I’m sitting there watching late night TV and there’s this commercial. It’s nothing special, and nothing I haven’t seen many times before. It’s typical in its banality, but resplendent with this totally inane theme song. He’s not visible, but I can hear that this guy is just rockin’ out while we are looking at these cheese covered disks coming out of an oven, and the guitar is wailing, and he’s just giving his all — singing about goddamn Bagel Bites.
I look up from my paper, slightly stunned and knocked free from my creative train of thought… but it’s already over, and then the next commercial comes on. It’s another invisible guy, and instead of rock, it’s an upbeat zydeco number and cats are running around like adorable furry demons and he’s singing about getting the “…friskies in my bowllll!!”
I’ve suddenly noticed something new in a commercial I’ve seen a thousand times. I’ve suddenly gained a new perspective, one that brings me to my next point; I’m sure these guys are appreciative to be making silly little jingles instead of actually working for a living, but within the sounds of their voices I detect …. a sadness. It’s like the sound of the ocean in a seashell. If perk your ear you can hear a ponderence of what could have been. What if they had “made it,” man. Top of the charts, instead of pouring their hearts and souls into songs about catfood and maxipads. It sounds bizarre, but if you listen carefully to many of these ads, you can fucking hear a musicians PAIN.
I stand up suddenly and feel compelled to wander around the room absentmindedly looking at shit on my bookshelves. I’m suddenly hungry for fucking Bagel Bites.
Screw that. I go and take up position in front of the computer and hope that I’ve got some email or someone wants to instant message with me. At least I don’t want to eat Friskies cat food.
Nothing is waiting for me but spam, but on one of the message boards I frequent is a discussion about anti-pornography online message groups, blogs, and livejournal accounts. I spend the better part of 2 hours following links and reading some of the most unintentionally hilarious repressive tirades, and then open up my writing program and begin to write.
At first I don’t even know what I’m gonna write about. By this time it’s 4 in the morning. I’m not tired, but I know I need to put my thoughts down, or sleep will be a lost cause.
“The majority of the people in the media and their unrepentant vilification of the porn industry and sexuality in entertainment make me fucking sick” is the first thing I write.
My writing style has been suddenly tainted by the anti-smut troglodytes I’ve been mentally ingesting for the better part of 2 hours. Slightly frustrated, but undaunted, I continue to write…..
We as an audience have mass media news programing and journalists constantly telling us that sexual imagery on TV and in the movies is getting out of hand, that porn actresses are exploited, that workshops are springing up everywhere for chronic addicted masturbators, that children are having their innocence shattered by visual depictions of a erotic nature, that men are learning to abuse women from watching hardcore XXX, and that pornography is — by its very nature — degrading to women.
Maybe I’m preaching to the converted, but it’s getting so boring, this same ol’ tired way of thinking about porn and sex, and how the genders relate to it. It chases its own tail and circles back to the role of women in porn and sexually based imagery. People generally assume that porn and sex are inherently degrading to women. I don’t, and none of my friends do, but it’s so easy to forget that we are totally in the minority on this continent.
When Robert Jensen recently wrote “This culture struggles unsuccessfully with pornography because it is about men’s cruelty to women”, in his popular MS Magazine essay “A Cruel Edge: The Painful truth about Pornography”, he was unconsciously revealing far more about what he thinks about women, than he was revealing about our society or the porn industry itself. Like many writers and commentators on society, Jensen makes the assumption that porn (and thereby sex itself) is primarily about abuse.
Jensen wrote that “It hurts. It hurts to know that no matter who you are as a women, that you can be reduced to a thing to be penetrated, and that men will buy movies about that, and that in many of those movies, your humiliation will be a central theme.”
I am of the humble opinion that you are not degrading a women simply by inserting your penis into her. You are not devaluing a woman by role playing rape scenarios, or pretending that she’s a hooker and you are her john. You are not announcing that she is a lower life form if you shoot a load of semen down her throat. I don’t care if she’s tonguing your bunghole or drinking your wizz out of a Big Gulp cup, you are not making her less of a person, or less worthy of anyone’s love or respect by partaking in consensual sex, no matter how kinky it is.
Shit, I don’t like to whine, but it gets tiring to be on the defensive about this. I feel like the other side should have to explain themselves once and a while. Mainstream anti pornography journalists always make the same mistake while fear mongering that Christian moralists and uber rightwing feminists make: they don’t comprehend the difference between fantasy and reality.
It’s not rocket science, it’s rudimentary stuff you should have figured out when you played “pretend” in the playground as a tot. It’d be like saying that horror movies are evil, because the killer actually murdered the actors in the movie. Sorry, it’s make believe, fuckhead, and simply because it’s ADULT entertainment, doesn’t make it an any less valid form of entertainment. Fine, so you don’t find films where squealing girls get anally reamed entertaining, but then maybe I don’t find opera entertaining. Should I try and get everyone to stop going to the opera, or pressure them to feel guilty about listening to it? Fuck… whatever. If they like opera, and it’s not hurting anyone, why the fuck should I care?
I don’t mean to sugar coat the vile package that XXX comes in. Its inherent qualities are evident in its lack of pretension and its sinful appearance. Its got a mindless, primal, bad-boy/girl image, and that image is fitting. Yes, porn has been getting “rougher” and “dirtier” in recent years, and it’s now far less about the actual act of dick-in-pussy copulation than it is a wacky sexually based freak show. But I don’t understand why that must automatically be cause for concern. I’d like to point out that there have also been a lot more musicals coming out of Hollywood lately. Personally, that trend makes me far more upset. I’d like to see a bunch of essays and reports in the media on how that’s damaging society, since it would be just as relevant.
And yet the argument rages on: Porn exploits women, porn exposes men as cruel and sadistic, porn perverts the natural loving relationship a man should have with a woman, porn justifies rape. I understand where these rationales and concerns come from (fear and ignorance), but I don’t agree with them.
Yes, the majority of XXX content out there features women who are treated like nothing but a hole to fuck. They are merely cum-deposits with three wet openings, and they are completely objectified. This is totally true. I would never disagree with that. But you know what? In porn, Men are nothing but a cock. Just a big stiff prick, and that’s all they are — and fucking is all they are good for. It’s the same exact thing, and yet it’s somehow unnoticed. If porn is so obviously degrading to women, then certainly it must be degrading to men as well. So then if it’s degrading to everyone, it’s suddenly degrading to no one. So fuck you and your outdated puritanical Christian sex-guilt.
North Americans need to grow the fuck up, stop being so naive about sexuality, and take the time to understand that not everyone fucks the same way they do, nor gets off on the same things they do. And for the last damn time: Not everyone thinks women are automatically sullied or cheapened simply because they are sexual beings.
I’m not saying everyone has to love porn. I’m just saying that none of you have the right to tell someone else they can’t partake in it.
And with that, I pressed “save,” gave the cat a few pats, and fell into a deep deep sleep. Perhaps this won’t come to much of a surprise, but I swear to god — I dreamt about triple X-rated TV commercials with the catchiest, rockin’est jingles ever fucking recorded. And in my dream, those guys MADE IT, man.
Top of the world.