Wallpaper women

26 Jun

When I was at school my male friend had pictures from porn magazines on his bedroom walls. I went to the housemaster about this, wondering why he hadn’t been told to take these pictures down. The school was very strict on things like eating in public or showing affection in public, so I assumed they would have some rules about pornography. Yet, I was told that as long as the nipples and private bits were covered up, it was absolutely acceptable. Which is why it wasn’t just my friend who used these women as wallpaper, but every boy in our school had a room ‘decorated’ in exactly the same fashion.

Girlfriends didn’t seem to mind visiting boyfriends with almost-naked strangers on their walls. In fact, it was nothing to be ashamed of, nothing to feel awkward about. So comfortable were the boys and their teachers about this nude presence that when parents came to visit (it was a boarding school) the pictures didn’t even get taken down.

Boys as young as 13 were accessing porn too. Whilst I was a prefect of 13 year old students, I went in to take the register one morning and found that the boys had put porn up on the walls of the room. I tore these down and took them to the housemaster. Different housemaster, same response. He laughed it off and never dealt with it. The following day there was a message on the same wall – that had previously shown semi-clad, sexually available women – saying that I was jealous of how the women were more attractive than me, which is why I’d taken them down.

Nobody, from 13 year old boys to middle aged housemasters were recognising that porn is a problem. They were failing to notice how deeply pathological it is to use women’s bodies as wallpaper.

It’s pathological because these women who decorate the bedroom walls of my former school, they will get looked at when the guy wants a pleasant distraction and ignored when the guy is too busy to recognise that there is a human being up there.

For a woman to be an object of sexual desire – part of the decoration, a piece of paper, something to masturbate to – and nothing more, that won’t help us create more healthy and equal relations between the two sexes.  A woman is more than a piece of paper, and yet the porn industry reduces her to just that, a voiceless object without character or intellect.



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