By: Allie Joy Hudson
7 min. read
Who is Rashida Jones?
Rashida Jones is the child of two famous parents: Quincy Jones, a major record producer, and Peggy Lipton, an actress who was popular in the 1960s and 70s. Despite her background as a child of Hollywood, Rashida Jones has done a whole lot to make a name for herself. You’ve probably seen her as Karen Filippelli on The Office or as *insert finger guns here* Ann Perkins on Parks and Recreation. She is also a Harvard graduate, a writer, producer, director, musician, singer, comedian, and activist.
What you might not know about Rashida Jones, though, is that she has taken a stand to talk about pornography. Though Rashida Jones has some thoughts on porn that don’t align with what Proven stands for, she does have a lot of bold, insightful things to say that are well worth our time.
First, let’s take a moment to talk about a point of disagreement. About three years ago, after making a documentary on female porn performers, Jones was open about positive elements that she sees in porn. She even goes so far as to praise porn for being a tool people can use to discover their sexuality in the comfort of their own homes. (Stay tuned to see how this feels inconsistent with other points she makes.)
Though many people do use porn as a tool for self-discovery, I don’t think this actually proves to be healthy or helpful. We become dependent on it. It affects our bodies, minds, and hearts. Porn corrupts the way we view others and even causes us to begin to reduce ourselves to our own lusts and passions. How can we really know ourselves through something that glorifies treating people as less than human? And this begs the following question: Is what you’re discovering through porn actually good for you?
Female Empowerment and the Marriage Covenant
Jones also says she sees a lot of potential in porn for women to feel empowered and decide for themselves what they like rather than embracing misogynist pornographic fantasies.
In a way, I understand where she is coming from. It seems like she’s encouraging women to have a voice in their own desires instead of being forced to just accept the violence and abuse towards women that is present in much of pornography. I think it’s important for women, like men, to be able to enjoy sex and decide what they like.
But this should be done within the commitment and covenant of a marriage. As a woman who is married, I see the ways that sex with my husband makes me feel safe, dignified, known, emboldened, and loved.
Jones, on the other hand, calls reserving sex for marriage a “puritanical, religious restriction.” Firstly, this isn’t true. Just look at secular organizations like Fight the New Drug or the NoFap movement that promote healthy sexuality apart from any religious ties. And secondly, I see saving yourself for your spouse as something that God has put in place to truly care for us and protect us. We are sexual beings and, whether physically or virtually, experiencing sex outside of a committed, lifelong relationship will leave us with more scars than pleasure.
That’s enough disagreement for now. Moving on to a point of agreement with Rashida Jones, she recognizes in porn and our sexualized society the enormous presence of objectification. She says that our culture teaches women, “Your sex is the thing that makes you valuable. That is your currency.”
This is true. Porn teaches both men and women to internalize the narrative of using people as objects of pleasure. It’s dangerous for us to see others as things to be enjoyed and then thrown away or to search for our own value in our sex appeal.
Jones also says that a large part of social media and porn culture is the way that we brand ourselves. Often, people use sex appeal to seek attention. In addition to porn causing us to see others as less than human, porn also teaches us to reduce ourselves to our “sexiness.”
While we are sexual beings, we are so much more than the way we look, date, or perform. We are God’s workmanship, created with a dignity that is deep and true and meaningful.
In addition to affecting the way we objectify others and ourselves, porn has also infiltrated our culture at large. Jones feels pretty strongly about this subject. She says, “I became really interested in [how] stripper culture just flowed right into mainstream culture [and] I was like, ‘Wait we’re not even going to talk about this?’”
I understand the feeling. Look at what’s happened: In the last half a century, sex went from something that was taboo and hush-hush to something we can hardly go a day without being confronted by. We are inundated with sexual imagery, music, advertisements, entertainment – you name it – constantly. It’s, quite honestly, exhausting.
So, I echo Rashida Jones: Can we stop and talk about this? God created sex to be something so beautiful and unifying, and our world has taken sex and run with it. We as the Church need to be the ones talking about marriage and sex and how God created them to be.
What we are saying to our kids is especially important here. Children are being exposed to porn at an average age of 8-11. Let that sink in for a second. Think back to when you were eight years old. Many (if not most) children are having porn be their first experience with sex.
Jones says that children are “learning a lot about sex from a place that’s not really interested in teaching any lessons to children. It’s considered adult entertainment.” This should get a reaction out of us. I don’t say this to make you fear. But, the implications of children learning about sex through the lust, selfishness, and abusiveness of porn should light a fire under us to be preparing our children well.
Let’s be the ones who educate our children. The ones who remember the beauty of the Lord’s design for sex in marriage. The ones who stand for truth, purity, faithfulness, and dignity in our age of self-gratification.
What is Porn?
“Porn is not sex. Porn is a version of sex. It is not real sex. It’s not how you’re going to have sex. It’s not how you’re going to like sex,” Jones says. This is true. Porn isn’t real. It’s staged in order to fulfill the gamut of people’s fantasies. It clouds our minds and our souls. This doesn’t seem like a healthy way for us to discover ourselves. We see through a lens of lust instead of remembering that we’re all human and treating others as such. Porn isolates us from others and numbs us to what is really true and beautiful.
I appreciate Rashida Jones’ boldness on the subject of porn. She’s willing to have difficult conversations and to use her platform as a means to facilitate them. Though I don’t agree with all of her views on pornography, I will gladly come alongside of her and call out the ways that porn teaches us all kinds of wrong messages about sex.
Longing to be Known
I came across this quote by Jones, and I have been captivated by it: “Regardless if it’s sex or not, there’s something about connecting online that’s inherently a bit lonely and isolating. And there’s a world in which you can stay in your house, and you can order Amazon, and you can order your food online, and you can watch your programs in your house, and get your sex online, and you don’t really have to leave. And then the question becomes: Are you living a fulfilled life? I don’t know the answer, but I want to continue to explore those topics because it will be the thing that defines this era, probably.”
I see in this a deep question, a soul-level desire for meaning. About living a fulfilled life – I say that Jesus is the only Way to do that. He is our fulfillment. He is our peace. Through Him, we are fully known and forgiven and loved. He is good. God created sex as a beautiful thing, but it is at its core a picture of the depth with which Jesus loves us. To find that soul-level way to be known, call out to Him now. He is there waiting.
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Allie Joy Hudson is first and foremost a daughter of the King. She has worked with Proven Men for two years and serves as the Content Manager. Allie graduated from Liberty University with a B.A. in English and minors in Spanish and Psychology. She completed her Senior Honors Thesis on the presentation of postmodern sexuality in short fiction. She enjoys reading, writing, playing the viola, running, singing, and photography. Allie is passionate about her ever-growing C.S. Lewis collection, cultivating relationships, and proclaiming truth in the twisted arena of postmodern sexuality. Allie lives in Pennsylvania and is overjoyed to be married to the love of her life.