. Its My Fight and Yours
I have always tried to protect my home from pornography. I cut inappropriate pictures from the newspaper so my family could read it with safety and expurgated our sons’ high school art books so they could avoid as much nudity as possible. I taught my children to turn away from the TV when improper commercials came on and to “look for pennies” on the ground at school when skirts were too high or cleavage too low. Now my protecting also includes keeping our home internet connection a safe portal to the world.
The first time I fought public pornography was when a beauty shop next to my local bank put up oversized signs that caused me embarrassment. I was a young mother and wasn’t brave in those days. I telephoned from home after my errands were done, knowing there was no caller I.D., and I would be completely anonymous in my request that the signs be removed. To my surprise, they were gone when I happened that way again and I felt somewhat gratified.
Recently I have felt I must do more. So when a family grocery store in my area displayed a six-foot cardboard model which made my husband blush, I asked to see the store manager. I inquired if she knew what was at the front of her store. She did not and when she returned, she was blushing. Apparently a vendor had put up the display without permission and for hours customers had been getting the wrong impression about the moral values of those who ran the establishment. The sign was removed and wasn’t replaced. Sometime later, I found bottles of root beer with nudity on the cardboard label in that same store. That visit with the manager produced the same results: the product was removed from the shelves.
So over time, and with some renewed conviction, I have learned I can make a difference. It is mostly in my home, my neighborhood, and my community that I have tried to keep things clean and safe. But then, if every conscientious adult took the initiative to clean their home, neighborhood, and the areas where they run errands of visual filth, I don’t believe there would be any more dirt of that kind to clean up.
Some time ago I visited a recently opened “super store” near my home. On the main aisle was a display of calendars, complete with a “swimsuit edition.” I picked up the calendar which offended me, covered it with two more “friendly” calendars, and walked to the front of the store. (You never know what someone might think seeing you with a bikini calendar heading towards the registers.) I visited with the assistant manager because the manager wasn’t there. I spoke of a family-friendly store, how much I wanted to be safe when I shopped, and how much it would mean to me if this particular calendar wasn’t stocked. She concurred kindly and later told me that this item had been pulled and wouldn’t appear again. It was hard to speak out against pornography, and yet it was simple. Twenty minutes of my time and a whole lot of my courage bought an aisle at the store which will be safer for all future shoppers.
In speaking out against pornography in my community I haven’t always been treated kindly. I have been laughed at and sometimes even wondered if it will really make a difference in the long run. In one clothing store I couldn’t easily shop because of the distracting, over-sized, and inappropriate banners. The manager was rude and declared she wasn’t in charge of the advertising in her store and that nothing I did could make a difference. It felt like defeat, and maybe for a moment it was, but even if I stood alone, I had stood for the right.
This I know: I have tried; I have stood up; I have declared my values and held up a standard. I continue to believe that any kind of pornography does not belong in our lives. We must nurture the good, the clean, and the moral. We must clear our lives of evil and stand up against it when others seem to embrace this vice. We must do this one day, one experience, and one brave moment at a time. Together we can keep the world safe for our families, our neighbors, and anyone else who wants to grow up in a world of moral purity by speaking out against pornography.
Photography by David N. Ricks. Used with permission.