Tuesday, April 17, 2007

I guess it's just about time i wrote something more or less substantial on the goddam Eternal Subject then

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."

Just sayin'.

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.

70 comments:

antiprincess said...

well done, honey. I'm proud to know you.

think anyone's listening?

belledame222 said...

oh yeah. maybe just the choir; maybe some out there in the Great Middle. not the zealots; but then it wasn't really addressed to 'em. still, it had to be said.

A White Bear said...

Don't they know the internet is for porn?

Kidding, really, but I very much appreciate and support your analysis here.

belledame222 said...

heh heh heh. you don't know how many times i've restrained myself from channeling Trekkie Monster...

belledame222 said...

...that video's cute, but it still don't measure up to cute muppets singing it onstage.

have you seen Avenue Q? (i'm dying to go again p.s...)

Trinity said...

belle

I LOVE YOU

Sassywho said...

belle, i vote for that as the sex-pos manifesto. very well done. i would hope that opens up enough space for conversations that clearly need to be had.

Alba said...

There definitely needs to be more willingness between the 'factions'(for lack of a better word) for dialogue on this. It does sit rather uncomfortably the hooking-up-with-the-conservatives thing though.

I find myself fluctuating between both sides - probably because, as you pointed out, there is common ground to be had...

belledame222 said...

hey, welcome alba.

Saorla said...

Great post Belle. I especially applaud your fifth point!

Sassywho said...

I for one, and certainly not speaking for all, see/despise the pissing matches that quite frankly rob feminism of some of it's thunder. This is not something that is new, but it is not going to disappear with a song and holding hands.

What needs to happen is a conversation, something that I think sex/porn positive feminists at this point are more open to having than anti-porn at the moment. Any political/societal movement is endangered when it becomes gospel and ceases to listen to a significant portion of those involved.

As with guns, video games, blogging, politics, marriage, very few people outside of the religious-right are interested in becoming "thought-police", but there is a fine line between social responsibility and loss of freedom. Most feminists that I know acknowledge a problem with sex trafficking, rape and forced/abused women, however there is enough women to warrant a belief that those circumstances, as deplorable as they may be, are the exception rather than the rule. At this point, I hear a lot more of sex/porn positive feminists that are willing to open a dialogue of what to do about these issues outside of banning them all together , which will most likely be as effective as the anti-drug sentiment.

Exercising free will with responsibility will further humanity much farther than mandated social mores, which is what we are all fighting for isn't it?

antiprincess said...

There definitely needs to be more willingness between the 'factions'(for lack of a better word) for dialogue on this.

Alba - some of us have bent over backwards and crawled through broken glass to prove our willingness and get to dialoguing.

you see where we all get.

belledame222 said...

welcome saorla.

yeah i dunno. like i say: zealots ain't gonna want to talk. there are still some people who are more interested in actually talking and getting somewhere than in battle stations. maybe not as many as would be ideal, and maybe they're not currently the ones sponsoring events and so on (mostly): but you know what, that can change.

belledame222 said...

personally, much as i'd like to be a part of it or support it, i really am thinking more and more that any sort of real work or even meaningful dialogue on behalf of prostitutes /sex workers has to come primarily if not exclusively from them themselves, however they feel about the whole business. i can follow someone's lead, but i'm increasingly leery of "speaking for."

Sassywho said...

belle, i agree. it's easy to think that you can carry the message for someone else, but it's another thing for that person to speak up and empower themselves.

however, i do also think it's important to offer support.

belledame222 said...

i'm thinking maybe this is "ally work" like any other.

belledame222 said...

...and yes, i recognize that not everyone is currently in a position of enough power to speak for herself; nonetheless, then the goal is to help people with what -they- need and want, not impose my agenda--either way. in any case i'm sick to bloody death of reading people talk about perfectly capable adult women as though they were bottled fetuses or something.

Sassywho said...

my bottled fetus speaks well enough on it's own, sends me messages via the "gods"

Renegade Evolution said...

"There definitely needs to be more willingness between the 'factions'(for lack of a better word) for dialogue on this.

Alba - some of us have bent over backwards and crawled through broken glass to prove our willingness and get to dialoguing.

you see where we all get. "

BINGO!


