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Saturday, December 15, 2007

What part of "Personal Responsiblity" do you not understand?


she's good!

The Naked People Made Me Do BAD Things! | hell's handmaiden:

Sorry, but I’m not buying it. Reactions like this– originally encountered at NoPornNorthhampton– do not come from watching naked people have sex. I’m sure the account is true in that it is an accurate reflection of the author’s experience, of her emotional reations and her subjective state. Damage like this does not come from watching nudie flicks. This kind of pathology is well on its way when you get to the porn.

I was claiming power, the all-elusive power that women strive for their entire lives, from degrading and enjoying the degradation of other women. I had absorbed a lesson from the patriarchy: women are easy to degrade, weaker, and more vulnerable, so much so that even another woman can take their power.

…The idea of humiliating a man was so foreign to me that my mind discounted the possibility of it immediately, before it even blinked on the radar. I had spent my life with men controlling me it was clear, at least to me, that I would never get power from them. Instead, I turned to women even more vulnerable than me. Women who were even EASIER targets to take power from than I was.

I don’t mean to discount the author’s pain. Certainly she went through a bad spell, but she has her causes desperately confused– like the alcoholic blaming the alcohol. Its not the alcohol. Its you. Some of us drink now and then and don’t become self-destructive maniacs. In fact, a lot of us drink and do not spiral into liquid hell. It isn’t the alcohol. It is you. It is your brain, your biochemistry, your emotional history, your genes, your personality. It isn’t the alcohol. Blaming the alcohol is a convenient distraction, a way to avoid admitting that, “Hey, I’m fucked up.”

This is absolutely true. And I think the anti-pornography crowd is really much better thought of as the "how dare you trigger me into thinking about the festering crap I refuse to deal with" movement.

But take it from me, there ain't no law that's gonna make the tapes in your head stop playing.

UPDATE: I'm concerned that in casually throwing out these last two paragraphs, I may have hit too close to home. I just edited out the word "inadvertently" upon realizing I was trying to cover my ass. Women and Pornography: My Story is no longer publicly available, as the entire site, has gone invite-only.

Nope, I will stand by the above, and raise the stakes: Been there, done that, got the damn t-shirt. And I may already have said this to her, as it seems I have an email for the author. But I'll repeat and expand what I said over at The Maiden's site:

Why is it that anti-porn activists cannot make an argument without going straight for my lunch? I assure you, most consumers of porn are as disgusted by coporphagia as anyone else. It’s an extreme niche fetish and we have a saying regarding “your kink is ok, just don’t ever breathe in the same room with me, it’s just not my kink.”

There is absolutely no combination of porn and persuasion that could ever convince me, or most other folks, that such a thing was sexy.

I’m with the Maiden on this one: If images of any kind trigger thoughts like you describe, it’s because there’s stuff in your background you have repressed. That’s where most seemingly bizarre sexual practices arise - generally from abuse at the hands of someone highly trusted.

So, in a way, being triggered by porn is a good thing. I mean, have you considered the obvious connection between your “wicked” desire to sexually dominate other women and your father’s behavior toward you and your family?

The sum total of Republican Family Values seems to be shooting the messenger.

Meanwhile, take another look at NoPornNorthhampton:

Without even taking issue with many of the bizarre allegations made about porn - many of which can be debunked with the most trivial exploration via google - it's casually obvious that the most flagrant characteristic of this anti-porn blog is it's obsessively prurient focus on the most bizarre perversions - and a dishonest equation of, to take their most blatant obsession, anal-oral porn with such things as my good friend and sponsor over at

The implication that looking at happy naked women leads inevitably to disgusting sexual behaviors is so truly bizarre that it speaks far more about the issues of the authors and fellow travelers than it does about the objective value or harm of either happy naked women OR anal-oral contact.

But anyway, let me tell you a little bit about my own reasons for being involved with porn, because I come at it in a uniquely backassward way. I must also add one caveat; I'm on the autistic spectrum and therefore my perspective on the human sexual dance is rather unique - pretty much that of a bemused alien spectator trying to discern the rules of hockey by watching the highlights on the news.

