Category Archives: Porn industry conditions

QotD: “Jordan tells Greenfield of seeking greater wealth through extreme sex, which may have made her temporarily wealthier but didn’t make her happy”

There’s also the former porn star Kacey Jordan, who received $30,000 to attend a sex party at Charlie Sheen’s home. Jordan tells Greenfield of seeking greater wealth through extreme sex, which may have made her temporarily wealthier but didn’t make her happy. She made numerous suicide attempts, and ends the film [documentary Generation Wealth] in the same dead-end job she had before starting porn.

Generation wealth: how the modern world fell in love with money

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QotD: “Peter Stringfellow normalised sleaze – that’s nothing to celebrate”

Peter Stringfellow exploited women’s objectified bodies for profit, as though they were cuts of meat hanging in a butcher’s shop, and while it would be unseemly to rejoice in his death I do not mourn him, either. He was a pimp. The feminist writer Julie Bindel recalled that she called him a pimp to his face during a radio debate and that he went “berserk” and “demanded she apologise”. I find the prissiness of this astonishing: that this unsavoury sleaze could demean and degrade women so openly for so many years and then be upset to be called on it.

But that’s the thing: the “calling out”, as it’s called today, is considered rude. For some people, alerting them to their prejudices and/or exploitative practices is somehow seen as bad manners. I have no doubt that I will be in for a whole world of internet abuse for writing this piece. If I don’t get at least one rape threat it will be a miracle. There is a certain kind of man who loathes feminists who refuse to silently and passively accept a culture in which young women are paid to take their clothes off for male entertainment. When Suzanne Moore called Hugh Hefner a pimp, he threatened to sue. And yet somehow we’re the snowflakes.

Like Hefner and Paul Raymond, Stringfellow normalised sleaze. He took a sexually repressed society and began to turn it into a pornified one. I grew up in the “post-feminist” 1990s, the peak of laddism, when the corporate sex industry was such a standard part of capitalist consumption that if you challenged it, you were immediately dismissed as a hairy bra-burner with no sense of humour. Women were expected to laugh along when men boasted about getting wrecked and ending up in Stringfellows or Spearmint Rhino. There the foulness was packaged in hard, glossy surroundings; the sleaze was wrapped in shiny. But visit the kind of joint where all you had to do was pop a quid in a pint glass and you would see the industry for what it was.

It all paved the way for the dominance of pornography, for the conduct described by so many women as part of #MeToo and “grabbing them by the pussy”. The objectification rife in strip clubs bled into lads’ mags, a more contemporary version of the old man on the bus pretending to juggle teenage girls’ breasts. It made itself known in the boys at university who thought a grope was a greeting. The idea of consent workshops was mocked, but the lines had become so blurred they were necessary. Feminism was decades old but we were still being treated like meat. Even in this age of #MeToo, it’s still rarely heard just quite how disgusting young women find being drooled over by pervy older men, which happens to us from puberty onwards.

And as Moore wrote last year, part of Hefner’s Playboy mythology was “the idea that women do this sort of thing willingly”. But we all know that for the majority of women in the sex industry, it’s not so much a choice as a way of surviving. A stripper I spoke to once told me that the entire time that she was dancing for male gratification, she would repeat the mantra “fuck you, fuck you, fuck you” in her head. It was her way of coping. And yet, we continue to be told how innocent it all was, how liberating for women. As with Hefner’s death, the accolades and the RIPs come in from men, the pally anecdotes about his “sense of humour”. We hear the eulogising on the Today programme and by ex-lad male journalists who don’t realise how it makes them sound. So for the avoidance of all doubt, before I log off social media for a week: I see you, we see you. You’re disgusting, too. And that stripper’s mantra? She’s not the only one making use of it.

Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett

Raffaëla Anderson and the French Porno Industry

Raffaëla Anderson, whose ethnic background is partly Arab, is a former pornography performer, who has now become a non-fiction writer and occasionally an actress in mainstream French productions.

The French pornography industry is just as violent as the American one. There is also a Gonzo genre over there, with films containing extreme sexual practices which seem painful to the women who experience them.

After leaving the pornography business, Raffaëla Anderson wrote a book entitled Hard (2001), describing her experience in that industry and decrying its abuses. Raffaëla stayed four years in the porno industry. Her last appearance in an explicit film was in Virginie Despentes’ controversial (unusual porn) French film “Baise-Moi” (2000), which was distributed internationally.

In 2003, Director Emmanuelle Schick Garcia made a documentary on the French pornography business. Entitled “La Petite Morte,” the documentary included interviews with Raffaëla Anderson, who related being abused as a child, along with the ongoing exploitation and suffering which take place in the porno industry.

