Thus Spake Zuska

Science FAIL

Just how dumb can scientists be when they skientifikally talk about “consuming” porn?

This dumb.

Pal MD points out that the wrong questions are being asked.

Fortunately, Skeptifem has a clarifying take on the whole stoopid science FAIL.

Uh yeah, I just want to point out that the consent of the women in pornography is questionable. Trafficked women appear in pornography. Women who are high on drugs appear in pornography. Some have notoriously abusive partners who force them into pornography with violence (Linda Lovelace was raped repeatedly this way). You have absolutely no way of knowing if you are watching someone being raped because the raped women are made to pretend to enjoy it.

Often pornography IS violence against women, so asking if porn causes that is a silly question. Normalizing that situation is horrible. Paying for a luxury item with such an immense human cost is deplorable. No porn is worth it, and I don’t think people should be free to buy something that causes the rape of women. What is crazy is that the rape of a woman can become speech if someone takes a picture. People act like the rape of women in porn isn’t enough, that it has to spread to other women for it to matter.

Emphasis added by me, to highlight that YOU ARE ASKING THE WRONG QUESTIONS, D00DS!

Comments

  1. #1 Enigma
    June 6, 2010

    Often pornography IS violence against women, so asking if porn causes that is a silly question.

    “Objection, your honor. The prosecution is assuming facts not in evidence.”

    Porn exists because we are an erotically-minded species (a somewhat necessary state to prevent extinction). The fact that some view porn as an outlet for domination is no more relevant than the fact that some view cars as a means to run down pedestrians. Violence is a capability, not an intent, behind both.

  2. #2 mr
    June 6, 2010

    Wow, Enigma, it’s a short post, and yet it doesn’t look like you even read the whole thing. This quote isn’t about “some view[ing] porn as an outlet for domination” but actual rape being filmed.

  3. #3 June
    June 6, 2010

    Porn exists because we are an erotically-minded species.

    We are also a species that has inherent self respect unless someone or one gender(male) rips it away by the use degradation techniques such as porn.

  4. #4 Comrade Svilova
    June 6, 2010

    To translate Enigma: We’re biologically programmed to like porn to ensure the propagation of he species! If the feminazis have their way, humans will die out. So there!

    Sorry for the immaturity, I’m just astonished that the first comment out of the gate goes all EvoPsycho while simultaneously missing the actual point that a filmed rape doesn’t cease being a rape because it is filmed.

  5. #5 Zuska
    June 6, 2010

    Enigma said “Porn exists because we are an erotically-minded species blah blah blah blah blah…”
    BINGO!

  6. #6 C
    June 6, 2010

    I totally agree with you, Zuska.
    Thank you.

  7. #7 Comrade Svilova
    June 6, 2010

    I’m deeply annoyed that over at the original “Porn is Totes Cool” thread commenters are speculating on what kind of porn I would want to watch and informing me that BDSM porn is always and only made by people who enjoy degradation and sexual humiliation.

    See, it’s all cool! You, comrade, can have your female dominance porn and I, Hot Cool Smart D00d, get my male dominance porn, and it’s all good and great because it’s equal and there’s free choice and capitalism makes for options for everyone! Plus, modern porn has all kinds of cool niches, so it’s totally not sexist any more.

    Sigh.

  8. #8 Jason G. Goldman
    June 6, 2010

    I haven’t really jumped into the comment craziness over at my place yet (and I’m not sure if I will).

    I absolutely agree think that any attempt at normalizing violence against women is horribly inappropriate, even if its ostensibly consensual. But that said, and concerning the anti-porn conference and whatnot, aren’t they sort of wasting their time? Wouldn’t it be more effective to be working on helping people understand sex and sexuality, from the beginning? It seems to me like they’re trying to control wildfires by banning matches and lighters instead of by teaching people how to responsibly use them.

    The literature may be asking the wrong questions (and, not having the benefit of the entire literature on this subject, I simply pulled out a handful of studies that looked interesting and accessible, to spark a conversation) – but it seems to me that the anti-porn groups are addressing those questions the wrong way, as well. Or a remarkably ineffective way, at best.

  9. #9 Thomas
    June 6, 2010

    Some of the stuff you buy in shops are made by child or slave labor. What conclusion do you draw? That we should stop buying anything because it encourages slavery or that we need better rules to protect workers globally?

  10. #10 Andrew G.
    June 6, 2010

    Uh yeah, I just want to point out that the consent of the women in pornography is questionable. Trafficked women appear in pornography.

    How many?

    Here in the UK over the past several years there has been a lot of noise made about the prevalence of trafficked women in prostitution, with all sorts of numbers being bandied about.

    But when major police operations have been mounted, they have come up mostly empty-handed – the largest, “Operation Pentameter 2″, despite lasting six months and involving every police force in the UK, did not result in a single conviction for trafficking involving coercion or deceit: 5 such convictions resulting from two separate investigations were falsely reported as part of the operation in order to bulk up the numbers, while 10 convictions (one of them a clerical error) were obtained under laws making it illegal to assist even willing people in travelling for purposes of prostitution.

    Similar results are found elsewhere; in Munich in 2006 there were claims that tens of thousands of trafficked women were being brought in as prostitutes on account of the World Cup, but when the local police investigated, they found … none.

    So claims about women being trafficked to appear in porn or otherwise being coerced require a bit more substantiation than just “Linda Lovelace said so” (especially when for every ex-pornstar claiming to have been coerced there are a dozen claiming the opposite).

  11. #11 Zuska
    June 6, 2010

    Jason, you sound like a nice guy, but clueless. Wouldn’t it be more effective for you to go down to the Gulf and help clean brown pelicans than writing blog posts that only a few people will read? Wouldn’t it be more effective for you to work on improving K-12 science education than writing blog posts?

    Wouldn’t it be more effective for you to have some basic clue as to what you are talking about rather than “pull a handful of studies” out of your ass in order to write on a controversial topic “to spark a conversation” in an area where you have no idea how you might be offending a large swathe of Scienceblogs readers with your “how cool is porn!” jocular “It’s SKIENZ!” approach to the traffic in women’s bodies?

    You may think the anti-porn groups are “ineffective” but perhaps you misunderstand their intent.

    I’m going to recommend you get yourself a bit more educated on gender, race, and class before you wade into waters like these again. Perhaps you could start with Allan Johnson’s “The Gender Knot”.

    Or, if you dare, read the introduction of Andrea Dworkin’s Pornography: Men Possessing Women. It’s available right here: http://www.nostatusquo.com/ACLU/dworkin/PornIntro1.html

  12. #12 Zuska
    June 6, 2010

    I stand corrected. Andrew G. says porn and prostitution are wholesome, non-coercive career choices for women. I assume he’ll be encouraging his daughter, sister, girlfriend, mother, aunts, and female cousins to go into these awesome careers!!!!!!

  13. #13 Andrew G.
    June 6, 2010

    I said nothing of the kind, and you know it.

  14. #14 Andrew G.
    June 6, 2010

    And since it was oh so conveniently overlooked, I’ll ask the question again, this time without commentary:

    How many people working in porn are doing so as a result of coercion or trafficking?

  15. #15 D. C. Sessions
    June 6, 2010

    Wow. Naturalistic fantasy on the first comment.

    Is there a scoring system going on? PZ and Orac should watch their backs at this rate.

  16. #16 Brian
    June 6, 2010

    @11:

    Zuska, are you aware of the irony in that first paragraph of your comment given that you are saying that there is only one valid question when it comes to pornography?

    Also, Dworkin’s introduction has a lot of anecdotes that seem to be saying that pornography consumption leads to rape fantasies leads to rape. Hence, looking “SKIENTIFICALLY” at whether porn consumption leads to sexual aggression would seem to be a valid question.

  17. #17 kurukurushoujo
    June 6, 2010

    How many people working in porn are doing so as a result of coercion or trafficking?

    That’s not really the question. The question is: can you differentiate between a woman enjoying herself and a woman being forced to pretend to enjoy herself? Especially since the vast majority of porn features female performers screaming non-stop and contorting their faces so obviously that it can be easily replicated? Can you make sure that every woman you have ever jerked off to was not coerced through abuse, drug usage and/or money problems? Can you make absolutely sure that you have enthusiastic consent? Just by watching?

