Op-Ed: Why, Rashida Jones?


Op-Ed: Why, Rashida Jones?

By Peter Warren

CHATSWORTH, Calif.—In a new interview by The New York Times Magazine titled “Why Rashida Jones Changed Her Mind About Porn,” the queried actress/producer, whose Hot Girls Wanted documentary and subsequent mini-series have been largely vilified by the industry it portrays, continues to demonstrate exactly why her thoughts on porn are about as valid as Donald J. Trump’s on transgenderism.

Just from the very get-go, the question hangs in the air like a giant neon replica of that “blank stare” emoji with the two eyes and no mouth as to how precisely her mind has changed in regard to porn. The article quotes a Glamour essay she wrote in 2013 in which she denounced the so-called “pornification” of society in general, and seems to imply that by producing Hot Girls Wanted she did a 180 and embraced said pornification. This of course blatantly disregards the decidedly damning tone the documentary and considerable portions of the series took toward the industry, but never mind that.

Jones indicates in the article that she’s been a porn consumer for some time—presumably since before she decided to cash in … sorry, investigate it, but she whines about how she’s always had to “sift through so much stuff that isn’t for me.” To quote Mr. Kurtz, “The horror! The horror!” Sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings, Ms. Jones, but in the lives of most ordinary folk not born into riches like yourself, things that are specifically to your liking don’t automatically present themselves to you instantaneously. Some sifting is usually required. The good news is, in this newfangled Big Brother-esque digital world of ours, once you have done said sifting, the types of things you like do start to present themselves! It’s almost like magic!

Of course, your main bone of contention seems to be that “the first thing you see when you go to a tube site is often pretty violent stuff.” OK, OK, OK … just to put this claim to the test, I pulled up one of the biggest tube sites in existence, xHamster.com. By my estimation, the most violent thing that appeared anywhere on the page was a video called “Premium Bukkake – Victoria swallows 81 big mouthful cumloads.” Then there was something called “Amazing anal show” that appeared to be a cam girl inserting very large objects into her rectum. Neither is particularly my cup of tea, but virtually everything else looked to be completely standard fare. And guess what? Because I am an indepently thinking person with control over my choices and actions, even if nothing there appealed to me, I could do a little sifting and find something that did!

But let’s back up a second—why, as someone who seemingly in this interview champions the “more direct relationship between the filmmaker and the consumer in porn” and lists directors so wholly dependent on consumer support as Erika Lust, Angie Rowntree and Shine Louise Houston among your favorites, is the sole method of porn consumption you mention (or maybe even are aware of) tube sites? Do you not understand that by perpetuating the notion that tube sites are where you go to look at porn, you’re undermining the ability of these pornmakers to make the porn you purport to favor? 

All right, let’s say for the sake of argument that you’re operating under the accurate assumption that tube sites are the vastly predominant provider of most people’s porn these days. Are you suggesting that the “pretty violent stuff” they’re littered with (which they’re not) somehow impedes visitors’ ability to find stuff there you would deem more acceptable? Or maybe my idea of what’s “pretty violent” is different from yours, and whatever you see on any given tube site meets your definition … again, why not use the pulpit you’ve been given to guide people toward supporting the kind of stuff you like rather than reinforcing the tired fallacy that anyone who chooses to seek out porn (or even those who don’t) cannot and will not avoid being bombarded with a deluge of horrid brutality and savagery?

And then there’s this word soup you vomited when asked whether you could be a feminist and enjoy porn simultaneously: “Maybe it’s a generational thing, but because my identity as a feminist didn’t come about through my sexuality, I don’t have that reference point where the freedom I have with my body and my sexuality is part of my expression of feminism.” Let me just refer you back to that neon blank stare emoji.

Listen, Rashida … I actually kind of liked you in that movie I Love You, Man, and that Funny or Die video you made with Natalie Portman, but please … pleeeeease for the love of God, stop talking about porn. The more you do, the less good you’re doing anybody. Most of all yourself.