We received this letter yesterday from Linn V and with her full permission reproduce it here for our feminist friends and supporters. It is a powerful, thought provoking piece which appears as we got it, raw and full of emotion. We haven’t edited or changed anything. Comments will be moderated and only those that are respectful to the writer will remain.
“Dear Jen and Linda,
I am writing this to you because I don’t really know where else to send it. Due to following Cork Feminista on Twitter I watched today the video on the Feminist Summer School. I then looked up the anti men porn project that was mentioned in the video, and have spent most of the evening reading and watching related material.
I feel it is time for me to come out, as anti porn. I need to admit to myself that I do not agree with it and I do not think it is harmless adult fun, where people are willing and well paid.
I am so angry at a world which has co-opted my sexuality, my desires and my body, and told me to shut the fuck up about it all. As a young woman I am sad that it is likely that the men I have relationships with will have had their first sexual experiences through printed or online pornographic material, and that I feel I have little choice but to accept their use of porn as a fact of life. Porn is everywhere. I am lucky that I grew up with very little exposure to any explicit pornographic material (I am leaving the endless stream of objectified women in advertising, with their pornified orgasm faces and their idealised bodies out of it for now). So how is it, that I have somehow absorbed the messages from society about what it is I find sexy and what it is that I exist for? How is it, that during intimate moments I think or say things which feel like implanted thoughts and words, which are removed from any authentic personal erotic experience? I am angry that the world condones men’s use of porn as inevitable. I am angry that we are lied to and told that this industry is empowering and in fact feminist. I am angry that this view of women bleeds into how we are treated and judged daily, how the men in our lives see us. I am angry that men say they can compartmentalise it, ‘it’s just fantasy’, its not real. I am disgusted and frightened when I am intimate with men and I hear them say things that I’m pretty sure are empty repetitions of things they have come to think they find sexy, because they should, because these bitches like to get choked, because I want you to fuck me harder.
How are my fantasies not my own? How is it that they conform to the most mundane, bland, predictable scenes from what I imagine are bad pornos. How can this be, when I have never actively watched or sought out this material. Yet we all know what the fantasies are, the school girl, the gang bang, anal, being ejaculated on, and on and on to depths of plain abuse that I don’t even want to begin to fathom.
I used to think that the best approach to my intimate life was ‘no politics in the bedroom’. I figured you like what you like and that’s ok. Human sexuality is a complicated and wonderful thing. What saddens me now is that I cannot shake the feeling that a lot of what I enjoy has been insidiously implanted in my brain by a society that tells me it is hot to be ‘a dirty slut’ or a ‘daddy’s girl’, that it is empowering to have empty sex and that I do not deserve to ask for love and respect, because I am a pretty object here for consumption. The validation and approval that comes from being a sex object is empty, but its hard to shake the conditioning that tells me that as a woman that is all I am good for. I want to be valued for so much more than my body, and yet I sometimes ‘jokingly’ think that if worst came to worst, I could always turn to sex work. I am a very privileged and educated young woman, and yet I often cant but think that in terms of economic value my body is the best thing I have to offer. This is awful, and if I could think these things in my position, it is no surprise that so many women feel the need to turn to sex work. I am angry that I live in a society that masquerades all this as totally ok. That sells the notion that women are at their most valuable as objects, and better still they enjoy it.
I hope that you do not object to me sending this to you. This desire to come out as anti porn is one that throws up massive internal struggle. It seems crazy, but I am only now admitting to myself that I am ANTI PORN. Full stop. It seems so simple, and yet it is a hugely emotional and difficult issue. I fear being called anti-sex, or prudish, or a crazed fun ruining feminist. A humourless, unlovable sour woman. Because if you are not with the female chauvinist pigs, you sure as hell are a crap modern woman. I feel like this realisation is almost a dirty little secret, that I must keep my fun ruining, prudish ways to myself. Which is why I am writing to you first, to make my declaration here and now in a safe space where I hope I will not be looked at with ridicule and awe.
I think porn is wrong. I think it is damaging for society, for relationships, for all human beings and most especially women. I think it is dangerous, exploitative, and a vast web of utter fabrication. I want women to stand up and know they deserve better. Porn is not funny, and its not ok. I want men (and women) to learn that their real erotic power lies beyond being blindly fed manufactured images, that their imagination is sexy.
I have made a decision not to lie to myself any more, not to brush away my feelings of discomfort around porn without fully examining them.
I really appreciate and admire what you guys are doing with Cork Feminista. I unfortunately am not based in Cork, but it means so much to have the email come in on a Friday and remind me that there are people out there who are passionate, motivated, and doing something. It reminds me I am not alone.
I hope that me sending you this email is ok.
Best wishes and love,