Opinions & Editorials

Pornography is not liberation

Grace Hamilton is a first-
year political science ma-
jor from Akron, Ohio. She
is an intern for the Newswire.

Pornography is one of the most misogynistic and harmful aspects of today’s society.

It is the objectification, dehumanization, commodification and degradation of women across all walks of life, all countries, races, religions and ages. Men who watch it get a sense of entitlement to sex.

They go into the bedroom wanting to choke their partners, hurt them, urinate on them. Everything they’ve seen in porn they want to recreate. And when their partners don’t want it, they go to prostitutes. They rape them and kill them and these women rarely see justice.

According to a study done by the National Institute of Health, prostitutes are 60 to 100 times more likely to get murdered than women not involved in sex work.

This violence is passed on. It is normalized. It is accepted. Pornography is simply the dehumanization of the female body for profit. And men won’t stop until we are all pornography.

They get tired of the filmed scenes, so they film up our skirts. They get tired of watching it, so they make us do it. They catcall us, they objectify us, they film us, they grab us, they rape us.

Pornhub itself published a report in 2019 of their numbers. They counted 42 billion visits, averaging out to 115 million per day. They proceeded to brag about the fact that “if you strung all of 2019’s new video content together and started watching them way back in 1850, you’d still be watching them today!”

And somehow this is okay. They say this while some of their most popular categories include incest, rape, pedophilia and refugee porn. Apparently, the message here is: “Anyone can be a porn star.” I don’t find that very comforting.

Pornhub manages to say this while women are raped and trafficked into pornography. A popular drug administered to porn stars is referred to as “Triple H,” otherwise known as “Horny, Hyper, Happy.” It is a mix of Ritalin, Ambien and ecstasy that renders the user completely submissive and completely out of it.

To those who watch pornography: are you okay with this? Do you think this is an isolated incident? How do you know for sure that it isn’t? If not, what number of drugged women, raped women, trafficked women, children are you willing to accept in your pornography? When are you willing to stop?

In 2018, an 8-year-old girl named Asifa Bano was abducted, raped and killed in India. She was raped multiple times by different men. She was strangled. Her body was mutilated. They crushed her head with a large stone.

Days later, over eight million men searched for videos of her rape on porn sites. Her name was trending on the largest porn site in India. Let me remind you: she was eight years old. She was taken while watching horses graze in a pasture near her home.

Is this acceptable to you? Can you excuse this? Can you defend it? Can you continue to watch porn while little girls are raped and killed, while men still take pleasure from it?

I have all this anger, and I have nowhere to share it.

We have been grabbed without our consent, touched without our consent, we have been catcalled, yelled at, held down, raped. And men watch porn then think we want it.

I am here to tell you that we do not want it. We never have. Women do not want to be abused, spit on, choked, raped, killed. We don’t want children to be abused, spit on, choked, raped, killed.

Feminist activist and writer Andrea Dworkin wrote: “The prostitute does not want to be forced and hurt. The homemaker does not want to be forced and hurt. The lesbian does not want to be forced and hurt. The young girl does not want to be forced and hurt.”

Pornography has fed you the lie, over and over and over again, that this is what women want, what women should want. And you believed it and you watched it and you played the fool. We do not want it. We never, ever wanted it.

Stop defending porn. Stop pretending that Pornhub is “woke.” Stop pretending it is liberation. I am begging you to have empathy, to have compassion for women. 

Pornography is not freedom, not feminism, not anything except the abuse of women and children who didn’t ask for it and didn’t want it — all while men take pleasure from women’s pain.

I hope that if you continue to watch pornography, you are haunted by the image of Asifa Bano, haunted by the image of women drugged and unaware, haunted by the image of thousands of women trafficked and raped, haunted by the image of murdered sex workers never getting justice. I hope you never forget.

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