So what if your porn is feminist?

At a suburban office in Canberra, Susan* looks solemnly toward the carpet and blinks back the tears. Her marriage counselor watches on from a few feet away. Susan first explains, and then pleads to be heard. Her husband’s porn use is upsetting her. And it’s not just his use, it’s that he expects the same as he sees in porn. Lately, his sexual expectations are more like demands.

It’s no longer just emotionally painful to deal with his porn use. It’s now bordering on physical harm.

Sexual violence, like domestic violence, is on the rise in Australia. This year alone, 48 women have been murdered (so far). The link between porn and domestic violence has been briefly touched on, but that is just the tip of the iceberg. Girls are reporting to GP’s with sexual injuries, largely because boyfriends expect the ‘porn star experience’. Young people increasingly report that they believe sex is something women owe to men. In fact, this attitude — that men are entitled to sexual access to women — is more prevalent than ever before in a number of countries. Sadly, all of this cultural grooming has translated into sexual crimes committed by children against children.s

These issues have lead to a range of discussions about what is fueling this climate of sexual coercion and violence. While lack of government concern has come under fire, so has the role of education, media, parenting and problematic social norms.

The role of pornography is also under scrutiny since porn has become a part of day-to-day culture. Brand names like Brazzers and RedTube (two popular porn-streaming services) are commonly used by children as young as 11 through to adults, from the bedroom to the classroom, the office and even recommended by some therapists. The effects are not only felt by young people, but a growing number of adults are reporting partners increasingly using and demanding replay of pornography in the bedroom.

Back in the therapist’s office in Canberra, Susan longs for the man she first married, for the love they once shared, which has been lost due to the endless, instant sexual gratification porn offers. Susan’s pleas to be validated have been undermined, not only by her husband who is in the throes of porn addiction, but now also by her marriage counselor. Her therapist’s response echoes her husband, “Why don’t you let go of those inhibitions, Susan? There are good types of porn too. Maybe you would also enjoy it too if you just watch the right type.”

With the complexity of problems around sexual coercion and violence, naturally, many are looking toward quick-win solutions. What if we provide kids with better sex education? What if we empower women to have more sexual pleasure? What if we just make pornography feminist?

Despite the evidence of pornography’s harm, denial continues, even in feminist circles. Statistical evidence indicates up to 90 per cent of the most popular films include violence against women. Moreover, meta-analysis shows exposure is linked to increased violence and rape accepting attitudes. While the research on porn’s harm is fervently denied, paradoxically, there is much fanfare about the positive influence of “good porn” or “feminist porn.” Assumedly, this is the type of porn that Susan’s counselor expects she should enjoy.

Feminist porn, the refrain goes, is about equality, real pleasure, and empowers marginalized people. Other definitions frame feminist pornography through the lens of conscious capitalism, the kind of, “Oh I only buy organic, drink craft beer, and watch feminist porn” rhetoric. Indeed, according to feminist pornographer Tristan Taormino, “feminist porn is organic, fair-trade porn.”

Taormino touches on an important point. Organic fair-trade products are not available to the vast majority who require significant purchasing power, education, and inclination to access such products. Taormino also points out that porn is a trade, an industry with significant lobby power and political weight.

Pornographers and their supporters are certainly not the first to believe that a multi-billion dollar industry that is overwhelmingly harmful can be made ethical with a few tweaks from the inside. There has long been a move toward making unethical commerce more ethical. The beauty industry need only fund “body positive” initiatives that inspire women to feel good and buy product. Coal Seam Gas mining drills are turned pink in an ironic bid to support breast cancer charity. And so, the porn industry simply needs more “diverse” genres to counter the harm it does to users, their partners, and society at large, not to mention the exploitation, inequality and abuse that underlie the mainstream industry’s success.

The problem with “change from the inside” initiatives like the “feminist porn” model, is that minor tweaks do nothing to adjust the overall net impact of the industry. In the words of former Yale professor, William Deresiewicz,

“What starts at the edges stays at the edges… Against the immense power of coordinated wealth, the Walmarts, the Goldman Sachses, the Koch brothers — the small business model does not amount to very much… We’re not going to fix the world by selling.”

Today’s “Generation Sell” poses that every problem holds a commercial solution. The feminist porn argument assumes that sexual fulfillment hinges upon a consumer product and reflects how little sexual progress has been made in recent decades. The sexual revolution, it seems, opened up industry and little else. Despite pornography making up over a quarter of all Internet searches, and sex being the meta-narrative behind much media, sexual behaviours have hardly progressed.

To the ire of many feminists, discussion of male violence is often derailed with cries of “what about good men,” yet many of these same feminists employ the same tactic to derail analyses of pornography. “What about the good porn,” like “What about the good men,” does nothing but undermine the issues that women and girls are reporting.

Of course there is a diversity of porn — with millions of films produced, diversity is unavoidable (even if diverse titles reflect sexist, racist, and transphobic tropes). And as many will argue, defensively, some women do enjoy porn, diverse or otherwise. Of course, many people take pleasure in habits that are ultimately harmful – junk food, alcohol, tobacco, and drugs, for example. Women are not obligated to only support industries that serve a purpose for feminism.

If the aim of progressives is to make sexuality more positive, a precondition is to first and foremost end sexual coercion and violence. But that very same sexual coercion and violence is what makes pornography so thrilling to many of its users.

As neuroscientist Ogi Olgas said when researching the limited consumption of feminist pornography:

What is fascinating is that women commonly promote the idea of feminist porn and socially want to believe in it. Activists argue that there needs to be more of it, women support it in public and I see women start erotic websites all the time. But when it comes down to it, that is just not what they are interested in looking at.

Indeed, women, men, and children alike are drawn toward the more extreme, violent, sexist, and racist forms of porn. According to Pornhub in 2014, teen, MILF, anal, and rough were all top categories for female users, similar to male users.

The commercialized sex industry cannot feasibly work to end the harmful practices it requires for profit. Instead of changing it for the better, tokenistic concessions like “feminist porn” are used to legitimize the lack of ethics in the wider industry. Moreover, these minor concessions are used to silence discussion on the more fundamental impacts. In effect, it is a form of whitewashing that masks and sustains the increasing harms.

Just like the tobacco industry doesn’t intend on ending tobacco addiction, the petroleum industry has a vested interest in continuing reliance on fossil fuels, the beauty industry feeds off women’s bodily insecurity, the porn industry requires sexual dissatisfaction, disconnection, and exploitation to grow its market. At the end of the day, the entire industry operates under a commercial doctrine, not a social or moral one.

Susan contacted me after reading an article about the harms of porn online. When reflecting on her experiences with her marriage counselor, Susan had this to say:

I am in my forties and was made to feel, through the advice given by a health professional, that there is no point hanging on to my values. In order to salvage my marriage, I should accept that our society is now saturated with new expectations of women. I should comply, or risk losing my husband.

In decades to come health professionals will surely look back on advice to accept and embrace porn use in the same way doctors look back at how tobacco was once prescribed. Like a second-hand smoker being encouraged to smoke, it is nonsensical that a client suffering from second-hand exposure to porn should be encouraged to consume it themselves.

The tobacco industry once thrived under denial, just as the porn industry does today. If society could buy its way out of sexual violence with clicks on Pornhub, we would be living free from sexual crime. Not only are we getting further away from such a goal, but the evidence continues to be eschewed by many professionals and activists alike. Countless people like Susan continue to be ignored and undermined. We haven’t even begun the conversation.

Laura McNally is a psychologist, consultant, author and PhD candidate. Her current research examines the political and social implications of global corporate social responsibility. Find more of her work at lauramcnally.com.

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  • A little while ago I came across a trans woman’s blog where he was saying that quitting all porn use helped a lot with his gender dysphoria. What got me was where he said that that included television, since the ads were porn to him.

    Sexualized media is everywhere. Where do we draw the line? And what will it take to change things? Research only affects those who are open to criticizing porn already.

    People may scoff but one of the biggest things to help me recover from the effects of pornification was Mars and Venus on a Date. Stop scoffing!

    • Eli2

      Yes, sexualized media IS everywhere. Where I draw the line personally is I consume as little of it as possible. I don’t read a lot of magazines, especially those horrid “beauty” or fashion magazines that tell me how wonderful I’d be if only I’d look like the photoshopped half-naked woman on the cover. I don’t watch TV at home, and that has freed me up to do so many things that mean so much more to me. I’m getting to the point where i can’t stand when TV is on everywhere else, though! Of course, my opting out doesn’t change the fact that these images are out there, however, if more and more people stopped consuming this garbage, there would not be such a strong market for it.

    • Jonas

      Hmm, I can see where this TW comes from in regards that tv ads are porn. The sexualised content in almost any commercial today that feature a women or women is so over the top pornified.

      And its not just on television. Walk through a subway station or center of a city and there are ads everywhere on lipsticks or women’s underwear or more or less whatever and in like 9/10 of them there is a woman who has the “I want you to fuck me” look.

      I’m actually quite amazed that not more of us men is starting to demand a change as to how women are portrayed in media. These images/ads literally wants us to think about sex all the time and in a pornified culture as the west has become, that’s what many will do and I think its mentally exhausting.

