The oddest thing just happened. I was browsing blogs, and trying to find people I used to know. I didn't find the person I was looking for, but instead found his daughter. YOW! (Ain't middle-age GREAT?)
The thing is, computing this person's birthday, I realized it is likely I was THERE when she was conceived. YES! I was there! (Or, at least there is an even chance.)
And at the time, I joked about it. I wasn't particularly upset or anything.
In my political collective, it seemed that there were two people who simply could not keep their hands off of each other, and fucked like bunnies. (So, you see, I might NOT have been there for her actual conception, but anyway...) On at least four occasions, they decided to copulate in space I shared with them: twice inside a tent, once in a motel room that housed 7-8 people, in DC for a mass demonstration (yes, we were trying to save money, okay?), and once in a non-converted loft in New York City, provided with limited mattresses. On that last occasion, I was actually ON THE SAME MATTRESS WITH THEM--which was what brought the jokes later. They said, hey, can we sleep here? Of course, the question was a mere formality, I would have been bourgeois and fucked-up to say no, and it would never have occurred to me anyway. They plunked down on the mattress, and within seconds, I could feel the mattress rocking. I remember thinking, Oh boy, these people need a fucking break! They were fairly quiet, although on at least two of the four occasions, she ordered him to SLOW DOWN! and he'd reply in a mumble sorry! and that was it. Pretty quick, and THANK YOU, so I could go back to sleep.
And now, I see this young woman's blog. She looks just like her dad!
As Joan Didion's fantastic book THE WHITE ALBUM (required reading!) made clear, the 60s and 70s were something else. What a long strange trip, etc. The situation above, also described well in Marge Piercy's VIDA (where the two political comrades end up having sex on a pile of dirty laundry--I loved that!), was not uncommon. Not at all. The whole idea was that everyone was supposed to be "less uptight." And yes, I am fully aware that this usually/often translated into women not being uptight, and therefore expected to put out on demand. I know that; I was there. But in the above-referenced example, I also know that the headstrong female activist who fucked the guy in my tent and on the mattress I was already occupying, was not forced by any man (least of all, that guy) to do it. I can also see, from the blog I discovered, that her daughter is as headstrong and into sex as she is, which is not surprising.
I also know that the "put out or you aren't helping the revolution" was a factor in early feminism and separatism, and I got as pissed off over that as any other feminist. Nonetheless, many of these early feminists were very sexual, as the aforementioned Marge Piercy was and is.
And so, I ask: what the hell happened? (One of my friends always blames Nancy Reagan, Just say no!, and the reactionary puritanism of the Reagan Revolution.)
Children saw people fucking. Like, right there, in front of them. This was live, not on DVD.
Children saw people fucking in the middle ages, too, if they were serfs and lived 12 to a room. I daresay, this is pretty common throughout the world in impoverished areas. Children live through the shock of the primal scene, really they do.
Keeping this in mind, what exactly is the fear of porn? Is it because it is highly stylized? The clothes? Rubber? Close-ups? I think the kids have probably seen a few close-ups already, if they are sharing a bed. I sure did!
During the 70s, it was not uncommon to hear people talk about children's rights, even "sexual rights for kids", etc. I'm not kidding! It HAPPENED, yes, right here in the USA! I heartily recommend Judith Levine's HARMFUL TO MINORS, which takes on the subject much better than I could:
Anthropologists concur that America is an exceedingly "low-touch," high-violence culture. But America's diversity, mobility, and high immigration probably belie any biological relationship between the first characteristic and the second. A more likely interpretation of these facts and Prescott's other findings is social. A culture that lavishes gentle attention on its young also may encourage tolerance of the vulnerable and discourage physical power-mongering. People brought up to be aggressive and suspicious of intrusions against their own body's "boundaries," on the other hand, will be more self-protective and territorial and thus more belligerent, both socially and sexually.I am far more "shocked" by a customer's young child's report that they had actually seen a movie like HOSTEL. Certainly, violence towards women in media is at an all-time high, but this violence is not considered by the mainstream to be pornographic, and they give these movies R-ratings, despite how disgusting, over-the-top grotesque and misogynist they are.
Is porn the problem? I think not. However, I am not "pro-porn" by any means. But I must be honest here: I am more upset by the cookie-cutter appearance of women in mainstream porn (are there any flat-chested gals in porn????) than I am upset by anything they are doing, which I've probably done too. Or I've seen other people do. Certainly, my above example is far from the ONLY casual sex I've ever witnessed. (Are you kidding???) I only mentioned it because it is the genesis of this post.
I am far more upset by misogynist torture-horror movies like CAPTIVITY and SAW, than I am by blow-jobs, butt-fucking and so on. I'm just old-fashioned that way!
Since I have recently been excommunicated* from radical feminism, decided to take on the porn issue, which I have never felt comfortable with as a feminist crusade.
No reason to hold back now!
*as William F Buckley used to say, more about which in due course.