THE P IN PORN IS FOR POLEMICAL

Some see it as a harmless guilty pleasure, while others see it as a moving force in our culture. Pornography has been around for quite a while, and while some will say that they don’t see the harm in looking and not touching, others think just looking can make a difference.

People like the NYCNow Task Force are those kind of people, and they have worked for decades to raise awareness in controversial topics such as sex trafficking, prostitution and -you guessed it- pornography (keep in mind the keyword here is awareness). NYCNow has their reasons for focusing on these specific subjects -which I will discuss later- however, now they hit a road bump. Some of their own members (who happen to be pro-porn) have demanded that ‘pornography’ be removed from NYCNow Task Force’s title, and instead be replaced with “media objectification”, on the grounds that NYCNow isn’t full of a bunch of “prudes” who blush and freak out over seeing a “nude body”.

Wait, last time I checked porn was more than just looking at nude bodies. But maybe that’s just me.

Best part of everything is that not content with duping NYCNow Task Force into removing porn from the title and changing it with something that doesn’t fully address the issue, these pro-porn women also brought prostitution into the mix and started talking about legalizing it and how much better the world would be for the (nonexistent) majority of “free” women who “chose” selling sex as their way of making a living.

Now, I’m all about open-mindedness, but I feel there’s a bit of a line between being open-minded and flat out denying facts. Also, I’m aware all of this stuff may sound biased right now, and maybe you’re right in thinking it IS biased, so please, by all means, don’t just take it from me -do some research on this stuff. Speaking of research, studies (done not only by women, but also by non-feminist dudes) have shown that porn today isn’t just two naked people getting it on, but that close to 90% of the scenes had some form of aggression (verbal or physical) directed towards the women -who are depicted as ready and willing to all of this stuff. On top of that, if you compare today’s studies with studies done in the 80’s or early 90’s, the porn then wasn’t as aggressive as it is today, nor was it as readily available (hello internet!).

Now, the people who say that porn is awesome and we’re making a storm in a glass of water say that there’s no factual proof that this so-called aggressive porn makes men rape women, and in a way they’re right. However, while no pure saint man who withstood his first-ever session of hardcore porn left the building to rape the first woman he saw, there is a chance that he became more desensitized to the aggression he saw in the porn since in this depiction of sexual acts, the woman enjoyed the aggression thus “rendering violence invisible”. (And- not to toot our own horn- but most of this stuff is shown in The Price of Pleasure film- just in case you’re interested).

So now that I’ve spoken my piece on why the NYCNow Task Force was all hellbent on the whole “pornography” being part of their purpose (and why now that the word has been taken away from their title the organization is pretty much defunct), let’s go back to my keyword. So, part of the reason they removed porn from the title and purpose of the task force was because the pro-porners were making it seem as if the Task Force was out to outlaw porn. Problem with this is, they weren’t. All they want is for people -audience and porn industry alike- to realize the effects porn has had in culture. What’s this called? AWARENESS. Not outlawing. Basically, have your porn, but just stop portraying masochistic women as the norm.

So, there it is, the NYCNow porn controversy (from the view of yours truly). What is your take on it?

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~ by thepriceofpleasure on April 26, 2010.

5 Responses to “THE P IN PORN IS FOR POLEMICAL”

  1. It seems to me that generalising about the content or the effects of something as diverse as pornography isn’t going to be possible. Studies on the effects of pornography in terms of aggression and desensitisation to violence aren’t always reliable, as Laura Kipnis discovered when she looked into their research methods in ‘Bound and Gagged’. One of those looking at the effects of watching violent pornography failed to make clear, for example, that the clips they were using were from a movie, and featured violent revenge by the women, as well as their rape.

    I really think it is hard to draw overall conclusions, even maintaining nuance during awareness raising is difficult.

    I’ve written more on the topic at http://notanodalisque.wordpress.com/2009/12/01/pornography/

    Not an Odalisque

  2. I have to agree with the previous commenter. I got a sense from the very beginning that this movie was made by a group of women with a fair amount of resentment and a very strong agenda.

    Since human consciousness emerged (think of the Venus of Willendorf, for example), men and women have enjoyed sexual depiction of the human body. Trying to halt its modern incarnation – the production of multimedia pornography – is a sisyphean task that will ultimately only end in frustration for those who tackle it.

    Nor will overgeneralization help your case. I’m sure when you preach to the choir, there’s a large supply of porn-loathing women who will predictably shriek and cover their eyes throughout this film, but the TRUTH is that many, many women appreciate porn as well. And yes, the confluence of aggression and porn is probably a dangerous trend (although one could also argue it serves a cathartic function), but simple, mutually consensual sex on video isn’t remotely dangerous to anyone.

    Additionally, feminists always focus upon women as being victimized by the industry, but men are far more underpaid and treated with comparatively complete disregard. Your concern for the victimized seems a bit shallow when this is considered.

    Finally, the credibility of many of the people who speak in your film is questionable. There are no actual women from the porn industry speaking on their own behalf, and the women that ARE shown seem to have little regard for their own personal appearance, begging the question, “could it be that they’re jealous?”. And the young fellow with the glasses who speaks at length about his porn experiences seems laughably ignorant and inexperienced in terms of female sexuality.

    Very nice production, but feels like propaganda.

  3. “Generalizing about content or effects isn’t going to be possible”? That seems defeatist. What if Marx had taken that attitude about capitalism, and decided to abandon writing Das Kapital and become a cigar maker instead? We’d all be a whole lot worse off.

    Both moderators of this blog (Myself [Olivia] and Martha. Nice to meet you!) are deeply immersed in the field of psychology. To say “studies on the effects of __________ aren’t always reliable” is a completely reductive critique. In the postmodern era, with pretty much every social phenomena considered “subjective” to some extent, the “reliability” of almost everything can be argued. The subtitle of this blog is “*whose* pleasure, and at what price?” We are not arguing for an immovable, concrete, or wholesale condemnation of pornography/erotic images. We simply want people to see what they’re watching, rather than just looking at it.

  4. @Eric, or @mike? Unsure what your name is. We would never deny a comment simply because it may constructively criticize our work. That’s exactly what we want. While I thank you for your original post, and sincerely appreciate you’d take the time out of your day not only to post on here but to make sure we didn’t overlook your opinion, I’d appreciate it if you left the childishness elsewhere. You’ll find both Olivia and I took your post and pondered over it carefully, so that you also don’t feel overlooked in any way. Thank you (:

  5. Fair enough.

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