This blog entry has a long quote from Getting Off: Pornography and the End of Masculinity, by Robert Jensen. I think it’s worth reading. A passage:
I look at my friends and tell them: “You realize what I just described is relatively tame. There are things far more brutal and humiliating than that, you know.”
We sit quietly, until one of them says, “That wasn’t fair.”
I know that it wasn’t fair. What I had told them was true, and they had asked me to tell them. But it wasn’t fair to push it. If I were them, if I were a woman, I wouldn’t want to know that. Life is difficult enough without knowing things like that, without having to face that one lives in a society in which no matter who you are – as an individual, as a person with hopes and dreams, with strengths and weaknesses – you are something to be fucked and laughed at and left on the side of the road by men. Because you are a woman.
“I’m sorry,” I said. “But you asked.”
In a society in which so many men are watching so much pornography, this is why we can’t bear to see it for what it is: Pornography forces women to face up to how men see them. And pornography forces men to face up to what we have become. The result is that no one wants to talk about what is in the mirror. Although few admit it, lots of people are afraid of pornography. The liberal/libertarian supporters who celebrate pornography are afraid to look honestly at what it says about our culture. The conservative opponents are afraid that pornography undermines their attempts to keep sex boxed into narrow categories.