Though blacks have always decried racist representations of themselves in literature and film, and though Jews have always spoken out against anti-Semitism, the male editors of the Los Angeles Times have decided that when it comes to the sexist and violently misogynistic depictions of women in Bret Easton Ellis’ “American Psycho,” women should be silent lest they violate the rights of men to read and create texts and films that sexually degrade and dismember women.
As evidenced by your editorial, The Times has decided that a man’s right to propagate and consume sexist depictions of women is more important than a woman’s or child’s right to live without the fear of being sexually assaulted. One in six women and one in four little girls have been sexually assaulted. Yet The Times expects women to do nothing but allow the production, promotion and consumption of misogyny to continue and grow unchecked.
Freedom of speech is an important right, but when it cost the lives of women and children, it is in direct contradiction with the basic values of our democracy. We recognize this conflict when we disallow child pornography and violent pornography.
Democracy was never meant to be anybody’s Hell. Our Founding Fathers sought to protect freedom of religion and political expression. We are not fools to believe that any of them would have continued “American Psycho.” They could hardly have dreamed of such a work and would have relegated it to the rank of obscenity.
Since we live in a democracy, we have the right to demand change. We can do this through boycotts and via the political process. The purpose of a democracy is to create a society in which people can live in peace and happiness.
Texts like “American Psycho” create injustice and harm, and we have every right to oppose them, even to destroy them. Such is the reality and function of democracy; and it is right, because it creates the most happiness and peace for all, especially for women and children.
People Against Pornography