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Arts and Culture

The Victims of Pornography

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Posted on Oct 11, 2009
AP / Jae C. Hong

Adult film stars pose for photos at the AVN Adult Entertainment Expo in Las Vegas.

By Chris Hedges

(Page 2)

Patrice Roldan, 26, with black hair and a loose-fitting purple and black potato sack dress, is standing next to the Pink Cross table. Roldan, whose screen name was Nadia Styles, made her last porn film in November 2008. She starred in nearly 200 films. She is 5-foot-5, 110 pounds and wears a black scarf around her neck, black knitted stockings with knee-high black socks, and flat, black shoes. Her outfit seems calculated to be exactly what a porn star should never wear in public. She looks like a schoolteacher.

Roldan, like many of the women who drift into the porn and prostitution industry, had a difficult and troubled childhood, including a physically abusive mother. Her mother threw her out of her home when she was 17, and she spent time in homeless shelters. She answered an ad in LA Weekly that offered women $1,000 as models. This is a common doorway into the porn industry. She started appearing in Internet porn. She had a boyfriend when she began filming and tells me she “felt guilty” about hiding her porn sessions from him, but the money was good. Her boyfriend eventually found out, and their relationship descended into one increasingly characterized by verbal and physical abuse. She drifted from the Internet into films. She was 19 when she made her first film.

“Doing a movie shoot was a different experience,” she says as we sit in two folding chairs across from the Pink Cross booth. “I made my first film with New Sensations [adult video studio]. I got makeup. There was a set and cameramen all around. I thought it was glamorous to have my makeup done, to have pictures taken of me. That was a regular boy-girl shoot. At that point, I was just trying to survive.”

She had been promised $1,000 for her first film. She was handed $600 when the scene was done. She also contracted gonorrhea. Porn stars are tested for HIV and sexually transmitted diseases once a month, but “people do so many scenes between tests that a month is a long time.” She began, once she had treated her gonorrhea, to do films three or four times a month. She would have several more bouts with gonorrhea and other sexually transmitted diseases during her career. She got pregnant and had an abortion. The demands on her began to escalate. She was filmed with multiple partners. Her scenes became “extremely rough. They would pull my hair, slap me around like a rag doll.

“The next day my whole body would ache,” she recalls. “It happened a lot, the aching. It used to be that only a few stars, people like Linda Lovelace, would once do things like anal. Now it is expected.”

 

 

Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle

 

By Chris Hedges

 

Nation Books, 240 pages

 

Buy the book

 

She became a staple in “gonzo” porn films. Gonzo movies are usually filmed in a house or hotel room. They are porn verite. The performers often acknowledge the camera and speak to it. Gonzo films push the boundaries of porn and often include a lot of violence, physical abuse and a huge number of partners in succession. According to the magazine Adult Video News, “Gonzo, non-feature fare is the overwhelmingly dominant porn genre since it’s less expensive to produce than plot-oriented features, but just as importantly, is the fare of choice for the solo stroking consumer who merely wants to cut to the chase, get off on the good stuff, then, if they really wanna catch some acting, plot and dialog, pop in the latest Netflix disc.”

Roldan would endure numerous penetrations by various men in a shoot, most of them “super-rough.” As she talks of her career in porn, her eyes take on a dead, faraway look. Her breathing becomes more rapid. She slips into a flat, numbing monotone. The symptoms are ones I know well from interviewing victims of atrocities in war who battle posttraumatic stress disorder.

“What you are describing is trauma,” I say.

“Yes,” she answers quietly.

Shelley Lubben, who also worked as a porn actress, agrees.

“You have to do what they want on the sets,” she says. “There’s too much competition. They can always find other girls. Girls bring in their friends and get kickbacks. They feel like stars. They get attention. It’s all about the spotlight. It’s all about me. They have notoriety. They don’t realize the degradation. Besides, this is a whole generation raised on porn. They’re jaded and don’t even ask if it is wrong. They fall into it. They get into drugs to numb themselves. They get their asses ripped. Their uterus hemorrhages. They get HPV and herpes, and they turn themselves off emotionally and die. They check out mentally. They get PTSD like Vietnam vets. They don’t know who they are. They live a life of shopping and drugs. They don’t buy real estate. They party, and in the end they have nothing to show for it except, like me, genital herpes and fake boobs.”


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By mike112769, October 12, 2009 at 2:58 pm Link to this comment

Child porn is not the issue here. Pornography involving children is one of the most heinous things known to man. No civilzation on Earth has made child porn legal, and rightly so.

For every woman who is “forced into pornography” there are thousands more who are in it for the money.
There are laws in place that deal with kidnapping and rape.

