doing it. Well let me say this, what the flesh desire is contrary to the way of the Spirit, which adulterers and sexual immoral people are enticing themselves into such desires.
    Therefore since we are washed, sanctify and Justify by learning the new of the Spirit of our God and the name of Jesus Christ, we have an obligation to do not to the flesh to live according to it otherwise we die due to our sins. But to live according to the Spirit, we put to death the misdeeds of our body (flesh) we will live because of the Spirit we now received.

    Blessings

  4. Stacey Lene
    Stacey Lene says:

    I am curious and slightly concerned as to why you would use a woman’s high heeled shoe as your picture for this article?

  5. Ben Mines
    Ben Mines says:

    Hi Stacey. See footnote [1] of my article. In choosing the image I took a hint from Pornland: How the Porn Industry has Hijacked Our Sexuality by Gail Dine—a professor of sociology and women’s studies at Wheelock College in Boston, Massachusetts.

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Pornland-How-Porn-Hijacked-Sexuality/dp/0807001546

    I thought it was a subtle way of evoking the subject without depicting anything sexually explicit. Personally, I think women look great in high heels and I don’t see a problem with them wearing high heels. Nor do I think high heels are on a level with pornography (!) or are in any way symbolic of pornography. However, if you are unaware that the high heels have had a place in the discussion of the fetishisation of women at the expense of the wellbeing of women I recommend reading the article on Wikipedia.

    Research shows that heels draw attention to long legs and small feet. Some argue that “high-heeled shoes, perhaps more than any other item of clothing, are seen as the ultimate symbol of being a woman.” High heels often play a key role in emphasizing a wearer’s, most commonly a woman’s, arched back and extended buttocks. This “natural courting pose” sexualizes the wearer, and can turn them into objects subjected to the male gaze.

    Meanwhile,

    A systmatic review of 2016 found the wearing of high-heeled shoes to be associated with hallux valgus, musculoskeletal pain and first-party injury.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-heeled_shoe#Feminist_attitudes

    Worn on occasion high heels are fine. But for the reasons just given I think a high heeled shoe was an apt image for my article.

  6. Stacey Lene
    Stacey Lene says:

    Hmmm… an opinion piece of a ‘Christian’ view of pornography, chooses to use a woman’s high heeled shoe as the image for their article…

    In the comments section, I questioned the author as to this usage and he replied “Worn on occasion high heels are fine. But for the reasons just given I think a high heeled shoe was an apt image for my article.”

    The following are my thoughts, what are yours?
    (Disclaimer: I do not agree with all of the statements made by the author, but I do agree with his premise that pornography has become normalised in our culture to the detriment of relationships and the enjoyment of sex).

    “Considering women are largely ‘victims’ of the pornographic tendencies of men, either directly or indirectly, wouldn’t you think an image depicting a screen or a man in staring at a screen would be a more suitable image?

    In your effort to choose the image of a high heeled woman’s shoe, with one book reference in your defense, you have inadvertently put the emphasis of your article onto women, and one could even interpret the high heeled shoe as a subtle depiction of pornography being the fault of women… Which as you may be aware has been the stance of traditional and historical Christian teaching concerning pornography and sexuality. I.e. “as women you must not wear provocative clothing, lest you tempt men to sin.”

    And you are seriously recommending an Wikipedia article to support your use of your image? Firstly, what is wrong with “heels drawing attention to long legs and small feet?” Secondly, you are buying into the belief that heels sexualise the wearer, and thirdly what relevance does your quote referring to high heels causing pain have?

    You have totally contradicted yourself by stating you didn’t want to depict anything sexually explicit, by quoting an article which states high heels sexualise women.

    For an article largely about men and pornography, with one image, you have made it about women.

    Perhaps you could question the influence Christian teaching has had upon your views regarding women and pornography, and consider changing the image of the high heeled shoe?

    And if a woman wants to wear heels on ANY occasion, she should not be subject to the judgment of men.”

  7. Ben Mines
    Ben Mines says:

    Hi Stacey,

    Thanks for your reply.

    Considering women are largely ‘victims’ of the pornographic tendencies of men, either directly or indirectly, wouldn’t you think an image depicting a screen or a man in staring at a screen would be a more suitable image?

    In my article I argue that pornography is morally bad for both men and women. There are many possible images that could introduce a discussion of the morality of porn. As I state in footnote [1] of my article, I am concerned with heterosexual porn. Heterosexual porn presents women as sexual objects for the male gaze. You’re right that an image of a man staring at a screen would be a suitable image for a discussion of porn. But that does not demonstrate that a heel was an unsuitable image. One evokes the object of the gaze, the other the gazer. Both are discussed in the article.

    In your effort to choose the image of a high heeled woman’s shoe, with one book reference in your defense, you have inadvertently put the emphasis of your article onto women, and one could even interpret the high heeled shoe as a subtle depiction of pornography being the fault of women…

    That is ridiculous and very uncharitable. If I write a diatribe against women hiring male strippers, and head up my article with an image of a bow tie, am I suggesting that male stripping is the fault of men who wear bow ties? A recent article in the Herald about widespread abuse of women in the porn industry was headed-up with an image of a woman posed provocatively in lace tights. Does the Herald therefore blame women who wear lace tights for abuses in the porn industry?

