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Rant #459
(published November 5, 2009)
Feminism as a Resolution to Pornography
by Kevin Vorshak
I read a piece recently in the local newspaper about Gail Dines, who spoke regarding the view of women in the media and in pornography. Basically, she is saying that the hype, the portrayal, is unrealistic and that the resolution to this affliction is feminism.

Following is an excerpt from the paper (front page stuff) based on her presentation:

We live in an imaged-based society," said Dines, who has been studying media images for years. "The women in print advertisements are airbrushed, fabricated women. They are not real. But, it doesn't matter how many times I tell you they're not real; you're still going to compare yourself to them." Dines discussed how media images speak to people, and how the dominant image today is a young, sexualized woman. "We are paying the price for those women who are being depicted in these images," said Dines. While pornographic images flashed on the screen, she explained that these women have no name, no history, no past, no future, no biography; just a selection of "perfect" body parts for male consumption. In porn, as well as mainstream media, there are standards and an ideal way to look. The media has taken this abnormal body shape of a model and turned it into normal. "We live in a culture where the abnormal is normal and normal is abnormal," said Dines. "With that being said, how are you to develop a sense of who you are?
So, when I read this, it comes to mind that if only the depiction of women in the media and in pornography is unrealistic, then Ms. Dines must believe that the depiction of men in these very same markets must be realistic. To think that she actually believes that all men come with flat, washboard stomachs; muscular arms; and are, well, blessedly endowed. None have ever had to have a scar or pimple, or for that matter any blemish requiring airbrushing removed. Not once. Ever. It must also mean that the male depiction in pornography is correct. I never realized the truth that I could send a woman into a fit of orgasmic desire just by showing up at her front door with a pizza in my hand. So much so, in fact, that she would throw the pizza aside for me instead, and still provide a sizeable tip afterward.

No wonder so many regular guys aspire to deliver pizzas. Now I know why I never see any 'Help Wanted' ads for pizza delivery guys.

But, somehow, most men I know don't fit that mold. Actually, I know of no men that fit that mold. Its not that they don't exist, it's just that they are not the norm. So what alternatives do we normal guys have? What groups can we form? Man-inism? Male-inism? Guy-inism? None of those quite have the ring of feminism. Regardless, I didn't realize that I should be, you know, slighted that I don't fit that fantasy mold. I'm fortunate to have found myself a good woman who also didn't realize that I was, well, lacking; and that a muscular, hugely blessed and romantic tractor repairman awaited her just around the corner if only she just looked.

This may come across scathing toward Ms. Dines, but why should any group feel they've been persecuted more than any other group? And Ms. Dines states "We are paying the price. . . " How? Unless someone is holding a gun to these young girls heads; and for that matter, guys, I suspect they are being paid fairly for the work they do. I also suspect that, like any other job, there is considerable competition to stay ahead in the game. And, if I may be so bold, I suspect that these men and woman are actually somewhat intelligent. Maybe even highly intelligent! Why should this industry be any different? Why shouldn't a guy or a girl with a certain look, who want to make a living from their attributes, and are intelligent enough to make it happen, be allowed to do so? Why is that bad?

Is there some exploitation in the modeling and pornography industry? Probably. But I believe they've progressed well beyond the mobster run days of earlier, underground works. Then again, there's exploitation in most industries. Ms. Dines is exploiting the insecurities of women; to get them to rise up and join feminism. Is it a profitless endeavor? I doubt it. Did she do her speaking engagement for free? Unlikely. Is she preying on these women to further her ideals? That I will leave up to you to decide.

Why is it some people are threatened by fantasy? It serves a purpose for those who are grounded in reality, which I feel is most of us. It's a bit of an escape. What is wrong with that? It inspires books, movies, even music. Helen of Troy's beauty launched a thousand ships. She likely could've made millions selling make-up. In my opinion, the problems stem from those like Ms. Dines who don't seem capable of knowing the differences between fantasy and reality. I work with women. I am actually the only guy holding the position. The job description doesn't even make reference to a guy doing the job. So, being the only guy, I know these women appreciate the fantasy of the male underwear model. I hear it. I've experienced them gathering at the window to watch a young hunk of a road construction worker with his shirt off. In the overall scheme of the rest of the world, who cares? For that moment, they shared a bond, an escape from the sometimes soul sucking routine of their jobs. They shared something that even on my best day I can't give them. On the other hand, none of them are the girl on the tool poster that I see hanging in the mechanic's garage. Does that make them any less desirable to their husbands? I won't say it doesn't happen, but I don't believe it is the norm and I believe it happens to both men and women. Because of people like Ms. Dines, the fantasy that most of us love in some form or other is slowly being denied us.

I have to wonder if Ms. Dines truly believes that woman are so insecure, so lacking in self esteem, that they need feminism to feel themselves of value. It makes me wonder how anyone believes they and their issues have exclusivity over anyone else's? Even to the point of pitting one group against another. I know my wife and other women in my life are just fine with the models and porn stars. They view it as a fantasy that has a certain appeal to many - men and women alike. A co-worker's wife loves pornography more than he does! Somehow, I doubt she's feeling insecure. Many choose to watch or not as is their preference, but are able to distinguish the fantasy from real life and not feel threatened by it.

I know that I am not threatened with the very healthy and possibly well-blessed male model - more power to him. He serves a purpose. If I work hard, I could have a body like that. I have not the time or the desire to look like that. I'm not that insecure with myself. Does it make me want to look healthier? Yes. Does it cause me to work a little harder toward that goal? Yes. Without him, I may already be over three hundred pounds as opposed to the svelte two-twenty I carry now. He provides me with at least some motivation. Why would I campaign against it? I may live a few years longer because of his hard work.

Kevin Vorshak writes from Alliance, Ohio.

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