As a self-proclaimed iconoclast, I have been focusing on debunking the myths perpetuated in Mormon culture. But I can rebel against society in general's falsehoods, too!
I sincerely and earnestly believe in defending freedom of speech for everyone. I believe in the principle "I may disagree with what you have to say, but I shall defend, to the death, your right to say it." My opinions on this subject mainly developed when I learned about Skokie vs. Illinois in my high-school government class. After careful consideration and discussion with my teacher, I realized that I would defend the neo-Nazis' right to peacefully march. You need to look at it objectively--they were a minority whose message was controversial to the majority. I am not defending their message, but just because an idea is controversial and not widely accepted doesn't mean it's wrong. In another instance, the minority could be blacks whose message is racial equality who want to march in an area populated with Klansmen. The minority could be Mormons in Missouri in the 1800s. And, in a twist on the actual Skokie situation, the minority could be Jews in Nazi Germany (yes, they weren't not subject to American law, of course--it's just an example). You can't pick and choose the minority you're going let have free speech.
I may disagree with you (I'm looking at you, Reader's Forum contributors!) and may think your ideas are stupid and that you should not think the way you do, but I will never say that you shouldn't have the right to express those ideas. However, this becomes very hard for me to continue to believe when I consider the opinions of others evil and damaging to spiritual well-being.
An acquaintance ("friend") on facebook posted a note called "Defending Pornography." Hoo boy. There was even a lovely accompanying picture of a woman's barely-and-suggestively-covered behind. This friend did have some research to back up her opinion, but some arguments I considered logical fallacies and some research I thought was misinterpreted on her part. I read this note yesterday afternoon and have been thinking about it. When I read it, one person had said they liked it, and two people had commented on how they liked the picture (shudder/vomit). I debated whether I should post a reply--I barely knew this person in high school and wasn't a fan of the choices she made; she requested to be my friend--wondering if it would be inappropriate to argue with someone I barely knew and had never actually spoken to directly before!!! I knew I wasn't trying to convince her that she was wrong; I just wanted to represent the opposing side. I also have been trying to overcome my aversion to expressing my opinion on controversial subjects for fear of insensitive rejection; I thought that this could be good for me, since I did want to write a reply. I finally realized that if she did post the note on facebook, which meant she expected comments. I posted my thoughts on Prop 8 (which, by the way, I'm not so sure about anymore) and wasn't mad that people posted dissenting opinions. So I did it!
To sum up her ideas: Pornography is good because it promotes sexual freedom and all the enjoyment that comes with it. Women in countries that fight against pornography feel less safe and respected, while women in countries that approve of and allow pornography feel the opposite [I wonder if it has more to do with the society's view on sex in general--whether it's inherently good or inherently evil]. Countries like Japan, which approves of pornography and whose youth commonly look at "porno comics", have lower rates of sex-related crimes, which disproves the notion that pornography encourages violence against women [yeah. right. OK.] If Pornography were illegal in the U.S., the millions-of -dollars industry would go down and hurt the country economically, which we don't need more of. Almost half of internet surfers look at pornography. Adults should be allowed to view pornography on their own because it doesn't hurt anyone else.
OK, and here is my response:
I'm not trying to argue or change your mind, but I want to share my opinion since you posted this publicly. Pornography does hurt people. Sex is inherently good, and it does involve pleasure, but I think its main purpose is to express love to someone else. When it becomes selfish and about giving yourself pleasure by viewing pornography and being aroused, I think that perverts sex. When someone views pornography, they develop certain responses to it and develop expectations. It hurts their significant other/partner when that partner can no longer meet those expectations through sex. Pornography and the feelings it brings becomes stronger than actual sex with another person--which is a sad thing indeed. Something virtual and unreal is replacing actual human contact. That significant other gets hurt because they aren't needed anymore and can't give their partner what they need. I won't make any comment about whether it should be legal or not (because I'm not sure about that myself), but if the issue is if pornography is right or wrong, defending it by saying it would hurt the country economically is not relevant. Whether something is economically profitable or not is not an indication of whether it's right or wrong. If someone were arguing for more gun control to reduce violent crime, fighting them by saying that people who sell handguns would lose their jobs and businesses would lose their revenue wouldn't do a whole lot to convince them. It is also irrelevant how many people view pornography--that may make it socially acceptable, but it doesn't make it right.Pornography does make people into objects because it emphasizes only the physical aspect of a relationship and not the emotional one. It puts too much emphasis on the body. I don't see how the accompanying picture of the woman's behind does anything back up your point that pornography doesn't make women (or men) "abused and degraded." The first two comments were on how sexy that picture is, not on your research or arguments, which I think says something.In my personal opinion, pornography doesn't lead to sexual freedom; it leads to slavery because it addictive. It warps your reality and hurts your feeling of self-worth by overemphasizing the body and ignoring all the other parts of your identity. It distorts and perverts something that is supposed to be good, enlightening, and enriching. It is insulting to both women and men to be viewed as mere instruments to satisfy sexual desires.
I believe in your right to express your opinions, my friend on facebook, but you make it so hard when they're so devilish. Sometimes I really wonder what the drafters of the Constitution would think of the things today that are protected by free speech. James Madison, what do you think???
I have to admit that I hope mentioning the word "pornography" so much in this post and using it as one of my tags will direct some people looking for the real stuff to this humble blog. Evil laughter. Except it's good laughter, I guess.
Also, posting a reply on facebook is a lot easier than saying something in person (plus, I can get all my thoughts out and not be interrupted), but it's still nerve-racking for me because I wonder how critical people are of me. I know what people who comment think, but not the people who merely read my thoughts and don't reply. But really, it doesn't matter what they think. Still, I hate for people to be mad at me or label me as a bigot/right-wing nut/judgmental fool. I have always hated for people to be mad at me. No one has openly accused me of being a zealot or anything, but people did come pretty close to the bigot label when Prop 8 was the hot issue. I consider posting this reply a victory for self-improvement. I also need to remember this feeling--how good it is to express your views and not be ashamed--and not let any scorching replies bother me.
"What is popular is not always right, and what is right is not always popular."