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  • Sunday, September 10, 2006

     

    Porn and Confusion

    A recent comment to my post on why I love feminists asked my about my opinion about porn. This was signed by "pornstudent" with a link to a "Porn Studies" site (http://www.pornstudies.net/) (I refuse to post a hyperlink for them. Technically, a work safe link since it is a text page of links with no graphics and no explicit words. Subpages on the site seem to be text-only as well.)

    Sexually explicit words and pictures in modern (American) society constitute a strange and multifaceted conundrum. I have no facile analysis or solutions but here are a few items I consider in relation to public viewing and accessibility of such images and words.

    First, many adult Americans have a taboo about the naked human body that borders on the pathological. The equating of nudity with sex and sexual acts in the American psyche is, to my mind, an illness. The forbidden nature of nudity in public creates a state of psychological anticipation and curiosity. The comparative rarity of complete nudity in mainstream media and day-to-day life functions to create a "market" for such images. And capitalism will always find a way to sell to an underserved market.

    Generally, while I don't believe images or words are, ipso facto, "wrong", the process of their creation and the business of pornography in America is very wrong. Cheery testimonials from allegedly happy female porn stars doesn't change my opinion that the predatory porn business destroys many more participants than it fulfills. And the participants/proletariat are overwhelmingly women.

    I think the taboo nature of the curiosity mentioned above also creates a ripe mental attitude for obsessional collecting and viewing of porn by some men.

    As far as I am aware, there is no scientific evidence that viewing porn instigates or develops criminal sexual and/or violent behavior. But it's a bit of the chicken or the egg, though, in how to structure experimental criteria or analysis. I've heard some rapists have large porn collections but I don't think there is a clear causal connection between that fact and the rapist's violence against women. Or which came first: the porn or the violent feelings towards women. Saying this is not going to endear me to some feminists.

    As I see it, our society is immeasurably misogynist and actively encourages objectifying women. This is the baseline. The creation of porn is an industrial assembly line embodying these values more clearly than almost any other in America.

    Of course, now I feel stupid for having approached this subject at all here. I'm thinking of all the aspects/points I haven't gone into and can't really in such a short post. I'm unhappy with the tone of the post which feels a little anti-sex and prudish. Not my intent. I didn't touch on where the profits from porn often go: to the mob or other criminal enterprises. Almost all "adult" theatres and porn bookstores were fronts for Mafia money not too long ago. The business hasn't changed that much since then.



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