Saturday, 18 August 2007

A reply... Pornography.

This reply is from a friend of the SLLU. He also recommends this addition to the debate:

...the extract below seems to conflate the experiences of women in pornography with that of children.....althought the quote provided from Jensen only refers to women.

There is undoubtedly similarities and some "intertwining" - but I think there is a case to separate discussing pornography involving adult women ( and men ) and that exploiting children.

Extract from Blog -
"Consent and choice have been central notions in debates around wider commercial sexual exploitation of women and children (pornography, prostitution, lapdancing, trafficking and so on), and are at the forefront too, with regards Second Life. Both concepts are intertwined, and, as Robert Jensen, in his book
'Getting Off: Pornography and the End of Masculinity' notes,
"A meaningful discussion of choice can't be restricted to the single moment when a woman decides to perform in a specific pornographic film but must include all the existing background conditions that affect not only the objective choices she faces but her subjective assessment of these choices.".

These are serious issues to address , but I don't agree with quote from Catherine McKinnon about all (adult) pornography

And this quote from Catherine Mckinnon-
"Pornography is the perfect preparation - motivator and instruction manual in one - for sexual atrocities" Catherine McKinnon.

Personnally I think a much deeper discussion needs to take place on issues relating to sexuality rather than just demanding the eradication of all pornography and prostitution.


Some extracts from DSP ( Australia ) pamphlet on Pornography and Censorship

Sexual images can be both positive and negative. They can challenge the old stereotypes of women as passive and sexuality as dangerous, presenting instead erotic imagery of women's sexuality as pleasurable and active. Pornographic images can also represent violence, abuse and degradation.

How to deal with the two sides of sexuality and its imagery in today's society has been hotly contested among feminists. Is censorship of pornography the most effective strategy or does it only deal with the images and not the acts of violence directed against women? Or does censorship throw the baby out with the bathwater — sweeping away positive explorations of sexuality through the imposition of a new repressive morality and bolstering the campaigns of the traditional conservative opponents of women's liberation?

..........Both Dworkin and MacKinnon have also argued that women who participate in or enjoy pornography or have heterosexual sex are brainwashed or programmed into these activities by men. In order to maintain this view they have to virtually obliterate the idea that women are active agents in the choices they make about their lives and their sexual activity. Dworkin and MacKinnon instead reinforce the idea of women as victims, as passive and helpless, needing to be guided into an understanding of the "errors of their ways" by those who "truly" understand the nature of sexuality.

.............Arguing against censorship of pornography does not mean condoning, ignoring or de-prioritising campaigns around the often violent and usually misogynist portrayal of women in capitalist society. We have a responsibility to counter in the most effective way images which are exploitative and sexist — not by seeking to have them banned, but by initiating a much more wide-ranging debate about sex; by campaigning for better sex education in schools; and by creating more informed and responsible social attitudes to the expression of sexuality.

However if we are going to effectively fight sexism we can't just focus on sexually explicit portrayals of women. The establishment media, advertising, education system and other institutions, as well as the right-wing moralists who also campaign against pornography, all reinforce women's traditional roles. All objectify and degrade women.

..........We need an analysis of violence that empowers women, not one that reinforces the view that women are inherently powerless, timid, non-aggressive and submissive. Feminism should be a critique of this society, of a society that promotes violence against women in many forms, not a blame-the-indvidual, knee-jerk reaction that looks to the capitalist state for the solutions. Instead, we need a mass, feminist movement that allies itself with all those fighting the system of social relations which perpetuates violence, competition and oppression.
link to full document -

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1 comment:

le said...

Multiple studies indicate that the average age of entry into prostitution in the United States is between 13 and 14 years of age, with children being sold and trafficked at even younger ages in impoverished areas throughout the world.

# A high percentage of children and adults involved in prostitution or other commercial sexual exploitation were sexually abused between the ages of 3 and 14, predominantly by a family member, an adult associated with the family, or another trusted adult. Many report that their first sexual experience was being raped prior to adolescence.

# Internationally, an estimated two million women and children enter the $20-billion-per-year sex industry per year. An estimated 10-million women and children are ensnared within the system of commercial sexual exploitation. This includes trafficking into prostitution, sex slavery, pornography and other forms of commercial sexual exploitation. (UNICEF, the U.N., and the U.S. Department of Justice.)

n the U.S., the average age of entry into prostitution is 14. The average age of entry into pornography is 11. The vast majority of the “supply side” of prostitution, meaning the people who are in the role of “prostitute”—are either children or teens, or adults who entered into systems of prostitution as children or teens.

*Stats taken from Standing Against Global Exploitation Project

“For the last 30 years and more, I have watched liberals in America…try to repackage pornography and prostitution as a hip and groovy thing, a liberating thing, something novel and progressive and good for us all, men and women alike. Allegedly Leftist, Progressive men declare their loyalty (both as customers and partisans) to one of the biggest and most exploitative sweatshop industries of them all. Men who would not be caught dead wearing Reeboks or Nikes, or drinking Starbucks coffee, can still kid themselves into thinking Larry Flynt is some kind of People's Hero.”

-D.A. Clarke in Not For Sale

"What I saw were women just like myself who were desperate, addicted to drugs, homeless, and I'm sure probably at least 80 percent of them suffered from sexual abuse as children. I saw them re-living their childhood experiences by getting into that industry. They were looking for attention, pleasing men, and being abused. And that's all they know. They think it's great. They think it's wonderful. I could've looked you in the eye ten years ago and told you that I loved being in pornography, was proud of what I was doing and that I was having a great time. But now I can tell you that it's so far from the truth. I was very convincing. I could convince you. I mean, I could walk up to a porn star today and she could tell me the same story and I can remember being in that place."

-Carol Smith, former porn performer, in Not For Sale .

" Half the women I knew outside porn had been sexually abused as little girls, so it only stood to reason that the statistics might apply in porn as well. One study of the general population claims it is two out of three. The puzzling refrain I'd begun hearing from porn outsiders: "There are plenty of people with histories of sexual abuse who didn't grow up to be porn stars." That's missing the point: The ones who did become sex workers were abused. All of them, that's my guess."

---From Ian Gittler, A Diary of Six Years in the Life of a Porn Star. Rolling Stone October 14, 1999

I'd like to really show what I believe the men want to see: violence against women. I firmly believe that we serve a purpose by showing that. The most violent we can get is the cum shot in the face. Men get off behind that, because they get even with the women they can't have. We try to inundate the world with orgasms in the face.

-Porn actor and activist Bill Margold, quoted in Stoller and Levine's Coming Attraction

People want more. They want to know how many dicks you can shove up an ass...It's like Fear Factor meets Jackass. Make it more hard, make it more nasty, make it more relentless....You need a good guy, who's been around and can give a good scene, fuckin'em hard. I did my homework. These guys are intense.

-Pornographer Mitchell Spinelli