Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Porn in the Public Interest (3 May 2013)

{Bloggers Note: For Whatever reasons, this post on OpenSalon got more hits — a whole lot more — than other individual item I've ever posted to the web.}



Headlines in the News:
"Gates Foundation Funds Development of High Tech Condoms"
"California’s landmark condoms in porn bill (AB 332) 
clears first Assembly committee, 5 to 1" (References: GatesAB 332) 
       
            If fashion can get people, especially young people, to tattoo and pierce their bodies, shave their genitals, wear stiletto heals and low-rider pants, and — in the developed world — buy water in small bottles; then fashion can also be a force for good, encouraging condom use.

            So there should be strong support for California Assembly Bill 332 and similar legislation in other states requiring condoms on actors in pornographic movies. The argument for condom use for sex-workplace safety is legitimate, but there's a more pressing argument for such legislation as a truly public, public health issue. In their way, porn stars are role models, and if their example can be a major influence getting young people to shave like semi-pro swimmers or body builders, porn-actor behavior can be important in making condom-use fashionable, normal, and normative: perhaps even, in the old expression, cool. Condom use as normal behavior for young people has obvious benefits limiting sexually-transmitted diseases, reducing unwanted pregnancies and, hence, the numbers of abortions, and more generally encouraging responsibility among older boys and young men, who should take responsibility for their reproduction and health.

            As part of a larger public information program — i.e., "Wrap That Willy!" propaganda — porn stars can inculcate the doctrines that "Real Men Control Their Reproduction" and "Real Men Can Hold an Erection Well Enough to Be Cool in Condoms." Well, and that Real Women limit their heterosex lives to such Real Men, and have the sexiness and know-how to help their men, let's say, achieve and maintain their "reality."

            Parents and other older adults could also get involved.

            "Late adolescence" was invented during my lifetime, and it isn't a good idea. "The pill" was an excellent idea, except insofar as its existence got people to think contraception an issue for just women and girls. At 18-years old, I was expected to be a young adult, and a good while before I turned 18 my father gave me an optimistically large box of condoms and told me, "Until you know what to do with it; keep it in your pants." I suspect that bit of SexEd was more useful than most of what gets taught in US schools.

            Parents, however, are radically limited in their influence over fashion; stardom, including porn-star stardom, is powerful.

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