A clash of world views. Or; bad reasoning in the real world part 4.

Today a model on tumblr (Jin-Ja) received this hostile judgement over a nude photo shoot:

“do women have any dignity at all anymore? she states that one day she will be “brave enough” to shoot with him and then bam! She’s comfortable enough with a person she has met once sticking his fingers inside her. It turns my stomach. There has to be something psychologically wrong here. Insuh used to be a nice guy when I first met him and now he is exploiting women. Alas, I guess you cannot exploit the willing.

And before anyone gets bent out of shape and start pointing the jealousy finger lol
I do not know this girl personally or anything of her. I saw this pics about a week ago and to be honest I feel sorry for her. I once at 19 thought it was cool to get naked on camera because it is “art” etc. but I grew up and realized that there is absolutely nothing empowering about it. Especially a shoot like this. I hope the model will realize what she has done.”

to which she gave the fairly obvious and correct reply:

“dignity is a product of patriarchy.I was scared to ask, not be naked. THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH SEX AND NAKED BODIES STOP DEGRADING THEM. This was the most empowering thing I have ever done.”

Now you might think that’s all there is to say in reply. Absolutely the idea that a woman who is either i) naked or ii) likes sex or both can’t be dignified looks like a way to try and control women. However, there are issues around the acceptability of pornography, e.g. does it encourage a view of women as mere bodies? As figures with no mind or life beyond what they look like? Certainly some on tumblr get treated this way, but whether that is encouraged by all naked photos or if it is just the fault of people who choose to dehumanise women isn’t at all clear to me. At any rate if you see the pictures in question they are emotive enough that, to my mind at least, this issue is less of a concern for this case. (also porn is racist but that’s for another day)

But there is something more wrong with initial judgement that the model didn’t respond to. What concerns me in particular is the claim that “There has to be something psychologically wrong here.”

Why would this claim be made? So far I can see there is no reason except that these two women have different world views. The complainer finds having naked photos taken unacceptable, whilst the model obviously disagrees. Beyond this the complainer seems to find something disgusting about other people having a different sexuality to her own (i.e. the claim that other people engaging in sexual acts with someone they have only recently met “turns my stomach.”). It is the later difference in world view which seems to be motivating the problematic claim.

Now we are up to the additional problem not raised by the model. To put it plainly a difference in world views is not evidence that there is something psychologically wrong with someone. Imagine how we would react if the homophobe claimed that there was something psychologically wrong with homosexuals because the latter’s view on sexuality allows for homosexual acts? How absurd would it be for a homosexual to say that there was something psychologically wrong with a straight woman because she only sleeps with men? Barely any less ridiculous than a Melbourne Victory fan saying that there was something psychologically wrong with people who choose to support Adelaide United.

The point is this, if you’re going to make the claim that there is something psychologically wrong with someone you cannot just point to the fact that they believe or act in a different way to you, even if you think there is something wrong with their behaviour. If it were the case that mere difference was evidence of psychological problems one would be forced to think that there was something psychologically wrong with everyone else, as no two people agree on every claim.

Be more respectful about claims regarding psychological problems.
with love

P.S.- standard note on sexism: would the complainer had any reaction at all had the model been male?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s