On Porn

Porn is a many splendored thing. It comes in all kinds of varieties, it leads to all kinds of reactions in people, and it certainly gets highly politicized no matter what kind of porn it is.

First off, let me just get out there and say that I like porn. I like a wide variety of porn–some of it I watch more for comedic purposes than sexy purposes–and although I don’t usually include porn in my special alone times, that doesn’t stop me from really enjoying it.

So, at first glance, I really enjoyed Monday’s XKCD strip about porn for women:

I actually own a copy of the Porn For Women book. I bought it in college, laughing hysterically all the way to the register.

You guys, the book is a SATIRE.

The whole thing is done up in cutesy pastels with pretty patterns. The men are dressed in the most WASP-y way possible (when they are wearing clothes–satire or no, goddamn did they get some beautifully built men to take their shirts off and people, I am not complaining!) and the backgrounds of the shots are equally WASP-y. It’s like the white upper middle class and the female stereotype vomited all over the page.

Some of the things the men are shown doing include folding the laundry, making his significant other dinner, or telling her to stay in bed because it’s his turn to go check on the crying child; she needs sleep too.

I showed the book to my mum and she laughed, pointing to the page about checking on the crying child, and lamented, “Oh sweetie, when you were a baby, that would’ve been the most wonderful thing your father could’ve ever done for me.”

This book isn’t about the fact that women don’t like porn about fucking–it’s about the fact that we haven’t hit the point yet where equal housework is an assumed reality. It’s still a FANTASY that after working a 40 hour week–for, as I’ve covered before, less money and less respect than a man, while wearing a perfectly ridiculous outfit–you can come home and NOT be counted on to then do everything around the house.

This is porn for women because the book is all, “Ladies, how fuckin’ rad would it be if we weren’t still dealing with all this inequal division of childcare and labor bullshit?”

You guys, can you imagine how fuckin’ kickass it would be to live in a world where you didn’t have to look a spoof porno book to know that your boyfriend would hand you a slice of cake and sincerely tell you to not worry about your weight?

Don’t get me wrong, I totally know that these guys exist (I’m lucky enough to be friends with and/or have dated some of them, and I know a lot of you probably know them too!), so I’m not saying they don’t exist. What I AM saying is that they’re not common. They’re especially not common in the “cultural majority” or in mainstream culture, which you’ll note that the images in this book are diligently created to resemble.

I don’t fantasize about dudes in suits bringing me flowers. That doesn’t even remotely factor into what gets me going. This book isn’t for your spank bank! It’s dark humor. It’s poking fun at the fact that we live in a world where this is still fantasy.

On the first page, they joke that the book you have in your hands is very incendiary, very dangerous.

Well, in a culture where the least masculine thing in the world would be to drive a minivan or cook your girlfriend dinner and these are all men who are portrayed as shamelessly comfortable and happy to challenge traditional masculinity, I gotta say, that’s a pretty risque book.

*Note: I totally hear a lot of the arguments to the contrary and I get where you guys are coming from. I agree with a lot of them, in fact! But I think it’s worth considering an alternate viewpoint too.

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03/18/2010. Tags: , , , . Uncategorized.

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