Porn and Sexual Liberation

“Tears fall, quite rightly, when we hear of the exploitation of sweat-shop workers, but when it’s the blood, sweat, tears and other bodily fluids of people in porn at issue, we get told that it’s not exploitation it’s sexual freedom. Whose sexual freedom? Economic freedom for the porn industry, sexual and economic exploitation for the workers.”

Anti-Porn Feminists

Image from

This is the finished essay of the talk given by Joy as part of the ARF workshop at the Anarchist Bookfair.

Cross-posted at Autonomous Radical Feminists blog

Porn and Sexual Liberation

I’m told that porn is all about choice; the choice to make porn and the choice to use it. I can understand that – we’d all love to have plenty of choice in our sex lives. And I can see there’s plenty of choice involved in porn: business choice for the pornographers, economic choice for the multi-national porn industry, consumer choice for porn users. Pornographers, the porn industry, the johns, all exercise their choice to profit from the sale and use of women’s, children’s and men’s bodies. The former three have the greater choices (if what the latter are left with can be said to even constitute a choice at all).

I’m told that porn is just fantasy, not…

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Porn Myths

Anti-Porn Feminists

One Angry Girl has a great porn myths resource up on her web site. The image is interactive (on her website, not here!), with each thought balloon leading to a refutation of that myth.

Here’s one example:

“The relationship between particularly sexually violent images in the media and subsequent aggression…is much stronger statistically than the relationship between smoking and lung cancer.”

–Researcher Edward Donnerstein

Many porn apologists have theorized that using pornography helps oversexed men get those nasty impulses out of their system safely.  Without porn, they insist, more rapes would occur.

We at o.a.g. know this isn’t true, because despite the phenomenal growth of all kinds of porn during the last few decades, reported rapes have increased 500% since 1960, according to the National Victim Center.  In New York City in 2002, for example, all crime decreased except rape, which increased.

We also know that statistics don’t always…

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QotD: “I’ve come of age in the porn generation. Here are some of the problems we face”

Anti-Porn Feminists

My first lessons about sex didn’t come from sex education lessons, but were filtered through pre-pubescent boys, who received their information from porn. A 2008 report into youth exposure to pornography, carried out in the US, found that from a pool of 5,000 undergraduate students, 93% of boys and 62% of girls had been exposed to internet porn before the age of 18. The report also found that “boys were significantly more likely to view online pornography more often and to view more types of images”.

Porn provides a huge bank of sexual imagery, at the click of a button. Regrettably, it often depicts aggressive sexual acts – a 2010 analysis of 50 bestselling adult videos in the US found that 88% of the scenes included physical aggression. This aggression is overwhelmingly carried out by the male, with the target of the violence being a woman 94% of the time…

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Breaking the porcelain doll: underneath male sexual cruelty against women and children.

Legalised Lies

This writing was first posted on January 25th 2015 on my tumblr.

When one looks into the language that pornographers and consumers of mainstream porn use to describe scenes, you can spot a pattern.

It seems there are two things that are often accentuated:
1. The difference in power between the male subject and his body (“big”, “monstercock”, “huge”, “daddy” etc.) and the female object and her body (“tiny”, “tight”, “petite”, “teen”, “cute” etc.).
2. The violence that the subject inflicts on the object (“gets fucked”, “gets a pounding”, “is banged”, “destroyed”, “abused”, “violated”, “has to”, “is forced to”, can’t take it” etc.).

This idea of a big, cruel subject harming a small, vulnerble object is what drives many men’s sexuality today. It’s the kind of sex men desire, what they fantasize about and dream of enacting themselves, as subject. People often claim that pornography is fiction and that fantasies…

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QotD: “The most terrible thing about pornography is that it tells male truth”

Anti-Porn Feminists

The most terrible thing about pornography is that it tells male truth. The most insidious thing about pornography is that it tells male truth as if it were universal truth. Those depictions of women in chains being tortured are supposed to represent our deepest erotic aspirations. And some of us believe it, don’t we? The most important thing about pornography is that the values in it are the common values of men. This is the crucial fact that both the male Right and the male Left, in their differing but mutually reinforcing ways, want to keep hidden from women. The male Right wants to hide the pornography, and the male Left wants to hide its meaning. Both want access to pornography so that men can be encouraged and energized by it. The Right wants secret access; the Left wants public access. But whether we see the pornography or not, the…

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QotD: “I think there’s a couple of problems or issues with ‘feminist porn’ and various reasons why it doesn’t live up to what it promises”

