This Week In The War On Watching Porn

by Violet Blue on September 3, 2010

Milla

This week, the war on porn hit new levels thanks to anti-porn feminists Gail Dines and Mary Anne Layden.

I know the title of this post sounds a little extreme, but looking at the landscape, it’s really starting to feel this way. The war on porn is the war on watching porn, more than ever. This week, it really hit me that not only do conservative Christians work with anti-porn feminists, but that they’re now feeding openly misogynistic lies to mainstream media about porn viewing. Why are they getting so outrageously crazy? I think it’s because of this, and everything it stands for.

Perhaps that women taking back the right to watch, and that we are ripping the lid off the male sexuality Pandora’s Box to see it for ourselves, is really *that* threatening. I mean, I can’t see how much longer their “men are evil” arguments about the so-called menace of porn can stand up to the female gaze.

I think that all the threats of female porn addiction, women being raped because they watch porn, and all the other crazy claims that are being made right now are really just to try and keep us in our place. If you want to read my elaboration on this, check out my post Trend: Telling Women the Price for Watching Porn, is Rape. This is the mark of the desperate.

We begin with Dr. Charlie Glickman seeing feminism’s anti-porn mouthpiece Gail Dines use Ms. Magazine’s blog to tell us that watching porn is just as sick and wrong as wanting to have anal sex (among other basic, yet not missionary-position, sex acts). I’m not joking. Ms. Magazine got astroturfed. I challenge Ms. Magazine to provide a balanced opinion. From Dr. Glickman:

(…) Notice how she takes behaviors that would be more likely to have implications for someone’s mental & sexual well-being, such as being unable to get aroused without porn, and lumps them together with behaviors that have never been shown to be inherently symptomatic of any real problem, like anal sex, group sex, or BDSM. These latter activities can be an expression of unhealthy sexuality and they can be done in ways that don’t support the pleasure and well-being of the people involved, but there is nothing about them that is inherently problematic. It’s a question of why and how you do it, not that you’re doing it.

When Dines describes behaviors that have been part of human sexuality for as long as there have been people (that is, before porn became so common), when she denigrates and demonizes sexual activities that plenty of people do in ways that are fun, pleasurable, intimate, and grounded in consent, she’s tapping into and using erotophobia. But then, Dines uses disgust and shame to reinforce her claims, and that is a real pity.

It also shows that, in fact, Dines doesn’t know very much about sex. If she wanted to write about how engaging in these sexual practices in healthy ways differs from the ways that they are often presented as porn fantasies, that’d be great. If she wanted to talk about how accurate, non-judgmental sex education would make it so that people weren’t using porn to get sex information, that’d be wonderful. (…read more, charlieglickman.com)

Next: activist, writer, Haiti relief worker and performer Ms Maggie Mayhem looked at Dines’ colleague Mary Anne Layden who actually stated that women who watch porn are more likely to be raped. Washington Times printed it without a balance or question as well. How long do we have to wait for mainstream media to grow a pair? From Ms. Mayhem:

(…) The article accepts that “boys will be boys” when it comes to watching porn but carefully wags its fingers at women who do or might consider watching porn. “If you hadn’t worn that skirt…” it seems to say. “Nice girls don’t go out alone on dark nights.” It is, quite literally, making the claim that if you watch those dark images that they will literally manifest themselves into your life. It’s the stuff of mythology or the Twilight Zone and it is a little interesting that this quote pops up on the heels of more and more women speaking out about their interest in porn.

Threatening people with rape is a common tactic of war. It’s been used in the past and in the present by those who don’t concern themselves with collateral damage so long as they are able to impose their will.

It is a very, very ugly lie to tell. (…read more, missmaggiemayhem.com)

The war on porn has become the war on watching porn. Women watch porn more than ever and it’s making anti-porn feminists like Gail Dines and Mary Anne Layden say bad things about healthy sex acts, female sexual desire and anyone who wants to enjoy sex outside what these people think is okay. The culture of lies about sex, and porn, has got to stop.

Photo: Milla by Jens Mollenvanger.

