“These pictures make me feel worthless”
Late last night (12:07am to be precise) I received this comment from 18-year-old Bellatrix in response to Clive Hamilton’s piece Dymock’s Bookstore: Porn Merchants? which I published yesterday.
I thought what she wrote such a powerful commentary on the impact of porn magazines on women, I was compelled to reproduce her comment here so you wouldn’t miss it.
I am 18 and happy with my body, I don’t compare myself to other women I meet dressed in everyday clothes. Saying this, when I see playboy – or any porn (that includes “mens magazines”), I suddenly feel insecure. I see images of women with unrealistic breasts and know they are fake, I am fully conscious that this is not the natural state of a womans body and would never choose to do that to myself but there is still that nagging notion in the back of my mind that this is what all men want, this is what they find attractive. These pictures don’t make me feel ugly they make me feel worthless, like any parter I have is settling for me when what they really want is this still image – busty and brainless.
I’m sick of men excusing porn by saying “well some women watch it too” or “It is just the way men are – visual”. I’m sick of having to be the one to avert my eyes and remind myself what is really important. I’m sick of feeling like I am at war with every other woman on this planet. I’m sick of hearing people my age talk about porn as if its an everyday part of life – everyone watches it/owns it/talks about it. I’m sick of places like book stores – a haven for intellectual thinking and creativity which ignores conventional beauty in the place of talented writers and minds, buying into this demeaning and hurtful culture. What I’m really sick of though is my gender being diminished to a sex symbol. I shouldn’t feel like a piece of teenage meat being drooled over, critiqued and judged constantly, but this is how Playboy makes me feel – a piece of flesh to feed unrealistic sexual desires.