Anti-porn groups
May 4, 2001 7:38 AM   Subscribe

Anti-porn groups have declared May to be "Victims of Pornography" month. Looks like some other folks aren't on the same page when it comes to the significance of the month. Which would you rather celebrate? (And for the love of all that is good and right, don't tell us how you're celebrating!)
posted by harmful (55 comments total)

I'll be celebrating, er, something this month.

This type of action rubs me the wrong way (pun #1). Whether or not you think porn is wrong, doesn't mean everyone else thinks that way - nor should they. Linking porn to rape and child abuse, though? Anyone have some lying statistics on that?
posted by hijinx at 7:55 AM on May 4, 2001

Bleah. Just another case of the puritan, afraid-of-their-own-sexuality boneheads trying to tell everyone in the country what is right for us. It's been pointed out before, but I'll do it again: the Bible has scenes of gruesome death, murder, rape, and vengeance, the US Government does some pretty atrocious things to people without due process, and the nightly news is just as lascivious as late-night Skinemax movies. But you don't see people blaming these elements for the decline of society, do you?
posted by starvingartist at 8:06 AM on May 4, 2001

When do we get to have a "Rabid Fans of Pornography" month?

Oh. Wait. That's every month.
posted by Skot at 8:30 AM on May 4, 2001

This seems like an *excellent* place to link David Steinberg's latest column for, entitled "Oh, Them Dirty Pictures". It's about the Yahoo/Porn flap which ... I know we talked about, but several searches refuse to reveal.

I'd drop in a quote, but I think that <blockquote> still blows up...
posted by baylink at 8:34 AM on May 4, 2001

ohhhh it's only a month
posted by monkeyJuice at 8:34 AM on May 4, 2001

Porn. It's what's for Dinner.
I get so tired of people screaming about the poor unfortunate souls who are forced to watch porn until they are brainwashed into shooting heroin and mutilating small animals.
Okay, the page didn't say EXACTLY that, but....
The girls are paid for their "acting", the movies are legal, and the industry makes money for people who otherwise would be on the street selling crack in an abandoned warehouse.
I tell you what.... May is going to be a good month. yes indeed.
After work, I might just go and rent "Remember the Tight Ones " and "Forrest Bump". God Bless America.
posted by bradth27 at 8:40 AM on May 4, 2001

Do you suppose the executive committee has to scrutinize all that hard-core porn stuff pretty closely--as part of their Christian duty, of course--in order to keep up with all the victims and such?

I hate to even think it, but it could be the good folks down there in Tupelo could wind up doing the same thing as the people at the Down There Press.
posted by steve_high at 8:42 AM on May 4, 2001

"Schindler's Fist"
"C*** for Red October"
"The Amityville Whore"
"Planet of the Rapes"
"The Englishman Who Went Up A Mountain and Came Down My Leg"
"The Sperminator"

I could go on all day.
posted by sonofsamiam at 8:47 AM on May 4, 2001

My favorite porn title ever has to be a tape that one of my fraternity brothers rented once - Wild-Eyed Ass Punders 4. The label was hand written. What we couldn't figure out was whether it was the asses that were wild-eyed or the punders.
posted by starvingartist at 8:55 AM on May 4, 2001

interestingly enough, a search shows that today happens to be Rocco Siffredi's birthday. (I am not making this up.)

Happy Birthday Rocco & enjoy the month!!
posted by elsar at 9:02 AM on May 4, 2001

starvingartist: I thought Tiffany Shlain was responsible for the decline of society. Where's CrazyUncleJoe when you need him?
posted by lia at 9:02 AM on May 4, 2001

elsar, what were you doing searching for Rocco Siffredi? that's what I'd like to know.
posted by lia at 9:06 AM on May 4, 2001

I was just doing some research on why May is so contentious for both the pro- and con- camps. While I'm sure Rocco hasn't engendered this debate we can be sure he has a big contribution to make here.

