In my daily blog reading, it seems like I've been coming across a lot of anti-porn posts of late. While I sympathize with anti-porn feminists, sometimes their generalizing makes me want to tear my hair out. Decrying all porn says to me that they believe porn can't be done in a pro-woman, pro-pleasure, non-degrading way.* To me, that's giving up on something that could be incredibly valuable.
Basically, here is the situation as I see it.
We consume a LOT of porn. This is not going to change. Now, that is not an argument for keeping something, necessarily, but it is an element in assessing the situation with porn in our society.
And honestly, there is something to be said for the pleasure of watching sexual acts. Isn't it possible to translate the pleasurable acts many of us participate in, to a screen format for others to view? And if we are depicting acts truly enjoyed by the participants where is the appropriation or misrepresentation that anti-porn fem's decry?
Feminist porn has taken that philosophy and run with it, to the benefit of many. Working further with it, and working to promote feminist porn*, can only aid in changing the porn industry as a whole. Creating more awareness of feminist porn and marketing it to EVERYONE, can only help with the objectification we find in regular porn, can't it?
For me the goal here is to do just that. If we can get feminist porn into the mainstream of consumption, then things will change. Representing real pleasure and female empowerment/ownership of their sexuality and sexual needs can only be beneficial! The more that it is viewed, the harder it gets to reconcile real pleasure with the degrading representations of it that much of current mainstream porn relies on.
For me, anti-porn feminism has given up an important fight, and they have vastly over simplified our wonderfully complex sexual natures. There is a time and place for objectification, there is a time and place even for degradation in some people's sexual lives. By taking the stances it does, anti-porn feminism condemns these practices wholesale, and by so doing, shames the women who derive sexual pleasure from such activities.
I've had enough of shaming women's expressions of their sexual pleasure. And I've had enough of people thinking they are in the position to make other people's decisions for them. Feminism is about educating and empowering women to make their own choices, but judging sex workers decisions does not further this agenda. In fact it is perpetuating some of the very worst of the patriarchal attitudes we are trying to overthrow.
This is why I am so strongly sex-positive. I come from the baseline of "sex is good, expression of sexuality is good, representation of sexuality CAN BE good" and I approach the issues of sex work of various stripes (pornography included here) from there. What I'm most interested in cultivating is women having authentic relationships with their sexuality and sexual desires (as well as career choices). Secondary to that, I am interested in spreading those authentic identities into the mainstream, so that men (and non-feminist women) will understand just what empowered female sexuality looks like.
When men and women can truly recognize this, I believe things will change. Porn will change, parts of our rape culture will change, objectification and appropriation of women and their bodies will change. These things will have to change, because once recognized, I don't think people will enjoy the fake stuff anymore.
Ultimately, I think women have been judged enough, I think we have been told what to think, how to feel, and how to be in this world, ENOUGH. Feminists are the last people who should be furthering that sort of agenda. And I am not interested in participating in it.
*I want to put in a clarification on these points, and that is in acknowledging the wide variety that is human sexuality. When I talk about "feminist porn" I don't even necessarily mean porn that self identifies as feminist. For me, any porn that is pro-woman, pro-pleasure; where the chick gets off as much as the guy, is feminist porn. What humans derive pleasure from is diverse, and I want to acknowledge that. What I want to see an end to, are wide spread practices that serve only to degrade, and which I do not believe enough women derive pleasure from to justify how widespread that practice is. Among other things, the "money shot" is a prime target here, cum fetishes are not nearly common enough to justify how often I see this annoyingly degrading and misogynistic act in porn. Another example close to my heart is the way anal sex is enacted, yah fucking right that's how people do it to actually derive pleasure from it.
P.S. All you anti-porn feminists out there. My identifying as sex positive does not mean I am thusly casting you as sex negative. In fact, I don't put you in that category. I do, however, believe that society is sex negative, and my identification with the label "sex positive" is partly in response to that. But basically, it's not all about you.