My own direct personal interest in porn took about six months to run through, way back in the seventies. I sought out hard core porn because I wished to know precisely (and without all the damnably infuriating innuendo and sappy poetry) HOW Tab A fit into Slot B. Once I knew that, I was pretty much done, and everything else got filed under either "art" or "so NOT art." There just isn't much about the heterosexual dance that is at all artistic from any perspective other than that of the participants. Indeed, I've made several abortive and unpublished attempts to approach it in a representational way - and all that works is that damnably infuriating innuendo and sappy poetry.

To nutshell it, I fairly much ignored porn from the mid-seventies to the mid-nineties - when I got onto Usenet. And there, the issue was fairly difficult to ignore - especially if you had your own UUCP hub and accidentally requested a binaries group!

But even that was an issue of mild curiosity. What really caused the issue to become important to me was the painful process of realizing that I - and hundreds of other people suddenly able to share their issues on alt.sexual.abuse.recovery had INDEED been deeply affected by porn. But - although the context and consensus would have suggested that I run around in circles denouncing the evil plague, my rather alien wetware insisted on focusing on what was being said, rather than the means of illustrating the story.

Then I realized something; the narratives being shared on alt.sexual.abuse.recovery were very good fits for certain "genres" of porn.

But I realized something even more critical to my evolving understanding; this sort of porn was also obviously and directly concerned with validating the social status quo, validating male assumptions about their place, and justifying the punishment of women (and by unspoken but very direct extension, all "chattel" such as children and dogs) who did not accept their domination by the Hero Male.

I realized also that it was the direct equivalent of an entire magazine genre I remembered from my youth, the "True Confessions" magazine.

While it would not be considered porn by most people, that's only because it used innuendo to avoid speaking directly about what was going on. It was all about the vicarious enjoyment of the sexual sins of others, followed by the inevitable rape, pregnancy and occasional murder caused by, say, sluttishly wearing a padded bra. I, personally consider such messages to be every bit as disturbing and distractive as any overt, hard-core porn with the same message. From an ethical, moral and essentialist point of view it's not so much how you say it, but what you are saying. The means is simply a choice based on the audience you wish to speak to - and with equal importance, the audience you wish to deliberately exclude.

So, classically speaking, women do not look at conventional male heterosexual porn, while men do not look at the often equally prurient materials conventional women indulge in.

I recall once, utterly desperate for words in a row, resorting to what seemed to be a perfectly conventionally marketed 'bodice-ripper' romance. It curled my nose hairs! And did it without resorting to a single anglo-saxon phrase, somehow making it "not porn." Indeed, it wasn't even labeled as erotica.

I started to poke around, wondering if anyone else had noticed this, and if so, what they were doing about it. I created several sites and services - including a somewhat well-known adult link and review site - revolving around that, as well as maintaining earlier ones that were dealing with direct sexual abuse. There were a LOT of people exploring the new opportunities for sexual expression the internet offered - and for every one that would make you want to toss your cookies, there were two that would make your jaw drop in either amazed appreciation or amused and puzzled incomprehension.

There is really gross stuff out there, no question. Far more is not at all grotesque because (thank ghu) most people do not have the kinks that make the truly grotesque attractive. However, if you are heavily invested in maintain the social sexual status quo, it's the good stuff (in my humble opinion) that will truly screw with your preconceptions and cause you to wonder if the assumptions about yourself and your sexuality imposed by family and culture are, in fact true for you, or even true at all.

And I note that such explorations will indeed result in screen after screen of nakedly pulsing and throbbing exultations. And if in exploring such things, one finds that one's sexuality is incomputable with one's partner and/or social matrix, it could lead to the dissolution of a relationship. It certainly will if one or both freak out and forget they are grown-ups with genuine obligations.

But the pornography - the naked flesh upon the screen, this act or that act - is not what caused the problem. The problem was merely exposed by it, the revelation that there really ARE other people who feel the same way. The fact that a pornographic genre exists at all implies a large enough audience to make it worthwhile - and that translates to "I am not alone!"

That is the important thing to understand here: Pornography is a form of communication which transmits real and important ideas and concepts - ideas that should, and really must be examined and explored more honestly if we ARE to address the very real damage done to thousands of very real people by the twin enforcers of conventional morality - our churches, and the permitted exceptions to blanket suppression of pornographic speech.

That's a critically important discussion. And it is also a discussion that, in order to be comprehensible and meaningful, is pornographic by definition.

1 comment:

Hell's Handmaiden said...

Very nice post Bob, and thanks for the link.

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