In 2006, Raffaëla wrote her second book Tendre Violence (“Tender Violence”, in English) a narration of her childhood with her Muslim family in Gagny, in the suburb of Paris. In this book, she reported that, from the age of 5 years old until her teenage years, she had suffered a form of sexual abuse (“bad touching”) by her alcoholic uncle. She also reported physical abuse: during her childhood and teenage girlhood, she had been beaten up by her father and brothers. She had also been brought up in a family environment in which sexuality was a taboo subject, and, at age 18, she decided to enter the French porno industry.

Her first book Hard ( “Hard” means “Hardcore” in French slang), that she had written in 2001, described her experience in the French porno industry. In it, Raffaëla Anderson explains that, as a teenager, she had an admiration for Dutch porn actress Zara Whites, whom she was seeing on TV. Raffaëla was seeing a participation in the porno industry as a good way to earn money easily to be able to flee her abusive familial environment, and acquire a desired autonomy. However, she did not expect the difficult and abusive situation she was going to find herself in, inside of that industry. She was taking drugs and drinking alcohol to be able to cope with the “job”. She explained how she gradually became disgusted by men and discovered her homosexuality. While walking in the streets once, she got raped by two men who recognized her as a porn actress. She reported it to the police. In the documentary “La Petite Morte”, Raffaëla explained how the prosecutor and Judge in her case dismissed the rape with the attitude: “You’re an actress in pornographic films, so you can’t complain.” Her rapists would not go to jail, since the French justice system concluded it was her fault.

In her book Hard, Raffaëla also gave the readers an insightful look into her experience as a porn performer. Indeed, her testimony is explicit. Here are a few excerpts:

“I’ve got to be on the set [again] on Sunday […] I’m crying. I don’t want to get fucked anymore. Only the thought of it hurts me. I want to take back what I gave years ago: me, my crotch, my dignity. I’ve only got a small part of my brain left, I want to keep it. I’m crying […] I can’t take it anymore, I’m in pain each time, I can’t put up with it any more.”
— Raffaëla Anderson, in Hard, published by Grasset (Paris) [TRANSLATED FROM FRENCH].

“The Big Boss asks me for the usual double penetration: one at the front, one at the back […] The Boss asks us just one minute in this position. I’m feeling kinda stunned. I know that I’m not gonna be able to take it. It’s inevitable, I’m fainting. Nobody notices, the Boss says to me that it’s super, he thanks me. It’s also at this moment that I regain consciousness. I hear: “Let’s get to the cum shot…”
— Raffaëla Anderson, in Hard, published by Grasset (Paris) [TRANSLATED FROM FRENCH].

“In the morning, you get up, you stick for the nth time the enema syringe up your ass and you clean the inside. You repeat this [process] until it’s clean. That alone, that hurts. […] After this, you find yourself on a set and you suck, you bend over. They call you a bitch in the name of arousal, and what else? Nothing is worth such a suffering. Not even the money you’re making.”
— Raffaëla Anderson, in Hard, published by Grasset (Paris) [TRANSLATED FROM FRENCH].

“I’ve got a scene to make in a swimming pool under water. There are electric wires everywhere, apparently it’s dangerous. […] They cover the pool for I don’t know what reason. I’m under water, and nobody’s there to rescue me. These assholes refuse to remove the wires. If I stay under the water, I drown, if I get out, it’s electrocution. […] After hesitating for a moment, I’m going back up to the surface […]. Off camera [someone says]: “We’re doing it again”. I could have died and all they’ve got to say is “We’re doing it again”. […] They’re crazy in this industry, you can die, and all that matters for them is the scene that has to be done.”
— Raffaëla Anderson, in Hard, published by Grasset (Paris) [TRANSLATED FROM FRENCH].

Raffaëla also wrote about the sexual exploitation of women and the human suffering she has witnessed in the porno industry, including the case of Eastern European women, who are trafficked into the French porno industry (these women are poor and forced to “work” to pay their pimps):

“I consider those scenes [of double and triple penetration] as real “hardcore” […]. Other girls had to do worse. Starting with double vaginal penetration, double anal penetration, then both at the same time. Imagine four guys, North-South, East-West, and the girl on doggie-style, barely able to breathe, during a two-minute close-up, the minimal time required […]. I’ve seen those girls [from Eastern Europe] suffering and crying […]. Imagine a girl with no experience, not speaking the [same] language, far away from her home, sleeping at a hotel or on the set. She’s got to do a double penetration, a vaginal fisting, along with an anal fisting, sometimes both at the same time, a hand up her ass, sometimes two. At the end, you’ve got a girl in tears who’s pissing blood because of lesions, and who generally shits herself because noboby explained to her that she needed to have an enema.[…] After the scene which they are not allowed to interrupt, and anyway nobody listens to them, the girls get two hours to rest. They get back on the set […]. The director and the producer encourage those practices […] because the consumer asks for them.”
— Raffaëla Anderson, in Hard, published by Grasset (Paris) [TRANSLATED FROM FRENCH].

