Thursday, October 04, 2007

Faith traditions we don't need to appropriate

Imagining a UU version of this boggles the mind.

Best quote: “No one can beat pornography on their own,” he said. “If you try to beat pornography on your own, you’re going to lose.”




Comrade Kevin said...

If only it were that simple.

I admit that I am sex-positive individual who enjoys pornography. It has not taken over my life, nor has it caused me to lose a house, a car, a job, kids, a wife, or anything of that nature. And furthermore I find that pornography, like most things in life, is okay when used in moderation.

I mention this and sometimes I get into debate with a sex-negative feminist who rips into me talking about the exploitation of women in pornography, how degrading it is, and how could I dare derive pleasure from such a thing.

So I acknowledge her concerns and end up on the defensive, reducing my enjoyment of pornography to some kind of necessary evil.


Chalicechick said...

Like any other enjoyable-but-potentially-troublesome thing, for me it's not porn's existence itself, but how one reacts to it.

Like with alcohol, I have no objection to people having their fun in a knowing and thoughtful way.

But, for example, I've known men who used lots of porn and started thinking that sex was all about taking and being serviced and women acting submissively to please them.



PG said...

I think most of the porn oriented toward hetero men is problematic for precisely the reason CC mentions: it portrays sex on men's part as "all about taking and being serviced and women acting submissively to please them." Several of the hetero porn cliches, such as the "cum shot" or "unwilling woman is forced to become eager slut," are pretty clearly about degrading and disempowering women.

There's nothing inherent to the depiction of sex that is bad. It's what kind of sex you're depicting in a "yes, this is the good kind of sex" way that can be problematic.

I think consumers of pornography should be aware of what they're buying and whether it was made in a socially responsible fashion (e.g., were the employees paid decently and treated respectfully), just like consumers of any other product. Pornography doesn't have to exploit the people who appear in it any more than a sneaker factory exploits its workers. However, we should be aware of the potential for exploitation and strive to support the non-exploiting manufacturers., for example, seems to be a non-exploitative porn-maker; it comes across well in what I've read about it, and I know someone who is friends with the guy who runs it, and she's definitely a feminist who would not be supportive of someone whom she knew to be exploiting women.

This also may be my own prejudice, but I think written or drawn depictions of sex are less problematic than photographs or video.
1) There's no worry that a person has been in any way coerced into involvement, or will later be embarrassed about it;
2) It's clearly a fantasy. It doesn't set up false expectations for teenage boys that all women just LOVE having a guy shove them on their knees and push himself into their mouths. (Incidentally, this is one way in which "kinky" BDSM type porn actually provides a better model than the other stuff, because of the focus on consent and safe words. If porn shows two people playing out a rape fantasy, that's cool, as long as the porn makes clear that both parties feel safe and can stop the proceedings at any time.)

I don't think porn is much of a problem for people who have had a fair amount of real life experience of sex and who know what is acceptable behavior and what isn't, but I do agree with the people who worry that adolescents who get most of their information about what sex is like from pornography will end up with some fucked up sex lives. One might say that's more the fault of parents who don't want to have blunt discussions about what sex ought to be like (respectful, safe, etc.) with their kids. Not having kids myself, however, I'd defer to the parents of teenagers on how easy it is to have such a conversation.

Chalicechick said...

(((This also may be my own prejudice, but I think written or drawn depictions of sex are less problematic than photographs or video.)))

I agree with that, both as a political matter and a matter of personal taste.


Lilylou said...

I wasn't sure whether to laugh at the unintended satire or pity the poor Christian who now has to reveal his computer habits to his equally-defensive friend.

Joel Monka said...

"Imagining a UU version of this boggles the mind." Yes... but perhaps if we had HAD such a program, then maybe poor Robin wouldn't be so fixated on Unitarian behinds!

Comrade Kevin said...

I don't enjoy pornography that degrades women by reducing them to the level of slut. That's never been for me.

And, though this might be potentially TMI, my sexual fantasies involve women who aren't under my heel, aren't my personal sex slaves, and aren't at my beck and call at all times. I like the idea of equality in life and in the bedroom.

True, stories and fantasies are much less exploitive than conventional photography and/or videos.

Here's the ethical dilemma that I face:

I get most of my pornographic images from p2p programs. The good thing about that is that the images are of real women, women who aren't examples of unrealistic standards of feminine beauty--they don't look like they've been designed in a factory, they don't have artificial breasts, blonde hair, overly tanned skin, or gobs of plastic surgery.

The drawback is that most of these images have been posted by jilted ex-boyfriends out of spite.

And in conventional pornography, even though women themselves are being paid to pose in sexual acts, many of them came from bad home lives, were molested or sexually abused as children, or have such low conceptions of self-worth that they feel the need to get attention by engaging in sex acts or posing nude.

Thus is the tightrope act we face.

How funny is it that scouring for ethical pornography is like shopping for organic produce or deliberately buying goods that aren't made in sweatshops.

Bill Baar said...

Pornographers commercialize sex and profit off men's (mostly) lust.

Recreational sex brings a set of ethical problems.

Recreational sex for profit compounds the problems.

It's a tight rope indeed.

If you're treading the rope, be careful. No net, and the fall far.