Pornography: the new minstrel show

Pornography, if it’s defended, is defended in the name of freedom of expression. The creators of pornography, it is argued, are making an artistic statement. Okay, few defenders of pornography are willing to call it art. But they claim that pornographic performers are proud of their bodies, free from sexual hang-ups, and eager to share their worldview with the rest of us.

That makes pornography the direct counterpart of the 19th century minstrel show. Both pornography and minstrelsy depict an idealized world that doesn’t really exist. And both involve the exploitation of the people they are supposed to be depicting.

Minstrel shows portrayed African-Americans as comic, dim-witted buffoons. But their white audiences believed that they were accurate examples of African-American culture. “Negroes like that kind of music,” they claimed. “That’s the way they really dance, don’t you know.”

Pornography portrays women as exploitable, demeanable, and rapeable. Do its viewers believe that pornography provides accurate examples of what all women are like? Maybe not, but the defenders of pornography claim that some women – the actresses – don’t object. “She’s just expressing her sexuality in that video,” they claim. “She’s just proud of her body.”

No, maybe she’s just trying to make a living. If women could earn as much as men, as easily, things might be different. At least men can stand on the corner waiting to be hired for honorable manual labor. When women stand on the corner, they have fewer options.

And if she’s an amateur, the point is not that she’s proud of her body. The point is that she isn’t proud of much of anything else. She doesn’t expose herself because she’s free. She exposes herself because she’s enslaved. And the men who watch her are taking advantage of her bondage, just as surely as the white people who watched minstrel shows were taking advantage of African-American powerlessness.

Note: many minstrel performers were white people in blackface, which contradicts my analogy. But there is no similar term for authentic 19th century African-American performances, which tends to prove my point, don’t you think?

3 thoughts on “Pornography: the new minstrel show

  1. Not to mention that much of the world’s internet pornography is populated by woman who are actual slaves today.

  2. I think the more important question than whether porn is art or not, or whether women engage in the production of it of their own free will or not, is what it really means to look at it.

    You do not know if the women in porn are married or not. You can’t always tell if they have a boyfriend. And you don’t know if they claim to be Christians or not. Each of these things presents a problem to a Christian looking at porn. For, if the woman is married or involved, then lusting after her is truly committing adultery with her in your heart. It is breaking the 10th commandment. And if the woman is not a believer, then lusting after her is becoming unequally yoked with her in your mind.

    Considering these problems, a Christian that focuses on porn is not putting God first, and if so, then he is breaking the 1st commandment. And anything worshipped besides God is an idol.

    Therefore, porn can be the cause of a Christian breaking the 1st (no other gods besides God), 2nd (no graven images, to worship them), 3rd (taking God’s name in vain, setting a bad example), 5th (honour your father and mother, not building your family), 7th (no adultery), and 10th commandments (no coveting your neighbour’s wife). This results in bondage and an altered course of life, distracting men from accomplishing what is more important (family) and useful, and laying a burden of guilt on them that hamstrings them in their spiritual life and service.

    And I know this first hand, because I wasted about 10 years of my life on porn. It is a trap, and causes the viewer more harm than he realizes. As usual, sin hurts us, often more than it hurts others.

    Thankfully, there is mercy, which triumphs over judgment. But I encourage all men to wake up and look at the side effects of porn on their lives. Realize what it is doing to you, and what you are doing to yourself. Understand that the feeling of intimacy it induces is completely fake, and cannot satisfy, nor reward you in the end. Only God can satisfy, only God can reward with life. And as Proverbs says, a prudent wife is from the Lord.

    God bless.

  3. Porn is like a cancer. If one do not treat it as one detects it, there is possibility to operate it as one is on the way to grave. As a young guy i battle with it, but at the end i felt rejected, dejected, stupid, foolish, etc! Sometimes, we think it’s fun but less do we know that its firmly a fund for our spiritual-funeral. But i guess we know what is next after the sinful funeral?

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