Monday, February 11, 2008

Is Porn Empowering?- Apologist Jonalyn Fincher responds to Porn Star Jenna Jameson

Please note, material discussed below may not be suitable for children.

In Bill O'Reilly's interview of porn star, Jenna Jameson, a millionaire who just sold her company to Playboy you can hear her state that "as a woman" she found porn" empowering" even "a positive influence" on people. "For way too long women have been suppressed. . .when a woman is sexually forward and comfortable with herself she is free.

So is sexual prowess empowering, does it breathe power and strength and freedom into women? I invite you to watch O'Reilly's interview or Judith Regan's interview of Jenna Jameson before reading my argument against her position,

Men are Needy Animals?

I disagree with Jameson's idea that men need to be treated as if they are needy, hungry animals. I’m afraid she’s been working for too long in a business that refuses to recognize the immortal, dazzling souls in women and men so she fails to see the irreparable damage done to the souls of men by her visual assault upon them. I think she finds that giving them an erection or sensory stimulation somehow makes up for how she’s lashed their appetites to her body and used their love for beauty to line her own pocket book. She's confused men’s need for beauty with her own ability to arouse their sex organs. If she was as good at fulfilling men’s needs as she claims, then they wouldn’t keep needing to come back for more. For true beauty inspires, soothes, stills and ennobles. True sexual intimacy satisfies and refuses to consume the beloved. And men, far from being needy animals are actually equal human beings in need of intimacy, love, dignity and respect.

Cleaning up the Porn Industry?
She claims that she's helped clean up the porn industry. By clean, she means that she is not doing drugs, but choosing to save money and eat well. But Jameson is assuming physical health means soul health. While the two are often intertwined and a vital part of every human, they are not identical. Even if her body is clean, her skin smooth, her breasts perky, her diet balanced this does not give her a free ticket to enter just any field and “clean it up.” It’s so ludicrous to me that she thinks a clean body can somehow purify a job based on preying on the weak-willed. It would be like a photographer claiming that his large bank account, good eating habits and clean drug record prove that he could clean up child pornography. The job itself corrupts souls and bodies of men (and women), regardless of the artist’s clean body record. And you can see that in Jameson’s face. Her very facial features are hindered from health. Notice her cheeks and her eyes, they have a hollowness, a used-ness, a plasticity that may be able to perform in a porn shot, but communicate no warmth or vulnerability or even range of emotions (this is one of the under-represented side-effects of surgical enhancements... they destroy subtle facial expressions).

How Free is She?
Jameson assumes that freedom from repression and oppression mean that you can do ANYthing you want. I could not disagree more. God is the most free being around and for him freedom means you are free to do EVERYTHING that’s good. Those who are “free” to hook up regularly (think in your mind of those you know who do that) are not free. They are not free to master their harmful desires, not free to be celibate, not free to turn their sexual desire into motivation for the good. It is true that sex itself spends you, you become spent on and in and with that person. As a man it focuses your energy into a laser beam and shoots it out of you.. and this is true of women, too. It is one way to spend yourself in the life of another, which is why real sex only happens marriage. A series of sex experiences creates a sex history, a manual of sexual ideas, preferences, fears, delights, concerns, a sex vocabulary that builds each sex experience upon itself. So that a woman who has been faithfully married for decades can know much more about sex (in all senses: positions, lingerie, how to love, and how she loves to be touched by him, her body, her needs, his needs), even about sexiness than Jameson can ever touch. In some ways Jameson has less, not more experience with sex. She knows so little. And the way she speaks about sex (in terms of photography, mass production, money exchange, empowerment, a symbol of releasing herself from oppression, a victory over men) reveals the poverty of her understanding. She knows how to make sex look good, but she does not know about real sex between herself and her love.

Leech Power
Any human who has to use another human’s sexual organs as a means for feeling power is unhealthy, i.e. she is sick in soul. Her willingness to use another's body for her own empowerment would make me wary of leaving her alone with any person in my life.

Aping the Men
She is a female picture of a woman aping fallen masculinity in order to assert her power. In the process she’s mocked herself and she’s lost the value of her uniqueness as a woman.

