Pilots, Porn at Work and the Assumption of Misogyny

sexy-female-pilotA news report came out today that Air Canada pilots have had the habit of keeping porn in the cockpit (not that kind of cockpit!)   Now the issue itself seems to have lit a fire and gotten a lot of people upset. The allegations were made after an internal Air Canada document was leaked to the CBC.  The porn was apparently found on flights from Los Vegas and a female pilot had to deal with seeing it.

I find this interesting because having porn at work and in the workplace is seen as both misogyny and as grounds for dismissal.  And I am wondering why as both of these seem somewhat illogical.   I will explain.

First, misogynists are, by definition, people who hate women. That’s what the word means. So calling someone a misogynist for having pictures of beautiful women — for the purposes of appreciating their beauty seems more than a little nuts.  Sure, some people who own porn may hold some rather extreme views on women and actively hate and despise them.   Then again, some people who own porn actively hate and despise black people and are out and out racists.  But the correlation is weak. Why? Porn is fucking common. Everyone from 14-year-olds to 80-year-olds have viewed and enjoy porn (older and younger too.)

Personally, I love women. And I love porn. I voted for women for city council this week.  I gave a presentation about women in the workplace making the best leaders — and stated that 4 of the best 5 leaders I have encountered in my life experience were women.  (Women tend to be more socially skilled and able to connect with different members of the team more easily — and when they are coupled with the rare leadership qualities can make outstanding leaders. Unfortunately, they are often overlooked for these roles because of social traditions — but certainly not ability.)   That said, I don’t see how thinking women are attractive and having porn as an artform conflicts with any of this.

I have heard it argued that women are ‘not sex objects’ and porn objectifies them. Yeah, well humans are highly sexual and sex is one of our primary motivators.   Saying you don’t like that aspect is in denial of reality. Men and women are sexual beings. Deal with it. But saying that viewing women as sexual beings is wrong –and worse, that you hate women as a result of it…is insanity.  Now saying that women are ONLY useful as sexual beings is also in complete denial of reality.  It’s sort of like saying that a man who isn’t good at sports is useless.  But if I say that a guy is a really outstanding basketball player does that mean I hate him or think that he has no other useful quality? Not, it’s simply describing what is.  The rest is the meaning that is being added on by external parties.

Enjoying porn and specifically, women’s bodies in porn simply mean that you enjoy the way women’s bodies look. Everything else is meaning that is being overlaid on that fact — often with its own political agenda.

Now to address the 2nd point, that one can be fired for having porn at work.  Why? Because it’s
distracting? Well, you know what is fucking distracting? Smartphones. I would say a smartphone is about 10 000 times more potent as a distraction than a porn magazine. Yet I can easily have a smartphone at work.

Some women may feel uncomfortable being around porn in the workplace — but this is a societal value that I feel is

sexy-male-pilot

This guy has mad skills — and is even sexier

on the cusp of changing. See, we have to ask, ‘what about porn in the workplace makes you feel uncomfortable.’  Is it that any form of porn make you assume the people are misogynists? Well, see above. The fact is, it is photographs of human bodies. If you don’t like them, don’t look at them.  I can see a case for someone putting up pictures of someone that you find offensively ugly…but I don’t think that’s what is going on here.  No, I think that any form of sexuality in the workplace makes people uncomfortable because of our prudish, Puritan society that views sex between unmarried couples anywhere but a bedroom as inherently wrong. Our laws and society are based on outdated religious ideals of many generations ago. Yet now flirting with someone at work is a dangerous activity as it could easily get you fired…because no one has ever slept with a coworker.

I don’t see just cause for banning images of human bodies at work on threat of firing as logical. There are many human bodies at work — but an unclothed one –in image form–  is somehow the worst thing you can do?  Fire people for unsafe practices. Ignoring safety rules…putting other people at risk. If you steal from the company, sleep on the job, falsify your qualifications, are violent or insult clients…these are reasons for dismissal. But somehow it is just accepted that an image of a tree or horse is completely acceptable and encouraged but a boob will get you fired?? Why oh why?

Ok, I’ve said my piece, yet I will address the specifics of the case. Porn in a cockpit is seen as a distraction as you could crash…if somehow you were wildly masturbating to it — but are books and smartphones, newspapers and magazines also banned in cockpits? Why single out porn? As for the female coworkers seeing it…well you have seen naked bodies before, right?