There is a billboard campaign going on nationwide, trying to make porn addicts and johns think about who they are using. It uses the line “She’s somebody’s daughter”, with a picture of a woman. In Nashville, the billboard is appropriately over the Hustler store.
I really liked this campaign to start with. I especially like the idea that it is over a store that sells pornography and “adult” clothing. I liked the idea that it tries to get porn addicts to understand that this woman is part of the community, that she is connected. It tries to generate compassion by subtly reminding them – she could be your daughter, your sister. How would you like it if someone treated your daughter or sister the way you are treating other women?
This kind of thinking has been used to try to deter rapists too. Pornography and rape aren’t far removed. Both need a warped kind of thinking, where the perpetrator objectifies women until they stop being people.
Now I realize something deeper. It is saying that a woman has value only in her relation to someone else. She is someone’s daughter, or sister, or wife. While that is a good start, it isn’t enough. Let’s strip it away to the core.
She is someone.
All to herself, all on her own, she is someone.
She has value on her own as a person. Her relationship to other people, especially other men, does not create her value. She is a human being, not an object, not a thing.