With 420 million pornographic Internet pages – according to “Smart Freedom” by CareNet – littering “virtually every aspect of modern human life,” why do a handful of signs in Parkland “beckoning customers to a strip club using photos of scantily clad women” bother the Pierce County Council, member Jim McCune in particular?
For good reasons.
For one, referencing the City of Lakewood as an example, regulating a “moral nuisance” is a representative function.
It’s their job.
Years ago – November, 2004 to be exact – Lakewood’s City Council passed Ordinance 358 concerning sexually oriented businesses, SOB’s as the city called them. Twenty-two pages, the document included references to statistics nation-wide from a variety of stakeholders: businesses, educational institutions, community leaders, and even representatives from the adult entertainment industry concerning the harmful secondary effects of SOB’s upon communities. Citing case law, and with an interest “to protect, foster and support the goals and ideals of schools, religious and public service organizations serving the Lakewood community,” Lakewood leaders concluded that “an improperly operated SOB can constitute a public or moral nuisance.”
Not only is it their job, but the jury is no longer out concerning the links that exist between strippers’ lack of clothing and being systematically stripped of their identity.
Aurora Snow, reflecting on her 13 years in her profession in an article in part entitled “My Hard Life in Porn,” wrote “I’ve smiled through scenes but afterward often went home sick, curled up in a ball and physically nauseated. There is always a price to pay; the kind of damage we’ve inflicted on our bodies won’t catch up with us for years.
“Adult actresses are prone to internal tears.”
For performing pole-and-lap-dancers, bikini baristas, wet t-shirt contestants, and business owners promoting and profiting from their sexualization and sensationalization – along with their clientele – who haven’t yet discerned, or refuse to admit, not only that their message is an appeal to the prurient interest (synonyms: titillating, lustful curiosity) of the onlookers but more importantly to pretend that the female body does not also hide “a heart, a mind, and a soul,” is to do significant damage.
“Sexualization is not the same as sexuality,” write Lois M. Collins and Sara Lenz in a two-part series that won the Council on Contemporary Families’ 2012 Award for Print Coverage of Family Issues. “Sexualization occurs when someone’s sense of their own value is based solely on sex appeal or that individual is held to narrow standards of attractiveness, says the American Psychological Association (APA) Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls, which issued reports in 2007 and 2010.”
Sexualization is the emphasis upon sales not substance, cash not character, appearance not accomplishment in a media and marketing flood that is drowning society.
From pictures of nearly naked women flashing every eight seconds on a larger-than-life billboard; to coffee served by the same; to Victoria’s Secret marketing to an ever-younger clientele; to the University of Tennessee’s Sex Week featuring “‘Getting Laid;’ ‘How Many Licks Does it Take…’ – a workshop about oral sex; a poetry-reading lesbian bondage expert and a campus-wide scavenger hunt for a golden condom” – sexualization both sells and sells out; titillates and denigrates; condones at the same time as it cheapens all involved.
And especially those objectified – whose worth, and value, and character, and future are all at stake.
“But it’s not just our daughters that are being affected by these images,” the APA wrote. “Boys and adult men are also learning to value women only for their sex appeal, leading to increased incidents of sexual harassment, sexual violence, and increased demand for child pornography.”
Good idea is McCune’s proposal “requiring adult dancers to watch a video on human sex trafficking,” none better than “Nefarious” which “Movie Guide” called “one of the most powerful, compelling and transformational documentaries ever made.”
The subject matter is disturbing, a nightmare tell-all of heinous goings-on in the underworld. There is no shrinking back from the exposed darkness. It hits hard.
Tearfully, heart-wrenchingly hard.
Should McCune’s measure pass or the readers here take the opportunity to see “Nefarious”, one thing is for sure:
As the credits at the end scroll by in the darkness, in the words of William Wilberforce, “You may choose to look the other way, but you can never again say ‘I did not know.’”