How does ‘rape as entertainment’ factor into the wider matrix of domination

I have been researching in and around the idea of the social construction of identity, and how this plays into a matrix of domination in our wider societies. As part of this, the hierarchies of oppression and exploitation, and the social narratives that misinform about and distract from them, appears more like a series of interlocking processes with shared objectives and mutually beneficial proponents. One could in fact argue that a better understanding of this sociological concept of a matrix of domination, would better inform and protect us from the divisions being promoted by the exploiting class.

In allowing our campaigns to be narrowly focussed on certain types and methods of inequality, we distance ourselves from our brothers and sisters who are fighting against other aspects of this overarching matrix of domination, and in doing so effectively collude in the enforcement of our own subordination by fracturing the potential for mass movements. A better understanding of the matrix of domination, reminds us of our shared identity as the ‘exploited’. Being a white working class male means that you have more in common, in terms of political and economic power and social and cultural freedom, with a white working class female, or a black working class male, or an asian working class female, than you do with a white male born into privilege. The very nature of sub-dividing and categorising society in this manner, plays into the social identity approach towards the construction of ingroups and outgroups, from where it is only a hop, skip and a jump to prejudice, discrimination and violence. The establishment’s long standing tradition of seeding fascism-lite in communities that are collectivising their demands is a clear example of this process in practice.

The power elite, spreads and encourages division amongst their victims by constructing these false dichotomies for us to fear and distrust one another. But these are not just cognitive prejudices. They quickly become active discriminations, that in turn lead to physical and emotional violence and oppression. By buying into their divisions, we are actively oppressing our own neighbours, colleagues, and communities on their behalf.

Earlier this year, after writing Consumed by Mistrust and Resentment I found my mind wandering back to the mass media’s response to the #metoo campaign. The thing that was bothering me was the way that the allegations of sexual assault and rape amongst the rich and famous of the mainstream TV and Film industry were being presented as either the only, or at least the most urgent occurrence of gender violence within that industry that needed tackling. The thing that I kept coming back to was a comment that a friend of mine had made, and that I would later discover was paraphrased from an Andrea Dworkin argument, that most if not all modern mainstream pornography presents free will as part of the narrative for the direct purpose of distracting from the reality of the economic coercion implicit in the production. In short, because pornography is the reproduction of rape as entertainment, it is necessary for the consumer to believe that the victim is a willing participant.

It was this that was bothering me. The global campaign for gender equality was being overwhelmed by, and subsumed under a campaign to stop men in offices from using their power over women in offices to coerce and force those women into sex or performing sexual acts. Not to belittle this in anyway, but what was at the heart of the discussion was the coercing or forcing of another person into having sex against their will. This is only one of two things, it is either rape or sexual assault. And therefore it is a crime. And if it is a crime that is routinely occurring, then it is a crime that large sections of the community are complicit in allowing or covering up. The problem isn’t Harvey Weinstein, the problem is that we live in a society that routinely gives certain people the right to exploit and abuse others as they see fit; while hiding it beneath an illusion of democracy, equality, and justice.

The underlying problem, is that we as a society accept the lie that we live in a fair and democratic civilisation, when all the evidence suggests otherwise. We accept the lie that justice system is blind to privilege and power. We accept the lie that the mainstream media is anything more than the mouthpiece of the entitled exploiting class. And as the mainstream media’s representation of the #metoo campaign has shown, we live in a society that is built upon a matrix of domination, but decorated in a thin veneer of equality. The starkest of contrasts for me, was between the matrix of domination and the mainstream media’s cherry picking of acceptable areas of dissent. I saw no mentions in all of the mainstream media’s outpouring of shock and disgust of the multi-billion dollar industry that was routinely grooming underage girls into being coerced and forced against their will into having sex and then broadcasting it around the globe. I saw no mention of the clear pattern of children being groomed, coerced and physically abused as a precursor to a lifetime of abuse in prostitution. I saw no mention of the increasing evidence that the criminal justice systems were prioritising property crime over gender-hate crime. In short, not only didn’t I see any reference to the wider matrix of domination, I didn’t even see any substantial mention of the wider patterns of gender inequality, discrimination and oppression.

I suppose it was this that originally drove me to better understand the implications of pornography within the wider framework of the matrix of domination . From there I wrote the extended essay that was titled ‘When did rape become entertainment’. It was published on Znet on 23rd April 2018. After discussions with the Morning Star I then wrote an abridged version that was printed in the Features section under the title ‘There’s no chance of equality while we tolerate rape as entertainment’ on 10th May 2018 . To read either of them here or to download a .txt version of either please click through to the page with the full essay, or the page with the abridged article.