Being porn: On boudoir photography and sad stagettes

According to a recent article in The Daily the new hot thing for marrieds or soon-to-be-marrieds is porn. Ha! Obviously right? But this isn’t just any porn, it’s fiancée porn! Starring you!

It’s called boudoir photography and the idea is that, supposedly, gifting your husband with his very own wifey porn will stop him from consuming strange lady porn online.

The Daily quotes Dallas-based wedding photographer Lynn Michelle as saying: “A lot of women do boudoir because they’re afraid their fiancés are looking at porn and they’d rather them be looking at her.”

First of all, that strikes me as all kinds of stupid. If your husband/fiancé wants to watch porn he’s going to watch porn. I seriously doubt that, just because you’ve produced your own private monogamy-themed porn for him, he’s going to give up his online porn habit. It seems to me that the kinds of relationships wherein the female partner is passively and hopefully trying to discourage their partner from watching porn are the kinds of relationships porn consumption is accepted and acceptable. In fact, becoming a porn actress yourself seems to encourage the idea that porn consumption is just a natural part of being a man.

Here’s a thing. Men who get laid for free still seek out prostitutes. Men who have sexy wives still watch porn. Men whose wives take pole-dancing classes for funandkicks! still go to strip clubs. No amount of playing the game is going to discourage a man who likes to objectify women from objectifying women. If you want to marry a guy who doesn’t watch porn your best bet would likely be to marry a guy who doesn’t watch porn. In terms of effecting change, the ‘if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em’ technique has never worked in the history of ever.

To be clear, I’m not saying that all men watch porn and frequent strip clubs and buy sex. I’m also not saying that men can’t or don’t change. But it’s more likely that a man is going to stop objectifying and exploiting women (or never do it at all) because he arrives at some understanding of the the fact that the sex industry exploits and objectifies women and isn’t useful in terms of building an ethical, egalitarian world (other possibilities that may contribute to ending men’s exploitation of women includes creating a system wherein women can survive and thrive in our world without having to resort to selling sex). He’s not going to understand any of those things because you dress up in sexy wedding-themed lingerie (also, ew?) and take photos.

Somehow we’ve tricked ourselves into thinking that emulating porn stars and strippers is something that is fun and sexy (see Ariel Levy’s Female Chauvinist Pigs for more on that postfeminist phenomenon) good time lady fun. So, instead of coming up with things that might actually be fun and sexy and liberating for ourselves as women, we give up and tag along behind the boys. For all of our supposed sexual freedom, we sure are an unimaginative bunch.

Another example of this lies in the difference between popular activities for stag and stagette parties.

The typical/stereotypical stag party often involves the buying of sex in one way or another. The bachelor celebrates his ‘last day of freedom’ by celebrating women’s lack of freedom. He goes to a strip club, is provided with lap dances and/or more elaborate sexual services. Not all men do this, of course. Many men I know can come up with much more interesting things to do than sit around in a skeezy room with a bunch of dudes with half hard-ons, buying over-priced drinks and paying bored women to pretend they are even remotely interesting or attractive. But I think it’s fair to say that this is a popular activity for bachelors nonetheless.

In contrast, the most popular trend for stagette parties as of late is to pretend to be strippers for a day. Also known as pole dancing or lap dancing classes. How this is ‘fun’ I will never understand. I mean, let me get this straight — while your soon-to-be douchebag husband is off watching strippers (because, let’s not forget, male bonding is based on celebrating male power and, therefore, female subordination WHOOOOO!), you and your girlfriends are practicing to be strippers yourselves. Not because you need a job, no no. But because our twisted world has manipulated us into believing that playing with objectification and pretending that women’s subordinate status in our society is actually empowering because we’ve volunteered to objectify ourselves is fun! So true. Having to sell sex to creepy drunk losers for a living is SO MUCH FUN.

This also plays right into that virgin/whore dichotomy patriarchy is so fond of. Men get to marry the ‘virgins’ who behave publicly chaste but privately will behave like ‘whores’ for their husbands’ pleasure. The real ‘whores’, of course, don’t get to play this privileged game because their livelihood is dependent on behaving like and being labeled as ‘whores’ publicly. As we can see, this stripper-for-a-day crap is offensive and oppressive for a variety of reasons.

I mean, come on. Can’t we do any better than this? Are we seeing the ridiculousness that is taking pole-dancing classes while our male partners are off watching pole-dancers? Would this be an appropriate time to mention the word irony?  While our partners are out being creepy assholes we are busy practicing how to perform for them. Gross. And do we really believe that becoming the porn our boyfriends or husbands watch is going to stop them from watching porn? Does this strike us as slightly illogical?

Can’t our lives please revolve around more than male fantasies? Please? Let’s at least try.

 

 

 

 via Jezebel Boudoir Photography Is the Wedding Industry’s Answer to Internet Porn

Meghan Murphy
Meghan Murphy

Founder & Editor

Meghan Murphy is a freelance writer and journalist. She has been podcasting and writing about feminism since 2010 and has published work in numerous national and international publications, including New Statesman, Vice, Al Jazeera, The Globe and Mail, I-D, Truthdig, and more. Meghan completed a Masters degree in the department of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University in 2012 and lives in Vancouver, B.C. with her dog.

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