One thing a lot of people have seemed to forget: What gets you off may not get someone else off. Most porn stars love getting paid to have sex all day. Yur sexual mores are just that: YOURS.

There is a real simple cure for porn. If you don’t like it, DON"T WATCH IT!

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By PornedUSA, October 12, 2009 at 2:18 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Ahhh pornography…porn is one of America’s ‘healthiest’ economic sectors and also still one of the USA’s biggest exports.

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By P. T., October 12, 2009 at 2:06 pm Link to this comment

Eliminating porn would require getting rid of the Bible, D. H. Lawrence, and Harlequin Romances.

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By johannes, October 12, 2009 at 1:56 pm Link to this comment

Well no its not like that at all, their are no excuses for all this red round meat, no the excuse as it wash all ways like that no no, we are living in 2009, sex is not the same as making love, thats what most people forget, if you will grow in your feelings and in your self you have to come from loving to lovemaking in to sex, than you come to the deeper feelings of live, other wise you make from your loving wife an ordinaire hooker, but in your bedroom between to humans everything is permitted if not imposed from one side only, thats the mistery of live and thats the beauty of live, we need some mistic and steeling of the forbidden fruit, make life nice and rich in feelings we need this more now than all the shit an dirty thinking thats what makes you unhappy after words.

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By Light The Watchtower, October 12, 2009 at 1:31 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

These comments, mostly by men, that support the idea that pornography is not harmful to the woman involved, say more about them than about the industry.

The treatment by men that these woman described and were party too is not something for either men or woman who are enotionally healthy.

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By Rgyle, October 12, 2009 at 1:17 pm Link to this comment

NC-Tom: Yes sir. Actually any sensual experience, and all experiences are (and
remember that the senses are mental too), when overindulged, lead to boredom,
whereupon further variations/deviation/quantities/qualities are soon required. If
this sounds like addiction, it is. It’s what happens to those who have no
realization of who/what they are or what life/living is. As if trapped in the outer
experiences, one misses the freedom of one’s inner reality. Our culture is
tragically lacking in this education. But don’t put it on the teachers – nothing is
taught, only learned. Once one pays attention and investigates, even boredom
itself becomes quite interesting. Then the innocent, exhilarative living of the child
returns.

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By ThePete, October 12, 2009 at 12:16 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

So, which part of this is the “truth”? I mean, this site is “truthdig.com” right?  So, this big opinion piece on porn is supposed to be the truth?

This piece/excerpt from a novel claims of women in porn that “The one emotion they are allowed to display is an unquenchable desire to satisfy men, especially if that desire involves the women’s physical and emotional degradation.”

What the hell kind of porn are you watching?  Sure, there’s that kind of porn out there, but the porn I’ve watched feature women who can’t wait to be satisfied. Not even in an S&M or domineering way—they want to enjoy sex with another person.  Most of the time (at least in the porn I’ve seen), it doesn’t involve anything “unhealthy” even.

So, I wonder how this belongs on TRUTHdig.com since it’s clearly riddled with judgments of how we should all live our lives.

In the end, this is a hideously slanted piece that blames the producers of such material and not the system that causes all of the side effects.  Porn is like marijuana—it’s not a gateway to worse things—but often the moral judgments that are placed on porn and the economic constraints on all of us combine to create less than happy results.  Like one commenter said—remove references to porn and sex and you pretty much describe the average American citizen.

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By P. T., October 12, 2009 at 12:04 pm Link to this comment

Embarrassed by something, sex, that is natural, animal-like, and impossible to repress, people do what they consider the next best thing:  put sexuality into approved and disapproved categories even when it is among consenting adults.  One person’s normality is another’s perversion—and vice versa.

Texas goes so far as to supposedly outlaw stores that sell sex toys (vibrators and so forth).

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By no mans land, October 12, 2009 at 11:34 am Link to this comment

Gmonst:

Right on. I’m all for people’s right to choose—provided, as you said, its a choice. I’m not a consumer of porn, but I certainly don’t want to live in a taliban-ized America either.

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By Gmonst, October 12, 2009 at 11:25 am Link to this comment

I think that the ire against porn is mostly about the morality which continues to cling to our culture.  Porn is kept hidden because our own inner selves are in conflict with this morality which is at odds with our natural desire for sex, and natural arousal at seeing sexual images.  Its not just men, although I think men more so, women are also aroused by sexual images.  I watch porn with my wife upon occasion, good occasions, and we have great sex afterward.  Not all of it turns me on, because its not to my specific kink. I wonder what kink does Mr. Hedges have, what did he see at that convention that has his inner self pulsing with energy, but also twisting in guilt?  He doesn’t bare his soul in this, I guess he is above such base desires.  The porn industry reflects us, our desires, our kinks, our fascinations.  We are plain and simple a society that exploits others.  The only difference with porn its in the area of sex, and our society is very far from sexually open and healthy. 

