Sunday, July 28, 2013

Feminism's Response to Pornography

(This post, like the last one, is in response to another article linked in The Electric Journal of Human Sexuality).

For Goddess' sake, please explain to me how this image promotes violence against women.

Here's the problem with the feminist argument against pornography. Feminists complain that pornography is misogynistic. I think we can agree that misogyny is a bad thing. But in attacking pornography, they are essentially stating that all pornography is misogynistic - that pornography is in some way intrinsically linked to violence against women.

Certainly, some - possibly even a majority - of pornography is misogynistic. And fighting to reduce misogyny in porn is a noble cause. But you'll notice that this isn't a stance against pornography - it's a stance against misogyny in pornography. If misogyny were the problem, then anti-porn feminists would actually support pornography - provided it's of the non-misogynistic variety.

But no, you don't see that among the anti-porn crusade (which is not the same group as the sex-positive feminists who argue for better porn), they're too busy telling you why pornography - the entire form of speech which involves graphical depictions of sexual activity - is harmful to society (and women especially) and should be banned and censored.

That's like saying comedy should be criminalized because some of it is racist. Certainly, some comedy is racist - and there are arguments to be had about whether or not such comedy deserves to be protected under the freedom of speech. Regardless, labeling all comedy on the whole as racist and calling for its elimination could quite rightly be called insane.

And it's such an ingrained cultural idea that it's to the point where even non-"radical feminists" support this view. There is at least one art photographer whom I otherwise respect and admire, who takes nude portraits of women, who has publicly defined "pornography" as a form of "violence".

Quite frankly, I have taken photographs that most people - myself included - would describe as pornographic, and for you to suggest to me that those shots indicate a representation and defense of violence is extremely offensive to me, on the same level of offense Olympia Nelson rightly expressed when Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd described a nude photo of her as being "revolting".

I understand that nudity and sexuality are separate issues; I'm asking you to respect the fact that sexuality and violence are separate issues as well. And although - like nudity and sexuality - they can be combined, they are not equivalent. A graphical depiction of sexuality is no more intrinsically violent than a graphical depiction of nudity is intrinsically sexual (and I might even argue less so).

Let me make it simple: I will not concede any ground to anyone who's stance is in opposition to pornography on the whole, as an entire genre of speech. We can argue about types of pornography and things that are depicted within pornography, but if you're against pornography altogether, then your position will receive very little sympathy from me.

And, whatever you might say about semantics, there are actually a lot of people who seem to be of this position in the world. If it's a matter of poor phrasing, and using the term "pornography" when you really mean a specific kind of pornography, then it's really not unreasonable for me to ask you to redefine your stance to the point that you're actually saying what you mean, and really meaning what you say, before we can come to any kind of a common ground. That's not only fair, but extremely important in debates.

I am a pornographer. I am also a feminist (although I don't advertise it so much because the term has become so muddied and watered down as to become worse than meaningless). I am sensitive and I care about the tolerance of minorities (minorities that do not make up 50% of the human population).

And that is exactly why I will not concede any ground to anyone who is so insensitive as to criticize anyone who considers themself a pornographer or a defender of pornography, that is NOT part of the grand misogynist patriarchy these feminists rail against.

(For more on this topic, do check out my list of 5 Myths About Porn).

No comments:

Post a Comment