"I Had Never Thought About It That Way Before" Talking about Pornography and Patriarchy at a High School
Revolution received the following letter from a high school student:
During my lunch break at school, I announced to my fellow high school peers—many of them had bought IWD shirts last year from me—that International Women's Day was approaching once again and I began to describe what was being done in response to that. I had briefly mentioned the critical issue in defending abortion and all reproductive rights. My friends all seemed to agree wholeheartedly on the importance to have such access. However, what sparked the most interest and what really got the discussion going was the idea of having a demonstration at strip clubs in the city where we live. Some of my friends were surprised or curious at what that meant. I made it clear that we were not going against the women in these institutions but the institutions themselves. One of my friends couldn't grapple with such an idea. Such a thing had never been introduced to us before! It was then that I realized how normal, how accepting, how prevalent this issue is but rarely questioned. She argued about the individual's right to choose and if women were willing to do it, then it's okay. In response, I gave a small anecdote of a woman I knew who either had to choose between being on the streets or stripping for the money. In the Revolution newspaper #261, Bob Avakian's quote really states it true: people don't choose what their choices are. After I said that, I noticed that a big majority were listening. Some of them didn't know what to think. Others agreed and were ready to hear more. Some were hesitant.
I began further describing the extreme pornification of the world we live in and A LOT of people had something to say about that. The conversation drifted toward the issue of the sexualization of women to sell commodities. My hesitant friend from earlier definitely agreed on that. She slammed American Apparel and described it as "full porn." My other friend jumped in and started talking about the "sex sells" philosophy that followed that kind of advertising. We had talked so much we hadn't even noticed the bell had rung for class. My friend expressed her thanks for such a discussion and told me, "I had never thought about it that way before. We definitely need to talk about the porn more!" The overall experience was quite a lesson. If anything, this conversation shows how normalized the sexual subordination of women is and how urgent it is to bring this movement to the front of this society. "End Pornography and Patriarchy!!"