“I don’t think that society really realizes how rampant it is,” Sarah, a victim of revenge porn, told Betabeat in a feature we wrote last month about the effort to put a stop to sites that take intimate photos of women and publish them without their permission. “And right now,” she added, “there’s not a lot that victims can do about it.”
“Herein lies the problem—with the advent and proliferation of internet pornography, the fantasy of rape, torture, and bondage becomes an issue of access. No longer reserved for an informed, invested viewer who carefully sought it out after a trip to a fetish bookstore, BDSM is represented in every porn portal on the internet. The average computer user can have instant access to a full catalog of BDSM practices, ranging from light, softcore spanking to hardcore torture, in a matter of seconds. This kind of constant, unrestrained availability trains viewers who don’t have a BDSM cultural awareness, investment or education to believe that what women want is to be coerced and, in some cases, forced into acts they don’t consent to. Over the years, various interpretations of the genre have made it into straight porn, without any suggestion of artifice—women on leashes, in handcuffs, gagged, tied up, and told to “like it” are all commonplace imagery in contemporary pornography. While serious BDSM practitioner thrives on that artifice, the average young, male, heterosexual porn audience member begins to believe that forcing women into sex acts is the norm—the imagery’s constant, instant availability makes rape and sex one and the same for the mainstream viewer. Couple that private home viewing to get off with the proliferation of graphic crime shows on prime-time television and torture porn masquerading as a “psychological thrillers” in theatres, and our cultural imagery screams that “women as sexual victims” is an acceptable reality. For someone who is raised and reaches sexual maturity in this environment, the idea of forcing a woman into a sex act seems, although logically “wrong”, completely commonplace and possibly quite sexy.
The appropriation of BDSM imagery is problematic because while the community members understand that is important to be sensitive to the needs, boundaries, and rules of players in order for a scene to function fairly and enjoyably, mainstream porn is primarily about getting off as quickly as possible. Add to that the disgraceful lack of sexual education (both in safety and in pleasure) across the country, and a general belief perpetrated by the media that women are sex objects to be consumed, and you have a rape culture that started by borrowing from BDSM’s images without reading its rules.”"
Stacy May Fowles—The Fantasy of Acceptable “Non-Consent”: Why the Female Sexual Submissive Scares Us (And Why She Shouldn’t) in Yes Means Yes