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March 28, 2012 9:43 PM   Subscribe

But shouldn't consumers have some context to evaluate what they are viewing? Shampoo bottles and Tuna cans assure us that animals were unharmed. Shouldn't we know if porn actors are subject to out-of-control STD rates, or are forced to do things against their will? At a minimum, a Porn housekeeping seal of approval would tell us by, and for whom, the porn was made. It might make you think twice before downloading that random YouPorn video or chatting with a "horny Russian slut" at LiveJasmin.

Erika Christakis proposes a Fair Trade label for pornography.
posted by Cash4Lead (48 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
The problem with this is that it would be catering to a niche clientele. There are PLENTY of "ethical" porn sites, but viewers would rather just watch what they want. And seriously, we can't stop people with camcorders filming what they want and putting it up on a website, or a redtube without a seal of approval.

This is great in theory, but it isn't a new idea. The fact that most people don't know about it proves that it won't be good in practice. And that sucks.
posted by karathrace at 9:49 PM on March 28, 2012


I love me some gay-ass porn. I think bareback porn is unethical. So, I do not watch bareback porn. While I wouldn't be enticed by porn that had a FT label, I would stop consuming porn that was unethical.

That said, does anyone in this world know what A Modest Proposal was? Rarely do I agree with an author who looses me at the title.
posted by munchingzombie at 9:55 PM on March 28, 2012 [5 favorites]


If you poke around alt porn even a little it's pretty easy to find Ethical Porn type stuff.
posted by The Whelk at 9:56 PM on March 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Unfortunately I think many people's interest in porn is decidedly the violation of broken women with daddy issues and barely legal thing (just looking at what's most popular)... and so I'm not sure that porn consumers on average would actually prefer their porn to be created in a healthy way. If it were, how could it be satisfying by being dirty and harmful and exploitive? If the viewer didn't think, somewhere, there was really someone being violated in a harmful way they were getting a peek on the damaging action of?

But it could be a good thing. Possibly, if enough people decided to be good human beings and use their viewing power to "vote" on what will dominate the market-- this might shift some of the practices in the industry more in favor of those working in it and their well being. And that would be a good thing. And if there were any possibility that it might cause some people to just think, for a moment, about what they are actually thinking about women in porn and whether they actually DO want to see harmful and damaging things really happen to someone--- wake up a little?

I don't think people are one dimensional, I don't think people are either bad or good. I think there are some people who do wake up when presented with thoughts about what they are doing and thinking and how it affects real people.
posted by xarnop at 9:56 PM on March 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


I really prefer my modest proposals with more class-based cannibalism.
posted by misfish at 10:01 PM on March 28, 2012 [17 favorites]


Given that most of the product labeling isn't particularly honest (organic, new, USDA, large, etc.), why would I trust porn labeling? Will there be Federal Porn Inspectors?
posted by doctor_negative at 10:16 PM on March 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


muchingzombie: http://art-bin.com/art/omodest.html
posted by parrot_person at 10:20 PM on March 28, 2012


uh, excuse me, muNchingzombie!
posted by parrot_person at 10:20 PM on March 28, 2012


I would like some warning when an anal scene is about to happen. And I don't mean, like, four hours of begging, but, generally, in life, before such a thing happens, there's at least some discussion of it.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 10:21 PM on March 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


From the comments:
If they are not enjoying what they are doing then they are Meryl Streep caliper actresses.
Now I'm imagining her in Leg Iron Lady.
posted by unliteral at 10:26 PM on March 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


I would like some warning when an anal scene is about to happen.

Maybe you need a new agent?
posted by sebastienbailard at 10:27 PM on March 28, 2012 [30 favorites]


How about "shade grown"? Isn't that important, too?
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 10:47 PM on March 28, 2012


"LlveJasmin?" Huh... hey, wow! Give you my credit card number? OK!
posted by SPrintF at 10:55 PM on March 28, 2012


Maybe you need a new agent?

