Saturday, June 24, 2006

If Porn Doesn't Make Men Rape Why Not Support Porn?

Hat tip to Feministe

Glenn Reynolds - Porn: Good for America!

What's different since 1970? Lots of things, of course, though bared midriffs and short-shorts are back. But probably the most relevant difference is porn. In 1970, some people argued that porn caused rape. Since 1970, though, porn has exploded. In 1970 you had to work pretty hard to find porn. Now you have to work nearly as hard to avoid it.

But rape has gone down 85%. So much for the notion that pornography causes rape - or, at least, if it did have much effect in that direction, it would be hard to explain how rape rates could have declined so dramatically while porn expanded so explosively.

So while I won't go so far as to argue that porn actually prevents rape, it seems clear that the claims of some people - including a commission headed by former Attorney General Ed Meese back in the 1980s - that pornography promotes rape are, at best, overstated. I suspect, though, that anti-pornography crusaders are unlikely to heed this lesson.

Spoken like a man who loves his porn, in-print, on-line or via satellite. And I won't even get into interpretting the use of the phrase "porn has exploded" other than to say it makes me want to call in a CSI or HAS/MAT team.

I can think of so many changes since 1970 that are more relevant to the occurrence of rape than porn. Changes like the creation and expansion of rape crisis lines, improved response to rape by law enforcement, acceptance by more people that rapists are responsible for rape not miniskirts, rape awareness efforts, updated laws to reflect the reality of rape, and let's not forget DNA matching.

I do agree with Mr. Reynolds in that those who say porn makes men rape are wrong. What that approach does is remove responsibility from those who commit rape. Rapists and serial killers like Ted Bundy in his final interview, given to James Dobson use this connection to paint themselves as helpless victims of a porn addiction.

Unfortunately some people buy this manipulation.

Despite his public persona, Ted Bundy was an angry man who decided to act violently. You don't do what he did if you love women. His porn of choice would have been the meanest kind. What sadistic porn could do was tell him that there was an outlet for his hatred. Sadistic, sexual murder.

If porn doesn't cause rape, what's the problem with porn, other than prudism?

My biggest objection to the purchase of pornographic photos or videos is that the money spent on porn financially supports the sexual exploitation of men, women and children. If what is being depicted is a crime, then those who buy that depiction are providing financial support to criminals. That's why possession of child porn is automatically a crime. Even if no one in a pornographic image looks like a minor, how can a consumer verify that no coercion or drugs were used to get the "actors" to perform sexually?

A key problem with rape statistics, in 1970 and now, is that those who aren't full and completely willing participants in porn aren't likely to identify themselves as victims of a sex crime. If they aren't identified as innocent children, we either call them scum or we imagine them as breathing sex toys. Only a rare few are helped by the criminal justice system. Most face the same health risks as those we accept to be rape victims and they may have a higher risk for contracting HIV.

Despite that, most people view those shown in porn as less human and less valuable than everybody else.

Even though I was in grade school in 1970, I knew my older brothers could get porn if they wanted it and if they could pay the price. If a small town didn't have at least one of those sleazy shops, the larger towns did. When I married later in the decade, my groom burned his porn because he had a wife to fulfill his fantasies. He had enough porn so it smothered the fire he threw it into.

Of course I didn't learn that my Christian husband had a thing for porn until after the wedding. His rationale seemed to be that porn was an acceptable substitute for pre-marital sex. In other words, porn helped him behave like a good Christian man. Like Bundy's blaming porn for murder, that rationale was a load of crap. I don't know if porn was the cause or a symptom, but "relationship" was never part of sex in that marriage. I was expected to perform sexually. In essence, I was to bring his porn to life.

I don't know about others, but for me that was so far from arousing it was heartbreaking. And of course the source of the problem was me, not my husband's expectations or the failure to bring "relationship" into the bedroom. So while porn didn't make him a rapist, it didn't help him become a better sexual partner either. In many ways porn led him to beliefs about sex that interfered with healthy and pleasurable sexual behavior.

To say the least, if I learn a man is into porn, I won't be into him. Been there, done that. Have the boredom and the frustration to show for it.

Despite the proliferation of delivery methods for porn, I don't have to work at all to avoid looking at porn. What I find fascinating about the change since 1970 is the increase in pay-per-view porn at hotels so "good" people can watch porn without worrying about getting caught buying or owning porn or having it on their computers. I could certainly speculate about what that means, but I won't.

If Mr. Reynolds truly believes that porn is good for America and that an increase in porn has contributed to a decrease in rape then giving all sex offenders a lifetime supply of porn should make rape a mythical occurance.

Right?

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 12:07 AM   3 comments links to this post

3 Comments:

At September 23, 2007 5:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

how about families being torn apart by porn addicted family members children getting hurt and not just them but everyone that knows them as well. Tell me that its not possible that porn cant cause these crimes because ive lived it and seen it
porn good for America yea right i bet Reynold's really loves porn
how bout the statistics on divorced families. here alone in America 3 out of 5 marriages end up divorced and i bet 1 out of those three are because men/women aren't satisfied or they simply cant function with others so close while they are addicted to porn. I can go on about how divorced families has an effect on the children of that family and how these children do in school but i won't ive made my point

 
At November 12, 2008 12:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Head out of sand here. Porn promotes women as expendable playthings. Never mind that a great percentage of US premature births are STD related, because porn promotes the notion that men must have as many lovers as possible in a single lifetime, no matter who gets hurt. Can't help but wonder, IS this written by a rape survivor, OR...a wealthy family law attorney/Family Court Mediator, Special Master, or other family court professional? THEY are making a killing here. Like the selfish men (and a few women) who destroy marriages, they are serving themselves, and don't care who gets hurt.

 
At November 12, 2008 1:07 PM, Blogger Marcella Chester said...

Anonymous if you are saying that I'm pro-porn you didn't bother to read this post.

 

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