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It’s Not Funny: What To Do When Others Joke About Porn

[deanne]

The pictures in question were actually of a plane that had run off a runway where my uncle works.  He had taken them and was sharing them with a male family member, we’ll call Bob.  Bob wanted a member of our extended family to look at them.  He was not interested.  That was when Bob made the comment:

“Well, why?  It isn’t pornography.”

I nearly choked on the piece of cake I was eating.  Did he seriously just say that?

I felt my little internal furnace start to heat up, and he was just getting started.  He then continued on about how they are “clean” pictures, except for a little mud.  He was on a roll, getting the biggest kick out of this blatantly inappropriate line of jesting- in front of complete strangers.

I have a few topics that fall outside of ‘funny’ territory.  Pornography is most certainly one of them.  It is not funny.

But, I had a problem.  Other than the fact that he wasn’t talking to me (but around me), he is an older male family member, and we were at a huge celebration.  Not quite the time to get in a throw-down match over the proper discussion of the topic of pornography.  Besides, there were small children present (which only added to my desire to stop him).

Half way through yet another joke about how they were clean pictures, I did pipe up and say, “Please stop!  He doesn’t want to look at them, and that isn’t funny.”  To which Bob responded, “What?  I am not doing anything wrong.  I am just having some fun with him.”

I didn’t find it funny, or appropriate, and the air quickly turned tense as other family members rushed to help change the topic.  As I sat there pushing my last bit of sand pudding around my plate, I thought of all the times someone has treated pornography lightly, like it doesn’t ruin lives, and destroy marriages.  I wondered,

“How on earth am I supposed to respond to that?”

I am not an activist.  I don’t like making scenes.  Still it took every bit of self-control and respect for him that I could muster to keep from explaining to him why joking about pornography is not even funny.  It might even mean blowing the lid off what I do again (my family, as a whole, likes to forget what I do with my life).

Then, I thought about all the times I heard it joked about when I was struggling.

It hurts.  It burns.  It’s the same pain I experienced when people joked about my not having a dad, or living in a trailer park.  There are just some things that aren’t funny, but that is only part of what is wrong with ‘joking about pornography.’

It’s true that pornography is no laughing matter, and if you are an extrovert (which I am not) or in a more secluded environment, you could explain why it isn’t.  You could explain that it abuses and objectifies women, that it entraps men, women, and children.  You could point out that it tears apart marriages, encourages a hook-up culture, and fuels the fantasies of serial killers.

There’s another approach to this, though, and that is from the Christian viewpoint that this type of talk is just simply inappropriate, and a poor testimony for those who know Christ.

If you are in a group with other Christians and the conversation turns to painful jesting about pornography:

1. Don’t take it personally

Sometimes those who speak loudest are those who struggle the greatest.  This is not saying that everyone who jokes about porn struggles with porn, but understand that they likely don’t suspect that you do.  Unlike a joke about being fatherless, fat, or having freckles, inappropriate joking about pornography is not personal.  It’s poor taste.

2. Remind them of our calling as Christians

“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”  Ephesians 4:29

3.  Walk away

There will always be people who are crass and inappropriate.  All you can do is try to get them to stop by correcting their thinking about a topic or by confronting their idea that it is appropriate.  If all else fails, just remove yourself from the conversation.

Staying in a situation that makes light of your struggle can cause you to make light of your struggle.

Photo: ModernDope (old account) / Foter / CC BY-SA

One comment

  1. You are SO brave.Not everyone can stand up and confront evil.The argument and strife is frightening.Does it escalate the situation unnecessarily? Does it expose our own vulnerability in this area.?Unfortunately in these times references to pornography are usually alot more blatant and ugly.They scream out for a response…..In these times you must be brave to be a Christian.Which might answer why I’m making this comment.You are brave and I’m not.