Daniel Gingras

In high school, my grandmother would occasionally house sit when my p-units went out of town. Lucky for us, Jean Gingras, or “Mean Jean Grandma Machine” as we called her, had the daytime energy of a narcoleptic four year old, and consequently kept an early bedtime. And so, whenever my parents traveled, it became the perfect launch pad for our chosen debaucheries. On one such night, guys and girls were crowded in our basement around our big screen TV, discussing evening plans and flipping absentmindedly through the channels, when we stumbled upon the late-night gem of not-for-free television: Cinemax. Like clockwork, it was 10 p.m. and Cinemax was already airing softcore porn. I can’t remember the exact title, but we can just think of the movie as something along the lines of Naked Fairytales, Gladiators Eroticus: The Lesbian Warriors, or The Lord of the G-Strings: The Femaleship of the String, all registered softcore titles pulled from the International Movie Database.

Curious, we watched as “Dildo Baggins the Throbbit” pounded away at some bar-maid, and on our 64 inch screen, her breasts are a jiggly 23 inches in diameter, each. To sleepily enter the room in her pajamas, 76 year old Jean Gingras picks the moment at which orgasmic shrieking is reaching apex as the barmaid’s bosoms undulate like flesh colored speed bags. With incredible luck and dexterity, we smash the mute button in time. But that’s when the remote freezes, and as my curious grandmother stands there demanding to know what all the commotion is about this “late at night,” two giant figures to her right continue to thrust silently as the power button malfunctions.

To this day, my definition of “dodging a bullet” revolves around convincing my grandmother that night that everyone was watching our cat “Cupcake” play with an insect, and getting her to return to bed before she could crane her head 20 degrees to behold the horrible, pornographic truth.

I have countless thoughts and theories about pornography, but my primary stance is this: Pornography is harmful to the minds of males, and to the images of women.

I’m not saying it’s not awesome; the problem is that, yes, it’s awesome. Too awesome. Pornography, particularly Internet hardcore pornography, is like an abundant, risk-free drug for the libido. It’s an easily obtained replication of something powerful and awesome meant to exist selectively within nature. Like a reward system, it seems that a man’s natural high in regard to sexual imagery is meant to reinforce the constructive behavior in a man that leads to sexual attainment (with the exception of troubled individuals who ignore the difference between “earning” rewards and “taking” them). With pornography, the rewards are short circuited. Gratification can be yours in effortless moments from the privacy of a computer. And that kind of on demand gratification devalues the real thing. Having had exposure to pornography at a young age, I do believe that pornography has left me more callous to sexual imagery than I think a man who has never viewed it ought to be. In addition, socially challenged men or young men can seek refuge in pornography’s availability and unrealistic portrayals, developing skewed expectations as to how sexual encounters occur, how men and women should act sexually, etc… While I think many adult men are able to appreciate these as the fantasies they are, some are not. Some marriages are ruined; some jobs are affected or lost. I reemphasize pornography’s similarity to a drug, and its potential for addiction. In a nation where pornography is protected by capitalism and free speech, where the internet is increasingly accessible to our young, my greatest fear is that sexuality learnt through pornography can warp human beings, and will warp our youth.

The images of women in porn are also bogus. Women pornstars do not properly reflect the average build, sexual attractiveness, sexual aggressiveness or contentedness with varying sexual acts that the majority of women in the real world will possess. The importance in equity of male and female pleasure is usually overlooked to offer up fantasies pleasurable to the male.

I have so much more that I would say if I had the space and the ears, but in short, I am against hardcore pornography. It corrupts our young, it desensitizes our men and it misportrays our women.

For questions, comments, or to engage Daniel in a thoughtful discussion on the plot of Cinemax’s Emmanuelle in Space, write to dgingras@calpoly.edu.

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