I notice in a few circles that the drumbeat is getting louder with respect to female-oriented pornography. As I’ve written about in the past , female-oriented pornography (or pornography designed to cause sexual excitement in women) has more to do with the written word than the image. Webster’s dictionary even tells us this (emphasis mine):
1: the depiction of erotic behavior (as in pictures or writing) intended to cause sexual excitement
2 : material (as books or a photograph) that depicts erotic behavior and is intended to cause sexual excitement
Unfortunately, we’ve had the mainstreaming and acceptance of female porn (in the form of books and movies) from both the secular and evangelical realms. Romance novels and rom-coms (or chick-flicks) have been tacitly accepted for a very long time, and even popularized from books into movies such as the Twilight series. 50 Shades of Grey even began as a Twilight fan-fiction. Unfortunately, it’s taken something as outwardly blatant as 50 Shades of Grey in order for people to even talk and realize that things such as books can be pornography too.
To give credit where credit is due (especially since the admonishing of women for sin in any Focus On The Family material is taboo since they believe that women don’t sin), Boundlessline.org ran an online article by Adam Holz which pointed out the truth of such matters:
Pornography, then, is not just a men’s issue. And though some might be tempted to dismiss or wink at a “naughty” story such as Fifty Shades of Gray because it trades in degrading words instead of degrading images, it’s potentially every bit as destructive in the lives of women who might be tempted to entertain E.L. James’ twisted sexual fantasies.
Of course, the redefining of it took hold right from the first comment on that blog entry (no it’s not porn it’s “erotica”). The tacit acceptance of the sins of women along with the lack of recognition of their responsibilities within the evangelical sphere is highly unfortunate. The demonstration that most evangelical leaders have no concept of the nature of women (especially their sin nature, and their sexual nature) to advise or preach in any matter regarding them is also incredibly disturbing.
Thankfully there are people who are pointing these things out, as well as the blatant hypocrisy that evangelical leaders are engaging in regarding the issue of pornography. Bettina Arndt writes:
There’s such giggly delight in the public display of women’s huge appetite for this latest girly porn.
Yet when men are caught looking at their favoured sexual material – pictures rather than words – that’s somehow very different. Men who use porn are disgusting, perverted, their filthy smut a danger to marriage and sure sign of an addled male brain.
The double-standard most certainly exists. While the use of porn is accepted and celebrated with women (it’s a best seller, popular enough for a trilogy of books AND a movie), it’s denigrated and demonized when it comes to men. We have already seen a ready example of this double-standard in R. Albert Mohler’s writings:
One further qualification must be added to this picture. Pornography is mainly, though not exclusively, a male phenomenon. That is to say, the users and consumers of pornography are overwhelmingly male–boys and men. . . The fact remains that many men pay a great deal of money and spend a great deal of time looking at and looking for pornographic images in order to arouse themselves sexually.
If men and women were the same, surely we would have the same capacity to be rational, moral beings, mature enough to handle our fantasy lives without distorting real-life goals and expectations.
But no, when it comes to sexual fantasy any notion of equality goes out the window, with men seen as incapable of making this type of differentiation while women remain uncorrupted by their own salacious, grossly unreal imaginary sexual world.
Stephen Harrington points out this double-standard as well:
“Mummy porn” is seen as fun, harmless, even liberating, and therefore exempt from critique or social judgement, whereas “daddy porn” is inherently “horrid” and “depraved”.
Evangelicals like Mohler are screaming to the rafters against the male-oriented porn, but are conspicuously silent on the female variety. They need to realize that women aren’t reading novels such as these “for the articles” (to parrot the common Playboy ploy) or watching the movie adaptations because it’s a nice storyline. So why are these evangelicals silent on such matters? Harrington concludes correctly that it’s a by-product of the feminist interests (again another proof of feminism in these evangelicals):
I suspect it has something to with the fact the 50 Shades trilogy clearly does not fit the narrative that . . . the porn industry is positioned as an engine of rape, violence towards women, and all-out misery.
Most significantly, these books are written by a woman, from a woman’s perspective and are extremely popular with everyday women. Which, of course, challenges the presumption that pornography is something done to women, never by them and/or for them.
These books . . . have also become enormously popular by nothing more than word-of-mouth. They have not been forced upon anyone, but have been actively sought out for reading pleasure by women all around the world, again challenging the idea that our sexuality is being hijacked by depraved corporate interests.
So what does it mean in the end? R. Albert Mohler and other evangelicals like him need to answer the following questions correctly or be seen as hypocritical and all their words rightfully dismissed. This will be a necessity for them to do such things and be seen as serious, and even openly repent in public in sack-cloth and ashes for the efforts they have made in the past against men when it comes to pornography, since the profitability of Fifty Shades of Grey and other fem-porn works and general acceptance of these things will only cause these things to grow in number:
1. Is pornography a male-only phenomenon or is it a person-oriented phenomenon (that means women do it too)? The only right answer is that all (men and women) participate and need to be admonished if pornography is sinful.
2. Is male-oriented pornography the only thing that’s sinful or is all pornography sinful? The only acceptable answers here are that either all of it is sinful or none of it is sinful. This writer holds that all of it is sinful. But those in power in Churchianity need to make this decision, and back it up.
3. Are they willing to stand forcefully in action on their answer in #2. This means in the case of Albert Mohler if he answers that all pornography is sinful, banning all female-oriented pornography (these novels, other romance novels including “Christian” ones, and rom-com movies) within the walls of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary as well as directing the instructors to teach forcefully against it, AND preaching much more forcefully against the fem-porn than he ever did the male variety. If the fem-porn gets a pass, then that means the male-porn gets a pass, too, and the unbanning of these things need to occur within SBTS and openly preached FOR.
Anything less than accomplishing these things is hypocrisy from these people.