Raffaëla Anderson’s realistic account of porn performing and the French porno industry is not the only one. Even Ovidie, a former porn actress who has now become porn director and who is one of the loudest defenders of pornography in France, admits such things as:

“I was very sick. I had a fever and I was vomiting. It was horrible. And nobody went to get me an aspirin […]. I felt humiliated, just a hole for the camera. I was only a product.”
— Ovidie, in Porno Manifesto, published by Flammarion (Paris), quoted in Michela Marzano, Malaise dans la sexualité: Le piège de la pornographie, published by JC Lattès (Paris) [TRANSLATED FROM FRENCH].

“There are things which are very violent and leave scars.”
— Ovidie, interviewed by Michela Marzano, quoted in Michela Marzano, La Pornographie ou l’Epuisement du Désir, published by Buchet-Chastel (Paris) [TRANSLATED FROM FRENCH].

Another French porn performer, Coralie Trinh Thi, explained:
“At the beginning of my career in XXX, I was completely traumatized when I was seeing a girl on the brink of tears during the making of a movie, especially during the scenes of double penetration […]. Actually, in hardcore scenes, they are more suffering than they’re coming.”
— Coralie Trinh Thi, Source: lesfuries.chez-alice.fr/prostitution.htm [accessed on 06/01/07] [TRANSLATED FROM FRENCH].

Porn perfomer Karen Lancaume, who Appeared in the film “Baise-moi” with Raffaëla Anderson, commited suicide in 2005, by overdosing on barbiturates. Karen was injured by her experience in pornography and she denounced the selfish attitude of the people in that industry. Interviewed by the French newspaper Libération, Karen said:
“A double penetration, followed by the cum shot. I was covered in sperm, drenched; I was also cold, and nobody handed me a towel. Once you’ve done the scene, you’re not worth anything anymore.”
— Karen Lancaume, Source: fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karen_Lancaume [accessed on 06/01/07] [TRANSLATED FROM FRENCH].

Interviewed by Radio Canada, filmmaker Emmanuelle Schick Garcia, who made a documentary (on the French pornography industry) called “La Petite Morte” (2003 — see www. lapetitemorte.com/about.htm), said:
“I think Raffaëla [Anderson] describes the [pornographic] world very honestly for what it really is, there are moments of happiness, especially for a girl who never had any friends in her life, or love from her family, and found it in this world. Not real love like we know it, but love as it would be recognized by someone who felt abandoned and alone. Then there’s the other side, where for a victim of incest and rape like Raffaëla, pornography becomes a reconstruction of the abuse she’s lived all her life. And for a lot of girls in that world, […] love is like how they’re treated in pornography. It’s someone who tells you how you should have sex. It’s having someone tell you, you’re going to do this scene, like this, with this person. And it’s exactly what they’re accustomed to, because growing up they never got to choose… So, for me, when pornographers say, it’s fun or that the girls like what they’re doing, I see it as lies. Because I learned everything to the contrary. I spoke with many girls in that world and often, I would say about 85% of those girls were victims of sexual or physical abuse growing up.”
— Emmanuelle Schick Garcia, Source: lapetitemorte.com/article58.htm [accessed on 06/01/07] [INTERVIEW WAS ALREADY TRANSLATED TO ENGLISH]

Interviewed by IFQ, Shick Garcia also said:
“There are very heart breaking and horrible things about the pornographic world. But, most of those things happened to actresses and actors long before they arrived in the pornography world. The pornography industry is just a place where a lot of victims relive their abuse, where they can continue to destroy themselves like their abusers destroyed them. That’s what is the most disturbing to me. The incest, rapes, child abuse and neglect that become the springboard for a lot of participants to enter the industry. People in the industry will tell you this isn’t true, but I learned everything to the contrary. This excuse makes it easier to go to work, that’s all.”
— Emmanuelle Schick Garcia, Source: independentfilmquarterly.com/ifq/interviews/petite.htm [accessed on 06/01/07] [INTERVIEW WAS ALREADY TRANSLATED TO ENGLISH]

