(This is a post I had up on the old site; I’m going to be reviewing older content and bringing back the posts that were worthwhile, this being one of them.)
I have a few things to say about the great pornography debate.
por nog ra phy
1 : the depiction of erotic behavior (as in pictures or writing) intended to cause sexual excitement
2 : material (as books or a photograph) that depicts erotic behavior and is intended to cause sexual excitement
3 : the depiction of acts in a sensational manner so as to arouse a quick intense emotional reaction
(Here when I say “pornography” I am referring only to LEGAL pornography. Not child pornography, not bestiality, not snuff, none of that shit. I am not defending or condoning illegal pornography of any type that violates human or animal rights.)
In many places, in many contexts, I have heard pornography being condemned as immoral or demeaning. Now, let’s say that I have no morals, so disregard “immoral” for the sake of this article – it’s not what I’m after. No, what I’m looking at here is “demeaning.”
to lower in character, status, or reputation
Sure, you can say pornography is demeaning to women. But why exactly is that? A reputation is hardly something people are in control of, as it’s what other people think of you. Most people reading this will have had problems with “reputation” in fucking high school – we all know that a person’s reputation is generally bollocks. So if being a nude model or porn star makes other people think poorly of you because they don’t dig the scene you’re a part of, is that really your fault? Oh no, people who probably get off twice a night before going to bed – but after their nightly prayer session – think the people supplying them with their material are bad folks? Big fucking deal. You can oppose pornography all you want, nameless hypothetical woman I have conjured in my mind, but when you go home to play panty Pogs to the thought of the musclebound bagger at the grocery store, you’re no bigger than the rest of us. Hell, he’s not even willingly submitting his flesh for your relief as all the porn stars and models are – and I make a distinction since there is one. It makes no difference whether the fuel for your orgasms is someone you saw on BangBus or on the actual bus on your way to work – you’re getting off to stimuli and you’re right here with all the viewers of pornography all over the world who you so quickly condemn. The only difference is that Pablo with the firm buttocks and tight work slacks may not even know you’re calling your elevator to the thought of his ass. At least the women and men of porn are aware of what’s going on.
This brings me to the next point – men. Women and men of pornography. While I am sure the numbers are quite imbalanced, there is definitely plenty of pornography centered around men out there. Male “camwhores”, male professional porn stars – who do you think is fucking those “demeaned” women? – and male models. I hear nothing about them being degraded or demeaned by their work, and that would be an example of sexism. Just as the man is fucking the woman, the woman is fucking the man. It goes both ways, and you can’t say he’s demeaning her just by doing that unless she’s demeaning him right back – demeaning him real hard.
So why is pornography degrading to women? They’re displaying their bodies to enormous numbers of men and women – anyone with a TV, a magazine or a computer with internet access – and making them come. They’re fully aware of this. They know that, probably every day, people are getting off to their image, to their body, to their lips and breasts and a number of other things. Explain to me the way in which this is degrading – because to me, it sounds like a really good way to boost your self image and feel incredibly sexy. From conversations with and blogs written by nude models, that’s exactly what it is for a ton of them. Probably most.
I’ve been told that an issue with pornography is that it is not empowering. This baffles me, to be honest. I don’t find plates or sandwiches or hair ties to be particularly fucking empowering and nobody’s rushing to condemn those. Not everything needs to be empowering. Working at a fucking grocery store isn’t empowering – let’s picket the nearest Asda! Pornography serves a single and very simple purpose with its many and various kinks and fetishes: to make you come. To make everyone come, in fact. It’s not going to discriminate, there’s something out there for everybody. That’s all it exists for, the only reason it’s here. Orgasms are its business, and business is fucking good.
So perhaps it isn’t empowering. Who gives a fuck? It’s not supposed to be empowering, it’s supposed to be deeply sexual and assist you in getting off. But then I thought about it, really thought, and I realized: I am not entirely sure what “empowered” means. I looked it up on the Merriam-Webster site and found that it actually has no entry for that word. I had a brief laugh in the face of self-righteous blogs everywhere and looked it up on a different dictionary website. Here is what I found:
em pow er
1. To invest with power
Strikingly simple and to the point for a word which causes me to automatically roll my eyes every time I hear it. To empower, to invest with power. Easy. It’s exactly what it sounds like, and let me tell you something. Displaying your naked body to probable billions of people, both male and female, and knowing that you are responsible for bringing them repeatedly to orgasm is a very powerful thing.
It may, in fact, be empowering.