Err, hello?

When you see a man looking at porn in public (and yes, I know it’s not all men but a minority of them), aside from laughing, or feeling scared, or uncomfortable, you might also experience a sense of awe. Imagine, just imagine, having such a sense of ownership of and entitlement to public space that your need to watch a naked woman being penetrated outweighs the discomfort of the women (and children) in the physical environment around you catching you watching it. The lack of respect is staggering.

I thought we were supposed to celebrate other peoples’ sexuality these days?

36 comments on “Err, hello?

  1. “.. your eyes flicker to the screen of the device of the person next to you..”

    Easy solution then. Read a book. Or watch your own dreary lesbian fair-trade inclusive porn.

  2. “Personally, I see it as a form of harassment. Most people would say that doing it is socially unacceptable and I hope that other passengers would stand up for the person who chooses to object.”

    Rest assured, Rhiannon, love, if you ever stand up and start screeching on my train about what some stranger happens to be reading, I’ll be standing up for them.

  3. Oh, and this tickled me (fnarr!):

    “Guardian Pick

    I heard the interview on Woman’s Hour and was fascinated to learn that there is no law preventing porn being viewed in a public place. Presumably this is because the practice has not been technically feasible until recently.”

    You’ve always been able to look at mucky pictures or read saucy fiction in public, you idiot.

  4. The lack of respect is staggering

    That is an interesting use of the word “respect”. By all means, I don’t think anyone should watch porn in public but precisely how is this any skin off anyone else’s nose? Who would even know if they weren’t being nosy and looking at what some other person is watching on their phone?

    How is peacefully minding your own business harassment? And if we grant this argument, I find anyone reading, much less quoting, Judith Butler in public harassment. Can we ban that too? Don’t even get me started on Germaine Greer ever time she opens her mouth.

  5. As Tim says, it’s all a bit prudish, isn’t it? One minute we’re being told women breastfeeding in public is to be celebrated and telling nude “protesters” to cover up is infringing on their human rights, the next minute they’re reaching for the smelling salts because of porn. Some consistency would be nice.

  6. Tim Newman – “Some consistency would be nice.”

    They are consistent. Stacey McCain used to talk of the fear of the penis. Or Roissy pointing out that feminism is about maximising women’s choices while minimising men’s.

    They are consistently enraptured when a woman does anything she enjoys, they are consistently horrified when a man does likewise.

  7. Thank you Tim Newman. I was searching for equivalents. Equivalents would show this wasn’t a matter of morals but of mores or that morals that soctal morals have become arbitrary and even vindictive. Your examples are perfect for that.

  8. “The lack of respect is staggering”

    Is it?

    How much respect do you give this guy? You and your feminist pals? You want university, paid for by this guy’s wages. Then you leave uni and want to do a job of your pleasing, with work-life balance, without paying back your debt. Then you have some kids, but not with him, but which he’s going to pay for. If someone accuses him of rape, you want him to not be believed and to go to prison. If he calls someone “darling”, that’s a microaggression. If he works harder and gets a better job, you complain about “glass ceilings”.

    Not surprisingly, some men look at what happens to Ched Evans and figure that well, fuck it, why bother. Other than paying for strippers and hookers, they are disconnected from women.

  9. Bloke in Wiltshire – “How much respect do you give this guy?”

    Or any man for that matter.

    (and yes, I know it’s not all men but a minority of them)

    It is actually one man. Not all of them. Not some of them. One. We have no idea how many women do the same. I have seen women reading 50 Shades on London buses.

    But she can’t help smearing the entire sex.

  10. The outrage about people watching porn in public doesn’t bother me. On the contrary, I would agree that it’s disrespectful to do so. I am however bothered with the demand that any problem and disrespectful requires new laws. I am also bothered that these people are surprised that the population in general has, for a long time, managed to solve these problems without laws.

  11. Who does this anyway? I have never witnessed it nor has anyone I know mentioned it. It seems that most people in the article’s comments section haven’t either.
    It’s amazing how this sort of thing seems to only happen to feminist writers.

  12. “…as often happens in a public place, your eyes flicker to the screen of the device of the person next to you”

    I’ve always been taught that this was extremely rude. So rude, in fact, that if you do it (by accident or otherwise) you never mention it to others, let alone write an article about it.

    ” Imagine, just imagine, having such a sense of ownership of and entitlement to public space”

    Isn’t this the point of public space? As long as you’re not denying it to others?

  13. I don’t believe her. Never have I or anyone I know of ever seen or heard of anyone seeing someone openly watching grot on a bus or whatever.

  14. I enjoyed the comments of the Guardianistas. It is self-evidently disgustING and these men are self-evidently narcissistic perverts. No explanation or demonstration of a logical pathway needed.

    Now I agree with them… on this. And yet I find other things to be self-evidently disgusting, things contemporary liberal mores deem unacceptable to find disgusting and narcissistic. I would be “no platformed” if I wished to express those opinions in public. Indeed the very notion of anything being self-evident would be contested if I dared to articulate my reactions.

    So who decides anymore? Oh they do of course. The objective standard is whatever they decide it is… today

  15. Unfortunately without wanting to sound any more of a dick than absolutely necessary, it comes down to a question of good manners.

    Any normal human being will realise that reading porn in a public place (subject to a multiplicity of factors) is highly likely to cause unease and embarrassment to some of the people in the immediate environment, and having been brought up that good manners lead one to avoid doing things that cause embarrassment und unease to others, would therefore desist.

