Why Do You Hate Porn – Part 1

This blog is written with many different people in mind; for young girls who are struggling to find themselves amidst an increasingly hostile sexual environment as well as grown women who have just had enough.  It’s for women who are just starting to sense that something isn’t right about the world we live in and radical feminists who can already articulate what that something is. It’s also for skeptics; men who don’t understand what all the fuss is about and women identifying as sex-positive feminists who think accusations of misogyny in porn are exaggerated.

Trigger Warning: Descriptions of sexual situations and rape.

It took two years for me to transform from an anti-feminist to an anti-porn feminist. At the time of writing this post, May 29th, 2011, I am 18 years old. The first time I saw porn, I was about 7 years old. It was an accident – I had stumbled onto a softcore website and instead of exiting the page, I explored. I was always a really curious kid, and still am. Most of it wasn’t horrifying, thankfully. There were lots of naked women, categorized according to hair color, age, weight, etc. They were objectified, but my 7 year old self could not yet understand that concept. I was never uncomfortable with nudity or sexuality. Some would say I was a little too comfortable with them.  The next part of this story still leaves me mortified. I saved the website to “Favorites”, so I could look more at a later time. Immediately, I regretted having done so, but I didn’t know how to remove it. I knew that it was illegal and highly inappropriate for a  7 year old to be looking at porn. Panicking, I found my brother’s friend who was good with computers and spun some story about popups and accidentally saving this “weird” website, so that he’d tell me how to get rid of it. When he saw what I had “accidentally” bookmarked, he gave me this funny look I’ll never forget. I was really embarrassed and continued trying to play dumb. Over the next few years, I ran into pornography several more times.  I was fascinated with sexuality, and I actively learned about the different aspects of it. If you were to have called me overexposed, well, I wouldn’t disagree.

Morbid curiosity. That’s the best excuse I can come up with for some of the things I looked up. By the time I was 11, I was familiar with BDSM as well as many fetishes and paraphilias. It seemed like nothing could surprise me anymore. One day, I went too far. I searched for “rape porn”. I knew it existed because…why wouldn’t it exist? It seemed obvious.  That was morbid curiosity, but it was also concern. I was worried that some of the women might not be paid actresses who were just pretending they were in agony. I felt like I had a duty to go and make sure it was all “fake”. Some of the scenes and websites were so realistic. It really tore me up inside to think that men could film a real rape to slip in alongside those films and no one would ever know. No one would ever ask, because hey, the girls are supposed to be crying right? And that blood? Fake. What if there was a girl out there who was assaulted and she had no idea that her rape was on the internet being used as masturbation material for some perverts? It killed me that I couldn’t know for sure – that no one could know for sure unless one specifically asked the women in those films. I thought checking out the sites would clarify things. Looking at those sites did not assuage those fears, however.

I knew about “rape” fantasies among women, but they were nothing like what I saw in porn. The violence and brutality and degradation exceeded any expectations I had. I remember thinking to myself, “This is what rape looks like. This is what happens to women.” I just knew deep in my gut, as if by some instinct. I felt hollow inside. It disturbed me that there was no….difference. I knew that if there was a double blind test, and I had to watch one of these videos and one confiscated from a rapist, I would not be able to tell which was the porno. As I clicked around, that emptiness was replaced with an increasing amount of nausea. At this point in the story, I left the room, but a “friend” has recounted to me what happened next.

A pop-up of child pornography appeared. There were little dark-skinned Asian girls standing in front of fat, old white men whose faces were blurred out.These kids were must have been between four and nine years old. That was real blood. That was really a man’s penis inside an 8 year old. That was real pedophilia. That was real, undeniable rape. She could not escape that fact no matter how hard she tried. And she really wanted to. She realized this was something she had never wanted to see, and wished she could undo it. It couldn’t be undone, though. It was stuck with her forever. It was stuck with those kids forever, who she desperately wanted to save. She wanted to make it so that none of that had ever happened to them, but she couldn’t. It haunted her. It really tore her up inside. She couldn’t tell her parents, tell anyone, because she was afraid legal action would be taken against her or her family. It took all her strength to not just vomit on the floor. She had to forget about it and move on, for everyone’s sake. It took her two days to get the sick feeling out of the pit of her stomach.

