It's official! The anti-porn feminists (remember "Porn is the theory, rape is the practice"?) have finally realized that their "porn causes rape" theory was wrong. Dead wrong. Not even close. Unfortunately, without skipping a beat they've invented a brand new theory for why porn is still evil.
Now, I hate to call attention to this essay by Naomi Wolf (or even read it for that matter), but it's sadly been popping up around the Internet lately as a feminist theory, and I've had some requests for a feminist response to it.
So here goes:
1. If stopping rape had been their goal, then upon learning about the inverse correlation between porn and rape they'd have responded by saying "Wow, that's not what I expected. Let's analyze this to see if we can understand better what factors lead to rape." Instead they respond by saying "Damn, now we have to find a new excuse for hating porn!" They've made it quite clear which issue was their top priority.
2. In the past few decades, real sociological research has been performed regarding the effects of porn, yielding real data -- lots of it. Yet Wolf doesn't cite any of it. She hardly seems aware of its existence. Just like their earlier theory (porn causes rape), the Meese commission feminists have pulled this new and opposite theory straight out of the air with only anecdotal evidence to back it up. Why is anyone still listening to these clowns???
(Answer: Because there are a whole lot of people out there who passionately hate porn and desperately want to believe their bile is inspired by feminism.)
3. The thesis of Wolf's essay is that when men don't ever get to see naked women (in real life or pictures) they're just that much more desperate for the real thing.
My response: Probably true. Hell, it works in Iran and Afghanistan! I'm still trying to figure out what this has to do with feminism though...
For some real feminist analysis of porn, see Yes means yes, a feminist in favor of porn?, and Porn and me, and for some light related discussion, see Topless on the beach and An Immodest Proposal: sex on the first date?.