It would appear that Rick Santorum, of all people, now considers himself an advocate for women. In a statement released on his campaign website, he says the United States is “suffering a pandemic of harm” because of the rising prevalence of pornography on the Internet. Not only does he seem to think that porn is “toxic” for healthy relationships and marriages, but he also thinks it contributes to “misogyny and violence against women.” As President, he promises to ban "hardcore porn" to combat injustices against women.

Rick Santorum: Feminist?

Not really. Not at all, actually. Putting aside his other blatantly misogynistic promises and statements (that he seems to have conveniently forgotten), the idea that pornography inherently subjugates women is outdated and sexist. It implies that all women simply “endure” sex, and ignores the sex-positive and empowering strides made in the industry by actresses like Sasha Grey and Nina Hartley (and by feminist pornography in general).

And while the industry definitely does have a sexist history, and one could make a strong case that it remains a sexist institution, censorship doesn’t solve the problem. It’s a quick fix that just temporarily pushes the problem away from the public eye and allows sexism to fester unnoticed. (In my humble opinion, what we should do is foster an open forum for safe, sex-positive discussion to bring about change in the porn industry, not just sweep the issues under the rug.)

Chicago Tribune writer Steve Chapman noted that while pornography distribution and availability has increased since 1991, the numbers of reported rape and overall violent crime have greatly decreased. So Santorum's charge that the rise of pornography in the United States somehow correlates with a rise in (reported) violent assault is just factually wrong.

So, Rick Santorum, it’s not pornography that’s misogynistic; it’s people like you who seek to strip women of personal autonomy, demonize single mothers, and victimize women to enact bogus moral reform.

 

Image via Wikimedia Commons

Tagged in: Rick Santorum, pornography, politics, Election 2012   

The opinions expressed on the BUST blog are those of the authors themselves and do not necessarily reflect the position of BUST Magazine or its staff.


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