I loved him like a mother and a hooker! (/Imposters quote)
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 10:55 PM on March 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well, first you need people willing to pay for pornography instead of just swiping it from a tube…

But sure, ethical porn's a fine idea. This is far from the first place it's been proposed, so I guess I would have liked this article a little more if it had a practical plan instead of making some mediocre assumptions and leg-humping a Swift allusion for a title…
posted by klangklangston at 11:05 PM on March 28, 2012 [6 favorites]


Free range amateurs.
posted by mattoxic at 11:52 PM on March 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Meryl Streep caliper

That's a pretty strange kink, but whatever floats your boat, I guess.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:21 AM on March 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


Oh hey, more people with no fucking clue how porn is produced commenting on how bad the lives of poor exploited porn stars are and how unethical it. Really, I don't know where to start with this.

How about we begin with how this guy has no idea how heavily regulated the porn industry is. Porn producers in the US are required to keep proof of age on record in perpetuity in accordance with 18 U.S.C. § 2257, for a start. The industry in California hase also just been hit with mandatory condom on set rules, which are have been strongly criticized by people in the industry due to the nature of porn shoots, especially how prolonged use of condoms are more hazardous due to abrasion over long shoots than the current bareback + test regiment that they've been using. The fact that the rate of infection is so low - and honestly, the pubmed article he links to only serves to undermine his argument that porn stars are disease ridden - two percentage points above background level? Oh my!.

Also he makes that classic "all sex work is the same, and and all sex work is explotation" argument to lump adult film into the same basket as traffic sex workers. Not all prostitutes are the same, let alone all sex workers. Fuck, I work in the sex industry, and I can count the number of times I've got my kit off at work on the fingers of one hand, but by his standards I'm living the same tortured risky life as someone sold into a Eastern European brothel.

Well, first you need people willing to pay for pornography instead of just swiping it from a tube…
Exactly. Pay for it, and you know you are paying the performers. You know who's produced it, when, how old everyone is, the works. Production houses get reputations, like any other indsutry. I don't buy Nestle if I can help it, I also don't by movies by Max Hardcore or flicks that do not conform to § 2257. Get it from a tube with all the wrappers off and you're going to have no idea what you're getting. This is true of everything, and I can see no way that making a "fair trade label" for porn can improve this.

Unfortunately I think many people's interest in porn is decidedly the violation of broken women with daddy issues and barely legal thing (just looking at what's most popular)... and so I'm not sure that porn consumers on average would actually prefer their porn to be created in a healthy way.

Those are fighting words in my world, champ. You ignore the agency of women who actively seek out a career in porn. It ignores the men in porn completely, especially given that gay porn is easily as massive as het porn. Fuck, it ignores things like Crashpad queer porn made by queer folk for queer folk. It ignores the growing market for romance driven porn, porn parodies (easily the hottest trend at the moment, especially in the couple's market), it ignores the massive hunger for mature age performers, people like Nina Hartley who have been doing porn and loving it for longer than I have been alive.

You want to make a big call like that, you better have a cite.
posted by Jilder at 1:37 AM on March 29, 2012 [48 favorites]


...is this where I ask for recs for good producers/studio houses? Because I would like to graduate from 'swiping it from a tube'...
posted by cendawanita at 2:08 AM on March 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


...is this where I ask for recs for good producers/studio houses? Because I would like to graduate from 'swiping it from a tube'...

Makes sense to me. jilder's demolished the original manifesto and reason for this thread..
posted by sebastienbailard at 2:37 AM on March 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


munchingzombie: "I love me some gay-ass porn."
That's one of those few instances where placement of the hyphen doesn't matter.
posted by Red Loop at 2:53 AM on March 29, 2012 [9 favorites]


Many great thoughts raised @Jilder

Commented similarly in the conversation on legalised brothels in Canada. You've gone a bit further and I'm glad you have. Men are an invisible part of the pornography business, yet a key constituency. There does seem to the be the common refrain repeated about the type of woman that chooses pornography as a career, however the men are rarely spoken of.

It's a tough topic to address, due to the moral issues currently intertwined. At it's base level, 'pornography' is similar to other jobs in film and television. There is a production crew, actors, and the rest. However because it's about sex, suddently everything's different.

