In Defense of Porn
I identify as a sex positive feminist. I believe in the empowerment of exploring sexuality and desire, and having consensual sex in the fashion that you choose. Any fantasy, object or technique that intrigues you should be introduced and explored, so you can create an informed opinion on what you like and don’t like.
I also identify as a rape crisis advocate. I volunteer as a medical advocate, working one on one with survivors in hospital emergency rooms, usually within a short time of their rape experience. I also volunteer on a rape hotline, taking calls from survivors looking for resources, or for an ear to listen and reassure them that their healing will happen.
I don’t ever see my two identities conflicting, but in September, when I was at the Chicago SlutWalk march, there was a group (Stop Patriarchy) that was passing out literature that said that enjoying porn directly correlates to a rape culture:
Things You Can Do Today To End the Enslavement & Degradation of Women:
- STOP WATCHING PORN! Porn destroys the lives of women used in it. Porn corrupts the humanity of those who watch it. Porn fills society with the deadly notion that women are sex objects & that sex is about domination & degradation. If you can’t imagine SEX without porn, you’re FUCKED!
I understand that this opinion is a second wave feminist idea, and as a third wave feminist, I believe that this is an antiquated idea. There is some mainstream porn, mostly the ones that show up on free porn websites, that are cruel, disgusting, and degrading of all the actors, not just the women. I do see problems with how some BDSM porn scenes do not show a negotiation scene, or show any after care. However, this is not the only form of porn being produced.
There is a number of independent porn production companies that employ a wide arrange of porn actors, in all genders, body types, races, and sexual orientations, and these companies distributes porn that is safe, fun, and sexy. I personally love the production companies Dirty Diaries, Indie Porn Revolution, Crash Pad Series, as well as many others.
From Crash Pad Series:
Here you’ll find real dyke porn, lesbians, femme on femme, boi, stud, genderqueer and trans-masculine performers, transwomen, transmen, queer men and women engaging in authentic queer sexuality, whether it is with safer sex, strap-on sex, cocksucking, kink and bdsm, gender play and fluidity, and always authentic orgasms.
I know that rape culture is propagated by the media, in various forms, and I know that pornography plays a part in this, but I don’t think that all pornography is created equal. I would rather watch porn, and learn what interests and appeals to me (or doesn’t), than to be close minded to any porn. Bold statements such as “Porn corrupts the humanity of those who watch it” is incredibly offensive to everyone, as it seems to claim that no one is in control of their own power or desire, and that if we watch porn, we’ll all turn into abusive, misogynist rapists.
I believe in the power of enjoying porn, and just like any other fantasy media, such as television shows or video games, it is important to know the distinction between real life and what I am watching. I don’t think it “corrupts my humanity”, nor does it make me think “that sex is about degradation & domination”. It is part of my sexual menu, and will remain something to be enjoyed, and a way to learn about intriguing positions, dynamics, fantasies and acts.