      How hard can it be to just use normal pictures ? I mean clothes or lipsticks or cars or videogames don’t become better because one puts in a woman that are told to look “sexy & hot” according to this cultures standards as to what that means.

      • Mike

        I don’t know what TV ads you are talking about, the only sexual ads with women I see on TV are for Carl’s burgers. And if you’re seeing heavy focus on sexuality for women a lot on TV shows other than commercials, premium channels such asHBO late at night are probably all you are watching.

        • Laur

          Mike,
          Clearly, you’re not looking at ads through a woman’s vantage point. I don’t subscribe to HBO or watch late night tv, and I see sexist ads all the time, as well as on billboards and movie posters. Men who are open to what women and feminists are saying are totally aware of this, too.

          It appears you don’t know what banning means. Censorship of pornography would be if the government stepped in and said pornography is illegal. Putting pressure on a specific newspaper to stop running sexist pictures is hardly a ban. But I guess feminists should never protest anything, because if a newspaper or wherever stopped running it in response to us, that would be a “ban”?

          I’ve been to numerous feminist anti-porn conferences, as well as read a large amount about the feminist anti-porn movement. Government censorship is not something feminists support. Sure, you may be able to find one or two feminists in favor, but even that’s hard to come by. Feminists do not want porn to exist, but we do not support a government ban on it. Feel better now that your beloved pornography is not about to be ripped away by the government?

          • There is no need for the condescending-seeming and prejudiced final sentence of that post addressing someone. I do support removing all sexist things and they are not protected by the USA first amendment of the constitution, however not all porn is sexist, though some certainly is. And the Carl’s burger ads I mentioned are simply sexual, not sexist. Sexist would mean discriminating against or judging a woman or Man because of their gender. And whether it’s feminists putting pressure to remove something sexist or the government banning it, the result would still be the removal so comparing banning by the government and removal due to feminist pressure is like comparing dolphins and porpoises. And in response to anemone: that man was blaming his own choice to be misgynyst on pictures on a screen. misogyny is something people just do, not learn. just like some people are just gay because they are gay, not because they were taught to be gay. same with right handed people, ceasing to watch watching videos of right handed people’ won’t make them stop being right handed.

          • Meghan Murphy

            Ok so what’s clear is that you don’t understand what objectification is or why it harms women. Perhaps you might look into that further, how it connects to sexism/misogyny/male supremacy/violence against women before continuing on, forcing people to engage in debates with you… That is my suggestion. It’s clear this conversation is simply going to be frustrating and a waste of time for everyone on this forum, except maybe you, but in order for it to be useful for you, you’d have to listen and learn, which would mean doing some self-educating first. Here is a place to start: http://feministcurrent.com/tag/objectification/

          • I’m not going to link to what the blogger wrote, because he doesn’t need it, but what he said is that his mental health problems were exacerbated or triggered or something by porn, including mainstream soft porn, not that it made him misogynous. (And misogyny *is* learned.) Perhaps you meant something other than misogyny? I used a different term.

          • Hannah

            “Sexist would mean discriminating against or judging a woman or Man because of their gender.”

            Ooh, you have a LOT more reading to do, my friend. I think at this point it would be better for you to try not to form an opinion, especially since you’re not a woman and don’t experience it first hand and just simply read and educate yourself as much as possible. You’re on the right track, just don’t seem to have enough info to make an educated opinion yet.

          • L

            “And whether it’s feminists putting pressure to remove something sexist or the government banning it, the result would still be the removal…”
            -social pressure and a government ban are two completely different things. The government has the police and threat of punishment (jail, fines, police investigation etc.) behind it, social pressure does not.

            “misogyny is something people just do, not learn…. same with right handed people, ceasing to watch watching videos of right handed people’ won’t make them stop being right handed.”

            Can someone please explain to me how misogyny and being right-handed are remotely similar?! ROFL!

          • mike

            L, The idea is that it’s something people just do, rather than be tought to do.

          • L

            I’m guessing Megan isn’t going to approve any more of your comments, but I’ll respond anyway.

            I think Erika’s post below me really covers it, but I’ll just reiterate her point.

            Men don’t hate other women and commit acts of rape and violence against them because its something they just do, they learn it-from other men, from other women, from religion, books, magazines, movies and other aspects of culture.

            Saying that misogyny is something people just do is like saying racism is something people just do..its not.

          • Sally Hansen

            so basically what you are saying is that men are innately sexist and woman-hating. gotcha. hmmm… sounds like you’re the one pronouncing harsh judgments on men, not us.

          • Erika

            “misogyny is something people just do, not learn.”

            You can’t be serious. There is absolutely no way you are being serious. Misogyny is not innate in humans, so by definition, it must be learned. You do not have the attitudes and beliefs you have out of thin air, but rather, you are indoctrinated into them. The process is literally so smooth that you believe these attitudes and beliefs are really your own. You need to challenge your own attitudes and beliefs more forcefully. Open yourself to reading opposing viewpoints with an open mind instead of reflexively defending your preexisting biases.

          • mike

            If you’re right, then who taught the very first misogynysts to be misogynist?

          • Erika

            Just because every idea has one or more independent originators does not prove that the idea can not then be taught and passed down to other people. This isn’t hard stuff. You really need to focus on educating yourself before you attempt to “educate” others.

          • Sally Hansen

            “There is no need for the condescending-seeming and prejudiced final sentence of that post addressing someone.” LOL poor baby. got a little scared after a woman made a valid point and you couldn’t really find much to contradict it? we’ve all seen this classic projection and redirection from men commenting here. we are not “prejudiced” just because we point out you have male socialization and are therefore blind to a lot of things that females are exposed to every day. that’s just you getting offended because we’re pointing out your privilege. men are so emotional, i swear! #masculinitysofragile

        • tinfoil hattie

          Have you ever seen a Victoria’s Secret ad? Or an ad for shampoo? Yogurt? Chocolate?

          Look again.

          • Mike

            I’ve seen shampoo ads, but nothing sexual about them, just women swinging their long, shiny hair. the closest thing to a sexual chocolate ad I’ve seen is one that says “if you’re a man who likes this chocolate, great, and if your a woman who likes that stuff..what you doin Friday night?”. I have not seen a sexual yogurt ad, unless maybe if you count ads were there’s a young woman slowly eating a spoonful while smiling, in which case you re over analyzing it.

          • Meghan Murphy

            You are confusing ‘sex’ with ‘objectification’ or ‘sexualization’. Sexuality and sex is (or it should be, in any case) about pleasure (or reproduction, if that is something you desire). It isn’t about selling products or about objectified body parts. Women’s objectification has nothing to do with women’s sexualities — it has to do with men’s sexual titillation, domination, and capitalism.

          • Mike

            of course Victoria’s secret ads are sexual, the whole brand is about selling sexy undergarments and perfume.

          • Meghan Murphy

            Again, there is a difference between ‘sexual’ and ‘sexualized.’

          • mike

            Speaking of Capitalism, history proves that Socialism (Aka letting the government control the economy instead of capitalists)is not beneficial for fighting poverty or prostitution, the countries with the worst human rights records were or are Socialist. Nazi is short for Nationalist Socialist, PolPot was Socialist, The USSR was socialist, North Korea is socialist, & China, which is socialist except for some “special economic zones”, has, by some estimates, anywhere from 1 out every 42 to over 47% of the world total of prostitutes:https://www.google.com/webhp?hl=en#hl=en&q=how+many+prostitutes+in+the+world given that & that there’s ahrdly ever been a benevolent, non-imperialist government in history, I’d rather trust a capitalist than a politician.

          • Erika

            You are woefully confusing the terms “socialism” and “communism.” Please get a dictionary. Also, many of the countries you listed are not socialist as you say, but rather communist. Please educate yourself. Socialism is not communism; apples are not oranges.

          • “You are woefully confusing the terms “socialism” and “communism.” Please get a dictionary.”

            Actually, according to my dictionary socialism is a system in which the means of productions are commonly owned and the production/distribution of items is directed towards meeting human need. Communism is defined by Google as a system in which “all property is owned by the community and each person contributes and receives according to their ability and needs.”

            They sound very similar, don’t they? And in fact they are. Communism was originally viewed as purer form of socialism, which society would progress towards after capitalism had been abolished and people became to overcome the traditions, culture and values of capitalism.

            What you mean by socialism is called “social democracy” or “reformism”. Feel free to be a modern reformist if you want, but please stop equating it with socialism and thus implying that revolutionary socialism does not exist. Not all leftists who reject reformism are supporters of dictatorial states that claim to be socialist.

            The idea that those encouraging the masses to rise up against and overthrow the capitalist class are anti-democracy and dictatorial does not make sense to me. Of course, pro-dictatorship, pro-hierarchy thinking can infiltrate such movements, particularly when it is the dominant ideology within a society (as it was in Russia and China), but I do not see the revolutionary viewpoint as inherently oppression (quite the opposite in fact.)

