By Maryn

"So, you use double-ended dildos on each other?"

It was yet another charming question asked to me by yet another straight boy. Like so may of his peers, he had obviously been raised on a diet of straight boy porn, all of which probably included the obligatory "girl on girl" scenes.. complete with fake nails, high heels and, yes, double-ended dildos aplenty. So, of course when he heard that I was in a relationship with a woman, he figured that not only was it appropriate to ask such a personal question of a acquaintance (after all, why would women have sex if not for the male gaze?) but he saw nothing wrong with projecting his porn-inspired images right on to my sex life.

This is why bothers me the about porn. I'm in a committed relationship with a woman. We cook a lot of food, wash a lot of dishes, drink tea, play cards, do laundry together and live a pretty domestic life. If one didn't know the sexes of the two people we were talking about, we would look downright boring. But, DAMN, as soon as some guy finds out that we're talking about a LESBIAN relationship, we suddenly become two sex-crazed babes, just hoping for some man to "accidentally" stumble upon us and give us the penis for which we've been longing... and if we haven't been longing, it's only because we haven't had the "right" dick yet. Now, I'm no stranger to studies that link porn with rape or violence against women and I'm sure that there is a lot of validity to it. But it is the way that porn leaks into EVERYONE'S minds and subtly (and not so subtly) distorts people's concept of sexuality that scares me the most. Porn leads to sexual ignorance much more frequently than it leads to rape.

People will defend porn claiming that it is, "Only about fantasy and has no bearing on the real world." I have personally felt the negative effects of porn in my "real life" countless times. The most offensive example to me is the way that I am living a lifestyle that people just love to erotocize. I don't think that men would be so hot over two women having sex if they didn't see it presented to them as something that women do because there are no men around (at the moment) but as soon as one shows up, they will forget about each other and be fully consumed by the wonder that is the penis. Of course, women having sex with each other should actually scare the shit out of men, since it proves that men (and their penises) are not necessarily crucial elements to sex.

Speaking of the penis, there is another porn-viewing side effect that has reared it's ugly head (no pun intended) into my sex life. A man that I used to date (yes, I said man. This means that I'm bisexual, the ULTIMATE plaything for men, since I just love to bring my female friends home so that my boyfriends can watch and join in) had a serious insecurity about the size of his member. Like, he was too embarrassed to let me anywhere near it for quite a while, lest I mock his small stature. When the tighty whities finally came off, lo and behold, what did I find but AN AVERAGE SIZE PENIS! I talked to him about it, and he admitted that years of watching porn and seeing the men with the 12 inch johnsons (Hello?!? Ouch!) and hearing his friends mock the smallness of the men with the mere 9 inch johnsons and convinced him that his 5 inch johnson was a disgrace to the male sex. This insecurity had pretty serious effects on his sex life... and when we were together, on mine as well.

Of course, it's not only the boys that suffer from the "My genitals are not all that" syndrome that comes with porn viewing. My current favorite example is the lovely case of the vaginal rejuvenation surgery. It's a cosmetic procedure that it supposed to make "ugly" vulvas desirable. Does you inner labia dangle in an unsightly fashion? Is your clitoris hidden in folds of skin, just begging to be permanently exposed? Do you, God forbid, HAVE PUBIC HAIR? Well, now you can pay big bucks and have surgeon "fix" these faults! They'll have your haggard cunt looking like a 12 year- olds in no time! "But women have the right to alter their bodies in whatever way will make them happiest" you say? I say, "What woman would seriously choose to have her vaginal lips snipped off if she weren't bombarded with images that make her think that her vulva is 'wrong'?" In a recent article in Bitch magazine, each of the women who had undergone the surgery had done so after seeing the (airbrushed and Photoshopped) women in publications like Hustler and Playboy and realizing that that their own crotches were obviously hideous and that no man would ever fall in love with them as long as they had that unkempt thing hanging around between their legs.

Some people want to dismiss any responsibility of people hating their bodies due to porn viewing because, "It's people's OWN FAULT if they are going to let images in a magazine effect them in a negative way." I suppose that you also believe that any girl who obsesses over her weight is weak for succumbing to the the bombardment of images of waif women in the media. And certainly the way that news reports love to show lots and lots of footage of nonwhite "criminals" doesn't help to perpetuate racial stereotypes. In fact, we are all totally immune to the mass-media brainwashing that we are subjected to every day of our lives. This, of course, is bullshit.

Nowadays, there's a pretty large portion of feminists who are all about embracing "Woman centered" porn. This stuff is usually made by and for women and is supposedly the antidote for all of the "bad" porn out there. I did some (admittedly pretty limited, because I hated it) research on the subject and found that a LOT of the "Woman centered" porn isn't really very different from the "bad" porn. I mean, within the first couple of pages of On Our Backs (a lesbian sex magazine made supposedly for women), there was a woman fellating a dildo... gee, I bet they never show anything like THAT in straight boy porn! You can peruse through Nothing But the Girl (photo book supposedly by and for women) and find a "woman centered" gang rape scene. I guess it's "woman centered" because it's women who are doing it. I guess that I forgot that a crucial part of becoming a liberated woman is to assume the most undesirable characteristics of men. I guess that I won't be a really good feminist until I start objectifying other women.

Of course, many will claim that "woman centered" porn (and some would actually make this argument for ALL porn) isn't about objectifying women at all. Nope, porn is just a beautiful way of celebrating female sexuality. This argument makes me want to slap people upside the heads with their copies of Hustler or On Our Backs and make them WAKE UP! This is NOT a celebration of women's sexuality! If it were, why are there no images of women over 40 celebrating their sexuality? 250 pound women celebrating their sexuality? Disabled women celebrating their sexuality? Clearly, there are many more types of women who have just as much sexuality to celebrate than just the under 30, thin and cosmetically altered women who we can find "celebrating their sexuality" on newsstands and in cages at strip clubs. I also find it disturbing that for many women, publicly "celebrating their sexuality" is the best option that they have to pay their rent.

Now that I've pointed out my major issues with porn, I should admit what the thing that I hate the most about porn is... that's it's here to stay. I don't see that there is any way to get rid of porn with there being serious consequences. Making porn illegal would only cause major problems with censorship, and I don't want to have books start being censored just because they, God forbid, talk about homosexuality or something. I don't think that all strip clubs should be shut down tomorrow, as all that would accomplish would be that there would be a lot of women going into a financial crisis. The only possible way that sexist porn is going to go away is by turning the fucking world on it's head and by making the misogyny that we live with today unthinkable. It'll be a long process, but believe me, I'm trying!


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