When we think of *violence*, we typically think of blood, or force, or other forms of physical brutality.
We may even think of other forms of violence – emotional, sexual, economic, political, ideological.
There are, however, more forms of violence which elude our conscious notice.
The image you see here – a beautiful girl with nice legs, elegantly poised; her knees burnt from carpet-play. For misogynists , it’s a humorous and cute conduction to “Flirt” (unconsciously) with Vodka. A whole lotta *V* going on.
For feminists – and everyone concerned with violence against women (which includes the use of their bodies as marketing vectors) – the image is one of clear violence, degradation, and disgust. Political pornography of a rotting and socially alcoholic world.
There is, however, something to be learned from this image – a lesson which we can uptake by comparing it to the common images presented to us (without our permission) everyday.
In an odd and paradoxical way, this particular image is “honest” in comparison to the typical Victoria’s Secret posters. “Honest” in the sense that the violence isn’t hidden from us. Yes, we could imagine a sexual partner proud of his/her rough endeavors the night before, as implied by the woman’s faint bow of satisfied desire. But we know it’s a fake – we know clearly that it is a marketing attempt to link Vodka and Vagina.
We must turn our attention to the other kinds of images – the “dishonest” images, the ones we take for granted, the ones we’ve evolved a desensitized (but porous) armor against. It is a violence much worse than the image of carpet-burns on a pair of delicate knees.
The images of those Victoria’s Secret women do not explicitly convey victimization – yes, we may say “this is victimization and violation of women”. But the critical point is that the “bareness” of their bodies conceals the violation. Whereas the image in this post bears the stigmata of “rough sex”, the “cleaner” images conceal the wider and deeper violation of the viewer. This is what we must face.
For every moment we pass an image or video or idea of a woman-object (or man-object for that matter) intended to cull or instill a sense of desire for some other object, we are violated. Not to be asked permission is to be violated.
It is this accumulation of violations which fuel an already-bipolar culture. It is a culture of social depression where hypomanic pursuits attempt to lift and save it from its collapse.
So let’s think about this – whether we are male or female, gay or straight – we are caught up in this shining cycle of sexual violence of our bipolar culture. Since we were children, we have been violated to the point where we don’t see the violence. But it’s there. We must open our eyes, lest we continue to be prey for violators.
Those images that don’t have the carpet-burns explicitly displayed? Those are the truly violent images. They are not merely acts of violence against women. They are acts of violence against all of our world, and they keep inflicting wounds that have, over time, sunk deep into our unconsciousness. It does not matter if we feel “offended” or not (I am a straight male and I readily admit to liking the Victoria’s Secret ladies, but that does not mean I am not violated by the images presented to me without my permission).
We are self-inflicting these wounds – a behavior horribly consistent with manic-depression.
The worst kind of violence is the violence shining in front of us but nonetheless hidden from our view – from our deep eye.
For this violence invades and infiltrates our minds, reshaping how we live and work and play – and even influences the health or sickness of our sexual lives. This worst kind of violence is a part of a larger violence which informs our politics, ideologies, policies, etc. It is these things which manifest or amplify the visceral violence-on-the-ground around our world. This is why it is a “worst kind of violence”.
Every act of violence begins as an un-acted idea.
Every idea becomes and image before it becomes an act.
Every image of a human used as an object inserted into our minds without our permission is a shining act of violence.
We no longer aught to be blinded.