When asked about the title of her documentary (“La Petite Morte”), Shick Garcia replied:
“It refers to the female orgasm, because in porno films they want you to believe that a woman is always having an orgasm, which isn’t true, and there’s also the depressing aspect of the name, with death, there’s just something inside a lot of those girls that seems dead. To me, it’s just a really sad world.”
— Emmanuelle Schick Garcia, Source: lapetitemorte.com/article58.htm [accessed on 06/01/07] [INTERVIEW WAS ALREADY TRANSLATED TO ENGLISH]

From the (archived) Against Pornography website

Porn is now part of mainstream entertainment, and ‘feminist’ pornographers are part of the mainstream porn industry

Netflix is streaming another series about the sex industry, called Siffredi Late Night – Hard Academy, it is a reality show, following ‘aspiring porn actors’, rather than an investigative documentary, and it shows just how mainstream the porn industry is now within the entertainment industry.

I couldn’t stomach actually watching any of it, but it is obvious that it will be entirely uncritical of the porn industry. Of particular note is the episode about ‘feminist’ pornographers, the thumbnail doesn’t actually use the term ‘feminist’, but that’s the implication of “women filmmakers producing a new kind of porn”.

This shows that so-called ‘feminist’ pornographers are completely embedded in the mainstream porn industry, and therefore cannot be said to ‘challenge’ it in any way.

Rocco Siffredi worked with John Stagliano, founder of the Evil Angel studio, and is credited with creating the gonzo style of pornography, and introducing anal sex and ‘rough sex’ to heterosexual pornography. That he apparently has something to teach ‘feminist’ pornographers helps prove that ‘feminist’ porn does not exist.

‘Better Programming’

Today’s Sinfest

Me, on tumblr recently, talking about ‘amateur’ porn

(link)

QotD: “What Teenagers Are Learning From Online Porn”

Drew was 8 years old when he was flipping through TV channels at home and landed on “Girls Gone Wild.” A few years later, he came across HBO’s late-night soft-core pornography. Then in ninth grade, he found online porn sites on his phone. The videos were good for getting off, he said, but also sources for ideas for future sex positions with future girlfriends. From porn, he learned that guys need to be buff and dominant in bed, doing things like flipping girls over on their stomach during sex. Girls moan a lot and are turned on by pretty much everything a confident guy does. One particular porn scene stuck with him: A woman was bored by a man who approached sex gently but became ecstatic with a far more aggressive guy.

But around 10th grade, it began bothering Drew, an honor-roll student who loves baseball and writing rap lyrics and still confides in his mom, that porn influenced how he thought about girls at school. Were their breasts, he wondered, like the ones in porn? Would girls look at him the way women do in porn when they had sex? Would they give him blow jobs and do the other stuff he saw?

Drew, who asked me to use one of his nicknames, was a junior when I first met him in late 2016, and he told me some of this one Thursday afternoon, as we sat in a small conference room with several other high school boys, eating chips and drinking soda and waiting for an after-school program to begin. Next to Drew was Q., who asked me to identify him by the first initial of his nickname. He was 15, a good student and a baseball fan, too, and pretty perplexed about how porn translated into real life. Q. hadn’t had sex — he liked older, out-of-reach girls, and the last time he had a girlfriend was in sixth grade, and they just fooled around a bit. So he wasn’t exactly in a good position to ask girls directly what they liked. But as he told me over several conversations, it wasn’t just porn but rough images on Snapchat, Facebook and other social media that confused him. Like the GIF he saw of a man pushing a woman against a wall with a girl commenting: “I want a guy like this.” And the one Drew mentioned of the “pain room” in “Fifty Shades of Grey” with a caption by a girl: “This is awesome!”

Watching porn also heightened Q.’s performance anxiety. “You are looking at an adult,” he told me. “The guys are built and dominant and have a big penis, and they last a long time.” And if you don’t do it like the guys in porn, Drew added, “you fear she’s not going to like you.”

Leaning back in his chair, Drew said some girls acted as if they wanted some thug rather than a smart, sensitive guy. But was it true desire? Was it posturing? Was it what girls thought they were supposed to want? Neither Q. nor Drew knew. A couple of seats away, a sophomore who had been quiet until then added that maybe the girls didn’t know either. “I think social media makes girls think they want something,” he said, noting he hadn’t seen porn more than a handful of times and disliked it. “But I think some of the girls are afraid.”

“It gets in your head,” Q. said. “If this girl wants it, then maybe the majority of girls want it.” He’d heard about the importance of consent in sex, but it felt pretty abstract, and it didn’t seem as if it would always be realistic in the heat of the moment. Out of nowhere was he supposed to say: Can I pull your hair? Or could he try something and see how a girl responded? He knew that there were certain things — “big things, like sex toys or anal” — that he would not try without asking.

