Tuesday, July 15, 2014

You're Exploiting [Name Here] To Further Your Agenda

I've been hearing this phrase thrown around a lot towards those with the stance of anti-porn over the past year. The reason why I'm talking about this now is due to the fact that it has now been used on me courtesy of Duke Porn Star Belle Knox. Many know of her story of how she paid her college tuition doing a scene containing "rough" sex. I've seen clips of that scene and what it contained is nothing I care to repeat. That being said, I take the stance that porn imagery can very well play a part in sexual assaults. Of course, it's not the primary cause, but it ranks at the top for popular influences. She is now headlining a "reality" sex competition called Sex Factor recruiting new porn performers by voting through social media. The winner gets to do a scene with Belle and others I would imagine. To move this topic along, it was apparent Belle didn't like the comparison of what she portrays on screen to sexual assault. There was a very disturbing story recently released about a sexual assault of a teenage girl which I've shared with Knox tagging "this is the legacy you're leaving behind" ('Viral' Rape of 16 Year Old Jada). She responded in kind saying "shame on you" for exploiting Jada and you know the rest. 

As I said in the beginning, I've heard this phrase used on others who made similar comparisons. If you take a moment to look at the word 'agenda', it'll mean one of two things: an underlying motive in benefit of a certain person/group or a set of things to be considered or discussed. The fact that I openly take a stance against what pornography represents with this platform that's available to me immediately puts me into a box as having an agenda or ulterior motive. If it means that I hope that people start working together to make necessary changes to benefit the future then yeah I guess I do have an agenda. I don't speak for anyone, but myself. I share what's on my heart, not what's based on a trend just to take a side. When I read those horrific stories, I can't help to think what if it was my sister. I imagine the tears running down my mother and grandmother's faces wondering what they could have done to prevent it. Is that not something worth fighting to prevent? I can say I understand why Knox might have initially taken this as a personal attack. That was not the intention, but I can't say I like being accused of exploiting a poor girl whose life has drastically changed to further a so-called agenda. This is about spreading this story so things like this won't happen to anymore of our young girls. That's my humanity speaking. At any rate, I do hope Belle has the time and patience to read this. More than likely she won't, but I'm doing this because I feel the need to. This is not a post bashing Belle Knox (a.k.a. Miriam Weeks) as a person, but it's to bring attention the kinds of images she contributes to.

Part of the problem is that people are not willing to sit down and discuss the real issues that are happening right now. From my perspective, I do agree that excessive porn use and most images portrayed in porn is a problem, but I can also say that it is not the only one. I agree with you, Belle, about how ridiculously expensive it is to go to college. I'm currently putting myself through college and I know first hand at how much money goes out compared to coming in. I actually commend you for calling the government out on how backwards their system works. Added to that, prices for food, gas, and other necessities continue to get higher, but wages stay the same. There are people/families right now trying to survive on the streets because things didn't pan out for them. Impoverished communities that have no hope of being better than what their environment allows them to be are still in existence. I come from such a community. People are being convinced that there is no hope of getting out of their situation in hopes for a better life. Like I said, Belle, I agree with you, but obviously that is where the agreement ends. 

Just so you know the difference, I didn't personally attack you if that's what you're thinking. It's about sharing a story of a family that has changed due to unfortunate circumstances. I hope the guys that did it will be caught and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. With that in mind, I have seen a lot of arguments that porn images have nothing to do with what happens in these types of situations. An inquiring mind begs to ask the question where this kind of behavior comes from. These young men didn't learn how to rape through experiencing puberty and growing pains alone. There was some kind of irresponsibility on their parent's part and some kind of exposure to that kind of behavior whether it be porn or otherwise. Most porn produced facilitates that image and makes light of that kind of behavior. Otherwise, there wouldn't be people who are led to believe that it's normal. That is the reason I have a hard time believing that what you've portrayed in scenes is not being used as some form of "training" that influences sexual assault. I don't pretend to know how you personally think. What you experienced in your life and your feelings will always belong to you. The fact is, whether you know it or not, you are in an important position to influence a lot of young women out there especially those who engage in self harm. I'm sure that there are plenty of them that are waiting to follow your lead right at this moment. Just think about that. 

I took the time to read your blog posts. The thing that caught my attention is advocating for people who harm themselves. That is very noble of you, but problem is the situation as a whole is quite contradictory. Self harm is something I can't imagine going through, but from the outside looking in it seems you've traded one vice for another. Instead of leaving physical scars, you are leaving internal ones. Like I said, Belle, you are in the position to lead a lot of people. There are those who want the pain to go away so badly they will do anything for it to happen which may include following in your footsteps and what's to stop that from going horribly wrong? Bottom line, you could be the catalyst to initiate change instead of becoming another spoke on the wheel. I really hope that you can find a viable career when you graduate with your degree because now that you have put yourself out there for all to see, you will have a tough time not being recognized in a position outside of the porn industry. Just ask ex-porn star Houston who became a real estate agent and eventually rebounded back into porn one last time. 

There are millions of opinions out there. I've research opinions from both pro-porn and anti-porn. It's a matter of sex being taken for granted in addition sex being viewed as a "dirty thing". Sexuality is one of the fundamental things that makes us human. There's no doubt about that. When a person sees someone like you in a demeaning position and do all the "slut shaming", those are the ones who see you as nothing more than what you portray on screen because they don't see anything different. It's the same people who didn't give a damn when Alyssa Funke committed suicide. The simple fact is she didn't belong in porn in the first place. Whatever she was feeling when she killed herself was already there before she did porn and she didn't get the help that she needed. You're right about one thing. Society does play a part in that in how people who do sex work are treated, but the porn industry has some part of the blame because they are constantly trying to 1-up the naysayers by crossing lines. It's one thing to be sexually free, but it's another thing to parade sex around as an entitled act. It's practically why guys like Max Hardcore continued producing porn for so long. Do you think that they care that you are a real person off camera? You think that they care that you are recovering from self harm? All that matters is how valuable a product you are before they move on the next fresh face. That is why things like "slut shaming" will not end because people are afraid to rock the boat wanting to make change. You are in a position to initiate a change in that. Treatment of women needs to improve. If it leaves constant scars, whether seen or unseen, it's nowhere near healthy entertainment. 

