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Feminism: Sex & gender discussions

Feminists what are your views on porn?

44 replies

Rianna103 · 18/04/2013 23:16

I understand that most feminist find porn bad because it often shows women as an object and men as the subject. So women are the ones being acted upon rather than the ones having sexual desires. This is also true in that fact that men are encouraged to watch porn and women are discouraged.

So I get that porn as it is at the moment is thought of a problematic but is it accepted that it doesn't have to be this way. Or is it still the whole nature of it considered bad as it could be argued that both the men and women are being objectified i.e. viewers are just using just the porn stars bodies to get off.

So essentially what I'm saying is that do feminists consider it as bad thing that can never be ok as people are always objectified and being seen just for their bodies OR is it that it would be ok if women were treated as the subject more?

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Rianna103 · 18/04/2013 23:37

I'd also like to know if anyone who identifies as a feminist watches porn?

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seasavage · 06/09/2014 21:31

I am not convinced by any interpretation of porn as anything other than objectifying. I met (through housemates) a woman who makes "feminist" porn. Being unconvinced I challenged myself to watch something she'd made and some more "traditional" porn.
I remain uncomfortable with all porn as porn (no other point to exercise of filming photographing).
Obviously HER take on this is what is needed. Sorry. That is unhelpful.

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ubersquiz · 17/10/2014 20:42

But that's kind of the point of porn isn't it? Its not there as a form of drama or Entertainment generally. Its there to titillate and arouse. Which is pretty much what it does.

Objectification doesn't have to be a bad thing, its all about context. After all without objectification we wouldn't find each other attractive. Again its about context.

I understand that not everyone agrees with or enjoys pornography, but its not a bad thing. So long as its consensual, then its harmless fun for adults.

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PetulaGordino · 17/10/2014 20:47

tbh while the objectification and portrayal of women is of course a huge concern, i'm greatly concerned about the porn industry itself and the coercion and problematic consent issues involved

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PetulaGordino · 17/10/2014 20:49

can i ask whether you are asking for a specific purpose? it's just it rather sounds as though you are looking for people to help with an essay or similar

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MyEmpireOfDirt · 17/10/2014 20:53

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ubersquiz · 17/10/2014 20:58

Men are also objectified in pornography. Again this is the point of pornography and not always a bad thing. After all without objectification men such as Peter North wouldn't have the huge female fan bases that they do.

The vast majority of porn actors have given full consent and are under no duress to perform. I have seen this mentioned time and time again but so far I've yet to see any academic proof or otherwise. So far only anecdotal evidence which still points to it being a tiny minority.

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PetulaGordino · 17/10/2014 21:09

ah indeed. we have a little friend

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ubersquiz · 17/10/2014 21:22

I hope that wasnt intended to be patronising. Please don't fall into the category of "those feminists". I have my points of view as you do. If you have a counter argument please do enlighten me, in have no trouble with being a grown up about it. I hope you can say the same.

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PuffinsAreFicticious · 18/10/2014 13:33

Yes, the poor men in porn.....

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jakesmith · 29/11/2014 08:30

It is just as degrading for the men (who are in turn paid a fraction of what the women earn) to degrade women, as it is for 2 females who are paid to degrade each other
Do you think these guys go on to lead normal lives, or have normal attitudes, or are not judged constantly by society?
Men are damaged by the porn industry too, if you assume otherwise you are guilty of the same sort of stereotyping that feminists oppose

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PuffinsAreFictitious · 02/12/2014 07:43

I'm not convinced that it is, Jake. I am not aware that men suffer from the long term health problems which can be caused by men inserting their penises and other objects into every orifice. Men are less at risk of STIs. Society judges women far more for having any kind of sex, let alone porn sex than it does men, so no, I don't agree that men in porn would be judged as harshly. Men are far less likely to be raped and assaulted on set than women. So while I have no doubt that men in porn, as well as men who watch it are damaged, women are damaged more, both in a personal and societal sense, you saying that anyone who doesn't agree with your personal view is guilty of anything doesn't make it so. You''ll excuse us if we look out for the women damaged by porn, you, otoh, are free to look out for the men, if you feel that's more relevant to you.

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Homeriliad · 05/12/2014 18:06

sex-positive feminists are generally ok with porn, although maybe not the current state of the porn industry.
I guess it depends on which brand/wave of feminism you subscribe to. Wasn't the feminist war in the 80's down to disagreements on this issue?

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PleaseSpiderHaveMyWallet · 13/12/2014 17:52

Sex-positive feminists are ok with porn? Are you trying to suggest that those who don't like porn are not sex-positive (exactly what do you mean by that?)?

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BuffyWithChristmasEarings · 16/12/2014 13:53

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

cheekstime · 02/02/2016 14:23

Objectification for both sexes is wrong.

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cheekstime · 02/02/2016 14:28

I think both men and women suffer from the mental problems being involved with this industry. My guess is they were suffering in some way before they worked in it.

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VestalVirgin · 24/02/2016 11:28

Paying people to have sex with people they would not otherwise have sex with is prostitution, and the damage it does to any healthy human psyche is obvious. Not to mention the physical health problems.

I do not think that porn as we understand it can be ethically neutral, let alone feminist.

Written erotica or erotic comics, yes, those can be okay, as they do not involve actual people having actual sex with partners chosen by someone else.

Porn made by couples just filming the sex they have anyway may be in a grey area, but I don't believe performing for a camera makes for good sex, and most people are not comfortable with being watched during sex, so ... I would not be sad if there was no porn at all anymore.


Sure, men who perform in porn are damaged, as are men who watch porn, but it is self-inflicted damage. It is the kind of damage Voldemort's soul took when he murdered people. You can pity them if you like, but I am not very concerned about them, as most of them could quit any time they want to.

