Author: has written 5265 posts for this blog.

Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
Return to: Homepage | Blog Index

36 Responses

  1. Kate
    Kate June 23, 2006 at 9:18 am |

    Correlation does not equal causation! (And, I would also contend this porn-increase-associated-with-rape-decrease isn’t a particularly well-quantified correlation.)

    Grr.

  2. Tammy
    Tammy June 23, 2006 at 9:20 am |

    I suspect that it really is that would-be rapists know there’s a marginally better chance of going to jail. Also, DNA evidence.

  3. Rick DeMent
    Rick DeMent June 23, 2006 at 9:33 am |

    Actually I would guess it is the same reason that most crime rates have been going down, the number of males in the violence producing demographic (18 – 35) has been decreasing relative to the over all population. Now as for porn reducing rapes I think that you could only say that if rape were a crime that had a horny component which runs counter to everything I have ever read.

    I would think that porn might help reducing some instances of “date rape” by taking the edge off for young men who make bad hormonal based choices, but they seems like it would only really cause any dramatic change in the overall stats.

  4. mikey
    mikey June 23, 2006 at 9:56 am |

    Obviously, Kate is correct. For his argument, he could have picked any trend he wanted, and then made this hairbrained conclusion that it was related to rape decreases.

    Further, I don’t really understand Glenn’s impulse to define rape in terms of sexual desire and rapists in terms of their inability to get theirs by any other way. That seems to me to be a fundamental misunderstanding of what the tragedy of rape is about.

  5. ladyfest romania » ok, raspunsul NU e pornul

    [...] pornul Posted by ruxi in Uncategorized (Friday June 23, 2006 at 5:01 pm) porn: good for america, good for the ladies (la femin [...]

  6. Shankar Gupta
    Shankar Gupta June 23, 2006 at 10:05 am |

    So while I won’t go so far as to argue that porn actually prevents rape…

    I think he was pretty clear in his statement that he is not claiming what you folks make him out to be. His argument is not “porn prevents rape,” it is simply “porn does not cause rape.”

    But hey, that strawman had it coming.

  7. Tammy
    Tammy June 23, 2006 at 10:05 am |

    Rick has an important point—rape is generally committed by very young men, and there was a dive in the number of them relative to the population in the 70s, as even the youngest of the Boomers were in their 20s.

  8. ole blue
    ole blue June 23, 2006 at 10:16 am |

    Like all things, it is a combination of many factors that has brought rape down statistically.

    One is the population differences of young men in their twenties as some commenter’s have suggested here and on other blogs.

    Another is that sex is more available to men with sexual urges that may take them over the edge. One of the reasons that porn is prevalent is our decreasing prudish feelings about sex, there is more porn because people have learned to deal with sex in a non-religious sort of way.

    Women are more empowered today and will fight back, for many rapists it is about power and by women fighting back it makes the make powerless.

    Criminal investigation is far more advance and provides for a deterrent.

    Males are learning to respect females more and not treat females as property etc. Women can dress provocatively and a male knows it does not mean she wants to have sex with him but just wants to look sexy and or cool.

    Also, I am sure there are other factors.

  9. Gordon K
    Gordon K June 23, 2006 at 10:17 am |

    Erm … that seems incredibly tenuous (although I’ll admit, I haven’t had a chance to read the article yet). Is there any reason given for making that correlation?

  10. Magis
    Magis June 23, 2006 at 10:21 am |

    Not going to argue with what anybody’s said but it is an interesting question as to whether a libertine or a repressed society will produce more bad actors.

  11. human
    human June 23, 2006 at 10:26 am |

    There are more dust bunnies under our beds, because more women have gone back to work and don’t have as much time to sweep under the beds as before. Dust bunnies under beds obviously prevent rape. DUH!

  12. Thomas
    Thomas June 23, 2006 at 10:55 am |

    Net-net, I can’t make any conclusion from this. Rape is so underreported and survivors so frequently refuse to so identify their own experiences. Report statistics are virtually meaningless because we have nothing but guesswork from which to infer actual incidence from reports. Victim reports are very unreliable because there is still a lot of emotional reason for victims to redefine their experience. We just don’t know.

