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If Porn Degrades Women, How Can Women Watch it?

Cinderella

What is that hooks women into using pornography, especially when most porn is degrading to women?

I was recently asked that question for an interview.  It took quite a bit of self-control to not take it the way I wanted to take it.  At first read, especially when asked by a woman, I could almost feel the scorn:

What is wrong with you!?

I took a deep breath and decided to take it for what it was: a reporter asking a question.  I gave her an answer and it will be published, after it is edited and formatted to fit the space allotted for the article.  I wanted to set aside a little extra time to shed some light on this.

I feel it’s one of those questions many people want to ask and no one has the guts to.

We hear statistics about how pornography includes scenes of violence and degradation.  Women are slapped, tied up, tied down, bit, spit on, cursed at, urinated on, ejaculated on, you name it, it happens.  It is not a woman-friendly industry, at all.

Don’t tell me it’s a celebration of free speech.  Don’t tell me it is liberating.  Don’t tell me it is a beautiful expression of what is natural.

I was speaking with a makeup artist once as I prepared to share my story.  She said,

“I just don’t get it.  I don’t get the addictive part for women.  I mean, I’ve seen porn once over in Europe and let me tell you, those girls in Europe will do anything.  I watched it with my boyfriend and then he wanted to do the same stuff to me.

I told him no and he said, ‘Well, the girl in the film liked it.’  I said, ‘You think she liked that!?  She was acting.  No woman would like that.  No woman wants to be treated that way.'”

Former porn producer, Donny Pauling, often shares stories of the devastation that occurs from the industry.  As he says in one of his posts:

What’s attractive about a model curled up in the fetal position in a corner between takes, sucking her thumb because her mind is so blown by what she’s just done to herself?   Do the porn companies share, in the credits, a line similar to this one:  ”this girl had to have surgery to repair the damage done to her body by the scene you just found so enticing”?   Of course not!

 

So then, what on earth, would make a woman OK with watching that?  (I would love to ask men what makes them OK with watching that, but I’ll stay on topic here.)

Understanding Violence in Pornography

Without completely scarring everyone who reads this, let me try and help you understand how this works.  We hear statistics about violence in pornography and everybody who has never seen it assumes that every porn scene looks like rape.  They don’t.

The effects on the actress may be similar to those of rape- physical damage, emotional trauma, etc- but porn is produced, which means it is edited.  So, while women are still being used as sex objects, it looks enjoyable.  This is important, and I’ll explain why in a bit.

Now, there are fetishes within pornography that center around violence toward women, and these fetishes will show the physical damage and pain on purpose.

In the world of hardcore pornography there are thousands, and I mean thousands of different fetishes.  It is the natural progression of any addiction to always need something a little stronger the next time.  So, the natural progression of someone involved in pornography would be to go from something seemingly loving and innocent to something that would make the standard citizen throw up.

But why?  How?  How do women get there and how can they be OK with getting there? I say there are two reasons, other than the fact that we are all people capable of being blinded by sin.

The Train Wreck Theory

If you were shown pictures of the carnage of a train wreck, you would likely be disgusted.  We’ve seen this take place after events such as 9/11 when graphic pictures of death and destruction were scorned.  Still, while it was happening, what were we doing?  We were watching.  Yes, it made us queasy, and no we weren’t supporting what was going on, but we couldn’t help but watch.  We were drawn in by the drama of the event.

Some women drawn into pornography just don’t see the devastation.  They are so swept up in the sex, so stimulated by the act itself, that it doesn’t register with them that women shouldn’t be treated this way.  Remember, not every scene looks like rape, in fact, few scenes do.  Women in pornography are degraded in far more “subtle” ways.

The female viewer doesn’t see that, though, or perhaps she does and the show of male ‘power’ turns her on.  Either way, if you were to remove the sex, she would find the whole situation less than enticing.  It’s a train wreck, and as gross and disturbing as it might be, she just can’t pull away.  That’s addiction for you.

 The Broken Worth Theory

Then there are women who know exactly what is going on.  They see the violence and aggression toward women and they watch, not because they are OK with it, but because they believe that this is life.  This is just the way things are.

These women have warped views of their own bodies and of men themselves.  They are the daughters of broken homes, the victims of sexual assault, casualties of a sexually broken world.  For whatever reason, they believe that this is OK.  This is how women are supposed to be treated.  As much as they may want to be worth more, they don’t believe they can be. So, they resign themselves, not to watching porn for the sex, but to fantasize about the women in the scenes.  They are enjoying it, right?  They are happy.  This is love.

