Male feminists and porn

(163 Posts)
AmyFarrahFowlerCooper Mon 15-Jul-13 11:09:12

Can a man who believes he is a feminist be interested in porn? Or does that kind of negate his believing he is a feminist?

AmyFarrahFowlerCooper Tue 16-Jul-13 13:50:44

Oh I think you are spot on there, beachcomber! He has used the words "empowering" and "its their choice" about similar things before so I wouldn't be surprised at all!

LRDYaDumayuIThink Tue 16-Jul-13 14:32:12

I don't think we currently have non-misogynistic porn. I'm not sure whether films of people having sex is inherently misogynistic (I don't see why), but I think it's impossible for it not to be misogynistic to a greater or lesser extent in the society we live in.

To take an example, say I make a vanilla sex film with DH and pop it on an amateur website (don't worry, I won't! grin). Now you could say this is harmless. Maybe if we're having lovely feministy sex where I get to enjoy it it even looks feministy, right?

The problem I have is, as soon as I do that, you get people thinking 'hey, this porn stuff is all fine! We just have to choose ethical porn like this lady made with her DH! (granted, the natural response would actually be 'eugh, I shall never look at nookie again', but ...).

Then they look for 'amateur' porn. And what they find will be a mixture - some will be what people put up themselves. A lot of it won't be, because amateur porn is a big seller, and it's run by the same people who do the normal, trafficked-women-being-raped/porn-stars-getting-anal-prolapses that you find everywhere else.

At this point it gets a little seedy, and, if you're me, you start thinking 'shite, what did I do?'

It's not that getting off on people having sex is somehow automatically evil, it's that the structures of society make it extremely difficult for anyone to extricate themselves from misogyny. And when the risk is the sort of thing that can happen to women who're involved in hardcore porn, or the sort of attitude hardcore porn fosters with regard to women's bodies, I don't see it being worth it.

Which is a pity, cos sex is very nice. But there we are.

LRDYaDumayuIThink Tue 16-Jul-13 14:34:39

PS I do also think even totally home-made, joy-of-sex style porn is feeding into the idea that 'men need porn' and 'women's bodies are for looking at'.

I know women get turned on visually just as men (I have noticed this what with being female). It's just that the dominant cultural paradigm isn't women being turned on visually and men being objects to be looked at.

curlew Tue 16-Jul-13 14:47:35

"AmyFarrahFowlerCooper - maybe he is one of those men who 'loves women' "

Oh, God- yes, them.

Like "a man's woman" only worse.

LRD that's really making me think! Is it fair to deny women the chance to enjoy "ethical" medievalist Buffy loving PhD student and DH porn? I mean, just because the industry has corrupted the idea that it's a turn on to watch other people having sex... Is erotica something different and thus OK?

I'm not arguing with your position, just testing out my position really.

LRDYaDumayuIThink Tue 16-Jul-13 16:36:40

Mmm ... I think it's fair to deny porn. In rather the same way, I guess, that I'd love to let off those cool chinese lantern things but know they're a hazard, or I enjoy driving at 120 but don't. It's the risk to other people that bothers me.

I think written erotica is different. The risk there is, is it perpetuating shitty attitudes in an influential way (like 50 shades). But IMO it is so much easier to write erotica that's not a worry. That's just my personal view, though, I don't really know. If someone came up with a good argument against erotica I'd try to consider it as best I could.

LRDYaDumayuIThink Tue 16-Jul-13 16:44:34

I would imagine the vast majority of people would enjoy watching nice sex. I mean, I think it's important to say that. Men who want to watch porn and who want to be feminists aren't in some special unique situation. They're in the same boat as everyone else.

Sex is very nice.

Porn is very crap.

If there's a magic answer that'd be lovely, but I think honestly there isn't, and I think it is kinda patronizing towards men to assume they are less capable of understanding that than women/more in 'need' of porn.

vesuvia Tue 16-Jul-13 16:55:05

Pornography (as well as prostitution) is surrounded by the issue of consent of the participants. We cannot know for sure who is coerced or who is willing.

Some people will assume that the unknown consent status of the participants must have been coercion, because this assumption does the least harm to the participants. It's erring on the side of caution. Such people are likely to not use pornography, are likely to care about the participants and campaign to end abuse of women (and men and children) in pornography. This group includes feminists.

Some people will assume that the unknown consent status of the participants must have been consent, because it will enable them to use pornography, without guilt or shame. They are not interested in doing the least harm. The only interest the porn user has in the participants is "did they provide enough pleasure for the user". I don't see how this group can include feminists.

Even the existence of willing participants in pornography is problematic for women as a group.

CiscoKid Tue 16-Jul-13 18:03:35

Having read through this thread again, I am asking myself 'Are there many men who actually are feminists?' - at least in the sense that the people on this board define it.

