The Vagenda

Why You Should Stop Taking His Porn So Personally, You Uptight, Insecure Harridan

 
 
Ah, Vice magazine. We all love a bit of Vice, amiright? But this latest piece by Betty Burns has led us to question just how exactly they choose items to feature and where they find people to interview because, quite frankly, this quite literally blows. Did they find this book in the bargain bin at The Works, some time in 1993? Because that’s what the cover seems to suggest. Also, ‘hot-button’ is making me gag a bit, I don’t know why. 
Vice’s article about this book is called ‘Ladies, Stop Taking His Porn so Personally’, thus immediately setting up a scenario where:
a.) ‘He’ has porn but you don’t, and
b.) You take the fact that he has porn personally
So in other words, this is what is going on in the author’s life right now, and she is using that to make a comment about all women.
The article begins but setting up the fact that Betty is unhappy with her boyfriend watching porn called things like ‘Asian ass to mouth’ and ‘lesbian labia stretcher’ despite the fact that she is putting out ‘like a High School girl on Degrassi’ (Degrassi is a Canadian teen drama that I hadn’t heard of either.) Fair enough, I’d probably be pissed off too, though I should probably add that not all of that homogenous group known as ‘the ladies’ would feel the same way. I’d probably also be even more pissed off after I had the conversation that Betty had with her boyfriend, where he confessed all his porn fetishes, leaving Betty feeling ‘weirded out.’ I feel that Betty and I have much in common. ‘Lesbian labia stretcher’ is not my idea of a fun Tuesday, so I empathise. Which is why this next bit makes no sense:
‘Realizing I needed to come to terms with my boyfriend’s porn promiscuity, I reached out to expert Allison Vivas,’ says Betty.
Sorry, what? I missed the part where you decided you felt comfortable with this, Bets. Indeed, it seemed to be that you were feeling pretty uncomfortable about the whole thing, as many (but by no means all) women would, and that’s absolutely OK. Part of being in a healthy relationship is being able to go, ‘oh, no thanks, I don’t like doing that’ or ‘that feels weird’ or ‘nah, not into that, soz babes’ and the other person being cool with it. It’s like fisting. If I was going out with someone who was into fisting, and they wanted to…y’know…fist me…and I didn’t want to, I wouldn’t be all, ‘Realizing that I needed to come to terms with my boyfriend’s fisting fetish, I reached out to expert Fisty McFistucuffs.’ But maybe that’s just me.
Anyway, Allison Vivas, author of ‘Making Peace With Porn’, had lots of interesting tidbits, including:
‘A lot of women like to think that they look at porn because they want their wife or girlfriend to have bleach blonde hair and big boobs and do all of these things in the videos. You have to realize too, that’s not why men look at porn. It is just entertainment.’
Just entertainment, huh, Allison? It’s never about frustration, unfulfilled fantasies, objectification and addiction, it’s ALWAYS just entertainment. I’m not anti-porn, and I find the moral panic surrounding what it’s doing to our youth worryingly conservative, but that doesn’t mean I’d ever put a young woman getting gangbanged by himbos on flat-pack furniture as each of them take it in turns to spaff on her face on a par with the Royal Variety Performance. Let’s have some nuance here.
‘When it comes to all other forms of entertainment, people are able to distinguish between reality and fantasy. But all of a sudden, when it comes to porn, we have these fears that it’s really going to play into reality.’
I see what she’s saying here, but equally it’s very difficult to predict what the impact of porn will be on the generation who grew up with it because they haven’t even really turned into adults yet. But I would say that, considering the number of guys who seem to think it’s ok to ask for anal the first time you sleep with them (and again, if that’s your bag, then that’s cool), we are seeing some changes. To my knowledge, no-one asked my mum if she was down with the brown on a first date.
‘I think that the majority of porn is made for men. If couples are going to watch that type of porn, females aren’t going to enjoy it.’
The majority of porn IS made for men, but HOLY COW, that doesn’t mean that some women don’t enjoy it. Am I getting too complex here?
Allison continues: ‘The first part is women being honest with themselves. One of the studies that I ran into was about women and their fantasies. It said something like 80 percent of women have sexual fantasies compared to 99 percent of men. What distinguished between the two was that, the majority of women are actually fantasizing about a man they already know. Whereas for men, they are fantasizing about a faceless woman, someone that doesn’t exist or they don’t have access to. I think if the roles were reversed and women found out that our man was fantasizing about the woman two doors down, we would be livid.’
Yeah…I don’t even. What? Men don’t ever fantasise about women they’ve met in ‘real life’? Not only does this muddled paragraph buy into the idea that women fantasise less than men, but also that our fantasies are bad fantasies because they can feature human beings we know in real life, as opposed to, I don’t know, men who apparently prefer faceless non-humans who don’t count (which in itself is bullshit, as anyone who has talked to a man about sex for more than about fifteen minutes can tell you.)
Matters are made worse by Betty’s leading questions, which go along the lines of ‘What do you think has caused women to feel so uncomfortable about porn?’
Framing the debate in such a way implies that everything about porn is perfectly OK and that ‘women’ (that’s all of us, by the way) need to just get over it and stop whinging. It completely ignores most of the many issues surrounding the making, manufacturing, and watching of pornography, in favour of a tired old sexist trope about ‘uptight’ non-sexual women and liberated, sexually motivated men.
‘ If you look at these porn stars, they are not perfect. The models that we are looking at in our fashion magazines are more perfect and unachievable than these porn stars. They might get dolled up a little bit, but sometimes an average woman getting dolled up can look just as good. We as woman judge each other, so we judge porn stars. If we are confident with ourselves, we won’t have a problem with our guy watching porn.’
Oh, so if average muggins here just makes a little bit of effort in the bedroom, I too could be as sexy as a porn star? And if I could just be a little bit confident in myself, I could happily accept it if I discover that my boyfriend would prefer watching ‘asian ass to mouth’ to hanging out with me.
‘It will be interesting to see the younger generation and if they are having these sexual conversations prior to commitments like marriage or engagement. Like what are their sexual fetishes, getting all of that out a head of time.’
Hold up, I think she’s saying that fetishes are something that you experiment with before you get married, before putting them to one side as you look forward to a life of slippers and missionary. Is that what she’s saying? I’m not even sure anymore. All I know is that I’m uncomfortable with porn because I’m insecure little woman who’s not being honest with herself about her sexual fantasies, and that I need to get over that and also stop fantasising about ‘real people’ and start fantasising about objectified ones because my fantasies are not ok. I would like to have come away thinking that porn is a part of life and that each and every woman will have an individual response to it and that being able to say what you’re comfortable with and what you’re not, what turns you on and what doesn’t, is part of being a liberated woman in the 21st century. But instead of being told ‘you go girl’, I’m being told ‘you go and get over your personal feelings, girl, because they don’t matter.’
This woman is giving porn a bad name. Do not buy this book.

