3b.jpgThis is quote from a discussion about porn at feministe.

The root of the problem is, IMHO, that the vast majority of porn in our culture is the graphic depiction of sexual assault against women in which girls are depicted as instruments of men for men’s pleasure.

I’ve never been able to comprehend the argument against objectifying and commodifying sexual imagery. Nor can I comprehend the negative taint associated with women being instruments for pleasure.

It seems that people want to be seen and valued for some mysterious internal subjective essense, and to look at and value the objective shape and form and function is somehow not only shallow, but insensitive and oppressive.

But that’s insane. No one is a mere subject. We are both subjects and objects. You can’t have sex without a body.

The whole quibble about whether little black boxes steal bits of women’s souls and transfer them to paper and hard-drives is a primitive superstition. Souls are not being stolen and objectified, flattened and commodified. The commodity is the endorphin, testosterone, oxitocyn and adrenaline rush. The medium is data storage and display, and the source is graphic art, CGI, or video recording. No soul got objectified in the process.

Update: On the issue of porn, can bloggers convene to do more than try to agree on what to wring hands over?

Assuming there came aggreement on what should change, what avenue for change can you persue?
1) Legal? If this were practical, the very powerful religious right would have curbed porn already.
2) Social pressures? As I used to steal Penthouses at age 9, i can’t imagine social pressures will overide libidinous pressures.
3) Affect supply or demand? Anyone on the globe with a cam-phone and a net connection can produce and distribute porn. Demand is insatiable.

I suggest the only way to positively affect sex culture is to have unusually great sex, and advocate your practice to others. Choose the porn (or lack of it) that fits your lifestyle of great sex, and condone others to do likewise.

1) The blogosphere has virtually no impact on the porn industry.
2) There is nothing in porn that has not been going on for thousands of years, and that won’t continue to go on long past our deaths
3) If you want to make a cultural impact, lead by example; be happier than most.

Update 2: There is a Kadampa Buddhist slogan that goes something like: 3 objects, three poisons, three virtuous seeds.  The objects are the objects for which we have passion, aggression, or indifference; the poisons are those 3 emotions; the virtuous seeds are the habits that are sown by letting go of attachment to the objects and owning ones own emotions without causing trouble. 

Regarding seeing a hot chick on the street, the slogan implies that you not bother her with unwanted sexual attention.  In a way, the slogan says not to objectify, not to project your desire onto someone else, but to own it, and so not bother people and begin to free yourself from habits that feed disturbing emotions and obscure relaxing into awareness in the moment.

How we come at the question of objectifying depends on our angle of view.  Are we the recipient of unwanted sexual advances?  Then we explain that we don’t want to receive somones projections and desires and fantasies – don’t objectify me into your projection.  Are we a respectable and respectful admirer?  Then we want to be able to both own our lust, and use it to play flirtatiously, if appropriate.  There is nothing in admiring the physical form and wanting to interact with it, in itself, that is harmful.  It can be inspiring and cheerful.