5.9

Why I’m Terrified of Porn.

Watching TV

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This is a message to all the men in my life.

All the beautiful men who I know strive for equality and who would never oppress a woman knowingly. This is a message for you because there is something you need to know.

Pornography terrifies me.

And it’s a deep terror—like someone has stabbed me in the gut; like a giant planet is about to collide with the Earth.*

The strange thing is that I didn’t even realize that I felt this terror, until I started speaking to other women and realized that the terror they spoke about was in me, too. “But why am I terrified when it’s just a normal part of society?” I hear you ask.

That is what terrifies me.

Porn is so normal that my male friends can easily talk about it in front of me, (I know what the ‘wank angle’ is). Porn is so normal that you can find it in sweet shops. Porn is so normal that even the musicians that my six-year-old goddaughter likes are doing pornographic moves in bikinis.

Porn is so normal that for a long time I believed that if I wanted to please a man in bed, I needed to act like a porn star.

But where did this come from? How was I convinced that pornography should be an everyday, normal thing?

When I dredge up my internal ‘knowledge of the world’ I’m told that pornography is the result of the sexual liberation movement and is an indication that we are free to explore our sexual lives. But when did four guys wanking into a woman’s mouth become sexual liberation? What part of us is liberated by it? And is it a part of us that we really want to liberate?

What about the young girls and boys who grow up into this world where both of them are subjected to twisted ideas of what it means to have a sexual relationship with someone?

I can tell you what it does to little girls: it terrifies them. But then we numb and accept, because what else can you do at such a young age when you’re faced with a cultural norm that is designed to humiliate and degrade women. The Stockholm syndrome takes over our sexual lives, and we go and practice our porn face in the mirror.

The feeling I have now, as a grown woman, is one of rage. But to whom can I direct it? Pornography in most forms is a symptom of an oppressive, patriarchal culture that affects both women and men. Porn humiliates women and desensitizes men. It’s not solely men nor women’s fault that porn exists, but when we find ourselves watching degrading acts towards women and men being shown as insensitive abusers, then it’s our responsibility to stop watching.**

I don’t mean that we should censor all erotic acts in the media. However, we need to start listening to women when they say they are terrified of porn. Any objectification of women is violence against them and porn seems to be one of the most violent of all.

I’ve known a sensitive lover or two in my time, so I know that intelligent men can bypass the misogyny they are presented within pornography. But we still need to ask ourselves the question: do we want little girls to grow up in a world where they know that watching the degradation and humiliation of women is seen as a pleasant way to pass time?

*Watch the film Melancholia if you want to know what this feels like.

**(If you’re not sure, ask a woman to watch it with you.  If you don’t want a woman to watch it with you then you’ve probably got your answer.)

 

Relephant Read:

Pornography. Masturbation. The Spiritual Story No One Wants to Tell.

 

Author: Suzanne Williams

Apprentice Editor: Rebecca Lynch / Editor: Renee Picard 

Photo: Yannig Van de Wouwer/Flickr 

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Mel Jul 24, 2015 4:41pm

For every female sex slave video you have an equivalent male sex slave video. A blanket statement like 'porn is misogynistic' doesn't mean anything. What about gay porn, or porn involving cartoons, or porn where the woman treats the man as a slave?

rlmcr Jun 5, 2015 2:41pm

After a long hiatus from porn watching that ended some time around the early 80's, I can say for a fact that what is posted online today is way more violent and degrading than old 8mm movies, magazines and early videos that I traded back and forth with friends in my younger days.

Not that they were shining examples of virtue and female empowerment, but the fetish videos featuring bondage, whipping, spanking etc. were not allowed to show actual sex….so were of little interest to guys who didn't have those kinks are were looking for sex movies and videos.

I never saw one movie about anal sex, yet today it seems more common than conventional intercourse! Besides the trends towards increasing levels of violence and degradation of women, one of the objections of new porn is how it is impacting real life as teenage boys are increasingly trying to force or coerce their girlfriends into going along with anal.

An article at the Australian: http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/relationships/bo
I came across linked at Deep Green Resistance noted that:
"women are suffering from faecal incontinence as a result of anal sex and that they’re “uncomfortable” with the assumption that it’s become “the norm”.

The problem isn't that anal sex cannot be done safely( though it's something I've never tried personally), it's that the boys are watching porn where anal is featured in every video and the men are using force and deliberately inflicting pain…with models expected to moan in orgasm to pretend that they enjoy it anyway! The real story from what I've heard about the porn world is that most of the actresses require reparative surgeries from doing these anal scenes for too long.

Should I be surprised if pornography is becoming increasingly extreme, violent, depraved, exploitatitve etc.? I like to step back and take a overall look at how different issues intersect together, and it seems to me that every other aspect of modern capitalism is becoming more ruthless and avaricious, so why should I be surprised if the same trend exists in the production and consumption of pornography?

Ben B. Apr 4, 2015 2:51pm

Hmmm. I'm glad we are having this discussion as a male viewer of porn since I was 13. Thank you for the post Suzanne and all of you guys and ladies make interesting points.

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Suzanne Williams

Suzanne Williams is a woman in transition. After leaving the cold shores of the British Isles behind her she is now on a life long learning mission to find a more sustainable way of living. Currently she is studying Integral Permaculture on the beautiful Canarian Island of La Palma. Here she hopes to reconnect with her roots, literally and figuratively and find out what it really means to share this planet with all our co-inhabitants. You can find out more about the eco-village project she is working on here.