            Again, feel free to disagree with me, but do not act as though reformists who distance themselves from those nasty communists speak for all self-proclaimed socialists. They do not, in the same way that liberals who distance themselves from those nasty, sex-negative, gender abolitionist radicals do not speak for all self-proclaimed feminists.

          • Erika

            It seems that younger generations are changing the definitions of words. When I was in school, admittedly long ago, “socialism” referred to social societal organization and “communism” referred to command-and-control economic organization. It is really that simple. It is quite possible to be socialist but not communist, and vice versa, according to the original meaning of these words (not the new Orwellian Millennial-generation word salad definition.)For example, many Scandinavian countries are socialist, because many decisions are made collectively and there is a large social safety net, but Scandinavia is very much capitalist; they do not have a government mandated command-and-control economy, but rather individuals compete in the marketplace to earn wages and they own property individually. (Under communism, the state owns all property.) Socialism and capitalism are apples and oranges– at least under their *original* meanings.

          • Meghan Murphy

            I’ve always learned about and understood socialism as a move towards communism. Baby-steps like.

        • Priscila

          Softcore porn has already migrated to mainstream culture to such an extent that heavy porn consumers (like you seem to be) can’t even see it.

        • Jonas

          Not seeing much “sexuality for women” in any ads, tv shows or movies. What I do see often is women on display for the male gaze to ‘satisfy’ heterosexual men.

          Actual Women so often get to play female characters written by men for men. They are nothing more, the female characters I mean, than a man’s fantasy.

      • Dana

        It’s even worse with the so-called “I want you to fuck me” look. What that actually is, nine times out of ten, is a drunk or stoned look. That should scare the shit out of all of us. Everyone is being conditioned to believe that intoxicated = consent.

        • Jonas

          That is a very interesting thing you bring up.

          It’s a “look” that is taken straight out of porn, an industry in which we know is pretty heavy on the consumption of various drugs, alcohol and weed being the most common I read.
          Which I don’t say to judge but that would shed some light as to why this look so often–or maybe all the time–looks like a “drunk or stoned” look and how it has been conflated with sex.
          Maybe I’m way off here, I don’t know.

          Anyway thank you for bringing it up. You gave me something to think about.

  • Priscila

    Feminist porn is an unicorn. This piece reminded me of this other one, where the author tried to actually find “feminist porn” online:
    http://rageagainstthemanchine.com/2010/12/20/get-on-the-fucking-ball-janitors/

    “Were feminist porn to actually exist, it wouldn’t matter, because no one is looking for feminist porn and no one cares to see what it might look like because people don’t watch porn to see two equals going at it. While we waste our time arguing about whether feminist porn exists, whether a feminist can be into mainstream porn without getting kicked out of the club, whether women can participate in the production of mainstream porn and still claim to be feminists, etc., men are producing and consuming enough brutal porn to drown us all in a purulent swamp of misogyny. […] Who gives a shit, in this context, if a couple of tattooed, 115 IQ havin’, zombie lovin’ drama club geeks think they’ve found a way to make a video of two people fucking that doesn’t involve the woman being called a whore?”

    • Candy

      That quote…damn.

      I’ve also thought one big, glaring reason women are called sexist epithets out the wazoo in porn is because it’s psychologically easier to see a “whore” getting treated disrespectfully or downright worthlessly than just a woman. Because a woman can be your wife, your sister, your mom. A whore is just a whore – maligned in society, looked down upon. “Whore” expresses the correct amount of contempt. “Whore” exacerbates the power dynamic. How utterly puritanical and prudish porn is, how many regressive society messages have become interwoven with sexuality, with its repeated “punishment” of the whore. God forbid you just like a dick.

      Some women too sexualize the “role” or look of a “whore,” adopting porn star-esque mannerisms or preferences, because it’s easier to be sexual in a world where sexuality is so commonly seen as shameful, perverse, dirty, and taboo if play into the schema of the exaggeratedly sexual woman. I mean, it’s easier to be a clown for a day if you have a clown suit on, no?

      • lizor

        “How utterly puritanical and prudish porn is”

        Yes. Absolutely.

        It’s profoundly Orwellian that pornography should be thought of as relating in any way to psycho-sexual health or liberation. Porn feeds parasitically on sexual shame and repression. If we were truly sexually free – if we were truly agents of our own bodily pleasure, the industry would die.

        • corvid

          Yeah, the pornographers profit handsomely off the “madonna/wife vs. whore” dichotomy, it’s integral to their business. But in public discourse they turn around and pin the dichotomy *on feminists*, just to make themselves look progressive. It’s sick and it’s a mind-fuck.

      • Priscila

        Yes, that makes a lot of sense. I actually heard Gail Dines making this point in one of her lectures. She said something like “there are no women in porn; there are thousands of bitches, whores, sluts, cum dumpsters etc. but no women” because calling them “women” would humanize them too much, and that would make it more difficult for boys who are new to porn to normalize the sub-human treatment inflicted to them.

        I think the women who adopt the “whore role” are simply trying to play the game. Trying to win a game created by men whose rules are made in such a way that women can never win, yet can sometimes give a temporary, fragile illusion of victory to women who try hard to.

    • “Feminist porn is an unicorn.”

      It is more like a square triangle. Not only does it not exist, it cannot logically exist. If a depiction of sexuality featured zero power dynamics of any kind (violence, degradation, verbal aggression, racism, etc.) and emphasised personality over prettiness or the lack thereof (which no pornographic video have done or will ever do), it would not be called pornography. The fact that they are choosing to call it “feminist porn” and not “feminist love/romance films” (though I have a lot of problems with conventional depictions of romantic love as well, see this post http://liberalfeministtropes.blogspot.com.au/2015/06/how-to-spot-love-myths.html) tells everything I need to know.

      Well, not quite everything. If you look up the criteria for feminist pornography it actually seems as though “feminist pornography” is worse than regular pornography. I might elaborate on this in a future blog post. For now I will address what I see as the worst aspect of “feminist pornography”, the requirement that is feature some “subversive” element, which can mean, well, pretty much anything. The presence of a single unconventional physical feature (e.g. non-white skin, public hair, a tiny amount of fat on a woman’s belly) is enough to make a pornographic film “subversive”.

      Whether such imagery is subversive or not, it makes pornography more harmful, not less harmful, by ensuring that there is no way for women to escape from it. Liberals make like the idea that any women can be a pornography performer or a high quality sex object, but not all women want that. More “diversity” (notice, it is only physical diversity which is present, not diversity with regard to beliefs, feelings personality traits or anything that really matters) in pornography just forces more women into conforming to pornography roles. You might as well argue that McDonalds is being “subversive” and “inclusive” by spreading itself throughout the world.

      But that’s not the worst of it. BDSM/sadomasochism and other activities which “expand the boundaries of sexual depiction” are also considered “subversive”. I swear it seems as though the only thing that would not pass the “subversion” criteria is an image of a thin, busty, blonde, white women with perfect skin and hair being vaginally penetrated by a white man. If “subversion” means expanding the amount of violence, degradition and power inequalities which are allowed in sex, then the less “subversion” the better. Oh, and already power entities which aim to “expand their boundaries”, generally not good in the eyes of radical leftists/feminists. The whole “feminist pornography” concept is just preaching to the liberal choir if you ask me (or if you don’t, since I do not buy the claim that reality is subjective.)

  • andeväsen

    Health professionals, judges, policemen, soldies, legislators – people in positions of power – watching pornography and recommending women do the same is the dystopia we are already living in.

    That member of parliament whose pornography watching was defended by the regressed-teenager Owen Jones is a Labour party politican, Simon Danczuk. He was also a vocal campaigner, i.e. regularly appeared as a talking head, on child sexual abuse, particularly historic child sexual abuse allegations by politicians in the 70s and 80s which are still under investigation. His own statement of watching pornography was that he was “a man of the world” and it was “part of life”. This man’s wife Karen Danczuk is an elected representative in local government. She stated on twitter regarding pornography that “it’s healthy”. She said that she herself had been offered roles in pornography. Both Simon and Karen represent (at national and local levels) Rochdale, which is the site of one of the country’s most prolific known paedophile gangs.

    There it is. Elected representatives serving and campaigning on behalf of vulnerable children think pornography is a healthy part of the life of a “man of the world”.

  • L.Arturo

    Spot on!!!!! Thank you.

  • Lydia

    “The tobacco industry once thrived under denial, just as the porn industry does today.”
    But the prevalence of tobacco use dwindled once people began to realize the serious harm it causes. With regards to pornography, the abuse is more than evident – instead they argue that some women like it. Can you imagine someone making a similar argument for receiving a cancer diagnosis?

  • Making porn all okay with a few tweaks is like artfully arranging a sprig of parsley on a turd and calling it vegan.

    • Dana

      Making things vegan isn’t exactly making them OK. Only reason anyone gets away with that diet long-term is they take supplements.

      More like it’s putting a sprig of parsley on a turd and calling it a salad.

      (Yes, I’m aware of the China Study. I’m also aware T. Colin Campbell didn’t read his own goddamned data. With that in mind I’m supremely disinterested in any other “evidence” since I’ve done my own homework on human nutrition and discovered quite the opposite. Oh well.)

