I thought it prudent to talk bluntly about this because a lot of artists get really bristly when any sort of media form is taken on or has it’s validity challenged- because as artists we value expression, creativity, rebellion, and freedom- at least as much as anyone else, if not more so.
I include myself among people who value those ideals. I still think the porn industry needs to be obliterated.
In fact, I think that there is more aptly descriptive terminology that could taxonomize the industry I’m talking about: you’ll hear me call it the sex-industrial complex, the sexual exploitation industries, and any number of other stuff. I want to be clear that when I launch into some diatribe about the exploitation of women etc. and so forth that I am not attempting to deny agency to women in any sort of broad sense; but my thoughts regarding what this particular industrial machinery does to us, as a whole, as WOMEN, are very strong and very clear.
That is, this industry promotes imprisonment and rape of women and our continued, collective treatment as sub-human beings by our government, by men, and perhaps most unfortunately, by each other. I believe that if you are a vegetarian and support animal rights, or if you refuse to shop at places like Wal-Mart which utilize child labor and make their goods in sweatshops-and you continue to support the porn industry- you commit an act of outright hypocrisy, and you can’t give yourself that little moral pat on the back that you want to- well, at least not in my world.
That said, I don’t think that “illegalization” of pornographic materials is an answer, because it’s proposal really only serves to divide people, based on abstract constitutional concepts of free speech and expression (which most women in this country have no real access to anyways)- and puts our liberation once again into the hands of an angry Government-who-would-be-God, and has no interest in our lives. I think that people have an obligation to each other to be critical and to boycott this industry, by not feeding money into it, by educating themselves, BY NOT ATTACKING FEMINISTS SENSELESSLY OUT OF FEAR, by not attacking the women whose lives are bound up in the industry, and by re-educating ourselves about sexuality and intimacy with a criticism of misogynist, compulsory heterosexuality and a very sharp analysis of false dichotomies which are forced into our thinking from the time we are born by the dominant culture.
Pornography and all it’s feeder-industries are key elements in the sexual abuse of children, the rape of women, women’s subordination and treatment as non-human-animals, and act as a guide and handbook for all these awful things that happen to us in the gender bootcamps we grow up in. Porn is harmful for men in that it trains them to ignore and dull down their own emotional processes, and treat their sister human beings in ways that, if you ask them, they don’t feel comfortable with but they do anyways because it’s what they’re supposed to do. Pornography is harmful to transgender people for all these reasons but also because of it’s role in slaughtering their image in the minds of “mainstream,” cisgendered people, hampering their political movement and just insulting and degrading them as people.
Porn is not sexuality. Porn is not freedom. Porn is not original. It is the same shit, over and over, it’s boring, it’s uninventive. It is NOT art, and yes, I feel perfectly qualified to make that statement.
I believe that the vast majority of women who work in the sex-industrial complex do it because they have to do it, and would do something else if they felt like they had the option. I believe that our society systematically stigmatizes and de-qualifies these women from escaping- not due to any moral or character failure on the part of the women involved, but because we live in a world of ruling-class, white-male supremacy, where it’s taken as a “given” that men have some “need” to fuck women whenever they feel like it. The women who claim to do these jobs completely of their own “free will” or to “enjoy” it constitute a very small minority, and their numbers do not constitute the survival of a monstrous, abusive, industrial machine.
Once again, porn is not “sexuality.” It consists of depictions of sexual acts in contexts which are incredibly skewed as to relative power and privilege.
I suppose that this is good for now on this issue. BTW, if you stumble over this and decide to try and start a flame war or be the king of all the trolls, we don’t engage in that sort of thing here and your shit will just get deleted. But I’ll talk more about that in the “rules” page. I know that folks will have questions, but I just can’t spend the whole evening writing about this. I have art to do.