(All puns intentional)
posted by elsar at 9:11 AM on May 4, 2001

The only victim of porn I know is my penis.
posted by alsaiz at 9:53 AM on May 4, 2001

Perfect your technique if you wish to celebrate this month.
posted by bargle at 9:54 AM on May 4, 2001

I think we all know what masterbation leads to...
and then sometimes a sandwich...
then definitely a nap
posted by srw12 at 10:07 AM on May 4, 2001

I love the fact that anti-porn crusaders say porn exploits women, when it's one of the few industries around where women make several hundred percent more than the men...

This is quite possibly my biggest problem with conservatives, the pathological need to police people's minds and bedrooms...
posted by owillis at 10:12 AM on May 4, 2001

Hey go further on in, May 6th is National Masturbation Day. And a sunday to boot, just to give the Catholics extra guilt.
posted by DiplomaticImmunity at 10:13 AM on May 4, 2001

hijinx asked about stats on rape and child abuse. Well, both sides of the porn issue have been arguing over stats since the days of the Meese Commission, which gave us our last Attorney General's report on the matter. After the commission members concluded their work in 1986, they all went out and wrote competing books on the matter and neither side has given an inch in the "what's statistically true" department since then.

The pro-porn people say a full measure of whether porn affects people has never been done while the anti-porn side points to studies of prison populations, where rapists and child abusers were studied. The latter's quite a bit like Krafft-Ebing from a century before -- only the pathological ill were examined, not the entire breadth of society.

I view the anti-porn forces simply as a continuation of the Comstockery of old, "battling" obscenity, birth control, and abortion laws just like a century-plus ago. It wasn't until Roe v. Wade that they became outraged enough to coalesce into a social force, but ever since then, they've been trying to turn back the clock on obscenity, birth control, and abortion laws.

That said, on with the celebration! (I'm in the "stick your hands down your pants" camp, in case you wondered.)
posted by debrahyde at 11:10 AM on May 4, 2001

My sister, I am dissapointed to say, is a born again crazy loon. Once, she and her church got together and picketed a local business just trying to make a buck..What kind of business? well, it was called the Chicken Ranch, and God Help me, it was a totally nude steakhouse.
Imagine the grease burns.....
anyway, my Father, who is a bit like me in the religious department, decided that enough was enough.
The news crew was there for the picketing, and I recorded the whole thing....
You can see my siter, picketing the steakhouse, and then, you see my Father, walking past her, saying hello, and going in for lunch.
Anyway, now that you are all in comas.... The Steakhouse eventually shut down, due to the fact that the edge of the table was almost level with the crotch of every girl there, and the pubic hairs kept finding their way into the food.
You know, you don't know what you've got....till it's gone...
posted by bradth27 at 11:24 AM on May 4, 2001

Perfect your technique if you wish to celebrate this month.

I wonder if there's a "Penultimate Male Masturbation Resource" out there.
posted by aaron at 11:27 AM on May 4, 2001

aaron, why would you want the just less than ultimate masturbation resource? Look it up, dude ;)
posted by starvingartist at 11:28 AM on May 4, 2001

Aaron, has what you seek. However, you must promise to use the information contained therein wisely, and only for the forces of good.
posted by zempf at 11:30 AM on May 4, 2001

Aaron, perhaps if you spent more time playing with your dick than playing with words you would be a less cynical
posted by alsaiz at 11:42 AM on May 4, 2001

Well, I hate to be a stick-in-the-mud, but:

I think you people are unfairly pigeonholing the anti-pornography set as a bunch of Dubya-style right-wingers. This is true for some of them, but *not* true in every case; to a large degree the anti-pornography war is being waged by good old LEFT-WING FEMINISTS who are FOR birth-control and aren't about "policing people's bedrooms." We owe it to ourselves to think through the pornography issue a little bit more and not to, Slashdot-fashion, leap to classify pornography as first amendment speech (as you all seem to be doing).