Sassy:

"it's easy to think that you can carry the message for someone else, but it's another thing for that person to speak up and empower themselves."

Except, of course, if its the WRONG message and all...

"

belledame222 said...

...and if not that, then monstrous traitors and abominations, one or the other. gee: helpless victim or scary monster: where have we seen that dichotomy imposed on women before? -think think think-

except in this case y'see it's a special GROUP of women, even though we're talking like we're all in -exactly- the same boat, for any number of reasons, some more obscure than others.

but, we--ain't.

that's the -first- thing.

belledame222 said...

Ren: believe me, i get the frustration.

maybe at this point best to concentrate on the Great Middle and leave the extremists to talk amongst themselves?

Sassywho said...

and at the risk of sounding naive, what's "ally-work"?

belledame222 said...

and btw, i don't just mean the "middle" of anti-porn/radfems, i mean feminists, period, plain ol' liberal "yeah, I like the vote and reproductive rights; sexism not so much; women are neat people" feminists; or just plain ol' people who haven't given it much thought.

Renegade Evolution said...

(evOl porn-marketing drone smirk)

Well, actually, middle ground and all, I think I've been fairing okay, I mean if someone was willing to break the La Costa Feminista silence and all...

Remember, converts to evol, listerine...

Sassywho said...

Ren,
That is the most disturbing part, feminism is about listening to women.... and shocker here, but what they want.

belledame222 said...

"allies" is a term some people use for people who--well, as the name suggests: help, without actually belonging to the group in question. i.e.: white allies of POC, cisgendered (non-trans) allies of transfolk, straight allies of queer folk, AB (able-bodied) allies of folks with disabilities, and so on.

personally i don't actually use the term to describe myself much--i just think, you do what's right, you make -alliances,- yes, you talk to people and fight the good fight--but it's as useful a term as any.

there is a website called "ally work" whose slogan is a good standard, if probably not one most of us actually embody 100% of the time:

"If you have come to help me, please go home. But if you have come because your liberation is somehow bound with mine, then we may work together."

Sassywho said...

yeah, but will listerine save me from the "gods" and "aliens"?

belledame222 said...

yeah, i guess i mean: mebbe best focus on giving energy to the same people, and going out amid the bigger world of more "mainstream" feminist/progressive blogs as well as hooking up with more sex-pos and/or sex workers.

and, *koff*, as long as i'm kibitzing (because i know how much you LOVE it when people do this...): well. if it were me? i'd say my blogroll was long overdue for an overhaul.

for starters.

oh btw, puddlejumper seems to have deleted her blog.

Renegade Evolution said...

sassy, i recommend a chainsaw for that.

belledame222 said...

er, i meant "sane" people. NOT "same."

and actually i'd up that ante to:

"respectful" people.

belledame222 said...

well, our friend had a -lot- of advice on how to deal with gods/aliens/clones, but sadly, i deleted his comment, which means i am HUGELY disfavored as well as being an ev0l lackey of the patriarchy.

"but i'm good company."

Sassywho said...

thanks belle.

i like the idea, and prefer to think that is my brand of feminism.

however, i recognize that i am a little more militant about abortion, and as i recently notice on BitchPhD may not be the best thing for all women.

belledame222 said...

well--that's something to think about.

i'm militant about keeping it legal and (well, "keeping," it barely is now) available.

in terms of personal feelings though, a lot more open.

also i'm hearing more from POC and people with disabilities about more decidedly mixed feelings, and a murkier collective history. "choice" really isn't so much, for everyone; and it doesn't mean the same thing for everyone either. not everyone's worst nightmare is being kept barefoot and pregnant; there are other nightmares co-existent.

Sassywho said...

i like what belle says about the sane/fringes, most of our society usually comes around to discovering how crazy the "others" are.

Renegade Evolution said...

BD:

Yeah, overhaul is in order...I am lazy at the moment.

Sassywho said...

i agree, it's murky waters. but i do believe that being vigilant about keeping it "legal" is worth being militant.

i'm more open to our social/medical policies changing rather than applying restricitions on abortion. which of course the anti-abortion crowd has been unwilling to address. much like the anti-porn group.