“I would just do it,” said another boy, in jeans and a sweatshirt. When I asked what he meant, he said anal sex. He assumed that girls like it, because the women in porn do.

“I would never do something that looked uncomfortable,” Drew said, jumping back into the conversation. “I might say, ‘I’ve seen this in porn — do you want to try it?’ ”

It was almost 4 p.m., and the boys started to gather their backpacks to head to a class known as Porn Literacy. The course, with the official title The Truth About Pornography: A Pornography-Literacy Curriculum for High School Students Designed to Reduce Sexual and Dating Violence, is a recent addition to Start Strong, a peer-leadership program for teenagers headquartered in Boston’s South End and funded by the city’s public-health agency. About two dozen selected high school students attend every year, most of them black or Latino, along with a few Asian students, from Boston public high schools, including the city’s competitive exam schools, and a couple of parochial schools. During most of the year, the teenagers learn about healthy relationships, dating violence and L.G.B.T. issues, often through group discussions, role-playing and other exercises.

But for around two hours each week, for five weeks, the students — sophomores, juniors and seniors — take part in Porn Literacy, which aims to make them savvier, more critical consumers of porn by examining how gender, sexuality, aggression, consent, race, queer sex, relationships and body images are portrayed (or, in the case of consent, not portrayed) in porn.

On average, boys are around 13, and girls are around 14, when they first see pornography, says Bryant Paul, an associate professor at Indiana University’s Media School and the author of studies on porn content and adolescent and adult viewing habits. In a 2008 University of New Hampshire survey, 93 percent of male college students and 62 percent of female students said they saw online porn before they were 18. Many females, in particular, weren’t seeking it out. Thirty-five percent of males said they had watched it 10 or more times during adolescence.

Porn Literacy, which began in 2016 and is the focus of a pilot study, was created in part by Emily Rothman, an associate professor at Boston University’s School of Public Health who has conducted several studies on dating violence, as well as on porn use by adolescents. She told me that the curriculum isn’t designed to scare kids into believing porn is addictive, or that it will ruin their lives and relationships and warp their libidos. Instead it is grounded in the reality that most adolescents do see porn and takes the approach that teaching them to analyze its messages is far more effective than simply wishing our children could live in a porn-free world.

That ‘queer sex’ made me wince (what is the writer talking about? Gay men, lesbians, ‘diaper fetishists’?), but the article is still worth reading in full (it’s very long, the above is the introductory section, I will quote a few more paragraphs from it, but I do recommend reading the whole thing).

There are also uncritical references to ‘feminist’ and ‘ethical’ porn, and to such pornographers getting involved in sex education, but as one of the other interviewees says: “Unlike organic food, there’s no coding system for ethical or feminist porn […] They might use condoms and dental dams and still convey the same gender and aggression dynamics.”

It’s hard to know if, and how, this translates into behavior. While some studies show a small number of teens who watch higher rates of porn engage in earlier sex as well as gender stereotyping and sexual relationships that are less affectionate than their peers, these only indicate correlations, not cause and effect. But surveys do suggest that the kinds of sex some teenagers have may be shifting. The percentage of 18-to-24-year-old women who reported trying anal sex rose to 40 percent in 2009 from 16 percent in 1992, according to the largest survey on American sexual behavior in decades, co-authored by Herbenick and published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine. In data from that same survey, 20 percent of 18-to-19 year old females had tried anal sex; about 6 percent of 14-to-17-year-old females had. And in a 2016 Swedish study of nearly 400 16-year-old girls, the percentage of girls who had tried anal sex doubled if they watched pornography. Like other studies about sex and porn, it only showed a correlation, and girls who are more sexually curious may also be drawn to porn. In addition, some girls may view anal sex as a “safer” alternative to vaginal sex, as there’s little risk of pregnancy.

[…]

These images confound many teenagers about the kinds of sex they want or think they should have. In part, that’s because they aren’t always sure what is fake and what is real in porn. Though some told me that porn was fantasy or exaggerated, others said that porn wasn’t real only insofar as it wasn’t typically two lovers having sex on film. Some of those same teenagers assumed the portrayal of how sex and pleasure worked was largely accurate. That seems to be in keeping with a 2016 survey of 1,001 11-to-16-year-olds in Britain. Of the roughly half who had seen pornography, 53 percent of boys and 39 percent of girls said it was “realistic.” And in the recent Indiana University national survey, only one in six boys and one in four girls believed that women in online porn were not actually experiencing pleasure: As one suburban high school senior boy told me recently, “I’ve never seen a girl in porn who doesn’t look like she’s having a good time.”

