In Which We Debunk Another Common Pro-Porn Argument

Ok, for the last time, “You cannot make an analogy between violent pornography causing harm to women and action movies”.

You know, I see this defense over and over again. The person who pipes up, in the middle of a feminist discussion about violent pornography with this: “Fine, if you say that violent porn is bad because men can work up to these things then why aren’t you fighting against violent video games?” Invariably these asshats type out their dysfunctional diatribe with a self-satisfied smirk on their faces believing that they have just stumbled upon the equivalent of the feminist silver bullet.

Wrong boys. Try again.

This argument not only displays a frightening level of cognitive dissonance in those who are lame enough to use it but, more importantly, the argument is just plain silly. Sadly however, it appears that people really do believe that a cartoon showing violence against a drawn rabbit and a pornographic film of a real live woman being put into real live pain are really analogous. I’ve heard more arguments of, “You should be working to ban The Terminator if you’re going to try to ban violent porn” than I can stomach.

Now, the well read and well seasoned feminist can easily see the utter stupidity of such an analogy. So much so that we often refuse to even entertain it, however, for the benefit of the uneducated twits who continue to espouse this bit of overused tripe I will go ahead and describe, in full detail, why this is always a check mate in a feminist discussion.

In short, today is remedial feminism day here at The Den.

However, to be able to explain some of the reasons that this pro-porn argument falls flat we must look to a basic human drive: The drive for pleasure.

Humans, as well as other mammals, learn most readily through positive reinforcement. It has been known for a long time that, as a general rule, when a human being experiences something pleasurable then they are far more likely to engage in the pleasurable behavior again.

There is also a little thing that, in animal training circles and also in psychology circles, is known as “Self-Rewarding Behavior”. A self-rewarding behavior is any number of actions which, for the doer of the action, produce a reward which is not dependent upon another person to give. Many animals engage in self-rewarding behavior, that is, a behavior which produces pleasurable results to the participant that they can engage in without aid from anyone else.

Why are these concepts important? Well, in terms of violent pornography and the propensity of human males to have their views of women ‘tainted’ by their chosen medium these concepts are very important.

Orgasm, as it pertains to humans, is arguably the most intense of the pleasurable feelings for the person experiencing it. Humans, like most other critters, won’t normally engage in behavior that they find NON-pleasurable. Example: If you derive no pleasure from being hit then you will most likely try to avoid being hit. Likewise, if you derive lots of pleasure from being hit (forgetting for a moment the mental health issues with such a thing) then you will likely seek out someone to hit you.

Now, it is well known to researchers who study both humans and animals that most creatures will learn far quicker and far more solidly through positive reinforcement. Before I start my upcoming analogy I want to tell everyone that I’m NOT an Evo-psych proponent, however, with that in mind I will try to draw an analogy here and I’m hoping that everyone will see where the analogy comes from instead of saying, “Hey BB, are you saying that humans are animals? Because I remember one thread a long time ago where you got pissed off over this.” So bear in mind where this analogy is going and what it’s intended to do.

I have spent quite a few years training animals. Dogs and horses being the two species that I have the most first hand experience with. For this analogy lets take a common behavior that people would pay me to ‘fix’ in our canine friends.

People would come to me with a dog that wouldn’t ‘come’. I would take the owner and the dog out into an enclosed area and ask the owner to turn the dog loose and then I watched. Invariably I would see this (or similar) string of events:

1. Owner lets dog off of leash
2. Dog runs madly away from owner.
3. Owner yells for dog to “Come!”
4. Dog completely ignores owner
5. Owner becomes more agitated and begins approaching dog
6. Dog looks nervously over its shoulder and runs away again
7. Owner screams angrily at dog to “COME!!!”
8. Dog looks at owner warily
9. Chase ensues with owner running after dog while dog runs away
10. Owner gets close enough to dog, dog squats submissively, ears flattened, eyes looking up
11. Owner yells at dog and hits the dog before roughly putting on the leash, looking over to me and yelling, “See what I mean? This dog is STUPID!!”

At which point I laugh my ass off and respond by saying, “NO, the dog is fucking BRILLIANT!”

The dog was a smart dog, after all if you were a dog would you want to come back to an owner who hits you and screams at you every time you return to them? Then its time to do a bit of role reversal (and for those of you who are curious, YES I have actually done this with clients in the past). I explained to the clients that we were going to do a little test. First off I will not be speaking to you in any way that you understand me (normally I would simply say, “Blah, blah, blahblahdoodeblah”).

Then I would tell the person that their job was to act like a dog. When we got into the role-playing aspect I would wait a few moments as we walked around the property but soon I would begin yelling, “BlahBlahblah!” at them and motioning with my hands. The owner, who was busy assuming that I wanted them to stay next to me, would stand there and look at me while trying to be a ‘good dog’. In my mind, I wanted the owner to ‘Sit’ but I never told them that. In any case, as the scenario played out I would take the owners hands and slap their hands before screaming, “BlahBlahblah!!!!” at them until the owner was completely flummoxed and invariably ran away from me. It was then that I would begin chasing them screaming, “BlahBlahBeeDoopBeBlah!!!!”

At which point we would both start laughing, you see, the dog was pretty damned smart after all eh?

We would then do the same scenario, only this time I used positive reinforcement to get what I ‘wanted’ from the owner. We would start off the same way, but this time my voice got quieter and my ‘blahblahblah’ was softer. I used my hands to touch the owner’s hips and I’d say, ‘blah’ nice and quiet. Within moments the owner figured it out and sat on the ground at which point I would smile and hand them a candy bar.

