The Porn of the Matter

Q. I have a blog on Tumblr and recently came across some very obscene material that was posted on a blog I had followed. I was shocked that this stuff was allowed. I searched further and quickly found gobs of pornographic sites. Again, I was shocked. Nobody is filtering this stuff or warning us about it.I noted that Tumblr was recently (July 2013) purchased by Yahoo and find that Tumblr seems to have become a clearinghouse for porn. It seems to be a place where you can collect the most disgusting images and subscribe to a regular dose of them or send them to anyone you like without consequence.

Is anyone fighting this? Are you aware of any groups that are attempting to stop Tumblr or to make them accountable?

A. My sweet, what exactly is it that you hope people want to fight?

Of course, it’s easy to know what you mean. Porn is just everywhere! Hide your kids, hide your wife. Porn will break into your house and steal all your lunch money and your good silver. Porn hijacked my brother’s cousin’s dentist’s car and drove off into the night, never to be seen again. Porn is the reason America is going to hell in a handbasket. Porn is easy to blame. Too easy, really.

Like most folks, I have a complicated relationship with porn. I support porn stars. I like feminist-friendly porn and companies run by women or gender queer folks who are out to change the face of “porn” and “sex” and want to market porn made for those audiences. I like performers like Stoya, whose essays on Vice should be mandatory reading in college. I like what porn is because it’s bold-faced kicks, the action-thriller of the summer of the adult entertainment industry, something that everyone is a voyeur to at one point or another, because hey, looking at naked people having sex? Most of us are kind of into it.

Now, what I’m not into? The judgment around admitting to liking porn. The judgment from people who will wank it to Cameron Bay until the cows come home and later call her a, “Cum-bucket slut who deserved to get HIV because that’s the type of field you work in.” The fact that most porn caters to a very specific type of male gaze and can range from not enjoyable, to demeaning, to fetishizing is problematic. That porn can warp some expectations of sex and bodies to a point that creates a false representation of an actual experience and not be taken for what it is can be cause for concern. It’s also entertainment.

Porn is neither inherently good nor inherently bad. It’s just porn.

Well, porn and a whole lotta socialization thrown in.

What happens within the large umbrella term “porn” creates a range of reactions and reflects many different kinds of experience. How I or someone else reacts to it also tends to be a day-to-day thing. Some days, Fleshbot is the grooviest. Some days it’s a grotesque cartoon that seems strange and creepy, with angry body parts and fist-clenching discomfort. But given that we as people are so very different and come from different places with different experiences, different cultures, and so on and so on, porn varies for each of us. It’s a widely cast net. Don’t make the mistake of reducing it down to what seems easiest.

Which brings me to your inquiry, my sweets. It’s a bit of a pickle.

Tumblr is not actually a porn database. Nor does Tumblr force you to sign up for porn-based blogs. In fact, Tumblr is completely curated by the person who is on Tumblr, save an annoying ad or three. The only way to find porn on tumblr, except for the cruise by once in a while? Is if you search for it.

The only one with the filter on is you, sweets.

I get it. It’s easy to get stuffy about naked people having sex. It’s even easier to ogle over it, enjoy it, consume it, and then when all the fun is said and done, to act like it is being forced upon you, as if you had no choice in the matter. You might as well have been chained to your chair, forced to view porn with your eyes taped open, as if the porn monster was infringing on your very right to live a porn-free existence.

Except that’s not how it works at all. Not in the very very least.

So the only consequence here? Right now? Is you being busted. Not on watching porn, oh no, my love, no one really cares about that. You are busted on your hypocrisy, the way you happen to just fall down the tunnel of porn, really forced, because that’s how Tumblr works, except that is not how it works at all. You are busted not on liking watching sex or whatever. You are busted for being a self-righteous bo-bo about it.

Don’t be a self-righteous bo-bo.

If you don’t want to watch porn, then don’t. Like most places on the Internet, you’ll cruise by it accidentally every now and then. But porn is like your life’s purpose — you usually have to go searching for it to find it.

You can bring your habits to the light and just accept the fact that porn or watching porn or enjoying porn doesn’t really bring any value judgments down on you. Sure, some of your like-minded peers might judge you, but don’t be like them (even though you already are). Whatever happens in the dark always gets brought out into the light, and frankly my love, consuming porn is hardly the least controversial thing you could do in the light. Yes, boundaries are something we all like to remind each other of, so avoid it in all the light, like at your work or with the kids. But the only difference now? From you doing what you do in the dark and then stepping into the light to complain about all those predatory Tumblr blogs? One is at least truthful with its intended purpose.

And sweet pea, it ain’t you.

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TheLadyMiss

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