      • Erika

        Vegan is an extremely healthy diet that many do follow long-term. Your comments about Campbell are incorrect. He is also not the only person who has studied vegan diets and found them healthy. You are “disinterested in any other ‘evidence'” which means that your mind is closed. You have done your “own homework on human nutrition and discovered quite the opposite” meaning you have confirmation bias— you believe the studies that bolster your pre-existing beliefs and disbelieve studies that support vegan diets. This is not how science is done or interpreted. I should know; I am a professional scientist. Also, the only supplement that might be needed is vitamin B-12. However, it often isn’t needed. The amount of vitamin B-12 needed by humans is minute and the body retains stores of this vitamin for long periods of time. It is also present in some microorganisms. But, do whatever you want. If your body composition is ideal, and you are an accomplished athlete with no health issues, you may have genes that tolerate animal products well. However, if you are a typical Westerner with 10-40 lb to lose, you may want to become more open-minded instead of automatically dismissing any research supporting vegan diets while automatically embracing any research suggesting that they are less than ideal. Unfortunately, recent research shows that overweight people are less aware of their status than ever before(since studies have been done.) Overweight status has become normalized in the Western world. 2/3 of Americans are now overweight and many of them are obese, for example. This is unhealthy.

      • amongster

        Well, if humans keep eating their animal products we probably won’t have to discuss pornography much longer because we will have destroyed the earth and humankind. I’d rather take some supplements than participate in environmental destruction.

  • tinfoil hattie

    There’s no such thing as “feminist porn.”

    • Mike

      Rape and misogyny are worst in countries where porn is banned. People’s sex drives are like hose water, the more you suppress it, the more violently it burst forth.

      • Meghan Murphy

        What are you talking about? Based on what evidence?

        • mike

          The fourth paragraph of section two of this article http://www.jeraldinephneah.me/2014/10/banning-of-pornography-in-singapore.html

        • mike

          wait, dam nit, I got paragraph six mad four mixed up again, I meant paragraph six.

        • Nunnunun

          The source he cited is from a blog based in Singapore. I’m Singaporean, pornography is banned but sex crimes are really low. Hell, crime is in general extremely low. Mike is full of shit.

          Those countries that have higher sex crimes are also deeply-segregated in terms of gender and have ingrained misogynistic cultural attitudes. Again, you want to start comparing, look at Singapore and how civilised we are, comparatively.

          In any case, those high volume searches coming from misogynistic societies can therefore easily explain the high number of sex crimes. Since they do end up looking at porn ANYWAY. And even more violent shit. So no, Mike, your evidence or at least your analysis of the evidence is wrong.

          • Hannah

            Right. People still fall for that correlation=causation crap? I mean, that’s like basic first-year undergrad stuff, maybe even high school…

      • It’s not “people”, it’s “men”. I have never seen a woman become violent from abstaining from porn and masturbation for too long. This is exclusively a male phenomenon.

        And it’s not even true. It’s used to justify misogyny, as you are doing right now.

        • corvid

          Yeah, isn’t it interesting how the sex that rapes the least and doesn’t learn an entitlement to the other (the female sex) also doesn’t watch porn in the majority? Wonder what Mikey would have to say about that.

        • mike

          Just because you’ve never heard of something doesn’t mean it never happens. You are generalizing about women.

          • amongster

            Yeah, you rather believe in violent women than acknowledge male violence that is omnipresent. You miss the forest for the trees.

      • Morag

        “People’s sex drives are like hose water, the more you suppress it, the more violently it burst forth.”

        “People’s” sex drives, eh? Nah, you mean men’s.

        So, Mike bursts into a Feminist Current discussion, swinging his hose in our faces, to warn the women: “Let us rape you, legally, or else we will rape you, illegally.”

        And they say feminists are paranoid man-haters! When it is the men, themselves, who tell us again and again that sex and rape are exactly the same.

        • mike

          I did not say anything about rape, Violent porn and rape porn should be banned, including fifty shades of gray.

          • tinfoil hattie

            Not to go all Dworkin on you, but porn IS rape, in my view.

          • corvid

            So you’re saying up to 90% of porn should be banned then (see the article above for reference.)

      • Laur

        I have heard men say *men’s* sex drives are so strong that prostitution MUST exist. You are saying the same thing about filmed prostitution.

        Your comment really doesn’t make sense anyway, as feminists are not trying to *ban* the porn industry. We want sexual violence against women to stop, and porn, as it’s currently produced *is* sexual violence. What you’re arguing is that men should be allowed one class of women–those in the sex trade–to “release” their sexual urges. Otherwise, you say, these sexually violent urges will get released on respectable women.

        I know these aren’t the words you use, but that *is* what you’re saying. You mus be permitted sexual violence against one group, so as to not take it out on the random (i.e. underserving, innocent) women.

        Even if men had a biological need for pornography, which I don’t believe for a minute, and makes no sense, why the videos we have today? Why is porn dubbed “incest” so much more popular with men than porn with those same women not dubbed incest? Why the obsession with anal, and ass to mouth? You’re trying to tell me there’s something *biological* about these types of sexual activities? Give me a break.

        I would also add that, though you are blissfully unaware, the affects of pornography *are* affecting “respectable,” non-prostituted women. Heterosexual women are being pressured for anal, which many find painful and do not like. I have been in discussions of women, on more than one occasion, where women question why men are so obsessed with anal. Pornography, where anal is treated as a sexual act every girl wants to do, is affecting the kinds of sex acts men are demanding from women.

        Feminists don’t believe you are biologically destined to sexually hurt us. Feminists believe in men’s humanity much more than you do, it seems.

        • Jonas

          I read an interesting comment by a gay man once on anal penetration that claimed that the myth on gay men among hetero men is that gay men are “ass fuckers” (and yes this is very true, its a common way for many hetero men to talk about gay men), yet he argued, that the most “anal obsessed” men on the planet are hetero men who watches porn, while at the same time so often are extremely homophobic.

          I never for one second thought about that before but I did and it makes helluva lot of sense.

          I even believe, while I can’t prove it and this might upset a lot of porn watching men, that most so called gay porn on ordinary pornzites are more often than not watched by hetero men, not actual gay men.
          It has this “fucker” and “fuckee” concept (as regular porn has) ie. a dominant person and a subordinate person and are often shot in similar ways as hetero porn and the penis worshipping is 100% and that is what attracts porn watching men I believe.

          • Nunnunun

            The Kinsey Institute in fact showed that anal sex amongst homosexual men, back in the day, was extremely rare and in low numbers. It’s more expected now because, you guessed it, porn.

        • mike

          that’s why violent porn should be banned and nonviolent consensual porn allowed.

          • Meghan Murphy

            Define violent. Do “rough” blow jobs count? What about calling women racist or sexist names? Is barely legal porn not harmful because it’s “nonviolent” and “consensual”?

          • EEU

            Meghan, I think this Mike guy is a troll.

          • Meghan Murphy

            Agree. (FTR, I just deleted about eight of Mike’s comments which were getting progressively more ridiculous and have asked him to please move along.)

          • Jonas

            What is it with porn that you believe is so fundamental to us men that you believe we men should have the right to have access to it even when we know it causes a lot of harm to women in the real world ?

          • hak

            Why “””should””” there be any porn in the first place?

        • Mike

          If they are not trying to ban all porn why did feminist current post an article against women posing in bikinis on page 3 of sun magazine?

          • Meghan Murphy

            Topless photos on Page 3. Not *just* “women posing in bikinis.” Anyway, this doesn’t constitute banning the porn industry.

          • andeväsen

            Do you know what you are talking about?

            Is the Sun a magazine?

            Is it women who are on page 3?

            Are they posing?

            Is it bikinis they are wearing?

            Perhaps read further before piping up.

        • Rachel

          I had an ex boyfriend admit me to me that anal and facials are simply about domination. End of. He was an abusive person, and very intelligent, yet quite yobbo. Even he understood what it was all about. He taught me so much, in a messed up way.

          Also, even aside from all the anal and facials and gagging and hair pulling and strangling. Why is a woman’s self esteem put so low on the priority list in society? It’s seen as prudish for women to just not be ok with porn and the idea that her partner is jacking it to other women. Men will say they would be fine with their partner doing the same, but if they saw half naked sexualised men and every turn, and had their partner actually drooling over these naked men all the time, I highly doubt they’d like it.

          • Priscila

            Years ago, a well-known (at the time) dudebro comedy blog from my country stated upfront that men like anal better because “it’s warm, tight and more humiliating for the woman”. Yes, with these words.

            Since then they’ve lost big sponsors such as MTV due to rape apology (through an online petition), but the blog still exists, and still just as porny as before. 🙁

          • Candy

            I’ve been having some uh, anal issues lately. I’m a feminist dating a guy who loves anal. Granted, he doesn’t pressure me into it, still likes PIV, and I genuinely get pleasure from it – have for years. In fact, vaginal is often more painful for me. What makes me uncomfortable is not knowing what motivates his desire for it, not only due to porn driving the motivation to get it, but because it’s an act myriad men find “emasculating” if done to them. “It’s okay to do to a woman, but on me? Hell no, that’s degrading and gay.” And while he’s down with anal-related stuff done to him, penetration is where the reciptivity ends. I know he used to watch a lot of anal porn, too.

