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The No-Porn Pledge

I wish I could say I'm surprised this exists, but I'm not.

It's a site on which people can pledge not to use pornography, and not only that, to refuse to have an intimate relationship with anyone who does.

Which, yeah, hardly news, some conservatives do that sort of thing all the time, right? Except that this appears to be linked to anti-porn feminists, such as One Angry Girl, rather than to the Jesus freaks.

I know people on that "side" are tired of hearing that they sound like religious conservatives of the sexually repressive sort, but, well... I'm sorry. I get the same sort of squick from this as I get when I hear of purity balls or Promise Keepers. Because the logic is the same: If I make a commitment not to "fall," I'll be doing something good in the eyes of My Cause. I have to be ready, devoted, on guard against the evils of temptation.

That the Tempter is Patriarchy and not Satan... well, I have a seriously difficult time understanding how that's not the same shit on a different day.

And it's even worse to me that part of the pledge is to swear not to date someone who uses it. How exactly is someone, even someone fortitudinous enough -- or just plain uninterested in dirty pictures enough -- to never use porn, supposed to suss out whether her partner will ever do something? Isn't that a weird kind of pressure to put on someone? I get saying "porn use really bothers me, and if you do it, I may need to move on" but I don't get "Look honey, I put my name on a list! So you'd better never, ever, ever..."

Well, bright side, at least I know who'll never date me. ;) Seems like a rather silly reason not to date me to ME, really, but well... if someone wants that badly to control what I do when I'm not with them (since such a person would surely not want to use it together), it's not going to work out anyway.

ETA: I may have spoken too soon when I said this is connected to APRFs but not to any religious groups. Here's the credit at the bottom of the page:

A joint project of the AntiPorn Activist Network, Through The Flame.org, and One angry girl designs.

Through The Flame's page appears to be a run-of-the-mill There Is Help For Porn Addiction type website. One of the pages it includes is this one:

What can the great religions teach us about pornography?

...the quotes on which seem to be a rather large collection of anti-woman commentary on not seeing women as an enticement, and not being drawn to "immorality." (I get that the Buddhist bit is supposed to be meditations on the ugliness of the human body to discourage lust in general, but I'm personally leery of it on a page like this in a way I might not be if I saw it in a different context.)

None of which makes any direct reference to pornography -- or anything that could be considered an early forerunner of it, like sexually explicit art or writing -- at all anyway! So how is is that the great religions are teaching us about it?

And, well, I want to know something, folks: If this is an addiction, that's compulsive behavior. Doesn't the compulsion mitigate the "immorality" of what one is doing? Doesn't it not make sense for God not to allow you into His presence, as some of those scriptures suggest, if you're actually an addict who is struggling against a physical compulsion based on brain chemistry?

It's a sloppy misunderstanding of what an addiction actually is, IMO. On the one hand, they want to claim it's chemical so everyone will fear falling into the trap, but on the other they need the heaps of guilt that stem from the idea that someone is freely choosing to spurn healthy sexuality for the forbidden fruit.

So yeah. Not religious, but just HAS to mention "you won't get into heaven if you lust," where "lust" in those contexts doesn't appear to be any kind of comment on a capitalist industry. "Lust" in these contexts means "don't desire women you don't already own."

I'm always flabbergasted when the most radical of feminists, the kind who are always seeking out the influence of patriarchy on everything we do, are OK with this kind of thing. It's like... how one dresses, acts, or fucks has patriarchy all over it. But religious scriptures in which women, and the sexual desire for women, are talked about in gross ways is all just A-OK, as long as they get men away from the DVD player.

Yeah, I'm flabbergasted by the hypocrisy of it all.

But I'm no longer at all surprised by it.

Daughter Of ETA: By the way, One Angry Girl? This "do not participate in your own exploitation" shirt is low, even for you.


Jul. 28th, 2008 03:16 am (UTC)
Harmful or upsetting experiences of porn are greater than it's inclusion in abuse or as a weapon which are certainly the most extreme forms and not uncommon. I'm saying that those examples you provide are not varied enough.

What exactly do you mean here? I think I have a general idea, but I'm not sure, so I wanted to ask.

I am not sure there is all that much protection when it comes to being anti-porn =) it's not a popular position and one you can't hold without being forced to defend or lie about.

*nod* That's true, but there's also a lot of flak on the other side as well. A lot of people think that if a woman is anti-pornography, she is:

* a slut (which opens up a whole other can of worms about how people in our society feel qualified to judge women as lesser for being "too" sexual or sexual in the "wrong" way)
* brainwashed/empty-headed/not "serious" about life or sex or feminism
* willing to defend anything at all
* a traitor to other women
* only doing what men in her life want her to do (I've even seen this leveled at very out lesbians who aren't anti-porn)
* desperate for people's attention
* lying about what she really thinks to seem cool

And that stuff also gets old. There's also this weird thing in some corners of the blogosphere where women who aren't anti-porn get called "sparkly" -- this assumption that they're invested in femininity. I'm not... I'm fairly masculine, personally. The only way I can make sense of it, really, is this idea that femininity is frivolous, and we must be ignorant or we'd be anti-porn, so we must be frivolous, so we must be bimbos, so we must be feminine.

It's really kind of gross.
Jul. 29th, 2008 01:51 am (UTC)
er, if a woman is NOT anti-pornography. yeah, i needed sleep.


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