Anyway, I've been thinking for a while now that I wanted to address the topic of pornography. I don't really like to talk about stuff like this, but it just keeps coming up, so I've been planning a post like this, but I thought I would put it off at least until we were done with all the language discussion. But that's what was on my mind when I woke up this morning, and it was just a little bit frustrating, because even though I was thinking about it for about two hours, it's not like I had a whole lot of coherent thoughts on the matter. But there was one main thought that I think I was able to formulate enough to convey it to other people,
My understanding of mainstream feminism today is that we're trying to convince the world that women are people just like men. We don't exist solely to please and serve them; we have hopes and dreams and plans and goals of our own. We're also trying to convince the world that women are more than their appearance, that we shouldn't judge them or each other based on their shape, their size, or how little or how much they want to wear.
On the other hand (leaving my understanding of feminism for now), there's pornography. It's so common that not only do we tell people it's healthy, we even expect men to watch it. But if there's one type of media where women would be treated as objects, existing only to please men, judged solely on their bodies, isn't that place porn? So how can we go around trying to convince people of everything in the above paragraph while at the same time telling everyone no, it's totally okay for men to consistently consume the one form of entertainment that is pretty much guaranteed to convince them the opposite?
I thought about it and came up with two counterarguments. First, there's porn for women, too. But one of the most important things to remember about feminism is that we're not trying to turn around and put men in the position that women have been in for generations--we want to lift everyone up.
Second, it's just a movie, gosh calm down. But another important aspect of social justice is the fair representation of minorities and non-privileged groups in entertainment. If we care about how women are portrayed in comic books, why should we stand for something like porn?
...And those are my main thoughts on the subject. In the interest of full disclosure, I will admit that we have been following Fight the New Drug on Facebook, which of course makes it its mission to fight pornography, so I'm afraid people might be like, "Well of course you think that if you're reading that biased material!" But it sites legitimate sources and posts stories from real people. I know, I know, you can't believe everything you read on the internet, but we also happen to have a close friend who was briefly married to a porn addict, and while she never told us many of the details, we know enough to know that the stories are legit.
And think of this: we read so many stories on Facebook and other places about women and the catcalling and the sexual harassment and the fear that they experience every day, the way they train themselves to be polite even to major jerks because that's the only way to prevent those guys from flying off the handle and hurting them. Might it not be the case that these men will go home and surround themselves with fantasy women who will do whatever they want, even if only on a screen? Then what they see on the screen will condition them to think of people as no more than body parts. (Fight the New Drug has some articles about how porn changes your brain.)
...And I think that covers it.
Today I'm thankful for finishing our rough draft today, the delicious lemon Girl Scout cookies we had for a snack, the marine layer cycle starting up, not having to work overtime today, and our sister getting to be on Jeopardy! today (although it looks like there's no way to watch it streaming, boo).