Porn: Loud and Proud

In the heteronormative society that we live in, it is not normal for an individual to openly be proud of his or her sexuality.  Those individuals that are willing to discuss their sexual preferences or activities freely are often labeled as whores or sluts. (Funny how there are only insulting names for women in this case.) Considering our sexualities are a core part of who we are, why are we so afraid to be open?

Pornography has long been a taboo part of our culture. Pornographic actresses are looked down upon by other women in society, and actors are sometimes praised, but as a whole those involved in the porn industry are seen as “gross” or “disgusting.”  Those words often refer to the number of partners each actor may have, or what seems to be the apparent disregard for sexual safety.  For the latter, the porn industry is very strict about birth control and STD testing.  And thus begins the falling apart the argument for some peoples’ lack of support of the porn industry.  But I believe the true reason why porn is looked down upon in our society is because people are uncomfortable with how comfortable porn actors and actresses are with their sexualities.

One argument that people hold in opposition of pornography is that the women are being degraded for the sexual pleasure of men – whether it is the porn actor, or the men watching the videos.  The Feminist Porn Book mentions how women who watch porn are not seeing what they want to see, such as real orgasms and consent, but instead the videos are driven by male desire.  Most feminist critics of pornography claim that not all porn is held up as empowering.  However, these critics fail to realize that these women are actresses, meant to portray a certain role.  Yes, their roles may seem less than empowering, but that does not mean that the actresses themselves do not feel empowered.

In many cases, porn actresses love what they do.  They love being able to arouse pleasure in men and women of all backgrounds. They are often extremely comfortable with their bodies, regardless of how many times they may have had plastic surgery.  These actresses want people to see them in these roles, owning their carnal desires.  The women often have control of the situation in one way or another: they want to be in porn.

And although some types of porn depict lack of consent, there are many other types of porn that show empowered women – feminist porn.  The Feminist Porn Book states that feminist porn knows that “identities are socially situated and that sexuality has the power to discipline, punish, and subjugate, that unruliness may involve producing images that seem oppressive, degrading, or violent.  Feminist porn does not shy away from the darker shades of women’s fantasies” (15).  Some women watching porn have darker fantasies, some even have rape fantasies.  Therefore it is very possible that all porn can be considered feminist because one person may respond positively to something that another person may not like.  I believe pornography is feminist because it depicts an act that is carnal and nature, as well as it allows men and women to own their sexualities and teaches other to be proud of their sexual preferences and desires.

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