The porn industry as well as other organizations has shown that money means more to them than people and that's where it all gets backwards. What you do now contributes to what kind of legacy you're leaving behind. If the industry was so caring they would do something about the loopholes in contracts that pretty much say 'as long as you sign this we can do anything we want to you and you can't sue.' Motivate people to be more proactive in their communities to make change of how things are run. You honestly could do that, but in the end who is going to take you seriously now? I'm an optimist. I see how potentially awesome people can be. There's visible drawbacks as a public figure, especially in porn because with things such as social media, what you do professionally outweighs who you are personally and it's a view that needs to change. In a sense, the way our country is run practically creates the sex worker and you're playing right into their hand. The government is essentially a pimp making its cut. There's more money spent on prisons than keep schools open and supplied. As a man, I was always taught to respect women and the same level is respect is given to everyone I meet. I don't agree when people call you or anybody else derogatory names through shaming. You are being portrayed less than a human being. It's an age old thing that people can't believe what they can't always see. You are just another statistic in a lot of eyes. It's true when people say are you are worth more than porn and that you're selling yourself short. That goes for anyone that is still breathing who have aspirations to be something positive. You're still young. There's still more to be learned because everyday is a learning experience if your mind is clear enough. I hope you don't see this is a 'War On Belle Knox' because it's not. Thing is people know you now. What you do with this platform is up to you. Just think to yourself, in the years to come, what kind of legacy do you want to leave behind?

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

So Close, Yet So Divided

This entry is going to be a little different than previous ones, but as always I feel it in my heart to share my journey. It's been almost a year since I've taken the stance of AntiPornography which has opened a multitude of learning experiences. I've researched a lot of information, listened a lot of interviews, read a lot of articles, and just observed things from both sides of the debate. I consider myself to be a student of life meaning that with each day there is something new to learn and I doubt that it ever ends until we draw our last breath. Over the last few years, especially the past week prior to typing this entry, I have sadly learned that people are more divided now than I have ever thought possible. I understand that we each have our own unique differences. It's really the one thing that makes us individually special, but unfortunately humanity has succumbed to generalization and convenient truths. I say this from observing the way people treat each other whether in person or through social media. The specific event involved me had to do with suggestive and even pornographic-type images seen by adolescents stating that pornography only helps spread the worst interpretation on humanity. With feeling passionate about the subject to someone else's disapproval, the result came to insults directed at my post. It seems to be the only resort for someone to make their point. 
"Me: Porn is one of many issues we face. You may disagree, I have to call a spade a spade. Reason being is that it is the indirect cause of what is claimed to have no links to: prostitution, child porn, and sex trafficking. Even though they are "consenting” to what they're doing they are contributing to that issue. Now not all porn stars are being mistreated and genuinely want to be there, but what about the ones that aren't so lucky? If there is abuse taken place on camera do u hear about other porn stars speaking out for them? No, but they will surely speak out the condom regulation to help prevent another STD outbreak. Where were they when a girl who "consented" to "rough sex" got choked unconscious on camera and told to keep going after passing out for 10 seconds? If there are those on the current roster who speak up for other performers it's next to not at all. Sometime ago I compared porn to tobacco. Here's why. One affects you physically, the other psychologically. They both seem cool at first, but after a while you get dependent on them. You may need a smoke just for stress. Same thing with fapping to porn and it's possible that it can get out of hand. (Pun intended) Smoking leads to cancer. Porn leads to dependency just get it up even to the point your partner isn't enough for you and it never seems to be enough. That's why you consume more porn and it's even linked to some cases erectile dysfunction which a lot of the time is just in the person's head. Whether u want to believe it or not, porn is a recreational drug these days. You can get a high from it just like a drug and you can overdose your mind as well as your penis and I don't mean ejaculating. Ask anyone who can't function during the day without looking at porn first."
"User1: +FallenMarvel And so you're under the delusion that a little thing called a human sex drive doesn't actually do anything if it wasn't for that nasty ole porn? As for sexual "addiction", nobody reputable in psychology even believes that it exists. If someone thinks porn is evil, they will fantasize that some "demon" must be making them enjoy it, when actually it's just their normal human sex drive, and their own rejected nature and their own enjoyment having a cognitive dissonant battle. Then the edicts of their sick religion can breed a fear-fascination about it that amplifies it for a time with hilarious results, when if they just gave up their belief in that religion they'd find they were cured  and that the sex they want is quite normal. Yes yes, those people who simply must eat breakfast before going to work are surely addicted to food, uh-huh."
"Me: U missed the point. To say people don't have sex drives is to say people don't have lungs. This is not based off the concept of religion. The point is to examine the things that influence the direction a sex drive will take especially since we have a society that's very image driven and at times lead to perverse perceptions. First of all, people can get addictions to anything, even to things that don't make sense, like food. Just because some skeptics want to discredit its existence because they can't understand or experience it doesn't mean it's not there. That's like saying oxygen doesn't exist because we can't see it abs breathe nothingness. You can't compare skepticism with someone's personal experience. My own experiences with porn and life in general has allowed me to observe the world we live in with a clear eye so my "delusion", as u politely put it, is nonexistent. To quote one of my favorite lines, "you wanna play blind man? Go walk with the shepherd. But me, my eyes are wide f****** open."

I pretty much expected this would happen sooner or later because someone is always going to be in opposition. I've seen it happen for years. The difference is that there's no respect for another person's opinion anymore. If it clashes with a belief that someone has already made up in their mind then the other person is wrong and irrelevant and should apply to everyone else. As I said at the beginning of this entry, there are people who are comfortable with a convenient truth instead of diving deeper into the cause. Then there is the generalization of an argument. Apparently, since people can be susceptible to becoming addicts to a particular thing, in my case of the debate being porn, I was automatically put into a box of overzealous religious ideologies.

