Being an intern at CAASE has taught me many things thus far, and I have found myself connecting and integrating my internship with my life. “Hmm”, I’ve thought to myself, “That color blue on the walls really would work in my living room.” I have also wanted to become a spin instructor, just like Rachel,the Executive Director of CAASE, and have a little dog as cute as Maggie who comes to the office daily. My new found inspiration at CAASE hardly stops there. I have begun to see the world of exploitation in a new light and my own life as well. I must confess I used to be a woman who would watch porn on my own and think that I was sexually empowering myself. “See? I can do it too and wow, aren’t I just the fifth Sex and the City gal to come along!” My interest in porn quickly fizzled since what I find erotic was never represented . But it wasn’t until my internship at CAASE that I truly understood the problems of the porn industry. Watching the movie, “The Price of Pleasure”, certainly ended any doubt in my mind that porn can be good. I have been vegan for some years now and when people think that’s extreme I don’t mind. When exploitation is extreme and prolific, then I don’t mind having an extreme response by not involving myself or participating at all. The same has gone for porn now and I am happy to say that I am porn free. The following essay comes from comparing my past (and present) veganism with my now present anti-porn stance.
What do the porn and fast food industries have in common aside from the fact that they are both an ordinary and daily part of the majority of American’s lives? Exploitation, propagating false information, and devaluing life are the main ingredients of both. While one exploits women, the other, animals. They make a tremendous profit by turning women into “sex objects” and animals into “meat; both being consumable and discard-able.
Fast food corporations turn our survival cravings for food into their marketable gain. Fast food uses unnecessary fat and salt to provide a quick fix to hunger that makes us fill up faster but leaves us only temporarily satisfied and wanting more before long. The industry cleverly disguises the high caloric content and the animal cruelty that goes into their cheap cheeseburgers and milkshakes. In the last few years it has become a trend for a few fast food chains to claim that animals are treated well and they paint a pretty picture of cows and pigs grazing on acres of land. This fabrication of the truth leads people to believe that animals are comfortable and happy to be commodities in the industry. Chipotle touts their treatment of pigs as excellent; however, the motive is solely to ensure a pleasurable taste for the consumer once the animal has been killed.
“Pigs raised in this way are not given antibiotics, and their feed does not contain animal by-products. They are free to roam the pasture, to root in deeply bedded barns, and to socialize with other pigs. We believe pigs that are cared for in this way enjoy happier, healthier lives and produce the best pork we've ever tasted.”
–Chipotle’s official website
Misguiding terms such as cage-free, organic, and free-range are harmful because there is no strict enforcement. The hidden truth is that animals live in horrifying conditions of cruelty, torture, and death. We are too far removed from the realities of factory farming and we wrongly rely on the industries themselves to reassure us of their conduct.
“Farmed animals are routinely tortured as a part of standard agricultural practice. They're debeaked. They're castrated without anesthesia or pain medication on a regular basis. They are treated with disrespect and ignorance, regarded with indifference to their needs and desires, and controlled with intolerance if they resist being dominated. This is the unavoidable reality of an industry that exploits animals for profit.”
-Cayce Mell, co-founder of Oohmahnee Sanctuary
Ensuring the rights of individuals in the pornography industry is just as difficult and as low of a priority. There is not someone present at every video shoot to guarantee that each and every woman feels safe and comfortable with each and every act. Women in pornography are instructed to act as the director sees fit, not how they feel sexually enjoyable. Their forced and faked moans of pleasure are meant for male pleasure, not their own.
The pornography industry thrives on our society’s lack of equality for women. In a society where it is a standard that women earn less than men and where rape victims are treated with disrespect and shame, it is not a surprise that the pornography industry can profit from women’s bodies being used for sex. Women’s bodies are used as a commodity and like any object for sale, they are easily usable, abuse-able, and discard-able.
Consumers of fast food and pornography do not know, and do not want to know the ingredients of what they are purchasing. It is much more preferable to remain blissfully ignorant under the falsities that animals and women are happy and content with their role in these industries. Women enjoy having body-punishing sex with several men in a shoot and animals enjoy eating food all day in cages. The pornography and fast food industries are vocal in supporting and spreading this fallacy. It is outright dangerous and insupportable that these billion-dollar corporations are giving the public the impression that women are empowered in pornography and animals are living an ideal life in cage-free environments. The truth is that many women are sexually exploited for money and paid to look like they enjoy it and animals are trapped in small areas that are deemed “cage-free” by regulations that are far from satisfactory. The notion that women and animals are happy living in exploitive circumstances is steeped in an age old belief that they are too stupid and valueless to live any differently. These industries reinforce the notion that women are born for the sexual pleasure of men and animals are born for the eating pleasure of people.
I call upon you, dear reader, that when you scoff at an adult video store billboard on the highway that you also recognize the exploitation and oppression behind a towering McDonalds sign. We have the power to tear down and put an end to the illusions that the pornography and fast food industries try to sell us. Exploitation is exploitation is exploitation. Please join me in thinking critically about what these industries are doing behind the scenes and how that impacts our society and lives.