Wednesday, October 8, 2014

This Just In From Jennifer Lawrence: Young Women Need to Make Porn for their Boyfriends

Jennifer Lawrence, you may have seen, finally (God -- how long was it going to take!? I could barely sleep!) opened up about her nude photos having been exposed and placed online some time ago. She explained their existence this way, to Vanity Fair:
"I was in a loving, healthy, great relationship for four years. It was long distance, and either your boyfriend is going to look at porn or he’s going to look at you."
Thankfully, my returning readers are kind enough not to complain when I use this blog as therapy. I have often written about the creeping feeling of alienation from the world as I get older; I have written about my own elders and their experiences with feeling as if they are strangers in a strange land... In short, paradigms change without us noticing too much and before we know it, the foundational things we thought we knew are flipped completely over.

I'm not talking about media-present things like big reversals in societal thinking... I'm talking about the stealthy shifts, like the one illustrated above.

Only a world that has changed significantly from the one I grew up in could produce a young woman who would make that statement.

Maybe naughty...but, in a mysterious way. 
You can judge her as you like for having taken nude pictures of herself, if you want, but I won't. And I am not going to defend whoever took those photos and made them public. It was wrong to do so. (Of course, the elephant in the pixels here is that if she hadn't taken them... She didn't, as some lunkheads might say, "get what she deserved," but, in this era, one who wants to keep things private ought not to digitize them.) But, in her statement is an indication that there is no shame in any of it. (A good friend of mine, Kevin, has been quoted here before for his wonderful phrase, "I miss shame.")

Can you imagine someone -- a movie star of the forties; or even of the eighties -- having said this after such a scandal? Or making public that embarrassingly false dichotomy: girls should either make their own porn for their boyfriends or lose their attention to outside porn? (And this, Lawrence says, was a "healthy relationship." I could write a whole other post on the ridiculousness of that logic and I can't believe women's rights advocates haven't denounced Lawrence for this horrifyingly objectifying statement about women.)

It's not that celebrities didn't do things like Lawrence did back in past decades; it's that the paradigm of good behavior used to include either staying away from pornography or, at least, keeping it secret. Ms. Lawrence now lives in a world in which she feels comfortable making that statement. That is indicative of a massive shifting of the moralistic plates.

I admit, I have a certain admiration for those with the courage to do naughty things. At least, I used to. But when naughty becomes normal, it starts to get creepy, if not just simply disappointing.

It is change like this that makes me feel off-balance. Change in societal practices is easy to deal with; changes in basic mindset feel like a haunting for which there is no possible exorcism. Certainly, drop-in-the-bucket posts like this one are the right approach, but I can't reach as many young people as the brilliant philosopher Lawrence can, so I lose.

To close: how did her Dad react when he found out about the pictures? "Fortunately, he was playing golf, so he was in a good mood."

Hm. Ha-ha?

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