Either approach is devastating to a woman’s heart and understanding of life.  It is also very possible for a woman to start as one and go to the other.

What is wrong with us?

Well, we’re broken.  Broken, blinded by sin, and in need of the healing of a Saviour.  In the end, that’s really what matters.

Photo: 
[Daniela Brown Photography] / Fashion Photos / CC BY-ND

6 comments

  1. Porn isn’t about the sex. It’s about the violence. We as a culture are drawn to violence. From sports to movies.
    Why? It’s engrained in us. As human beings we are naturally drawn to violence. Jesus died. He died a horrific gruesome bloody gory violent death on a cross… for us. And He didn’t just die. He was murdered, brutally murdered. He allowed Himself to be brutally murdered for our sakes. It shows our worth. He was willing to go through that, all of it, for us.
    So yes, humans enjoy and are drawn to violence because the most redemptive act in all of history was a bloody one.
    The problem with porn, and violent media entertainment is that it is senseless violence. It doesn’t have a purpose. It doesn’t accomplish anything. Christ’s salvific death on the cross redeemed all of humanity. It was the greatest accomplishment.
    Violence is a means to an end, humanity’s redemption, the liberation of nations from tyranny, what have you. The problem is we treat violence as an end, rather than a means and make an idol out of it.
    The other problem the porn addict has is we tend to take things to extremes, and are so narrow in our outlook. We buy the lie. We say love = correction. We take this little piece of the puzzle and claim it is the entire picture. Love is corrective, and is one of the ways it manifests itself but there is so much more to love than that. We zoom in on the corrective aspect. If someone takes the time to correct you they must really care about you, because they are taking the risk that you will reject them, and are putting your well being first. And again we take this to an extreme, and say well then the more they correct me, the more they love me. So if they nit pick and correct you for the little things, if they correct you more severely, they must love you more and it’s only a matter of time before you throw violence in the mix the more/harder you’re hit for the least infraction…
    I’m not in a abusive/domestic violence relationship, but that’s the direction that porn points. It’s an entire cycle of broken thinking, built upon lies. And the beauty of the truth is that we don’t have to be wrong to be loved. Because while love is corrective, there is so much more to love than correction.

  2. Thank you. Thank you for answering a question that I know people have wondered but never had the courage to ask. And thank you for putting into words “The effects on the actress may be similar to those of rape- physical damage, emotional trauma, etc- but porn is produced, which means it is edited. So, while women are still being used as sex objects, it looks enjoyable.”
    because just like the thumb sucking thing from Donny, I need to hear that. I need to remember that. WE need to put a human face on these gals–sisters, friends, daughters, cousins etc. Even my husband, with all that he has gone through with me, still thinks that many women in porn like it.

  3. I agreed with a lot of the observations, esp. about it being like watching a train wreck.. some things you just can’t believe… kind of stunned. I think the question being asked has a false premise, due to trusting the critics rather than doing one’s own research. Women watch porn usually because they enjoy it and because MOST porn does not degrade women. {Comment edited for content}

    1. Having been in pornography for 8 years, I would say I can tap on my own experience for this one. I can’t really recall any form of pornography that made the woman into something to be cherished, and did not reduce her into an object, even if she was the one ‘in control.’ (responding to a part of the comment that was removed)

      As for research:

      “88% of scenes in porn films contain acts of physical aggression, and 49% of scenes contain verbal aggression.”

      Ana Bridges, Robert Wosnitzer, Chyng Sun, and Rachael Liberman, “Aggression and sexual behavior in best-selling pornography videos: A content analysis update,” Violence Against Women 16 (Oct. 2010): 1065-1085.

      1. I go to a women’s college where everyone is very feminist and knows how degrading the majority of porn is to women. So most of my friends are disgusted by MOST porn. But they have found feminist porn- I’ve seen some of it- in which the woman was valued. Plus what about lesbian porn, made by women, for women?

        I think that feminist porn is still wrong because it still deludes me into believing that sex is about me- since I’m watching the video, and I’m the one feeling some sort of pleasure. Plus it’s addictive.

        1. S, thank you for commenting.

          The genre of ‘femme porn’ or ‘porn for women’ (or even erotica, soft core, etc) is not anything new. This particular post was to specifically answer the question of how women can watch content that degrades them. Watching other ‘softer’ erotic material is addressed in other posts, but I agree with you and would take it one step further. “Feminist” porn is still wrong because it makes the person in the video into an object- even if in the video they are not being objectified, by watching the video you objectify them. So, it’s like what you said, it makes sex about the viewer, what the viewer wants and desires truly. It is selfish, and sex should not be selfish.