Monday, December 04, 2006

Porn and Feminism

I was an 80s feminist -- discovered the Women's Centre, Women's Studies, and women who opened my mind while I was at university. I volunteered for a year at the Vancouver Women's Bookstore.

I will admit that I'm glad I found Linguistics first, otherwise I would have been insufferable...but I still label myself a feminist -- and I'd like to think that over the 12 years I was a teacher of Adult ESL, I influenced a lot of women from around the world to be strong and opinionated.

So I was pleased this morning to find this article by Naomi Wolf (in New York Magazine), on the theories of the 80s' Andrea Dworkin from the perspective of the 00s.

What I like about Wolf's writing is how she can summarize what we've all been noticing about the Britney-Spears-crotch-flashing world we seem to be living in -- in one sentence:
Young men and women are indeed being taught what sex is, how it looks, what its etiquette and expectations are, by pornographic training—and this is having a huge effect on how they interact.
But Wolf is actually saying that Dworkin was wrong -- the complete access to pornography is not making men more rapacious, instead they are increasingly just not turned on by the average woman, after their diet of tanned, toned, implanted, trimmed (a la Mrs. Henderson "And anyway, we'll have a barber."), sex-crazed online porn slut.
The reason to turn off the porn might become, to thoughtful people, not a moral one but, in a way, a physical- and emotional-health one; you might want to rethink your constant access to porn in the same way that, if you want to be an athlete, you rethink your smoking. The evidence is in: Greater supply of the stimulant equals diminished capacity.
The beautiful thing about this article, is that we (feminists) may have been wrong about cultural prohibitions:

I will never forget a visit I made to Ilana, an old friend who had become an Orthodox Jew in Jerusalem. When I saw her again, she had abandoned her jeans and T-shirts for long skirts and a head scarf. I could not get over it. Ilana has waist-length, wild and curly golden-blonde hair. “Can’t I even see your hair?” I asked, trying to find my old friend in there. “No,” she demurred quietly. “Only my husband,” she said with a calm sexual confidence, “ever gets to see my hair.”

When she showed me her little house in a settlement on a hill, and I saw the bedroom, draped in Middle Eastern embroideries, that she shares only with her husband—the kids are not allowed—the sexual intensity in the air was archaic, overwhelming. It was private. It was a feeling of erotic intensity deeper than any I have ever picked up between secular couples in the liberated West. And I thought: Our husbands see naked women all day—in Times Square if not on the Net. Her husband never even sees another woman’s hair.

She must feel, I thought, so hot.

Ah. Is that what it takes? When the whole world is surfing for "beaver shots", are we ruining our chances of a healthy sex life?

Lori

3 comments:

raincoaster said...

Well your beaver shots are all over the Net, so you tell me.

BTW, you've been tagged.

Metro said...

It certainly oughta explain why there are all those bloody Catholic kids everywhere!

cheap viagra canada said...

Thanks mate... just dropped by. Will look for BIKE STN when we get to Seattle. Still in Buenos Airies.