[…]

Now, in the third week of class, Daley’s goal was to undercut porn’s allure for teenagers by exposing the underbelly of the business. “When you understand it’s not just two people on the screen but an industry,” she told me, “it’s not as sexy.”

To that end, Daley started class by detailing a midlevel female performer’s salary (taken from the 2008 documentary “The Price of Pleasure”): “Blow job: $300,” Daley read from a list. “Anal: $1,000. Double penetration: $1,200. Gang bang: $1,300 for three guys. $100 for each additional guy.”

“Wow,” Drew muttered. “That makes it nasty now.”

“That’s nothing for being penetrated on camera,” another boy said.

Then, as if they had been given a green light to ask about a world that grown-ups rarely acknowledge, they began peppering Daley, Rothman and Alder with questions.

“How much do men get paid?” one girl asked. It is the one of the few professions in which men are paid less, Rothman explained, but they also typically have longer careers. How long do women stay in their jobs? On average, six to 18 months. How do guys get erections if they aren’t turned on? Often Viagra, Rothman offered, and sometimes a “fluffer,” as an offscreen human stimulator is known.

I really wish this canard was challenged more, male porn performers in het porn are paid less than female performers because they are not doing the same job; as someone else put it so well, women are paid to suffer, while men are paid to ejaculate. Porn companies can (and do) get men in off the street to do it for free, that’s why male porn performers are paid less.

Also, all the real money in porn is behind the cameras, in production and distribution, an area which is dominatd by men.

Daley then asked the teenagers to pretend they were contestants on a reality-TV show, in which they had to decide if they were willing to participate in certain challenges (your parents might be watching) and for how much money. In one scenario, she said, you would kneel on the ground while someone poured a goopy substance over your face. In another, you’d lick a spoon that had touched fecal matter. The kids debated the fecal-matter challenge — most wouldn’t to do it for less than $2 million. One wanted to know if the goop smelled. “Can we find out what it is?” asked another.

Then Daley explained that each was in fact a simulation of a porn act. The goopy substance was what’s called a “baker’s dozen,” in which 13 men ejaculate on a woman’s face, breasts and mouth.

“What?” a girl named Tiffany protested.

The second scenario — licking the spoon with fecal matter — was from a porn act known as A.T.M., in which a man puts his penis in a woman’s anus and then immediately follows by sticking it in her mouth.

“No way,” a 15-year-old boy said. “Can’t you wash in between?”

Nope, Daley said.

“We don’t question it when we see it in porn, right?” Daley went on. “There’s no judgment here, but some of you guys are squeamish about it.”

“I never knew any of this,” Drew said, sounding a bit glum.

Daley went on to detail a 2010 study that coded incidents of aggression in best-selling 2004 and 2005 porn videos. She noted that 88 percent of scenes showed verbal or physical aggression, mostly spanking, slapping and gagging. (A more recent content analysis of more than 6,000 mainstream online heterosexual porn scenes by Bryant Paul and his colleagues defined aggression specifically as any purposeful action appearing to cause physical or psychological harm to another person and found that 33 percent of scenes met that criteria. In each study, women were on the receiving end of the aggression more than 90 percent of the time.)

[…]

Al Vernacchio, a nationally known sexuality educator who teaches progressive sex ed at a private Quaker school outside Philadelphia, believes the better solution is to make porn literacy part of the larger umbrella of comprehensive sex education. Vernacchio, who is the author of the 2014 book “For Goodness Sex: Changing the Way We Talk to Teens About Sexuality, Values, and Health,” is one of those rare teenage-sex educators who talks directly to his high school students about sexual pleasure and mutuality, along with the ingredients for healthy relationships. The problem with porn “is not just that it often shows misogynistic, unhealthy representations of relationships,” Vernacchio says. “You can’t learn relationship skills from porn, and if you are looking for pleasure and connection, porn can’t teach you how to have those.”

Crabbe notes one effective way to get young men to take fewer lessons from porn: “Tell them if you want to be a lazy, selfish lover, look at porn. If you want to be a lover where your partner says, ‘That was great,’ you won’t learn it from porn.” And parents should want their teenagers to be generous lovers, Cindy Gallop argues. “Our parents bring us up to have good manners, a work ethic. But nobody brings us up to behave well in bed.”

What Teenagers Are Learning From Online Porn, Maggie Jones, New York Times Magazine

#MeToo and Anti-porn Feminism

The title of this article in yesterday’s Guardian is ‘The strange alliance between #MeToo and the anti-porn movement’, but the article isn’t as bad, from a radical feminist point of view, as that title immediately suggests.

