Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Is that an iPhone in your pocket...

I was gathering my thoughts on the news that Apple has pulled its pornographic, sorry, 'adult-themed'* iPhone apps.

My first thought was that it's a sign of how much the world has changed since ye olde webbe was invented that you can buy software that makes women's breasts wobble to put on your phone and everyone thinks it's a jolly good laugh.

I think the vast, vast majority of pornography is unpleasant-to-vile-to-worse, and distorting of sexuality, and invades women's lives in ways they generally would rather it didn't if you actually asked them, and all that stuff, but I've always thought that, and it's an increasingly marginal point of view. You see it everywhere, and if you're a fusty old feminist, you just learn to ignore it, like mosquitoes, except when it comes dangerously close to being right in your face.

Some of the comments on the news articles and blog posts I've read reporting Apple's move have been in the 'bunch of puritanical Dworkinites' vein, as you might expect. But even the commenters - men and women - who can see the point of maybe not having a free-for-all wankfest available for consumption in the office toilet or on the Clapham omnibus generally make a point of saying something along the lines of 'obviously, I have no problem with porn per se...'. To these people I say (actually, I don't, I say it to the readers of this blog, but I don't want to be out there getting Dworkin-flamed) check out the first chapter of David Foster Wallace's Consider The Lobster, and then say 'obviously' again.**

My second thought was that I don't believe Apple have suddenly decided to do the right thing by every woman who might pick up her boyfriend's iPhone and then wish she hadn't. Their spokesman said "we were getting customer complaints from women who found the content getting too degrading and objectionable" (a bit degrading and objectionable is probably ok, as you can get that in Nuts magazine or on Channel Five any day of the week), but I get the strong impression that they are just 'protecting the brand', and if degrading and objectionable content was going to benefit the brand, they'd be there like a bear.

And that's about as far as I'd got, but luckily Jill Psmith over at I Blame the Patriarchy is a faster thinker than I am. Even if you are not a regular patriarchy blamer, you'll rarely find a more sharply written blog on this subject or indeed any other, and I can thoroughly recommend More Adventures with the Antithesis of Enlightenment as One Of Those Posts I Can Only Dream Of Writing.



* I hate this use of the word 'adult'.
** A more 'obviously' feminist reading list can be provided on request.

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Anonymous jonathan said...

'Consider The Lobster' is a simply wonderful title for an essay, as are several of the others cited in the Wikipedia review, such as 'How Tracy Austin Broke My Heart'. I think on the strength of your recomendation and the brief synopsises of the essays shown on the link (which reveal an intriguing depth of intellectual enquiry behind the eyecatching titles), I may well have to make a visit to Amazon forthwith and without further ado.

10:46 pm  
Blogger Jo said...

Hello Jonathan! It is 100% worth discovering David Foster Wallace. He was an incredible thinker and excellent writer. He wrote an epic dystopian novel called Infinite Jest, which I worked my way through last summer, which I do not regret for a moment, but his essays are more approachable.

The Tracy Austin one is wonderful, as is the one about John McCain and the one about lobsters. The one about porn is so disturbing I rather wish I hadn't read it, but it's not him who's making it disturbing, he is merely speaking as he finds. So yeah, I'd say go there. Though he does make me wish I could write like that.

10:39 pm  
Blogger tomato said...

oh thank you for links and links along with your thoughts...will do some more reading.

Have lots to say but cold is eating my just *snif* thanks.

2:15 pm  

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