Pretty Women — And Their Pain

One of the blogs i follow, PureHope, ran a brave post by Aszia Walker in which she talks about what she calls “psychological coercion” to be promiscuous.

It’s a brave post because she tells some rather personal things. And her experience highlights what effect a pornified culture has on women — especially young women.

Among her many salient points is this:

Promiscuity can be the means by which a woman obtains self-worth, consideration, affection, control, reputation, or advantage.  There is a definite pressure to conform to the pattern of the world and sometimes that means meeting a cultural demand, even if it is wrong, in efforts to feel valued or validated.

The greater the degree of pornification, the greater the cultural demand placed on women to be promiscuous or to always be sexy.  “Sexy” and “hot” are used exceedingly to describe all sorts of things now, a cultural phenomenon that really only got started in the last 20 years.


The cultural demand has been established.

And Aszia found her place in that cultural landscape. She writes:

In some cases I wanted to feel empowered.  I wanted to do to men what (I assumed) they were planning on doing to me, and I wanted to do it first!  I would go there physically, simply to be the one to drop ‘em and leave ‘em. Sometimes I just wanted attention. I would dress in a subtly provocative way, tilt my head, twirl my hair and seduce a guy for the sole purpose of manipulating him into affirming me.

This is one of the major lies that grabs women and gets them into promiscuity.  For some women, the step into porn is a small one after they have been dealing heavily in promiscuity.

The thought that Aszia had that she was “empowered” is so common now when women talk about dressing provocatively or even getting involved in porn.  This was something Camile Paglia asserted in the 90s as a defense for women getting into stripping (i remember reading that in Penthouse back when i was in my addiction).  And it surfaced again this past week when some referred to Beyonce’s Super Bowl halftime performance.

Somehow, a stripper performance (minus the brass pole) by Beyonce is a demonstration of her “empowerment.”

The common denominator is affirmation. Aszia  writes that she was looking for affirmation when she dressed promiscuously. The man who uses porn — especially the addict — is looking for affirmation.

2 Responses to “Pretty Women — And Their Pain”

  1. MLM

    When women are primed/bombarded with cultural messages that their worth relies on their ability to please a man, it’s unsurprising that they can be conned into believing that using their sexuality to gain attention is “empowering”, especially when they’re young. (And neoliberal feminism only stupidly reiterates this).

    What would be truly empowering would be to strongly arm girls, from childhood, with messages which encourage them to embrace their own humanity and require men to respect it. And to arm men with the same messages. Men who were genuinely socialised/primed to desire women as fellow/equal human beings would have zero interest in porn. The toxic culture that shapes desire needs to change, for everybody’s sake.

    • james tarring cordrey

      good thoughts, MLM. it doesn’t help — regardless of your political position — when the First Lady tweets approvingly of Beyonce’s performance. it only reinforces the very things you highlight as problems with what our culture tells young men and women.


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