Porn Lies And Video Tape

By | June 3, 2008

PornographyPornography tells lies about women. But pornography tells the truth about men.” From the essay “The Forbidden Language of Sex”, “Refusing to Be a Man: Essays on Sex and Justice” John Stoltenberg (Meridian, 1990).

I came across the above quote when doing a bit of what I do too little of at the moment – browsing the net. I’d never come across Stoltenberg before so I base my next statement on the quote above, not its context within his work. And on the little I’ve read about him.

Pornography only tells us what we let it.

When I look at porn I see porn, not real life. In the same way that when I look at the Wizard Of Oz I see L Frank Baums classic book. What I don’t see is the world around me full of munchkins and wicked witches.

Porn should not be accessible by those under the age of conscent and this is the first, key safeguard against it contributing to any sort of sexual or psychological dysfunctionality. How we actually do that in a world where video sharing sites with little or no age verification allow the distribution of effectively unmodrated movie clips is a difficult question. However the principle is still valid.

Althought the ease with which pornography is available seems greater than ever before, porn has always been available. Where it hasn’t, boys in particular have always sought out underwear catalogues and swimsuit pictures of women to help them in their masturbatory exploration.

The fact is that most boys and men can separate the real from the fantasy. Removing porn completely, if that were possible, would remove a release valve for the pent-up male urges that are present in half the world’s population. Complete eradication of porn that does denegrate women and the draconian punishment of the people who produce and distribute it is an aim that I can support.

If the truth about (some) men is that they crave to sexually abuse women then I can see Stoltenberg’s point. But using the word “men” to refer to 3 billion males as potential oppresors of women is to condemn half a species because of a minority of males who cannot separate real life from a trip to Baum’s Emerald city.

Women act in porn movies, they don’t cum to order, they don’t always want to do the things that the director wants them to do. But if everyone understands that and they are able to say “No” and leave the set if they feel that the fictional tableaux they are painting would lead a viewer to believe women want to be abused, then what’s the problem.

The porn stars I have spoken to view their job as a career choice, not a path down which they were driven. Of course that’s not always been the way and I’m sure that there are exceptions even today. What I will say is that it’s more acceptable than ever before for women to embrace their own sexuality and demand things of their partners. Sometimes women want to take a dominant role and express their sexuality by telling their partner they want to be fucked hard. And sometimes they don’t – their choice.

I get the feeling that Stoltenberg would have us all emasculate ourselves to prove that we don’t support violence towards and oppression of women. Sorry sunshine but I will not do that for two reasons.

First of all because some women actually like masculine men. That’s not to say that they don’t also like men who have multiple aspects; The caring man, the father to their children, the protector, gentle lover.

Secondly, surely a man who has the urge to be a dominant male, yet holds that urge in check and only unleashes it when the time is right is a stronger man than one who succeeds in excising the urge completely.

As I said I’ll have to read up a little on Stoltenberg as whether I agree with him or not. I’d feel better if I understand the reasoning behind the quote above.

Tags: John Stoltenberg, The Forbidden Language of Sex, Refusing to Be a Man: Essays on Sex and Justice