We talk about it here, and we defend it from its legions of enemies, but what do we really mean when we use the word?
In a challenging conversation at Ren's blog with someone who outspokenly dislikes porn, that question has been put to me. I'll start with a quote from that conversation, which I invited by suggesting the commenter ask me some questions about pornography. I'll state from in front that I'm not interested in debating with this person. I want the opportunity to answer specific questions rather than range back and forth over broad political issues.
I'm sure others will join in, but before doing so, I want all to keep in mind that I invited a visitor here and I would like this guest treated as politely as I wish we were treated in the territory she more often frequents. Let's see what kind of example we can set here.
"Pornography, I don’t like it. I think it shows a view of women’s sexuality that is unreal and exploits women. Admittedly, some of my attitudes are colored by personal preferences. If a man ejaculated on my face I might be tempted to erm….bite, hard. But that’s me, and I’ve heard other women say they like it. (I suspect they’re nuts, but then again….working for the open mind here.) Also, I think there is enough research on the shaping of men’s attitudes to warrant a close look at porn and its effect. Plus, enough women involved in porn have described their own exploitation to cause concern.
HOWEVER, I’m willing to listen to other positions. I’m just going to be very, very hard to convince. So… I’m going to have to think about what questions I want to ask. The first one that comes to mind regards the existence of women-centered “porn?” Ah, but, that is a mutually exclusive term. You see, *I* define “porn” as that which degrades, dehumanizes or otherwise belittles women (or men, for that matter). I dislike that which strips women (or men) of their humanity and turns them into vulvas, mouths, or penises with legs.
So, maybe we need to start with defining the term."
I have an answer to this, but it will need to wait a bit until I've forumulated it properly.