By Clara

For the longest time, nothing ever seemed wrong with pornography to me. I didn't like it, I didn't look at it, but nothing ever seemed wrong about it to me. I have friends who write soft-porn stories -- so called "self-respecting women" who write about ME in bed with thirty-year old men. And I'm not talking about Trent Reznor. Even that never seemed wrong to me. Odd, skewed, unpleasant, yes, but wrong? Never.

You have to understand where I've come from. For a very long time, I partook in the "nerd culture" of Santa Barbara, California. This meant that every few weekends I walked into a room with more testosterone and more dicks that were ruled by their owner's right hand than any other space combined. The LAN party (a party where a bunch of people hook up their computers and play video games against each other).

For me, it wasn't about the porn, and it wasn't about playing Quake III, Unreal Tournement or the likes. For me it was about being with my friends. But soon it became about the porn, when during a LAN at B's house, a few guys called me sexually repressed and locked me in a room with "Nymph," a 900 megabyte pornography movie. This was the same party at which I first got to know J.

J. was my boyfriend for a month and a half. I have regretted every second I was with him for the past month since we've broken up. The "Quote List" of LAN parties is littered with comments about his 40 year old woman porn or his anime "angels," which my friend A. and I covered over with pictures (NOT pornographic) of Trent Reznor one night while he left his car at her house. How could I have thought that this boy, because he is a boy, could ever respect me? I am not just a walking sex-object. J. was the first to tell me that the LAN guys thought I was "experienced." I am incredibly proud of my virginity. I am 16. I have a hell of a lot of better things to do than show some guy that he can use me for sex. J. was also the first boyfriend I've ever had to proposition me.

Here the line is drawn. I thought J. was a nice guy. I thought he respected me. He didn't. Nearing the 3 month mark in our relationship, we were having problems. We almost broke up. But the "resolution" of our problems sealed our fate for the future. He pushed me. He didn't do it with words, but with actions. J. is the only guy I've ever been with who tried to take off my pants. And he didn't ask if it was okay. See, J., with his gigabytes of pornographic images and stories, showed me what a horrible effect pornography has on our society. He told me I had a perfect body. The more he said it, the more disgusting I felt. I am 5'4" and 102 lbs. That makes me at least 13 lbs underweight for my height. I am a size 34C. I have a thin waist, long and muscular legs (I used to ice-skate), red hair, blue-violet eyes, and size 7 feet. Every one of my boyfriends has told me I have a beautiful body, but I don't see this as beautiful. In the eighth grade, my anorexia went unnoticed. I got down to 86 lbs at 5'2" before a friend forced me to eat. That is no way to respect your body, but it is the type of ideal that J. or any of the rest of the LAN guys might promote.

I can't say they are the only ones at fault. Pornography did not strike me as wrong for sixteen years and five months of my life. It only began to agitate me when, while talking to a friend of mine, I was informed that J. and I broke up (according to him) because I wouldn't put out. J. and his idealistic views of what the female form should be -- J., the virgin, expected ME to waste my future on him. He made convincing cases at times, but I never had sex with him. I am proud of myself. How could I call myself a "self-respecting" woman if I had succumbed to the "charms" of a sexist PIG? I realize all the behaviors now. He always insisted he could run faster than my 5 minute mile. He always insisted that a "healthy mental relationship" was codependent on a healthy sexual relationship. As I told the gay, lesbian and bi support group at my school, "I have always been about 70% guys, 30% girls, but since going out with J., those percentages have reversed."

I need to tie this all back in. I once argued with my dad that a friend, B., was justified and NOT being sexist in any way, despite calling the girl he was interested in "Bitch # __." How could I have been so blind to these obviously sexist behaviors? ALL of the LAN guys -- pornography-donning extraordinaires -- are pigs. All of them sit jacking off to two women wrestling to the ground while naked. This is wrong and I'm glad I can see it now. Women who sell their bodies and sell their souls short are contributing to chauvinism. If you want to celebrate your sexuality, do it with someone you love, not the face of some ideally-proportioned woman who you will never know.

All of the guys used to tell me that sex was about pleasuring someone you love, but it always seemed to me that, with all this porn, they expected that what aroused them and what pleasured them would automatically be something their partner would want. I have been called a chick, I have been called a slut, I have been called every possible derogatory word for a woman. My body does not define me. I have never had sex with a guy. I am proud of this because it means that I've never had sex with any of the guys I used to associate with. It means that I have kept my integrity and that I have proven, with all eight of my boyfriends, that I amount to more than the sum total of my parts. In recent years, I've developed severe acne. My parents have tried to convince me to treat it, but in a way, it's something I like, because it means that I am not just a sexual ideal. It means that I have a physical flaw -- which makes me happy, because it means if I am wanted, it is for me.

As Holden Caulfield so eloquently put it, "you can never erase all the fuck-yous in the world." The pornography industry is an integral part of our society. But for all of you male chauvinists, or even those of you who get off on women having sex with other women because you're not getting any yourself, just because pornography is accepted by society doesn't mean I have to accept it. Go ahead. Look at pictures of naked women. Watch them have sex. Wish your dick was in her pussy. But don't ask me to approve because I won't. I am not your toy.

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