Actual rape within an industry that glorifies rape? Say it ain’t so.
Dec. 9, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) - The porn industry’s most recent scandal was so predictable that I can only assume that everyone is feigning shock because that’s just what they’re supposed to do. Sexual assault within an industry that specializes in glamorizing sexual assault? A rapist amongst the ranks of those who enact brutal rape scenes for the arousal and entertainment of pervert porn watchers? Shocking.
The story is hard to recount without getting too explicit, but the short version is that James Deen, a high-profile porn actor known as “porn’s boy next door,” if the boy next door was a sex-obsessed sadist with anger issues, has been facing a long string of victims who are going public with accusations that he sexually assaulted them in often brutal ways.
His ex-girlfriend alleges he held her down while she begged him to stop. Porn actress Amber Rayne claims Deen mauled her during a porn scene, raping her in various ways until the shoot had to be paused because of all the blood—she needed to get stitches immediately afterwards. The watching film crew high-fived Deen afterwards, pleased that he’d gotten her to do things her agent had specifically said she would not do—and at a lower price, too! When Rayne complained to her agent, her agent allegedly said, “I should feel honored that James wanted me so badly because he was one of the best male performers.”
In fact, a number of media outlets are expressing shock not just at how many instances of sexual assault Deen appears to have gotten away with - until now - but also the cavalier, lackadaisical attitude of the porn directors and film crews. Considering the types of porn these crews are often shooting - scenes that specialize in degrading, humiliating actions in which the girl is forced to service a male actor in a variety of bizarre and depraved ways - some may not even notice the difference between the rape unfolding in front of them and the “fake rape” they were supposed to catch on film. Former porn actress Aurora Snow says such things are frequent, stating that she’s seen “a porn director, actor, and crew going ahead with a scene after the starring woman passed out cold: They propped her up with her face in a pile of pillows and raped her.”
What’s chilling about many of the accusations coming out is that many of the instances of sexual assault being described by the various girls brutalized by Deen were filmed and released as good old run-of-the-mill pornography. Which means that many, many men have been getting aroused and getting off to the sight of girls being raped. In fact, my colleague Daniel Gilman tells a story about one of his friends who was date-raped on a porn set, and had someone come up to her years later to tell her how much he enjoyed that porn scene — not realizing that each and every time, he’d been watching her get raped.
Horrifying, isn’t it?
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Those hunting for rape culture on university campuses are looking in the wrong place. The real rape culture is emanating from the screens of our iPads, laptops, and cell phones.
Even those examining the industry have been forced to admit that Deen’s case may be indicative of deeper problems. From Slate:
“It’s likely that the nature of the business makes it more difficult for participants and outsiders to identify rape and call it out. Snow concludes that Deen’s years of acting out scenes of rape and rough sex have blurred the lines between his scripted professional life and his real-world interactions with women: ‘James Deen gets paid to have rough sex. And by his own admission he’s good at it, maybe even enjoys it. … [In porn,] on-set behaviors and attitudes that would be shocking to most and sometimes even criminal are normalized, and after years of performing, it can be hard to separate the work from reality. … When your job regularly consists of roughing a woman up, ignoring her pleas, and choking her out, do you start to bring some of that behavior home with you?’”
Well, yes. Finally people are asking the right questions. We do not have one brain for fantasy and one brain for reality, and so when we engage in this kind of behavior or consume it, the two will—surely this is precisely the right word—bleed into each other. It’s bizarre that the porn industry can release a deluge of material showing women being treated in a way that no woman should ever be treated, violated in ways that no one should ever experience, called names that no mouth should ever utter—and their excuse is that this “is just fantasy.” Isn’t that problematic all by itself? Why are we fantasizing about abusing and destroying the feminine? And why aren’t more people upset about this?
Does the idea of a guy coming home after a long day at work and kicking back with a cold beer and a video of a teenage girl getting violated by three men at the same time not disturb you at all? Is there nothing about that scenario that doesn’t make you recoil, even just a little?
It’s ridiculous, hearing the porn industry and its pervert apologists loudly claiming that their products do not impact that way men see women. We have a mountain of evidence to prove that this is not the case. Not to mention the fact that the entire marketing industry is based on the premise that imagery changes the way people behave—and pour billions into imagery that will do just that. Yet, somehow we let the porn industry get away with the claim that their imagery, which appeals to one of the most powerful instincts in the human person—sexuality—will have no impact at all and get nods of agreement from the culture.
Hopefully, James Deen will be prosecuted. Hopefully, he’ll go to jail. But that won’t be the end of the problem of sexual assault in the porn industry. The glamorization and commercialization of misogyny and sexual assault is built right into the industry—it’s what they do. Porn actresses have been contracting STDs, flaming out spectacularly, developing drug and alcohol addictions, complaining about sexual assault, and committing suicide in horrifying numbers for years, and no one has been listening. No one has been listening because no one wants to stop watching porn. And that’s why James Deen will not simply be an outed rapist—he will be a trend.