If you extract the moral views on sex, pornography is very similar to the rest of the industry. Performers shape and use their bodies to produce experiences captured by film. If we say 'damaged' people go into pornography, we can also look at the 'damaged' people -- sociopaths and psychopaths -- that work in finance and corporate roles. Or the 'damaged' people that work in music -- drug addicts and the ilk. For every industry, you can certainly chase up 'damaged' people that go into that work. Anecdotal evidance would suggest victims of bullying and violence often become police offices.

Similarly to Jilder's point, it's not a logical extension to think that abused people go into pornography any more than it is a logical extension to say that musicians are drug addicts. Some are, some aren't.

The issue with fair trade labeling pornography will be that the action inherently legitamizes the profession. You cannot be a fair trade drug dealer because that is not a legal profession (unless your a pharma company). If we have fair-trade certified pornography, then pornography is a legitimate profession. Similar to how the IRS sees pornography.

And as far as exploitation goes, pornography doesn't seem any more exploitive than modeling, acting, coal mining, oil platform work, nannying, or any of the other jobs that literally consume the bodies of their employeers. The basis of capitalism is trading labour for capital. If one does not have any capital, then labour is one's capital. And what is labour but the consuming of the body itself.

If you detact the stigma from pornography, you can see the price of morals and values. If a woman can spend one year in pornography and earn enough money to go to college in that year, is it better to ask her to waitress for five years for the same effect? If the cost of waitressing versus pornography is 4 years of life, we can then see the cost of our values.

Not to say I think all waitresses should be porn actresses, rather I see pornography in the same light as many jobs. You're going to be consumed, physically and mentally. It just matters how you want to do it. To get to the next step, would you rather work on an oil platform for 18 months, in pornographic films for 18 months, or in an entry-level office job for 5 years. Would you rather work on the oil platform (in the North Sea in Winter), where the odds of dying are considerably higher than in pornography? If so, why? Whatever the driver of that answer represents moral code and values I suppose.
posted by nickrussell at 3:22 AM on March 29, 2012 [12 favorites]


Will it require "teens" to have actually been a teen within the past 5 years?
posted by Thorzdad at 4:13 AM on March 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Will there be Federal Porn Inspectors?

That would be one interesting Civil Service Test.
posted by jonmc at 4:50 AM on March 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Given that most of the product labeling isn't particularly honest (organic, new, USDA, large, etc.), why would I trust porn labeling?

Voiceover: In accordance to our commitment to fair-trade pornography, we present the following evidence that this film was made in the most ethical manner possible.

Actress: I participated in the video you are about to see purely because I consider the work a fair exchange for the money I will receive. I am well-adjusted and have a healthy relationship with my parents.

Mother: We talk to our daughter on the phone every Sunday and discuss a wide range of topics. You know, what the pets are up to, news about her former classmates, gardening, and her upcoming engagement to be double-fucked by two black studs in a rented mansion.

Father: I am proud of her, quick to praise and reluctant to criticize. I went to all her school functions with the exception of her sixth grade art show which I missed because my mother was ill. I have never come home drunk and called her a "worthless whore" or even slapped her. Additionally, neither of us has seen the other naked since she was approximately six. The last time I was out to visit her, I assembled several pieces of IKEA furniture for her and got her car an oil change.

Actress: Also, I am not a junkie [exposes arms] and have a very casual relationship with cocaine. My depicted orgasms will not be real, because I have all the normal inhibitions about sex that would prevent me from enjoying it with a total stranger while being filmed by a crew of people. Everything about the sex act that you are about to see, including the orifices used, has been carefully agreed upon beforehand and the renumeration for it negotiated. My agent will receive a ten percent cut, which is the industry standard and I believe it fair.

Voiceover: Thanks for watching. Now on to our FEATURE PRESENTATION!
posted by Mayor Curley at 5:41 AM on March 29, 2012 [12 favorites]


"You ignore the agency of women who actively seek out a career in porn"

I was talking about the perspective of the consumer and my cite is the horrible things I have seen men say about women in porn and women in general that I've seen all over the place and in my life. Interestingly, while I have seen women make statments about porn hurting women, it's almost always out of concern for the workers who hypothetically could be harmed. When men say this, it's almost always as a consumer. Which tells me that when some portion of men think porn is exploitive or harmful (whether it is or not) it's not much of a deterent to being a consumer of it.