    And Zuska has a point: since most prostitutes and porn performers are not coerced (according to you) we can assume that any close relatives of yours- daughters, mother, sisters etc.- going into the relevant industries would not be followed by any negative reactions on your side?

    There’s also another interesting question I like to bring up: the uncertainty of consent in real-life porn could be easily avoided by consuming written and drawn porn. Yet, it is preferred to ignore the fact that performers might not act voluntarily. I really do not get this.

    Hence, looking “SKIENTIFICALLY” at whether porn consumption leads to sexual aggression would seem to be a valid question.

    Zillmann has done research on this. Look here for more.

  18. #18 Azkyroth
    June 6, 2010

    Unless “Science” means “agreeing with Zuska’s half-prejudice, half cherry-picked conclusions,” this post is mistitled.

  19. #19 Andrew G.
    June 6, 2010

    How many people working in porn are doing so as a result of coercion or trafficking?

    That’s not really the question.

    Why not? It’s certainly a question, and one that seems to be relevant.

    The question is: can you differentiate between a woman enjoying herself and a woman being forced to pretend to enjoy herself?

    Can I? I don’t know, because I have no reference for comparison.

    But why do you think that is the question?

  20. #20 Dick
    June 6, 2010

    Right on, Azkyroth, Andrew, you guys are talking some sense! I usually think Zuska is nuts but she is on to at least one thing here – if we get our female relatives and girlfriends to work in some porn films we produce ourselves, think of the money we’d save on hiring ‘talent’!!! I don’t know about that evo psych rationale, but that’s just good ol’ capitalism at work, baby!

  21. #21 Zuska
    June 6, 2010

    Andrew G. @ 19 may be one of the saddest fucking things I have ever read in the comments on this blog. Or wait. One of the most breath-taking bits of clueless fuckwad privilege talking I have ever read on the comments on this blog. Or both.

    Andrew G.: how soon will you be encouraging your female relatives and friends to pursue careers in the empowerful porn industry, where the question of whether we can tell whether they’ve been forced to simulate pleasure or not is not really a question worth asking?

  22. #22 Luna_the_cat
    June 6, 2010

    @Andrew G.:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/womanshour/02/2008_31_fri.shtml

    http://www.heraldscotland.com/why-scotland-is-struggling-to-curb-the-sex-traffickers-1.901980

    The police mucked up Pentameter 2 but good, and there is still very much a problem. Asking if we know exactly how many trafficked women there are, though, is a bit fucking disingenuous considering that the whole point is that the traffickers try to make these women unfindable. The only thing we really have to go on is the testimony and numbers of those found or escaped, which is inevitably going to be much, much lower than the numbers of those who exist.

  23. #23 Sierra
    June 6, 2010

    @ Thomas -

    Are you suggesting child slave labor is ok as long as it’s regulated?

    Otherwise your comparison of that to porn makes no sense. Child labor is not an intrinsic part of the production of widgets. The penetration of bodies is however an intrinsic part of the production of the kind of pornography that we are discussing.

    What it comes down to is that people who are freely consenting and enthusiastic about doing whatever act you’ve seen in porn, can still do this on their own time and on their own dime.

    It’s when you pay for it, film it, and distribute it – repeatedly, without limit, for profit, that it becomes a matter of public interest whether filming women of unknown capacity to give enthusiastic consent, being penetrated, and then distributing that video for profit, produces a population of women (and men, but primarily women) with severe emotional scars. The harm doesn’t go away just because it’s on tape.

    Emotional injuries are compounded by physical injury or long-term disability that can also occur as a direct result of sex work. Let’s stop pretending that porn harms no one. Sexual contact of any sort has risks inherent to it, for fuck’s sake. People with options and a sense of their own human rights, don’t just up and volunteer for dangerous, stigmatized, low-paid work. Porn actors are humans, with normal human motivations, not sex-crazed automatons.

    Especially now with the advent of sophisticated CGI, it’s an entirely relevant question whether we should continue to allow an industry which relies, as widgets on child labor do not, on actual people being actually penetrated. Does wank-facilitation really justify an industry with such extreme job risks, high levels of coercion, and few or no benefits to workers? I don’t see how.

  24. #24 skeptifem
    June 6, 2010

    “How many people working in porn are doing so as a result of coercion or trafficking?”

    Hey I have an idea. Why don’t you go look into it yourself? You know, instead of putting the burden of proof upon me to make you stop your habits. It isn’t my job, dude. The information is out there, but I have a feeling that you don’t give too much of a shit. Anyone seriously concerned would go find out instead of making everyone do their homework for them. Academia hasn’t ignored this issue. It isn’t a mystery.

    You seem to have in your posession some sort of magic number of acceptable rapes, but I do not. What percentage would you find unacceptable, exactly? Like I noted before, linda lovelace was forced into things like beastiality porn and was raped by her husband over and over again. She appeared in a shit load of pornography despite other people knowing her husband was severely abusive. He used the pornography as a new medium for sexually abusing her. In addition to pornographers being eager to recruit women who are being abused there is the issue of the public not giving a shit. Linda Lovelace said “When you watch Deepthroat, you are watching me being raped.” Light hearted references to this movie are made in public, there are anniversary editions. No one gave a shit about it at all.

    And for fucks sake dude, I used to be pro porn (for reasons I will not discuss here). I had a boyfriend that worked in a porn store for more than a year. I hung out there, all the time. There were monitors behind the counter where you could see what people were watching in the booths. One thing I saw in my immense exposure to pornography was something called “porn bloopers”. One of them was some sex scene where the woman looked really uncomfortable, she had a hard time opening her eyes and watching the dudes coming for her. Her head was turned and she looked like she was gonna cry. Har har, what a fucking funny joke that shit was, right guy? It isn’t isolated either. I have seen a bang bus style out takes reel where the woman who was having various food items stuffed into her said “okay seriously you guys, this is starting to hurt way too much. no more, okay?” the filmer dudes thought it was pretty damn funny.

    I also know how rich dudes start their production companies. They pick up hookers and start filming. Its pretty obvious sometimes…really damn obvious. Dudes can get into other porn movies if they establish a company this way. Not everyone hides their track marks either. I have seen women in porn who had trouble keeping their eyes open. How many of them do I need to see before you start to give a crap, dude? I think that pornography isn’t NEEDED AT ALL, you do not HAVE to consume porn, why the hell would you risk contributing to the rape of women? Jesus christ.

    Or hey, there is the whole fact that the pornography industry doesn’t really give too much of a shit if their workers get aids. Blood testing is damage control, not prevention.

    It isn’t a freakishly far leap in a common sense way from prostitution/trafficking to pornography anyway. If you are a prostitute it is likely that you have some sort of drug problem, a history of abuse, or are currently being abused by someone who coerced them into prostitution. If someone will pay more to film it, what would you do? If sex tourism can be more profitable with taping then it will be taped.

    Swap.avi (much like 2 girls 1 cup but way earlier) exists because there is a company that recruits economically disadvantaged women in brazil and they will do whatever the sick buyer in the US tells them to. Something awful produced horror porn this way, using women who needed money. Do you think that this is the only company that does this?

    So yeah, go do your own friggin research. The stuff I mentioned is the kind of thing you have to be blind not to notice. I can’t unsee all this stuff, but I wish I could.

  25. #25 skeptifem
    June 6, 2010

    “How many people working in porn are doing so as a result of coercion or trafficking?”

    Hey I have an idea. Why don’t you go look into it yourself? You know, instead of putting the burden of proof upon me to make you stop your habits. It isn’t my job, dude. The information is out there, but I have a feeling that you don’t give too much of a shit. Anyone seriously concerned would go find out instead of making everyone do their homework for them. Academia hasn’t ignored this issue. It isn’t a mystery.

    You seem to have in your posession some sort of magic number of acceptable rapes, but I do not. What percentage would you find unacceptable, exactly? How badly do you *need* porn that it is ok that anyone gets raped because of it?

