In the end, Kate Middleton’s problem with an intrusive photographer reveals larger issues about the commodification of female nudity.
Whether it’s unauthorized photos of the Duchess, sexual trafficking, or pornography, the common denominator is this: women’s bodies are bought and sold. It is upsetting and degrading enough that a photographer took those pictures. How much more twisted we are that numerous publications would actually print them.
It is purely about profit; the Duchess’ body bought and sold, as though anyone had a right to it as long as they were willing to pay the price.
Wolf writes, with reference to the punk band Pussy Riot, that it is “scandalous” when a woman takes ownership of her own body:
Staging a strip performance is not disruptive to social order in Moscow, but three punk poets using their sexuality to make a satirical comment about Russian leader Vladimir Putin is destabilizing and must be punished.
The fact is, a strip performance is disruptive to social order in Moscow.
We have just come to be convinced that it is harmless.
Porn 24-7 doesn’t threaten social control. Indeed, its addictive effects, in terms of new neuroscientific discoveries, actually turns out to be a kind of drug or sedative. This turns a potentially liberating sexual revolution into yet another marketable consumer product that hypnotizes people and is creating new health and sexual problems around libido, rather than setting them free.
Here, Wolf is half right. Porn is a type of drug and addiction to it is as powerful — or moreso — than any actual pill or powder a person might ingest. But just as often as it can be a sedative it can have the opposite effect. It can act as an amphetamine. That is one reason porn is so addictive. It can chill you out and calm whatever is stressing you, or it can get you out of a depressive emotional state.
Wolf is also right in decrying the hypnotizing effects of porn on all of us, as well as the way in which the marketing of female nudity through porn creates a new set of sexual problems.