"User2: So you're saying that food and porn can have the same neurological effect on the brain as narcotics? That, with enough exposure to food and porn, your brain will stop naturally producing certain neurotransmitters in response to an overabundance of artificial equivalents? Because this is how chemical dependency works. Cocaine fills your brain with so many fake endorphins (the neurotransmitter for that allows you to feel happiness) that your brain decides to stop making its own in order to compensate. So suddenly when you stop using cocaine, you have 0 ability to feel happy at all, and in order to feel good at all, you must use cocaine.Now, eating and orgasms produce endorphins too, but I haven't seen any research that says it's on the same absurd levels as cocaine - to the point that your brain stops making its own (and you, as a side effect, lose the ability to feel happiness unless you are eating or having sex). In fact, it's probably just enough to stave off depression. The endorphins caused by these actions exist to encourage us to do them again, and we are biologically (on a genetic level) predisposed to do them. That is to say, if you have no sexual gratification and don't eat food, you will be less happy. Of course, if you don't eat, you'll die. If you don't have sex, the species will die (as far as your body is concerned), so this food/sex dependency to have normal levels of happiness is actually a survival tactic. Quite the ingenious one, at that, and I wager that if not for it, we wouldn't be here.Produce some research that says sex/food create the same chemical dependency as cocaine and I'll change my tune, but until then I can only say that you are making light of drug addiction, and that anyone who has ever suffered drug addiction would probably think you're laughably naive."

"Me: Exactly where did I make light of drug addictions just by stating that people can become addicted to food as well as porn? Any kind of addiction is problematic. Myself as well as close friends of mine have gone without fathers because of drug use. Either way I don't know how you've come to that invalid assumption as if I mean to say deprivation is the answer. What is needed is a reworking of the current model because it's not benefiting anyone. Eradicating porn isn't a cure all either, but proper conditions, representation, and portrayal need to be universal if this continues to be a legitimate business. There's plenty of scientific research being done on these kinds of addictions. All you have to do is use Google. Porn addiction is currently being researched, but not officially diagnosed as a behavior disorder similar to how the early research of PTSD was. What makes porn addiction unique is because it's relatively new with the rise of the Internet age over the last decade where everything is a click away. The thing is there's plenty of extreme forms of porn out there that I've regrettably seen in the last half of my life and it seems to be the most popular. The only behavior disorder officially recognized is gambling. It's not "official" on paper, but is there any less risk of compulsive behavior? The debate is hot on the subject right now, but you cannot deny the amount of people who seek help whether it's some type of counseling, therapy, etc. It's always possible for things to be taken to the extreme and most of the images porn and some advertisements put out don't help the situation. Don't believe me? Go to the links below and tell me I'm wrong."

Those who I am closest to would consider me quite the optimist. Sometimes I feel it to be a bit of a curse. At times I would ask myself if I was too optimistic or are other people just not optimistic enough. In the end, I always try to look for the good in humanity because at the end of the day we are all that we have. We spend too much time trying to make ourselves more important than each other to fully see that. The thing I realized is that pornography isn't the primary problem. It's only part of a growing issue that needs to be talked through. The core of the problem is the division between people. We are put into different ‘boxes’ and social classes as if one matters more than the others and humanity has fallen for it. There's a lot more finger pointing than personal reflection going on. I now have to ask, when did we start focusing so much on self-preservation and forgetting to help each other? When did I not matter because I don’t fall into a certain criteria?

