To all the people to whom I have said today “Yes, I am a feminist, but I really don’t care” I would like to offer this longer explanation…
I care a great deal about how politicians behave in the roles, and how they spend public money â€“ what they do with their credit cards and their appropriations. I also care a great deal about the exploitation of women, men and children. But I don’t care that Shane Jones watched porn, I really don’t.
There are many terrible things about so much of the porn industry, about the ways it exploits the women and men on film, the way it perpetuates damaging stereotypes about sex and gender.
Before you judge Shane Jones for viewing the products of that exploitation, however, look down at yourself for a moment â€“ where were those clothes made? Any sweatshop labour in there? Any women, men and children exploited for your convenience?
The media and commentator focus on the porn films are because it’s “naughty” or “dirty”; after all it’s about sex and that is something we must never admit wanting or enjoying, and that we must never ever talk about.
And you know what? That there, that exact taboo â€“ strengthened today in all the prurient chatter â€“ does far more damage to New Zealand women than all the porn watching put together. That taboo is responsible for many teen pregnancies, for much sexual abuse being hidden, and for a lot of STD transmission. It also results in (and this matters too) many people having a far less joy from sex than they could.
So, when you express outrage about Shane Jones watching porn and expect me to back you up because I’m a feminist you can expect me to check your clothing labels, and make sure that you know it’s ok to talk about sex, and even to want and enjoy it.