(Society and Self, Critical Representations in Literature)

Susan Griffin is one of the founding mothers of ecofeminism. In Pornography and Silence: Culture’s Revenge Against Nature, she applies the Jungian concept of the shadow to the abusive cultural imagery known as pornography. In her analysis, Western civilization views nature and culture as being in opposition. This culture attempts to dominate nature, but bodily sensations, emotions, and natural processes keep bringing human “nature” back into consciousness. Culture teaches people to fear and despise the uncontrollable nature within them, so people learn to deny their natural perceptions and impulses. Denial, however, does not make this nature go away. Instead, it is reshaped by projection, the process by which a part of the self is experienced as being outside the self. In such a process, a man who is afraid of his vulnerability, physicality, or emotions might forget that such parts of his personality exist. Instead, he might look at another person or category of persons and ascribe those characteristics to them—he might decide that women are vulnerable, physical, and emotional.

This denial and projection of nature produces the elaborate mythology of pornography in which the apparently separate figures of “man” and “woman” or “sadist” and “masochist” actually represent two parts of a divided self at war. One side of oneself is the unfeeling possessor of control and the other is the out-of-control possessor of feelings. This...

(The entire section is 404 words.)