Thursday, September 13, 2007

"The porn myth"

I read Ben's post today about this article from New York Magazine called "The Porn Myth." It's written by Naomi Wolf, the author of the bestselling book (and one of my personal favs) "The Beauty Myth." I'm glad she wrote this new article, and it's something you should all read.

I've talked about this very topic in multiple classes, both undergrad and grad. We'd usually start off by reading something by Andrea Dworkin, and then move toward an argument more like the one Wolf makes in "The Porn Myth." For those not up on their media criticism or fem lit, Dworkin is best known for her arguments that watching porn makes men more violent and aggressive toward women, more likely to rape women, and more likely to treat women as sex objects. Wolf discusses in this latest article that the problem isn't necessarily that porn makes men more likely to rape real women, it's actually more the opposite - it turns men off to a real woman's body, making them less excited to have real sex with a real woman.

(Incidentally, Sue Johanson of Talk Sex with Sue, formerly The Sunday Night Sex Show, raises the same concern fairly often on her show.)

I think Wolf's article is so interesting because I find it to be so true. Based on discussions I've had with my guy friends, conversations between guys that I've overheard, conversations I've had with other women, personal experiences I've had myself, and what I've observed from afar, Wolf is really on to something here. I feel better saying this knowing that Ben thinks Wolf is on to something too. It's really not because I'm a crazy feminist or anything like that. I just know that I've personally felt the same way Wolf's female students are portrayed as feeling, and I really think Wolf makes some excellent points.

As a public service announcement I'd like to just put this out there, into the great internet abyss. Guys, if you want a porn star, date a porn star. The rest of us real women out there are not porn stars. And by the way, let us tell ya, you ain't exactly porn stars either, trust us. If you want to learn how to have great sex, trade in the porn for Talk Sex with Sue. Learn about your body and about real women's bodies. We're human beings, not Girls Gone Wild, and definitely not Debbie Does Dallas. And if you can't grasp that idea and come back to the real world, then have fun at home, alone, with your computer.

4 comments:

Jerzy said...

Lisa, this is my first comment on your blog since we had our tiff over on my blog. I apologize for offending you and hope you accept my apology.

I would like to say that Wolf's arguments are spot on. Porn is anti-Viagra, porn is a libido-limiter, a porking-prohibiter, a hibidy dibidy inhibitor. In this spirit of coming together, I hope we can all agree, if only tentatively, that pornography is not limited to the visual spectrum and that so-called romance novels targeted towards women are also destructive and form social constructions in much the same way that a pornographic film may.

Lisa said...

No sweat, Jerzy. No hard feelings. Thanks.

And yes, I'd agree romance novels would fall into the same category. Although they're not nearly as widespread in use or accessibility as porn is - and they're also not nearly as graphic. Instead of seeing the stereotype, you're forming a picture in your own head, so they're classified more as erotica I guess. But regardless, I do take issue with those as well. I agree with you - similar idea as porn, similar problem as porn.

Ben said...

Jerzy meant the tiff you two had over on OUR blog.

Anonymous said...

Porn.. and hopefully in the future legalized prostitution are just mechanisms to allow guys to get on with life while not having to deal with the emotional needs of women.

Basically, Wolf is whining that it's no longer a seller's market; it's now a buyer's market and women are losing the ability to control men. This, of course, is fabulous if you're a man.