Why I write about female characters:
I write about female characters because I struggle against looking at pornography.*
This struggle will continue until my death. With the internet — with the vast amount of pornography that is only a click away — such a struggle only gets harder.
Why wouldn’t you want to look at pornography? Doesn’t it make you feel good? you might be thinking. The reason why I don’t want to look at pornography is because I have discovered that pornography is empty: There is no picture of a woman so enticing that, a few seconds later, I won’t be searching for other pictures. No picture can ever satisfy. And I discovered that I didn’t want satisfaction: I wanted goodness, truth, and beauty — the antithesis of pornography.
A way I discovered to beat pornography is to keep track of the memorable female characters that I have found in movies, TV shows, and video games. For example: Why would I want to get aroused by a picture of a naked woman when I could instead appreciate Tsinoy for doing what she does to keep her loved ones safe?**
In short — I realized that there was more to women than their bodies. Women are fascinating.
The problem with pornography is not that it shows too much. The problem is that it shows too little. Pornography reduces a woman to her body parts. Pornography leaves out the aspects of a woman like personality, desires, fears — everything else that makes her her.
On a related note: What our culture seems to have forgotten is that a naked person can be portrayed in a way that is not pornographic. That is one of the reasons why I like the character of Cortana in Halo 4. Cortana is naked, but she implicitly says to us, “See me as a person, not as an object.”*** Cortana’s portrayal in Halo 4 is not pornographic because it is not meant to arouse our sexual desires: We are to look closer and see the goodness, truth, and beauty that Cortana’s body, and Cortana herself, reveals.
*In 2004, one day I looked at characters from Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and Knights of the Old Republic II in Jabba the Hutt’s slave outfight, and other skimpy clothes. That is the extent of my pornography viewing. I eventually got rid of both games. Since, though, I have been tempted too look again. I’m happy to say that I haven’t given into that temptation yet. Such a temptation is something I’ll struggle with for the rest of the my life, though. I am a guy, after all…. Not that that excuses anything. I know it doesn’t.
**Tsinoy is a character in the novel Hull Zero Three by Greg Bear.
***Cortana’s words to Master Chief in the opening cutscene for the level “Shutdown”: “…before this is all over, promise me you’ll figure out which one of us is the machine.”