Surprisingly, none of this had an impact on my opinion of pornography. I still thought pornography was harmless. What I saw was just the “fringe” and had no bearing on mainstream porn. It was an insignificant piece of the porno pie.  At least, that’s what I thought back then.

To be continued in part two….

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11 responses to “Why Do You Hate Porn – Part 1

  • womononajourney

    I read this last night and it really gripped me. I think we have all been in that place where we have not known exactly what to think of porn–at least I know I have.

    I felt and feel a lot of sympathy for you as a young child, not knowing how to deal with the sexual exploitation out there. There really should be a website where folks can share their first experience with porn–anonymously, of course.

    I’m looking forward to part two!

  • Lori Adorable

    1. You are not describing all porn here. Have you ever been to– for example– nofauxxx.com or heavenlyspire.com?
    2. There is nothing mortifying about a kid being curious about nudity or sex or porn. That makes you a normal kid.
    3. BUT no kid should be able to view porn. Period. There need to be better regulations.
    4. The concern about whether or not it’s ‘real’ torture porn/ rape porn/ etc. is why I will only shoot with sites that do contextual interviews and only watch films with porn stars I follow on Twitter/ the blogosphere.
    5.Real rape porn and child porn are never. ever. okay. But that doesn’t mean porn is never okay anymore than the existence of rape means sex is never okay.

    In short, you’ve talked about why you hate rape porn and torture porn and mainstream porn, and looking at all of that as a child. And we all hate that. What you haven’t talked about is hating porn-the-genre, and I’m interested to hear that argument.

    • No Sugarcoating

      1. Well, it’s only my first post real post, I couldn’t get it all in there. I wanted to get the “personal” out of the way. There will be one more post about my personal experiences and opinions, and the rest of the blog will consist of objective feminist analysis. Also, this is a “Why Do You Hate Porn” post, not a “Does Good Porn Exist?” post, so feminist porn won’t be addressed just yet. I am familiar with nofauxxx and heavenlyspire though!

      2. I was not mortified because I was ashamed of looking at pornography, but because I did not want that person to see or think about me in a sexual context. I was never ashamed, just aware and cautious of possible consequences.

      3. No disagreement here, but I don’t see how that’s possible.

      5. There are different opinions on this subject even in the anti-porn feminist circles. I personally think porn(depictions of people in a sexual context, meant to arouse) is not inherently objectifying or degrading by it’s very nature, and that it is theoretically possible to create feminist or “good” porn (and I think it has been done in some rare cases). The vast, vast majority and most popular pornography is not an example of such though and that is what I focus on.

      I don’t see porn as a genre, but a medium. Porn has its own genres (facials, MILF, etc.).

      • Lori Adorable

        1. Right, but you didn’t address your thesis, which was hating ‘porn. period’ not ‘types of porn’.
        2. Definitely understandable. I was just hoping you knew that it was okay and normal for kids to be curious about these things.
        3. Better parental control software

        5. So you don’t actually dislike porn then. You dislike mainstream porn.

        Film is the medium; porn is the genre. Genres can have sub-genres.

      • No Sugarcoating

        This is just splitting hairs. If I hate 99% of porn, would it not be appropriate to say I hate porn? Do I really need to qualify every statement with, “except that 1% that this does not apply to?”

      • Lori Adorable

        Yeah, actually, you do need to clarify. Because plenty of us are working to make porn progressive and democratic and accessible (more than 1% in fact) and saying you hate what we do without backing it up is not okay.

        Try hating “mainstream porn.”

      • No Sugarcoating

        If a POC said they hated white people, would you be trying to make this point? It’s not my job to cushion your ego when talking about oppression. There are a couple of republicans that are pro-choice, but we don’t mention them when we say republicans are against providing safe, legal abortion to all women.

      • Lori Adorable

        So what I’m doing amounts to racial oppression and the erosion of reproductive rights? Wow.

      • No Sugarcoating

        Obviously not, I meant the porn is doing the oppressing, not you. I don’t believe women acting in porn oppress other women. Lori, it almost seems like you’re trying to misconstrue my words on purpose. I made an analogy, not stated an equivalent.

  • Talking it Out: A Conversation about “24/7,” “TPE,” and “CNC” (Part One) « …………….Lori Adorable……………. Tales of A Kinky RadFem

    […] like what you were writing about porn on that one chick’s blog [she's referring to this]- those distinctions are important, and lumping everything together clouds the issue in a way that […]

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