Wednesday, June 4, 2008

In Defense of Porn

I just read Pornography, Sex and Feminism by Alan Soble in an hour and a half because it was so damn good. I picked it up at my favorite place ever, The Mulberry Street Library, and immediately began tearing through it. I knew I'd like it when I realized that Chapter 3 is entitled "Sluts and Facials." YES!

While I don't agree with much of what Soble says, it definitely presents a sex-positive view of feminism that I can get behind. Many feminists rally around the idea that porn is dehumanizing, degrading, anti-woman. But that theory can only be propelled forth if you accept the Christian/conservative-tainted view of women as pure and chaste. Instead, I'd argue that many women do enjoy sex - I, for one, have been known to initiate it during a relationship even more than my ex-boyfriends - and therefore watching porn or engaging in the acts that are taped for porn is not degrading at all. In fact, it can be rather empowering. Soble touched upon my blowjobs-for-power idea, and the fact that men are more apt to worship an ass than intelligence. Sad as it may be, it also proves that women do have a power over men - one that, I'd like to point out, perhaps hasn't accurately been captured on film since The Virgin Suicides. We have the ability to exude power from the tiniest places, our sinews, capillaries, the ends of our hair. Kirsten Dunst is like the role model for chaste mystery, while Nina Hartley is one for female sexual empowerment and orgasm. Combine them together and you have the perfect woman: something that I am so, so striving for at this point.

-Jess

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hey Jess,

If you're really looking to explore feminist literature further. I'd really recommend Judith Butler and Catherine MacKinnon for something a little further.

Anonymous said...

And also,

Jezebel/Diary of a College Call Girl/One D at a Time are NOT feminist blogs. Being unabashed about sex is not the same as feminism.

"Many feminists rally around the idea that porn is dehumanizing, degrading, anti-woman. But that theory can only be propelled forth if you accept the Christian/conservative-tainted view of women as pure and chaste."
Read Catherine MacKinnon for the counterargument.

Jess and Josh said...

Agree w/ you that feminism isn't openness about sex. Jezebel is most certainly a feminist blog - I never really thought of the other ones as feminist either. I just read things in light of women's issues, I'm not sure if that makes them/me feminist or not.

I have read some MacKinnon, and she was one of the main authors Soble was refuting in this book. I definitely don't agree with her on porn, but I should def read up on some of her theories about other things.

Samantha said...

ooooh this is definitely going in my beach bag asap

Bianca Reagan said...

Many feminists rally around the idea that porn is dehumanizing, degrading, anti-woman. But that theory can only be propelled forth if you accept the Christian/conservative-tainted view of women as pure and chaste.

That is not accurate. Most porn is dehumanizing, degrading and anti-woman. However, this has nothing to do with the fact that there is sex involved. The same can be said about mainstream media, which doesn't involve as much sex. The problem is the portrayal of the women as objects to be used and abused, not for their pleasure, but expressly for the pleasure of the men watching. Many feminists, like many regular people, actually like sex. However, they don't like to see women degraded.

Kirsten Dunst is like the role model for chaste mystery, while Nina Hartley is one for female sexual empowerment and orgasm. Combine them together and you have the perfect woman: something that I am so, so striving for at this point.

Why would you want anything to do with chaste mystery? You should own your sexuality--as a subject, not as an object--and be proud of it. However, it would dangerous to let that be your goal in striving for perfection. The power you are seeking is greater that your blow-job ability and how hot straight guys think you are, no matter what "neo-feminist" label you put on it. You should figure out how to make yourself happy and powerful without relating that happiness and power to what men think of you. You are a great person, and you have a lot more to offer the world than fellatio.

Anonymous said...

Ummm to whoever suggested MacKinnon reading - hello? all sex is not rape...and to wholly reject pornography is to suggest that women cannot be voracious sexual human beings. MacKinnon tries to characterize and pigeonhole women. She seeks to explicate women by defining them specifically against men, as if women and the female experience were identical, and she completely misses the point that examining the female experience through the patriarchal male lens, defining it in opposition is anti-feminist, hardly egalitarian, and unnecessarily polarizing. And not to put too fine a point on it, she's a fucking moron and has published "scholarly" essays refuting various scientific findings that point to biological bases for rape as a strategy for reproduction. Not only does her opposition to scientific findings read as unlearned, it also reads as though she herself hasn't read any of the academic papers concerning differences in the male and female brain, but read an op-ed piece in the New York Times or some such.

As a feminist, I think MacKinnon is poison, lacking in logic, and divisive to the movement. As a biologist, I find MacKinnon just flat out wrong.