Women are hurt making all porn, at all levels and types of porn. Sex slaves and children have been found in every single genre of porn, from mainstream Penthouse all the way down to foreign snuff films. Women and children have been exploited at every single level of porn. When one consumes porn one fuels a market that does hurt women and children, at every single level. There are no exceptions to this rule. Sure, not every woman in a given photo is a slave or a child, but they do exist and they have been uncovered almost universally in every manufacturer of mainstream porn. Even if YOUR publication hasn't yet been found to have had underage women or slaves working for them, it doesn't mean it won't. The proof of this is that the major publications have had scandal after scandal of underage girls as well as women who were held as slaves by their husbands.
There is no way for you, or for any other consumer of Porn, to know the true ages of the girls in your dirty pictures. There is no way for you to know the girl's histories, you CANNOT know if the girl you are masturbating to is, in reality, a sexual slave from Austria who has a gun pointed at her head just off camera.
From the rankest of the rank to the high society porn, there have been scandals in all levels of porn. And, as an ethical human being, I made a decision many years ago that I would not, could not, support an industry in which women are harmed. For me, I have decided that there are no acceptable losses. My number is zero. And I live by that number every day. For ME there is no way that I can masturbate to porn while the possibility exists that the girl could be a child, or a slave. That's what No Acceptable Losses means. And there is always a possibility that that girl is a child, or a slave. Of that, there can be no doubt because it has already happened, and it continues to happen.
Acceptable losses are something we deal with every day. I, like most of us, drive a car. I do so with the understanding that even MY car, a little Dodge Neon, causes environmental issues. Even MY car emits nastiness into the air. I have weighed this in my head and have decided that I will continue to drive a car but I will do so knowing that I am contributing to ozone issues and global warming. My hands are not clean. I have determined that there is "Acceptable Losses" because the benefits of driving my car outweigh, for me, the risks involved. I must drive a car to support my family, and, supporting my family is more important than the damage my car is doing to the environment. Therefore, I drive a small car that gets good gas mileage and I do my part to help out, even though I understand that I have made a concession. I drive my car knowing that I am contributing to Global Warming.
Letıs take certain drugs. Viagra for instance. Let's assume that 2 men go blind while using Viagra. I look at the benefits of this drug and weigh it against the risks. I decide that 2 men going blind are worth the benefits. I have Acceptable Losses on Viagra. I am willing to sacrifice those few men to the perceived greater benefit to the millions of others.
Everyone has acceptable losses. Many of us are aware of the part we play and we have made good choices that are in keeping with who we think we are. Many more of us simply choose to do whatever we want to do without even thinking about what our margin of Acceptable Losses is. Those who do think about it weigh the importance of the benefit they receive from the product vs. the risks involved to others, to the environment, to society and to themselves. They then determine whether or not the risks are worth it.
We're all pretty much in agreement on things like Heroin and Crack. We, as a society, look at the benefits of Heroin to the user and we weigh it against the risks to society, the environment and the user him/herself. Most of us then decide that Heroin HAS no Acceptable losses, therefore, as a society; we make it illegal in an effort to tell the Heroin industry that their losses are not acceptable to society at large. Sure, we may not get all of the Heroin, we may not even get most of the Heroin, but, as a society we have made it illegal to possess and use heroin JUST to show that we don't think that the benefits outweigh the risks. We are telling the Heroin users, dealers and manufacturers that their product has too many losses for us to deem it acceptable.
Occasionally, society goes in a different direction and, instead of basing their judgment on risks vs. benefits they just make a gut determination that isn't based on anything other than their feelings on the topic at hand. A clear example of this is Gays and Lesbians. Much of this society has launched a war on Gays and Lesbians, saying that the risks do not outweigh the benefits. Many of us have simply decided that Gays are bad; we have made a gut decision that doesn't appear to have been made on anything really concrete. When one pushes an anti-gay activist on exactly why they're anti-gay, one normally ends up with some version of, "It's just, Ewwww, it's just not natural" Rational thinking people appear puzzled at this because they see that there is no rational in the anti-gay movement other than, "We just don't LIKE it!".