    *I posted something longer but I think it got trapped in moderation

  26. #26 DuWayne
    June 6, 2010

    I’m deeply annoyed that over at the original “Porn is Totes Cool” thread commenters are speculating on what kind of porn I would want to watch and informing me that BDSM porn is always and only made by people who enjoy degradation and sexual humiliation.

    What the hell comment thread are you talking about there Comrade? Because on the thread referenced in this post, no one claimed that porn is totes cool and no one claimed that BDSM porn is always and only made by people who enjoy degradation and sexual humiliation. As I am the only one that really said much of anything about BDSM porn, I can assure you that I am well aware of exactly what I said and I meant exactly what I said. As you are obviously very confused about what I said, I would suggest you go re-read it before spouting off about it.

    I said that the sexual preference of the vast majority of people who participate in BDSM porn, is BDSM. I also said that there is some made by people who are not consenting, or people who suffer an extreme pathology – but that such porn is rare, because there is little market for it. The majority of people who are enthusiastic about BDSM, won’t go for that kind of bullshit, because they have very strict rules about consent.

    There are a lot of them who engage in BDSM with strangers – often as a couple, but sometimes alone. Because of that, it is important to them that the rules be strictly adhered to. The importance of those rules extend to the porn they consume. Especially as a lot of the people in BDSM porn, are doing it because it is simply another facet of their sexuality.

    I rather find it interesting that rather than even paying attention to what I wrote, or even deciding after reading that is sounded fishy, you just went off on a tare on another blog, rather than finding out if what I am saying might actually be correct. It is easy enough to confirm, as there are a lot of BDSM forums that maintain sections for the curious, where people are more than happy to answer questions. There are also several blogs by people who are subs as a lifestyle. Though many people who engage in BDSM actually do both dom and sub.

    You might also find it interesting to note that the majority of subs in porn are guys. This is not apparent to people who don’t pay any attention to gay porn, but the numbers aren’t even close. Porn in which women are doms may be a lower number, but not by any significant amount.

    As for ending the horrific exploitation of women and occasionally even men in the porn industry, the best solution is to legalize it overtly and regulate the living shit out of it. Puritanical, feel good notions about ending sex work is feeds the exploitation that takes place, just as much as those who overtly engage in the abuse. This is the kind of bullshit that drove sex work into a murky underground, where the only regulations are those that some producers and sellers impose – regulations that are often inadequate and apply only to those who choose to use them.

    Even where there are regulations, they all too often just further exploit women who have just been exploited – often enough without the perpetrators of teh exploitation seeing any significant punishment.

    The puritanical religious right did a bang up job of creating laws that exploit sex workers. Read – The patriarchal right, did a great job of creating laws that exploit sex workers. Forgive me if I find it rather repulsive when women who advocate against the exploitation of women, foster the very exploitation they are talking about.

  27. #27 Comrade Svilova
    June 6, 2010

    The patriarchal right, did a great job of creating laws that exploit sex workers. Forgive me if I find it rather repulsive when women who advocate against the exploitation of women, foster the very exploitation they are talking about.

    Wait, how is arguing for thorough regulation of the porn industry fostering exploitation? Because that was my argument. I think the porn industry should be heavily regulated.

    Don’t conflate my position (I see huge problems with all porn, but I also see that it is not going away and can be exploitative and therefore should be well-regulated) with the position of the religious right.

  28. #28 DuWayne
    June 6, 2010

    My apologies Comrade Silva, the latter bit wasn’t directed at you, it was directed at the “anti-porn” contingent. I did notice that you were also advocating for strict regulation on the other thread. It was not my intent to misrepresent your position, the way you misrepresented my own and I apologize for seeming to have done so.

  29. #29 Siamang
    June 6, 2010

    Wow, I’d really like to read Greta Christina’s response to this.

  30. #30 skeptifem
    June 6, 2010

    Hey thomas- false dichotomy. You can decide not to aid the child labor by buying things made by kids (especially if there is not any real need for the product that the slave kids are making) AND advocate for better workers rights. Doing the latter doesn’t make over consuming the fruits of child slavery less terrible.

  31. #31 J. J. Ramsey
    June 6, 2010

    Siamang: “Wow, I’d really like to read Greta Christina’s response to this.”

    I thought the same thing myself. I’m even tempted to e-mail her a link to this blog post.

    skeptifem: “You can decide not to aid the child labor by buying things made by kids (especially if there is not any real need for the product that the slave kids are making) AND advocate for better workers rights.”

    True, and if you were to apply that argument to porn, it would mean not getting porn from those who engage in sex trafficking. That’s probably easier than finding widgets not made with child labor.

  32. #32 Andrew G.
    June 6, 2010

    Luna @22: the figures from that second article, especially, support statements from the UKHTC (and its statistics) that trafficking for forced labour outnumbers trafficking for sex work. (In spite of the fact that the legal definitions are much broader for the latter case.)

  33. #33 Zuska
    June 6, 2010

    I didn’t know who Greta Christina is, so I googled her, and looked at her blog a little. From a quick look, one of the (several) things I can tell about her is that she writes and reads porn and/or erotic literature. I should think it would be more or less obvious – but maybe not, so I guess I’ll say it – that producing, and reading, written porn or erotic literature does not necessitate committing violence or rape on the bodies of any actual, real, breathing, living women.

  34. #34 Siamang
    June 6, 2010

    Greta Christina isn’t just a writer of erotica, but that she’s a writer about sex issues, feminism, body image as well as atheism, gay rights and rationalism. She’s a formidable intellect and a gifted persuasive writer… one of probably my top three favorite atheism writers today.

    Why I think she’d be a great conversant on this subject is that she’s written a large body of work in defense of pornography (including visual pornography). Even quite recently she and I had a bit of a discussion on facebook about these very issues.

    http://gretachristina.typepad.com/greta_christinas_weblog/2010/05/why-porn-matters.html

    I’d be very interested to see this discussion because she challenged (and continues to challenge) my opinions on the subject.

  35. #35 siamang
    June 6, 2010

    Sorry, the link above is to the article that spawned the facebook discussion, and not the discussion itself. Greta Christina is well-known as a rationalist writer around the Pharyngula and Friendly Atheist blogs.

  36. #36 Andrew G.
    June 6, 2010

    @skeptifem: the short response is that you’ve obviously seen a lot more porn than I have.

    I’m sure my tastes are … atypical.

    As for the numbers I asked for, I’m not finding them.

  37. #37 Charmides
    June 6, 2010

    I think we can all (hopefully) agree that porn that comes from the trafficking and rape of women is bad.

    But, if we can hypothetically prove that a porn video was made with full consent of every party – without the traffic and rape part – is it still bad?

    If not, then it is comparable to unknowingly buying something made by slave labor. It’s not the product that’s the problem, it’s the means of production that desperately need to be fixed.

  38. #38 skeptifem
    June 7, 2010

    What the fuck andrew, can you not read or something? I am not doing your damn homework, you can do it yourself. If you need someone to prove to you that you are encouraging rape before you stop (rather than making sure you aren’t encouraging rape before continuing the practice) you would be a waste of my effort anyway. You haven’t told us what magic number of raped women would be acceptable to you either, dude.

  39. #39 skeptifem
    June 7, 2010

    If not, then it is comparable to unknowingly buying something made by slave labor. It’s not the product that’s the problem, it’s the means of production that desperately need to be fixed.

    I am not sure that it is the same thing at all. Watching the means of production is the product in pornography- it isn’t invisible to people like the labor behind a wallet or a shoe is. People want to watch it instead of preferring to look away.

    Anyway, even if I was to agree with you on the point highlighted, I would argue that the means of production cannot really be fixed until women are on equal economic footing with men.

  40. #40 Cara
    June 7, 2010

    I get sooooo fucking sick of their long, stupid, self-absorbed, boring, “I like to whack to it so MY porn is OKAY” rationalizations.

    Porn isn’t about sex. It’s about power. It’s rationalized rape. When I was thirteen I figured out that even most of my romance novels were confusing rape and disrespect for women with sex, so I threw the sumbitches away.