I don’t like violence or exploitation, I don’t think most do.  I do have to admit that for me really good sex has bordered on violent, not in a hateful way, but when the passions are fully aroused, things are not always so light touchy feely, it gets down and dirty passionate.  With both women and men.  So I understand where the violent sex comes from, it a lot of ways its hot.  I don’t want women to be hurt making it or allow money to force them into doing things they don’t want.  But aren’t all of us forced by money into doing things we don’t want?  Don’t we all sell ourselves out a bit?  Think of a professional football player, wasn’t that young man pressured into the industry from a young age?  Doesn’t he risk serious industry for money?  When the roar of the crowd goes and he is left with arthritis are we to blame for watching the games? At some point you have to let big boys and girls make their own choices.  If a girl doesn’t want to get into the industry, they shouldn’t, its that simple. There should be unionization of the porn industry to better protect the health of the performers, and stop the financial exploitation.  Like most things with sex if we could just get over the outdated morality we could bring it out into the light of day and really fix the problems. 

Just for the record, I have no problems looking my wife in the eye during sex despite fairly frequent porn viewing.

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By D.R. Zing, October 12, 2009 at 11:14 am Link to this comment

If you want to help the models working in the adult entertainment industry, visit the AIM Healthcare site below and make a donation.

AIM is a non-profit, run by Dr. Sharon Mitchell, a former porn star who changed her life completely and now dedicates herself to helping people. 

AIM offers extensive counseling regarding relationships and drug abuse, and, most importantly, AIM provides discounted tests fpr sexually transmitted disesases. Professional models in LA will not do a shoot until they have reviewed each others AIM tests. 

http://www.aim-med.org/

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By Dave, October 12, 2009 at 10:56 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“It promotes masturbation. It promotes the solitary auto-arousal that precludes intimacy and love. Pornography is about getting yourself off at someone else’s expense.”

I’m sorry but this is priggish foolishness.  Personally I’m not interested in 99.9% of porn, although I probably am interested in whatever I happen to be interested in.  I don’t therefore generalize my dislike of airbrushed fetishistic whatever in to some high moral principle.

Of course there should be labor laws for sex workers and porn workers, but what the heck has the author got against masturbation?  Seems to me that a heck of a lot of the world’s sexual problems and sexual violence issues could be solved by promoting masturbation. 

“It promotes the solitary auto-arousal that precludes intimacy and love.”  Really?  Who says that solitary auto arousal precludes intimacy?  What an extraordinary bit of Churchy moralizing!

“Pornography is about getting yourself off at someone else’s expense.”  This is silly.  It’s about getting yourself off… the idea that someone else must suffer or else it’s not pornography is just silly.  People don’t buy pornography because someone else suffers.  They do so to get off, and are indifferent, like consumers of shoes or t shirts to the conditions of the workers.  You might as well say that the pleasure of shopping is about buying cheap stuff that is produced by suffering laborers.  The suffering of the laborers is obviously not why we enjoy buying cheap shoes. 

This is just the most infantile and churchy moralism.  Spare us.  And yes, by all means let’s work for worker rights for those who labor in the industry.

The fact that we can pile up a dozen examples of abuse and situations that shock our conventional morality does not constitute a principled argument.

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By no mans land, October 12, 2009 at 10:35 am Link to this comment

Sexual deviance has always been with humanity. Its only of late that people other than pimps and prositutes have found a way to make money at it though. Just google Dionysus.

Don’t like it? Change the economic system, change the education, or change the channel. But this is nothing new.

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By "G"utless "W"itless Hitler, October 12, 2009 at 10:27 am Link to this comment

“If an adult wants to be photographed eating human feces to make a buck it is wrong for outsiders to object.  The only victim is the restaurant owner who lost a customer.”—melpol

But if the restaurant happens to be an Applebee’s, the photo shoot can continue as planned.

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By NC-Tom, October 12, 2009 at 10:12 am Link to this comment

From the article:

“You have to do what they want… ” she says. “There’s too much competition. They
can always find (others)”. (Others) bring in their friends and get kickbacks. They
feel like stars. They get attention. It’s all about the spotlight. It’s all about me.
They have notoriety. They don’t realize the degradation… They’re jaded and don’t
even ask if it is wrong. They fall into it. They get into drugs to numb themselves.

By removing the references to sex you could easily be talking about life in
Corporate America.  Just a little food for thought.

