In the Blog
PORNOGRAPHY FOR FEMINISTS? IS IT POSSIBLE?
Over the past few weeks, I have been helping out a friend whose girlfriend broke up with him because she feels that he has an unhealthy relationship with porn. (Well, there were other reasons too, but this was big for her.) She has been sending him anti-porn links about how addictive and dangerous porn is, how relationships are weakened by unrealistic sexual expectations created by watching porn, and of course, the mainstay: that porn is harmful to women.
Of course, I read all these articles with interest, and also noticed that one of them was written by George W. Bush’s former speechwriter. Is there a link? I think so.
While I believe there is a lot of bad, anti-woman porn out there, anti-porn advocates who unflailingly say that all pornography is BAD, are also, in many cases, those same people who seek to control women’s bodies through anti-abortion initiatives and anti-gay legislation. For me, it boils down to the fact that we have to combat the age-old stereotype of the slutty girl as out of control, asking for trouble, and of course, worthy of gossip - although men can prowl around and everyone celebrates it.
I want to know - how can I learn about sex if I don’t get a chance to see it, and to see positive and real and sexy representations of it? Yes, I can read books, experiment alone and with partners, but sometimes I gotta see to learn, no? There must be some way in porn to celebrate women’s sexuality with honor and respect.
Now, the usual porn star schtick of busty schoolgirls and fake Os (if any) is by far the mainstream, but there are alternatives. Believe it or not, there are many many many feminists who are making great porn: people like Abiola Adams, Jen Bowers, Tristan Taormino, and Candida Royalle. I got to see these women chatting it up last week at the first-ever Feminist Porn Awards. They discussed real topics, like what makes their porn feminist, how they treat their actors and workers with respect and empowerment, how they ethically distribute their work, and what it’s like to work in an industry with such a bad name, making films that aim to make women feel good about sex, about their bodies, and to feel pleasure.
What do you think? Thanks in advance for your thoughts…