    And if I see one more asshole dude asking where you draw the line or insisting that only prudes and manhaters hate porn or going “But! BUT! BDSM, We Has Respect! But! Women read stuff! Women buy lingerie! Men! ARE! VISUAL!!1!” I’m going to puke. Men who write these pompous screeds, these fucking theses on how great and free things are in Sweden or Amsterdam or whereever because women are free to follow their true calling as indiscriminate meatsocks…just blecch. The irrational, mindless, patronizing misogyny-infused bullshit would be hilarious if real women weren’t being destroyed by it.

    The goddamn putrid cherry on the whole shit-filled sundae is the guys who say, “Well, we weren’t talking about whether porn’s okay, but what actual damage it does. You mean those are real women being filmed? Oh. We were talking about damage to the men watching.”

    /rant. Again, blecch. Damned straight, they’re not asking the right questions.

  41. #41 Thomas
    June 7, 2010

    Sierra #23 and skeptimfem #30, I’m not sure if I really was that unclear or if you just want to misunderstand.

    No, of course, I don’t support regulated child labor, I just pointed out that whether you want to or not, today any consumer is supporting child labor because as the system works you just can’t be sure how the things you buy are produced. By the “logic” of Zustra you thus can’t buy anything.

    Sierra seems to go one step further than Zustra, she not only claims that some actors in porn are forced, but that no porn can ever be produced voluntarily. Sorry, but I just don’t buy it.

  42. #42 Cara
    June 7, 2010

    The puritanical religious right did a bang up job of creating laws that exploit sex workers. Read – The patriarchal right, did a great job of creating laws that exploit sex workers. Forgive me if I find it rather repulsive when women who advocate against the exploitation of women, foster the very exploitation they are talking about.

    Ahem. Who, pray, is doing this?

  43. #43 Cara
    June 7, 2010

    Sorry, but I just don’t buy it.

    Would YOU do it, Thomas?

  44. #44 Cara
    June 7, 2010

    How many people working in porn are doing so as a result of coercion or trafficking?

    All the women (and children) and probably lots of the men. HTH.

  45. #45 Paul
    June 7, 2010

    Just jumping in here to say something about the reaction to Andrew G’s comments. Particularly the pathetic non-sequitur provided by Zuska along the lines of “If you don’t think women are forced into porn and prostitution then why don’t you let your wife and kids do it?”.

    Are you serious? That’s the most childish thing I’ve ever heard. I wouldn’t want my wife doing porn or becoming a prostitute because I don’t want her fucking other men. Is it really that difficult to understand? And how about someone providing the actual numbers on the amount of women coerced into porn instead of Cara’s laughable “all of them”?

    And for the record I’ve personally known one stripper and one escort (still working alongside the ex-stripper). Both have said repeatedly that they did it because it was fun and because they made a truckload of money. I’m not pretending that’s the case for every porn star and prostitute, just illustrating that Cara’s assertion is nonsense.

  46. #46 Luna_the_cat
    June 7, 2010

    @Andrew G.: So, because there may be more people trafficked for generic forced labour, that makes the fact that there are people specifically trafficked for sex work insignificant????

    WTF kind of stupid shit is THAT?!

    @Cara — ok, this isn’t absolutely true. I KNOW women who have voluntarily gone into both sex work and porn. (I had a friend who put herself through college that way. She regarded it as much better than working a shop job.) Now, I don’t make the mistake of thinking that these women represent all the people in porn or sex work, not by a long shot — in fact, I think there may be a danger of them becoming too much the face of porn, given that the women who do this of their own free will still have voices, the blog and they twitter and they have ways to communicate about that choice — whereas the people who are coerced, drugged, raped and abused, and kept restrained generally by definition don’t have ways to communicate what is happening to them to the outside world — so there is a danger of the only voices being heard being the only representation in people’s minds.

    NEVERTHELESS.

    It doesn’t actually help to insist that the women who are there of their own will don’t exist. They DO exist. They didn’t all get sexually abused as kids, either. They don’t all have problems with self-esteem. I get very wary about dictating choice and/or telling people that they are not allowed to take a certain path, if it is genuinely their choice and not affecting any lives but their own.

    This is ENTIRELY different from the situation where women are coerced or enslaved and being abused, and this has to be dealt with by ensuring that the victims are not penalised by the law for being in that situation; their abusers need to be dealt with as rapists and kidnappers. Different situation. Does exist, to my great dismay. Shouldn’t/mustn’t be ignored. But different from the situation above, and the two genuinely should not be classed together.

    Now, there is the other discussion, about how porn has a normative function for damaging sexual attitudes, but that is a different discussion. I think it’s very problematic, or certain aspects are, anyway. I also don’t think that legislating all porn out of existance will or would help, though. It would simply drive it entirely underground and make it infinitely more dangerous for the people in it. I also don’t think that trying to legislate what is and isn’t acceptable in any form of entertainment has a great track record for success.

    I’m also not sure the exact degree with which it crosses over into mainstream society, either. The “mainstream” porn of the 40s-50s was a hell of a lot more vanilla and less hardcore than what is available today, and yet, you cannot in any way say that there was less violence towards women at the time.

  47. #47 Laurent Weppe
    June 7, 2010

    @ skeptifem

    I think that pornography isn’t NEEDED AT ALL

    You might be right, but what if pornography is prohibited tomorow? Today’s technology makes it easy to produce (you merely need a smartphone) and you have a gigantic consummer base and billions to be made: this is a perfect recipe for disaster: outright forbid porn, and we will end up facing Capone-like mobs able to outspend and outgun any government sent after them: this is not a desirable outcome. As DuWayne puts it, to “regulate the living shit out of it” is most probably a better solution to fight against abuse.

  48. #48 Greta Christina
    June 7, 2010

    “How many people working in porn are doing so as a result of coercion or trafficking?”

    Hey I have an idea. Why don’t you go look into it yourself? You know, instead of putting the burden of proof upon me to make you stop your habits. It isn’t my job, dude.

    Actually… it is your job.

    You (and others here) are the ones making the accusation of rape. You are the ones making the accusation that rape and other forms of coercion are standard in the commercial video porn industry. This is a very serious accusation. If you’re going to make it, you need to back it up with some hard evidence.

    If I said that nobody should watch movies because rape was standard in the Hollywood film industry, and people asked me “Where’s your evidence for that?”, it would not be reasonable for me to respond, “Look into it yourself. Do your own legwork.” Why is it reasonable to respond that way when it comes to the video porn industry?

    How do we know that the women in the porn video we’re watching weren’t raped? Well, how do you know that the shoes you’re wearing weren’t made by slave labor? How do you know that the clothes you’re wearing wasn’t made in a sweatshop? How do you know that the chocolate you’re eating wasn’t picked by child labor? Here’s how: you buy from reputable sources known for not abusing their employees. And the same holds true with video porn. (There’s a very good piece on Eros Blog going into this in more detail: Evil Porn Werewolf Enslavers Debunked.)

    In fact, abuses in all these other industries are extremely widespread and very well-documented. The chances that your shoes/ clothing/ chocolate were produced by forced labor are actually quite high, unless you’re extremely careful. I have seen no good evidence that rape or coercion is endemic in the commercial video porn industry… or even that it happens at all, except in very rare circumstances, as it almost certainly does in any industry.

    And in fact, many women in the video porn industry not only go into it freely, but enjoy it and get a great deal of professional and personal satisfaction out of it. Others have mixed feelings about it… much the way most people have mixed feelings about their jobs. To deny that, you have to assume that all the women who say this are either lying or deluded. Not a very feminist attitude to take about women self-reporting their experience.

    I am not a reflexive defender of the commercial video porn industry. I enjoy porn, video and otherwise — but I am aware that there are serious problems in the industry, about which I have written. But our critiques of the porn industry should be based on reality and evidence — not on myths and rumors with no basis in fact. If you have some hard evidence that rape and coercion are standard or even common in the video porn industry, I am open to hearing it. But I have been hearing these accusations for decades now… and have seen nothing but anecdotes and rumors to back them up.

    (Oh, P.S.: It’s not relevant, or it ought not to be — but while I’ve never worked in the mainstream commercial video porn industry, I have both performed in and produced indie video porn. And I’ve worked as a stripper in a very standard, mainstream strip joint. It was work that, on the whole, I very much enjoyed, as did most of the other women I worked with.)