            I scrapped together that he likes anal for psychological reasons when I asked him if he’d like my vagina as much as my ass if it felt the same, and he said no. I asked if it’s for dominant reasons and he said it’s not about that. He’s never been callous or rough with it, and I don’t find the way he goes about it degrading or very dominating at all…I’m often the one on top setting the rules and pace. I just hate the idea I’m feeding into some guy’s ego without knowing. I’m very analytical of my own motivations, so having someone who’s less aware is frustrating.

          • lizor

            “What makes me uncomfortable is not knowing what motivates his desire for it”

            But you do know. You said it here: “he’s down with anal-related stuff done to him, penetration is where the reciptivity ends. I know he used to watch a lot of anal porn, too.”

            Clearly it’s not about expanding the palate of shared pleasurable sensations. It’s about domination and degradation (and, I’ll wager, a large dollop of repressed “oooh doing dirty things to a dirty whore” kind of mindset).

            It’s very tough in the moment where you are literally being penetrated by someone else’s enculturated contempt for you. Speaking from experience (I know you have not asked for advice, so forgive me if I overstep, but…) I’d suggest you be careful as this stuff will imprint with effects you’ll experience long after this guys is no longer your partner.

          • Rachel

            Really good point Lizor, I was unsure how to critically think about that myself. It really has just become so commonplace that even when men think it’s not about porn or domination, it really is. Where else do they come up with this crap? Pardon the pun. It’s really telling that someone would be eager to do something to someone else, but not have it done to themself.

          • lizor

            In the past when I would be starting a sexual relationship with a guy, anytime he would mention an interest in anal sex I would say something like “I don’t have much experience with it and I’m not convinced I’d really like it. But I know where we can buy a harness and dildo. When I see how much you enjoy being penetrated like that I might be convinced to swap roles.”

            Most often, that put the whole conversation to bed.

          • Meghan Murphy

            Anal sex is something, as I recall, 19/20 year old men were interested in… I haven’t encountered a single man who tried or brought it up since I was that age. I think it’s just a kind of porn/novelty thing — young men want to do it so they can tell their friends they did it, because they get a thrill out of doing something they saw in porn, and/or because they get off on convincing women to do something they don’t want to do/that causes them pain or discomfort. It makes no sense that a man would want to have anal sex otherwise — a vagina is a much more comfortable place to put a penis. Anyway, all that aside, when I was younger and this came up with a boyfriend, I, too, found lizor’s tactic worked well. “Ok sure we can do that just as soon as you let me put on a strap on and do the same to you. It makes way more sense that you’d enjoy that than me anyway.” Today my response would be “No, I don’t enjoy that and why on earth would I do something I don’t enjoy so that you can fulfill some porn fantasy?”

          • L

            Lizor, I think that’s a great response. Generally, my spidey sense goes off when someone wants to do something to me but is adamant that they won’t have it done to themselves.

            That same sense goes off when I hear people say things like prostitution/stripping/porn are all great, noble, empowering jobs..but, I wouldn’t do it, wouldn’t want my daughter, mom, friend and etc to do it.

          • Candy

            I’ve definitely considered all of that. The thing is, *I* like anal, so no longer doing it with him would affect me, too. Basically – should I compromise here and just do what I enjoy, or give it up because his view on it isn’t as equal as I’d like? It’s tough.

          • L

            Candy, I think I understand what you’re saying…You enjoy anal sex for the pleasure, but your partner seems to enjoy it (at least on some level) for the purpose of domination/power (hence why he wont be on the receiving end of penetration) and you’re not comfortable with that.

            Does your discomfort make it difficult for you to enjoy the act with your partner? Imho, I think sex should be pleasurable on both an emotional and physical level. If his motivations for a particular sex act don’t sit well with you then it seems like it would take away from your pleasure. I’m not really giving advice, just throwing out some questions and thoughts.

      • Meh

        Hmm… sounds a bit like you’re blaming feminists for fucked up men, Mike. Here’s something I’d like you to consider: Violent men are violent because they’re entitled fuckheads. It has nothing to do with women suppressing their fucking precious pornos from them. Stop blaming women for violent men.

        • mike

          Mechs, people have said that laws against drug use have made them want drugs ten times more. I. Switzerland where drug use is legal, there is less drug use than any other country. I bet half the reason people use lorn is the thrill of doing something forbidden.

          • Meghan Murphy

            How to explain the fact that most people who are struggling with addiction are struggling with addictions to legal substances (i.e. alcohol and/or perscription drugs)? That said, if you are talking about weed I agree that it shouldn’t be illegal, but also weed isn’t a particularly harmful or addictive drug. (I don’t actually think things like heroin or coke should be illegal either, of course, but that is not because I think people ‘rebel’ by becoming addicts). People don’t become addicts because they are rebels, they become addicts because they’ve experienced trauma and/or because they are self-medicating for some reason or another. Teenagers may well try drugs because they are ‘rebelling’ but trying drugs when you’re a teenager doesn’t automatically turn you into an addict.

          • Jonas

            And weed in itself don’t teach us men to be violent in the bedroom, porn do. By which I mean there is nothing inherent in weed that would transform someone into a sexual predator, while porn, for the most part, is fueling this behaviour no doubt.

          • Meh

            a) it’s ‘Meh’ – not Mechs

            b) women’s bodies aren’t drugs

          • Morag

            “women’s bodies aren’t drugs”

            How sick is that that we have to point out that women cannot be compared to to substances to be consumed, or to any non-human things? How sick is that that we have to point out that women are HUMAN?

          • Meh

            EXACTLY – I’m endlessly having to point this out to men. It’s extremely concerning.

          • Rachel

            Ugh. I know! It’s barbaric. I said the same thing regarding the harm minimisation in the sex industry. Drugs don’t get hurt when you abuse them. Women do. Not even just individual women, but women as a whole. The world really is so far removed when it comes to women. It’s times like this when I realise just how objectified we really are.

            It’s like that whole soft look on men again. Aw poor man has an addiction to porn. I really get addictions, and how hard they are to break. But when do we start worrying about the women being abused. When do women become not just a used object, but an actual human being. It goes to show that it’s not just the men that use women outwardly that are the problem, but even the ones that don’t use women(or use them minimally) still have the outlook about women that ultimately they are ‘things’. Even without someone acting on that, it’s disheartening to know that they really see women that way deep down. It’s too ingrained.

          • Priscila

            I am FUCKING SICK of men who make this drug argument. This and the one that “porn is just fantasy” are utterly disgusting. Is it really that hard to understand that the women in your porn, unlike drugs, are HUMAN BEINGS??? How many more women will have to point that out to you before you stop trying to teach us how we should feel about our objectification?

          • Erika

            No, Switzerland doesn’t have “less drug use than any other country.” Obviously, you have never been to Switzerland. I have. You need to get educated.

        • Meh

          Also: have you considered what I told you? Or have you just ignored it and pretended that you know better (like most horny man babies?)

          • Hannah

            Lol I haven’t seen him respond to a single comment. Ignorance is bad, but curable and when someone absolutely refuses to cure their ignorance out of pride probably (another mainly “masculine” concept/problem), that’s dangerous.

      • marv

        Porn frees men’s hoses to ‘violently burst..forth’ suppressing women’s freedom. I’m sure that is what you should have meant.

        • mike

          I’m sure you are wrong about what I meant. Google search Streisand effect. Plus people have said in talks about legalizing pot that “when I wa s a teen being told not to do something made me want it ten times more. I bet half the people who look at porn do so because of the stigma surrounding it making it seem exotic and glamorous and make it seem like forbidden fruit. It’s even been said by a comment on this blog that porn would be less addicting if there weren’t such stigma around it.

          • Meghan Murphy

            That doesn’t make any sense. Objectifying and sexualizing women is the norm in pop culture and mainstream media. Porn and porn culture are, in essence, about objectifying and sexualizing women and girls. If it is something that is everywhere in our culture and completely normalized, how can it be ‘rebellion’ when people engage in it? Also, you’ll notice that it is generally assumed that all boys these days watch porn. They share nude photos of girls/revenge porn amongst themselves and online. Porn is sex education today. Sure, if we talked openly and honestly about sex and bodies in a way that was feminist, that would be helpful, but that would include a critique of porn which, to you, seems to mean “stigma.”

          • Laur

            The analogy between drugs and pornography does not work. When drugs are legal, one has access to an inanimate object. On the other hand, real people have to be used to make the porn scenes. There are many, many women who would like the porn they got into at a tough spot in their life to be pulled; however, most companies are not willing to pull the porn of a woman who at one point “consented” to being filmed for prostitution. Sometimes these women fear going out because they never know if they will see someone who will recognize them from porn.

            There are other harms in addition to the harms of the women in the porn. Many men, without even realizing it, start pressuring women for sex acts they see in porn. Sometimes men pressure women into watching point, and women often feel uncomfortable saying they feel uncomfortable with the porn. The list goes on and on, and I haven’t even touched on the harms to users.