When one speaks to an anti-gay person one can put forth all the documentation they want to disprove the old standbys like, "It raises the AIDS rate", when we show them that Lesbians have a lower AIDS rate than heterosexual men they still persist. "It harms marriage!" When one shows them that heterosexuals have 'harmed marriage' well enough on their own they still persist. We can knock down every one of their arguments with real statistics, real numbers, and it does no good. One comes away feeling as though they have spent several hours beating their heads against a brick wall. As it turns out the anti-gay folks have determined that their desire to not be offended is more important than the desire of the gays to live happy, harmonious lives with the person of their choice. There is no 'real' reason that gays shouldn't be allowed to be together, the statistics show that there is no more damage done than there is in the straight community by gays. The numbers prove that there is little harm in gays being allowed to be...well...gay.
Now, some people have a particular interest in one area. For example, many folks who belong to Green Peace do not drive cars of their own because to them, they have zero Acceptable Losses as it pertains to the environment. Admittedly, this is a difficult way to go, there are many, many things that harm the environment, but they have determined that the environment is the area in which their number is ZERO.
I am a Feminist. Therefore I, as a Feminist, have decided that there are no acceptable losses as it pertains to Women. As a Feminist, women are my top priority. Stopping violence, rape and abuse as well as creating true equality for Women is where my interests lie. I know this about myself, I have thought a great deal about it, I know my mind and I know where it lay, I know what is important to me and I have determined that Women are important to me. I love Women, I adore women (and no, I'm not a lesbian) but I acutely feel the pain of women. I empathize with women and when a woman hurts, I hurt. When I hear a story about the rape of a woman my heart is heavy and I want to cry, sometimes, I do cry, every time my body shudders in empathy for that woman.
This is probably not unlike an environmentalist who shudders when they hear that another tree has been cut. Somehow, they empathize with that tree, they believe that they can feel the pain of that tree. They are wounded when another forest is cut. THIS is why they chain themselves to trees and make shields of their own bodies.
In my life I have come to realize that, for me, there are no acceptable losses as it pertains to women. I hear the screams of the raped women. I hear the howls of indignation from women like my mother, women who have lived a caged life. I hear the shrieks of fear and terror from the abused women, the sobs of the drug-addicted prostitutes; I hear the confused babble of the young girl lifting her shirt for Girls Gone Wild. I hear the chaos of their screams. I empathize with them, I feel with them, for them. Their voices are so near to me and my body shudders and my stomach flips when I hear of another sex slave released from her masters. My mind hears her terror and my head shows me her torture and I get physically ill over her pain.
Their cries drown out any compunction I may have to forget their pain. I simply cannot forget their pain. It slices into me over and over again, with every story, with every bruised face and bruised body I feel their pain. The pain of the children in Bangkok when men penetrate their 12 year old bodies washes over me as a river of blood. The defeated sadness in the woman who is forced to have sex with a man on camera hits me as a sledgehammer, it lays heavy on my skin like filth I cannot free myself from. I feel it. I feel so much of their pain that it is sometimes frightening to me.
I wish to the Gods that I could shut it off, that I could conveniently forget their pain so I could live a full life in a land that hates Feminists. A land that calls us frigid, or rabid. A land in which I am considered extreme and man-hating a land in which I am told that my boys will turn out to be misogynist asses because I feel the pain of women. Gods know that I would love to be able to turn the radio station in my head, to remain oblivious to the blank eyes and dead movements of the strippers in the local crotch club. I would love to be able to navigate through this life, safe from the venom and fury that is cast upon me because I have chosen the label "feminist", because I can feel their pain. My life would be so much less complicated if I could just hop on the internet and look up "Teenage pussy" without seeing the dead eyes that accompany their lipsticked faces. If I could watch a porn movie featuring a woman being anally fucked without hearing the change in her tone as it goes from fake pleasure to real honest to fucking goodness pain.
I have wished for this very often. But you know what? I can't turn it off. I simply can't NOT see their pain, I can't NOT hear their screams, and I can't ever, in good conscious, turn my head to their misery. I can never place my orgasm above THEIR pain. Even if it's only 1, my number is ZERO, not 1, not 2 and not 55,000.
When I hear the story of Linda Lovelace I feel her pain, her indignation, I can imagine her torment as she was forced to have sex with animals. Her fear as her husband whored her out to other men for the camera. The terror she felt when she ran away, when she escaped and was brought back. Her humiliation stains my hands and her screams ring through my soul, she is a banshee, crying at the indignation she suffered for no other reason than to make people cum. She is not the only one. She is one of so many that their faces blur and their screams coalesce into one long, piercing wail.
