While reading the assigned pieces by van Zoonen I was particularly interested in the subsection dealing with pornography. Originally, when I read that to some, “pornography is considered the ultimate cultural expression of men’s hatred against women” (p 19), I questioned the validity of this accusation. However, the more I read and began to wrestle with this idea, the more it resonated with me. Pornography as a business makes it profit off of the sheer objectification of women. This cultural expression dehumanizes a woman’s body into a collection of parts used for entertainment and satisfaction. But is this satisfaction genuine?
While I was reading this I was reminded of a YouTube clip I had watched recently entitled, Sexual Healing. This video highlights a young man’s journey with casual sex as he come to the conclusion that sex as recreation, or just for fun, is unable to satisfy us the way we were meant to be satisfied. While this video is more about sex than pornography I was able to compare many of the themes to those in van Zoonen. As I said, sex is his topic of conversation, as he states that its 2011, “we do it for recreation, hell, in college we do it when we’re wasted”. He goes on to question our cultural ideas surrounding casual sex as he uses rape as an example. When the bruises go away, he asks, is she totally healed? No, he recites, “you can see it in her eyes. But if sex is just abused recreation, why did it ruin her life?” I firmly believe that you don’t just have sex with a body; you have sex with a soul. The poet goes on to demand that “you should have to touch her heart and mind first, before you ever touch her body. ‘Cause she longs to be accepted, she longs to be loved, so she gives herself up to another guys lust.”
I think this relates back to the objectification that occurs in pornography. Pornography lures in an already damaged population. I watched another video clip from Dateline in which an ex-porn star talks about how pornography tells you everything you never heard your father say. It tells you that you are beautiful and wanted until you realize that this is completely superficial. We forget that there are real people behind these pictures, and real people looking for the right acceptance. We need to think twice before we accept what society feeds us, and as van Zoonen suggests, fight this act of violence that is represented in this expression.