I haven't actually talked to my gay friends about gay porn or watched it, or read any statements from people working in gay porn, but I read some opinions from some het male sex workers that demonstrated that there are certainly male sex workers who think the women they are having sex with are broken and something is wrong with them and they are being harmed by their experiences in porn. Which didn't seem to stop them from having the sex with them anyway.
posted by xarnop at 6:00 AM on March 29, 2012 [5 favorites]


What I mean to say is almost always when i have heard a woman says she is concerned about exploitation in porn she has taken steps to not watch porn or to choose specifically ethical porn. I have only once or twice ever heard a man say he didn't watch porn due to concerns of exploitation (rather than religious fanaticism). (I am happy to say I have ever heard a man say this at all!) Whereas I have heard derogatory statements about women in porn being broken or damaged and being violated and exploited from men all over the place-- men who continue to fuel the industry with their viewing anyway.Because these type of men, either really just don't care how they participate in harming others, or perhaps, actually like that aspect of the porn, thinking the harm goes beyond the acting.
posted by xarnop at 6:06 AM on March 29, 2012 [4 favorites]


Sounds like a problem with those men, not a problem with porn. I mean, ultimately I don't care - porn could go away altogether and I wouldn't be bothered. But I think these guys that you describe would be jerkwads regardless.
posted by Ritchie at 6:42 AM on March 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also, I think consumers would appreciate certification that the woman in question is a) horny, b) Russian and c) a slut. I wouldn't want them sneaking an ambivalent Latvian hussy past us.
posted by jonmc at 6:51 AM on March 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


There is no such thing as ethical porn. It exploits the evolutionary reproductive mechanisms of the 95% male consumer base. And it makes permanent societal outcasts of the men/women who produce it. It's really no different in kind than the heroin trade, except the (valid) extreme deference to the First Amendment in the US/West keeps it "legal"-ish. (I mean, if every porn website were actually criminally prosecuted for distributing porn to minors there wouldn't be any left running. Minors' consumption of porn is vital to the porn industry to get consumer hooked at a young age (cf. the tobacco industry). It's just not a cultural issue because 95% of males use it, since pixels lit up to resemble tits are irresistible for caveman brains.)
posted by norabarnacl3 at 7:46 AM on March 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


..is this where I ask for recs for good producers/studio houses? Because I would like to graduate from 'swiping it from a tube'...

All links Not Safe For (your) Work. I don't deal much with male/male porn so this is mostly queer and het studios. I'm also a little hamstrung by Aussie import restrictions, so there's only so much I can cover. Amateurs who run their own sites are pretty safe too, but they tend to be pretty low production value.

Crashpad I mentioned earlier. Girls Out West is pretty good too - sprung up out of an all girl amateur site here in Oz. For more "mainstream" stuff, Digital Playground, Vivid and Wicked Pictures take good care of their staff and their starlets often wind up producing their pictures as their careers progress. Funnily enough most of the movies filmed under the Evil Angel banner are good too, even if the movies are really physically rough on their performers. I've spoken to people who work with them and it reminds me of how marathon runners take pride in pushing their bodies to the limit - there's that same sense of going to the edge and coming back with something valuable. Kink.com is a BDSM site that is easily the most trustworthy of the bondage sado-masochism sites. They're often the hardest to gauge, in terms of consent and ethics, but they have a fantastic reputation with most of the performers I've spoken to (caveat: I'm in Australia so that number is limited, but the feedback has been pretty solid). Burning Angel is good for underground and indie looking folk.

Oddly enough I don't watch a lot of porn these days in the same way someone who runs a pizza place gets sick of the pies eventually, so let's see what everyone else has!
posted by Jilder at 8:18 AM on March 29, 2012 [4 favorites]


johnmc, then you have the quantify the distinction between “hussy” and “slut” and next thing you know there's red tape everywhere.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:31 AM on March 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


True Dat.

Also, abbywinters.com is a fantastically sexy site that seems to be ethically run.
posted by jonmc at 8:38 AM on March 29, 2012



Those are fighting words in my world, champ. You ignore the agency of women who actively seek out a career in porn.


