Opinion

Jennifer Lawrence is wrong: Men don’t need porn, and women don’t need to give it to them

(Photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Today, Jennifer Lawrence’s exclusive cover story with Vanity Fair hits the stands. The popular Hunger Games’ star speaks openly about the internet scandal involving the stolen nude photos of her. She calls it a “sex crime,” and says that anyone who purposely looked at the photos of her is guilty.

Lawrence is right that, just because someone is a public figure, it doesn’t give the general public – or anyone in particular – a right to view stolen photos of them.

But Lawrence also got it deeply wrong. In explaining why the nude photos were taken of her in the first place, she said:

I was in a loving, healthy, great relationship for four years. It was long distance, and either your boyfriend is going to look at porn or he’s going to look at you.

Whoa, whoa, J.Law. Wait a minute, there. “Either your boyfriend is going to look at porn or he’s going to look at you”? And this is a “healthy” relationship?

This is an absolutely terrible standard to set for today’s women, and for today’s men as well. And it’s about as anti-woman as you can get.

Men do not need to look at porn, and contrary to popular opinion, not all men do. To read about the devastating consequences of porn, check this out, and this, too.

But really, how demeaning. Women hate to be classified and boxed in. Yet here Lawrence boxes in all men, proclaiming that they are definitely going to be looking at some naked woman.

Of course, if we were talking about a marriage relationship here, a husband and a wife have every right to look at each other naked. And they should. But we’re not talking about a marriage here; we’re talking about the supposed need for men to always have some naked woman to look at and the supposed duty for women to provide that to them.

(Photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

(Photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

By insinuating that women ought to “pay up” and provide naked photos of themselves to whatever man they’re in a relationship with at the moment, Lawrence objectifies women. She degrades them as little more than sex objects, designed to satisfy the appetites of men.

I can’t even express how wrong this is. No, young woman, it is not your duty to take and share naked photos of yourself with your boyfriend. If you believe he’s either going to look at you or find other naked women, find a different man.

You deserve better.

There are men out there who actually respect women and their bodies. They would never expect their woman to text naked photos of herself. Objectifying – and all too often humiliating – yourself in this way is not what a good, respectful man expects.

If you’re with a man like this, dump him. Wait for someone better. Wait for a real man.

Real men can wait for marriage. Real men want you to respect your body. Real men don’t demand everything you have before they’ve even committed to you.

Unfortunately, it’s these kind of objectifying attitudes that wage a real War on Women in our nation. When women feel like objects and things that men can own, it sadly follows that they view their own children as objects and things that they can freely discard.

It’s a tragic cycle. Women are viewed as property. They are soon cast to the side. Children are viewed as property. They are thrown in the trash.

Honestly, I like Jennifer Lawrence. I like that she eats food. I like that she’s clumsy. I like that she stumbles over her words. (And of course, I love Katniss Everdeen.) But it’s my hope that young women who look up to her can reject this terrible statement that she made.

Eat hamburgers like Jennifer Lawrence.

Laugh at yourself like Jennifer Lawrence.

But do not believe that you owe naked photos of yourself to a man like Jennifer Lawrence.

Be a respectable and respectful woman, and demand that any man you are with conducts himself in an equally respectful way. And whatever you do, don’t contribute to this horrible cycle of objectifying human beings.

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