Saturday, January 9, 2010

Human Trafficking Watch

Pornography and Its Apologists
Published by mkanderson on March 9, 2008 02:35 pm under Pornography, Schools
Update 03/18/2003 8:00 PM
Presca Ahn of Yale posted a comment where she copied a letter to Brent Bozell, whom I quoted below. Please note her comment related to the events of the evening in question.
Original Post
For quite a while now, I have been putting together a post about pornography. It’s one of the principle reasons for this new blog, since it seems so out of place next to a review of Microsoft Office 2007 or an article on weak computer security. I have been wanting to show the link between human trafficking and the porn industry. I went through several drafts in my head and have been doing tons of research online (no, not that kind) to discover that it’s nearly impossible to grasp what is going on with this industry. That’s because the porn industry is about perception and who communicates that perception to others.
Just like the optical illusion drawing of the two faces / goblet, porn is described by many as this natural, healthy expression of free speech performed by consenting adults for other open-minded adults. However, the more you learn about the actual reality going on behind the scenes, you start to see the goblet along with the two faces.
My epiphany related to porn was around five years ago when I started reading about sex workers in Europe who were used as fodder to get fast and cheap images used on free porn sites. Nothing is really free and free porn certainly costs somebody. Since pornographers are not philanthropists, somebody is paying somewhere. You have to wonder where the vast plethora of free images come from. Did all of these women, young girls, and boys suddenly decide to pursue a career in the adult industry?
I am fascinated by the complete lack of regard for the sources of pornographic content. The American defenders of the pornography industry long ago changed perception of what was once an embarrassing, underground activity to something that had to do with free speech. Obviously, this was a smart tactic because it made the issue of pornography about the porn consumer rather than the content providers. As a free speech issue, stupid liberal academics now defend porn as some kind of entitlement for all Americans; meanwhile, they willfully choose to remain clueless about how the industry continues to make record profits and who is used and discarded as part of the process.
Brent Bozell’s excellent column last week regarding Sex Week at Yale accidentally showing a rape fantasy film demonstrates my point about liberals and porn:
The Yale Daily News reported that at about the same time Newsweek was putting its saucy story on the presses, the organizers of Sex Week at Yale were throwing a porn-movie screening in the law school auditorium. Hardcore pornographer Paul Thomas was invited to show films and have a question-and-answer session (and plug sales for his Vivid Entertainment DVDs). Unfortunately for Yale, Thomas brought footage of graphic rape fantasies and the labeling of a woman as a “slut” who “deserved” violent sexual degradation.
Oops. Apparently, when you run Sex Week, you don’t think of pre-screening anything. After all when does the concept of “inappropriate” porn arrive with this crowd? Everyone wants to be “cavalier,” because anything less makes you Jerry Falwell. But there’s a force at Yale far more powerful than Christianity.
Enter the feminists at the Yale’s Women Center, who were not pleased. Presca Ahn, who is the “fellowship coordinator” there, declared: “In porn, sex is not a normal, healthy part of normal, healthy lives; it’s fetishized, exaggerated or embellished. Porn isn’t honest. We need to talk honestly about it: It hurts women.”

The film clips were abruptly ended, and the session went right into the Q&A. Sex Week coordinators made it very clear to the Yale Daily News they do not support the practices displayed in the film. Colin Adamo, Sex Week event coordinator, called the screening a grave mistake. “We really dropped the ball on this one,” he said. “No one watched the movie before Paul showed it to the audience.”
Unsurprisingly, that was not the pornographer’s opinion. The Daily News reported that Adamo described the images as sexually unhealthy and disrespectful to women. But the pornographer’s response “insinuated that he was a prude and just needed to watch more porn, Adamo said after the screening.” Thus the solution to having any moral qualms about pornography is to drown yourself in more pornography.
No one in this controversy asked: Where are the grownups? Isn’t there a one questioning his return on the annual $45,000 investment in “education”? Where are the administrators? Is there anyone at Yale who can provide students with a more rational voice than a hardcore pornographer? This whole controversy gives off a whiff of the inmates running the asylum.
To expect the Ivy League to reflect traditional values is to dabble in fantasy. But it’s a sad cultural signpost when it’s considered a prudish traditional value to object to films that seek to encourage men to build fantasy scenarios about violent sexual assault.
And that is really the point. This is a cultural problem. So much so that rape fantasies are part of mainstream porn. How many of these fantasy films are actual rapes? Many former adult stars have written about how they were forced to perform much of what they did. Many claim that drugs are used to keep the women agreeable. We come back to my original point: nobody questions where the content comes from. Sex Week at Yale was all about the end-users and their fantasies. The faculty were shocked that a rape video was even conceived by their invited guests. I was surprised they were surprised. But then again, they were responding to criticism from a liberal organization and that put them in a tough spot.
I do realize there are many people who voluntarily give themselves up to be in porn, whether it’s amateur, self-published or somebody who really wants to do it for the money. However, I firmly believe that the number of willing volunteers in the worldwide porn industry pales when compared to those who ended up there from unfortunate circumstances, desperation, manipulation, or outright slavery. I’m still looking for studies to back up my assertion, but there seems to be a serious lack of academic research into content providers and porn. Imagine that.
So you might say to me something about consenting adults using pornography to enhance their sex lives and that there’s nothing wrong with that. In theory, I agree. But the fact is you never know where the individuals in the porn come from. As happened to me, I saw the goblet and now I can’t help but see it even when I’m concentrating on the two faces. Look past the selfish consumers of porn to see what this industry does to its participants.

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