  49. #49 Jim
    June 7, 2010

    Actually Greta it isn’t her job, it’s yours. You should be at least try to be knowledgeable about the subject before commenting. Like you would if you were on a male website.

  50. #50 Paul
    June 7, 2010

    Erm, no Jim. If you start saying there’s a teapot orbiting the moon the burden of proof is on you. You can’t tell folk “I don’t care if you don’t believe in it, it’s up to you to show it’s not there”. Zuska is making a claim about the existence of a given situation, it’s up to her to do said legwork in its defense.

  51. Don’t you FUCKERS understand! There are TUNNELS underneath the KINDERGARTENS and five THOUSAND Christian BABIES every DAY are FED to the PORNO MONSTER that lives in the TUNNELS! SATANISTS use the MONEY they make from KINDERGARTEN-TUNNEL-PORNO to fund the DISTRIBUTION of GENDER STEREOTYPES in our SOCIETY! I was thrown into a PORNO TUNNEL and one of the PORNOWITCHES turned me into a MOUSE, but I ESCAPED! I’m typing this by jumping from one KEY to ANOTHER. It’s EXHAUSTING work, but the MESSAGE needs to get out that PORNO-DEALING WITCHES are DEALING PORNO! Wake up, SHEEPLE!

  52. #52 MarkusR
    June 7, 2010

    If it’s wrong to ask what porn may do to those who consume it, isn’t also wrong to make claims about those who consume it?

  53. #53 Comrade Svilova
    June 7, 2010

    Just as there are assertions that rape and abuse are common in porn, there are a lot of people asserting that it’s “extremely rare.” I’d be interested in knowing where you get that statistic and what “extremely rare” means. 10 per 1000? 10 per 250?

    On the note of why wouldn’t you want your wife/daughter to appear in porn…okay, it makes sense that men wouldn’t want their wives to be non-monogamous. But what about daughters? If it really is a good, respectable, non-degrading and non-risky way to make a living, and several people here know strippers and porn stars who are very happy with the cash they rake in, why not support your daughter in pursuing a career in porn?

    I know that “men don’t want to think of their daughters having sex” but why, really? If sex is a beautiful, pleasurable, equally enjoyable and mutually respectful, satisfying act, why wouldn’t men want their daughters to engage in it? This is a bit off-topic, but I’ve always wondered if for some men they are aware that they have not always treated their partners as more than receptacles, and they don’t like to think of their daughters participating in something that is demeaning and humiliating. On topic, if you see women in porn as meat, as bodies displayed for your own objectification and pleasure … yeah, it makes sense that you wouldn’t want your daughter to be used and abused like that. But if it’s someone else’s daughter you’re objectifying, it’s okay?

  54. #54 J. J. Ramsey
    June 7, 2010

    Comrade Svilova: “I know that ‘men don’t want to think of their daughters having sex’ but why, really?”

    It’s a by-product of the incest taboo. I’m surprised that you didn’t think of that, since Christie Wilcox pointed it out over on the other thread.

  55. #55 DuWayne
    June 7, 2010

    Porn isn’t about sex. It’s about power. It’s rationalized rape.

    Wow. For someone complaining about patronizing, misogynistic bullshit, you are off to a hell of start.

    And if I see one more asshole dude asking where you draw the line or insisting that only prudes and manhaters hate porn or going “But! BUT! BDSM, We Has Respect! But! Women read stuff! Women buy lingerie! Men! ARE! VISUAL!!1!” I’m going to puke.

    I’m not asking where to draw the line, nor am I into BDSM and I haven’t made a single claim about what women do with porn. For that matter, I haven’t said anything about how visual men are. What I have advocated for, are measures that would significantly reduce the exploitation of women in porn. And I have advocated for obnoxious busy bodies to keep their noses out of the sexuality of others, whether because they are into BDSM or other fetishes.

    Men who write these pompous screeds, these fucking theses on how great and free things are in Sweden or Amsterdam or whereever because women are free to follow their true calling as indiscriminate meatsocks…just blecch.

    Interestingly enough, not a single person on this thread, or the one that originated this one have said a goddamned thing about Sweden or Amsterdam.

    The irrational, mindless, patronizing misogyny-infused bullshit would be hilarious if real women weren’t being destroyed by it.

    And your mindless, patronizing misogyny infused bullshit would be hilarious if you weren’t contributing so very adamantly to the destructive, horrifying exploitation of women who are sex workers. Your kneejerk fucking bullshit is exactly the sort of attitude that fosters laws that punish women and allow men to get away with all sorts of exploitation of sex workers. You are the one advocating a position that keeps sex work in a murky underground that makes it so very easy for scuzzy producers to get away with rape, or simply convincing naive young women and men to engage in exceedingly dangerous sex acts.

    The goddamn putrid cherry on the whole shit-filled sundae is the guys who say, “Well, we weren’t talking about whether porn’s okay, but what actual damage it does.

    I see, so you would rather not explore the impact that viewing porn of various types has on our culture? You don’t think it is particularly important to find out what might motivate men, or women who watch certain types of porn? Investigating a particular aspect of the pornography paradigm doesn’t mean all others must be ignored. Considering that the consumption of porn in a driving force in it’s creation, one would think you might be interested.

    Ahem. Who, pray, is doing this?

    What is totally ironic about this question, is that you are by far the best example of that patriarchal attitude on either thread.

    You are the one telling women what they should and should not do, while I, and several others are advocating telling producers of porn what they should and should not do. You are the one advocating a position that is virtually word for word, the same as the position the patriarchal right used to make the few regulations of the sex industry almost entirely oriented on punishing women who work in it. You are the one who is effectively supporting the patriarchal right, in their quest to exploit, degrade and destroy women who are doing things you don’t fucking approve of.

    That would fuckingwell be you Cara.

    All the women (and children) and probably lots of the men. HTH.

    Good on you for this wonderful bit of patronizing, misogynistic fucking bullshit. You just go ahead and tell us more about the experience of women you not only don’t know, but could obviously give a fuck about learning a damned thing about. Way to foster that patriarchal notion of all women being incapable of making a rational decision about what to do with their own bodies. Throw in something about coopting women’s wombs and you have James Dobson and Beverly LaHaye down solid.

  56. #56 Thomas
    June 7, 2010

    Cara, there are lots of jobs I’d prefer not to have, but apart from me being rather unsuitable for it, it’s far from the top of my list of “jobs I’d really hate to have”. There are really dangerous and disgusting jobs out there. Yet people do these jobs, some may even like them, but most just need the money.

  57. #57 DuWayne
    June 7, 2010

    But what about daughters?

    As I have sons, this will be talking about them. But I love my children very dearly and don’t really see a difference in my feelings. I also have girls in my life who, while not my children, I care a great deal for nonetheless. And like so many things in life, this is rather a complicated issue.

    First off, it is hard for me to think of my eight and two year old boys as sexual beings. The same goes for the girls in my life, who are in that age range. And I have to admit that it is somewhat hard to think of one of the girls in my life whom I helped teach to read (among other things) who is fifteen now and is in the process of becoming just that. Even with her, a child that I committed to taking care of, should her parents become unable – but who is not my child, I have a very hard time not seeing her as the four and five year old who was so incredibly excited, when sitting on my lap, she read her first word phonetically.

    But that is an emotional reaction and as has been mentioned, is largely based on incest taboos. Intellectually I understand that these children will all grow up and (most likely) become sexual beings. I accept that I have a very important responsibility to my children, to prepare them for that, the best that I can. Given the free communication attitude that I take with my kids (and a few others in my life), I am hopeful that when they decide to engage in particular behaviors, they will discuss it with me – or barring that, one of the other caring adults in their lives.

    When it comes down to it, whatever my emotional reaction might be, and given they are as young as they are, I can’t say what it would be, intellectually I wouldn’t have a problem with it. Assuming they are safe about it and aren’t exploited. I have been a sex worker myself and I am not ashamed of it, nor do I regret it. I believe that human sexuality is an incredibly beautiful thing, largely because of the diversity of sexuality. Whatever my emotional reaction, I could not dream of preventing my children or the other children in my life from taking part in that, in ways they are comfortable with.