The response that you'll always get is to question the freedom of human agency. What's the role of cultural pressure in this, peer pressure, economic pressure, and so on? This is where we tend to hear about histories of abuse, particularly in childhood.

I'm not saying that women can't choose to do porn without coercion, but it's far from settled.

On a broader scale, I think that we still have some discomfort with capitalist commodification of the human body and sexuality.

Back in my university days I was subjected to a film called Hot Nude Girls Unite that discussed the unionization of an American peep show joint. I don't remember much about the film now, but I recall it being an interesting conversation about protecting women in the sex trade from exploitation and improving working conditions. Regardless of whether you feel that the sex industry is good, or right, it's worth trying to protect the people that have found themselves involved in it. In some regards, discussions of agency and free will here are secondary to that.
posted by Stagger Lee at 8:41 AM on March 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


Actually the best approach would probably be to put aside words like "sex" and discuss it as an industry. Weigh all of the things that Jilder mentions against other industries and improve conditions through the usual methods.

Is it more or less exploitation than the pro-wrestling? call-center workers? the people that put together our cell phones? And so on. We all deserve the same protection and security. It's hard to isolate one industry and magically resolve all of their exploitation without talking about economics and how we manage workplaces.
posted by Stagger Lee at 8:54 AM on March 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Questions I have about this applying to AMERICA: Will it help pornographic actresses get respect outside of the industry? Will it help teachers keep their jobs after they've been discovered to have done a few amateur films? Will it help parents understand that porn stars are OK around children? Is the "fair trade" sticker just going to help out exploited women from impoverished countries?


From, arguably, the one of the fairest-trade pornographic actresses out there (also the complete opposite of my taste):



COOPER: After you have had the child, you've said that you would stop doing porn. Is that true?

JAMESON: Yes. Absolutely. And it's certainly not because I feel ashamed of being a porn star, but I think it's because I want to focus 100 percent of my time on my child, and I want to be able to tell my child that once they came along, that mommy was no longer a porn star.

COOPER: And if your daughter one day said to you, if you had a daughter, if she came to you and said that she wanted to get into that industry?

JAMESON: I'd tie her in the closet. Only because this is such a hard industry for a woman to get ahead and get the respect that she deserves. I fought tooth and nail to get to where I am, and it's not something that I would want my daughter to go through. It's not something that any parent would choose for their child.

COOPER: So you would advise young women not to get involved in the industry?

JAMESON: Not unless they had their head on completely straight and they knew that this is what they wanted to do. For my child, hey, I want them to go to college and be a doctor.
posted by 200burritos at 8:55 AM on March 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Voiceover: Thanks for watching. Now on to our FEATURE PRESENTATION!

Let's all go to the lobby!
Let's all go to the lobby!
Let's all go to the lobby!
And get off these sticky seats!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:57 AM on March 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


Stagger Lee: Absolutely it needs to be viewed as any other industry, and regulated with consultation from within the industry. Porn has always been heavily regulated with regards to the age of its performers; this needs to be extended to farm work, for example. I would also argue that all physical labour, sexual or no, has the capacity to be exploitative. Knowing what both porn and the service industry are like, I'd rather be exploited at $300 a shoot than at $12 an hour.

The problem with porn is that regulation takes on a moralistic edge. It's for the children, or to protect the poor exploited women. The voices coming out of the industry can be screaming that the regulations make things worse, but it's rare for them to be heard over the pearl clutching. The condom mandate is a perfect example of this - it's going to make things harder for a lot of performers, and drive what should be a legal activity underground.


This is where we tend to hear about histories of abuse, particularly in childhood.

One in six American women will experience sexual assault over their lifetime. Some of them subsequently choose to fuck for a living. Plenty of women in porn have not been abused; it's difficult enough to get voices heard outside of the industry, especially when they don't fit the dominant narrative of "only damaged women want to fuck for money".
posted by Jilder at 9:25 AM on March 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


There is no such thing as ethical porn. It exploits the evolutionary reproductive mechanisms of the 95% male consumer base.