There is actually nothing ‘strange’ about feminists being anti-porn, back at the beginning of the second wave of feminism in the 70s, anti-porn was the norm; this was followed by a so-called ‘sex positive’ pro-sex industry back-lash in the 80’s, which started the process of de-radicalising feminism that proceeded through the ‘ladettism’ of the 90’s and the selfish individualism/identity politics of the 00’s to the sorry mess we are in now, where mainstream feminism is in thrall to trans-identified males who get ‘triggered’ by neon pink cat-ears and talk of abortion rights, but absolutely have no problem with vulvas/vaginas when they appear in porn.

Single-issue, cross-party alliances are (or were) the norm in mainstream politics, I have already covered the ‘you’re in league with religious fundamentalists!’ gotcha! here, but it’s worth pointing out again, that to genuinely be ‘in league’ with religious fundamentalists, radical feminist would have to be doing something for them in return, like opposing abortion rights, and that simply is not happening.

No other political movement is held up to the same level of scrutiny/purity as radical feminism is by its opponents; Christians are the back-bone of the anti-poverty and nuclear disarmament movements, but nobody accuses those movements of being ‘in league with religious fundamentalists’.

Sex industry advocates and trans activists will work with right-wing governments and religious organisations when it suits their purposes – the demand for ‘purity’ is a demand for no mainstream political action at all.

Radical feminism is a political movement for all women (whether they identify as radical feminists or not), and being an effective political movement (rather than an esoteric, on-line ghetto) means using all the resources available to us, which includes single-issue political alliances with people who, on other issues, we would be opponents to.

The #MeToo movement means many things to many people, but for anti-porn activists it’s the ultimate vindication.

The moment has been a long time coming for religious conservatives at war with what they see as America’s culture of sexual objectification. Many see social media-fueled outpouring as a much-needed referendum on a culture that reduces a woman’s worth to her sex appeal.

Fighting porn in the age of ubiquitous internet isn’t easy, but nevertheless the mood was upbeat this week as hundreds of activists gathered near Washington to share stories, talk strategy, and canvass lawmakers on their agenda at a conference organized by the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE), which recently notched up a major PR victory in getting Walmart to ban Cosmopolitan magazine from checkout counters.

“This is what real change looks like in our #MeToo culture,” said Dawn Hawkins, the group’s executive director.

The anti-pornography movement has always been an unusual coalition of religious conservatives and radical feminists, dating back to Andrea Dworkin, the feminist icon who wrote Pornography: Men Possessing Women.

But in the Trump era, defined by pussy hats and pussy-grabbing, the Dworkin-meet-Mike-Pence alliance is a whole new level of weird. It’s also supercharged. With both feminism and the Christian right in the ascendent thanks to the divisive Trump White House, the anti-porn movement has gotten a new jolt of energy.

The alliance has finessed a politically tricky situation by drawing on the values of both sides and using the language of #MeToo and modern feminism to cast the widest possible net.

Of course, Americans have always been much better at denouncing porn than abstaining from watching it.

Porn viewership is likely at an all-time high, though reliable statistics are hard to come by. In 2017 Pornhub alone averaged 81 million visitors per day, and viewership is notably growing among women, some of whom are giving porn a second look through a sex-positive lens.

‘Sex positive’ is a meaningless term, another thought-terminating cliché designed to shut down debate and critical thinking. That women want to be porn consumers like men is seen as ‘progress’ only shows how meaningless a concept ‘equality’ is – once women are just as porn-sick and abusive as men are we will have achieved ‘equality’ with men, we will have our own slice of the rotten pie, but nobody will have been liberated from the status quo

But at what might be described as CPAC for the anti-porn movement this week, there was no such thing as healthy engagement with pornography.

As activists saw it, porn and sexual assault were but different points on a single continuum of sexual violence. The key difference was that there was an entrenched financial interest behind pornography – and to a lesser extent prostitution.

“The difference between prostitution and battery, incest and rape is that there’s nothing like the money in pornography and prostitution,” said Melissa Farley, a clinical psychologist and the founder of the San Francisco-based Prostitution Research and Education, who spoke on a panel at the conference.

Porn has been cast as empowering by some feminists. But Farley and other like-minded activists say that misses the “choicelessness” of the vast majority of women who work in the industry, many of whom are forced into it by economic necessity or other circumstance.

What’s worse, they say, is that assuming sex workers have a choice in their profession implies they signed up for the abuse and other mistreatments to which they are often exposed.

“Slaves have been blamed for their own enslavement, children have been blamed for provoking their own sexual abuse,” said Farley, “and women in prostitution have been blamed.”