  58. #58 Joshua Zelinsky
    June 7, 2010

    I’m fascinated by how someone like Greta who knows a lot about the industry can go and say that a claim is wrong, and ask for evidence and the responses are insults and ridiculous attempts to shift the burden of evidence on to her. It seems painfully apparent that some people here are utterly unwilling to reexamine their preexisting conclusions despite evidence.

    I suspect that the response to this comment is going to be getting labeled as one of those horrible, misogynist, heterosexual males who doesn’t want to admit their are problems so he can get off without a guilty conscious. So let’s be very clear here: I don’t watch porn. Now, it would be nice if people here would be willing to have a minimally rational conversation without throwing out insults and attacks. And please, please, if you think there are problems with the porn industry, provide evidence.

  59. #59 Zuska
    June 7, 2010

    I don’t do this often, but…
    …I find that this thread is causing me more emotional and psychological distress than I had anticipated. I can usually put up with just about anything on this blog, and it is generally my policy to maintain a very liberal and completely open comments policy, as part of the way this blog functions. But for my personal mental health, it turns out there are limits. Around 2 pm today, I am going to close comments on this thread. Whatever you feel you must say, say it by then.

  60. #60 MTiffany
    June 7, 2010

    Wait, so, ALL women in porn are rape victims? And ALL women in porn are on drugs? And ALL women in porn are being trafficked? And ALL women in porn are battered by their partners?

    Really?

    Sounds like a bunch of ludicrous bullshit to me. I usually regard Rush Limbaugh as a bigoted asshole living in a delusional neocon fantasyland, but he got one thing right: feminazis do, in point of fact, exist.

  61. If it really is a good, respectable, non-degrading and non-risky way to make a living, and several people here know strippers and porn stars who are very happy with the cash they rake in, why not support your daughter in pursuing a career in porn?

    I would support my daughter if she chose a career in porn. Doesn’t necessarily mean I’d be over the moon about it. I’d rather she became a famous scientist and cured cancer, you know? Just because I’m pro-porn, and think things like stripping can be remunerative, and perhaps enjoyable, doesn’t mean I have to think porn or stripping is the BEST thing a woman can do with her life. I’d be disappointed if she wanted to become a secretary, too, or a stay-at-home mom; I’d want her to aim higher. But I’d also recognize that her life and her body are her own to do with as she likes. I wouldn’t be delighted if she worked in a slaughterhouse, either, or down the sewers. But it’s up to her to decide what she enjoys, what she finds bearable, what she’s willing to do for money.

    Yes, porn is not ‘respectable’, and it would bother me to see that stigma attached to my daughter. But if she comes out as a lesbian, there’ll be a stigma attached to that, too. It’s still her choice to live out whatever lifestyle she feels called to. All I can do is keep doing my little part to combat the stigma that sex-negatives on the left and the right are constantly attaching to people who don’t fit into their sexual schemata, be they lesbians or porn stars. The fight against sex-negativity forms an organic whole.

    I know that “men don’t want to think of their daughters having sex” but why, really?

    Well, there are some hinky dynamics sometimes between fathers and daughters – think of born-again Christian ‘purity balls’ – but I don’t think it’s so weird that fathers feel differently about their daughters’ sexuality than they do about the sexuality of non-related women. Is the mom/son dynamic so different? Forgive me if I’m behind the trends, but I really doubt, say, a gay porn star’s mom would be all like ‘Wow, my little Jimmy really knows how to suck a mean cock, doesn’t he! You go, girl!” People tend not to enjoy thinking about their close relatives’ sex lives – that’s not specific to men, or to porn fans. Western people are prudes, mostly.

  62. #62 Ramel
    June 7, 2010

    DuWayne and Greta, well said.

  63. #63 Luna_the_cat
    June 7, 2010

    It’s a shame we had to have the shouty trolls show up in the middle of what could have been a grown-up conversation.

    Zuska, I’m sorry; this is a triggering issue and yes, I get how problematic it is to deal with bullshit and intellectual wankery on an issue which has had real effects on real people — I have my own triggers. I’m sorry if I’ve contributed to this, in your space.

    I’ve already made the points I wanted to make about it; I’ll shut up.

  64. #64 ildi
    June 7, 2010

    So, given the exponential rise in amateur porn on the internet, are all those women participating as a result of coercion or trafficking?

  65. #65 ZuskaTheCrybaby
    June 7, 2010

    Around 2 pm today, I am going to close comments on this thread. Whatever you feel you must say, say it by then.

    Make sure to grab your bat and your ball before you run into the house and slam the door!

    Like most people who get off on being vicious to others, you are a huge crybaby when things don’t go your way.

  66. #66 DuWayne
    June 7, 2010

    I am done now then, as I have no desire to contribute anymore to that sort of distress. I apologize for having done so.

  67. #67 johannes
    June 7, 2010

    While there can be no doubt that trafficking exists, and causes real pain and suffering, let’s not forget that moral panic about trafficking and “white slavery” was – and still is – used as an instrument of racial terror against immigrants and minorities by racists and xenophobes.

  68. #68 Joshua Zelinsky
    June 7, 2010

    Zuska, if you do need to close this thread, please read it carefully before you do. It seems like you are letting your emotions interfere with figuring out what is actually correct. If necessary, may I suggest that after closing you wait a few days and then reread the subject? I will be disappointed if the next time this subject comes up you go and make the exact same claims with no indication that you’ve adjusted your opinion based on the points made by Greta and others.

  69. #69 MTiffany
    June 7, 2010

    johannes, @67, above makes a good point: exploitation and trafficking *do indeed exist* in porn. However, not all porn is exploitation, and people who argue that all porn is expliotative and that all women performing in porn are: battered, or drug abusers, or coerced, or otherwise explioted; do a disservice to that fraction of those women in porn who actually are: battered, or drug abusers, or coerced, or otherwise explioted; when they make such preposterous and transparently agenda-driven statements.

    It’s the equivalent of ‘the boy who cried wolf.’

  70. #70 TTT
    June 7, 2010

    “If you don’t think women are forced into porn and prostitution then why don’t you let your wife and kids do it?”

    Isn’t that just a transposition of the old segregationist rallying cry “if they’re so equal, why didn’t you marry one?” Non-sequitur then and now.

  71. #71 chall
    June 7, 2010

    wow. That’s a new take on things in that blog post and in the comments. I always thought that people would agree on that porn is something that traditionally has been for men, by men in order to make men feel empowered. Women are side shows and in there for the visual thing for men.

    Erotics are usually something else, the word is more framed for “female” porn, as in the meaning of “telling a story, getting inside the head and having some kind of meaningfulness to it all”. Funny enough (irony) there isn’t much about women in the traditional porn. As in What women want. Not showing all parts of women.

    And the research I’ve read show that men who are watching lots of porn as younger men, teens and in thier younger 20ies, have more problems with connecting and tend to assume that women not only like to please men and they don’t have to focus on women, but that it’s all about them.

    And women who watch that kind of porn from early times tend to fall into that pattern too. Not to mention the whole “what about if you’re not into a, b or c”.

    And most of all, since most men look down of the women in porn (not my wife/dauther/woman I respect) do that, I would only like to F**K them, I still fail to see how porn is empowering for women?!

  72. #72 Zuska
    June 7, 2010

    I have read every comment on this thread carefully. It is disingenuous to attribute emotions as a motive for my actions and not, by implication, those of other commenters. Or to suggest that one not to attend to one’s feelings in making decisions. I have made an intellectual decision that this comment thread is triggering some bags of emotional and psychological distress I carry around with me and I’m not adequately coping. I underestimated my ability to personally deal with what this post would likely generate. It is possible that even a perfectly polite conversation would have had the same result.

  73. #73 Luna_the_cat
    June 7, 2010

    I personally wouldn’t take it amiss if you would IP-ban the douchewank troll, given that he isn’t contributing anything and keeps interrupting the interesting conversations.

  74. #74 Max
    June 7, 2010

    “”How many people working in porn are doing so as a result of coercion or trafficking?”

    That’s not really the question. The question is: can you differentiate between a woman enjoying herself and a woman being forced to pretend to enjoy herself? Especially since the vast majority of porn features female performers screaming non-stop and contorting their faces so obviously that it can be easily replicated?”

