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Feminist Battle Over Pornography

Women Battle Over Merits of Porn

Twenty percent of men and 13 percent of women say they've viewed online porn . . . at work! And of all the websites out there, 12 percent are pornographic. Clearly the Internet loves porn, but can a feminist?

At least one group would like to end the obsession and they're holding an anti-porn conference next week in Boston. The anti-porn camp believes that porn culture degrades and humiliates women by reducing them to sexual objects. But not all feminists agree. Sex columnist Violet Blue has countered the crew with her website Our Porn, Our Selves. In her pro-porn principles, Violet Blue explains that she and her supporters "declare ourselves as adult women capable of making our own choices about our bodies and enjoyment of explicit visual stimulation for our sexual health and well-being."

Based on the demand of porn, I think it's safe to say it's not going anywhere. And if women (or men) want to enjoy porn as part of their sexuality, they should have that choice. In fact one in three porn viewers are women. Still it's true that as a result of the porn industry, women are exploited — either in the making of it or because some of it contributes to sexual objectification that pervades society. Maybe feminists who identify as either pro or anti-porn can work together to stop that.

If you're curious about porn or erotica, check out our resident sexpert Charlie Glickman's advice for beginners.

Join The Conversation
Venus1 Venus1 7 years
To add to my previous comments, for starters I have on more than one occasion been videoed with a lover so I can hardly be anti porn can I? My issues with a lot of it are 1. Women are often sen as subservient. 2. The suggestion that we all want to be covered with goo; must of us don't. 3. Two minutes of oral is enough for us. 4. Just hard thrusting causes ecstatic orgasms 5. Lesbian porn is so often itched at solely the male market
ninasimon ninasimon 7 years
Blah Blah - there is nothing wrong with porn - the problem is with the double standards and with the fact that women (especially) are intimidated by porn and in general not open enough with themselves about sex. the gap grows between men & women to a point where people like the above come out with silly slogans like "make love not porn" - what has one thing to do with the other ????? Porn is and will always exist as a sub culture it is exciting, wild and it is up to you / me to be an active part or not. it's like deciding not to eat meat - but there is no doubt that meat has it's healthy values. so maybe it's about quantity and not about should it exist or not.
Padawan-Pri Padawan-Pri 7 years
i watch porn, and it has it's virtues. It's wonderful to completely indulge my naughty side and live out a fantasy that you have no intention of actually pursing. My boyfriend (obviously) watches porn and we seldom do so together, I'd rather him be looking at me which is never a problem ;-) Being open to it has helped our relationship a lot. It is just naughtiness in our case ;-) I do believe that there are types that degrade women, and dodgy parts of the industry (child abuse etc) and that is why we subscribe to websites that (seemingly) representing a particular female porn star. I consider myself a strong, educated woman and can be quite a feminist at times, but i am a sexual being and although i don't need porn to feel this way... i like to watch it sometimes. To me, it's akin to escapism that you see it a regular movie that you watch, only in porn you get to see Princess Leia and Han Solo actually get it on ;-)
Gawjuslayd Gawjuslayd 7 years
This is one topic I can go on for hours about! I personally think that woman that are feminists that don't watch porn, are just lying to themselves. I consider my self to be very feminine righteous, but I am also a big porn supporter. I think that is women are going to be femininists and fight for equaliuty and all the same things as men, then we should also fight for the right to display our bodies in anyway that we want. It takes confidence to be naked in front of people, especially with all the negativity towards liking yourself in your own skin. Now wouldn't it make sense to be a feminist and get yourself out there in expression?!
Lyv Lyv 7 years
So true, xgreenfairyx... Porn is a subjective form of entertainment much like the cinema or the theater - some of it has to do with real life, some of it is pure fantasy, and obviously not all of it is for everyone's taste. If some people can't make that separation in their heads, that's an issue of their own, doesn't the mean the entire concept is "unhealthy".
xgreenfairyx xgreenfairyx 7 years
I don't think the 'porn culture' is the problem...its the PEOPLE who consume these images as reality that are the problem. That's like blaming videogames for violent behavior in a kid, without asking if the child was abused or suicidal or bullied in the first place. If someone idolizes plastic bodies and massive junk, that's THEIR problem. If you date a guy who fantasizes about doing things he saw in porn that humiliates you, there's something wrong with HIM, and possibly your relationship if you let him do that to you. Granted, there ARE stupid humans who see this stuff as real. I'd say that's a low number, and mostly includes pre-pubescents. And someone will teach them what the real world is like. A person will be a freak no matter what you do, and any attempt at trying to 'save their innocence' is futile. Exposure might facilitate imaginations, but as soon as they accept that, it becomes THEIR responsibility. All I can do is say, 'Sorry, buddy...I'm not like that. Take it or leave it.'
ironmaiden22 ironmaiden22 7 years
Anonymous, what exactly do you mean by the term 'healthy person'? As I see it, my boyfriend and I are healthy (both physically and mentally) people and we both watch porn. I don't see porn as being this bad thing that must be avoided. And I concur with Lyv. And why is it always the women being objectified? What about the porn made for women? Aren't those men then being objectified? In terms of relationships, an open and honest communication about sex between partners is what really is needed and sometimes porn helps achieve that.
RoaringSilence RoaringSilence 7 years
Wow, "stop porn culture" is a little extreme. There is plenty of female friendly porn out there, like
Venus1 Venus1 7 years
I partly agree with Lyv, BUT I think a lot of porn sends out the wrong signals to men as to what women actually want. I think this can be potentially damaging to relationships and give younger people the wrong idea as to what true passion and sexual charge is all about.
Lyv Lyv 7 years
I like to think of myself as a feminist and I disagree that all porn is necessarily degrading to women. It's like a vicious circle - the more women insist that porn is demeaning and they can't enjoy it, the less the industry will care about making porn that doesn't piss off the feminine audience. Now, playing psychologist here, when a woman is completely incapable of enjoying any kind of porn ever, I *think* it comes down to a self-esteem/body image and repressed sexuality thing. Which is so silly because when guys watch porn they're bound to see men with fitter bodies or bigger penises or even like, doing stuff they might not really want to try themselves in real life, and they still get a kick out of it. So why can't girls ?
Beauty Beauty 7 years
I don't think porn has to be an either/or thing. I will say that I've dated quite a few guys who expected me to look like a porn star or have deemed me a prude because I didn't want to do certain things in hardcore pornos. So on a personal level, I'm not crazy about porn culture. I mean, would we really be dealing with preteens wearing thongs if it weren't for porn? Still, it isn't going away, and there are people who have a healthy view of it. To each his or her own, I say. Spacekatgal, I read that story. I don't think she'll be "unable to repay" it. She's making $2300/month after taxes, which is not bad for a single 25-year-old. I got the sense that she regretted taking out so many loans, but it's not like she's struggling to put food on her family. (Heh.) Anyway.
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