FU*K John Stoltenberg
In John Stoltenberg’s article “Pornography and freedom,” he tries to make the statement that the existence of “Pornography” institutionalizes an attitude and atmosphere subjective of women and subjunctive to male supremacy. His article, focused around the negative aspects of pornography, is an attempt to safely fall back on an issue already negatively regarded within feminist circles to pass his name out by making arguments completely fallacious utilizing: obscenities, vague words and definitions, over generalized and repetitive statements, and tries to invoke in his readers their emotions rather than logic to turn an ethical issue into a statutory one—making a tripe piece of literary material inevitably detrimental to society.
He first starts out by trying to prove that all the progress in which has been made in this genre are not existent due to some of the obscene natures found in some of its works. He makes this statement by pointing out extremely obscene descriptions written to provoke the reader into becoming emotionally charged—that way it will be one’s emotions rather than their ability to apply logic that they will use, at least he hopes, to continue to read this article. After he depicts an extremely obscene paragraph he pulled off the internet or some other source he tries to get the reader to buy into his arguments by shoving down their throat two vague usages of the words “freedom” and “justice”—two words that don’t have an agreed upon definition. In doing this he fails to ever define either “freedom” or “justice” and just dances them around in a circle hoping to eventually make some sort of point. In this way one could very easily replace the words freedom and justice and use the words like bologna and banana and it would be making the same argument. Allow me to demonstrate:
Why has sexual [bologna] come to look so much like sexual repression? Why has sexual [bologna] come to look so much like un-[bologna]? The answer, I believe, has to do with the relationship between [bologna] and [bananas], and specifically the relationship between sexual [bologna] and sexual [bananas]. When we think of [bologna] in any other sense, we think of [bologna] as the result of [bananas]. We know that there can’t truly be any [bologna] until [banana] has happened, until [banana] exists. For any people in history who have struggled for [bologna], those people have understood that their [bologna] exists on the future side of [bananas]. The notion of [bologna] prior to [banana] is understood to be meaningless. Whenever people do not have [bologna], they have understood [bologna] to be that which you arrive at by achieving [bananas]. If you told them they should have their [bologna] without there being [bananas], they would laugh in your face.
Even in the extreme way in which I point this out, were he to ever actually define either freedom or justice one would be able to actually understand what he’s talking about and derive the true meanings out of words even as silly as bologna or banana. However, he never so much as writes a single sentence within this trip that doesn’t contain or pertain its meaning from one of the two words, and at the end of it he comes out sounding a lot like Bush explaining matters of foreign diplomacy; it doesn’t work.
Following this line of “logic,” he moves on to make his thesis statement that “[Pornography] has been about maintaining men’s superior status, men’s power over women; and it has been about sexualizing women’s inferior status, men’s subordination of women.” This statement that Pornography supports patriarchy is completely false. It is an over generalized make up of Pornography as a whole utilizing only specific examples of hard-core heterosexual male dominated porn. It would be like me over generalizing Pornography saying that all Pornography spreads the culture of homosexuality utilizing only those few specific examples of gay porn. The fact that there actually is some forms of female-produced and directed pornography—karma sutra, for example—would only help to disprove all of his arguments and make the rest of this article obsolete. However, in the essence that I now hate John Stoltenberg, I will continue to prove how ridiculous this article is.
Under his next header of “Pornography and Homophobia” Johnny boy continues his arguments by utilizing his found false method of repetition. He makes a statement, generally summed up as, “homophobia keeps men from assaulting other men.” This statement by itself makes no sense, since most accounts of homo-bashing is between one man and another man, usually the other man being a “homo.” He even goes into pointing out examples where he is contradicting himself by stating that some men are assaulted by other men; however, the examples he points out like child molestation and prison rape don’t really have anything to do with homophobia. Anyways, as annoying as his already made up statement that “homophobia keeps men from assaulting other men” is, not only does he state this once, but he re-words and re-states this same damn statement six times throughout this same paragraph. He then ends this argument off by making another over generalization about pornography, summing it up into an outright lie that Pornography enforces homophobia by representing lesbian porn geared towards men and labeling male gays as “faggots” and “fairies.” Now, in most instances, lesbian porn is geared towards men; however, some lesbian porn is made by and geared towards lesbians—for an example go to http://www.lesbianlessons.com. This proves that statement false. Also, the statement that Pornography as a whole makes gays seem effeminate and non-domineering, is also unfounded in the sense that if one were to make any randomized search for gay pornography the most popular gay porn scenes would represent gay males in domineering positions of power—the most popular being Policemen, Construction workers, cowboys, and Firemen; for an example of this browse around http://www.gaydemon.com.
In the end of his article, he once again tries to plea with the reader’s emotions, in particular male emotions, and tries to get “us” to band together to overthrow the rights of pornographers to utilize their rights to free speech, and go backwards on progress in the name of who knows what. John Stoltenberg does not speak for all men when he writes this article; in fact, anyone who believes in anything he writes in this article is wrong. I can say that very clearly. Not only is Johnny boy wrong in every single conclusion he makes, but his article is actually harming to society were it to pick up steam. The fact that it is in this textbook, without anything else in it contradicting his article or stating how wrong his article is, is scary. I want the writer’s of this textbook, Susan Shaw and Janet Lee, to get a copy of this response that I’m writing if for nothing else but for them to read about the next point that I will be making. This article is harming to society in the fact that it regresses on the progress already made in this genre as well as the progress to be made in the genre of gender and sexual equality.
There is great diversity that can be found in the realm of Pornography; however, yes there is an over abundance of male heterosexual oriented pornography. But the true problem is not about the over abundance of male oriented pornography but the lack of female-oriented pornography. According to an article by Erick Janssen titled “Why People use porn”J found at PBS.Org, when it comes to watching Pornography, women can become just as sexually and biologically aroused as men; however it is their social up-bringing that causes them to become repulsed and derogatory against it. Society’s norms say that women should not like pornography despite what their own bodies may tell them. The true progress in this genre then is not to take away the rights of male pornographers from expressing their spin on the genre, but to relinquish the holds society has on females from expressing their own. Were it to be socially acceptable for females to find Pornography as they would like, you could, contrary to John Stoltenberg’s understanding, very well hear about objects such as “tenderness,” “intimacy,” and “caring” as sexually arousing stimuli. One of John Stoltenberg’s problems is that he focuses too much on the individual puzzle pieces and can’t see the over-all picture of the puzzle.
Another positive spin on pornography is that it creates an escape from reality—an escape from the socially constricting norms of conformity. It works as a type of release where males and females—gay, straight, or bisexual—can go to fantasize about some things that they would normally never do in reality. Pornography in this sense is no more harming than say watching an action or kung fu movie if only to escape the long pressures of the day. John Stoltenberg in this sense comes off as a type of social conformist trying to pass off his own moral issues to create an atmosphere of pent up fear and perversion. It is better for people to take out their sexual mores in private than public. This leads me into wondering the sexual problems in John Stoltenberg himself; for him to write this on his own without any outside influences and truly believe in it, he must be an extremely sexually repressed individual epitomizing the model of sexual inadequacy and male insecurity—definitely not someone to emulate, and definitely not someone to take advice from concerning male sexuality.
In conclusion I would like to say that I hate John Stoltenberg and I hate this article, but Pornography is “A” Okay by me.
This is an article by Erick Janssen, a Ph.D. Associate
Scientist at The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and