Trying not to get sucked in, failing miserably
I've been watching the debates on the movie Deep Throat over at Alas with interest, though rarely commenting. I never watched the movie beginning to end, and consider anyone who would watch a porn beginning to end someone who is missing the point entirely. Despite this, I fully agree that the plot is a retarded, juvenile male fantasy, but I can't work up the enthusiasm to care. If my sexual fantasies were held up for examination, I doubt that I would pass the maturity test, much less the not using the opposite sex as mere objects test. Nope, I'd flunk.
What I find interesting is the discussion around Linda Lovelace/Boreman's various accounts of that period of her life. From what I understand, after she became born-again and married a Christian man, L/B joined up with the anti-pornography feminists. I don't doubt that she was abused during her years in the porn industry, especially by her husband. Like I said in the comments at Alas, back then it was a criminal industry that operated like prostitution does now, and pimp behavior is to be expected. In a sexist culture, misogyny and exploitation of women is bound to be the standard on the edges of society.
But I really do think that anti-porn feminists might be a tad too eager to embrace Boreman's sad story to indict the very existence of pornography. Not that it isn't a legitimate thing to say that rape and abuse of women in the industry is an argument against it, of course. And maybe my issue comes from the fact that I don't think that rape and abuse have to be a part of pornography--as I've said before, I think that abuse is the result of misogyny, not sexual explicitness, and attacking porn itself instead of dealing with how misogyny gets eroticized in the first place is a band-aid solution that is bound to backfire. But here's the thing that drives me batshit crazy when I see Boreman's story brought up--born-again Christians dedicated to a patriarchal ideal are just another manifestation of the same sexism that you see in the porn world.
Two sides, same coin. Good, Christian patriarchal households breed just as much rape and abuse of women, and probably a hell of a lot more, than the porn industry. Well-meaning feminists should reconsider standing with anti-porn activists that come from the Christian right, regardless of whether they really do think they have a common enemy or not. I'm not going to waste time arguing my pro-porn feelings, as I have wasted enough space doing that. Sexists in porn want all women to be whores; sexists in religion want us all to be virgins. The lot of them can kiss my ass.
I really hate seeing feminists who hate porn suck it up and admire someone for submitting to what amounts to just a different set of soul-sucking standards for female behavior in order to solidify their case. I was talking with a friend today about this and that and I mentioned that I am all-too familiar with what I call the Good Woman's smile, common enough to Good Christian Texan Women. It's easy enough to spot--tight smile, sad eyes, resigned shoulders. It freezes on your face after years of having your soul crushed repeatedly by having family, town, husband, everything demand that you be a solid rock of pleasant femininity, with no needs or desires of your own. Yeah, and that includes the desire to let loose once in awhile and go crazy in the sack. Or just the desire to blow off smiling beatifically at your husband while wishing that you were at home watching your TV show in peace instead.
By no means am I saying that porn is a cure for that. Far from it. I'm just saying that insipid male fantasies of women whose only sexual pleasure is pleasuring men isn't at all different in my mind from the social demand that good Christian wives float through life without any apparent desires other than serving others. Maybe Linda Boreman saw things differently, and that's her right. If her new religion and her new family was a respite from domestic violence, then god knows I don't blame her. But it would do well for those of us looking at this from a political angle to be careful not to jump from the frying pan into the fire.