Some guy sent a question into Savage Love asking if it was ok to continue to masturbate to Anna Nicole's Playboy work. Here's Dan's answer:
But not because it's disrespectful--there's nothing you can do to Anna Nicole Smith in death that could possibly outdo the shit Anna Nicole Smith subjected herself to in life. No, the reason you feel creepy about beating off to Anna Nicole's photos now, MAN, and the reason you must stop, is this: Whacking off to the dead violates the hope that masturbation represents. When Anna Nicole was alive and young and beautiful, MAN, a tiny part of your brain somehow managed to convince your dick that your fantasies existed within the realm of possibility. If the right set of circumstances, however improbable, were to occur, you might actually find yourself in bed with Anna Nicole Smith. So long as she lived, MAN, you lived--and whacked off--in hope.Makes ya think.
But masturbating to the dead inspires only feelings of hopelessness and despair. Which is why no one beats off to James Dean or River Phoenix or Marilyn Monroe or Mary Todd Lincoln without feeling a little creepy, a little hopeless, and a little closer to the grave himself. Knock it off.
Really, about what what pornography is. There's something more to it than just pictures of naked people - otherwise Anna Nicole pics and anatomy books and National Geographic magazines would all be good material for the 16+ crowd. If one were to create a more precise definition, it would, of course, include fantasy fulfillment, as Dan suggests.
Now I wouldn't be the first to say that people can project their own fantasies of controlling others onto pornography. Any gay boy who's accidentally clicked on a straight porn site knows that it isn't just gay male porn with a woman involved - there's an element of degredation and mass consumption towards women that doesn't appear in gay male porn towards men. And real lesbian porn versus heterosexual male girl-on-girl action vids are worlds apart in their treatment of women as full and equal human beings with control over their sexual choices. I don't think it's a coincidence that society's sexism gets projected into pornography.
But maybe the fantasy fulfillment aspect of pornography is a little bit more independent of the nakedness part than people would like to think. Could anti-gay literature be such a text? I mean, those homophobic pamphlets make up facts about our lives, take one tiny aspect of the gay community and blow it out of proportion, and do it all with an intention of controlling our sexualities. The creation of a complete narrative so detached from the lives of real gay people and the collective unwillingness to challenge such a narrative bear striking resemblence to a guy who jacks off to fantasies of sex with Justin Timberlake. If Dan's right, then the latter is taking the small chance of that fantasy being possible, blowing that chance out of proportion, and using it construct a reality in his mind. The difference may only be that the latter knows, intellectually, that it isn't really true.
So when I read from people like the folks at Pure Life Ministries or NARTH or the anti-sex, anti-gay site du jour about how pornography is bad and gays are always unhappy child molesters, I wonder about where the energy to read that tripe came from. Does their anti-pornography lifestyle cause them to seek out other sources to create narratives of domination and control over people's sexualities? Consider this from Kathy Gallagher at Pure Life Ministries:
[I] personally would not trust a guy who has been involved in pornography--especially one who has shown such a flippant attitude about it. His reaction tells me two very important things.It's nothing new - disliking pornography for no real reason and then saying that all Christians have to think the same way about it. She sometimes goes on pornographic tirades about how porn will turn women into lesbians, cause husbands to cheat, and destroy heterosexual marriages, all the while not presenting any statistics or facts and just writing stories about how what she says could come to be reality. It reads like a Nifty story. The realities she and others like her construct in their writing seeks not to challenge the readers' beliefs like is kind of the point of Jesus' life; rather they attempt to create a narrative that affirms one belief that the reader may already have and give it prominence over his/her knowledge of the real world, in the same way as the guy who masturbated to Anna Nicole pics was using the pictures to affirm one fantasy over his knowledge of the way the world works.
First, this young man could not possibly have a relationship with God and believe that something as evil as pornography is acceptable.
So what's the point of all this? I think that by having a better understanding of the heterosexual supremacist mind can help us find ways to fight it. Like I've said before, heterosexual supremacy isn't just a few mistaken beliefs that can be cleared up by presenting the facts; it's a complicated structure that seeks to privilege heterosexuals over everyone else.
This is also why I don't in general refute homophobes. I mean seriously, with what we're up against, logic is not the correct weapon to use.
(Crossposted from Q-Bomb)