Sassywho said...

which essentially is the same argument, trusting women to choose what's best for their bodies and themselves.

and i would have a hard time defining a feminist who would not agree with that.

Renegade Evolution said...

"which essentially is the same argument, trusting women to choose what's best for their bodies and themselves."

I love you.

Sassywho said...

:blush:

well one more thought, as pro-abortion as i am(which is way past the point of pro-choice), i would never condone or feel comfortable with a woman having one against her will. same for porn, sex work, wearing a low-cut top or a fucking turtleneck.

that is my biggest grunt with anti-porn, logically their argument follows the same religious-right argument of women being subjected or not knowing what they want.

but reputable abortion clinics as well as pornographers are aware of this and do much more to protect/advocate for women than those groups can even conceive of. why? because in their eyes the woman is not a sentient being, so therefore how could they have a conversation other than a patriarchal dismissal of "i know what's best for you".

belledame222 said...

well there are a few grunts. at least with the ones who want the State to regulate (not every anti-porn person does), that's...really problematic in all sorts of ways.

Alba said...

Thanks for the welcome belle.

Alba - some of us have bent over backwards and crawled through broken glass to prove our willingness and get to dialoguing.

you see where we all get.

BINGO!


I realise this. People are definitely not hearing other people.

I'm a lurker to your blog too ren and I do appreciate your writing etc but there is something I have been thinking about lately - and consider this an attempt at understanding:

Sex work is your choice and you know, cool, but do you ever think about how your participation in pron contributes to certain attitudes being perpetuated? Do you reconcile the two things somehow?

I was going to delete this and scuttle away but in the spirit of the discussion...

belledame222 said...

well--you know, i don't wanna answer for Ren. that said i have a feeling that right now is probably not an ideal time for that particular question. and: yeah, i think she thinks about it quite a bit; i'd say actually her entire blog's been about nothing but.

also, if it were me, i'd want to clarify how you meant that exactly. are you talking about the Industry side? RE talks about the conditions and people she works with pretty candidly. or are you talking about how it impacts people who -watch- it?

one to grow on: if we were talking to/about a B-movie "scream queen" actor who didn't have hardcore sex, but did play a lot of roles where she was the "don't go in there girl," getting (obviously fictionally, but still, often bloodily) killed by men and monsters (sometimes fighting back or bloodily killing in her own right instead) in movie after movie, and who claimed to love the genre and her work; would you be asking the same questions?

Renegade Evolution said...

alba:

"Sex work is your choice and you know, cool, but do you ever think about how your participation in pron contributes to certain attitudes being perpetuated? Do you reconcile the two things somehow?"

You know, feeling all mellow right now, I will answer that.

One, stated often yet once again for the record I am all for getting anyone, in any aspect of the sex industry who does not want to be there out of it, and work at this myself.

Two, not all porn is really as bad as most people (wrt to the treatment/characterization) of females as some folk would like you to believe.

Three, porn is fantasy...yes, the people in it are real, but they play parts, and I think the majority of people realize that.

Four, attitudes about women, both in their own eyes and in the eyes of others, are influenced by countless things, from mass media to upbringing, and the portrayal of women, even in the harshest of porn is a mere drop in the bucket. I don't think porn can make a man hate or rape a woman anymore than I think music makes people kill. Can it, and countless other things, give an excuse (porn made me do it), or worsen an already messed up mind? Yes, but so can anything...even feminism.

Five, I think all people, in the eyes of others who matter, who actually know them, are judged by who they are, not the image of some woman in a porn flick.

So reconciliation, I don't really feel the need. Truth is, no, I don't think women like me are making the rest of you all look bad in the eyes of men, and I think most men know the difference between a real woman with wants and needs and a woman, an actress, a performer, in a porn movie. I don't think, due to porn, that men think women are all sex-crazed sluts who love getting facials and rough sex.

Now, why do you ask?

belledame222 said...

i mean, no offense, but to me, phrased as such, it's reading a little like someone going up to Marilyn Manson or some goth or metal band or Stephen King or something and saying,

"Have you ever thought about what kind of influence your music/writing has on kids? How do you reconcile your anti-violence/war stance with all those terrible books/lyrics/images..."

not a perfect analogy, but you take the point. yes, it's come up once or twice, i expect.

belledame222 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
belledame222 said...

slip. well, there you are.