    There is no law against it, because it is a question of good manners. As good manners seem to be waived miore and more often we see them being replaced by laws, bylaws, restrictions regulations and all sorts of shit much worse.

    Breast feeding is of course much the same but of course completely different, good point Tim.

  16. ” Imagine, just imagine, having such a sense of ownership of and entitlement to public space”

    Yes, the author of the Guardian piece thinks she’s entitled to public space and to tell everybody else to do what she wants.

  17. BiI: Well yes, that’s it, isn’t it? We’ve been told for so long that to insist on certain boundaries being inviolable is the mark of a bigot, so as usual the baby’s disappeared down the plughole with the bathwater. It is quite clear that, say, reading a porn mag in a public place is a pretty low-class thing to do, and watching an actual video on your phone or iPad ought to get you a kicking for being a scrote. But the Grauniadistas have painted themselves into a corner. Mustn’t judge, etc.. Who among ye will cast the first stone? Well, these days, me, since I find myself becoming much less diffident and much more willing to make a stink.

  18. Agree with other comments. I have never, ever seen anybody do this. She is, quite simply, making it up. End of.

  19. I must say, I do feel distinctly uncomfortable when i see someone reading the Guardian in public. All that naked avarice & bare faced hypocrisy displayed where anyone’s eyes could chance upon it. Think of the children! Have they no respect?

  20. This actually happened to me over Xmas. Little Indian guy got on the Tube, sat next to me and started watching porn on his phone.

    I wouldn’t have minded but it was another little Indian guy clambering all over some enormous woman, and that really doesn’t float my boat.

    I’m a big fucking guy so I wasn’t intimidated – in fact I thought it was funny and I missed my stop tweeting about it – but I can imagine some teenage girl being quite upset about it. If such a person had been present, I’d have told him to turn it off.

  21. Bloke In Italy – “having been brought up that good manners lead one to avoid doing things that cause embarrassment und unease to others, would therefore desist.”

    Well yes. And things that are private ought to be private. But we don’t live in that world any more. If we did, why would this rule apply to watching porn and not, say, making art out of your menstrual blood?

    Men have been told they need to deal with it for years.

    “As good manners seem to be waived miore and more often we see them being replaced by laws, bylaws, restrictions regulations and all sorts of shit much worse.”

    As Montesquieu pointed out, as mores decline they are replaced by law. Although I wonder which came first. Maybe too many laws replaced good manners?

  22. If I bumped into two gay blokes on Hampstead Heath enjoying relations and I expressed any disgust at this she would hit the fucking roof. Hypocritical cow.

    Anyway, I have never seen any man watching porn in public, ever. If it does exist it is an infinitessimal minority and one which would be dominated by our more, ahem, recently arrived cousins.

  23. Rob:

    “Anyway, I have never seen any man watching porn in public, ever.”

    Have you never seen anyone watching an episode of Game of Thrones? Some people have a broader definition of “porn” than others.

  24. I’m in favour of people watching porn in public, just as I’m in favour of women having tatoos: it tells me who to avoid.

  25. @Dongguan John (and others)

    “I don’t believe her. Never have I or anyone I know of ever seen or heard of anyone seeing someone openly watching grot on a bus or whatever.”

    Yes, but what about landwhales reading 50 Shades on the tube/bus?

    At one point, that seemed more common than folks playing Candy Crush Saga on an oversized tablet.

  26. JS, Yes, but what about landwhales reading 50 Shades on the tube/bus?

    I don’t think it’s equivalent. Sat next to someone watching something on their phone is, to be honest, hard to avoid seeing. A book someone next to you reading is almost impossible to read yourself, without leaning over them. Watching porn on public transport like that would be incredibly obnoxious. Reading it in a book, meh.

    It’s just something I’ve never heard of, even as an urban myth. Strange someone who makes money out of reporting this knows lots of people who have witnessed it, huh?

  27. I won’t argue it’s a direct equivalent, but I do wonder if there’s an ‘ick’ factor at work in the mind of the journo.

    She seems upset (at least in part) by the thought of some bloke getting all hot and bothered in a public place. The “but what if the children see it?” seems a justification for this discomfort.

    But: when 50 shades was in its pre-charity shop shelf-filling stage of popularity, it was common sight on trains, usually in the possession of women.

    I think it’d be hard to deny that there’s not a similarity in the two cases, and yet I seem to recall 50 shades being lauded as empowering in bringing erotica (and isn’t that a weasel word?) into the mainstream for women.

  28. Maybe I’m just looking at it too much from my own perspective and imagining actually seeing it then.

    Some land whale reading 50 shades would just have me laughing, taking photos and sending them to my mates…. which would probably also upset Rhiannon.

  29. Her mistake is to ascribe his actions to conscious agency. He’s not claiming the public realm, he quite simply isn’t thinking about the public realm at all. It’s exactly the same as people who wear rucksacks on the Underground, people who get to the exit barriers *then* think to look for their ticket and people who stand on the left on the escalator. They’re not consciously trying to piss you off, they’re not thinking about anyone else at all.

  30. Aaa, I call it the earbud factor. Once you put the buds in your ears, you have moved into another reality where no one else exists. I wonder how they get through the day, stepping off pavements as soon as the lights change, without checking whether someone is running a red, etc.

  31. @Dongguan John

    Definitely not disputing it’s obnoxious (and I have concerns about smart phone use generally being negative socially- Damien Thompson has written convincingly about the pharmacology of this), I was pointing out Rhiannon’s double standard.

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