"User1: Your claim of anything being a potential addiction and you can't tell by looking reminds me an awful lot of "It's dirty, I know it when I see it". What is true is not that what is seen is dirty, but that the mind of that viewer is dirty, In other words, you'll imagine it is an addiction if someone claims it is because they need an excuse for it. They're lying and you're believing the lie because you have ulterior motive to do so, And so do they."
"Me: You say that I imagined what I've dealt with because of what someone claims just to make an excuse. Nice theory, but you are not inside my head nor can you solidify the claim that all people who deal with it uses it as an excuse. If you want to say that my personal experiences are based on a lie that I've made myself believe just to satisfy whatever stance you take on it then go right ahead if you think have addiction figured out. If that's the case then why aren't all addicts (no matter what it is) able recover on their own? Everyone wants to generalize something to make it seem less important than it is. Unless you can read a person's mind you can't begin to understand what their experiences are unless you've been through it yourself. If what I said is based on some ulterior motive, as you say, then it's a motive of wanting humanity to be fully respected and not treat each other like shit on the street. Don't get it twisted. The problem is on one side you have people who treat sex in general like it's a taboo and avoid talking it out and on the other you have people who choose to take it to the extreme to prove what can be done. There doesn't seem to be a common ground found between the sides and it breeds more chaos. If people spent less time at each other’s throats they could find a resolution that benefits everyone, but everyone wants to remain self-righteous and self-entitled that the debate goes nowhere in the end. My stance isn't based on my religion or because of what a few people claim because I look at what both sides have to say so once again your claim is invalid. My stance is because I'm Pro Human above all else. Bottom line people are flawed. Instead of tearing people down we need to build them up."
There are far too many of us on this planet to be that selfish. We only have one world and we all live in it together. Nothing is going to be gained if we continue to belittle each other because of differences whether it’s where you’re from or what you believe in. I respect the beliefs of others as long as it’s not a message of superiority or violence. The moment you start to believe that you or your opinion matters more than another person then you are already losing before you even begin. Honestly, it hurts my spirit to know that we do treat each other this way just for some personal gratification and if that labels me na├»ve then so be it. Maybe the world could use more naivety towards humanity. 
“User1: People who believe crap like religion are apt to believe any other crap in support of that delusion. If they feel ashamed around sex they will think it's sex that's evil, instead what they think about it being stupid.  When they find themselves wanting to do things their religion doesn't like they will think some demon is trying to take them over, when it's only their natural drives doing battle with their religious stupidity. And there's nothing as extreme and out of control than someone who has been repressed feeling released from that, only to begin his guilt-shame cycle again when his drives are sated.  "Addicts" can't recover because they see themselves as helpless addicts and their addiction as the Debbil. Their shame from their mistreatment in their upbringing demeans them and makes them feel helpless. If they could let go of their fixation about their demon they would naturally be distracted by other pursuits. Ask yourself why everyone isn't a sex addict, and why the craziest extreme sex scandals happen to those most frightened of them, like born-again ministers on TV.  The truth is that addictions are not about substances or practices alleged to be addictive, they are about the shitty thinking in your head that makes you subject to a guilt-shame cycle about otherwise normal sensations and experiences.. It's like an itch. If you leave it be it will get better, if you dig at it you will make a sore. The itch is normal, the sore is your fault.”
“Me: Again you are generalizing. Not every interpretation of why a person gives up porn has to do with religion. There are people who don't have a religion that have given up porn for whatever reason they came to that decision so this idea that every person has to "pray the sex demon away" to give up porn doesn't apply to everyone. You are speaking as if everyone is on the same level of thinking and the reality of that is false. A lack of understanding of anything can be a missing piece of an important puzzle. People do need to open their eyes and minds that there isn't just one conclusion to a problem because it's never that simple with humanity as history has shown us and s******* on someone's faith is not going to help matters at all. All that's gonna do is put more fuel on the fire which is the fear of what is not understood. If there's no respect given then there's none earned and that applies to both sides of the debate. There's more understanding of the human condition that's needs to be had. If people had more understanding of themselves then addictions would be nonexistent, but apparently it's not the case. It's natural for someone to have guilt or shame for something they did. Even rape victims feel shame for themselves. That doesn't mean every person runs and hides from their shame forever. In time, some are able to embrace their mistakes and in turn train themselves to avoid making more. Now, I'm gonna wrap up this exchange between us because it's honestly become time consuming and exhausting. Scratching itches are inevitable. If someone isn't taught to not aggravate the itch how will they know that leaving it alone will be the answer? 9 times out 10 it's not figured out until later. Even a sore can heal from scratching it, but if it becomes infected you're gonna need to take extra measures to cure the infection. Bottom line, it's never that simple to play the blame game because you've already made it up in your mind that it doesn't have any merit TO YOU, therefore not to anyone else. Your reality doesn't belong to anyone else, but you and I, mine. If I learned anything is this life thus far is that no one's life is the same nor are their interpretations. Misrepresentation gives birth to confusion and in that confusion people tend to draw their conclusions from that confusion. Reality has many layers. There's never just one and probably will never be just one. Regardless of how much knowledge someone supposedly has, they don't have all the answers because we are all flawed. Period. “
“User1: Your name should be equivocation (Definition: the use of vague or ambiguous and sometimes misleading language; an invalid conclusion based on statements in which one term has two different meanings). Your notion that people just "naturally" feel shame for sex is purest nonsense. You are merely reflecting the religious bias of someone pretending that secular normalcy parallels your religion, failing to recall that your religion bent the secular world to its purposes. Your form of crypto-christianity is found even among atheists who are embarrassed on nude beaches. Why are they? They have no reason to be, but they have been brainwashed with unacknowledged Christian foibles by the society whose religion they detest.”

I must again make mention of those convenient truths. When it comes to research on various topics, especially when it comes to compulsive disorders, no one wants to acknowledge something if it’s not made “official on paper”. If anything has proven true over countless years and countless hours of research is that the inner workings of humanity are never simple. If you really think about it most of the things we know about are based on theories. Some become truth and others are just considered another theory. Humans are the most complicated creatures on planet Earth. That statement can be considered a theory, but based on your experiences being around other human beings does that statement sound more or less true to you? Experiences in life are our greatest teachers and we inevitably fall sometimes. Either we will be brave enough to learn from those experiences and grow as a person or just accept life as is and continue making the same mistakes. No one is exempt from making a mistakes. Even knowing that I continue doing what I need to do to improve things in my life. Some people get that confused with trying to better than other people. That’s not how it works no one is better than anyone. People face different circumstances and hardships. That makes them less fortunate than you, not worth less. My love for humanity encouraged me to make this entry as well as the pain I feel of how divided we are. I only hope the next generation succeeds where we have apparently failed. I still continue to the encouragement and hope will put aside petty differences. There’s been too much fighting and infighting that has gotten us absolutely nowhere. We have to do better. All of us. 

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Dear Porn Star,

I have typed this letter in hope that it will reach anyone who considers themselves to be the term above. I'm just a normal, everyday guy from the Midwest with something he wants to say. That's about as normal as you can get. I'm also a guy who consistently watched pornography between the ages of 12 and 27 and briefly relapsing at 28. Like thousands of people, if not millions, I've seen what your "line of work" is capable of before I could even understand what was going on. That being said, I'm reaching to the part of you that's a real person. What I have to tell you is probably nothing you'd want to hear, but I only ask for a little of your time to read this letter because it's for you. I genuinely hope you have time to spare because I believe this is important. 

What I used to see at the time were people who had sex 24/7 and loved every bit of it. If by chance I didn't see you lying on your back or in some contortionist-like position on screen devouring bodily fluids, you were still dressed provocatively on a tv show or movie with animalistic sex in your eyes. Even today I witness you telling us how many penises have penetrated every opening you had to offer while awaiting more. I saw that you were ready and willing to do whatever you were told and you not only complied, you graciously begged for more. You never complained and you always had a pleasurable smile across your face. I envisioned my future girlfriend to be just like you when it came to having sex. After all, it was my first introduction to what sex was supposed to be like all the time. That was what I saw in you and it seemed so convincing with every shout, scream, and obscene word you emitted. I'm sure your current overzealous fans have the same thing in mind as I once did. That is what seemed to only exist when looking at you. That was the illusion that I was led to believe.