Dust Off Your History Books
Her knowledge of "female oppression" is proof that while she may know porn she knows nothing about women's history. Because she doesn't know history, Jameson is enslaved to a fairly recent past, women have not always been so sexually frustrated/repressed as she paints them. In Medieval times women used to brag about how horny they were and tell their sexual exploits (see The Decameron, 800 AD and The Wife of Bath (See "Sex and Lollardy") in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales 14th Century). Until the Victorian era women were believed to be sexually more promiscuous, more enslaved to their passions than men. Medieval jokes often ribbed men about how they could never give their insatiable wife enough.

Is Jameson Repressed?
As C.S. Lewis said, you don’t discover your power over something until you fight it. Jameson hasn’t battled the repression of women by showing how she has strength OVER her sexual appetites. She’s giving into the repression of women by falling into every desire (for money, for attention, for sex). She doesn't realize that she doesn’t have to stoop to these desires. Though she says it time and again, I don’t believe that she feels empowered, for you don’t have to repeat yourself that many times, if you really believe you are. The Queen of England, Condoleeza Rice, Hilary Clinton, Sandra Day O’Conner do not have to assert how empowered they feel… it’s already so dang obvious.

Woman to Woman-Body Language
She’s reacting. You can read it in her body language. She’s parroting someone else’s lines and she doesn’t even believe it herself. Watch her again say “It’s empowering to me” and notice how her eyes falter, how she stutters over “empowering” and how she cannot even maintain her eye contact with O’Reilly on national television. She’s not even a good liar for goodness sake. Ah, poor woman, poor na├»ve woman. She’s been hurt and that's driven her to her work (she was raised by a single father, lost her mother at a young age and began stripping in her teens) and her work has hurt her even more deeply, but she’s angry and fighting in the wrong place with the wrong tools. For more see Judith Regan's interview.

Not a Role Model?
She doesn’t think she should be a role-model. There’s a problem there. Why not? If porn is so empowering, shouldn’t all women do it? Shouldn’t even girls do it. Here’s where her argument breaks down. You cannot promote an ethical idea if it’s not universally good in application. If porn and sexual prowess are empowering for women, then you should be able to prescribe these for all, regardless or marital status or age.

Despising Those We Use
If she has to keep proving herself as an intelligent, honest, good woman who must be taken seriously, then perhaps that should be a clue that sexual empowerment is not the key to power and respect. In other words that a man, once he’s shoved himself into a woman, or masturbated to her movie, does in NO WAY admire her ability. He’s using her. Just as she’s using him for her millions. It reminds me of the way Amnon, King David's son, used his cousin, Tamar. When he asks to sleep with her, Tamar says,

“As for me, where could I get rid of my reproach? And as for you, you will be like one of the fools in Israel. Now therefore, please speak to the king, for he will not withhold me from you."

However, he would not listen to her; since he was stronger than she, he violated her and lay with her. Then Amnon hated her with a very great hatred; for the hatred with which he hated her was greater than the love with which he had loved her. And Amnon said to her, "Get up, go away!" (II Sam 13:13-15).

Once he used her, he hated her.

I see Jameson as a woman who’s allowing herself to be raped again and again and she’s believed the Satanic (for so are all things that refuse to acknowledge the value of the soul) lie that she’s empowered, happy and chosen her career well. When she admits she must “turn a new leaf” when/if she has children, my heart hurts for her. I want to give her a weekend of soul care and good listening.

Pain in Her Eyes
She says she’s not hurt when people call her a slut. I think she’s lying because of the way she whips out, for the first time in the interview, that seductive smile and raised eye-brow. That’s a learned self-defense mechanism and it usually works on most men. But it doesn’t trick me. I can see that she’s trying to believe the lie she’s created that she’s happy with herself. I think it would be more accurate to say she’s happy with the attention she’s getting.. Someone needs to tell her that power and dignity are not synonymous with attention.