I would guess that there may be a few who qualify, but for the vast majority of men, they wouldn't agree with enough of feminism 101 to be seen as one. Would it be more helpful if most men stopped pretending that they understood the movement at all? (speaking anecdotally here)

rosabud Tue 16-Jul-13 18:55:43

Well, Cisco, are you saying that there aren't any men who could agree with enough of feminism because there aren't any men who could agree not to watch porn? I hope that is not the case (and think that it is rather insulting to men to assume that it is). But, if it is, I don't think the answer is to give up on men or allow them to give up on feminism! As LRD said, we all make decisions not to do things we like because of the possible wider effects on others. I think men are quite capable of making that decision as well as women.

LRDYaDumayuIThink Tue 16-Jul-13 19:04:12

I think there are a lot of men who're feminists, but you're right, there are also lots of men who need to step up.

I think, though, you have to remember that lots of women also don't immediately feel passionate about every area of feminism - people vary in what they're comfortable with and I don't think anyone should stop feeling involved.

The answer is simply that it's not helpful for anyone in any movement to claim they 'understand' something they don't, surely? confused

I agree with rosebud's point.

GoshAnneGorilla Algeria Tue 16-Jul-13 19:14:58

I think there are quite a few male "feminists" who like the parts of feminism which benefit them. So more liberal (for want of a better word) attitudes towards sex and sexuality are great, likewise women having better access to contraception and abortion, as all these things benefit men.

But better female representation in society, equitable childrearing, etc, don't seem to excite these male feminists as much.

That's the thing about power, those who have it are able tailor circumstances to suit their own desires.

LRDYaDumayuIThink Tue 16-Jul-13 19:15:57

Well said, gosh.

Beachcomber Tue 16-Jul-13 20:48:36

What vesuvia said

(Hi vesuvia, nice to see you smile )

libertarianj Tue 16-Jul-13 22:55:16

all this talk of actor consent and welfare, does it really ring true?, or is it yet another one of those convenient assumptions used by the anti porn lobby? The latest studies would say otherwise:

www.independent.co.uk/news/science/porn-stars-and-the-naked-truth-8348388.html

Also why would actors need to be coerced? Do you not think people would be aware of what the job would entail before they turned up to the audition? Are you telling me they wouldn't have checked out the web site or details of the directors etc beforehand?

Going back to the OP's friend in question, how do you know he doesn't watch feminist porn?

rosabud Wed 17-Jul-13 07:02:58

A rough guess.

curlew Wed 17-Jul-13 07:06:02

"Going back to the OP's friend in question, how do you know he doesn't watch feminist porn?"

Tell me about this feminist porn.

CaptChaos Germany Wed 17-Jul-13 07:12:57

Feminist porn?

Porn where all parties are respectful of one another? Porn where the female protagonist feels able to voice her opinion that whatever is happening is causing her pain/discomfort/she just doesn't like it, knowing that she will be heard, her feelings validated, cared about and a new scene thought out?

That kind of feminist porn?

Is there such a badger?

curlew Wed 17-Jul-13 07:22:29

And where the women all have realistic bodies- no bleached anuses.

Beachcomber Wed 17-Jul-13 08:16:16

Oh great, a link to an article about a study by the Adult Industry Medical Healthcare Foundation. The AIM's main line of work is to test people in porn for STDs - I wonder if they included stats on sexual health in their 'Being in Porn is Healthy for Women' study hmm

Can you link to the actual study rather than a journo piece?

Feminist porn = oxymoron

CiscoKid Wed 17-Jul-13 09:05:44

Re Rosa's question - no, I was not just talking about porn. I don't think the central concepts of feminism, as expressed on this board, resonate with men. Porn is one of those concepts, but not the only one.

LRDYaDumayuIThink Wed 17-Jul-13 11:05:06

I don't imagine that's the primary idea, mind, that they should resonate with men.

I expect if it were the 'FWR and Male Outreach' or 'FWR and How To Bag Your Prince' section it might be a bit different.

CiscoKid Wed 17-Jul-13 11:11:30

I am not saying that they should, or that they have to. I am saying that they don't, and therefore a bloke claiming to be a feminist (as in the OP) is unlikely to understand what that statement means.

LRDYaDumayuIThink Wed 17-Jul-13 11:42:16

That doesn't follow, IMO.

Plenty of men are capable of getting what feminism is about, even if they read a board like this that isn't primarily designed to help them learn. They might read other sites, or they might know about it from their own lives. This board is dominated by female posters who're sort of 'talking amongst themselves', so naturally it isn't the ideal place to start. It doesn't mean that, in general, men who claim to be feminists or feminist friendly never understand what they're talking about.

Beachcomber Wed 17-Jul-13 11:42:36

Cisco, I think you are right that a lot of men claiming to be feminists probably don't really know much about the movement or its tenets and foundations.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now