Something in me changed as I got older. By 16, I was very conflicted when I saw the things you were willing to do; things that I didn't even think were done by people. I sometimes ask myself "how could someone as pretty as this do something like that" and never figuring out the answer. Again, I felt conflicted, especially since it seemed like it was supposed to be a normal thing for a guy to like porn. Nevertheless, I decided that I wanted to stop watching the things you do. There was no real reason why, but I felt it was time to move onto something else other than watching you do and say outrageous things. While trying to attempt other things, in the back of my mind I couldn't help to see the images of the things you did on screen. Before long, I was right back into my old habits in seeing what you were up to. This was the start of the "yo-yo" effect between myself and watching you perform your duties in porn that would last for over a decade more. 

After countless attempts of swearing off porn and nearly destroying close relationships, I seemed to finally get through this stigma that plagued me. In addition to that, I started reading stories about others either in your current position or tried to find a life after porn. What I found had me in complete disbelief and didn't have words to express how I felt. Now, I'm not going to pretend that I know the reasons why you have chosen to become a porn star. Your reasons are your own and you're entitled to them. The one thing I've learned this past year is that you are a person first and foremost. The issue is the porn company or companies you work for don't want us to know that. They want you be nothing more than a fun toy to us just as much as you are to them. That is the reality behind the alleged fame and fortune that was promised to you.

The image porn companies have you portray helps to trivialize infidelity, under aged sex, prostitution, rape, incest, and humiliation among many other things. It's the only thing consumers of porn take away from the scenes you perform in and desensitizing people into thinking that those things are what qualifies as sexy. I was exposed to that at a young age just like many others and possibly you as well. I hope that the human being that you really are takes these words into account. You have the rights to do what you want and the government has seen to that. Once upon a time, we also had the right of owning another human being as property. In a sense that is what you are to the people you work for: property or a product. 

As much as people argue about rights and consent of what you do, porn is still very much linked to illegal sex facilitation. The only difference between what you do and street walkers is that the government is taking their cut from one and not the other. As long as they get their percentage everything is OK, but since when has the government ever got this right? It's the act of turning something that is one of our greatest treasures and turning it into something no different than taxed merchandise on store shelves. The scenes that you perform in are instruction manuals to sexual degradation in several forms: the worst of which is child porn and sex trafficking. For all you know, your porn scenes are being used as training videos for girls trapped in sex slavery. Whether you want to believe it or not this what your current legacy is contributing to. When you are preparing to have sex on camera, I want you to pay attention when you stare into the lens as you're being recorded. The cameraman is the first to watch and it doesn't stop there. There just may be a little boy or girl watching you, too. Think of the young boy who tries to emulate what's being done to you and ends up raping someone. Think of the little girl who wants to be a doctor, but instead thinks being like you is much easier to be rich and happy. Think of someone in your family watched you in camera. Just take time and think because it's not just about you. There's so many of us that share this planet and you really don't know just how powerful an influence you might have. 

If you decided to take the time to read this I thank you. I may be ignored by many others that work in porn and that's to be expected. As I said before,  this is me coming to you as a person. Not a sex object, not a whore, or whatever. Many others are quick to place blame on you, but I don't. I don't blame you for what the porn industry is doing to keep their money making gears greased. You're just a pawn in their game just like the consumers. If this reaches to the real person you are then I've served my purpose. The bottom line is as a person, you are worth more than anything pornography has to offer you. They are always looking for a fresh new face to lure in with a promise of fame until they get used up and then replaced with someone else. Just think about that. It's not worth the humanity inside of you. It never was. The only way things will be different is if people are brave enough to support change in the world. We are here to help each other, not just ourselves. The world is much bigger than what you see. Again I want to thank you for taking the time to read my letter. You don't know how important it is for me that you have. I wish you an immeasurable life in the future no matter where it leads. 

Kyle (RisenAgainstTheBeast)

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Young Objectification: The Sexualization Process Beginnings