It happens. The Pornography industry chews them up and spits them out, it eats them and its supporters accept this as inevitable. There is no way for a man, or woman, to look me in the eye and try to tell me that their number is zero when they go home and type in "XXX Pussy" on their keyboard.
It's very much like the Gay argument. I show proof rock solid, hardcore proof that these things are happening. That young girls, children, are being posed for the camera. Tracy Lords starred in 77 full length movies before she reached 18. Seventy-seven movies. Seventy-fucking-seven. She was a child of 15. A freshman in High-School. MILLIONS of men, around the world, masturbated to this child to this little girl being raped by 3 or 4 men. Millions of men and women alike got off to images of a 15 year old girl.
Many of them felt badly after they found out about it. Many of them hid their secret away, not wanting to admit to it. But you know what? They went right back to their local video store and got another movie with another girl in it, knowing full well that she might be a child. It is obvious to me that, for these people, it's a sad thing that a young girl was used so terribly, but it is an Acceptable Loss. These folks have determined that their orgasm is more important than the lives of children that this industry takes.
They put up wall after wall. Telling themselves that this stuff only happens in anything that isn't the stuff they are watching. They make excuses, over and over again. And then, finally, when someone pins them to the wall and they are unable to move the attention from the Acceptable Losses fact they get angry and they lash out and they say cruel, cutting things. They call us 'prudes' they say we're 'rabid' they say we want to 'stifle their rights' they say any combination of things to push the spotlight away from them. Away from the "What's your number?" question. Why? Because, they are ashamed to admit that they don't HAVE a number. They spin their wheels and they dance and they use buzzwords like "Empowerment" and "Free Speech" but they dance away like so many sprites in the night when you ask them "What's your number?"
They claim the question is irrelevant. If it were irrelevant then why not just answer it? They create big long arguments that basically amount to "Nuh uh! Not in MY porn" They discount the stories of the women and children themselves, they smear the women who have come forth and said that these things did happen to them. They insist that it's those other porn manufacturers that do these things, not their porn manufacturer. Even when the proof is shown to them that Penthouse, and Playboy and Hustler have all seen their share of scandals, even when you point out that this does happen in 'mainstream porn' they dance and they jiggle and they do the Macarena but they won't answer the question. They refuse to answer, "What's your number?" and thereby show all those around them that they do in fact, value their orgasm over the lives of little girls, over the lives of women who are taken from their homes or coerced into leaving their homes for "A better life in America", a life that consists of porn by day and prostitution by night. A life of an object a life of being gang-raped by men, by being forced to 'service' upwards of 20 men a day.
Their screams aren't silent to me. I hear them, I feel them, and I cry. I weep and I sob and I get angry and I scream, "Why?" to anyone that will listen. Why are we expendable? Why are the screams of a child not enough to turn the eyes of the man from the pictures? Why are the sobs of the slave not enough to turn his gaze from her rape?
This is the main reason I despise Pornography. There are so many others, but this one fills me with a hopelessness I can barely articulate. How can a woman watch pornography and not hear the screams? How can they hear the numbers and tell themselves, "Not in my Porn!" How can a woman, who labels herself "Feminist" walk with the blood of slaves on her hands, the screams of children in her soul, and leave them behind?
I will not patronize an industry that enslaves people in ANY number. I will not show them that there is a market for their brutality, even if that brutality is only one woman in a far away land. I am confused by the number of people who believe that their orgasm is more important than life. For that is what they are saying, even if they dance, even if they build walls. What they are doing is showing the pornographers that there is more of a market for it. Showing them, very clearly, that they Accept the Losses. That the losses are 'inevitable' and therefore, acceptable.
It confuses me that someone can place so much value on a titillating picture. That a living, breathing human being who is part of the same race as I am, the race of humankind, can so completely ignore the screams of the innocent for something as mundane as an orgasm. It falls beyond my capability to understand, I ask my partner all the time, "How? How can they know the numbers, how can they know the abuses and continue to watch? Continue to go to their favorite website, or eagerly rip open that new copy of Penthouse knowing that THAT publication has used children. Has photographed the RAPE of children? How?" And my voice cracks and my eyes grow cloudy as my mind seeks to grasp the mechanism by which they rationalize it.
It also occurs to me that, in these people, these people who continue to watch Pornography even after knowing the statistics there is a more insidious implication there. Something that is grotesque in its honesty.