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By Ouroborus, October 12, 2009 at 10:00 am Link to this comment

GW=MCHammered, October 12 at 11:58 am #
(Unregistered commenter)
I lost everything three times to the justice system
due to three different spouses’ misdiagnosed,
misprescribed illnesses and their resultant
detrimental behavior. Me and others lost careers due
to a wealthy employer’s prescription drug running
ring. Despite DEA action, he never spent a night in
jail. That’s the porn-state America I live in.
=============================================
Not to be unsympathetic; but 3 times? Whose fault is
that really?

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By melpol, October 12, 2009 at 9:47 am Link to this comment

If an adult wants to be photographed eating human feces to make a buck it is
wrong for outsiders to object.  The only victim is the restaurant owner who lost a
customer. Most people are no better than a self seeking animal. If they want to
better themselves they should learn to mind their own dirty business.

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By elisalouisa, October 12, 2009 at 9:33 am Link to this comment

Fat Freddy: You see what you want to see and what you deduct is telling. If you
don’t like what Mr Hedges has to say fine, but don’t blame the Catholics which are
easy targets now days, the last group where no protest is made if ridicule is
heaped upon that faith. May I remind you that Judaism is also a faith where
forgiveness for sins against God is the theme. The holiest day, Yom Kippur is also
called the Day of Atonement. Catholicism is but a branch of Judaism and that tells
you where they got it. So get off it, don’t blame the Catholics, go see a shrink if
you feel guilty.

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By Eso, October 12, 2009 at 9:17 am Link to this comment

The to be pitied (in answer to someone who wrote here) is our culture and society.

Apparently porn is the price of climbing out of trees, loosing our body hair, wearing clothes that look like military uniforms, living in a room on floor 20, and not knowing how to reverse or just stop all the “growth” and “progress”.

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By fat freddy, October 12, 2009 at 9:04 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

ouroborus

Say, 6pm EDT.

I hope you don’t embarass easily.

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By Blackspeare, October 12, 2009 at 9:04 am Link to this comment

I remember many many years ago I was with a woman who told me, in a rather discreet way, that I was kind of small!  I also thought I was sort of normal until I viewed some hardcore porn and HOLY SHIT are those packages for real!!!  Fortunately I married a woman who thinks me an Apollo——apparently she didn’t watch porn——Whew!  But then I realized she’s on the small side too so in the end it all works out or in as the case may be.

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By GW=MCHammered, October 12, 2009 at 8:58 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

By Ouroborus, October 12 at 10:57 am
“...lawyers only exploit the result of foolish thinking and behavior.”

Much like characters in the porn industry, many lawyers coerce, threaten and use morally degraded acting in their exploitation-

Lawyer 1 (yours): “This case will not change state law.”
Lawyer 2 (theirs): “We’ll see about that!”
Tens of thou$ands later…
Judge: “These are the cases that clog our courts.”
But by now, you’re bankrupt anyway.
And when the money’s gone, interestingly, so are the lawyers.

“Yes, he/she did commit perjury in the courtroom. No, the court will not take action against the crime. But if you want to, it will cost you a couple grand.”

“Yes, he/she has a long history of mental illness. But you must defend yourself against his/her delusional claims ... again.”

I lost everything three times to the justice system due to three different spouses’ misdiagnosed, misprescribed illnesses and their resultant detrimental behavior. Me and others lost careers due to a wealthy employer’s prescription drug running ring. Despite DEA action, he never spent a night in jail. That’s the porn-state America I live in.

In this Land of Opportunity, legal-care is as macabre as health-care. I want cashed out of the Social Security System so I can better start over a fourth time in twenty five years ... somewhere else.

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By Leefeller, October 12, 2009 at 8:49 am Link to this comment

Guess the reader is supposed to feel Hedges just hung around the Pink Cross booth and covered his eyes when he went at the beginning of the show in and when he left when they kicked him out?

This week Hedges reminds me of a restaurant critic who is reporting on his least favorite restaurant in the world. Someone has to do it.  Hedges needs to be sure about these things. Seemingly like the restaurant critic, Hedges found it is necessary to try going through all the menu’s!  Well! To be sure, he mustn’t miss a thing.  Starting with the main menu then checking out the wine list and and of course there is always the dessert menu, indigestion, such a small price to pay for the truth.

Research on victims of abuse, Hedges needs to know first hand what is most important and challenging, any way who wants to walk around checking out kids working in a shoe factory?

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By Anarcissie, October 12, 2009 at 8:44 am Link to this comment

Fat Freddy:
‘Ouroborus

You’ll get no argument from me. My point is, that Hedges didn’t do any research into the contemporary problems with the exploitation. ...’