Pornography is NOT speech in the same way a newspaper article or a website is speech. Saying that pornography is speech is like saying that prostitution is speech -- it's not, it's a record of actual physical actions undertaken by actual real people. Because Jenna Jameson gets written up in Salon rhapsodizing about how great it is to be a porn star does NOT mean that there aren't victims - endless numbers of them - trapped in the pornography industry. Are you really going to claim that all those barely legal (and probably underage) girls on are there because they want to be? This is like claiming that prostitutes - a group of women we will (almost without exception) admit are victims - are there because they want to be as well.

Catherine MacKinnon wrote an essay called "On Collaboration" that changed my thinking about porn quite a bit. Just because it's a business - just because money changes hands and just because women are paid - doesn't mean it's okay for them to be coerced, beaten and exploitated. The *point* of hard-core pornography is that it's *real* - that the things depicted on-screen actually happened. The fact is that the civil liberties of women are being violated everyday in the very PROCESS of making pornography - it's not about free speech, it's about human rights.

I fail to see why we, as a group of people who seem to define ourselves in opposition to right-wing orthodoxy, are so willing to excuse pornography as free speech when it is obviously exploitative. Why? Porno is bad in the same way sweatshops are bad. Don't blast anti-porn crusaders as 'right-wing' and then ally yourself with the right-wing by defending pornography as a business. Money does _not_ legitimize prostitution, labor exploitation, or drilling in the Arctic wilderness and it certainly doesn't legitimize pornography. As I see it, statistics about porn's secondary effect on viewers are more-or-less irrelevant; what's important is porn's impact on those involved in it. You can be sure that Jenna Jameson is the exception rather then rule; the underage underpaid victims of the porn industry don't get included in's 'coverage' of porn and probably aren't very psyched to learn that you think their exploitation is protected by the first amendment and legitimized by the transfer of money from pimps to pornographers and back again.
posted by josh at 11:50 AM on May 4, 2001

Pornography will always be with you. Get over it!
posted by alsaiz at 11:58 AM on May 4, 2001

I think there are legitimate reasons to be concerned with SOME porn. However, extremists like these make it kind of difficult to discuss. I'd never in a million years think of banning porn, but I think that a lot of it isn't that great for people to watch. I think some is degrading, sexist, and so on. But then, I think violent media actually does effect people.
posted by Doug at 11:59 AM on May 4, 2001

See, I disagree with Josh. Pornography is certainly protected by the first amendment. It can be a very legitimate form of expression. And, exploitation is not a necessary componant of pornography, any more than ANY job is to some degree exploitative.
When we make it illegal for people to be photographed naked, we're giving up a lot more than just Buttman Returns.
posted by Doug at 12:05 PM on May 4, 2001

to a large degree the anti-pornography war is being waged by good old LEFT-WING FEMINISTS who are FOR birth-control and aren't about "policing people's bedrooms."

Yes...and these are the same sort of feminists (MacKinnon and Andrea Dworkin) who say things like "all sex is rape" and "a reinforcement of sexist power." Give me a break.
posted by dnash at 12:07 PM on May 4, 2001

Aaron, has what you seek.

No no, that's the ultimate male masturbation resource. I'm seeking the penultimate male masturbation resource. I want to focus on precisely which bits of info and technique push a masturbation site from second-best to first!

And Al, give it a rest.
posted by aaron at 12:23 PM on May 4, 2001

" Just because it's a business - just because money changes hands and just because women are paid - doesn't mean it's okay for them to be coerced, beaten and exploitated. The *point* of hard-core pornography is that it's *real* - that the things depicted on-screen actually happened. The fact is that the civil liberties of women are being violated everyday in the very PROCESS of making pornography - it's not about free speech, it's about human rights."

if the woman doesn't want to be 'exploited', she wouldn't be in the business.

you want to talk about expoitation of human rights? start talking about nike, and leave ron jeremy out of it.
posted by jcterminal at 12:26 PM on May 4, 2001

Wow, the guy hasn't been here two days & he's already charactarizing aaron as some cynical right-winger.. that's gotta be a new record. As for the second-best masturbation resource, I really wouldn't want to know. I mean, I can only imagine the half-assed advice that they'd give out would probably be hazardous to your well-being, not to mention certain body parts that I'd rather not expose to hazards.
posted by zempf at 12:29 PM on May 4, 2001

if the woman doesn't want to be 'exploited', she wouldn't be in the business.