            People are not watching porn to “rebel.” It’s hardly underground. What was once considered soft-core porn is now shown in music videos and on tv. Men talk openly, even in groups that include women, about their porn use. Pornographers are invited to college campuses to speak. When I pornographer spoke at my alma mater, people had to sit on the steps of the auditorium, as they were so many people in attendance.

            There are real social consequences to speaking up against pornography; I have experienced them, as have many others. It seems anti-porn feminist are the real rebels.

          • are you forgetting that making porn = victimizing women – this is not about the right to “consume” a digital product; it is about the right not be raped and degraded and harmed in creating it, and have that broadcast everywhere, to subjugate other women – tiresome , not sure why people are engaging with “Mike”

          • mike

            Aooga, that is why I said that the violent category of porn should be completely banned and users of it tortured.

      • tinfoil hattie

        Cite? Or are you just doing the usual knee-jerk “Don’t touch my porn!” thing dudes do when women point out how misogynist porn is?

      • Priscila

        Pornography IS violent, Mike. In which world do you live? Or pretend to live? Too afraid of having to give up your misogynistic entertainment, huh? Sorry (not sorry) but *here* you won’t get away with it.

      • Priscila

        Are you seriously separating “porn” from “misogyny and rape”?

        LOL

        Seems like you’re in denial. Too scared of having to give up your favorite misogynistic entertainment, isn’t it?

        Noted, Mr. Mike. Noted.

      • lizor

        Poor Mike’s mind is so shrunken that he can’t get himself off without watching a recording of someone being insulted, degraded and used. He imagines all men’s humanity is as desiccated and stunted as his own – and puts this notion forward as justification for behaviour that is at best anti-social and most often leans towards criminal.

        And they call US man-haters.

        • Mike

          there is plenty of porn that does not include name calling, spanking, beatings, whipping or any verbal or physical violence. I HATE verbal and physical.Abuse and NEver watch it. Calm down and stop stereotyping men.

          • Meghan Murphy

            Time to see yourself out, Mike.

          • Priscila

            “Calm down.”

            “Not all men.”

            “Not all porn.”

            LOL

          • mike

            “Not all men” what? “Not all men” is not a complete sentence. Please explain.

          • Meghan Murphy

            BYE MIKE

          • mike

            I insist you let Priscila answer my question. Is she saying all mean re misogynyst or not? If not what is she saying? Until Priscilla answers the question, I will NEVER stop asking.

          • Meghan Murphy

            No Mike. You may not ‘insist’ anyone answer you. I’m going to have to ban you if you don’t plan on letting up. I feel I’ve given you fair warning.

          • Priscila

            Mike,

            I’ll reply one last time because – and only because – Meghan is very patient and I still have a couple of days on vacation. Next week I’ll be back to work so, BYE.

            A few days ago, I said you seemed to be in denial. Now I’m sure of it. I’ve seen men like you in almost every discussion about pornography I’ve engaged in. You probably see yourself as a nice, respectful guy who would never harm a woman. You’re obviously disturbed by all these Big Mean Feminists around here suggesting that you – such a Nice Guy like you! – might be misogynistic (if you weren’t disturbed you wouldn’t be replying things like “stop stereotyping men” and “I hate violence”, not to mention the uber-ridiculous “calm down”, in this thread). Let me state a few things clearly.

            1- Feminists don’t care about what you “are” or claim to be. What matters is what you do, say and think. If you’re truly concerned about not being misogynistic (and not only about playing the Poor Nice Guy persecuted by the Big Mean Feminists), you might consider, you know, stopping defending misogynistic things.

            2- *All porn is misogynistic*, therefore all porn advocates and/or supports violence against women. Me and other women have repeated this to you several times and you’re simply ignoring it, insisting on a separation between violent and non-violent porn that only exists in your head, insisting that “users of violent porn should be tortured” as if there were such a thing as non-violent porn (and as if torture were an acceptable practice). Violence against women isn’t “just” obvious physical aggression (which already occurs in over 88% of mainstream porn). The fact that you see nothing wrong with pornography and porn-influenced media unless it breaks your own standard of what is acceptable only shows you’ve learned to accept a certain level of VAW and oversexualization of women as “normal”. We all have, and we all had to unlearn it. You can, too.

            3- We all make generalizations about things all the time, so please stop whining about feminists “generalizing about men”. Feminists don’t do it out of nothing. Feminists generalize male behaviour based on overwhelming empirical evidence. This is called “inductive reasoning” and it’s also used in natural sciences to draw conclusions and/or predict phenomena. *Obviously* #NotAllMen are violent. But this says just as much about the origins and nature of VAW as “some people are born without legs” says about human anatomy.

            4- No, feminists don’t think you’re a monster for not wanting to give up your porn. But feminists won’t pat your back for being a Nice Guy, either. Remember, nothing you say here will make pornography less harmful to women. But you can decide whether to keep in denial of it or not.

            Bye, Mike.

          • corvid

            Exactly. Violence is more complex than obvious physical displays of it, it can be structural as well. It’s in the commodification of women in porn, the instrumentalization of women by men. That, and the tiny minority of porn that men think isn’t violent is actually still a grotesque exaggeration and minstrelization of women’s sexuality, which means the women are suffering in silence.

          • Sally Hansen

            “plenty”… you mean all of 10% of it? oh… okay. sure. have fun finding that needle in the haystack, because last time i checked there was not a category on every single website for “respectful, non-abusive porn lacking in coercion” lol And even the “feminist” kind still contained coercion (that’s what paying someone for sex is, after all). So basically the porn you speak of doesn’t actually exist because it’s an oxymoron and can’t exist in our universe.

      • Dolores

        Oh, Mike. I think I’ve seen you here before, being just as foolish as you are now. Your comment doesn’t address anything tinfoil hattie said, but I’ll humor you.

        Porn is not necessary to satisfy one sexually. If it is, the person in question is addicted to porn.

        Porn may reduce reporting of sex crimes, but I imagine normalizing violence against women, a common thing in porn, and normalizing masturbating to videos of women being raped- which is what a lot of pornographic videos are- would make women less likely to report being the victim of a sex crime. Less reported sex crimes doesn’t mean less sex crimes are occuring.

        Anyway, no one was talking about banning porn, but porn use being acceptable and normal, as it is today, creates a subordinate class of women- porn stars/prostitutes, who are considered disposable. Their rapes (money for sex is coercion, and coerced sex is rape, even if they are not saying ‘no’ on film, and if all acts done to them are explained beforehand and agreed to) are filmed for men to masturbate to (men are the target market for mainstream porn), and making this normal makes raping women normal. It makes getting off to women’s pain, and pseudo-child pornography normal (as those things are what consumers want. No one wants the ‘good’ porn).

        Don’t you dare blame feminists for women being raped. It is men (by large) who are doing the raping. It is not feminist’s fault when men commit sex crimes against women, even if it’s because someone took their precious porn away. If you find yourself raping women or committing other sex crimes against them when you’re unable to watch porn, the problem is YOU, not the people who made it (in this hypothetical situation)impossible for you to masturbate to a video of a woman or child being raped instead.

        Fuck off, Mike. Any feminist who has encountered an MRA has heard all your arguments and knows they’re bullshit.

        • mike

          I don’t know what an MRA is.

          • Meghan Murphy

            Men’s Rights Activist.

          • Oh really? Ever tried looking in the mirror?

      • Dana

        “LET US MEN WATCH IMAGES OF YOU BEING DEGRADED OR WE WILL DEGRADE YOU FOR REAL.” That’s what you’re saying. Remind me never to leave any woman I know alone with you.

        Oh and don’t bother. I used to consume porn, I know exactly what it is.

        • Rachel

          Exactly Dana. These men seem to think is feminists haven’t seen porn. I’ve seen plenty, which I’m not proud of. I know, and I assume most feminists know, just how much of that ‘non violent porn’ there really is around. And as discussed in the article, the little that isn’t around is not being sought out anyway. What about the daddy ‘tenderly loving’ his underage looking girl or babysitter during her ‘first time’. Plenty of that around…that’s the sexualisation of power and control right there. Don’t these men know that this popular ‘teen’ category is violent and degrading in itself. I know how much porn warped my brain as a female, and I hate to admit what it’s done to the men of the world. Men think as feminists we are uneducated and prudish and we can’t really know just how men think. Actually, yeah we can. Even as a porn watcher in the past, I found myself sexualising women. That’s horrible to write, and I don’t mean that I still do or that I think it’s ok! Just that I literally started to have fllashing thoughts or women in sexual ways (I’m not a lesbian) and ice would spark jealousy in me… Because *i* wanted to be the ‘best’ object! I wanted to be used the most. And of course I felt degraded at the same time! And I felt awful for having these thoughts about women. I hope that makes sense and doesn’t get misconstrued. It was then that I stared to learn the effects of porn and what it really had done to me (obviously there were ithe aspects like abuse that added to it all). I put myself out there for men’s usage sexually, with nothing particularly violent occurring, thinking I was all progressive and stuff, and have just come out of it distrustful and damaged. Men refuse to see that aspect.