He never does, as far as I can tell.  His modus operandi seems to be to find something to become hysterical about, and vent his hysteria in writing, for which he then gets paid, or at least published.  In the present piece, he also goes in for lying.  I say “lying” because, while he may believe in what he’s saying, it’s his job to learn the facts, and he hasn’t bothered; they’d just get in the way.

No doubt there is destructive exploitation in sex work, as there is in every other kind of social relation.  If you want to change that, you have to change the society radically, not just focus on commercial sex, which while not insignificant is a small part of the whole.  Yes, the more powerful oppress and use up the less powerful.  Been to the office lately?

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By johannes, October 12, 2009 at 8:37 am Link to this comment

This the mainroad to so called free pornografic world, drugs no money need for drugs hookering in to porno nice start ending with beastly, and bestial behavior.

I think it could be your sister daughter granddaughter or some other person you love, its revolting to see humans made in to meat.

On the other hand their excist beautyfull and wonderfull art inspired bij l’amour or the deepest feeling of love for an other person.

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By G.Anderson, October 12, 2009 at 8:18 am Link to this comment

Once again porn is just another pain killer, like anagesic opiates that are now the leading cause of death in 16 states.

Yes, the courts do create incentive for divorce, and for exploitation, it’s an industry that feeds off the society.

Just like the credit card companies, who use the same lines, that they don’t make people charge their lives away. Then say don’t blame us it’s not our fault.

But it is their falt, because they create the conditions then exploit them for financial gain. 
And they stand in the way of ending it, protecting the heaps of gold they created from ruining peoples lives.

When will they take responsibility for what they’ve done. Never.

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By "G"utless "W"itless Hitler, October 12, 2009 at 8:11 am Link to this comment

Boo frickin’ hoo!  That chick was making bank.  With a 100k a year and relatively few hours actually worked a week, any porn goddess could easily attend classes full time at the local college.  Is it the fault of the porn consumer that these women have no foresight, goals, or life-plan?  Just schedule that double-penetration a**-to-mouth money shot around your biology lab, toots.  In four years, you walk away with a diploma.  Any poultry industry laborer would gladly endure some anal tearing and genital warts for a college degree and no student-loan debt!  You really want to see PTSD?  Go take a look at the minimum wage earners walking out of the Tyson chicken plant after a day’s work!  But noooooo.  Instead of using their resources to advance their educations and improve their minds, these “reformed” bimbos chose to take the road traveled by every other garden-variety imbecile in this country:  Christianity!

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By barf, October 12, 2009 at 8:08 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

the fault is with the women’s movement of the seventy’s. the women of this generation spawned a generation of women who are un-educated and de-sensitized to thinking that the only way they will survive is thru their bodies.  the anything goes for women has caused the proliferation of porn. it has made it ok for women to think its ok to have sex with other women. it was supposed to lift women, instead it has made them worse off than before. now women objectify themselves. it should have been about enpowering women in the workplace, and in business, not bolting on baggies, and extensive surgery to make themselves think they feel better about themselves.  its the i, me, mine generation.

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By Ouroborus, October 12, 2009 at 7:57 am Link to this comment

G.Anderson, October 12 at 10:31 am #

Your post is a hodgepodge of unrelated ills affecting
American society. Please rethink and repost what your
point is. Personal choice and exploitation are not the
same thing. At some point adults must take
responsibility for their decisions regardless of their
circumstances. The courts and lawyers do not create the
chaos that has become American society; lawyers only
exploit the result of foolish thinking and behavior.

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By G.Anderson, October 12, 2009 at 7:31 am Link to this comment

Porn is just another pain killer, offered up to people, trapped in society that heaps mountains of unresolvable stress on them.

Jerking off pain, is what we do in this country, either through drugs, or violence, or religion, they are all the same.

Marriage and relationships were destroyed a long time ago for men and for women, when the state began creating incentives for divorce, in order to create tax revenue through child support.

Family courts and the legal profession, don’t make money by keeping families together, or joint custody.

The state and the legal profession, instead creates huge liabilties for marriage, that it cashes in on when those marriage fail. 

The result are relationships that can never go beyond, getting each other off, to blot out the pain, for just a moment.

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By MeHere, October 12, 2009 at 7:29 am Link to this comment

This is the same so-called advanced society that doesn’t cease to point out the immorality and unfairness of the way some Muslim societies treat women and men. The same advanced society that somehow believes that unleashing attacks on Muslim civilians will help change all that.

The fact that many porn victims go into the business voluntarily doesn’t make any difference. Most of them are vulnerable people who are exploited (and eventually enslaved) because of their unhealthy emotional state.

