Monday, December 26, 2005


Today’s Rant is going to talk about my second favorite topic…pornography. Heeeeyyyyy, how you doin’?!

If you believe in the Bible, you accept the fact that Eve enticed Adam to bite the apple from the Tree of Knowledge. And with this bite, came the realization of sexuality. If you believe in a more scientific standpoint, then you agree that animals, including humans, have a natural instinct to procreate. So what is wrong with pornography and the incentive of its actions?

Religious faiths would say it encourages pre-marital and extra-marital sex. I say, if they stop making sex taboo and secretive and accept this knowledge bestowed upon us from the beginning of humankind, than maybe less people will cheat on their spouses. (Maybe not, but it was worth mentioning) Think about this, if Adam had not taken a bite of that apple, then we wouldn’t be here to discuss it. Unless of course we were all blessed with the Holy Spirit’s divine intervention and had our mother’s bear us through ‘immaculate conception’.

Another argument against pornography comes from a mostly lesbian and asexual female collaboration. Their viewpoint is that pornography encourages violence against women as well as rape. “Pornography does not simply create a climate in which sex and violence are interchangeable; it widens the range of behavior considered acceptable from men in heterosexual intercourse-behavior which reiteratively strips women of their autonomy, dignity and sexual potential, including the potential of loving and being loved by women in mutuality and integrity.” (Adrienne Rich, Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence, 1980)*

And who partakes in this climate? Women! If this is true, then women need to point the fingers at themselves. If a female porn star lets someone else degrade them for money, for others to view, shouldn’t they take any responsibility? Well you could pull a ‘Linda Lovelace’ and say how you were ‘forced’ to partake in these actions.

“The most pernicious message relayed by pornography is that women are natural sexual prey to men and love it, that sexuality and violence are congruent, and that for women sex is essentially masochistic, humiliation pleasurable, physical abuse erotic.” (Rich) I agree that there is pornography that is all these things…and even worse, but is it right to categorize all pornography? What about soft pornography or scenes in a movie where the two performers are ‘making love’? Where is the line between so called ‘normal’ sexual interaction between a man and a woman ok and where does it turn into a power struggle?

For some, there is not ‘normal’ sexual interaction between a man and a woman. “All sex, even consensual sex between a married couple, is an act of violence perpetrated against a women.” (Catherine MacKinnon, author of Professing Feminism: Cautionary Tales from the Strange World of Women’s Studies) Yet ironically, most porn stars, both male and female will tell you that their roles are powerful by creating a sexual desire. But feminist writers like Marilyn Frye, suggest a double bind in how society actual views women’s sexuality. “If she is heterosexually active, a woman is open to censure and punishment for being loose, unprincipled or a whore…On the other hand, if she refrains from heterosexual activity, she is fairly constantly harassed by men who try to persuade her into it and pressure her to “relax”…threatened with labels like “frigid”.” (Frye, “Oppression” The Politics of Reality) While I do agree with Frye that this mentality does still exist in our society it is not a universal viewpoint by all men. For many modern men, pleasuring a woman is the goal in their sexual exploits. The power is no longer solely about his orgasism but about hers.

“…All heterosexual intercourse is rape because women, as a group, are not strong enough to give meaningful consent.” (MacKinnon, p.129) To label all pornography as vial and insulting to women would be a misnomer. To label all heterosexual intercourse as an act of violence IS vial and insulting. For example, I do not find anything insulting to women about Chippendales and I have been there a few times to aptly state from experience. The women there seem to feel very “strongly” about giving “meaningful consent.”

*If you are wondering how I knew about Rich’s work, this was actually part of the syllabus for an introductory course in Philosophy. Some introduction!

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