    Since we don’t know what the frequency is or where the trendline is going, I think speculating about cause and effect from nothing is a fool’s errand. And Glenn Reynolds is a fool; but that was as true a month ago as it is today.

  13. Natalia
    Natalia June 23, 2006 at 10:56 am |

    How can you even classify rape as something that can, you know, be ‘cured’ by porn? What kind of perverted thinking goes into making that correlation?

  14. Standard Mischief
    Standard Mischief June 23, 2006 at 11:17 am |

    And not, say, feminist efforts to de-stigmatize rape;

    If this particular effort is successful, wouldn’t it lead to a higher rate in reported rape? Or are we abandoning the notion that rape is still underreported? (I’m not going to dispute that rape or attempted rape is underreported.)

    not survivor-outreach programs;

    How is after-the-fact outreach going to prevent rape? Or are you claiming a reduction here in the odds that a survivor will be raped a second time?

    not rape crisis centers;

    What exactly is this, and how does is differ from survivor-outreach? It’s after-the-fact again, right? Or is this some kind of “hotline” you can call during a rape attempt?

    not information campaigns which emphasized to men that rape is not ok;

    Possibly, partly, maybe.

    not the general empowerment of women; not a shift in social ideas about women being the property of men.

    Probably.

    I’m pretty sure the decline is real, and due to a number of factors. The WaPo failed to offer absolutely any substantial evidence to support any of their theories. However, [snark] I’m absolutely, positively certain that the decrease as nothing at all to do with women arming themselves with effective self-defensive tools. [/snark]

  15. Sara
    Sara June 23, 2006 at 11:19 am |

    This is sure going to make Wendy Shalit mad, at any rate.

  16. Standard Mischief
    Standard Mischief June 23, 2006 at 11:41 am |

    bleh.

    img(dot)photobucket.com/albums/v99/smallestminority/Nebraska.gif

    Shankar Gupta Says: But hey, that strawman had it coming.

    heh.

  17. Natalia
    Natalia June 23, 2006 at 11:48 am |

    Yuck. Wendy Shalit.

  18. kate
    kate June 23, 2006 at 12:09 pm |

    I agree with Thomas, with what is known about the numbers of rape that go unreported, I’d hardly jump on the celebration wagon yet.

    Mr. Whathisname’s article only serves to show how pathetically ignorant people still are about the true dynamics of rape itself.

    Although I did notice that rape has reduced since Bush has been in the W.H., I am waiting anyday for an announcement of how the white house’s ability to wiretap without warrants has enabled his covert operation to end the terrorism of rape upon women and men in our country.

  19. zuzu
    zuzu June 23, 2006 at 12:19 pm | *

    From what I understand, porn was quite prevalent in Serbia, but it didn’t prevent them from herding women into camps to rape them.

  20. Kat
    Kat June 23, 2006 at 12:36 pm |

    Well I’m not taking any chances. If the cure for rape is to view porn, then I’m starting my boys now on an anti-rape regimen. Because of course I don’t want them to grow up to be rapists! I’ll be bringing some porn tapes into the preschool tomorrow and insist they make it part of the curriculum.

    Ya know, in the interest of womankind. And all that.

    Damn.

  21. Kali
    Kali June 23, 2006 at 1:05 pm |

    Man. This is annoying me now. I idly did a bit of research on this a while ago… I was going to use data on Internet availability to proxy for porn prevalence, and data from crime surveys rather than police stats… I gave up cos I couldn’t find the data and I had about fifteen other potential dissertation topics in my head anyway. I did find this:

    http://www.hawaii.edu/PCSS/online_artcls/pornography/prngrphy_rape_jp.html

    which doesn’t tell you much, really. It reaches the same kinds of conclusions as Reynolds and you can raise the same kinds of objections, ie that certain social trends would tend to affect rape stats anyway over time so you can’t rule out the idea that porn is counteracting that.

