Porn Degrades Women!
Porn degrades women – Well, that is, most certainly, a blanket statement. Women and men who fight against the adult industry often use this as an argument. They see porn as sexually violent, abusive and demeaning. However, they are only seeing a portion of the porn that is available. They see the worst of it and define all of porn this way. I understand why they feel this way. I’m sure it’s horrifying to see a girl get dragged across the floor and her head shoved in a toilet. I can only imagine what feelings that would evoke in me had I seen that before I was in the sex industry. This more rough or extreme type of porn represents only part of the porn available. Many of the top companies create couple oriented porn where the sex is romantic and passionate, and the characters are more realistic than the maid coming over to “clean” your house. This type of porn is meant to be enjoyed by females and often directed by females and is never meant to be degrading. However, for the sake of argument, I am only going to address the type that most see as violent and humiliating.
Porn is created out of sexual desire. The assumption is that this means men’s sexual desire, but this encompasses women’s desire as well. People who say porn is degrading to women are, generally, alluding to the fact that it is wrong. And by this they are claiming that any female who fantasizes about degrading sexual acts is wrong. And by this they are reinforcing the repression of sexual expression for females (and you thought you were advocating FOR women). Just because something is not a desire for you does not mean it is not a desire for someone else, and just because you do not understand something does not mean it doesn’t make perfect sense to someone else.
Now-a-days, exploring sex acts such as having your hair pulled a little or getting lightly spanked is socially acceptable. Not many of your friends would freak out if you told them that your guy restrained you with a set of furry, pink handcuffs the night before. It would probably excite them a little, and they may want to try it themselves. If you liked a little spanking once in a while you probably wouldn’t worry that someone would say to you, “How could you do something so degrading!”
People often need to understand something before they can comfortably place it in their minds. If they can’t define or categorize it then it’s deemed as unnatural or unacceptable. The reality is, some women like to be degraded for the same reason why some women like those plastic furry handcuffs, however, to a much greater degree. People want answers as to why women like this, so they blame it on low-self esteem, an abusive childhood, or some excuse to not have to feel love, and sometimes this is the case. But sometimes it is as simple as someone truly enjoys it. Also, what someone wants in bed is not necessarily a reflection of how they see themselves or how they want to be treated in everyday life. If you like to be told you’ve been a naughty girl during sex I would never assume you want people to tell you how naughty you’ve been all day long at work or that you actually feel you need to be punished. Overall, if more extreme types of sexual behavior makes you uncomfortable then why should the line you draw be the line that others draw?
Degradation does exist in porn. I have seen performers get punched, whipped, called horrible names, made to eat dirt, electrocuted, spit on, kicked, paddled, hung from the ceiling, choked, pee’d on, eat their own feces, and fucked until they’re bleeding. It’s difficult to imagine this all happening to a beautiful, young women, isn’t it? Well, everything I just mentioned are all things I have seen done to men. That’s right, men enjoy being degraded as well, and sometimes far beyond women. If you’re going to fight against the debasement of women in porn than you need to include the men as well – It’s only fair.
Maybe you still don’t understand how someone could like such extreme and perverse sex acts, and that’s ok. It doesn’t have to make any sense to you, but that does not make it wrong. Just because something is not comfortably tucked away in your mind, defined, and well-understood does not mean you have any right to keep it from those who enjoy it. Don’t let your misunderstanding lead you to misguided attempts at advocacy.
What’s unfortunate is there are performers who do certain sexual acts on camera that they are not comfortable with, and this makes them feel degraded, not in an enjoyable way, and, in turn, compromises their self-esteem and dignity. This is inevitable because we all make our own choices as adults whether they are right for us or wrong for us. The best we can do is urge performers to only participate in what they are comfortable with.
Most importantly, sexual violence is not a result of hardcore-mysogonistic porn. Sexual violence has been linked to sexual repression more than it ever has been linked to sexual expression. As a performer, it is our job to create a platform for sexual expression to be explored whether the acts are fantasies of our own or not. It is our job to figure out where the line is that we want to draw for ourselves without judging what is beyond that, and, as much as people don’t hold pornographers to the highest regard, we are very capable of making those decisions. If you are actually interested in advocating for women, you will stop assuming that all this more extreme porn is only for the pleasure of men and stop claiming that all porn is wrong to degrade women. But rather, start supporting female sexuality by encouraging each of us to explore ourselves sexually and not shame women (or men) for what they enjoy in the comfort of their own minds.
So the question again – Does porn degrade women? At times, absolutely…and it sure can be fun.