It is not a new problem, but it is good to be updated and reminded by C. Hedges about yet another profitable and unregulated enterprise in our consumer paradise.

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By ro1942, October 12, 2009 at 7:18 am Link to this comment

First time I remember disagreeing with Cris H. Granted they go to far a lot but a large part of society without good social skills need the relief. All that energy would turn negative and hurt society.

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By C.Curtis.Dillon, October 12, 2009 at 7:05 am Link to this comment

In Eastern Europe, there is an ongoing problem with women being suckered into these situations.  Before you throw out “adult decision” understand that many women are desperate to get out of this hellhole and to find any life that is better.  They fall victim to slick sales pitches about Nannies or working in a foreign country but, once there, are forced into prostitution and pornography against their will.  They are at the mercy of their handler and can be abused or even murdered if they don’t comply.  Once they lose their support system in Eastern Europe, they are extremely vulnerable to threats and intimidation.

The same can be said about many women stateside who fall into this situation.  They are from broken, abusive families where their self-esteem is destroyed and they become victims of predators who know how to seduce them into these “professions”.  It is a slippery slope to the type of degradation Hedges talks about.  This is how many women get sucked into both prostitution and porno.

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By Scott, October 12, 2009 at 6:37 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

As a gay male who watches gay porn… I’ve never been “confused” about the “fantasy sex” of porn and the real thing.

Over time I’ve realized the biggest barrier to intimacy between gay men is not the porn we watch but the “standards” we expect from our “ideal” partner.  In fact I’ve had more guys reject me for not pulling down $100k per year rather than not providing the ideal “porn” experience bed!

The biggest barrier in intimacy between straight couples has also been unrealistic financial and social expectations combined with a failure to communicate rather than the guys’ use of porn to get off.

As for the arguments about the exploitation of women and children; women and children are exploited all the time in the garment manufacturing industry but I don’t see ANYBODY arguing that we should stop buying clothes and run about naked! 

Sex workers need to be unionized, regulated, and independently monitored to protect women and children from being exploited. That’s far easier to do when porn can be legally produced and purchased than if it’s produced and purchased in the black market.

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By huemeister, October 12, 2009 at 6:26 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I have to agree with Fat Freddy.  Unless you’re talking about exploitation of children or sex slaves - which is abhorrent - porn is consensual, and the women actresses get paid much better than their male counterparts. 

This piece is nothing new, and doesn’t explain why men, in particular, are drawn to the fantasies of pornographic arousal.  Is it because they aren’t getting what they need at home?  Is it because of the lure of the airbrushed model everywhere in every conceivable medium?  Are we just desensitized to intimacy?  These questions should be addressed, and not in some half-assed reporting about exploitation of women by men. 

Seriously, if a woman is making $100,000 a year in this economy by taking it up the butt, who is really being exploited?

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By Ouroborus, October 12, 2009 at 6:13 am Link to this comment

Fat Freddy, October 12 at 9:08 am #

So, later then?

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By Ouroborus, October 12, 2009 at 6:11 am Link to this comment

Timothy1119, October 12 at 9:04 am #
Give it a few more years and all porn will be virtual. 
This ‘problem’ will go away.
==========================================
No, wrong! Why? Because the sickos will seek non
virtual expression. And there will still be victims.
The problem will go away when/if we ever gain some
degree of mental health. Not my morality/judgement, but
a measure of the harm we no longer inflict on ourselves
or others.

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By Fat Freddy, October 12, 2009 at 6:08 am Link to this comment

Ouroborus

You’ll get no argument from me. My point is, that Hedges didn’t do any research into the contemporary problems with the exploitation. There are many women who will do almost anything to come this country. There is no mention of the slavery involved with human trafficking. Hedges seems more obsessed with anal sex and masturbation. Perhaps, he’s the one with a problem. Your points reflect the illegal, not the “immoral”. I’d love to continue this convo, but I’ve got to go to work.

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By Timothy1119, October 12, 2009 at 6:04 am Link to this comment

Give it a few more years and all porn will be virtual.  This ‘problem’ will go away.

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By TwoSensesWorth, October 12, 2009 at 6:03 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Pornography is vicarious experience. As such, it is not much different from other forms of the derivative life we choose to live—- cop shows, gladiator sports, war movies, etc. All of this is a substitute for the real life which most males no longer have access to (or would choose to actually live). But porn—- unlike death and plunder, which are socially acceptable—- explicitly engages Judeo-Christian taboos that are vestiges of a time when women really were chattel; these taboos served many social and political interests, the most fundamental being property rights. 

