Porn Doesn’t Need to be Sexist

Man-looking-at-porn-on-a-computer-1.jpg
Courtesy of The Mirror

Pornography is a controversial and divisive issue, one whose legal status varies massively across the world. It’s no secret that the pornography industry has become deeply entrenched into internet culture and reaches a worldwide market. Recently, feminist filmmakers have been standing up to the massive industry to challenge gender stereotypes to confront the darker, disturbing truths about the industry behind the scenes.

However, before understanding the harms of the pornography industry itself, it is important to note the distinction between the pornography industry and media involving sex scenes filmed for mainstream entertainment. Given that the intention of pornography is to incite sexual arousal as its entertainment value, its distinction in the entertainment industry translates into far less censorship. Additionally, mainstream entertainment sex scenes are staged, making the harms of the pornography industry on its actors exclusive given its unstaged nature.

Moreover, the harmful objectification of women is ingrained in the pornography industry. In pornographic media, men are often portrayed dominant, while women are characterized as gadgets solely existing to satisfy their lust. This culture feeds into the very narrative feminism exists to counter. The rising popularity of pornography is a direct degradation of the ideals of feminism itself, which is why the outcry by the feminist movement is no surprise.

While it has been argued that pornography gives women a way to define their sexual platform, in the vast majority of cases in the status quo, pornography is not entered willingly by women. “Consent” in the industry is overwhelming the result of the economic exploitation of women.

Given its free an accessible nature, there is much concern over how pornography influences the minds of single adults and teenagers. Especially with inexperienced youth, it promotes social norms of masculinity and beauty standards, leading to low self-esteem and anxiety. It creates a dangerous stereotype that effectively normalizes violence against women. The industry harms its direct participants as well: condom use is as low as 17% in most adult pornography films in America, often leading to the frequent transmission of STIs and other health problems.

However, recently there has arisen a type of adult film titled “Feminist Porn” which promotes diversity, real normal people, and most importantly: consent. In it, the women are not objectified and condoms are present. Though feminist porn is far from the most popular of its industry, since its creation there have been large award ceremonies and festivals in America, Canada, and Europe to promote its style of film.

There is nothing wrong with watching porn, but there is something wrong with an industry that solely depicts women as objects.

Pornography does not necessarily need to assault the dignity of women, but the status quo is certainly guilty of that.  The idea that women are not objects shouldn’t in any way be controversial. Women are people, and their portrayal should respect that in all mediums. This is a norm that simply needs to be defied.

 

-Anonymous