Skip to comments.Sisters and daughters: facing the faces of porn
Posted on 08/04/2012 2:39:09 PM PDT by Morgana
The more I pay attention to our culture, the more I wonder if C. S. Lewis owned a crystal ball. Many of the works of this Oxford don who died almost fifty years ago seem more accurate today than when he wrote them. And this is especially true of The Screwtape Letters.
In an especially prophetic chapter, Uncle Screwtape explains to his demon nephew Hells strategy for using imagery to derail human sexuality: We have engineered a great increase in the apparent nude (not the real nude) It is all a fake, of course; the figures in the popular art are falsely drawn; the real women in bathing suits or tights are actually pinched in and propped up to make them appear firmer and more slender than nature allows a full-grown woman to be. As a result we are more and more directing the desires of men to something which does not exist.
If theres a more perfect summary of how our culture views women, I havent found it. These images women have to compete with are always the same: flawless, impossibly slim and well-endowed. This standard is crushing for women because its not based in reality. Women are being compared to women who dont actually exist.
And thats where the real damage happens and not only to young women, but to men. As Timothy Dalrymple argues in a recent blog post at Patheos.com, pornography is devastating the next generations sexuality not only because its addictive, but because its wildly inaccurate. Just like Screwtape, porn directs young mens desires toward things and people that dont really exist. It alters guys expectations of women. Where nature offers real women, porn offers edited actresses. Where God creates daughters in His image, porn creates fantasies in our image free pleasure without any requirements.
Meanwhile under all that paint, porn stars are still broken, little girls. Someone rocked them to sleep, writes Dalrymple. Someone comforted them when they were afraid of the monster or the spider or the thunder. They have histories, dreams, they have souls.
Mark Regnerus makes this even clearer in a groundbreaking piece from last year in Slate magazine. In it, he describes todays sexual economics where the availability of fake women who look perfect and are interested only in sex has created a sort of market competition that distorts both genders ideas of what real women are actually like. In order to live up, many women start to act like their fake competitors. Meanwhile, men, says Regnerus, are only too happy to oblige. Thus, the vicious cycle of illusion keeps producing more brokenness.
So how do we break this cycle?
Well, for starters, we could imitate Julia Bluhm. Julia, a 14-year-old ballet dancer from Waterville, Maine, recently started a campaign thats already changing the way her generation views women. Partnering with media activist organization SPARK Summit, Julia started a petition to Seventeen magazine to drop the heavily-doctored images of young women, and instead use real photographs. Seventeen agreed, and now, thanks to Julia and the 84,000 signees who joined her effort, the nations most influential teen magazine is promoting true beauty, without the airbrush.
We can learn volumes from Julias victory in our cultures very real war on women. Shes making a difference because she rejects the illusions and weve got to do the same
I sometimes wonder if an EMP wouldn’t be the best thing for our culture.
Wreck the TVs, leave the buildings standing?
Yup, and the people living for awhile at least. It would be ugly but the destination we’re headed for now would be worse.
Thanks for sharing this. With two teenage daughters, this really hits home.
...and most importantly...the MSM would no longer be able to tell the people what to think.
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Ugly? It would be "Lord of the Flies."
Let me cheer you up a little with a quote from Lord Hobbes, not known for optimism: "There is a lot of ruin in a nation."
You should move to the Congo and write us about how great it is without the burdens of technology.
I enjoy the burdens of technology, I think you may have totally misinferred my position. Don’t worry, it happens all the time.
Why don't you start with yourself - it's the least you could do.
I guess so. Were you just being sarcastic?
I have to a great degree, but thanks for the suggestion.
Well you should be very concerned, although not so much about what the article is about. Most of the porn they are talking about is viewed by people 40 and up. Teenagers have very little interest in it - why should they?
A few years back my wife changed jobs and in her new one she interfaces daily with many teenagers and young adults. Why would they want porn, they have an entire sub culture that involves nothing more than cell phones and social media sites.
On a pretty regular basis she has to settle arguments, often involving a young lady that provided a young man with a password to pictures of her in the nude and semi-nude. The dispute isn't about him viewing them (that was the intention all along), but that he allowed friends to view them as well.
The kids have there own language, spaces, and places in cyber space where they get up to things that would make Hugh Hefner blush. Sadly, this goes on right under most parents nose without a clue as to its existence. (I will fully admit that until my wife took this job, I had NO idea that such things went on. In the interest of keeping some morality on the board, I won't mention any of the other activities frequently documented.)
All I can say is, in 20-30 years the social mores better change such that nude pictures and pictures of people engaging in sex acts are no longer controversial - or there are going to be one hell of a lot of embarrassed people!
No, I wasn’t being sarcastic. I was referring to our American culture...that which it used to be and that which it is now, more’s the pity. Few republics have lasted as long as ours. You can see by the present state of ours why that is true, human nature being what it is. It is a good time to be old, other than having to witness the degradation of a once great culture.
Understood. The future is not set though.
Instead of looking at porn from the point of view of sin or not sin, it might be better to examine it from the viewpoint of “malfunction.”
(Imagine the following in Sir David Attenborough’s voice.)
Someone once observed that females are compelled to “exhibit the goods” to potential mates, as much as males are compelled to watch this exhibition “like lions watch gazelles.”
The problem is that it is left up to females to figure out how to do this, and they are as likely as not to do it wrong. For example, in fashion, for a girl to have one item of clothing, or an accessory, that is a little peculiar, actually make her more attractive to other people.
But dressing like a space alien freak is a big turn off.
And for a lot of women, the extreme of “less is more” in their clothing, leads to porn, especially if they get paid for this malfunctioning natural inclination.
The same thing applies to males who spend their days porn gazing. With living, breathing females, seeing them exhibit, even in a very ordinary, normal and not naughty way, means that they now need to approach the female as a potential suitor, if they are interested.
But they cannot do this to an image from halfway around the world. Again, it is a malfunction in the system.
Oddly enough, Screwtape often spoke truth. C. S. Lewis always got it right. Never moreso than in “That Hideous Strength” whose most most repulsive villain is a sadistic lesbian. Because the perversion is the major part of the villainy, no whitewash offered by today’s enlightened views manages to erase it.
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