Oh, I don't know about that. Studies indicate that pornography is actually healthy… for both sexes… and the more the better. This from Psychology Today in 2010:

Indeed, the data reported and reviewed suggests that the thesis is myth and, if anything, there is an inverse causal relationship between an increase in pornography and sex crimes.

Lastly we see that objections to erotic materials are often made on the basis of supposed actual, social or moral harm to women. No such cause and effect has been demonstrated with any negative consequence.

Hald and Malamuth found that respondents construed the viewing of hardcore pornography as beneficial to their sex lives, their attitudes towards sex, their perceptions and attitudes towards members of the opposite sex, toward life in general, and over all.

A positive correlation was obtained between the amount of hardcore pornography that was viewed and the impact of the benefits reaped. This positive correlation was found for both sexes. In other words, the more that one watched porn, the stronger the benefits (for both sexes)! There you have it.

(And as far as sexual abuse, rape and sexual assault are crimes of power, not sex. and rape is a crime of power, control, and extreme violence where sex is used as a weapon against someone weaker.)
posted by nickrussell at 10:08 AM on March 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


I don't think it helps getting porn workers actual stories out that their stories are either slotted into "pro-porn" or "anti-porn". There are tons and tons of ex porn stars who procclaim they liked their experiences and who claim they were really harmed and plenty with mixed experiences. What tends to happen to the women who feel really harmed is they get slotted into only anti-porn platforms who are the only people that give them voice and this serves to ultimately silence them because then people say "Well that platform has an agenda so the stories don't matter". I would say platforms arguing porn is empowering for the workers do a disservice to the stories they serve up in the same way. I don't go to religious websites so I'm not ever going to hear stories from ex porn workers who "found god" and am uninterested in this phenomenon. I am however interested in ensuring that if there is a risk of deminished mental or physical well being over time, or severe trauma, that it gets adequate attention (in any profession).

This is really an area were research can help, but the usual caveats with research, who controls it and how it is created and manipulated make research less helpful than would be ideal. It isn't helpful either that overwhelming majority of non-biased(ish) research on porn is on how it affects consumers rather than how it affects the workers. In fact I can only find one fairly recent actual mental health survey based assesment on mental wellness of pornography workers and it falls far short of the comprehensive longitudinal studies to assess causal roles and measure affects over time and specific variables that affect those outcomes. There's a seemingly very biased (and I think done by the same people) more in depth interview based assesment of a sample of adult film workers well being.

Overall, all workers deserve information on how their profession affects long term health, risks of trauma, risks of physical or psychological harm in the present or later life- and protections in place to prevent the immediacy of the moment and vulnerable situations from pushing people toward accepting working environments that are harmful to them in the long run. And I think here in the states, all people could be better served by our acedemic and work placement services to have access to an educational model that matches their needs and workplace that allows them to contribute within their actual skillset while earning a living wage that supports a basic quality of life.
posted by xarnop at 10:15 AM on March 29, 2012 [4 favorites]


I would submit the question of what long term harms may or may not happen to adult film workers has not been adequately addressed by science. If that were better rectified these conversations would be a lot easier.
posted by xarnop at 10:17 AM on March 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


"The condom mandate is a perfect example of this - it's going to make things harder for a lot of performers, and drive what should be a legal activity underground."

Maybe, maybe not. It only applies to shoots that require a permit from the city, which means shoots that aren't in a studio. And as it currently stands, it's only for LA proper, not for the county.

It's a dumb law, and one that annoyed me as I saw it going through, but I'm not sure it's going to have a huge effect.
posted by klangklangston at 10:46 AM on March 29, 2012


"And as far as sexual abuse, rape and sexual assault are crimes of power, not sex."

This is a myth. And it is tiresome. When I'm about asserting my 'power' or whatever, I scream at the top of my lungs and my neck and face turn bright red. At no time is there an erection in this equation.

And I have been raped. It IS about sex. And assholishness. But stop with this whole rape is not about sex. If it wasn't, then sex wouldn't occur. Duh.
posted by WilliamMD at 11:12 AM on March 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


And I have been raped. It IS about sex. And assholishness. But stop with this whole rape is not about sex. If it wasn't, then sex wouldn't occur. Duh.