In believing that there are Acceptable Losses in the making of Pornography (and they do believe it, they prove it each and every time they look at it) they are also, by default, saying that rape is also acceptable. How? Why? It's simple. Nobody denies that there are honest to goodness sex slaves that are used to make pornography. They may dance and say that it's not in their porn, they may build walls and insist that THEY don't fuel a demand for pornography when they look at it, but they won't deny that it exists. Even they can't deny this fact. In accepting the idea of sex-slavery in pornography they have accepted the idea of rape in Pornography. When they acknowledge that a 15 year old child starred in 77 movies by well known Pornographers they are admitting that there is rape involved on some level in the making of mainstream porn. And Tracy Lords' porn WAS mainstream porn. A 15 year old child is unable to legally consent to sex, therefore, it's rape.
When they go back to look at their porn, after having all these facts, after knowing and acknowledging that rape does occur they foster an acceptance of rape, even IF they insist that it's not in THEIR porn they understand that rape does occur in porn and that the industry, as a whole, should not be banned just because of a 'few' rapes. They have bought the idea that some rape is acceptable.
Taken to its logical conclusion, this mode of thinking would have us set a number of rapes each year that were 'free' rapes. Rapes that should be legal. If nothing is wrong with accepting a few rapes in our quest for Pornography, then what is the difference in accepting a 'few rapes' throughout the year? Acceptance of Pornography is Acceptance of Rape. If, after hearing the facts, you decide to look at porn you are saying that those women, those children, and their rapes, are acceptable. If your number is more than zero, if you think that even 1 rape is acceptable to bring you your XXX pictures then it should also be legal to rape one woman per year. When the ball drops in Times Square the first rape of the year should be free and clear.
If you believe that sex-slavery is acceptable to create Pornography you believe that rape is acceptable. If you think it's NOT acceptable but you continue to look at porn you are telling the world that it IS acceptable. It really *is* that simple. It doesn't matter what you want to believe. It doesn't matter if you say you are adamantly against rape. If you look at porn, knowing that rape occurs in the industry, knowing that slavery occurs as part and parcel, as an inherent THREAD in the industry, then you are saying that Rape is Acceptable. Your actions are showing your values, your actions are showing just where you place rape and slavery at on the scale of what your orgasm is worth.
I can't help but wonder how quickly our Government would act if we found out that the tobacco companies kidnapped and raped people in their manufacturing of cigarettes. I can't help but wonder just how quickly the Government would act if it found out that 45,000 to 55,000 men were being kept as sexual slaves in the good ol' U.S. of A. How quickly would Bush organize a task force to shut down the tobacco companies? How quickly would they create a "Anti-slavery taskforce" if it were for anything BUT the sex industry?
These women are considered expendable by men, women and even self-labeled Feminists. They are a nasty little thought that we don't like to dwell on when we discuss how "empowering" and how "harmless" the Pornographic industry is. When we run to our keyboards and masturbate to their images we are masturbating to their collective screams, their collective rapes and we LIKE it. We FIGHT to continue to allow them to be raped and abused. We fight like hell to keep it, just like the anti-gay people fight like hell to say gays are bad; we fight because we LIKE it. We fight because we don't CARE, sure, we may tsk and shake our heads and say, "I don't agree with the abuses in Pornography" but it's empty and it's hollow because we run right back home and make sure the kids are in bed and we look up, "Wet sluts take it all" and we touch ourselves and when we are done we may feel badly, but not quite badly enough. We distance ourselves from their horror like we distance ourselves from so many horrors in our world.
And when we hear about another child who was featured in Penthouse, another child who got paid less than $50,000 for the total of 4 years that she made her living fucking adult men when she, herself, was a mere child we tsk and we shake our heads and we say, "I don't agree with it" but then we say, "I never saw HER perform, I never saw HER movies, therefore I have clean hands" and we go home and rip open our new copy of Penthouse which, at one time featured HER body posed and spread as a buffet of 15 year-old flesh, and we jerk off to it and we silence her screams once and for all. And then we get angry and we scream and we cry out in indignation to those prudish, holier-than-thou Feminists who proudly say, "My number is zero".
I have never been able to figure it out. And it terrifies me because we, as a society, have determined that there are Acceptable Losses to orgasm. And that thought scares me shitless, because I have hope that I can someday live in a world in which the screams are gone. That's the reason that I am so adamant and why I harp so loudly and so rudely on Pornography. Because I don't accept rape, and I refuse to accept the logic that it's worth it, that there are Acceptable Losses for me to achieve my orgasm.