Not a big student of psychology, are you, jcterminal? Ever read about Traci Lords's career when she was a young teen? She was continually given drugs by her "handlers" so she would be pliable. She was totally in their control. She was used and degraded. She was a big part of the reason that the law about being 18 to be in porn was created.

And anyway, Jesus, I've heard really ignorant people use that remark to dismiss women in abusive relationships. Not all women "want" to be exploited, and they really can't get out of their situations without a lot of help.
posted by starvingartist at 12:32 PM on May 4, 2001

Alsaiz: You are pretty snarky for a guy who showed up yesterday. Why are you stalking Aaron? Everytime I see your name you are giving him grief.
posted by thirteen at 12:35 PM on May 4, 2001

Gee guys how long do you have to be around before you can earn the right to voice an opinion?
posted by alsaiz at 12:38 PM on May 4, 2001

And Al, give it a rest.

Indeed alsaiz, your pathetic baiting of Aaron has become old. It's nice that you've recently found MetaFilter, but why don't you lurk around here a bit more and contribute something more meaningful to discussions before you start attacking other members. Oh, and your right to voice an opinion is perfectly fine, 'cept that when your opion basically is, "Member X is a stinkyhead," folks tend not to listen and the level of discussion is degraded.

Much obliged.

Oh, and no masturbation thread is complete without The Miami University Masturbation Society.
posted by Avogadro at 12:43 PM on May 4, 2001

starvingartist, huh? Under what law or set of laws was underage porn ever LEGAL?

Anyway, people in the porn industry have a somewhat different view of Miss Kuzma's career. I don't really believe she was old enough to consent, but she certainly knew what she was doing.

aaron, for the penultimate masturbation resource, I think you want tantric sex resources. Because, you see, you get near the end, and then ... um ... see, no ultimate.
posted by dhartung at 12:46 PM on May 4, 2001

Bradth27, the cause of the nude steakhouse's closure could have easily been remedied, and I wish I had a cleverer way to describe it, but... hairnet panties?
posted by SteveS at 12:54 PM on May 4, 2001

Gee guys how long do you have to be around before you can earn the right to voice an opinion?
I don't have a problem with the opinion, and for all I know, you have been lurking for months building up a slow ball of hate for aaron, but it seems wierd that I never saw you name before today, and you already have an favored enemy. The name calling seems a little personal.

I know... metatalk
posted by thirteen at 12:55 PM on May 4, 2001

Sorry, dhartung. I didn't write that correctly. I should have said I was not an expert on the facts. As a matter of fact, now that I think about it some more, I think I might be confusing Miss Lords's career with Brooke Shields appearing topless in a movie before she was 18. Age catches up to you, I guess (referring to memory). But I do know that Traci Lords was certainly "helped along" in her career by drugs.
posted by starvingartist at 1:01 PM on May 4, 2001

interestingly enough, if you read dhartung's article about ms. kuzma's career, you'll see that her birthday is in may too.

perhaps that explains the confluence of pro/anti porn months?'
posted by elsar at 1:06 PM on May 4, 2001

" She was continually given drugs by her "handlers" so she would be pliable. She was totally in their control. She was used and degraded. She was a big part of the reason that the law about being 18 to be in porn was created."

that's not the same issue here.

we're talking right here, right now.

over 18? can't "get out of the business"? your fault, not the industry's.

as for abusive relationships, once again. it's called willpower.

but some people find it easier to be a victim than to take control over their lives.

(not that i'm defending porn and/or wife-beating, i'm not for either. what i AM for is people to stop being so damned PC and enabling people to use weakness as an excuse.)

hey! speaking of! everyone's talking about how women are exploited here. what about guys? how come no one sez "STOP THE EXPLOITATION OF MEN!"

