since it's been going around. *sigh*
well, i'm just gonna repost a comment i had in response to a commenter elsewhere:
To be honest, I think the anti-porn feminists do have a point at least susceptible to honest argument.
Well, there are a few in fact. Here's my understanding of it, in descending order of i-take-it-seriously:
1) Concern with abuse within the making of it, and/or coercion at the level of abusive boyfriend or (sad to say) family pimping, trafficking, and so on. Totally legit imo. more so in unregulated "amateur" porn, i expect. The "mainstream" industry has some shit to answer for as well; as far as i can tell the best reforms in that regard are coming from/proposed by the actual workers. (Unions, health, safety, yadda). People who refuse to treat it as a business like any other actually undermine this, I believe. Others clearly see it as a slippery slope toward tolerating abuse. Already you see the problem.
2) Concern with how women get into the business, even the ones not actively coerced: what choice do they have, why are they doing it really, what does it say about our society that it's often this or starvation. Also totally legit, many ways to approach this.
1) and 2) are where it -really would be nice- if those of us on opposite sides of the fence could come together and talk more often. There are reasons why this doesn't happen so much. Some have to do with the reasons listed below; others, well, more complex and subtle, I'll try to get into that later on. But no, in fact, it really isn't because a lot of us "just don't care about women," and it'd sure be swell if people knocked that shit off, but I'm not holding my breath.
3) Concern with impact that porn, as a form of media, has on our collective mentality. Legit...to a point. That is, yep, just like any other form of mass media, I think it has some influence on the way we look at things, self-image, ideas (in this case) about how sex is "supposed" to go, and so on.
However. There is a difference between "influence" and "cause." I put the people who want to shut down porn because monkey see monkey do in the same category as people who blame violent video games and heavy metal for Columbine and suchlike. It'd be real convenient if it were that simple, wouldn't it? Too bad it isn't.
More compelling imo is the argument that, as with all other kinds of popular media (videos, magazines, billboards, TV, yadda), constant immersion in images of sexism and racism do in fact help shape peoples' consciousness--in a sexist and racist (and so on) way. This argument focuses on porn in the form it's currently in, without much speculation as to what a different kind of explicit sexual media might look like or even how it might help shape a different kind of society, breaking down those stereotypes and shibboleths.
Off of which, there is also of course the POV that in that case part of the solution would be to try to put one's own idea of positive sexuality on the market, since THAT could be an influence in the OTHER direction. for some people this idea is simply anathema: porn is bad and that's all there is to it. (see below points for more on this) Not much point in dialogue there.
Others kind of fumfuh about "well what is porn anyway;" they might be okay with say educational videos for couples, or sexual scenes in art movies and so on, and/or at least willing to let the "softcore" shit slide, whilst going after the "worst of the worst." We're seeing how that pans out in the recent UK crackdown on "extreme porn" business. again: not quite that simple. There is also a not-really-conscious heteronormative/monogamous erm bent to this, much of the time (not always). "Whatever you do in the privacy of your own bedroom" is actually crammed full of all kinds of unconscious assumptions: the history of the State barging into "private bedrooms" and -whose- private bedrooms they did and in some cases still do barge into (interracial couples then; gaysex till very recently; use of sex toys still in some states; private party orgies quite often; BDSM quite often) is not talked about -nearly- enough, and frankly i gotta say when straight conventionally partnered people make this remark it drives me up the fucking wall.
and, too, there is also the unconscious privilege of: crap as sex education is even for yer basic het vanilla these days, you can still get the general idea and a fair amount of validation and even fulfillment of your sexuality if you're, you know, basic het vanilla (and not hampered by some other oppression or "minority" status, of course).
The Internets were a big help to me in coming out, and yep, some of it was in fact the availability of explicit porn--the girl-girl shit, and later more "alternative" stuff. Again (see above) in its current mainstream/conventional forms, it wasn't/wouldn't have been terribly helpful to me past a certain point in terms of realism or (hello) "go outside and talk to people."
But as validation of "oh wow, it's not just all in my head; -people really do those things-"? Can be really fucking helpful. Just saying. Hell, even the lesbian softcore pulp fiction was better than complete silence, I rather think, back in the day. This is not please note the same thing as saying this shit is unproblematic or unreflective of the greater homophobia (among other things) of our culture. Still, as they say, "it's a start."
4) However they were actually made, the images in some genres of hardcore porn -remind us- of rape, torture, abuse, etc.
Well--again, see above: there's lots of upsetting and awful imagery in all kinds of media these days, some arguably of more "redeeming value" than others. And you know, I do sympathize with people who were -coerced- into -looking at it- (in the context of an abusive relationship or whatnot); that, too, is abusive.
That said: as per the people who are footloose and fancy free, are free to -not- click on those sites, play those movies, read that text?
"Doc, it hurts when I go like this."
"Don't go like that."
5) Arguments that certain sex acts are inherently unfeminist/degrading and no woman would ever do that on her own -really-; therefore it MUST be abusive/coerced/harmful.
Okay, now we're just getting silly, and frankly offensive. Heteronormativity (yep, even from the self-ID'd lesbians, there) up the wazoo, willful ignorance, apparently deliberate refusal to consider the radical concept that -not everyone is just like me-, and, gotta say it, good old fashioned pearl-clutching.
Here's a hint: if you don't enjoy being called a "prude," a "puritan," or even "sounds suspiciously like the Religious Right," maybe lay off with the whole, "sexbot," "whore," "zomg blowjobs are disgusting, and no woman really likes anal, and all this is SO GROSS but I'm gonna keep talking about it in gory detail anyway whether you want to hear it or not, appropriate venue or not." One, because do unto others and all that happy crappy; and two, well, goddam, sometimes, frankly? with some people? it really is increasingly hard to tell the difference. Never even mind the parts where you sign onto campaigns spearheaded by the Religious Right and then go, oopsie, well, didn't mean to do THAT, but well, the enemy of my enemy is my friend and lesser of two evils and alla that. Speak for yourself, there. And maybe take another look, there, at just who's causing the most damage to women. Among others. And yes, there is further to fall.
6) Conspiracy theories, "brainwashing," "so-called pro-porn feminists are lackeys of the patriarchy," "erotoxins," and similar ways of explaining how pr0n is Teh Ultimate Ev0l!1ELEVEN!! and anyone who doesn't 110% agree is part of the Sinist0r Pl0t TOO!...
put. down. the crack pipe.
that is all.