          What about the apparently ‘feminist’ porn, which as pointed out isn’t sought out anyway, which still concentrates on the male gaze. Even a simple picture of a sexualised woman is demeaning. It’s teaching the man consuming these images that women are sexual objects. There have been plenty of studies showing that increased exposure to porn and sexualised images, leads men (and women) to sexualise and objectify women more. Beauty is no longer an aspect of a woman that is admired, just like a normal non physical trait. It becomes a commodity that is tied to how sexually useable she is.

          • tinfoil hattie

            Please try not to be ashamed for succumbing to patriarchy. It’s awesome that you were able to transcend your former beliefs. Seriously.

  • Pippy

    Take a look at this if you want to get an idea of how minuscule search interest in ‘feminist porn’ is compared to other categories (‘anal’, ‘teen’, etc.). On a scale between 0 and 100, the former gets a 0 and ‘anal’ gets (somewhat amusing, I have to admit) a 69.

    This graph is also really interesting. This could definitely be a coincidence, obviously, but it’s interesting that right after the highest peak in search for ‘feminist porn’ there’s a peak in search around ‘rosebudding’. If you don’t know what that is, trust me that you do not want to know, but that it is potentially horrifically physically damaging to the woman doing it, and one of the only things I’ve seen online that has disturbed me in a way which shook me for several days afterwards. I’m depressingly blunted to a lot of porn, despite intellectually knowing how deeply, deeply horrible it so often is, since I used to work in fetish and webcamming, so I’ve, er, seen some things. Most things I can understand on some level, but I’ve not seen anything as physically repulsive as that phenomenon…

    Sorry, that’s a meandering rant. But basically, yes, look at the search. Granted, that’s Google search, not internal site search on porn sites, which would likely be a lot more revealing, but it’s a pretty interesting indicator, nonetheless. Not that it’s not what anyone expected.

    • Pippy

      It’s even worse if you restrict search to the US (seems to be California that’s driving the horrible search). Rosebudding search overtakes feminist porn search during its peak. Thankfully it did die off a bit after that.

      (Sorry, I won’t add anymore, I’m just very fond of search data!)

  • Hecuba

    Same old male lies dressed up as ‘sexually liberating to women!’ Feminist porn wouldn’t be ‘feminist porn’ because Feminism is about women’s liberation from male domination including male sexual domination. Ergo pornography was created by men because it is all about eroticisation of male sexual violence/male sexual domination over all women and girls.

    Men constantly create new lies/justifications for their male pseudo sex right to view filmed male sexual violence against women and girls and the claim ‘Feminist Porn’ exists is another male created ‘red herring.’

    Child porn is not separate from men’s pornography industry – they are interconnected and the central issue is male pseudo sex right to sexually prey on women and female children with impunity. This includes males according themselves the right to view filmed male sexual violence inflicted on female and to a much lesser extent male children.

    Tristan Taormino is just another mundane pornographer who claims she ‘makes Feminist porn’ but in reality her films are the same as mens’ pornography – eroticisation of sadistic sexual violence inflicted on women and just because it is women subjecting other women to sadistic sexual violence does not make it ‘Feminist Porn!’ She is imitating her male masters’ beliefs that women aren’t human – they merely exist as mens’ disposable sexual service stations.

    It is not ‘children committing sexual crimes against other children!’ This is typical malespeak language which systematically hides which sex is doing what to which sex. In reality it is overwhelmingly boys who are the ones sexually preying on female children. Boys watch porn and then enact the same sadistic male sexual violence upon other female children.

    But men always claim ‘if men stand on their heads then so do women!’ Ergo – if men enjoy watching porn then equal numbers of women also enjoy watching porn – missing from this simplistic claim is the fact males coercing women into watching porn; males telling women they are ‘prudes’ because they don’t want to see vile images of sadistic male sexual violence against women; males telling women ‘you must enthusiastically submit to whatever sexual acts men demand because you have no right to refuse.’

    So central issue is the politics of how mens’ hugely profitable pornography industry maintains and justifies male right of sexual access to females of all ages as well as boy children.

    The same lies and claims were uttered by those innumerable male slave owners who constantly claimed all that was required was to ensure female and male slaves were accorded sufficient food; clothing and housing and then hey presto those female and male slaves would be content!

  • corvid

    “…. the porn industry requires sexual dissatisfaction, disconnection and exploitation to grow it’s market.”

    Absolutely, fantastic paragraph. The other thing it requires? Misogyny, lots of it, the more the better. This industry is fundamentally at odds with women’s human rights and dignity.

  • Ellesar

    I had a discussion years ago about this – and I said at the time that ‘feminist’ porn WAS possible, but that it would be a significant challenge to the status quo and therefore as the article points out it would stay extremely marginal.

    I don’t really believe this anymore.

    There can be ‘by women, for women, only women’ porn, but this would do nothing to keep out sexual exploitation as I know only too well that there are nasty exploitative lesbians around, who would not baulk at the abuse of other women.

    I think my ultimate position on the porn debate (same as prostitution) is that it is ALWAYS exploitative, and the damage done as a result is just a matter of degree.

    • Morag

      “I think my ultimate position on the porn debate (same as prostitution) is that it is ALWAYS exploitative, and the damage done as a result is just a matter of degree.”

      Yes, I agree. If there is even such a thing as feminist porn (and, as someone mentioned here, since the trend is that anything can be defined as feminist, that is almost meaningless) the most it could hope to achieve is harm reduction. That is, a pornography in which women are harmed less. That’s not good enough. In fact, “acceptable” porn might be worse. Because, its central message that women’s bodies are intended for sexual consumption remains intact. Do we want that message to be made more palatable for more people?

      The reason why women and other marginalized people are objectified and fetishized in pornography is BECAUSE of their low status. It is because they are harmed and dehumanized in real life that they are harmed and dehumanized in the making and consumption of porn. Porn both reinforces subjugation and enacts it. The medium really is the message, so why try to rescue the medium?

  • EEU

    Porn is filmed prostitution. It is paid rape. Therefore, it can never be feminist.

  • MLL

    Is it “throws” or “throes”?
    Besides this, I came across an article yesterday which said that apparently some bodies of women murdered in Ciudad Juarez in 1993 show signs of injuries related to ” sadistic porn”. And that was back in 1993!

    • disarminglyastute

      Yes, “throes”. I noticed that, as well.

  • L

    “Feminist porn, the refrain goes, is about equality, real pleasure, and empowers marginalized people. Other definitions frame feminist pornography through the lens of conscious capitalism…Indeed, according to feminist pornographer Tristan Taormino, “feminist porn is organic, fair-trade porn.”

    The definitions of feminist porn are just all over the place and contradictory. Apparently, feminism can mean whatever you want it to, so you could label almost all porn feminist. Just like posing for playboy ,bdsm and stripping are feminist, now porn is feminist too!! Sigh, I’m just tired of this idea that sex and sexyness is somehow going to improve the lives of women and girls around the world.

    Awhile back, I read a blog post by an author who was writing about her experience watching feminist porn and she said that as she watched it she was confused about what made it feminist, because it looked pretty similar to all the other porn she had seen. Since labeling things feminist is an in-thing now, I bet you can find violent, misogynistic porn that labels itself as feminist.
    (Side note, the “Generation Sell” hyperlink did not work for me. Did it work for y’all?)

    • Lotus

      Yes! It’s very similar to when companies label the same old mass produced toxic products they’ve been selling for years as ‘natural’ and ‘green’. The ‘feminist’ label, in this case, is being used to sell the same old pornography that the industry has been producing forever.

    • Sam

      Also, as with anything labeled “Fair Trade” or “organic” you might wanna look more closely. In every industry there are abuses of those labels, and with pornography well…what do you expect.

    • Dana

      I love sex but in my experience it makes my life more difficult, not better or easier. Especially if one of the known hazards should occur. So far I’ve been lucky on the STD front (and it only takes one time, really, and some STDs can get around condoms because of where they infect you), but I’ve had two pregnancies. Both wanted, but the trouble is you tend to be treated like a criminal if you’re not independently wealthy when you procreate, and I had problems with their fathers on top of that. It would have been nice to just walk away without risking leaving my heart behind. Alas. One of my big pet peeves from men is when they complain marriage or pregnancy is a trap. Be a woman–a real one–and get married to or pregnant with a guy and you’ll see. Having to write a monthly check is light-years away from trapped by comparison.

      • Rachel

        Oh gosh I HATE that idea that all women want to trap men into babies and marriage. Hold mackerel it makes me red! Firstly as you pointed out, writing a cheque is far less trapping than bringing up a child on your own, or with a loser that wants nothing to do with the child or you…or wants the family but doesn’t want to put in the actual work and see the woman as an equal. Secondly, how dare those men think that they are so sought after and powerful that any women they come across, sleep with or date wants to ‘trap them’. I cannot think of anything worse than being tied down to a misogynistic pig that sees women as a commodity to consume and demean, all while claiming his ‘love’ for me with one eye glued to the computer screen, and one hand attached to his tackle. Gross. These men act like women are useless on their own and need a man to be validated and ‘loved’ while they refuse to see the damage their habits have…women are supposed to just accept it and still feel ‘loved’. I’d rather be single than end up in that situation. And honestly it seems that’s how most women that get married end up! They are expected to be grateful that they tied down a man, and just overlook his porn consumption and derogatory view of women. Sorry but remind me again what’s so liberating about that?

