October 12, 2012

Toronto Shame

This Message was posted on our titillating (if not a little frustrating FaceBook page) following our first of three Canadian Turning TriXXX screenings:
Today i attended a bike smut show in Toronto. 
I was shocked to walk into the venue to find a projected display of "We want porn in Iraq." i immediality felt replused by this image comming from a political, activist and queer background. As an audience i sat in my chair and participated in the entire event vieweing awaiting for an explanation, or a sort of relation to the image of a man holding the at poster stating these words. Unfortunatley there was no refrence or dialouge invested in explaining the context of the image displayed. I found this profoundly offensive, especially since most of the bodies reflected in the "short films" were not people of color and have no connection to the language or display of such words.
 I then asked one of the organizers of the event, and she stated she has not been long on the tour and doesn't understand why it was displayed. That's applauling!!
Using people of color to display repressive sexuality is not okay. Using IRAQ as a continent torn into pieces by the united states for years in a war that is uncalled for based on false statment based on WOD is even more problematic. The middle east doesnt need rescuing by privilaged people, it doesn't need the outside world defining it's sexuality and it's take on the expression of sexuality.
As an arab queer identified person, i find it extremely problematic to showcase this image without explanation and no understanding. SHAME on you, using the suffering of Iraqi people to advance your agenda on obscenity, and shame on you for failing to put this image in context with the entire event! SHAME ON BIKE SMUT! 
 
Whew! Its all a bit more than we are ready to process at the moment. What do you think? 
 
UPDATE
8:15pm PST This is particularly interesting because we recently just listened to a Savage Love podcast featuring Make Love Not Porn advocate, Cindy Gallop. She is advocating that the volume of porn is only a problem because we have no context to place it in.
8:30pm PST Here is a photo of the incident with Poppy Cox presenting in her Victorian bicycle wear (who had no involvement with the image appearing behind her)

 

9 comments:

  1. OK, I would like to respond to this. My opinion is that some people take pleasure in taking offense to things, and Bikesmut is all in favor of pleasure right? So good job providing the means! Seriously though, in my experience, I have found that people who have a lot of pride in certain aspects of themselves, for example their identification as queer, as an activist, or especially their cultural background, often do not like to see or hear these aspects being represented by someone they deem less qualified a representative than themselves. Often they do not have enough outlets to express their pride and their opinions/views (on the Iraq war, for example) and so they use any possible outlet they can find. I experience this often in the classroom, where discussing cultural issues can be difficult when people take on this attitude: “I have heritage in the country being discussed, therefore whatever I have to say is more valid, and whatever you have to say about it, I can choose to take offense to.”
    This person has chosen to be offended though they don’t seem to have decided exactly why. Are they offended by the fact that somewhere in the world there is a person, possibly even A GROUP of people who want porn in Iraq? Or are they offended that Bikesmut supports this person’s desire for porn? Their post would make a lot more sense if it were Rev. Phil Holding up the sign himself. The one point that I would actually take as constructive criticism, though in my opinion, not deserving of an all-caps shaming, is the point that it might be helpful to the audience and increase their understanding if there where captions for photos such as this one, or a brief verbal description.
    -XXXO

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  2. OK, I would like to respond to this. My opinion is that some people take pleasure in taking offense to things, and Bikesmut is all in favor of pleasure right? So good job providing the means! Seriously though, in my experience, I have found that people who have a lot of pride in certain aspects of themselves, for example their identification as queer, as an activist, or especially their cultural background, often do not like to see or hear these aspects being represented by someone they deem less qualified a representative than themselves. Often they do not have enough outlets to express their pride and their opinions/views (on the Iraq war, for example) and so they use any possible outlet they can find. I experience this often in the classroom, where discussing cultural issues can be difficult when people take on this attitude: “I have heritage in the country being discussed, therefore whatever I have to say is more valid, and whatever you have to say about it, I can choose to take offense to.”
    This person has chosen to be offended though they don’t seem to have decided exactly why. Are they offended by the fact that somewhere in the world there is a person, possibly even A GROUP of people who want porn in Iraq? Or are they offended that Bikesmut supports this person’s desire for porn? Their post would make a lot more sense if it were Rev. Phil holding up the sign himself. The one point that I would actually take as constructive criticism, though in my opinion, not deserving of an all-caps shaming, is the point that it might be helpful to the audience and increase their understanding if there where captions for photos such as this one, or a brief verbal description.
    -XXXO

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    Replies
    1. and I'll say it again! (oops)

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    2. Thanks Promise-cutie, double posting feels so... not sexy, especially when one has taken care to write something from the heart.

      I agree with your sentiment about cultures we feel close to. It can trigger all sorts of emotions to have someone "speak for us". I know it does for me!

      Still the assumption of "you are lighter skinned than I, therefore _____" does actually offend me.

      I agree that having context is about as important a thing as could be offered when screening porn. We try to be very sensitive about how and where we share this art, making the audience draw us in rather than trying to push it on a community. But of course its not an exact science, and specifically what must be conveyed and when might change at any given moment with every different audience.

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  3. Puritans come in all shapes and sizes, from all walks of life, and in all creeds and colors. It's not like you don't know this, Phil. Free expression is a natural right, and I hope you never let anyone take it away from you.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Donna, but with the right to expression comes some degree of responsibility. Still we would like to have more expression of all sorts and not many people take time to actually articulate their thoughts, especially when they are not positive. I am glad she chose to voice her opinions rather than leave it bottled up!

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  4. Considering that we have had a bunch of 18 to 20 somethings from various western countries occupying Iraq, I am sure there is a ton of bootlegged porn available there.

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  5. Chuck that seems a very astute observation. And yet, assuming the person with the sign is asking for greater cultural liberation it might be even more offensive. ie "There are people who invaded my home, took my stuff, watch whatever porn they like, and i still feel frustrated and limited."

    Thanks for your snarky insight, we do appreciate it!

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