Just like murder, there are lots of different types of rape, lots of different types of rapists, and lots of reasons that they rape. That's why "rape is about X" arguments ultimately fail to capture the true nature of the problem and also marginalize those of us who have experience rape that is not about X.

It's just like saying that porn is about exploiting "evolutionary reproductive mechanisms, " which also fails in the face of the immense diversity of pornography and reasons people watch it. I've read the work of the Robinsons, who have popularized that argument, as well as the pro-porn work. It's clear to me that pornography is like alcohol and food in that some people will develop compulsive behaviors, though the evidence for actual addiction to pornography is unfortunately scarce so far.
posted by melissam at 11:23 AM on March 29, 2012


There is no such thing as ethical porn. ... And it makes permanent societal outcasts of the men/women who produce it.
"I'm helping stigmatize these men and women in order to prevent other men and women from entering a profession where they might be stigmatized by people like me."
posted by sebastienbailard at 1:21 PM on March 29, 2012 [4 favorites]


There is no such thing as ethical porn. It exploits the evolutionary reproductive mechanisms of the 95% male consumer base.

I guess it does "exploit" those mechanics in the academic sense inasmuch as it has appeal. Just as food producers exploit hunger. The only way that this is point is negative at face value is if you except the notion that sexual urges are wrong and dirty. And until you make a convincing case for the righteousness of Victorian prudery, I'm not buying it.

And it makes permanent societal outcasts of the men/women who produce it.

Assuming you're right, that's man/woman's choice to make. If someone freely elects to participate in the production of porn, that's their choice and your paternalism is unfounded. Your suggestion that everyone who does is doing so under duress or misguided motivations is condescending.

It's really no different in kind than the heroin trade

Except that I've never heard of anyone committing property crime in order to support their porn habit, nor of anyone caught with porno DVDs in their stomach on an international flight.

It's just not a cultural issue because 95% of males use it, since pixels lit up to resemble tits are irresistible for caveman brains.

I was considering a passage that as generalizing and dismissive as your last statement, except pointed at women instead of men. but it would get my comment deleted.
posted by Mayor Curley at 2:08 PM on March 29, 2012 [6 favorites]


"Your suggestion that everyone who does is doing so under duress or misguided motivations is condescending."

Yes but the assertion that no one is doing so under duress or misguided motivations is potentially extremely harmful. Funny how hazing didn't get nearly the hearty "But respect the free agency of those who agree to it" treatment.

And yet, how many people would really think their daughter would come out of the industry emotionally unscathed? Again research would help because YES would should pretect people from participating in things that are extremely harmful to human well being.
posted by xarnop at 5:31 PM on March 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


"The condom mandate...[is] going to make things harder for a lot of performers, and drive what should be a legal activity underground."
..It only applies to shoots that require a permit from the city, which means shoots that aren't in a studio. And as it currently stands, it's only for LA proper, not for the county.

The reach of the city's law is much wider than is initially apparent. City of Los Angeles includes San Fernando Valley, the heart of the porn industry. A tremendous amount of industry shoots are here, and few of those are produced inside studios. The city council passed the condom mandate in January, to render moot AIDS Healthcare' Foundation's successful effort to call a $4,000,000 special election over it. Having won at city level two months ago, AHF has already moved on to pressuring Los Angeles County to do the same. Meanwhile, neighboring Simi Valley is now also pressing a condom mandate forward.

It's widely expected that the effect of the condom mandate will be to drive production underground in the short term and out of southern California altogether in the long term, though there's uncertainty so far as to where it'll wind up.

A meeting of city & state officials last year drew big turnout from porn performers, testifying about their health/safety objections to condom requirement. Up to now, they've depended on industry-mandated monthly HIV/STD testing that has to be reported before performing. But legally you can only have one of these approaches, depending on whether legal authorities interpret performers as employees or independent contractors. So performers are scared because they no longer have right to know that a partner has tested positive for HIV or any other STD, and have been stripped of the right to make personal risk-tolerance decisions

Woodhull Alliance and LA Weekly have been covering in depth, if anyone's interested.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 3:36 PM on April 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


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