That said, I'm afraid most my remarks here are in the severe minority if CNN's polls of her book's success are true. Nevertheless, I still think it's worth getting these ideas out on the web, if for no other reason than that I believe Jenna Jameson can still choose to be an appropriate human. While she has breath, while there is time... for what does it profit a woman if she gain the whole world, but lose her own soul.

16 comments:

Grace said...

this is most definitely a subject that i have had to study in my women's studies classes and i've always been amazed at the interviews of these women who partake in the "industry." i don't know if you watched the Judith Regan interview with Jameson but it stood out to me more then the O'Reilly. Jameson admits that she didn't have the security of family growing up and sought the industry to try and fulfill that void. also there is a segment where she talks about her "normal" sex life and how she keeps it different so that she doesn't become numb to sex and in that "normal sax life" she finds true intimacy that is lacking in the business...
i have many more thoughts on this, but it is growing late in to the night.

dana said...

It is so refreshing to read a thoughtful, intelligent and compassionate response to such a travesty running rampant in our society. Your insights were dead on! In the Judith Regan interview where she discusses her "normal" sex life, she later mentions that the one thing missing from her life is a sense of normalcy. How can she practice something that she doesn't have, or perhaps even know what is? Also, she has deceived herself into thinking that this will not have much of an impact on her future family, particularly her children. As you well pointed out, "You cannot promote an ethical idea if it’s not universally good in application." Jenna Jameson is a living contradiction. Thanks for your compassionate boldness in confronting these deceptions.

Jonalyn Grace Fincher said...

I'm glad you recommended Judith Regan's interview, it is not included above. Great point Savannah (Grace) about normality. Dana, I'm glad you found my post compassionate. I was trying to be gentle and not come across as attacking Jameson.

Jonalyn Grace Fincher said...

I've just added Regan's interview to post, seemed good enough to make it available!

Rachel said...

when watching the Judith Regan interview, the saddest segment to me was when she talked about her dad being more of a friend. she was then asked the question, who raised her? she said she parented herself and a few seconds later said that maybe she did have some issues somewhere with the lack of a parent. she also said that it would have been nice to have someone protect her and parent her. it makes me feel sorry for Jenna. yes, her behavior is inappropriate and deviant. however, were it not for God's grace, any of us could have ended up in similar places. to me it's a clear message to parents that they must be parents before friends. imagine the difference godly parents could have made. prayerfully, i say that she comes to know Christ before she has children of her own.

tinamarie said...

watching those videos saddened me greatly. she willingly deceives herself, speaking lies to hide the brokenness she confesses (by her non-verbals, if not a more explicit response to a gentler inquirer). it was interesting to notice her clothing selection between the two interviews, as if her clothes prefaced the level of defense she was prepared to express. before the woman, jameson's cleavage and self-confidence bared her willingness to admit insecurities and desires for "normalcy," whereas in the O'Reilly interview, both cleavage and self-confidence suffocated under the disguise of a modest collared-shirt and blazer. it's late... maybe i'm reading too much into that...

jonalyn, your critique is right-on... even to the detail of the mechanically raised eyebrow and smirk. your thoughts expose the hurt and the lies and point toward healing. compassionate is a good word to describe your words, and i believe with you that miss jameson "can still choose to be an appropriate human."

Anonymous said...

Yes, Jonalyn. You're absolutely right. She'll find -- and the men who've used her will find -- that it's no simple matter to "turn a new leaf" and be able to enjoy a deeply cherishing, fully sexual, familial relationship with a spouse after all the behavioral/orgasmic and cognitive reinforcement that links sexuality with what's "seductively dirty", novel, anonymous, and a quick-fix-exit from feared "rejection". A history with porn (for both the porn "star" and the porn "customer" -- and whether gay or straight porn) is a real killer when it comes to the realistic meeting of sexual intimacy needs. Such a history can be overcome (as I've seen in facilitating this in my patients through psychotherapy), but it's not easy.
Ralph Blair, Psychotherapist, New York, NY

Jordyne said...

I'm doing a research commission on Porn and correlating violence levels. It is for my Research Methods class and I will be working on it for a couple months. If you are interested, I might post it or something.

