Porn? “That’s Just Like A Man”

A reader named Janet has sent a vitriolic response to my criticism of the concept “victims of porn” in Sexual Intelligence.

She says, “You totally missed the real victims…there is no pornography without the object of lust…this sends so many girls down a path of self-destruction, eventual shame and abuse in the porno world…where their self-esteem is forever damaged. They typically end up like Playmate of the Year Anna Nicole…confused, sad, and powerless to end their own misery.”

This is a great example of the confusion and sex-negativity in the anti-porn world. They believe that lust is dangerous; that working in pornography is shameful; that no one could make a rational decision to participate in it; and that doing so somehow robs women of their adulthood. Oh, and that there’s always a great alternative to being in porn. What would Anna Nicole be if there were no porn—Secretary of Agriculture? Professor of astrophysics? Or just one more average jane, working the nightshift at 7-Eleven and hating her life?

But the real highlight of Janet’s nastygram is this: “I am not surprised that you arrogantly only see this from a man’s point of view. Why not call your website Womenarenothingmorethanabodyformyselfindulgentpleasure.org.”

Ah—now she gets to the problem: I’m a man. And so I can’t possibly enjoy, respect, or like women. I’m a man, and so I can’t be thoughtful about sex and gender. I’m a man, so my desire for pleasure is obviously selfish and aggressive. Janet, I’m sorry you live in such a terrible world.

But Janet, I’m afraid that you’re no feminist, and you seem, well, too lazy to think. What you’ve done is just as bad as dismissing a woman’s opinion as “just a woman being emotional,” or “women just don’t get it,” or “she’s just premenstrual.” If we want to get beyond “women only think with their hormones,” we have to get past “men only think with their penises.”

Since you don’t know me, and obviously haven’t bothered to read my work, maybe you’ve missed my actual blind spot—if I desire the victimization of women, maybe it’s because I’m Jewish, or left-handed. And if my piece were written by a woman—how would you account for the attitudes you find so appalling?

We live in a time where science is considered just one more opinion, and having strong feelings is equated with being well-informed. Put the two together, and meaningful discourse is impossible. The result is public policy that makes things worse: abstinence ed, Amber Alert, the battle over Emergency Contraception.

By dismissing someone’s well-researched thoughts as merely the predictable artifact of their gender, you dishonor women, men, and thinkers. You disqualify yourself from any important conversation. You’re just talking about your fear and anger.

Some of us are having a serious discussion about the fate of the world. Please don’t change the subject.


TechnoratiTechnorati: , , , , , , , , ,


%d bloggers like this: