Pornography vis-a-vis Female Ordination
I’m slightly annoyed by people who are against pornography because of its offense to women, but also think female ordination is out of the question.
Specifically, on LDS forums, Mormon men sometimes rant about not watching pornography in respect of their wife who takes care of “the home.” In my home, both of us are male, and we both consume pornography from time to time. I’m not against people being against their partner consuming pornography, but I often wonder how frequently the pornography issue gets blamed for other actual “evils.” For example, if pornography gets in the way of me and my partner’s relationship, when we actually sit down and talk about it, we pretty much agree that sexually we’re okay and want to give the other person freedom to explore fantasy, so the conversation often quickly redirects to the real non-fantastical problems: whether housework is not being divided equally, or if there’s some shared financial burden. In LDS relationships, the pornography basically disrupts the roles of “man does this,” “woman does this,” where the man isn’t respecting the woman’s “womanhood.”
Outside the Church, there are plenty of women consumers of the erotic industry — think of today’s romance novels or all the women who consume gay male pornography. I can’t help but think that the Mormon abhorrence for pornography is wrapped up in the Mormon maintenance of patriarchy, a culture in which men are thought to be naturally lewd creatures tamed by virtuous women — even though for some reason the lewd creatures still are the ones who get to lead the Church.
The arguments against pornography for feminist reasons have to do with explicit monetary manipulation of young women and men. This is still a huge problem in America and abroad. But for a lot of women and men, sex work is a choice they make that should be respected. If you’re arguing against an image for its exploitation of a woman (or man), and the woman (or man) in question says, “Um, I don’t feel exploited,” doesn’t that point to a kind of patriarchal guilt in the viewer, or if you’re a woman, a kind of blindness to one’s own being oppressed?
(PS: I was curious what would happen if I Googled the two concepts together: pornography and female ordination. The search brings up how, a few years ago, the Catholic Church inadvertently categorized female ordination as a crime on par with child sex abuse and/or the consumption of child pornography when it added “pedophilic acts” to its list of offenses. Of course, that official stance angered a lot of people. The juxtaposition of female ordination with pedophilia is telling. In certain patriarchal ecclesiastical circles, women’s bodies are infantilized. A young woman’s body needs to be protected so that she will become a mother and a wife. She is not allowed to grow up to be sexy, because this is “dirty,” and she’s not allowed to be a church leader.)