Objectification is one of many ingredients in the resulting concoction that is sexualization. The way I see it, there is a point where the human body ceases to be nothing more than a commodity in the eyes demanding consumers who crave it. It can only be described as a desensitized point of view towards sexuality and the designated target consumer seems to get younger and younger with each passing day. The root of any problem primarily starts at the foundation, which for many people begins at childhood. That is where the difficulty begins, but also can be where it can end if we pay close attention to what is going on in our world. Leaving anything to chance makes plenty of room for misguided ideals and images to take root. Author and speaker, Jean Kilbourne (2010), makes a very direct statement that “the first step is to become aware, to pay attention and to recognize that this affects all of us.” One of the problems we continue to face stems from avoiding the main issues that very relevant to the way we live. This has created a breeding ground for digression to spread and it is affecting the young minds of our world. Since the mind of a child is still awaiting development, life experiences can be the deciding factor of what their perception will be. That is why it is urgent that we pay close attention to our environments and move beyond our comfort zone. Even the smallest thing we overlook could set our children out on a misguided journey and you may be surprised what could be the cause.
Fashion, magazines, toys and so on are tools often used to draw in young consumers. In addition, the products being advertised are generally very gender-specific. It is sometimes very subtle, but very effective while implanting predetermined roles for girls and boys. There are toy ads with boys riding a miniature motorcycle, wearing boxing gloves, or playing with action figures of popular superheroes fighting against villains. Typically, this is the recipe to ensure young boys grow into masculine men by igniting competition and dominance. For girls, we often see them holding baby dolls, playing dress up with a miniature vanity mirror, or cooking with a small toy kitchen set. All these ingredients are put together to create the perfect homemaker beginning at the age of six. I’m not saying that this is what causes the objectification process directly. That would be too simple and unrealistic to blame toy companies and such. I only mean to reveal the need to pay more attention what we introduce to children. Gail Dines, educator and author of Pornland, documents a trip to the toy store with her young nieces and nephews and examines just how gender specific the products have now become in comparison to the decade prior. What Dines (2010) describes as a “tangible gender barrier” refers to the play weapons and violent games to one side and pink dresses and makeup on the other (p. 61). We don't see things as a pivotal influence at the time of inception, but it can have a lasting impression on the undeveloped mind. The limits of individual progression are set by these predetermined images imposed on young children. Be that as it may, it pales in comparison to the glamorized notion that importance can be easily gained by what we wear.
Clothing designed for children have undergone a significant generational transformation which is all, but unnoticeable. There is apparel that are designed for children that may display messages or images that far exceeds their maturity level. We are in the day and age where there’s a selection of “padded bras and thong panties for 7 year olds” sold at major retailers (Kilbourne, 2010).  I shudder trying to think of how this is supposed to be a good marketing model considering that American has the highest teen pregnancy percentage than any other country. Young girls are already being subjected to the ideal image of beauty and sexiness before they even reach puberty, just as boys are primed to grow up as dominant men. There is no benefit for young boys learning early on that girls are supposed to look and act a certain way to be considered attractive. All this is for the sake of ensuring that new shoppers will be ensnared in the well-oiled machine that is consumerism. We are in a society where we are building males up while cutting females lower in a sense. This does not mean that girls are at a complete disadvantage to overcoming this error in societal progression. Corporations see that children are consumers in the making. In a sense, it’s like finding a chink in the armor. Once that opening is discovered then it will inevitably be exploited. The analogy of this is referred as “corporate culture of power” by UCLA philosophy professors Rhonda Hammer and Douglas Kellner and go on to define it as “the corporate effort to ideologically construct children’s consciousness (2009, p. 257).” The problem is that the information is so overwhelmingly convincing and there is a high probability that the minds exposed to that much information will be no different than a sand castle built on a beach. It will be swept away by the current.
I feel that advertisements are the focal point of how messages are sent to the consumers. We see images from advertisements everywhere from motor vehicles such as buses to product placement in films. Magazines are the probably one of the most, if not the most, popular medium containing a variety of effective imagery to sell products. For young girls, there’s a level of bombarding tactics advocating thinness. We primarily see slim models promoting products, especially those concerning weight-loss. Women that don’t have this body type are next to non-existent in advertisements. A study conducted by professors of psychiatry and psychology at Radboud University Nijmegen, Doeschka J. Anschutz, Tatjana Van Strien, and Rutger C. M. E. Engels (2011), constant exposure of these kinds of ads have the tendency to promote poor self-image as it may cause the belief that “to be attractive and successful, you must be thin (p. 48).” Realistically, all females cannot achieve the same exact body type. Genetics play a big part in what an individual can achieve physically, but with the constant saturation of superficial images being absorbed people will resort to extreme measures in an attempt to achieve said look. This is not something explained to young and impressionable females who may attempt to make decisions with unknown consequences..
This is something that has become widespread even beyond our borders. Anne E. Becker (2004), professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, conducted a study on adolescent females of the country Fiji who had just become introduced to western television programs. Young females in Fiji were described as having more fuller body frames and the pressure of dieting to look thin were practically non-existent. By 1999, it has been reported that between 1995 and 1998 the percentage of eating disorders increased significantly (Becker, 2004, p. 534). There’s no conclusive link that western television was the direct result of the increase of the dieting stigma, but it is intriguing to know the cause of this dramatic change in a developing country that did not previously focus on weight and dieting. Even though this event took place several years ago it is still something that is just as relevant today as it was at the time. I believe that it is warranted enough to examine just how much of an impact our constant barrage of perfectionistic imagery really has. In Becker’s (2004) study, she accurately states that both “consumer culture and media imagery have a pervasive and powerful influence on girls at a critical developmental stage (p. 535).” It is unfortunate enough that American girls are under the pressure of transforming themselves into what the media says they should be. The realization that we are shaping our young girls to become nothing than mere objects not of their own making. It is more like literally becoming the object of someone else’s desire. It is a situation that is apparently not being taken seriously and due to that we now have a global epidemic.
The study in Fiji is only just the tip of the iceberg for what has now become a global disease of the mind. As widespread as this ideology of beauty has become, I believe there is a way to put a stop to it. It will not be an easy task as it will be as long, if not longer, a process to turn things around. The process of shaping minds into believing that everyone should look and act the same way was an already lengthy conquest itself. The first and most important step to making any kind of headway is the ability to inform. Many people are continuing to be involved in things that they really don’t have full knowledge of. People have a terrible habit of falling for things that appear on the surface, especially children. The book So Sexy So Soon, by authors Diane E. Levin and Jean  Kilbourne, concurs with this observation saying “young children are drawn to information that is visible and concrete, unfamiliar, dramatic, or even scary (p.58).” Considering that children have a unique way of processing information, it goes to show why it is important for responsible adults to be the much needed catalyst to desensitized perceptions.
Informative speakers and educators, such as Jean Kilbourne and Gail Dines, are only a couple of people who come to mind that are driven to inform people of the messages we receive every day and throughout our lifetimes. Informative as they may be, they are only but a few. There are active non-profit organizations in the world committed to bringing this information to people, but it is only as effective as the amount of people who are informed and interested. Men, such as myself, have taken up the challenge of sharing our perspectives on how these practices harm our point of views in the form of online blogs. Allowing myself to speak from personal experiences help shed light on how this perception transformation truly affects people. The only goal is that information will somehow reach someone experiencing the same thing as I have.
The objective of informing as many people as possible about this epidemic is to help diminish the demand for this type of sexual saturation. Simply banning everything sexually suggestive will not solve the problem we are facing, confirming what I stated before that this will be a long process. Our economy, in all sense of the ideal, runs on supply and demand. As long as we continue promoting these images and behaviours, the problem will not be solved. Professor of Law, Sarah A. Dillon of Suffolk University Law School, makes an accurate conclusion by stating that “demand is key because it implicates human, particularly male, behavior (p.135).” Although she is mainly referring to sex trafficking in her observation, I believe this accurately applies to what we are facing in this era of sexual freedom. It’s an era where the female body is nothing more than an object only just be used for sexual consumption by dominant males. If there is a way that to put suppression on the supply of commoditized sexuality it would be by informing the masses of the lasting effects these images can cause on the consumer as well as exposing the facilitator. Suppression of the supply will result in decreasing the demand, but that will only happen if people make the decision to be informed and in turn inform others in the process. Blissful ignorance cannot continue if things are to be set straight. Of that I am certain.