In our Brave New World, in which nobody (except the government) has papers on anybody else, it may be healthier for young guys to “get off” in the privacy of their bedrooms than for them to roam the dark streets of America in a state of high dudgeon. 

In my youth I had friends who worked in the sex trade. They were strippers who earned a little extra when they wished to at the end of the shift. They were not sad, stunted human beings, and they certainly didn’t feel exploited. If anything, they felt they were exploiting their clientele.  Some women don’t require intimacy and “love” to enjoy sex. I “lost touch” with them, so to speak, long ago, but I suspect that when they did marry, they married well and stayed married because their experience had taught them all there is to know about men.

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By Ouroborus, October 12, 2009 at 5:57 am Link to this comment

Fat Freddy, October 12 at 8:35 am #

How many is a few? And more importantly, I’m not
talking about the predators; my point was the children
and women forced into this. Are they not victims?

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By Fat Freddy, October 12, 2009 at 5:35 am Link to this comment

Ouroborus

Pornography, like drugs, prostitution and gambling is victimless. No one is going to make me feel guilty because of a few sick individuals. Hedges could have easily explained the true evils of exploitation in the pornography and prostitution world. Instead, he chose to use the old Catholic guilt trip. That doesn’t work with me, and it doesn’t work with a lot of people, anymore. The entire excerpt is so weak and antiquated, it doesn’t deserve the storage space it’s using up on the server.

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By Ouroborus, October 12, 2009 at 5:23 am Link to this comment

Fat Freddy, October 12 at 8:00 am #

You speak as though pornography is a victimless phenomenon; it’s not! And you paint with way too broad
a brush. I have no qualms with consenting adult
behavior; but all too often pornography involves
children. My adopted country is one of the worst for
this. So, calm down and use your common sense and get
informed about the real world of pornography. It
necessarily involves the two most helpless factions of
any society; women and children.

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By SouthTexas, October 12, 2009 at 5:19 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hedges book is great. I closely agree with much of what he writes, including in that chapter, but I nearly put the book away while reading through it. The reason is the overflow (IMO) of foul language. You might say ‘foul subject, foul language’. And most of the trash talk is inserted as being direct quotations.. I’m not a prude, still, I didn’t like it and thought it unnecessary to make his point.
.

My favorite (sarcastic) comment on the subject of foul language in writing goes something like this: .. “the piece was good, except it just didn’t have enough four-letter words”!
.

That’s my thoughts on that.
.
Thank you.

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By Ouroborus, October 12, 2009 at 5:12 am Link to this comment

Timothy1119, October 12 at 7:47 am #
Does ardee even know what a twink is?
========================================

Does it even matter? Ardee, IMO, is correct.
========================================

We’ve become a twisted lot; and I’m glad I don’t have
to navigate the current mores and norms of society. It
was hard enough, those many years ago, as I struggled
to understand my place in the world.

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By Fat Freddy, October 12, 2009 at 5:00 am Link to this comment

I’m supposed to feel guilty about whacking off, now? It’s Sunday School all over again. Name me one person that doesn’t masturbate. Name me one person that doesn’t use images to heighten the experience. Tell me, who determines which images are acceptable? “I can’t define pornography, but I know it when I see it.” Would the woman’s underwear section of the Sears catalog be acceptable?

So, I guess I’m a “victim of pornography”. I have trouble distinguishing between fantasy and reality. I could never be involved in a truly emotional exchange of love. And now, thanks to Chris Hedges, I can blame it all on pornography. I guess I won’t be needing all of that expensive therapy.

“But think about all of those poor women being exploited”. Which ones? The ones that go to California in hopes of becoming a big movie star and end up walking Hollywood Boulevard? I’m supposed to feel sorry for someone’s own bad decision? Perhaps, if Mr. Hedges had spoke about the human trafficking from Russia and Asia, involved, he might have actually gotten my attention.

This excerpt reads like a 1970s “Moral Majority” pledge drive. What’s next, the evils of Rock and Roll, and Elvis Presley’s “gyrations”? There’s no argument. All of the myths, presented here have already been dispelled. This excerpt is devoid of any factual, or logical reasoning. It is purely anecdotal. In fact, I would go as far as to say, that this entire book is presented from a religious fantasy point of view.

The difference between my sexual fantasy and and Mr Hedges Religious fantasy, is that I don’t spend my entire life praying to the great Sexual God in the hopes that when I die I will be transported to some great sexual paradise. I don’t live my life in the fear that if I don’t comply with the Sexual Gods, I will be sent to the Hell of beautiful women all with chastity belts. When I bust a nut, and hit the stop button, the fantasy is over. 2 minutes, tops.