    A reasonable person understands that an image at the head of an article evokes the general theme of the article or something connected with it. Whatever the author wants to say is spelled out not by the image (!) but by the text subjoined to that image. In my article I give reasons for thinking porn is morally bad. Nowhere in that article to I blame women or the way women dress for pornography.

    Also, I assume you feel the same way about Gail Dines’ use of a high heel on the cover of Pornland? As I mentioned, she is a professor of sociology and women’s studies. I am sure it would greatly surprise her to hear that she must blame women for porn because she used a heel on the cover of her book.

    Which as you may be aware has been the stance of traditional and historical Christian teaching concerning pornography and sexuality. I.e. “as women you must not wear provocative clothing, lest you tempt men to sin.”

    This is a red herring. In my article I give reasons for thinking pornography is morally bad which (again) have nothing to do with how women dress. I argue that Church teaching on this matter is morally coherent. Whether the Church is morally coherent on other subjects, such as how women should dress, is another matter.

    And you are seriously recommending an Wikipedia article to support your use of your image?

    Yes.

    a peer review in 2005 of forty-two scientific entries on both Wikipedia and Encyclopædia Britannica by the science journal Nature found few differences in accuracy.

    Next you ask,

    Firstly, what is wrong with “heels drawing attention to long legs and small feet?”

    Nothing. In my view there is nothing wrong with human sexuality per se. But pornography presents human beings as objects to be used and misused for the gratification of its viewers. It separates sex from romantic love and the family. My view is that romantic love leading to a family is the expression of human sexuality most conducive to human happiness and fulfilment. Being a pornographic actor or actress, on the other hand, or masturbating to images of pornographic actors and actresses, is a misuse of human sexuality. The reason that I argue watching porn is morally bad is that you cannot consistently do these two things: Will the good of the other and derive gratification from watching them do something that is not in the interests of their ultimate happiness and fulfilment. If you disagree with me, please explain your reasons.

    Secondly, you are buying into the belief that heels sexualise the wearer,

    Yes, I do believe that. And I cited a reason,

    High heels often play a key role in emphasizing a wearer’s arched back and extended buttocks. This “natural courting pose” sexualizes the wearer, and can turn them into objects subjected to the male gaze. [1]

    Mini skirts and low cut tops also sexualise their wearers. Surely this is obvious. And, just to be clear, I personally do not think that there is anything wrong with sexualising oneself per se. A couple may sexualise themselves for each other before a date and go on to fall in love, marry and raise a family. However, my article was not about sexualising oneself per se. It was about pornography. Pornography is sexualising oneself on camera and having sex on camera for money which produces material that others watch to obtain sexual gratification. I argue that this is morally bad for both the actors and consumers.

    You have not given a single reason to think that I am wrong. Why don’t we discuss whether porn is morally bad or not? Again: Please engage with my argument. Do you think my argument is wrong? If so, why? I am genuinely interested to know your thoughts.

    and thirdly what relevance does your quote referring to high heels causing pain have?

    If a woman were to wear heels every day, research and the personal experience of many women suggests that she would experience joint and back pain. Heels are therefore something that sexualises the user but also entails a potential risk to the user’s well being.

    You have totally contradicted yourself by stating you didn’t want to depict anything sexually explicit, by quoting an article which states high heels sexualise women.

    No, I haven’t. Even if we spell out how heels can sexualise the wearer, a heel remains sexually implicit because it evokes a sexual element indirectly. A sexually explicit image would be one that depicted sex directly—genitals and copulation, for example. This is very obvious given the meanings of the words “explicit” and “implicit.”

    For an article largely about men and pornography, with one image, you have made it about women.

    What an author wants to say about a subject (and whether that author is me or Gail Dines or anyone else) is discovered by reading their text. It is not discovered by drawing inferences about the image attached to that text while (apparently) ignoring the text itself.

    Perhaps you could question the influence Christian teaching has had upon your views regarding women and pornography, and consider changing the image of the high heeled shoe?

    My view is that Christian teaching on sexual morality, including pornography, is morally coherent. I gave arguments for this. If you want me to change my view I suggest you engage with my arguments and demonstrate that they are incoherent. As for changing the image of the shoe, let me ask you to clarify something. Do you think Gail Dines needs to change the cover of her book and the Herald to change the image of the woman in stockings linked above? Or do you accept that what the authors of those texts want to say is contained in the text itself and that the image is there to tangentially evoke the general theme? You cannot consistently oppose my image and accept theirs.

    And if a woman wants to wear heels on ANY occasion, she should not be subject to the judgment of men.”

    I of course agree with that. And I agree that no matter what a woman wears she should never be the recipient of unwanted and inappropriate behaviour from men. But whether men find her more attractive in heels or not is not something under her or their control. In a like case Brad Pitt can choose whether or not to wear a tight t-shirt. But he cannot choose to wear a tight t-shirt and prevent heterosexual women from finding him more attractive.

    [1] Kremer, William. “Why did Men Stop Wearing High Heels?” BBC World Service. 26 Jan 2013.

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