Chris Hedges and the Illusion of Pornography

The porn films are not about sex. Sex is airbrushed and digitally washed out of the films. There is no acting because none of the women are permitted to have what amounts to a personality. The one emotion they are allowed to display is an unquenchable desire to satisfy men, especially if that desire involves the women’s physical and emotional degradation. The lightning in the films is harsh and clinical. Pubic hair is shaved off to give the women the look of young girls or rubber dolls. Porn, which advertises itself as sex, is a bizarre, bleached pantomime of sex.

The acts onscreen are beyond human endurance. The scenarios are absurd. The manicured and groomed bodies, the huge artificial breasts, the pouting oversized lips, the erections that never go down, and the sculpted bodies are unreal. Makeup and production mask blemishes. There are no beads of sweat, no wrinkle lines, no human imperfections. Sex is reduced to a narrow spectrum of sterilized dimensions. It does not include the dank smell of human bodies, the thump of a pulse, taste, breath—or tenderness. Those in films are puppets, packaged female commodities.

They have no honest emotion, are devoid of authentic human beauty, and resemble plastic. Pornography does not promote sex, if one defines sex as a shared act between two partners. It promotes masturbation. It promotes the solitary auto-arousal that precludes intimacy and love. Pornography is about getting yourself off at someone else’s expense.

Chris Hedges, Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Trump of Spectacle (Nation Books: 2010), p. 57

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One response to “Chris Hedges and the Illusion of Pornography

  1. This seems to support a thesis I’ve had for some time: We have created a two-tiered society with techno/video game kids on one hand who are essentially devoid of imagination, and on the other hand, kids whose parents were wise enough to limit or eliminate all that min-numbing garbage from their developing brains. These kids actually read books and are capable of independent thought. Pop culture is a joke for them and they go on to accomplish something good in life.

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