Cheers to Cindy LaCom for Insightful Comment on Cleveland Kidnappings

May 19, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


The horrific story of the three women who had been kidnapped and held hostage for a decade in a Cleveland neighborhood has been receiving sensationalist tabloid-like coverage in the mainstream media. In contrast, a sharp and insightful comment appeared in the May 9 letters to the editor column of the New York Times, pointing to how this story links to larger issues of violence against and degradation of women in this society, in particular the prevalence of pornography.

In her letter, Cindy LaCom, director of the women's studies program at Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania, points to a quote from a psychologist that perpetrators of crimes like these are men "who have had longstanding fantasies of capturing, controlling, abusing and dominating women." LaCom goes on to say: "We live in a world where the 'Fifty Shades' trilogy (which has sold over 70 million copies) presents male domination over women as 'erotic,' where the porn industry generates more annual profit than the National Football League, where 30 percent of Web traffic is porn. I am surprised at the lack of national dialogue about the pornification of our culture.

"But sadly, in a world that endlessly replicates and sexualizes male domination of women, I am not surprised that this 'fantasy' narrative has been literalized. Though there are doubtless myriad factors that contributed to this nightmare crime, I hope that one positive outcome is broader critical analyses of how pornography normalizes the domination and degradation of women in pervasive and damaging ways."

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