    You can look into it clueless. You are the one making charges of exploitation. It is up to you to back it up. “It could happen.” Is not a compelling argument. The argument make in the above paragraph is a false dichotomy. You assume they must either be enjoying it or being coerced. Of course most of them are faking it. That’s what they are payed for.Going back to skeptifem’s post in the other thread, Linda Lovelace’s claims of rape have (convincingly, imo) been refuted by her coworkers (female included). This also ties in to how I am relatively unconcerned about trafficking of the performers. The openness of the system. Many of the female performers are quite open about their work and their lives. Not the pattern of behavior of women who are being abused.

    “And Zuska has a point: since most prostitutes and porn performers are not coerced (according to you) we can assume that any close relatives of yours- daughters, mother, sisters etc.- going into the relevant industries would not be followed by any negative reactions on your side?”

    Again a false dichotomy. Should any family member of mine wish to go into porn (male or female) I would be concerned that they knew what they were getting into. I would also inquire into their reasons for getting into it. It’s not work for everybody. But if he or she is an adult in control of his or her faculties, it is in the final measure his or her business, not mine.

    I actually do know a woman close to me who was coerced into being a prostitute. It was the typical abusive situation. With the help of others, she was able to escape that life. In working her way back into mainstream society she spent some time as an “exotic” dancer of her own free will. I am well aware of the existence and horror of trafficking and exploitation. The difference between myself and you, zuska, and skeptifem is that I respect the right of the individual to make the choice and do not assume coercion or exploitation when there is no evidence of it.

  75. #75 skeptifem
    June 7, 2010

    Oh yeah tiffany, it is such a disservice to victims when people acknowledge that they exist. Please.

    How many trafficked women are acceptable to everyone? How many rapes are okay with you all? Why can I still buy a copy of “deepthroat”, after linda lovelace came forward and her story was corroborated? No one cares about the women who are raped and trafficked and in porn.

    ildi- Once again giving a shit about women who are trafficked and raped isn’t the prime concern.

    Anyway, lets talk amateur porn then- some guys do video tape their sex tourism in other countries to enjoy later, and they most certainly are raping trafficked women. Some guys film domestic prostitutes who again have questionable consent. It isn’t a stretch, if you offer more money to tape and the prostitute is desperate/her pimp wants more money then it will be taped.

    lets discuss women in amateur porn who aren’t trafficked or raped- is it not sad to you that people regurgitate porn formulas in their personal life over and over again? Pornography has become something so pervasive that many people have difficulty developing sexuality independent of it, they think that porn is sex. Genuine sexual interaction has been replaced by the playing out of roles prescribed by pornography. Communication about what feels good and acts that aren’t deemed cinematic are left out. It is really fucked up that porn has placed this notion in young peoples heads about how they “should” be enjoying sex. That is damage. Porn also has a lot of extra beauty mandates, and I believe that pornography is a chief reason why so many women my age feel that shaving their pubic hair is the default. Women undergo dangerous surgery to resemble pornography. They have parts cut off of them, they have things implanted into their flesh. Women bring pictures of pornography to doctors and say “I want my vagina to look like this”. Doctors cut off sexually responsive tissues because women want to look correct (by porn standards) for men during sex. Women do not have to be trafficked to be hurt by pornography. There are women who make pornography with their boyfriends or husbands, and when they break up the dudes release it to the internet in order to humiliate them. It is something abusive men do to women in their personal lives to have some kind of ownership insurance over their victims (they do things like tampering with birth control to cause a pregnancy for the same reason). The intent of a fair amount of pornography is humiliation, but it is such a constant in our culture that the sexism becomes almost invisible to people who grow up around it. There are infomercials for girls gone wild on television, normalizing coercing drunk women into doing sexual things, and that adds to the humiliation of non porn rape victims. There is still a stigma about women who drink and are sexually assaulted afterwards, and there is an actual porn genre that fetishizes screwing drunken women. It is a great joke or unremarkable in popular culture instead of an outrage to regular people. Porn supports concepts of consent that hurt women. Women in pornography are in a constant state of consent, just like women in real life are believed to be. Men not in porn think a lack of ‘no’ is consent instead of having enthusiastic participation as the bare minimum of consent. Dudes just walk up and start shoving things into women in porn, and then dudes not in porn watch this and get the idea that this is the kind of thing women enjoy. Sex is done to women in these movies, instead of it being something people do together for pleasure. I know a lot of what I am discussing is personal interpretation, but for dudes who need some kind of support for rape culture, porn is there for them. Men can easily use porn to support their misogyny.

    Then there is how pornography can affect personal relationships between pornsick dudes and women trying to please them (I mean jesus, this was regular girl talk for my generation, its crazy).

  76. #76 MTiffany
    June 7, 2010

    “It is possible that even a perfectly polite conversation would have had the same result.”
    If you were looking for a polite conversation, perhaps you should have chosen a different opener

    Just how dumb can scientists be when they skientifikally talk about “consuming” porn? “

    Last I checked, calling people dumb and ‘stoopid’ for holding an opinion with which you disagree was not considered polite.
    Or do those rules not apply if the person being called ‘stoopid’ is indeed irredeemably ‘stoopid’ by virtue of that fact they’ve ever had an erection?

  77. keeps interrupting the interesting conversations.

    If by ‘interesting conversation’ you mean the bandying about of baseless urban legends about white slavery. Or is it Zuska’s fit of the vapors over people (gasp!) disagreeing with her ideology that you find so edifying? I’m sure once she’s risen from her fainting couch Zuska will ban me, and the blog can go back to her spouting any hateful thing that comes into her head, and her gaggle of fan girls cooing over how benighted they were before Zuska revealed to them the hidden racism of IKEA kitchen commercials.

    Zuska constantly spews implausible shit and then tries to bully people into accepting her point of view without question. Fangirls like you think she’s so ‘real’ and ‘speaking truth to power’, but she’s just a bully, a sadist and an asshole. I’m sure she’s had a tough life, but so have many people – without losing their ability to brook disagreement.

  78. #79 Joshua Zelinsky
    June 7, 2010

    Zuska, you’ll have to forgive me if it looks like you are letting your emotions rule you here more so than others when you make statements ending in 5 exclamation marks. You have every right to close a thread that’s causing you distress (it is your blog), but I’d be disappointed if you don’t listen to what others have to say and modify your views accordingly. If others don’t do that also then they have a problem also.

  79. #80 Pteryxx
    June 7, 2010

    To Joshua re “letting your emotions interfere…” and others:

    Please understand there’s a difference between an emotional necessity to withdraw from a situation, and an emotional inability to consider an issue. This isn’t just an intellectual exercise but a painful reminder to some: look up the term “triggering”. Zuska has every right to recuse herself and disengage from the task of moderating this discussion.

    http://oniongirl13.wordpress.com/2010/01/11/war-wounds/

  80. #81 ildi
    June 7, 2010

    ildi- Once again giving a shit about women who are trafficked and raped isn’t the prime concern.

    Wtf? You’re really not interested in a reasoned discussion, are you?

    is it not sad to you that people regurgitate porn formulas in their personal life over and over again? Pornography has become something so pervasive that many people have difficulty developing sexuality independent of it, they think that porn is sex. Genuine sexual interaction has been replaced by the playing out of roles prescribed by pornography.

    Not really. There are times when I have the same thing for lunch all week. You’re putting sex on this weird pedestal, analogous to the madonna/whore thing. Sex can sometimes just be “getting off.” Sex can be about getting rid of a headache or catering to your lover’s need. Sex is often a solitary pursuit. Sex doesn’t always have to be this deep connection with your one true love every single time. I guess it would be nice, but then I’m not the one hooked on romance novels.

  81. #82 ewe-man
    June 7, 2010

    @79: Concern troll is concerned.

  82. #83 Joshua Zelinsky
    June 7, 2010

    Pteryxx, please reread what I wrote. I nowhere asserted that Zuska doesn’t have a right to withdraw from a conversation or close a thread. That’s completely distinct from whether she should let her emotions interfere with updating her understanding of the porn industry. See the distinction?

  83. #84 Anon
    June 7, 2010

    Don’t see where Zuska said she was looking for a polite conversation. Just see where she said it is possible that a polite one would have had same effect. My experience on this blog, she is generally not overly concerned with polite.

