Laura // 8 June 2007
Apologies for blogging about something that’s a little out of date now in internet terms, but I was perusing the last week’s blog entries over at The Guardian and I really couldn’t let this perfect example of the male left ignoring misogyny pass:
(Warning : the links that follow lead to potentially triggering, upsetting images that are not safe for work or children.)
And here was me thinking that perhaps the reason one wouldn’t want to associate with Larry Flynt would be his long history of producing disgusting works of misogyny and racism, his oh-so-hilarious cartoons about paedophiles or, you know, his daughter’s assertions that he sexually abused her as a child (if you have access to MySpace you can read her testimonial here). Ian Williams, however, had no hang-ups about Hustler. For him it’s no more than a raunchy magazine featuring explicit photos of naked people voluntarily doing what comes naturally, and Flynt is some kind of leftist hero because he has taken his fight for free speech for pornographers to a much wider range of issues, in particular by vigorously opposing the war in Iraq.
Quite how anyone can look at the images I’ve linked to above and see Flynt as anything but a loathesome, racist misogynist is beyond my comprehension. Granted, the website doesn’t include the dates these images were published, but even if they are decades old they were still approved by this man, they still appeared in Hustler and therefore still represent what both Flynt and his magazine stand for. However, only one of the commenters on the post in question brings up the topic of misogyny, and is swiftly likened to the Taleban for wanting to limit women’s freedom to do as they please and failing to see that the magazine actually worships the female sex. Others commenters simply point out that Williams’ decision to write was all about the money.
I agree that the war in Iraq is a disaster, a human rights abuse, that we must speak out against it. But to do so in a publication that glorifies and eroticizes the abuse of women and girls – the kind of abuse perpetrated against both female US soldiers and civilians in Iraq – and has the nerve to crown itself some kind of champion of free speech and liberalism is downright disgusting.