Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Pornography is Normal

This morning I was browsing the New York Times over a bowl of gluten-free granola when I stumbled upon this comment in the Editorials section. The woman, apparently a widely-published author, was responding to a recent article titled “Does Porn Hurt Chidren?” in the March 30 review.
            “I’ve been an advice columnist for girls for 20 years, and in the last decade, countless girls have written to me after stumbling upon their dad’s porn (“Is my dad a perv?”) or finding themselves riveted to such sites (“Am I addicted?”) I tell parents: If you look at porn, cover your tracks. I tell girls: Your father (or brother) is normal, but these videos tend to be degrading and do not reflect healthy young relationships.”

The woman goes on to say that she always tells girls to “take their time when it comes to nuzzling, kissing, and sex,” as if they will somehow magically know when it feels right to go all the way. Two other authors, both also women, contributed a similar viewpoint, one of them even thanking the First Amendment for preventing the filtration of pornography because “the government may not reduce the adult population…to reading only what is fit for children.”

I would like to bring up several points that I think are relevant. First of all, I found it rather amusing and ironic that all three of these women are promoting the degradation of their own sex. The prevailing viewpoint today is that pornography is actually empowering to women, allowing them to use their sexuality to ensnare and dominate men. And while getting men hooked on virtual sex is certainly the result of this industry, it does the exact opposite of empowering women by reducing them to a mere compilation of body parts to be penetrated and fondled. A man does not respect a woman he can exploit. And while others argue that porn is a booming business where women can make an astounding amount of money, the truth is that most women in the sex industry are paid very little for what they are asked to do and are horrifically abused and degraded by men during the photo shoots and videos. Worse of all, they are expected to act like they enjoy it.

Another thing I noticed in the three letters these women wrote is that none of them got to the root of the problem: porn itself. Don’t worry, girls; your daddy is normal if he has pictures of naked women on his computer. Does something seem wrong with this statement? What is this telling a little girl about how her father must treat her mother, herself, her sister? Is she always on guard when her father hugs her or kisses her cheek, waiting for his hand to wander lower, for a subtle pinch in a sensitive place? Does she wonder why her mother cries when she is alone in bed at night? Perhaps, but that’s not as important as making sure consenting adults have access to whatever fantasies they please. If the children get in the way, oh well, they’ll get over it.

Call me old-fashioned and a violator of the free press, but in the old days, if you wanted porn you went to a special adult bookstore and they gave you your Playboy wrapped up in a brown paper bag. If you wanted to watch grinding and stripping on TV, you paid for the special cable channels. And now you can sign up for special porn websites and get a new swimsuit picture for your desktop every day if you so please. So why must we have all the smut floating around in the public domain where a child can access it with one click or one flip of the remote? Let's face it: the adult population will NEVER be reduced to reading only what is fit for children in any case, because if you want your porn, you will find a way to get it, and if you are an adult, you will know where to go and who to ask for it. Should we rephrase this statement to say “the government may not reduce the child population to reading what is only fit for adults?”

The bottom line is that we aren’t getting to the root of the problem: we want to have our cake and eat it too, even if it means endangering and destroying the innocence of our children. And if our children don’t matter, what does?

Guys, do yourselves a favor and stop the porn cycle. It’s not just about you and the computer in a dark room; your future wife, children, and yes, even your own happiness is on the line. If you are addicted, get help. Girls, do yourselves a favor and respect yourselves. And let both of us do our children a favor and protect them from this objectifying and perverting influence.




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