Sunday, February 26, 2006
After I wrote this post on The Truth Will Set You Free, qrswave stated, and I quote: Did I already say that porn should be illegal? It should, though I'll not go into why. Since for most people, the reasons are obvious. Only lawyers and pornographers need legal arguments. This caused of course a firestorm of posts from every side on her blog, which you will easily be able to read here and here. Most of the comments centered on the so-called degradation of women in the porn industry. The basic gist was that porn should be illegal because it hurts consumers, but mostly because it hurts the women who make the porn. This got me thinking. How much are women really hurt in the production of porn? Catherine MacKinnon famously wrote about the violence against women "inherent" in the making of pornography. (as if it was a self evident point) Indeed, that was JC's point on The Truth Will Set You Free. I have immediate problems when people make such overarching statements. Facts are needed to back up these statements. So...let's look at the facts. Is pornography harmful to women? The biggest name that Catherine MacKinnon and folks bring out to support their so-called "self evident" truth about the brutality inherent in porn is Linda Lovelace. She famously deep throated Harry Reems in the movie Deep Throat. Later in life, after Linda Lovelace's career was in the toilet, she stated (without supplying proof) that her husband forced her to do movies at gun point, and "every time people see Deep Throat, they are watching me getting raped." Hustler Magazine, in March 2001, famously named Linda Lovelace "asshole of the month." If you read the profanity-laden article, you will see absolute truths in there. All the facts point to a woman who did whatever she could to make a buck. At first she made a buck off porn, then off disavowing porn. Then she made a buck from porn again, later in life. The other so-called "proof" of the violence against women "inherent" in the porn industry is the Traci Lords story. She brought tons of fake ids and forged her identity in order to star in porn films as an underage. When it was revealed she in fact was under 18, her porn company was under indictment for making child porn. The case was eventually thrown out, and Traci Lords then claimed she was "drugged" to make porn in order to break into "mainstream" work. Industry insiders Ron Jeremey and Ginger Lynn say they never saw any such proof of drugs. So this means you choose to believe a habitual liar (who forged her identity to star in porn flicks), or a plethora of witnesses on the sets. Whatever. Some "proof" that all women are raped in pornography! So let's look at the actual proof. Let's look at interviews of real women in the porn industry. How many of them were coerced into pornography? Wendy McElroy did a study on pornography and in her interviews, she found no women who were in porn against their will. That is right. NONE. But don't believe just her. There are plenty of other such studies done. There is a whole website of Feminists for Porn. On it you will see detailed facts and fallacies about the porn industry. One FACT is that no study has ever been commissioned that actually proves the PORN INDUSTRY is responsible for violence. NO STUDY. No study was EVER COMMISSIONED that shows porn causes rape or ANY increased violence against women, murder, suicide...ANY of it. NOT ONE STUDY! So where is this so-called "self-evident" FACT that society is so much worse off from porn? I never advocate violence against women. Rape, incest, bestiality, and child porn is flat out violence. But if someone is a consenting adult, then why CAN'T they consent to sex? The world that Catherine MacKinnon and company want to live in is one in which women are told they lack the capacity to say yes. This is one step removed from saying they lack the capacity to say NO. It is with an eye towards women's rights and equality that I say that banning pornography in the name of "women's rights" is in fact anti-woman. The real danger to society is not pornography, but flat out ignorance about sex, and what sex is. Abstinence only education teaches blatant LIES, and then when STDs go up (in part because kids are not using condoms due to the LIES they are told about condoms), the porn industry is blamed. Talk about ass backwards logic! In order to combat STDs, some amount of knowledge and maturity about what sex is and what safe sex entails is necessary. Banning porn, either due to a fear of the so-called horrible effect on consumers, or the so-called abuse of women runs counter to a very real societal need to have a frank and honest discussion about sex. After all, we are all human, and sex is what enables us to reproduce. Instead of lambasting sex and calling it evil, perhaps we should celebrate our innate humanity and innate sexuality.