Liberal advocates of the #MeToo movement have said the spotlight on sexual abuses must be expanded to include all victims, especially those on the fringes of society, beyond famous actresses in Hollywood.

Farley argues that, by logical extension, #MeToo must include prostitutes and porn actresses. “Our worst nightmares are their daily experiences,” she wrote in a recent piece, “given that the nature of their work constantly puts them at risk for harassment, unwanted sexual advances and rape.”

Valiant Richey, a prosecutor with the district attorney’s office in Washington’s King County, which includes Seattle, contrasted the vulnerable nature of people who go into the sex trade – typically poor, minority women with a history of addiction, neglect and abuse – with the relatively privileged makeup of sex buyers, who are often white, male, and financially comfortable.

It’s a “system of inequality perpetuated by race, economics and gender,” Richey said. “We should be talking about demand [for sex] as a system of oppression on its own.”

Such language might seem surprising coming from a group of social conservatives. But it was everywhere at this conference, which sought to capitalize on the current groundswell of growing gender consciousness.

Iceland, which is consistently ranked as among the best places in the world to be a woman, considered a countrywide ban on pornography in 2013. And in the United Kingdom, an age-requirement for all pornographic websites will be introduced this year.

But calling for a crackdown on the “public health crisis of pornography” puts the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, founded as Morality in Media in the 1960s by a group of clergymen, somewhat on the fringes in the US.

Early concerns that pornography would lead to rising levels of rape, first raised by anti-porn advocates a generation ago, have proven unfounded. Overall rape and assault numbers have fallen precipitously in recent years, even as pornography viewership has ballooned.

If you actually follow through on the link in that last paragraph, you will find that rape rates have fallen at the same rate as all other violent crime in the same period, and that the author of the article attributes this to a drop in lead pollution from car exhausts.

If rape rates fell at the same rate as other violent crimes over the same period, that fall then cannot be attributed to an increase in porn consumption.

This also means that we can’t, from that source, assign any rise in sexual violence to increased porn consumption.

Patriarchy pre-dates internet pornography, patriarchy is not a monolith, it varies and adapts across time and across cultures, pornography is just the latest iteration of male supremacy.

Back when rape within marriage was legal, wives would not report that they had been raped; ‘real rape’, a stranger jumping out of the bushes, is not the most common form of rape. Coercive sex has become normalised under porn-culture, but most victims (and some perpetrators) won’t even call it rape. Young women now see coercive sex as an inevitability, and such ‘bad sex’ is unlikely to ever be recorded as a rape statistic, either reported to the police or recorded in a crime survey.

But the Council’s arguments are not completely outside the American mainstream. Writing recently in The New York Times, the popular conservative columnist Ross Douthat said of porn that “the belief that it cannot be censored is a superstition”.

Such confidence was behind the Council’s seemingly radical – and surprisingly successful – campaign to get Wal-Mart to remove Cosmopolitan, which they argue demeans women with cheap sex tips and the like, from its checkout aisles.

Following that victory, the NCOSE’s vice-president of advocacy and outreach, Haley Halverson, told the Guardian the group would be reaching out to Target and Walgreens with similar requests. They also have designs for online ads.

And conference attendees buzzed over the recent passage of a bill in Congress that will crack down on ads for sex posted on websites like Craigslist and Backpage.com. Sex industry advocates say the bill could expose legal sex workers to undue legal jeopardy.

It’s a strange thing to be headed to the desk of Donald Trump for a signature, as the president faces down a high-profile lawsuit from Stormy Daniels, the adult film star who says she was paid to keep quiet about their affair.

Indeed Trump – and the numerous accusations of sexual harassment and assault against him – was the elephant in the room at conference devoted to stamping out sexual exploitation.

But Matt Aujero, who came to the conference from the University of Maryland where he works for the Catholic Student Center, said he found the lack of Trump talk refreshing. “I like how it’s not overly politicized,” he said.

The silence was also likely strategic. As the NCOSE put it shortly after Trump’s election in 2016: “We understand how the Trump victory has caused many to have unsettling feelings about the new administration, but we, of course, must look for every opportunity to advance our cause of ending exploitation … Many within Trump’s transition team are social conservatives for whom issues of sexual exploitation are already of great concern.”

But Gail Dines, an academic and founder of the anti-pornography group Culture Reframed, saw the newly-energized movement as a fitting response to Trump’s “pussy grabbing” boasts.

“Trump got women pissed, really pissed,” she said.

QotD: Amateur porn is a niche market of the mainstream porn industry

Gail Dines (found on tumblr)

Me, on tumblr today, writing about free speech and animated porn


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