Friday, May 19, 2006

New Model Army

People have very different ideas about what liberation means. Often what is called liberation really means that one type of restriction has disappeared and been replaced by another.

One area which is considered more liberated in modern day society is sex and sexuality.
Modesty or prudishness have been pushed aside by hedonism and comercialism as the frequent refrain of "Sex sells" and meeting the demand of the public is used as justification.

The most visible example of this is the pornographic industry, which has used globalisation and technology to become an ever more profitable business. From being the domain of backstreet shops and mail order companies, porn is now a mainstream product, readily available.

Does anyone ever wonder where all these porn actors/models come from? There are so many of them it is frightening. So many people are being drawn into such dangerous and damaging work and the numbers of people doing this is increasing. Can there really be that many people who want to earn their living this way? It's almost like there's some sort of conscription at work, drafting people in to provide fodder for the industry.

I am against pornography, both as a Muslim and a feminist. Those who disgree with this stance should ask themselves if they would like someone they care about to appear in such things. The answer is almost certainly no.

The desire for porn to be seen as acceptable is a very insiduous trend and not just for those who appear in it. Like narcotics, like tobacco, like gambling, porn is another accquired desire that is destructive both for the user and those around them.

It degrades both the user and the porn actor by removing dignity and converting human intimacy into the lowest common denominator of temporary gratification, encouraging people to view each other as objects be to be utilised then discarded.


Alina said...

I do not think pornography has anything to do with feminism. It is people's choice to take money for staring such productions. Also, women are in no way discriminated, they are the better paid once. Saddly, this happens in this industry mostly.

In what the imgage of women they are promoting is concerned, that is debatable. But this is a moral issue that can only be judged individually. I myself do not believe men and women usually end up having sex all the time after 5 minutes of conversation or other contact ways.

Also, you can be against it, I can be against it, but as long as people actually buy pornography, there is nothing anyone can do. Prohibiting it would only create a black market.

What I really hate is the illegal part of the industry: that using minors to sell their prouductions better...

Ali la Loca said...

Hi Safiya,

What a complex topic you have chosen to write about. I definitely understand where you are coming from with your views about pornography.

I think it's important to distinguish between what you may consider to be the lesser of two evils: the pornography that is made by consenting adult actors, who receive wages and are part of a union and can choose to quit filmmaking when they want to; and the pornography that is made in exploitative situations, be it using minors, unconsenting adults, or women/men coerced into making films against their will and cannot quit should they want to.

I suppose I feel the same way about prostitution. It is an activity or a profession - like pornography - that can be found morally questionable, and that undoubtably many people are forced into either because of force, coercion, or financial needs (they see it as the only solution). But other people make the CHOICE to go that road, and it is not because they are sold into a sex ring or told about a "nice modeling job" by some shady character.

I recently read a book by a brazilian girl called "The Sweet Scorpion's Venom." It is the story of how the author, a middle-upper class girl with a good education and a supportive but strict family, DECIDED to get into prostitution. She tells her story in the book, about how prostitution made her feel independent, and how she finally made the choice to stop selling her body.

I certainly don't think it's called LIBERATION when a person is forced into the sex industry. But is it liberation because a person makes the choice to do pornography or prostitution on their own free will, even though the activity is "morally questionable"? Is it the act of choosing or the nature of the activity that constitutes the liberation?

محمد النقيب said...

the problem is in the media.i saw a program a while ago where it showed a porn star living a nice life with kids and a husband in a good house,now look at how many women who go through tough situations and who need money and see such programs?what do you expect them to do?they will be very influenced,another side of the story is that if porn wasn't so much sold ,it wouldn't attract such high numbers of women into the business...
any ways it is really sad to see girls who would do anything for money...

Me said...

"It degrades both the user and the porn actor by removing dignity and converting human intimacy into the lowest common denominator of temporary gratification, encouraging people to view each other as objects be to be utilised then discarded."

How very true... you spoke my mind... wanted to say just that when I started reading the post !!! God bless you :-)

forsoothsayer said...

the point is, the law's place is to legislate only about things that directly harm the health. within a certain degree, the choice to harm oneself is yours. cigarrettes are legal, alcohol is legal, gambling is legal in some places. but pronography doesn't actually physically hurt anyone, so it is not the law's place to legislate on it.

Safiya said...

Thank you everyone for your comments. it's interesting to read such varying opinions.

Forsoothsayer - there is plenty of legislation involving pornography. The age of the actors involved, is certainly subject to the law. Also the sale and distribution of pornography is also subject to legislation, with restrictions in place to try ensure only adults can buy it.

As for it causing no harm, I would argue that pandering to humanity's basest instincts causes a great deal of harm, particularly in the way women are viewed, as can be viewed by the increasing number of degrading (and tedious) images of women that are entering mainstream media.