    I now really really want someone to do my dissertation-that-never-was. I just have this sense that the data on Internet availability would be dramatically spiky and you could make better deductions about correlation or the lack of it over time.

    How can you even classify rape as something that can, you know, be ‘cured’ by porn? What kind of perverted thinking goes into making that correlation?

    I think, and now I’m just playing devil’s advocate, that you could make a hypothesis abut a psychological process by which porn could reduce rape by a mechanism of demystification of the female body. People fear, hate and want to control the unknown. Maybe even bad, unrealistic, degrading sexual explicitness in the culture is better than none at all. Which would mean that what the world needs now is not less porn but better porn.

    I’m not actually endorsing that hypothesis, or the link, btw. Just throwing them in there.

  22. jb
    jb June 23, 2006 at 1:26 pm |

    I swear, Glenn Reynolds could say “I am a strong supporter of evolution” and you people would claim that he’s clearly a fundamentalist Christian because he didn’t say “avid“.

    Glenn is not your enemy. He’s a strong advocate for individual liberty, personal privacy, separation of church and state, ethical government, gay marraige, balanced budgets and freedom of speech, the press and scientific inquiry.

    He differs with the liberal platform on gun rights and the war and *boom* somehow that makes him the anti-christ.

  23. ilyka
    ilyka June 23, 2006 at 2:00 pm |

    Glenn is not your enemy. He’s a strong advocate for individual liberty, personal privacy, separation of church and state, ethical government, gay marraige, balanced budgets and freedom of speech, the press and scientific inquiry.

    Oh, now it’s on. As long as it’s Pet Peeve Friday, let me air a few of my own on this subject:

    Glenn SAYS he’s a strong advocate for personal liberty, but Glenn LINKS primarily people who say we need to surrender some of that liberty in order to fight terror.

    Glenn SAYS he’s a strong advocate for personal privacy, but Glenn LINKS primarily people who show no regard for this whatsoever.

    Glenn SAYS he’s a strong advocate for separation of church and state, but Glenn LINKS anyone who writes even the most woefully illiterate posts claiming the concept of separation has been misapplied, gone too far, or is targeted solely at Christians.

    Glenn SAYS he’s for gay marriage, but Glenn LINKS primarily people pouting about “judicial activism,” which as we know is going to “force gay marriage down our throats whether we want it or not.”

    Etc. I have to wonder about anyone who claims this guy is some sort of libertarian anymore: Do you actually read Instapundit? Because if you do, you’ll notice sooner or later that the one thing Markos Zuniga got right in his sooper-sekrut leaked email to the Townhouse list is that Glenn is a textbook passive-aggressive.

    Do not tell me what Glenn says. No one is reading Glenn to find out what he says. They’re reading Glenn to find out what he links.

    Proof, meet pudding. Glenn Reynolds is a libertarian like I’m a nanotechnologist.

  24. F-Words
    F-Words June 23, 2006 at 2:17 pm |

    Give Glenn a break

    This is a sensitive subject over which a lot of women are hurt, but let’s at least stick to the things people are actually saying here.

  25. Nobody
    Nobody June 23, 2006 at 4:08 pm |

    Reynolds tries to trick people in to believing that he’s a libertarian, because. . .?

    How can you even classify rape as something that can, you know, be ‘cured’ by porn? What kind of perverted thinking goes into making that correlation?

    The perverted kind of thinking is that a boner is a necessary pre-condition for most rape. Where the boner has been tended to, it cannot be used for raping.

  26. Thomas
    Thomas June 23, 2006 at 4:32 pm |

    Ilyka’s exactly right. People like Glenn Reynolds make the term “conservatarian” so useful.

  27. Shankar Gupta
    Shankar Gupta June 23, 2006 at 5:08 pm |

    Where the boner has been tended to, it cannot be used for raping.

    Can we get this embroidered on a throw pillow?