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By Timothy1119, October 12, 2009 at 4:47 am Link to this comment

Does ardee even know what a twink is?

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By ardee, October 12, 2009 at 4:45 am Link to this comment

Montana puts his own prurient interests above the well being of and the mature treatment of women. A site that “celebrates” sexuality actually degrades a mature view of sex…my opinion.

Calculating Infinity fails to calculate how many women are coerced into the sex trade by use of violence, drugs and other such methods.

Timothyy’s comment will remain unanswered…..as it deserves.

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By Steven J Borowiec, October 12, 2009 at 4:29 am Link to this comment

Must they be referred to as “victims”?

They are grown-ups who make their own choices for which they should be
responsible, not pitied.

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By Timothy1119, October 12, 2009 at 4:23 am Link to this comment

As always I like to bring up the subject of gay porn.  Is a twink getting gangbanged degrading to the twink?

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By montanawildhack, October 12, 2009 at 3:09 am Link to this comment

Hedges book “Empire of Illusion” is a rip off of a much better book by a more better author!!!  If you want to read a book that will knock your socks off and Really get you thinking read “A Language Older Than Words” by Derrick Jensen.  Wow!!! 

Oh, Mr. Hedges you are so wise…  “Pornography is about getting yourself off at someone elses expense.”
That pretty much explain about everything in our society… What the hell is the stock market???  It’s about making money at someone elses expense!!! 
“My stock went up at Acme Shoe Company.. Yippe!!”  Well that’s because they moved the company off shore to some country where wage slavery is legal… Where human beings are treated as chattle….And anytime the god damn Christians get involved in a cause—watch out…  If you want a great “porn” site that celebrates women and sexuality subscribe to abbywinters.com… Young Austrailian (sp) women of all shapes and sizes celebrating their sexuality.. No men in the videos….(my girlfriend even likes it)

ps Another great book by Jensen “The Culture of Make Believe”  Don’t waste your time on Hedges’ book…

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By expat in germany, October 12, 2009 at 12:46 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This article is sure to generate a lot of comments, and the perspectives are sure to be diverse. I am a 53-year-old woman, and the mother of a boy and a girl. Neither my husband nor I are consumers of pornography, which seems silly and boring at best, and depressing and dangerous in the extreme.

However, it’s protected by first amendment rights, and it is not going away. Therefore, unlike most, I believe it should be more visible, not less, so parents can openly discuss it with their children.

The sexualization of girls and women is merely a continuum anyway. When my 10-year-old daughter watches MTV, she sees highly sexualized females in nearly every video. (Yes, I know that males are sexualized too, but they are not the ones being tied up, led around on leashes, or worse.) At least with TV, I can ask my children what they think and feel about seeing these images. Moreover, unlike many adults/parents, I recognize that children are sexual beings too. This doesn’t give the adults who are supposed to be protecting them the right to abuse them; it makes it our responsibility to meet these complex issues head on, with frank and open discussion.

Several years ago I wrote a children’s book on sexuality, which I wanted to include photographs, not merely line drawings, but not one American publisher would touch it. What a commentary on our “culture”; one can find unlimited sources of pornography, but not one non-fiction book that acknowledges the sexuality of children. Unfortunately, sexuality and pornography have been conflated, and both are treated as dirty little secrets.

Pornography will continue to flourish wherever talk of sex is hidden, and maybe even when it is not. It will also flourish when children continue to be fed lies and half-truths, or are expected to conform to puritanical views such as not engaging in sex without love, which is unrealistic and merely creates its own problems.

What is limited and taboo is exciting and sought after. Perhaps we should begin by moving the X-rated videos into the same store with the Disney titles. Let the conversation begin.

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By Forty Years in the Desert, October 12, 2009 at 12:45 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What is missing from this and other essays on the evils of pornography is how
men are also victims of the ills of porn.  Women are often shown to be
victimized by porn while men are always typically portrayed to be soulless
defilers. But men are victims of these women who prey on their baser instincts. 
And not only men who view porn but men who are in porn.  These men,
instead of being loving husbands and fathers, contributing to society, instead
are paraded as ever erect studs whose main purpose in life is spill their seed
where it can never take root.

Another thing that might be considered is if porn has had any positive effects
on society.  In the US, since porn has become more mainstream, rape statistics
have gone way down.  Perhaps because a guy sitting in his room masturbating
isn’t going to be out looking for some action and attacking women.  There are
probably a number of factors causing this decline but the availability of porn
could be one of them.  It may be the lesser of two evils in such a case. 

In the past I have always enjoyed the depth of Mr Hedges writing but in this
case it seems to be more black and white, lacking in complexity.  Perhaps
there’s more profundity in his book.

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