Mainstream pornography has its issues, but anti-porn feminists should realize that feminist porn exists and that the movement to make pornography illegal is dangerous and will only contribute to more structural violence against women and men alike. defined by the ways in which women take part in adult films, from directors to producers. When women are in control of what is being produced in an adult film it creates pornography that is safe for women and men, sociologically and psychologically. Anti-pornography feminism is not productive in the fight for gender and sexual equity t assumes that all pornography is anti-woman and discounts feminist pornographers that promote safe, respectful and consensual sex.
ost male pornographers are misogynists who reproduce images of violence against women for their own personal pleasure. creates a theme that is centered on male, instead of mutual pleasure. inaccurately portrays BDSM (Bondage, Discipline, Sadism, Masochism) as rape. ainstream pornography is like fast food – cheap, quick and hard to digest.
Male pornographers are by misogyny. The following quotes from male pornographers describe their contempt women and why they promote violence against them:
“I’d like to really show what I believe the men want to see: violence against women. I firmly believe that we [pornographers] serve a purpose by showing that. The most violent we can get is the cum shot in the face. Men get off behind that, because they get even with the women they can’t have. We try to inundate the world with orgasms in the face.” - Bill Margold, porn industry veteran, quoted in Robert J. Stoller and I. S. Levine, Coming Attractions: The Making of an X-rated video; 1993.
“My whole reason for being in this Industry is to satisfy the desire of the men in the world who basically don’t much care for women and want to see the men in my Industry getting even with the women they couldn’t have when they were growing up. I strongly believe this… so we come on a woman’s face or somewhat brutalize her sexually: we’re getting even for their lost dreams. I believe this. I’ve heard audiences cheer me when I do something foul on screen. When I’ve strangled a person or sodomized a person, or brutalized a person, the audience is cheering my action, and then when I’ve fulfilled my warped desire, the audience applauds.” - Bill Margold, porn industry veteran and Free Speech Coalition board member.
“It might promote violence against women in the United States, but I say, ‘Good.’ I hate those bitches. They’re out of line and that’s one of the reasons I want to do this … I’m going through a divorce right now. … I hate American women.” -What pornographers really think of women (Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 14 October 1999)
It is sick, yet hardly surprising that these male pornographers feel such hatred towards women. It is part of how patriarchy operates. It is the smog that formulates what black feminist bell hooks refers to as white supremacist capitalist patriarchy.
Mainstream pornography is centered on male pleasure. Male pleasure in the mainstream pornography industry goes much deeper than any superficial display of pleasure. clip from pornhub.com titled “Blonde Teen Cheers Up Guy By Fucking Him Until He Cums” make the man cum. There is a brief five seconds in which the woman receives oral sex, but it is not clear whether or not she orgasms. f we look to guides that talk about how to give women oral sex, we will realize that it is not possible for a woman to orgasm in just five seconds unless she has a hypersensitive clitoris. The clip reinforces the stereotype that women are objects whose sole purpose is to please men and nothing more.
Porn clips like the one above reinforce societal norms about how women should behave sexually. The most dangerous are the clips that portray BDSM as rape instead of a consensual sexual activity between two or more adults. There are clips that display gang-rape scenarios and present them as BDSM sexual relationships. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. BDSM sexual relationships are built on the basis of trust, respect and consent. It is not a healthy sexual relationship if all three are not present, but an emotionally, physically and sexually abusive one. Mainstream pornography co-opts the BDSM community in such a way that promotes abusive sexual activities and hurts the promotion of healthy sexuality. This is inherently anti-feminist because it lays the pleasure on the part of the dominant, instead of both or more parties experiencing pleasure.
Mainstream pornography operates fast food – cheap, quick and hard to digest. The profusely anti-woman pornography is free and available almost everywhere. It is quick to watch with almost no foreplay involved which is unrealistic for women, especially because we do not magically lubricate our pussies when a penis becomes erect, as unfortunate as that may be. ainstream pornography is hard to digest because it is so uninteresting and perverse. It has no basis in reality when it comes to mutual sexual pleasure. Women and men hardly, if ever ejaculate at the same time. Queer partners hardly, if ever ejaculate at the same time. Sometimes, sexual partners orgasm many times, maybe one does more than the other. Sexual pleasure is filled with variety and no, not every woman looks like Linda Blair from The Exorcist when she cums hard and fast.
So, in these ways mainstream pornography is toxic to healthy sexuality. Feminist pornography has the potential to and does create hot pornography to get off to, both alone and/or mutually with one’s partner.
Courtney Trouble, a feminist pornographer in an interview with Bitch Magazine discusses feminist pornography in this way:
“Both a woman and a woman’s desires need to be involved in the production, editing, and marketing of porn in order for it to be called feminist. Now, a woman’s desires are just as varied as a man’s, so it’s hard to say what is and is not “feminist porn” just from looking at it. It has a lot more to do with how it’s made. Are all people on the set—whether performers or crew—respected and treated equally and with fairness? Are the woman’s orgasms being filmed with the same amount of importance as the man’s? Does the woman (and the man) feel safe with their partner? Are condoms being used? These are all things I think make up a “feminist” porn set.”
Feminist pornography is less about what happens on screen and more about what happens behind the screen. Female and male desire can co-exist and sometimes, what we think is male fantasy can indeed be female fantasy as well. The problem with displaying male fantasy in mainstream pornography versus feminist pornography is that the mainstream reinforces patriarchal norms about what is male fantasy versus what is female fantasy. It is very much dichotomized into the feminine/masculine that exists under patriarchy by creating soft feminine fantasies for women and hardcore porn fantasies for men that include abusive behaviors such as spitting and facials (when a man cums on a woman’s face).
Women can and should have an outlet to which they can get off without feeling guilty. Feminist pornography is that outlet. We need more attention diverted from mainstream to feminist pornography so that women do not need to feel dehumanized in order to get off. Anti-porn feminism is not the solution. Making mainstream pornography illegal will not solve the problems that patriarchy has instituted into our society, but will make it worse by creating a criminal market for buying and selling misogynist pornography. We should be critical of mainstream pornography, push out the misogynist pornographers and create feminist pornography that reinforces healthy, respectful and consensual sexual activity.