Anti-Porn Feminists

In the 60s, 70s and 80s the trend in the feminist movement was that it was largely anti-pornography, it was critical of pornography for various reasons…And starting in the 80s, 90s and basically since then the trend in the feminist movement has been more liberal, more accepting of pornography, sometimes even going to the extent of promoting pornography or being pro-porn. So ‘feminist porn’, as far as I’m aware, is a recent development and what it is, is that it is currently a niche within pornography where it’s directed usually by women who consider themselves feminists. It’s more oriented towards female pleasure, it typically has a female consumer in mind whereas mainstream pornography tends to have a male consumer in mind. There’s allegedly more emphasis on real pleasure, breaking down traditional gender roles, non-traditional sexuality, so more experimentation, more ‘female-friendly’ sexuality, if you will. And the reason why I put…

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QotD: “queer liberation, not incarceration”

“not all people who describe themselves as ‘queer’ are entirely uncritical of pornography and BDSM”

Anti-Porn Feminists

This is interesting (but two years old, so not exactly cutting-edge ‘news’ any more), that not all people who describe themselves as ‘queer’ are entirely uncritical of pornography and BDSM:

At least six people were arrested on Saturday night after a protest against a prison-themed party. The protestors’ message was “queer liberation, not incarceration.”

This is a travesty–on the anniversary of the famed Stonewall Rebellion, where trans and queer people rose up against police brutality, that six people would be arrested for protesting an SF Pride-sanctioned party that celebrated state violence and prison rape.

The six included a National Lawyers’ Guild Legal Observer; several protesters were clubbed and beaten to the ground after a protest numbering several hundred marched to the Armory at 14thand Mission Streets in the Mission District, from a 10 p.m. gathering at the 16th Street BART Station

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QotD on pornography and rape rates

Anti-Porn Feminists

One of the studies frequently cited by pornographers is a Dutch study done by Kutchinsky alleging that the number of reported sex crimes dropped after legalization of pornography. His theory was that the availability of pornography siphons off dangerous sex impulses. But when the data for his “safety valve” theory were further evaluated, it was found that he lumped together voyeurism and homosexuality (which police stopped reporting after legalization) with rapes (which actually increased in number).

Deborah Baker, a legal assistant and executive director of an anti-obscenity group, says that proving a connection between pornography and crime is very difficult. She says, “The argument that there are no established studies showing a connection between pornography and violent crime is merely a smoke screen. Those who promote this stance well know that such research will never be done. It would require a sampling of much more than a thousand males, exposed…

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QotD: “Because men’s viewing of pornography frequently culminates in orgasm, the lessons of pornography are learned much faster and more tenaciously than when they view nonpornographic media”

Anti-Porn Feminists

Because men’s viewing of pornography frequently culminates in orgasm, the lessons of pornography are learned much faster and more tenaciously than when they view nonpornographic media.

Russell, D.E.H. 1993, “Introduction”, Russell, D.E.H. (ed), Making Violence Sexy: Feminist Views on Pornography, Open University Press, Buckingham, pp.1-23

(Found at The Colour of Pomegranates)

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QotD: “By some mysterious process all that pertains to sex in this society has been separated off from politics”

Anti-Porn Feminists

By some mysterious process all that pertains to sex in this society has been separated off from politics, even by those who would consider themselves socialist and radicals. In order to make sexual practice a private enclave of individual delight, sexuality has been seen as somehow removed from the effects of sexism, racism, any oppression in the world outside the bedroom, and considered to have no effect upon or relevance to that world. In fact sex plays a crucial part in fuelling and regulating the oppression of women and racist oppression. There is nothing pure about sex nor anything which might claim for it a special exemption from political criticism.

Sheila Jeffreys, “Sadomasochism: The Erotic Cult of Fascism” (originally written in 1984, published in Lesbian Ethics in 1986), appendix to The Lesbian Heresy: A Feminist Perspective on the Lesbian Sexual Revolution (1993), p. 218
(found at Pomeranian Privilege)

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QotD: “The porn industry proudly profits of the fact that many of the women in porn come away traumatized”

Anti-Porn Feminists

Kind of weird how some feminists will go out of their way to tell people that women enjoy doing porn, while the porn industry makes no attempt to hide the damage that they do. Pornhub and other mainstream sites literally have sub-genres dedicated to female porn-stars having anxiety attacks and breakdowns. There are entire websites devoted to “behind the scenes” footage of girls breaking down and crying. The porn industry proudly profits of the fact that many of the women in porn come away traumatized. It’s a sad day for our movement when some of the industry’s biggest defenders are calling themselves feminists.


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