  28. ilyka
    ilyka June 23, 2006 at 5:19 pm |

    Reynolds tries to trick people in to believing that he’s a libertarian, because. . .?

    Why does a passive-aggressive guilt someone else into taking out the garbage with “Well, I guess since it’s been piling up so much lately, I had better go ahead and take the trash out again, before we find ourselves knee-deep in filth,” instead of just saying “Hey, would you mind taking the trash out? I just emptied it yesterday; it’s your turn?”

    Follow up questions:

    –Is it ever politically useful to position oneself as more moderate than one actually is? Can you think of any politicians or pundits who have done so? Why have they? What were the results? (Big hint: Compassionate conservatism.)

    –Whose criticism is more likely to be perceived as credible and authoritative: A feminist’s critique of a feminist remark, or a men’s rights activist’s critique of a feminist remark? Feel free to substitute other ideological affiliations for “feminist” and “men’s rights” as you see fit.

  29. nerdlet
    nerdlet June 23, 2006 at 5:47 pm |

    How can you even classify rape as something that can, you know, be ‘cured’ by porn? What kind of perverted thinking goes into making that correlation?

    Two kinds of perverted thinking:
    1) All or most all men are fuck-machines that need to fuck something x times/day or else they’ll run around raping all over the place. Masturbation by itself apparently isn’t enough to curtail that urge, but porn is. Weeeeeeeeeeird.

    2) Rapists can safely release their sexual fantasies by watching rape porn. Because, you know, when you repeatedly orgasm or get other positive feedback from something, it doesn’t make you want that thing more. It makes you want it the same amount or less. Uh, somehow.

  30. Jenny
    Jenny June 23, 2006 at 5:55 pm |

    Wow. The part that got me was this:

    “FBI reports define rape more narrowly, excluding instances involving male victims.”

    Seriously, WTF?

  31. Reclusive Leftist » Blog Archive  » I put it down to yogurt, myself

    [...] June 24th, 2006 I put it down to yogurt, myself How not to do sociology. Posted by Violet in Gender [...]

  32. TheGodfather
    TheGodfather June 24, 2006 at 6:54 am |

    Victim reports are very unreliable because there is still a lot of emotional reason for victims to redefine their experience.

    Is this some more subtle variation of the false rape accusations-argument?

  33. appletree  » Blog Archive   » Reynolds Has Another Silly Theory

    [...] hought of some other possible factors, and also thinks that it’s silly to attribute the decrease in rapes t [...]

  34. Abnormal Interests
    Abnormal Interests June 24, 2006 at 3:05 pm |

    If This is True, I Want Some of the Credit

    A Washington Post article claims that the number of reported rapes in the US has dropped significantly over the last twenty years. The number of rapes per capita in the United States has plunged by more than 85 percent since…

  35. Puma
    Puma June 25, 2006 at 7:31 pm |

    “Further, I don’t really understand Glenn’s impulse to define rape in terms of sexual desire and rapists in terms of their inability to get theirs by any other way. That seems to me to be a fundamental misunderstanding of what the tragedy of rape is about.”

    If you’re in the mood for more such extremely frustrating contortions from a man who believes rape to be biologically-explained, please review this comment thread on my own blog:
    http://rebootd.blogspot.com/2006/06/anti-rape-tips.html

    I have tried six ways to Sunday to get him past it, but it is apparently an entrenched and somewhat convenient view for him. One is left with the sad conclusion that even the men who say they care about women, really do not.

  36. Feminist Law Professors  » Blog Archive   » Law Prof Glenn Reynolds Sees Some Correlation, Or Something, Between the “Porn Explosion” and A Drop In Reported Instances of Rape

    [...] on was first elected. Hmmmm. Other views on Reynolds’ rape analysis are available at Feministe, Appletree, and Abyss2hope. –Ann B [...]

Comments are closed.

The commenting period has expired for this post. If you wish to re-open the discussion, please do so in the latest Open Thread.