Betty, I hope you sort things out with your boyfriend. Though frankly, he sounds like a bit of a nob.

8 thoughts on “Why You Should Stop Taking His Porn So Personally, You Uptight, Insecure Harridan

  1. Didn’t you know that male gratification is the number one priority in any heterosexual relationship? You gotta keep your man happy or he may stray, and then you’ll only have yourself to blame!

    PS Fisty McFisticuffs – LOL!!

  2. I don’t know how you got ‘never again’ from ‘ahead of time’.

    All in all, although I agree with a lot of this article, it just didn’t sit right. By no means ignore your own feelings, but that means that if your partner likes watching porn and that bothers you, dump them. It sounds like you think people who look at porn-especially weird porn-are always in the wrong.

    • I don’t get that impression at all. I think that the point is there is something wrong with being told to just lay down and accept something you are not comfortable with. which is 100% wrong, in my book.

      On a side note, many “actresses” in porn are working in terrible conditions, are not consenting 100%, and have their future careers and family rapports ruined. This is why my boyfriend and I have both quit watching porn– we don’t want to contribute to such things.

      • Same here. I was never into porn and did give it a go for my partners sake but it always unsettled my stomach. I never agreed with my partner watching porn but I would never give him a hard time about it. I did try discussing with him why it made me feel so sick. Such as how the women looked like they were in pain and didn’t want to be there etc. He never really listened but luckily Chris Hedges’ book ‘Empire of Illusion’ got through to him. He put it in words I could not. He doesn’t watch it now either. He feels too guilty. So lads and lasses if you want to get through to your man how fucked up the porn industry is and learn some other tidbits about life in the American EMpire and the west in general, this is the book for you.

  3. Three of my thoughts regarding the interview:
    1) How journalistically sound is it to ask a woman who produces (or at least distributes) porn for a living if porn is damaging relationships? They should have at least included a second voice by a psychologist or something, maybe someone who works with porn addict? I’m pretty sure they would have a very different perspective.
    2) What I really liked was her stress on communication that is not just a one-way conversation along the lines of “how do I pleasure my man”. This sums it up nicely: “It’s always good to have an open conversation about what you like. It shouldn’t be a one way of what the guy likes. It should be more of a compromise.”
    3) What really bothers me, though is her assumption that, as most porn is made for men and thus won’t be liked by women, they should not even bother trying to watch it with their partner (or alone!) – what the hell? How about some ideas of where to find something that both will like? Or how about, and I’m just flinging out this wild idea here, HER company start making porn aimed more specifically at women? (Not to mention, of course, that some women like porn aimed at men just fine.)

  4. ‘When it comes to all other forms of entertainment, people are able to distinguish between reality and fantasy. But all of a sudden, when it comes to porn, we have these fears that it’s really going to play into reality.’

    I don’t think most women have a problem with men who watch porn, the problem occurs when it does play into reality; letting porn affect the physical intimacy with your other half. My ex watched porn regularly, but he couldn’t get his engine running in the bedroom, if you know what I mean. And god knows I tried… I feel loretta is right, that porn in the digital age has a prevalent psycho-social impact.

  5. I’ve been thinking about the impact of porn in a relationship recently, as I’ve only ever had one boyfriend and one other lover who I felt seemed really disconnected from sex at times, and they watched porn. I often felt that they really weren’t ‘there’, and that the request to come on my face (from one) ended up being very much about creating something he already had running in his own mind. The look on his face was quite desperate and somehow removed. I have talked to a friend and she has had similar feelings with a partner who watched lots of porn. The best lovers have been those who have probably been veryt modest in their porn consumption, and I notice that they have been much more into going down! :)

Leave a Reply to Dot Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>