  • Shana

    I absolutely agree that feminist porn isn’t a thing, and even if it would it would be really insignificant in the bigger scheme, but even then I DON’T TRUST pro-porn ”feminists”. Most of them support bdsm and violence, degradation, slurs as long as the woman ”chooses” it and it’s therefore empowerment, etc. Therefore their feminist porn would be really similar to mainstream porn, perhaps with more body diversity and some wacky haircuts and piercings but still with all the misogyny and female sexual submission and exploitation. No thanks.

  • Nunnunun

    That old lie again, repackaged over and over. As if women doing something automatically makes it feminist. I’m so sick of these handmaidens making patriarchy palatable and selling feminism for shekels. Insane, Orwellian doublespeak. Or will it be like Huxley’s Brave New World? If men can’t handle themselves without porn, get thee to the castrator. I would like to believe that men are more than that.

  • K

    Thank you for posting this.

    I recently quit the pornography industry. I had been doing it for about a year, independently as a cam-model from my bedroom. I made simple, vanilla-esque videos but still felt horrible doing it and tried to remain as true to myself as I could. I needed to get out of a financially abusive relationship which I felt was blackmailing my life.

    I was quite popular in the online sex worker community and I have to say that the most torment and abuse I got was from online “feminists” who were also a part of the sex worker community. I always had radical opinions so I made a lot of enemies fast, even trying to censor myself.

    The women I was surrounded by prided themselves on being independent and happy and ethical and feminist. Meanwhile, they made BDSM porn, rape porn, “ageplay” porn, “incest” porn, femdom porn, school girl porn, etc. etc. etc. Many were in their 20s but still labelled their porn as teen. Many worked for websites that promoted racism and “raceplay” porn (that humiliated black men and women by calling them the n word and envoking images of slavery.) Basically, anything heinous that made money and these “feminists” would be all over it.

    I thought it was all disgusting but I kept my mouth shut. One of their abuse tactics was making me feel like I was never “sex worker” enough to speak out against the industry. I was made to feel like I didn’t have enough seniority to challenge their status quo.

    Eventually they started flinging abuse my way, because I made my opinion about one woman’s simulated child-porn incest-rape porn clear. I said it was horrible and that she should be ashamed, and they abused me for days on end. They called me disgusting and whorephobic, even claimed I lied about my own rape. This branch of “feminism” is no feminism of mine.

    I’m glad to be out. Nothing was as traumatic as the way those women treated me. The males sucked, they really did, but those women harassed me until I was bleeding out in a bathtub and then in a hospital. They threatened to release my real name, they stopped at nothing. All to protect their “feminist” rape porn.

    • L

      K, thank you for sharing your story! I am glad you were able to get out of that industry.

      “The women I was surrounded by prided themselves on being independent and happy and ethical and feminist.” I would love to hear these women give a sound, logical argument for how sexualizing racism and rape is both ethical and feminist.

    • lizor

      “I was made to feel like I didn’t have enough seniority to challenge their status quo.”

      I’m willing to bet that “seniority” actually means participating in producing the most violent and degrading material.

      How twisted that this could become, in any context, the standard for “feminist” credibility.

    • Priscila

      K, that sounds horrible. I’m so sorry you had to go through all this. Seems like the silencing tactics of the sex industry lobby are getting more and more insane.

      • Meghan Murphy

        Agreed. This sounds completely awful and I’m sorry you went through that, K. I can’t say I’m at all surprised, though… They are underhanded and nasty as all hell.

    • Rachel

      Thank you for sharing your story, and I’m so so so glad you are out of that industry. It’s so damaging, not only that men are objectifying and abusing us, but women too are getting onboard all under the guise of ‘feminism’. Which in turn just Spurs men on more, “I like porn and using women, and it’s all a-ok and natural because feminists agree”, like they’ve stumbled across something revolutionary! Blah blah blah like we haven’t heard it all before.

      I’m sorry to hear how much it effected your mental health also, and I really hope you are on the road to recovery. I’m always so proud of how many strong, intelligent and empathic people there are on here.

  • Pingback: So what if your porn is feminist? (feimineach)()

  • RealityCheckingOut

    Are those who’ve arrived (either directly or indirectly) at a place of largely self-appointed exploitation, really of that greater concern? What solution do you have for the many individuals involved in said industry with their differing situations, and what do you suggest to deter others from following a similar path? Besides the generalised ‘educate/re-educate’ knee-jerk reactive ideals which mostly go unnoticed, much like blogs that only reach a minuscule audience and most others couldn’t care less for, these sorts of responses are mostly inconclusive.

    Surely there are bigger issues in the present moment to put this level of thought and effort toward? Civilisation is headed for an extremely difficult future, in which we are likely to see global crisis reached within the next decade.

    http://www.lloyds.com/~/media/files/news%20and%20insight/risk%20insight/2015/food%20system%20shock/food%20system%20shock_june%202015.pdf

    I cannot envision that a feminist driven anti-porn campaign should be the saving grace for humanity and the struggles ahead of us.

    Food for thought.

    • Morag

      Jesus. The “humanity” you speak of does not include exploited women (hint: they can’t exploit themselves; men have to do that). Let’s forget all about them, and focus our efforts on the bigger issues, on what’s really important. Such as getting women to forget all this anti-pornography business, and take responsibility for the mess rich men have made of the planet, because now men’s lives are at stake on a mass scale!

      Your “food for thought” is pure shit.

      • RealityCheckingOut

        Minority issues won’t seem so dire with where human civilisation is headed in the next 30 years, and being disgruntled by the corporate elite who are largely responsible for all things being exploited the world over, probably won’t change a damn thing either. But if you cannot understand that some people are either partly or completely responsible for their own exploitation, then good luck with your naive perception of the world around you.

        Still haven’t heard any real world solutions, for something that will seem like a drop in the ocean of human problems in years to come.

        • Laur

          How dare you come to a feminist website to tell women that some people are partially or completely responsible for men’s actions (raping them, whether they have money thrown at them or not).

          I’d like to see the world move in a more compassionate and egalitarian direction. That will only help with environmental catastrophe.

          But no, men like yourself are pretty clear that rape is only rape when it meets male standards, so paarrtty on!!!

        • Morag

          “But if you cannot understand that some people are either partly or completely responsible for their own exploitation, then good luck with your naive perception of the world around you.”

          What I understand is that you have no right to speak on “civilization” when you have reduced half of humanity to a mere “minority issue” — to barely anything at all — and yet expect that supposed minority to just drop their DIRE need to save their own lives — our lives right here, right now. You think we should stop fighting this silly fight against being bought and sold, objectified, mocked, impoverished, humiliated, the butt of jokes; that we should quit talking about being subjected to sexualized violence and to woman-hating men like you. All because you regard women’s lives as a trifle compared to what really counts: the men, and the emergency men have created, which is now — oh, the horror and surprise — a threat to men themselves.

          What I understand is that you are an unenlightened boor. YOU are the problem. Yes, you — individual you, you personally, you and your sex. You did this, and you’re doing it right now, with your ugly comments, which have been marinating in misogyny for years and years, showing you know nothing, not a damned thing, about half the people walking this planet. And yet, despite your brutish stupidity, it’s obvious from your condescending little chuckles about anti-pornography efforts (life-saving efforts) on this sinking ship, that you think you’re pretty smart. But, no: you’re a brute. A self-satisfied idiot. And if this is your “civilization” I won’t cry to see you go down with it. I’ll save my tears for my own daughter, and my sisters everywhere, and all the children being born right now, and what’s left of oceans, forests and animals.

        • vagabondi

          Wait, what? 52% of all the humans that exist- we’re just an unimportant little minority issue?

          • Morag

            “Wait, what? 52% of all the humans that exist- we’re just an unimportant little minority issue?”

            Worse: the commodification and dehumanization of that minority is just a “drop in the ocean of human problems.” You know, according to this spokesman for civilization.

            And, according to this spokesman for civilization, that drop in the ocean doesn’t have the slightest clue what real human problems are; this drop in the ocean does not deserve even the meagre dignity of being acknowledged as victims of male violence — since these masochistic/subhuman women did it all to themselves, don’t you know?

        • Priscila

          Your implication that pornography is a “minority issue” is both deeply offensive and plain blind.

      • lizor

        Thanks for responding to this neoliberal gobbledygook (here and over on the Amy Winehouse thread), Morag.

        There’s no “food for thought” in these comments at all – just the byproduct of non-thought cluttering up the place.

    • marv

      Keeping women sexualized and subordinate is at the root of climate disruption and food insecurity. These problems wouldn’t have arose in an anti-patriarchal-capitalist world. The LLoyd’s Food System Shock report you cited is ‘pure shit’ too for checking out of this reality.