These Christians Say Porn Deceives Girls, But Their Criticism Misses the Mark

Sisters Bethany Baird and Kristen Clark have a Youtube channel called Girl Defined in which they discuss various social issues through an evangelical Christian lens. (We previously wrote about their video on biblical womanhood.)

Their latest video focuses on pornography, which you can safely assume they stand against. That alone isn’t an issue, and their concerns aren’t entirely off-base, but there’s room for criticism throughout the video.

The sisters’ three main points about how pornography damages girls are as follows:

1) You are only as valuable as your body

Generally speaking, I am inclined to agree with Baird and Clark on this one. There are lots of unrealistic body types in porn — not to mention unrealistic scenarios and positions. On the flip side, there’s also content for just about every conceivable body type. The porn industry is as diverse as the people who view it. So saying that girls are taught by porn to fit a certain body type requires you to take a very narrow view of what’s actually out there. (The women of Girl Defined clearly haven’t seen the definition of Rule 34.)

2) Nudity is common and cheap

Again, I sort of agree here, in that it can be. Any film or music video seeking higher ratings can employ suggestive clothing, or no clothing, and achieve that attention. It’s hardly original, but it works.

And yet, not all nudity is sexual. Would Baird and Clark consider classic art depicting the naked body to be pornographic? What about nudist colonies, where you’ll find all kinds of body types of all ages? Porn is created with the intention to titillate, and linking porn and nudity together, as if they are one and the same, is flat-out misleading.

3) It’s empowering to be objectified

There is, without question, objectification in the porn industry. At the same time, there are also plenty of women who choose to be there, and they will tell you they call the shots and determine what they will and won’t do on camera. You don’t have to agree with someone else’s idea of “empowerment” in order to support their right to do what they please with their own body. (The concepts of choice and consent never make it into this video.)

Bethany recalls a painful experience during a modeling interview in which she was told that she would never make it as a model if she refused to “strip down” for the camera. That sort of exploitation should be condemned across the board. No one should coerce women into making choices they aren’t comfortable with.

The problem with Baird and Clark’s ideology is that it’s informed by a culture of purity, in which one woman’s definition of modesty may be another woman’s definition of “slutty.” Hell, it’s clear that the sisters are wearing makeup in their videos, which is considered immodest in some Christian circles. Should they stop wearing it or do they feel comfortable with their decision? What about wearing pants instead of skirts? What about shorts and tank tops? Two-piece bathing suits?

The Bible is silent on all of these, but Baird and Clark seem like they have opinions on all of them. Maybe they should admit the concept of sexual expression isn’t as clearly “defined” as they think it is.

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