(btw starving: it's ok, your memory of what happened to both traci lords and brooke sheilds is correct.)
posted by jcterminal at 1:25 PM on May 4, 2001

Wow, jcterminal. You treat me with kindness and at the same time make me want to hate you.

Some people don't have a lot of willpower. Where is it written that they deserve to suffer because of that? When immigrants become US citizens, do they have to pass a willpower test? I bite my nails. I have so for nigh on 17 years. It's a habit. I can't stop. Does that mean I'm a weak person and should be spit upon? Your argument lacks compassion.
posted by starvingartist at 1:34 PM on May 4, 2001

Some people don't have a lot of willpower. Where is it written that they deserve to suffer because of that? You said you can't stop biting your nails. Just saying that you can't makes you a victim to some force that's making you do this. You CAN stop if you want to see yourself differently, as a person who CAN stop. But, like you, not everyone feels the need, or ability, or drive to stop this or that. This is not weakness, this just is.

Sometimes, bluntly pointing out someone's options, and yes, maybe hurting their feelings, is a lot more 'compassionate' than commiserating with them. Sometimes it's not. I guess I'm going off a little here because "being compassionate" is completely relative. And just as being compassionate is completely relative... that's why these groups annoy me. Their whole drive is built on the idea that it's ALL (porn, drugs, riding a bike without a helmet) is COMPLETELY wrong, period, and that's there's only ONE way to see the big picture, "if you're compassionate and have a heart." Who hasn't gotten one of those urban legend spams that say, "If you have a heart you'll pass this wrenching story on to 10 of your friends." Sometimes it's subtle, sometimes it's not so subtle.
posted by thunder at 4:15 PM on May 4, 2001

Hey josh,

Not every woman's been victimized by porn. Check out the careers of Tristan Taormino, Annie Sprinkle, Candida Royale, Nina Hartley, and Carol Queen for starters.

By contrast, Catherine MacKinnon's considered a feminist whose agenda and views are closely aligned with the right *by default*. In fact, the very women I list above were part of a sex-positive backlash to MacKinnon's view -- a backlash that's still going strong.

I'm not denying that the porn industry doesn't use people up. It does. But plenty of individuals have taken charge of their own careers within the industry and are living whole, proud lives. Many more women work with adult material outside of film pornography -- myself included -- and we're hardly in need of saving.
posted by debrahyde at 5:15 PM on May 4, 2001

Never mind that "traditional" hollywood tends to chew people up just as much and fast as the porn world.

Q: are you over 18?
A: yes

Q: want to have sex on camera?
A: yes

Commence with the sexing.
posted by owillis at 6:47 PM on May 4, 2001

What does it say about our society that the most money a woman can make involves taking off her clothes?
posted by acridrabbit at 7:40 PM on May 4, 2001

It says a lot of people are willing to pay cash to see it happen. If other industries fairly compensated their participants like porn does, the world would be better.
posted by owillis at 7:47 PM on May 4, 2001

Finally a thread I care about, so let me get some facts out.

1. Traci Lords was 16 when she started.
2. Traci had a fake credit card, social security card and licence saying she was 18.
3. The people involved were put on trial and dismissed because they did get the proper id (they didn't know it was fake)
4. Well before Traci Lords was even born the law was 18 to perform.
5. I don't know what porn you are watching, I never see an act of violence toward women. The most violence I have seen in a porn is spanking. Big difference between a Steven Segal movie in which a lady in a car is shot in the head. What about the *REAL* violence on CNN and these actions shows on TV? I remember an explicit video of soliders being shot in a car and they showed everything from the one guy dead and the other guy pleaing for his life and dying. And the FOX show where they showed some lady .0001 seconds from being hit by a train. To me that is offensive. Not some guy stickin his whoo-whoo in some cha-cha. (medical terms here)
6. Oh the big bad porn director coerced me to take that 2 grand from him for 15 minutes of work. I don't think so, if your over 18 your old enough to make your own descisions.
7. If you don't like porn, don't watch it. I find late night/early morning preachers offensive and I'm not picketing their right to be on my TV.

posted by andryeevna at 9:37 PM on May 4, 2001

if the woman doesn't want to be 'exploited', she wouldn't be in the business.