It breaks my heart for the women AND men in the industry. You guys should all check out xxxchurch as they are helping porn stares and addicts alike get out of it. They also have some great articles and helpful stuff.

Jonalyn Grace Fincher said...

Rachel- good observation about Jameson's need for parenting, protection. You can see how she's wielded all her own resources to look like she can protect/take care of herself

Tina- thank you for seeing hope for Jameson to be appropriately human. I think your observation of her clothing is helpful, too. She cannot be immune to how dress affects her audience

Jordyne- a nice reference to xxxchurch.org, I have appreciated their work to help use the internet to create accountability software and awareness that you do not have to battle porn temptation alone. I'd like to hear more about your research, please email me at jonalyn@soulation.org

Anonymous said...

do you think it is helpful to title your article in such a way as to pit yourself against Jenna Jameson? I think it would appeal to people who are looking for a "cat-fight" over the issue, but that doesn't seem to reflect your intent

--dee lawson

Jonalyn Grace Fincher said...

Dee,
I appreciate your insight. I have altered the title to reflect my interaction with Jameson's views, rather than an antagonistic fight.

Journey said...

this is very good, jonalyn. I think if you worked on it it would make a good article for publication in a magazine of some sort.

J-dawg said...

Hi Jonayln,
I have changed my blog address to protect my identity and to keep my family from finding it, but wanted to give you the address.

I have also just written some of my struggles with femininity and would love to talk to you more and hear your thoughts on 'em.

the address is:http://myemergingfaith.blogspot.com/

thanks!

Ram Goli said...

Hey Jonalyn,
I just recently discovered this blog and I watched your message given to Biola University students. I loved them all. I love the way you guys engage youngsters.
Anyway, I came across another blog who compiled quotes from Jenna Jameson's book. Evidently, Jameson doesn't really believe porn is all that glamorous. I haven't personally read her book, but quoting her own words with page numbers indicate she probably did make a public statement.

These quotes seem to contradict her statements on the fox TV interview.

http://antipornographyactivist.blogspot.com/2007/07/jenna-jamesons-twenty-five-good-reasons.html

Have a Blessed Easter.
Ram.

Jonalyn Fincher said...

Ram,
This is an enlightening, graphic list of the ways pornography hurts women, their bodies, their souls, their friendships, their relationships. Yes it does contradict her Fox interview, very interesting!

Thank you for posting this for others to see.

Glad Jesus' resurrection means God cares about our humanity being fully renewed!

Happy Easter,
Jonalyn

Bhikkhu aggacitto said...

Hi Everyone!

Its interesting to see all of the self righteous types of moralizing and psychoanalyzing that is typically done with something like this. I remember years ago when I used to be a “born again” Christian I would watch all the single and married men go to church like clock work praying with the grace of “Lord Jesus”and then see them visiting the local porn shop at night! Once I went in myself and bumped into the pastor! He was reeking of whiskey and sexually propositioned me, offering me money for sex. I told him to zip up his fly!( I was NOT speaking figuratively).THIS believe me I was not offended with. When I went to church that Sunday he actually gave a sermon on the decaying morals of society! I was amazed he could do this with a straight face! Now THAT I recall I didn't appreciate!

Compared to what I now have today spiritually as a homeless Buddhist monk, masturbating in a porn shop or having some sort of sexual intercourse would not even come close to being a good comparison!
Perhaps it is true that men go for this sort of thing more than women because women typically have more of an outlet socially to readily express and have their sexual desires satisfied than men. Sexually women are more used to being chased rather than having to chase so to speak, it would then explain why women are more prone to criticize porn while for them its usually qualified in some way to be called “erotica”.
Scientific studies are interesting but usually I believe have the result already decided depending on who's in charge of the study and looking to validate their point of view for such an emotionally charged issue. Men usually go for the visual while women have confided in me that they prefer the romantic novel while enjoying their masturbation bubble bath! Then of course there is the “exploitation” issue, which I believe people simply have a right to decide for themselves.

Let me have my way, and I would show them BOTH what some good Vipassana and Samadhi means!

Have a blessed day!
Bhikkhu aggacitto