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JohnJ80 · 16/07/2016 18:38

I would posit that porn is intrinsically destructive: ethically and culturally. Apart from portraying females as wankbuckets it is alienating, addictive and breeds mental illness. Sex without a human context is a psychopathic condition.

The position of liberal, pro-porn feminists is politically suspect and intellectually dense. Really, it's just another manifestation of bullshit, late capitalist, anything-goes lifestyle culture. Libfems bemoan the patriarchy while upholding anything a woman arbitrarily chooses as an act of empowerment. I actually just read a Guardian article in which Lucy Cosslet argues that there's nothing wrong with teenage children sexting. Yeah right: nothing at all wrong with a twelve year old girl creating a sexualised video of herself that will end up in some dark corner of the internet, unremovable forever and masturbated to by paedophiles. That's real feminist. Irresponsible dumbass.

Feminist porn is a contradiction in terms. However, you dress it up it's just another form of filmed prostitution that will be chiefly wanked over by men. Furthermore, as feminists rightfully insist, women are human beings too. Thus they are just as capable of objectifying other women and objectifying men if given the opportunity and cultural legitimacy. I did read something the other day about female sexual offending rising - particularly among younger girls. I wouldn't be surprised if this were true. The answer to a male objectifying gaze should not be the cultivation of a female one.

We now have a sexual culture in which love has no central role. Just endless fucking meat served up by techno capitalists. While the sexual revolution brought great things (gay rights and the pill), it has eventuated in a kind of neoliberal nihilism. As morally conservative as this might sound, I believe sex should occur in the context of a humanistic relationship. Otherwise human beings are reduced to base instruments of pleasure. Porn culture has resulted in the dehumanisation of women and the debasement of men. Fucking rancid.

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FuzzyEyes · 17/07/2016 08:12

ubersquiz I completely disagree with this "Objectification doesn't have to be a bad thing, its all about context. After all without objectification we wouldn't find each other attractive."
'Objectification' is viewing/treating someone as an object. It is viewing others as things to be used. It certainty isn't intrinsic to attraction to normal healthy people, only sociopaths.
Porn encourages people to view others as sex things to be used.
We live in a male dominated society where most imagery reinforces the male gaze. When women try to make 'feminist' porn or explore the notion of the female gaze, they simply justify the status quo and muddy the water.... it invisibilises the huge inequality.
The 'fantasies' porn depicts arise within a male-dominated world, depicting control of and violence towards the female/feminine. This is both abusive of the women in porn (many who have been victims of sexual violence before entering the industry), and fills the minds and fantasies of the viewer with abusive narratives, which may become encorporated into the viewers sex life- which means it spreads and normalises abuse. Since porn is overwhelmingly made by and for men, this abusive behaviour acted out is most likely to be males pressuring/coercing females to endure porn-inspired degradation and sexual violence so it is a feminist issue.
Sexual intimacy requires trust, respect, sensitivity to what others want. Porn encourages secretive/untrustworthy behaviour, it normalises sexual objectification/disrespect and desensitises viewers to what others want.

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JohnJ80 · 17/07/2016 14:58

100% agree Fuzzy. Super comment.

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AdjustableWench · 29/07/2016 20:54

I find the semiotics of mainstream pornography deeply offensive. Women are routinely portrayed as deserving of ill-treatment, including severe violence, and are described with offensive terms such as bitch and slut. Lesbians are caricatured. I see nothing in pornography that appeals to me, and I'm fairly sexually broad-minded. I did try to watch so-called feminist pornography, but it seemed to use many of the same tropes as mainstream pornography. I am also concerned about the likelihood of women being coerced into activities that they would prefer not to engage in.

I imagine that in an ideal world it might be possible to make ethically acceptable videos of people having sex, but we don't currently live in an ideal world.

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ohtobeanonymous · 06/08/2016 08:29

Anyone who thinks pornography isn't harmful to EVERYONE involved is kidding themselves. John and Fuzzy have expressed why perfectly.

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HouseMouseQueen · 29/08/2016 22:07

Pornography is about male sexual violence against women. It's not nearly as harmful to men as it is to women. Porn is built on the model of male dominance and female submission. It's about men forcing women into humiliation where women have no desires of their own but are only there to be an object of rage and humiliation.

Porn is nothing new, it's just everywhere b/c of the internet. Porn highlights the inherent woman hatred in society. It's made mostly by men for men. The few women that do make it, make it for men, using the model I talked about above.

I'm trying to speak very generally here because the overarching themes of porn are hatred of women and male sexual violence against women and girls.

Porn is a public health crisis. Boys as young as 5 are watching it and then behaving sexually violent towards female classmates. It's quite horrible.

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microferret · 29/09/2016 09:03

Anybody who thinks porn is harmless should watch this lecture, from around the 40 minute mark - - it should disabuse you of some of the more naive notions that porn is just a matter between consenting adults and is unrelated to misogyny or male violence against women.

Yes, there is some vanilla porn out there, but the vast majority of it is brutal and sadistic, and the worst part is that men are left needing ever more extreme things to satisfy their desires, resulting in ever greater harms for the women involved.

Would you want to do it? Would you want your daughter to do it? Can you guarantee that the girl in the video isn't being harmed, psychologically or physically? Do you know how many of those women were sexually abused as children? Do you know what a rectal prolapse is, or gonorrhoea of the eye?

Porn is not harmless. It is resulting in harms not only to the women who perform in it, but also ordinary young girls, who find themselves in a situation where they are expected to perform degrading and inhuman acts, with all the intimacy and connection removed from sex.

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