Alba said...

I know. Sorry.

Thanks for your answers it's just something I've been pondering lately.

I was referring to in particular effect on teenage boys but I was being deliberatley vague because i didn't know how to phrase it in a way that didn't assume that you haven't been asked the same questions over and over.

*ducks for cover*

belledame222 said...

personally i'm of the opinion that our sexualities are pretty well shaped by the time we reach puberty, at least the baseline; and that attitudes of parents, peers, other authority figures, and so on play a much bigger role in shaping attitudes toward women (or anything/one else) than the media as an aggregate does. and that porn proper only makes up a part of the whole of that (the media's role), arguably not even the biggest part.

Renegade Evolution said...

alba;

i'm not gonna rip your head off for asking a question....

wrt to teenaged boys...okay, I know in the UK there is the big noise over the lads mags...I live in the states, where such things are not quite as prevelant...and yes, I know net porn is SO easy to find and all, and I do wish the industry would do something about that, but hardline, regarding teenaged boys (and hell, girls too) and "pornification"...

Porn ain't for kids, porn isn't where they should be getting their sex education, and you know who is ultimately responsible for teaching their children about sex, respect, consent, standing up for themselves, and relationships?

Parents. Who also should have SOME idea just how much porn junior is downloading onto his PC. Parents have that responsibility. I also think this whole bullshit line of right wing morality we're passing off as sex education in schools these days is beyond crap...but as for how do I feel about porn, specifically the kind I make, "meddling with the minds" of horny teenaged boys?

My job description is adult entertainer, not sex educator. It's not my job or responsibility to teach teenagers about "real" sex and all that should go with it. That duty falls to their parents, including telling them the differences between 90% of REAL people and those they might see in porn....and I am not about to be blamed for parents, schools, and societies who do a shit job of doing that.

Make sense?

Alba said...

Yes, makes sense and I agree with you and you're not responsible for the industry etc but...

In Australia recently there's been this new thing where teenage boys gang rape a girl and record it all on their mobile phone and distribute it... It's just fucking disturbing. And I know it's larger than porn and it's societal too and it wouldn't be happening if these kids were brought up with healthy attitudes towards sex and the opposite gender and all but I just don't buy that porn doesn't have anything to do with it but, yeah, that's where I'm coming from.

Renegade Evolution said...

Alba:

I heard about that, posted on it even. Were those boys influenced by porn? Entirely possible, perhaps even probable (curious, has the media down there stated whether or not the boys listed porn as their inspiration?)...and as terrible as that is, and all other acts like it...

I've seen countless episodes of Law and Order with the same theme, a few other prime time shows as well. And most porn companies, web site and film absolutely put legal notifications, disclaimers, and all sorts of similar things on their products...

If porn did inspire these boys, then yes, absolutely, it had a negative affect on them, but I wouldn't place the blame on porn any more than I would place the blame for the Columbine High School shootings on Marilyn Manson...

The blame needs to go where it belongs...on the perpatraitors.

belledame222 said...

do you really think that without porn, the gang rape wouldn't have happened? that it doesn't happen? that it didn't happen?

what they got the idea about, i expect, was the idea of filming it.

but filming it is really the least of it, wouldn't you say?

belledame222 said...

i mean you know, serial killers all cite influences from porn to heavy metal to mainstream movies to the damn Bible; and it's true, sometimes they pick up let's call it certain stylistic influences from some song or some movie.

but is that really the main point?

are we seriously arguing that people go from not-rapist/not-killer to rapist/killer based on a song or a movie or a video game?

how do we then explain all the people who watch that same stuff and -don't- commit any such acts?

and how do we explain all the people who commit such acts without ever having seen such material?

belledame222 said...

frankly, i think it lets the teenage boys as well as the parents (among others) off the hook to place that much focus on porn--which, i don't know as they did cite that either. it'd be convenient if they did i expect. hey, look, we don't have to change our whole lifestyles, we don't have to examine the ways in which we teach our sons that empathy isn't necessary (especially toward women) and violence is okay ("do as we say, not as we do" doesn't work all that well, hint)...let's target something that frankly already had marginal status to begin with. Porn. Horror movies. Illegal drugs. Hardcore metal or video games. Let's target the fantasy makers so we don't have to deal with the reality that led to those dreams in the first place.

