Damn Those Cartoons!

This past weekend, I attended Anime Boston 2010. I helped out a friend with his booth in the dealer’s room, where I carded kids to keep them from browsing or purchasing any of his adult comic books (which accounts for about 75% of what he sells). Yes, that’s right, the man sells hentai. Lots of it. Of all different kinds.

At the same time, he’s one of the leading pro-feminist dudes in my life. He’s got a really good grasp on gender relations, respects women, and is comfortable with all spectrums of gender and sexuality (or at least he seems it). I rank him very high on my list of “dudes I feel really safe and comfortable around.” Having a basement full of Japanese porn hasn’t turned him into a skeevy woman-hating rapist.

Also, as you may recall, I’ve mentioned time and time again that I love porn. I really do. Either it’s really hot, or it’s really hilarious. Either way, it’s fun! Some of the porn I like surprises people. Hell, some of the things I like in the bedroom surprises people. Apparently, feminists have a very narrow spectrum of what we’re allowed to enjoy sexually, because everything else is degrading.

Well that’s just not true. Two consenting adults who respect each other are never actually degrading each other. Whatever gets you off isn’t degrading unless it is made to be degrading. That’s up to you and your partner (so pick your partners wisely). A partner who respects you can do all kinds of things to you without losing that respect or seeing it as degrading.

Likewise, a person who is well-adjusted and understands the difference between fantasy and reality can enjoy all kinds of crazy-ass porno without having to commit any of those acts in real life. You can fap to whatever you want without that controlling your brain.

Every time I hear that people jerking off to a specific kind of porn is going to lead to them running out and becoming blinded by lust and unable to control their urges and forcing women into participating in their creepy weird fantasies, I die a little inside. It’s the same thing as saying that men rape because they just can’t help themselves; they are dominated by their penises.

NO. NO, GODDAMMIT. Biological essentialism is bullshit, no matter what wrapping paper you put it in. Either men are violent rapists by nature, and all it takes is a girl in a mini-skirt or some porn to trigger it, or they aren’t. You can’t have it both ways. I stand firmly in my belief that men aren’t penis-drones; they can control their junk.

Besides, as people have pointed out many times, this is basically the same as the videogame violence issue. Let she who has never had fun playing GTA or God of War or Fallout cast the first stone. If those videogames don’t cause us to reenact them, why would any other?

What I’m getting at here is the whole RapeLay controversy. I’ll be honest–the concept does make me a little squeamish. I’m not sure how I’d feel if I was dating a guy and I found out he played it. But censorship is censorship and I do not endorse the banning or censoring of media. The comments over at Jezebel are really great–there’s a lot of people having a lot of good discussion. Several times, the issue of violent videogames is brought up, as is the issue of policing sexuality.

A fantasy is just that: a fantasy. Some people play them out through safe relationships, some people watch porn, and others just think about them. But as long as they are not actively harming another person with their fantasy, then they shouldn’t have to justify it or deal with people putting laws and bans on it. People have rape fantasies. They also have fantasies about gay sex, oral sex, and plain old lights-out-under-the-covers-missionary. That’s all FINE. As long as we don’t start actively harming others because of our fantasies, we can fantasize about whatever we want. Orgasms are great! Go ahead and have ’em. (And people always bring in the “well, what about child porn?” And the answer is “that’s not okay, because that is actively harming the child.” Although it grosses me the hell out, I have nothing against illustrated kid stuff, because that’s just a way for people to get their fantasy on. Gives me the heebie-jeebies, but I’m sure some of my fantasies would give them the heebie-jeebies, so it’s all fair.)

I am hesitant to start calling for bans and policing of free speech, of media being what it wants to be, because it’s a slippery slope.

We don’t need to have sexual violence legislated out of our society (I mean, look how well laws have worked at stopping murder and drug use and people driving over the speed limit!). We need to change our society to one that doesn’t accept and condone sexual violence. It’s possible to have whatever fantasies you want and look at whatever porn you want without condoning sexual violence. We need to treat each other with respect on a day to day basis and always regard one another as human beings. This means we learn to disagree with others and to accept our differences.


04/07/2010. Tags: , , . Uncategorized.

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