Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Censorship is Not a Liberal Value

As is my daily habit, one of my first stops this morning after logging onto my computer was Alternet. One article, Liberal Denial: The Link Between Porno and War by Riane Eisler, a well-known feminist author, immediately caught my eye -- that is, I immediately rolled my eyes at this ridiculous assertion.

After reading the article and some of the overly emotional comments that followed, I wrote a response that turned into a novel, which is posted below. Read the article first, then read my response, before making your comment:

Freedom of speech and expression is one of the cornerstones of our society, and this includes the right to view porn (or "porno", to use the dated, 70s era abbreviation that Eisler uses here).

I find it quite disturbing when anti-sex "feminists" work together with the usual suspects from the religious right to abridge the right of American adults to view porn. The right to free speech and free expression isn't limited to only what is "tasteful" or politically correct. Indeed, there's no objective way to even determine what is tasteful and what is not.

I also find worst case scenarios unconvincing. To point to an extreme of any particular phenomenon and to assert that this is a typical mainstream example of said phenomenon is illogical.

Similarly, I don't buy the "women are more virtuous than men" notion at all; the idea that they are or should be the guardians of a society's moral ideals. Women are no better and no worse than men in this aspect.

There are women who enjoy porn as much as some men do. While most porn caters to the male perspective, there is a small, but growing market for porn from the female perspective. And let us not forget that a large segment of porn caters to a gay audience and doesn't involve women at all.

Nor do I agree with the idea that the only proper way to have sex is to "make luuuuuuuuuuuuuuv". While that is all well and good when that type of mood strikes, people are aroused by and have sex for a variety of different, yet equally legitimate, reasons. Sometimes it's about love and emotion -- but other times it's just about getting laid and sating our carnal desires. It's all good -- one way isn't "better" or more legitimate than another if those involved are all on the same page.

And I find the "women-and-children" mentality tiresome, to say the least. That is, the idea that women are as innocent and free of responsibility for their own choices and behavior as children are, and must be protected in the same manner. Let's face it -- many women freely choose to be porn models, for whatever reasons. Unlike children, adults are free to make their own choices in life and to take responsibility for the consequences of those choices.

As long as there are no children involved and all the actors in porn are there of their own free will, I have no problem with it and think the government should not ban or restrict it.



Cyn said...

i get what you're saying. and i read what she said. she referenced a book 'Getting Off' that was in another recent Alternet article that i posted as an entry earlier.

granted she's a bit much. and i'm not sure how the lines of logic flow in her assertions but by referencing that book kinda makes me wonder if she's not speaking more of the growing fringe movement in the porn industry highlighted in that book.

as a much more dehumanizing and brutal aspect of porn that is increasing in popularity and seems to coincide in a way in some disturbing social trends amongst 20-something women who are engaging in more self humiliating sex w/ strangers that are not only self debasing but put them at greater medical risk too.

this ain't our grandpa's porn. and this generation coming up are more the antithesis of 'feminists' than ever before. the suggestion in one article i read being that the very changes in porn are contributing to real world social changes amongst 20-something women and the men they engage in sex acts w/.

so unfortunately its a more complex situation than ever before.

i am loath to support censorship of any kind...that old slippery slope agrument ..but maybe we should all practice more self censorship particularly in our buying habits and cyber surfing so that simple law of the marketplace will prevail. ain't no sales. ain't no product.

i'd also like to see more academic or scientific studies about the changes and impacts of various social trends on this generation..not only women but men. its like attitudes towards porn, sexuality and self worth are all tied up together like some kinda offshoot of the 'emo' crap. whatever is going on does not bode well for young people's self image, sex lives, social trends or the porn industry.

oldmanlincoln said...

I can speak from experience.

I nursed from my mom's breasts so my earliest recollections are of breasts, or "tits" as mom used to call them.

That ended at some point to my great disappointment and I got to see no more tits for what seemed like an eternity.

But by then the tit wasn't like a visit to McDonalds for something toeat, it was more like a visit to my uncle's barn where you could see, on a sheet, men and women having sex.

Or, some kid would drag a deck of worn playing cards with sex positions on each one.

I saw that the first time from two blacks from Georgia or was it Alabama who were in Ohio picking tomatoes during that season.

From those kinds of days and experiences to drive-in theaters and their steamed up windows and bouncing cars -- on to the computers and Internet beginnings when AOL would knock you off line for typing in sex, or model, or tit, among other adjectives -- "goodbye".

From all that to full blown porn that is like sitting down in your living room with a dispan of popcorn on your lap watching the neighbors having sex on your new carpet.

That's about how far "porn" has come in just my lifetime.