Kim said...

Well done, Belle and proof positive that we who are not strictly anti-porn LISTEN to the arguments, respect them, have thought about but simply don't necessarily agree with all of the anti-porn arguments.

It is easier, of course, when one is taking a stance, to disregard arguments which do not support our position. "Oh shit -- look, there's Pegasus! Just when I'd nearly convinced everyone he was a mythical creature. Look away, all, look away!"

Trouble is, ignoring this proof or example to the contrary takes away the credibility.
"How can you tell me Pegasus doesn't exist? He's RIGHT THERE!"

"Oh um, nice day isn't it? Anyway, as I was saying, there are no Pegasi on earth blah blah."

You know?

Kim said...

(Give me a break with my possibly a bit nutso Pegasus analogy. It's 4:48 AM fer cryin' out loud.)

Alon Levy said...

and btw, i don't just mean the "middle" of anti-porn/radfems, i mean feminists, period, plain ol' liberal "yeah, I like the vote and reproductive rights; sexism not so much; women are neat people" feminists; or just plain ol' people who haven't given it much thought.

Well, those generally can be divided into two groups. Those who are very much into the movement and actually believe all of its slogans, and those who aren't. Those who are tend to be either already pro-porn or too radical to be convinced. Those who aren't, who outnumber those who are by a large factor, tend to respond better to arguments aimed at the general population than at feminists.

To see what I'm talking about, consider two anti-prostitution feminists. One is a radfem like Sam of Genderberg. But the other is a dues-paying member of NOW who's a feminist because she thinks she should be getting paid the same amount of money as a man who does the same work, but has political views all over the map: she might support law-and-order policies, think welfare contributes to poverty, oppose massive immigration... and think prostitution should be as legal as injecting heroin. To that woman you have to talk in entirely different language from the one you're used to, simply because she doesn't and won't consider it a feminist issue. In this particular example I'd go with the straight pragmatic answer, leading with the fact that legalization makes prostitution more transparent but not more common, but there are many other women in similar situations but with somewhat different attitudes or issue profiles, who respond to different lines of argument.

Saorla said...

I'm going to chime in here with my two cents. I remain unconvinced that porn causes rape and physical or sexual abuse etc. Apart from the Charles Manson's of the world (the song told me to do it) there is little evidence to support the "TV brainwashed me argument".

I'm currently living in Cambodia and here there are a horrific number of sex crimes, human trafficking, child prostitution, and gender based violence. But you know what, there is virtually no porn. The porn they have is softcore and probably wouldn't offend many.

There is a tradition of misogyny which pervades every facet of Cambodian society. I gave a presentation on reporting sexual harassment and was told that the attitude is all very well but no Cambodian woman would report a colleague or boss because it is against their culture. A majority of men visit sex workers every week. Women are powerless to stop them or even to insist their husbands wear condoms to prevent HIV or pregnancy.

I think that a country's history and culture has far more to do with gender attitudes and violence than porn. And it is rare to find a culture in which women were not subjugated.

Blaming porn is an easy way out. If you posit that porn is the problem then it's easy to stand behind the banner and shout slogans. But did gender violence exist before the VCR?

Of course it did. Gender violence goes back to ancient time (the Bible, Homer) so why the obsession with prohibition of porn. Prohibition never works (abortions, drugs, alcohol...). Treat porn like any other industry, regulate it and protect the workers.

Sorry that turned a bit ranty!

belledame222 said...

yup.

which is not to say that i don't think mass media has any effect on people whatsoever, obviously. It does. but if anything, i'd go after say Fox News or reality shows or regular ol' subway ads and billboards and commericals before porn; they're more all-pervasive. and even with those--i'm not at all sure how effective simple "shut it down shut it down shut it down" is, all by itself. yea, Faux is a proaganda mill, and i'd be thrilled to see O'Rly? off the airwaves, but at the same time: that would be primarily about schadenfreude, as far as i'm concerned; it doesn't really address the root of the problem. well, there are market structures in place that made Faux possible and really need to be talked about, among many other things.

but yeah: in general, y'know, nature abhors a vacuum. and if yer gonna try and tackle something as vasty and ill-defined as "porn," which as Veronica notes is about 70% of the Internets--well, even assuming you somehow ever succeed: then what happens?

belledame222 said...

and, welcome, saorla, if i didn't say it already.