  84. #85 ConsentIsKey
    June 7, 2010

    There are women who make pornography with their boyfriends or husbands, and when they break up the dudes release it to the internet in order to humiliate them.

    Which has nothing to do with a commercial porno actress agreeing before filming commences that the resulting footage will be released to the public. Stop conflating consensual and non-consensual acts.

  85. #86 Zuska
    June 7, 2010

    Joshua, I don’t know if you understand what “triggering” means or not. But my “emotions” as you so dismissively call them, are right now a powerful disincentive for taking a closer look at the porn industry. Especially to learn how really good it is for me and my silly “emotions”.

  86. #87 Luna_the_cat
    June 7, 2010

    Trollboy is also pretty dull.

    @Joshua — Pteryxx is right; people come with histories and experiences. It’s not about inability to consider new ideas. It’s about not having to deal with shit dumped onto emotional sore spots. I personally recuse myself from discussions about appropriate penalties for drunk driving on the basis that a drunk driver killed my youngest (and admittedly favourite) brother and did some serious damage to our family, and even 27 years after the fact (27 years exactly as of 4 days ago) that hurts so badly I don’t wanna deal with talking about stupid fuckers who do that kind of thing.

    If you have no experiences which have left you with scars, then be so kind as to not get self-righteous about it. It is entirely possible to think that you have the emotional resources to take something on, after all, and then find out that you weren’t as ready as you thought you were.

  87. #88 sciencey
    June 7, 2010

    But my “emotions” as you so dismissively call them, are right now a powerful disincentive for taking a closer look at the porn industry.

    But you’ll still pontificate and tell other people what to think about something you are unable to research. SCIENCE!

  88. #89 Luna_the_cat
    June 7, 2010

    Right, because Sciencebloggers in general just never tackle issues of culture and politics and religion and art and music and, oh, did I mention culture?, and history…no, only SCIENCE!

    *snort*

  89. #90 ildi
    June 7, 2010

    Right, because Sciencebloggers in general just never tackle issues of culture and politics and religion and art and music and, oh, did I mention culture?, and history…no, only SCIENCE!

    ..except for this was presented as a failure of science, dontcha know…

  90. #91 skeptifem
    June 7, 2010

    You (and others here) are the ones making the accusation of rape. You are the ones making the accusation that rape and other forms of coercion are standard in the commercial video porn industry. This is a very serious accusation. If you’re going to make it, you need to back it up with some hard evidence.

    This isn’t a debate team, dude. I am not here to win anything and the question you asked made me think that it really isn’t worth my time. You haven’t told me what an acceptable level of rape and trafficking is, though I mentioned it repeatedly and it is at the heart of your original question. You are asking for numbers so you can compare the level of actual exploitation to your own ideas about how much of it is acceptable to you. I think that is disgusting and I know that you don’t really give too much of a shit that you are contributing to rape when you ask a question like that. It is like people who ask how bad any specific rape “really” was, the implication is clear- there is some sort of line that had to be cross in order for the asker to really think that the rape was bad. It is acceptable to you in certain amounts or percentages, when it shouldn’t be acceptable at all. You are willing to beat off to rape as long as you have “enough” non rapes to balance it out, I guess? Im not doing you any favors. It sickens me that your concern boils down to that.

    The fact that it happens isn’t up for debate, so your hollywood movie comparison doesn’t hold water. You know it happens. It is a bit more like when neocons show up to discussions about americans torturing captives to insist that everyone fight with them about how bad waterboarding really is, and how it didn’t even happen that often, right? Why does it matter if an inmate or two was tortured, I mean it was for our safety anyway! In your case it was all for your orgasm though. How gross.

    How do we know that the women in the porn video we’re watching weren’t raped? Well, how do you know that the shoes you’re wearing weren’t made by slave labor?

    YES, I KNOW. Dear fucking christ, me being lectured on the slavery that exists because of our current economic system is…just beyond annoying. You know what I do because of the slavery? I sure don’t go “Oh well, I guess I should just buy as much shit as I want to.” That would make me an uncaring monster of a human being who directly supports the slavery of other people. I cannot do that. It is wrong. I do my best to buy things that are not produced by slaves and I try to tell other people about the abuses of large companies so maybe they could stop doing that. I advocate for this kind of shit to end, because it is HORRIBLE. Two wrongs don’t make a right. Our actions have an actual toll on other people and the enormity and pervasiveness of it is MORE of a reason to care not LESS. We are guilty as hell and should do something about it. I actually try to find out if the things I buy are made by slaves because I give a shit about other human beings. Jesus lord. There is no reason to do you any favors, you say things like that, and then wonder why no one wants to help you. If you had any morals you would understand why I refuse to help you.

  91. #92 LunaRemedialReader
    June 7, 2010

    Err, no, I was saying that if you are unwilling/unable to research a topic it’s kind of silly to start lecturing about it to others. It’s odd for a scientist to take the position ‘I haven’t looked into this – and I am unable to due to my own personal issues – but I will tell you the meaning of the phenomenon’. Zuska confesses she’s unwilling to actually study the phenomenon of porn, so why is she telling people what to think about it? It’s not a very scientist-like approach. That’s what I meant by ‘SCIENCE!’ – that Zuska was misusing her cultural authority as a scientist to make seemingly-authoritative claims about something she won’t/can’t study.

  92. #93 deeag
    June 7, 2010

    My god, Zuska’s a fucking dumbass.

  93. #94 Zuska
    June 7, 2010

    There’s “unwilling” and there’s “currently psychologically and emotionally unable” and there’s “I’m not going to do your fucking work for you and give you a cookie, too, asshole”.

  94. #95 Luna_the_cat
    June 7, 2010

    @ildi:
    The paragraph in question from “thoughtful animal”:

    ResearchBlogging.orgOkay. So clearly this is a complicated issue. What’s a responsible scientist to do? An experiment, of course. I know: I’ll watch a TON of porn, and then see if I become sexist or racist, or feel any more aggressive than baseline. Sure, it’s got like a thousand confounds and it’s got N = 1, but, okay, so it’s a case study.

    Ok, I think we all get that this isn’t serious science, right? If he were presenting that as serious science, then that methodology has “FAIL” written all over it. ;-D

    trollboy still doesn’t get it, sadly.

  95. #96 Zuska
    June 7, 2010

    So go read some other fucking blog, deeag.

  96. #97 Pteryxx
    June 7, 2010

    Pteryxx, please reread what I wrote. I nowhere asserted that Zuska doesn’t have a right to withdraw from a conversation or close a thread. That’s completely distinct from whether she should let her emotions interfere with updating her understanding of the porn industry. See the distinction?

    Yes, and I type slowly, so my response was to your #68 not your #83. Yes I realize her right to withdraw is separate from a responsibility to consider, and I accept that you acknowledge the difference.

    But as soon as she said she would recuse herself, specifically because the conversation is becoming too personal and painful, then it’s disrespectful to keep saying “you’re letting your emotions interfere” and “you should re-read in a few days”. Not just you, but others. You’re essentially continuing the personal level of engagement with someone who has said the topic is too painful. Also, trauma triggers may take years or decades to deal with, so “in a few days” comes off as dismissive. She knows she’s emotionally affected. That’s why she’s recusing herself. She’s recusing herself because she acknowledges that she cannot fight this battle right now.

    Yes, she opened the discussion. That does NOT absolve the rest of us of our responsibility to respect her decision to halt it. We can continue the discussion elsewhere. It’s a big internet.

    Now, whether Zuska (or anyone) is able to address in future a discussion that caused such pain, while that may be an outcome to be devoutly wished, is not up to us. It’s up to her and it’s not our place to require her engagement. That’s what respecting a person’s autonomy means.

    (To Zuska; I’m realizing I may have gone too far in ascribing state of mind to you… if I have, please accept my apology.)

  97. #98 Zuska
    June 7, 2010

    Pteryxx, you are spot on. I am now done with this thread. comments will be closed. Anything after mine and Pteryxx’s will not be accepted. Thank you all for participating. There are other places where you can continue this conversation. I just can’t continue.

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