I will not pretend that I am particularly satisfied with many of our role models in this day and age. However, it was sadly unsurprising to me to read the recent essay in The Miami Student regarding the matter of an ex-pornographic actress appearing as a positive role model. While Mr. Stephen Hudson, who wrote the editorial, continues his misaimed crusade against what he sees as the problems of our society, views such as his own are a symptom of a much more real problem. That problem is people refusing to take responsibility their own views and actions.
In his article, he argued that Sasha Grey is not an appropriate role model and that parents are justified in taking issue with her appearance at a grade school. He suggests that allowing her is encouraging, in particular, their sons to “objectify women” and have “porn addictions.” I take issue with this statement, not because addiction to pornography or objectifying women are good things, in my view they are very bad things, but rather because of what it implies. That is to say, the implication that it is the actress’ fault that men should develop these problems is more than untrue, it is absurd. It is an extension of the victim-blaming mentality that so pervades our society, perpetuated by men like these who would hold women accountable for their own inability to control their lusts or distinguish fantasy from reality. For truly, who is it that chooses to develop an addiction? Are men who allow themselves to become addicted to pornography forced to watch it? Very much the opposite in most cases, they have to pay to do so. And it is hardly as though they lack the knowledge of what it is when they first find themselves exposed to it. Yet, some of them allow themselves to become addicted; who do they have to blame for this but themselves?
This is, sadly, only a step away from those who blame rape victims for their plight, and a very narrow step indeed. The rationale is almost identical, in that it shifts the blame for the inability of weak-minded men to control their actions away from them an onto others onto women who have no influence on whether or not these men can control their own actions. The morality of the actress in question is almost irrelevant to this. It is rather the suggestion that she, and others in her position, is to blame for people being unable to make their own choices that is ridiculous.
However, since Mr. Hudson’s general point was made about that, I shall address it as well. What is so immoral about choosing the life that she chose? Even if Ms. Grey were still a pornographic actress, I think it would be as hypocritical of a man to condemn her for it as it would be for him to condemn a prostitute when it is the loose morals of his own gender that ultimately creates the demand for such things. And of the many immoral things in this world, pornography is one of the least harmful.
Indeed, it is almost farcical that the same people and primarily, the same men who are so quick to condemn pornography are quick to defend things such as industry and quick to deny serious moral issues such as polluting, destroying and overpopulating the very world that we live upon. Since Mr. Hudson felt the need to bring religion into the matter, I shall draw upon one of his own faith’s texts; those who live in houses of glass should not be so quick to throw stones at others.
Personally, were I a parent, I would have much more pride in a daughter who was an adult actress and was comfortable with her sexuality and the choices she had made than one who allowed her self-worth to be dictated by the hypocritical views of self-appointed moral guardians. But, with all of this said, there might perhaps be some comfort for him in this. After all, his claim is that we are afraid to say that others are wrong, and I am very much saying that he is wrong. The real question that remains to be answered is whether he is ready to accept that he could be wrong.