Saorla said...

Thanks Belledame!

Alba said...

"but filming it is really the least of it, wouldn't you say?"

It might be the least of it but it certainly compounds the trauma having it passed around your school or other schools as entertainment.

Whether porn caused it or not who knows. I don't pretend to know. But I am open to the idea that perhaps it's more about performing for the camera in some cases...

Having said that I really don't think that going after porn is effective. What's the point if at the societal level nothing changes. And I do really believe that if the boys in question were raised with healthy expectations and beliefs and perceptions of the opposite sex...and sex, then they wouldn't go there - even with exposure to porn.

Got to get to the source if you want change and all...

out.

Trinity said...

"what they got the idea about, i expect, was the idea of filming it.

but filming it is really the least of it, wouldn't you say?"

exactly how I feel.

Renegade Evolution said...

shitty as it sounds, the film will probably make it a lot easier to convict...

R. Mildred said...

shitty as it sounds, the film will probably make it a lot easier to convict...

Actually in the archetypal OC video rape case the defendants got off because - and this will piss you off and should make anti-pron types think twice about their analysis of such things (have they not heard of happy slapping? Isn't the camera phone rapes just an extention of that rather than anything to do with porn per se?) - is that the defense made out that A) the raped girl wasn't really unconcious, it was just role play, despite the fact they put lit cigarettes on her labia and other htings and she didn't react and B) she shaved her pubes and once said she wanted to be a pornstar - ergo the boys (one of whom's father was the county sheriff) could reasonably assume she consented... because pornstars don't say no or something...

And htey won the case and started harassing the girl and her family enough that they had to move!

It's trials and defenses like that, that clearly objectify and denigrate sex workers and works to enable their abuse by men, that refutes a lot of the anti-porn retoric.

Octogalore said...

Alba -- I think porn cannot accurately be blamed even for the videoing portion. What about YouTube, etc.? People don't need that much math to be able to connect the dots if they're so inclined.

belledame222 said...

welcome, octo, good to see you.

Ravenmn said...

Wonderful post, BD. I've been thinking about it for a few days.

Honestly, the only way I've had any success in working together with people who have such divergent philosophies is when we join on a common project that benefits some one ELSE, and then also ourselves.

So I've seen athiest commies work side by side with Jesuits to end U.S. interventions in Latin America and provide direct aid to the people.

I've seen right-wing libertarians and left-wing socialists work together to combat governmental abuse of power and defend civil rights.

I've seen factory workers join together with college professors to fight for union clerical workers at a University.

When we work together toward a common goal, the infighting and bitterness tend to fall aside and we begin appreciate our differences and how these differences can benefit the overall project, rather than stand in the way.

On the internets, its impossible to know or see all the work each of us are doing in our individual lives to benefit women in the sex industry (one way or the other). So it all appears theoretical, rather than attached to a specific goal.

Or the goal is too far away (eliminate poverty, sexism, racism) that the next steps forward are not easily defined.

I think it would be great to find a project that could include radical feminist bloggers as well as the rest of us in a common effort. I haven't a clue what that would be.

It's been my experience that this kind of teamwork helps people communicate more often and more effectively.

belledame222 said...

raven: you'd think the battle for reproductive rights would do nicely, wouldn't you...

Ravenmn said...

Belle, nope, not really. Because its too remote from the issue. I'm wondering if there's something that deals directly with sex workers or porn.

We have some areas of agreement, such as capitalist porn sucks. So if there was a campaign that targetted capitalist porn without also attacking do-it-yourself porn, then we could work together.

We agree that women should not be forced into porn or sex work unwillingly. So if there was some kind of "escape" campaign that did not demonize sex or porn work, then we could collaborate on that. Although Jill B's posts make that seem unlikely.

I honestly don't know enough about the topic to make a suggestion, but successful campaigns bring unlikely alliances, in my experience.