{ 4 comments }

1 Vanessa Chaland September 5, 2010 at 5:26 pm

I have been an exotic dancer, nude model, semi-porn star, fetish model, owned several fetish websites, attended porn shops, seminars and classes at porn shops, even got fucked once in a booth at a porn shop and have never felt violated nor mistreated,,,unless I asked for and enjoyed it. :)

I have never been forced into anything,,,, other than going to church as a child, being made to feel ashamed of my body, my sexual urges, guilt and all this before ever really hearing of or seeing any ‘porn’. (Also sexually molested, by a religious crank, but thats another story.)

When I have felt victimized, objectified, demeaned and of course the times I was harrassed, was almost always by someone who would identify as the right, religious right, fundies, or those that are concerned for my ‘moral well being’.

My mind is sound, my morality is great, my mental health is good, my life is fine and all would only be so much better if those that wish to control me (for my own good) would just leave me the fuck alone. You don’t speak for me, anti-porn/feminist/fundie/frigid people, nor do I need to be “protected” by you, but rather from you.

The anti-porn crowd usually somehow, makes their living off of being anti-porn and speaking out against the ills of porn.

You want to help/assist and protect me? Insurance, child care, equal pay, equal rights, breast cancer research (instead of E.D. drugs) and stop the churches and their leaders from raping children and women.

Great blog and thanks for doing it. :)

2 Miss Addict September 4, 2010 at 11:11 pm

This makes me angry. This is tapping in the already existing rape culture in western society and slamming women again with the idea that its their fault. “You watched porn so some man forced himself upon you! You god damn slut!” Its insidious, nasty and dangerous. As if women aren’t told often enough that rape is their/our fault. If we dressed right, didn’t go out at night, didn’t smile at a man etc etc. We are taught so much to FEAR our sexuality from such a young age when really it is society that fears US so much!

Also any woman who has been raped and has used porn before or since possibly as a recovery tool is going to find that article beyond horrid. I know of one victims whose therapist who RECOMMENDED porn (specific types of porn obviously) as a way for her to reengage in their sexuality in a non threatening and healthy way.

Grrrr I am going to go and hug my cat!

3 David September 3, 2010 at 8:12 pm

@ Rhacodactylus: So your solution for ending exploitation of women in the porn industry is to withhold support and money from all of the manufacturers, even the ones who make ethical porn a centerpiece of their business model (like many of the companies Violet links to on her blog)? How is that supposed to help anything? Your money speaks for itself: when all pornography (ethical or otherwise) loses money, that tells the industry that people are no longer interested in a visual depiction of sex (something that will never happen). But when companies like Kink.com and AbbyWinters.com suddenly start raking in the profits, that sends the message to other producers that the more ethical business models are more profitable, which is all that matters to them at the end of the day.

Think of it in terms of organic food. It is hella-cheaper to grow genetically modified crops, douse them with pesticides, and process them to last longer. But a few years ago, people starting becoming concerned about the consequences of such, and began to spend more money to buy from farmer’s markets and organic food stores. Now, it seems like half of my local Albertson’s is nothing but organic. What we buy can have an affect on the suppliers.

Also? Taking a moralistic high-ground by refusing to watch porn till ALL women are no longer exploited in the industry is an argument based formed from an anti-sex viewpoint to start with. Do you refuse to wear shoes until all Nikes are no longer made with slave labor in third-world countries? No? Do you refuse to use plastics or drive a motor vehicle until you can be certain none of the petroleum products came from areas like Nigeria, where oil barons routinely kill and pollute as they see fit? No? Then why are you singling out porn? Is it because you get a smug moral satisfaction from making an, “I abstain” statement?

4 Rhacodactylus September 3, 2010 at 7:25 pm

No one could be more supportive on the war against a stigma for those who enjoy porn than I, but we also have to be sure that women being victimized in the creation of porn is a thing of the past before we can truly enjoy. I LOVE porn, but I can only really take part in the medium when ALL women are safe . . .maybe it’s a place we will never reach, but it is a line I am willing to draw. No woman should be victimized for my entertainment and I will not be entertained by any woman being victimized. Here’s to the day when I can enjoy adult consensual porn in an adult consensual environment.

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