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Film screening encourages dialogue

Nora Kenney | Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Students and faculty shared their reactions to “The Price of Pleasure,” a film that negatively portrays pornography by emphasizing how it affects those involved, following its screening Tuesday evening.

The showing was part of a presentation called “The Price of Pleasure: Dissecting the Pornography Debate,” which was co-sponsored by the Gender Relations Center (GRC), Gender Studies Program, Feminist Voice, Identity Project of Notre Dame, Men Against Violence and Theology Department.

Patrick Tighe, a senior who works in the GRC, told the large crowd that filled most of the Carey Auditorium in the Hesburgh Library that the GRC intended to use the film “as a launching pad for dialogue.”

He acknowledged the explicit material in the film, and said staff would be available following the presentation to offer counseling for those disturbed by the film and its images.
Heather Rakoczy Russell, director of the GRC, said the goal of the presentation “was to encourage a thoughtful dialogue about what is pornography, how it effects us in mainstream culture, and how it effects our values coming from our Catholic identity.”

To foster this dialogue, the showing of the film was followed by discussions led by John Cavadini, chair of the Theology department, and Pamela Wojcik, director of the Gender Studies Program.

Both Wojcik and Cavadini said they were displeased with the film, “The Price of Pleasure.” 
Cavadini said the film showed images of pornography that served to “fuel the film” rather than provide a comprehensive examination of the issue of pornography, and Wojcik nodded in agreement.

Wojcik talked about examining the values depicted throughout current films of all genres, which she said the film failed to do, rather then simply looking at pornography as an isolated genre. 

“I’m not saying I’m not concerned about pornography. I’m just saying that I’m equally concerned about the average ‘bromance’ movie,” Wojcik said. “I’m not saying that I would censor a ‘bromance’ movie, but with those movies, we just laugh it off.”
Cavadini specifically addressed the men in the audience.

“Your soul becomes as coarse as the pornography creator’s cynicism. That is the price of pleasure from pornography,” he said.

He said the film failed to provide a portrayal of men who had given up addictions to pornography and were seeking counseling and healing.

Russell said many times students “don’t have an outlet to express their feelings or concerns about these challenging issues.”

She said Notre Dame’s Men of Strength program provides such an outlet on Notre Dame’s campus.

Tom Robertson, a facilitator of the Men of Strength program said the program’s goal is to “explore a holistic view of human sexuality and hold that in conversation with faith from an explicitly Catholic point of view.”

Russell said the film will have been a success if it sparked a conversation about the possibility of a kind of sexuality that has a hopeful message.

“How could our Catholic identity give us hope? Is there another model of sexuality that has a hopeful message? If we did anything to depict that message and start a conversation about those things, then yes, we achieved our goal for tonight,” Russell said.