Jhally, S. (Director). (2010). Killing us softly 4: Advertising’s image of women. [Documentary].
    Presentation by Jean Kilbourne. United States: Media Education Foundation. (Available
from  Media Education Foundation, 60 Masonic St., Northampton, MA 01060)
Levin, D., & Kilbourn, J. (2008). So sexy so soon: The new sexualized childhood and what
parents can do to protect their kids. Random House, LLC. p. 58
Anschutz, D.J., Stein, T.V., Engels, R.C.M.E. (2011). Exposure to slim images in mass media:
Television commercials as reminders of restriction in restrained eaters. American
Psychological Association. p. 48
Becker, A.E., (2004). Television, disorder eating, and young women in fiji: Negotiating body
    image and identity during rapid social change. Springer Science+Business Media.
p. 534-535
Hammer, R. & Kellner, D. (2009). Media/cultural studies: Cultural approaches. Peter Lang
    International Academic Publishers. p. 257
Dines, G. (2010). Pornland: How porn has hijacked our sexuality. Beacon Press. p. 61
Dillon, S. A. (2008). What human rights law obscure: Global sex trafficking and the demand for
    children. UCLA Women’s Law Journal. p. 135

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

What 'Lies' Underneath

Do we ever ask ourselves what we are actually supporting when we indulge in something? I'd like to believe that the majority of us do, but I have to say that I feel the exact opposite. We're in a generation that has turned a blind eye to a lot of situations in favor of one's own satisfaction, particularly in sex work. My own search for answers led me to finding organizations like +AntiPornography.org Nonprofit  and +PornHarms. Seeing through the illusion the sex industry wants you to see was a true eye opener for me. It enlightened me to what it is we, as people, contribute to without realizing. The fact is there's more going on beyond what we see for ourselves. This is my motivation for this posting.

Our degree of selfishness is something I feel is more often taught than learned. We are so disconnected that we have resorted to fending for ourselves. The fact is there are too many of us here to take the "every man for himself" approach. Part of the blame is on society for how these things are. People don't realize how much power we really have to make some positive changes, but we get so blinded by our own situations to really see it. The other part of the blame is based on our government. I feel that the people who have the power to do something are the biggest cowards of all. It seems there are still those who think if they just ignore the problem that it will just go away and it seems it's become the standard. Either they are afraid to tackle the issue and risk losing voters or they are benefiting from it in some way, shape or form. Remember the sexting scandal with already married politician Anthony Weiner? He's only one of many politicians who gotten into hot water due to sexual transgressions. It only makes me wonder how deep this idea of sexuality has really rooted itself.

I can only imagine the perspective of a person involved in sex work. Thanks to our government, people have the legal right to become a sex worker. That being said, when was it decided that sex work would be good for society; a service that promotes promiscuity, infidelity as well as various forms of exploitation. What drives a person to become a porn star (prostitute), exotic dancer or facilitator (pimp, madame)? Whatever the case there's no indication of taking into account of what these actions may be contributing to other than self gratification. To the sex worker; do you really care about what you see and do? Don't you see your images being engraved into the brains of the consumer? Don't you see that the people watching the things you do on camera on average start at 11 years old? Don't you see that your "work" is problematic for almost half the families in America? Don't you see how what you do is a instructional guide used in child pornography? Are you capable of seeing anything beyond what's around you and how it's affecting our world?

I ask these questions because with all of your "self empowerment" as a sex worker I wonder if there's a sense of blissful ignorance as to what you are contributing to. I understand that things happen beyond our control. I'm well aware of the sacrifice to provide for family, but sex for money is sacrificing everything you hold dear as well as yourself. No amount of money is worth that kind of sacrifice. Your gain is someone else's loss and the ones who facilitate this sacrifice are even worse offenders. This version of sexuality is not benefiting anyone except those who stand to make profits. There are lives being affected by this option of work. I can't help, but ask how did this become an option in the first place? Pornography is legal, but with the exception of Nevada, prostitution and solicitation is illegal. How does this makes sense? Then again, we live in a country that continues to sell tobacco and alcohol which kills people everyday and where a woman gets 20 years in jail for a warning shot when actual murderers go free. It goes to show how backwards our society is. We need to realize that instead of being handed a mirage we could actually find the real oasis.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Reason I Fight

I don't know if I can see my journey as being a unique one, but needless to say it has been a very enlightening experience. One thing I can say for sure is that I grasp an understanding about things and seeing them as they are. People take many different paths with different destinations. My path and the experiences along the way have brought me here. I'm motivated by those experiences to create these posts and contribute to the fight against "the beast", better known as pornography. If you haven't already guessed by the title, this is a bit of a personal battle against a industry giant that has a firm grip around the throat of humanity. Many may agree with me and many may not. The goal of this post is to invoke some sense to look past the "fantasy" image and see things for what they are. This may not be something you want to hear, but it is very necessary to be said.

As I said, I do have a personal stake in why I have decided to create these posts. I am included in the growing statistics of people who started watching pornography at an early age. There may have been times earlier on that I saw bits and pieces of an adult film due to being around irresponsible adults, but to be exact, I saw my first adult movie at 12 - 13 years old. As far as I'm concerned, that is where it started. At that age, I only had a vague idea of what sex was and unfortunately for me it was my first of many courses in sex education. After watching these things take place I thought that was how sex really was. From watching these scenes I learned all there was to know about what people did on screen: boy-girl, girl-girl, boy-girl-girl, boy-boy-girl, double penetration, double vaginal, etc. All of this I learned by the age 13. Those images would continue to stay with me for such a long time and I became so wired to watch more of it. You also start to get a sense that this is just something guys do, but no matter what it just never felt natural to me. Something about it didn't feel right. Nevertheless, you become more desensitized to what you're looking at and coming across more extreme things wasn't much of a bother.