I addressed this point in my post, jcterminal. The fact that it's a business doesn't mean it's not exploitative. Business and exploitation are not mutually exclusive (something we'll all agree about). Those kids working in the Nike sweatshops may 'want to be exploited' (if we follow your essentially economic argument) but you still seem to feel they deserve help anyway.

I'm not arguing that we should outlaw taking pictures of naked people -- all I am trying to get at is the inconsistency of what certain people are saying: namely, that sweatshop employees are victims, but porno 'actresses' are not. Why not? Because they're paid? Well, Nike pays its sweatshop workers too but that doesn't make their situation any more tenable. over 18? can't "get out of the business"? your fault, not the industry's. Well - working in a Nike sweatshop? Can't 'get out of the business'? Your fault, not the industry's, if we follow that reasoning.

You don't have to be an extremist to acknowledge these things - this point of view isn't particularly far-fetched it seems to me; it's a point-of-view many people have adopted vis-a-vis all sorts of other industries. All I'm saying is, take this anti-porn stuff seriously and don't dismiss it - I just don't think a statement like "the only victim of porn is my penis" (funny as it is!) is particularly responsible or accurate. The Wired news article this story linked to did a good job of turning a complicated issue into a standard web-centric, free-speech free-for-all. This porno stuff isn't a augh riot, even if some anti-porn people are, and it's something to think about when you're presented with the choice of viewing porn - it's a choice you can make and it has moral consequences to it sometimes.
posted by josh at 9:47 PM on May 4, 2001

Check out the recent Dotcult porn discussion (part II).
posted by nonharmful at 1:54 AM on May 5, 2001

This is a good source for stuff on national masturbation month.

I never could see how people could call prostitution exploitive and ignore women forced to work for minimum wage flipping burgers or cleaning houses. I never understood why people complain about pornography's depiction of women and ignore mainstream media. Porn is a huge industry but Cosmopolitan, the latest Revlon commercial, Dharma and Greg, and their ilk are much more influential carriers of images that reinforce patriarchy. Porn, however, is a lot easier to attack than Time AOL.

It's true that there are examples of women being exploited in the porn industry but that doesn't mean that all women in porn are being exploited or even that most women in porn are being exploited. If we just look at a porn actress and say; "she must be being exploited", then we are saying she is incapable of making a choice to be a porn actress. Most porn actresses are adults. They're human beings. So I'm going to respect them enough to believe that they can make decisions for themselves. It seems odd that some people are unwilling to respect these women's choices yet would call themselves feminists.

[BTW, there was going to be a anecdote here about going to a strip club with a beautiful communist sociologist but I decided that it wondered too far off topic]

If you want to read an anti-porn argument that I disagree with but that I find persuasive, try Susan Griffin's Pornography and Silence. There's an interview with excerpts from the book here. Unfortunately, the interview doesn't begin to convey the elegance and power of Ms. Griffin's book.

We live in a world that's built on the exploitation of women. Mass media reflects and reinforces this exploitation. Pornography is the exaggerated edge of mass media but pornography is more an effect that a cause. Take away pornography tomorrow and you would still have patriarchy without much change. Take away patriarchy tomorrow and you'd still have pornography but a radically changed pornography.
posted by rdr at 2:21 AM on May 5, 2001

Whoops, that first site was.... Oh well, my only excuse is that I'm half asleep.
posted by rdr at 2:51 AM on May 5, 2001

People are going to do what they are going to do...
....freedom of choice???........
posted by iapoi at 11:29 AM on May 5, 2001

rdr was able to voice my opinion more clearly than i could.


(i'm just amused i was able to mention ron jeremy during a social/political discussion without anyone laughing at me.)
posted by jcterminal at 3:16 PM on May 5, 2001

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