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Feminism and Porn: Mutually Exclusive?

In my humble opinion, nothing brings folks with seemingly varying backgrounds all together quite like the topic of sex.  Aside from breathing and eating, and setting aside any wise crack on potty humor, what’s more universal than human sexuality?

jayden

is this sort of submission *subversively* empowering? or is it just degrading?

The feminist view on sex adds another interesting element to the already juicy conversation.  So when I got together with a few feminist pals for a couple of drinks and some X-rated conversation topics, sex was obviously on the discussion list.  More specifically, what’s the feminist take on porn?

The answers were as varied as the range of options in the Kama Sutra.  One thing we did agree on, though, is that we’ve all watched porn.  However, we all had different ideas as to “where the line is drawn.”  For some, good ole’ mainstream hetero porn is enough to get the job done.  Others got into more debatable types.  Rough sex, light bondage, heavy bondage–where can one really draw the line?  Where does consensual, albeit deviant, intercourse end, and a serious threat to one of the parties (generally the woman, in hetero porn, but there are exceptions) begins?

Thus the topic of conversation for this week is introduced.  It’s a tricky topic, to be sure, and I’m not sure how I feel about it quite yet.  To start, I want to share this link with you, and welcome any comments on where you think the line is drawn?  Is all porn validated as sexual expression?  Is it all degrading and a violation of consent?  If only some is acceptable, where can we draw a definitive line–or is that even possible?  Let me know what your thoughts are on the matter, and stay tuned for my post Friday, where I’ll give a more in-depth analysis of your opinions, and maybe come to a more conclusive stance on it myself.

6 Responses to “Feminism and Porn: Mutually Exclusive?”

  1. The Arbourist

    @Ladychaotica21

    LC21: Is all porn validated as sexual expression?

    Dworkin has the long answer for you.

    Contemporary pornography strictly and literally conforms to the word’s root meaning: the graphic depiction of vile whores, or, in other language, sluts, cows (as in sexual cattle, sexual chattel), cunts.

    The word has not changed its meaning and the genre is not misnamed. The only change in the meaning of the word is with respect to its second part, graphos: now there are cameras – there is still photography, film and video. The method of graphic depiction have increased in number and in kind: the content is the same; the meaning is the same; the purpose is the same; the status of the women depicted is the same; the sexuality of the women depicted is the same; the value of the women is the same.

    […]

    The word pornography does not have any other meaning that the one cited here, the graphic depiction of the lowest whores. Whores exist to serve men sexually. Whores only exist within a framework of male sexual domination. Indeed, outside that framework, the notion of whores would be absurd and the usage of women as whores would be impossible.

    The word whore is incomprehensible unless one is immersed in the lexicon of male domination. Men have created the group, the type, the concept, the epithet, the insult, the industry, the trade, the commodity, the reality of woman as whore.

    Woman as whore exists within the objective and real system of male sexual domination. The pornography itself is objective and real and central to the male sexual system. The valuation of women’s sexuality in pornography is objective and real because women are so regarded and valued. The force depicted in pornography is objective and real because force is so used against women.

    The debasing of women depicted in pornography and intrinsic to it is objective and real in that women are also debased. The uses of women depicted in pornography are objective and real because women are so used.

    […]

    The definition of women articulated systematically and consistently in pornography is objective and real in that real women exist within and must live with constant reference to the boundaries of this definition.

    The fact that pornography is widely believed to be “sexual representations” or “depictions of sex” emphasizes only that the valuation of women as low whores is widespread and that the sexuality of women is perceived as low and whorish in and of itself. The fact that pornography is widely believed to be “depictions of the erotic” means only that debasing of women is held to be the real pleasure of sex. As Kate Millett wrote, women’s sexuality is reduced to the one essential: “cunt… our essence, our offense”.

    The idea that pornography is “dirty” originates in the conviction that the sexuality of women is dirty and is actually portrayed in pornography; that women’s bodies (especially women’s genitals) are dirty and lewd in themselves. Pornography does not, as some claim, refute the idea that female sexuality is dirty: instead, pornography embodies and exploits this idea; pornography sells and promotes it.

    -Andrea Dworkin:Pornography – Men Possessing Women. pp. 200-201.

    Shorter less convoluted answer: Porn is never a valid expression of female sexuality.

    Reply
    • The Arbourist

      Oh, more quoted stuff, this time from Gail Dines.

      “How porn is implicated in rape is complex and multilayered. Clearly, not all men who use porn rape, but what porn does is create what some feminists call a “rape culture” by normalizing, legitimizing, and condoning violence against women.

      In image after image, violent and abusive sex is presented as hot and deeply satisfying for all parties. These messages in porn chip away at the social norms that define violence against women as deviant and unacceptable, norms that are already constantly under assault in a male-dominated society.

      In most mass-produced images a woman has no bodily integrity, boundaries, or borders that need to be respected. Combined, these images tell us that violation of these boundaries is what she seeks out and enjoys. This is one among many rape myths that porn disseminates to users.

      Embedded in porn are numerous other myths, all of which seek to present sexual assault as a consensual act rather than an act of violence.”

      — Gail Dines, Pornland: How Porn Has Hijacked Our Sexuality

      Reply
  2. It’s MY Body…Sort of | ShoutOut! JMU

    […] it’s self-expression or self-objectification.  Where do we draw the line between the two?  As LadyChaotica21 pointed out earlier in the week it’s not always so black and white-honestly, most times it feels […]

    Reply
  3. Jana Sokale

    I think this is all great content. Great feasibility for all – Jana Sokale, Stevens Creek Trail Psychiatric Associates, Sunnyvale CA

    Reply
  4. Feminist Porn | ShoutOut! JMU

    […] is obviously not doing a very decent job with feminism. Drawing from ladychaotica’s post Feminism and Porn: Mutually Exclusive? I see this is a topic many people are still unsure of in terms of how feminist and how […]

    Reply

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