By the time I was 16, I didn't want to watch it anymore. I had it in my head that if I ever got tired of it I could just quit cold turkey. Little did I know it wasn't as easy as I thought it would be. Fast forward about 10 years, here I am today typing this post. I'm 28 years old now and it was by this time I broke the mental lock porn had on my brain. It took very painful experiences to take a really hard look from the outside in to see what it was doing to me and my relationships with my family, friends and significant other. I researched so much information about the industry and what it has done to people who were either in the industry or compulsive watchers like myself and the information was astounding. The thing is that no one wants to acknowledge this as a problem which is only causing more problems. No one can continue denying something that is affecting so many and you just might be surprised that you may be the person that has affected.

The obvious "beast" reference mentioned earlier is quite fitting for the predatory-like billion-dollar industry that thrives on the misery and low-self image of others. Those involved in the industry are always quick to defend their practices because it's protected by the constitution. While that much is true, the industry continues to show how ethically backwards the porn industry, as well as our government, really is. It seems porn is not the only backwards practice our country faces. There also seems to be such a lack of opportunities in the pursuit of financial stability. There is such a wide gap between the haves and the have-nots and I believe that contributes to the convenient option of going into "sex work". People forget the fact that our country was founded on the degradation of people for power or financial gain and it's still something that I feel has yet to change. In either sense, it all comes down to who receives the most profit from someone else's sacrifice of self. There is so much desensitization happening within that industry is very hard not to notice if you really look.

Porn poses a danger to people both mentally and physically. A specific case that caught my attention was the porn industry shutdown in late August due to HIV exposure. One of the first people infected with the virus to come forward was, now ex-porn actress, Cameron Bay. Prior to this, it was shared that she suffered a kidney infection from her first porn scene with five men. It has been previously said by other former performers, such as Vanessa Belmond and Jenna Jameson, that they would get sick quite often from performing frequent scenes. Cameron opened up about some of the things that took place while on set filming scenes which I thought was horrific. Of course, it's nothing that the porn industry wants anyone to know and it shows by the barrage of verbal attacks she received on social media by active performers as well as porn fans alike.

Fan Via Twitter
Active Performer Via Twitter

These are only slight examples of the venomous words spewed. Again, this shows the desensitization within that industry to be able to openly speak negatively about someone already going through tremendous events. This is only just scratching the surface of what the porn industry stands for. It goes out of its way to portray these false images that draw you inside their world hiding the fact that there is a much darker layer underneath it. If this has happened with Cameron then it is happening to someone else right now.

What we have with pornography is nothing more than legal prostitution. The only difference between porn and illegal prostitution is that the government gets their cut from profits made. The exact same thing can be said about the legal brothels in Nevada which I imagine would cost you a small fortune. This is just one of many blemishes on our government and any foreign government that does the same. Sex is a sacred bond between people and should not be treated as a consumer item like a towel at Wal-Mart. Yeah, it may keep our country's economy going, so to speak, but at what cost? Just considering sex for payment will only further damage the sanctity of sex and that goes for prostitution, strip clubs, pornography, etc. I believe people have the misconception that sex is a dirty act humanity engages in and this is one of our faults because it's not the act itself, but the way it is presented. Sex is a natural part of life, not a tool to be used. It is a privilige to have as human beings, but it is a privilege that I believe we have heavily taken for granted. In a world that perpetuates humiliation, incest, rape and infidelity among other unnatural things all for the sake of entertainment, how could we have not taken it for granted?

I don't know how many people will read this, but I do hope that this message will reach many. There may be fans of porn that come across this post and just might look the other way. I say this to you. If you have any kind of compassion within you, I humbly dare you to research any information about what goes on in porn behind the cameras. If this does make you want to know more start here with "Date My Porn Star". If you have NetFlix, they have documentaries on there as well. I recommend watching "After Porn Ends". I'm sharing these things because we as people need to realize that these are human beings, not consumer items to be used and thrown away once it is used up. These people are someone's mother, father, sister, brother, daughter or son. Porn only shows us a dolled up image, a persona, a "fantasy", something other than an actual person. What you could be looking at is violation of human rights on camera that is protected by the U.S. Constitution. Just take a minute before clicking your mouse to go to your favorite site and just really think about what you are contributing to. That is all I ask.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Letter to Cameron Bay

Hi, Cameron. I'm not sure if you will even get this message or if you'll be able to reply, but I'm just a regular guy who's been following your story the past couple of months. I'm not sure how much this means to you coming from someone you don't know, but I felt compelled to write to you. Seeing how you were being treated by an industry that profits from the misery of others (whether performer or watcher) really sickens me. Not to mention things that were said to you by active porn performers which I feel is way out of line. I used to be a compulsive porn watcher since I was 13 years old. I'm 28 now and only recently I was able to conquer my demons. It's been one hell of a struggle, but I've researched a lot of information about the industry and the harm it causes.
I was moved by your bravery to speak out and expose the things we don't see (and apparently what the industry desperately tries to keep hidden). Hopefully that has opened the eyes of people who are still under the illusion that porn is harmless. I believe it was the most beautiful and bravest thing for you to do and in turn shows how beautiful you really are inside as well as out.

I can't presume to know your reasons for entering the porn business, but what I do know is the value of a person's worth is 1000 times more than anything porn has to offer. As a man, I respect everything a woman brings to the table. I believe there's nothing more beautiful in this world than a woman and the way you all are portrayed in porn films doesn't do any justice to any of you beautiful creatures. Seeing many women having to alter their natural features just to portray an image that isn't real only hinders what a person is truly capable of. It doesn't exactly put men in a flattering light either. I'm sure there are male victims in the porn industry as well, but it does look like we perpetuate that facade callously.

I honestly don't know where I'm going with this letter. I guess I'm writing this because I just hate when bad things happen to good people. If it's happened to you then I know it's happening to someone else. What it comes down to is my inspiration by your continuous bravery. I really wish you nothing, but the best. I know I'm just a regular guy and you don't know me from a hole in the ground and I'm not even sure if I'd be the kind of guy you would hang out with or whatever. I guess I just want to prove that there are people out there who actually care when others would just pass you off as another statistic. I do hope this message gets to you and if you would like to reply that's great. I'm all about spreading positivity wherever I can even when it looks like there's no room for any. Hope you continue being the strong person I believe you are. Many blessings to you.