The point of this ridiculous trip down memory lane is to point out that ALL creatures learn faster, better, and happier with positive reinforcement. ALL creatures enjoy positive feelings and experiences and they seek to replicate them whenever possible.

Enter orgasm and, in particular, masturbation.

Now, it’s also important to note that we also learn by repetition. When we are rewarded, (or reward ourselves) over and over it becomes far more likely that we will engage in the same behavior.

Orgasm is arguably the most powerful tool that we have in our arsenal of positive reinforcement. Orgasm initiates the release of very powerful chemical in our brains which leave literal chemical implants in the surface of that grey matter. (I will pull the cites for it later, I have them on the harddrive but my time is fast growing short) It has been shown that orgasm, and the release of the all important endorphins that come with it, leaves lasting chemical ‘markers’ in the brain. Chocolate cake doesn’t do it, neither does just about any other thing that we experience on a regular basis, but orgasm DOES.

Now, let’s try to tie it all together ok?

With violent pornography (ok, ALL pornography) we are exposing our brains to a heady dose of chemicals that will leave a lasting impression upon the surfaces of the old grey matter for a very long time.

We are using repetition to, in essence, ‘train’ a given set of associations to a given behavior. Just like ‘triggers’ for people who deal with PTSD or other such trauma related conditions we are placing ‘triggers’ into our own minds when we masturbate and orgasm to violent images. In essence a ‘trigger’ is something that brings back the feelings that a trauma survivor experienced. Many times these ‘triggers’ are things that imprinted upon the brain during a time of particular stress. For many people a ‘trigger’ can be a place that reminds them of where they were when violence was wreaked upon them, for others it’s an image, or a certain touch or a smell.

But what if those ‘triggers’ were associated with very pleasurable memories?

When we masturbate to violent, degrading pornography we are, in essence, placing ‘triggers’ inside of us while simultaneously reinforcing it with what is arguably the most powerful feelings of pleasure the physical body is capable of. We are literally etching chemical ‘pictures’ in our heads of whatever we were viewing at the moment of orgasm. These ‘pictures’ remain, oftentimes for an entire lifetime, and they become a ‘trigger’. When something we see reminds us of that image we are then reminded of the extremely pleasurable sensations we felt when we last saw the ‘trigger’.

We are literally conditioning our bodies to respond in a physical way (i.e. sexual arousal) to the ‘triggers’ that we have etched into our minds. We are using the pinnacle of self-rewarding behavior, (masturbation) to repeatedly imprint a given scenario in our heads which we have trained ourselves to associate with the most pleasurable feelings that the human physical body is capable of.

Don’t fool yourselves people, this is a dangerous as fuck phenomenon.

At BEST a lifetime of viewing degradation, violence and pain inflicted upon women will cause you to not be able to orgasm without the use of such visuals whether those ‘visuals’ be physical pornographic pictures or mental ‘visuals’ that aren’t ‘real’.

This is the BEST case scenario. Worst case scenario? Your head becomes so mired and stuck in ‘violence against women is the equivalent of the pinnacle of pleasure’ that you attempt to act it out by either A) Talking a woman you presumably love and care about into pretending to be your rape victim or B) Actually raping a woman.

There is no other outcome to a chemical saturation that imbeds these ‘triggers’ into your mind.

Now I’ll go ahead and answer the question from above:

“BB, you have a problem with violent pornography? Well, why aren’t you going after violent video games?”

My answer: If people were masturbating to violent video game images designed specifically to arouse and bring about orgasm then they would no longer be violent video games but would instead become violent pornography.

The simple fact of the matter is that there can never be a comparison between a movie, a video game or a song and the repeated, prolonged, and conditioned response that one sees when one has spent a lifetime masturbating and etching images into ones head.

It is the masturbation (i.e. the orgasm) which makes the pornography far more dangerous than the average violent video game.

Most boys are exposed to pornography before the age of 13. When these boys die they will likely have practiced the pinnacle of self-rewarding behavior (i.e. masturbation) many times more than they will have experienced the actual act of sex with another human being. Under these circumstances, knowing what we know about repetition, it is far MORE likely that these boys will have absorbed the messages that pornography is sending them FAR more than they will ever have absorbed the messages that real, live women who have real live sexual relationships with them send.

On average young boys are engaging in masturbation to pornographic images far more than they will ever have actual, physical sex with a woman. Therefore, the chances of having the chemical etchings and instilling the ‘triggers’ into their minds via what pornography shows them will indeed have a far greater chance of being permanently instilled than any experience they have with a real live woman.

Of course, it really shouldn’t take a huge post to get this message across but some folks still insist on hiding behind ignorance and refusal to use any sort of critical thinking (or at the least to use Google to search for actual data). These same folks are the ones we hear saying things like, “Well, you should ban violent music as well, and while you’re at it you should go after Cowboy movies too!”

Perhaps us crazy radical feminists would be going after cowboy movies if they were designed to bring about an orgasm through repeated watching designed to condition the viewer to be sexually aroused and masturbate every time a showdown at high noon is mentioned.

And now that we’ve covered that topic again I hope not to have to deal with it for a good, long time.

~BB

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Published in: on April 26, 2008 at 10:38 am  Leave a Comment  
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