Let me pose a question to you.
If you had $1000 and were offered a guaranteed return on investment of 500% would you take it?
Would you take it if the return on investment involved putting the money into shares of a tobacco company?
Would you take it if the return on investment involved placing money in a trust that enabled murder? A weapons manufacturer, a company that donates to ISIS or makes political donations to some despotic regime.
We all face moral dilemmas every day and I would like to think that most of us do the right thing. In the back ground we probably are all guilty without knowing it. In the western world we all contribute our wages in one way or another to pension funds. In doing this we are putting money into a pool that is saving for our retirement. That pool of money is invested, warehoused or stored in all manner of schemes to ensure that it grows into the large nest egg that will sustain you in your later life.
Who makes the decisions on where this goes? Not you. There are investment bankers, government agencies and brokers all pointing that money in all manner of directions.
We don’t know what we are funding.
Should we care?
I say this because I once worked for a company that was PORN friendly. With a capital P. Every Friday night my boss would send out some pretty disgusting stuff to all the male employees in the office. One year instead of inviting all of the staff members out for Christmas drinks, he took only the male sales team to a strip club. The women in the sales team were not invited. Accounts and supplies teams were not invited. This is a man that had three kids. One of them a girl. I wonder what her life is like?
I also wonder what men that love porn as much as my boss did know about the industry. Usually run by organised crime. The women and some of the men lead pretty terrible lives. It is not anything you really want to invest in. Yet by watching it you are. The free sites are not free. The advertising pays for this industry to thrive.
Yet. I played the game when I worked there.
For the usual excuses.
I needed the job. I needed the money.
I worked there for three years. I was an integral and successful part of the sales team. Working myself up from the bottom to the top very quickly. I had never watched porn before this job. Obviously we all get exposed to it via the internet, but until working for this company I had never really watched hard core pornography.
In my first week, I had worked incredibly hard. I was making forty to eighty cold calls a day. That is a lot of being told to fuck off. The boss was a very hard man, but had taken a shine to me, sheepishly asking at the end of my second day if I wanted to stay. I did. I needed the job. I had been earning next to nothing and desperately needed to grab hold of something and start a career for myself. So it was to be sales.
That Friday afternoon my boss walked around the office pushing a drinks trolley. Everyone had either wine, beer or soft drink. I was sipping my beer when an email arrived titled “CONFIDENTIAL – NOT FOR DISCUSSION”. The attachment was titled “Marissa”. Marissa was part of the sales team. She had been incredibly helpful to me in my first week. Encouraging, with many tips on getting customers and achieving my numbers. Physically Marissa would be described as buxom, large breasts and hips, always stylishly dressed and a very successful senior member of the sales team. She was well liked, most of the people in the office called her “Riss” for short.
I clicked on the video attachment and was confronted with two penises ejaculating into the face of a large breasted woman.
Call me naïve, but this was the first time I had ever seen another mans sperm. It made me dry reach. I shut it down and looked nervously around the office. My first thought was, am I being set up to be fired?
My boss appeared at my desk.
“Pretty good shot eh?” He asked.
“Um, yea, I guess” I replied. He smiled and walked off.
I stuck my head outside my cubical and my eyes met Marissa’s. I could feel my cheeks flush, I felt incredibly embarrassed and guilty. Needless to say Marissa did not receive the email.
“Need a refill?” she asked, holding up an empty wine glass.
“Um, yea, I guess” I replied.
One of the other members of the sales team stuck his head outside his cubical. “Can I get a refill too, Riss?” he asked, adding, “I think you need to wash your face”. I could hear childish giggling erupt from a few cubicles.
I was shocked. I was disgusted. Yet I stayed there for another three years. I became immersed in the culture. I became part of the problem.
Finally I got out. Leaving that office for the last time I felt like I walking on air. Every breath seemed bigger than it was. It is one thing to be a unwitting participant in the industry. I actively took part. I did it for the money. More money than I had ever dreamed of. It took three years for me to have the confidence to leave and work somewhere else. By that time I had watched countless videos. I had contributed to the industry and I understood it was wrong.
The world has slowly become desensitised to porn. We have all to some extent immersed ourselves into the culture that wrecks people’s lives. That condones drugs, rape and murder. It is the commoditisation of the female body and the male body. It promotes a misogynist ethos that allows young men and women to believe it is OK to abuse. To even believe that sex has to hurt.
For my participation I apologise. Especially to Marissa, who suffered innuendo and abuse long after I left.
I cannot undo what is done but I certainly can and do avoid porn at all costs.
*Not Marissa’s real name.