Go Down: Porn & Male Lust
Who will stand up on behalf of women in
the adult and sex-work industries?
They have been excluded from the #MeToo revolution.
Since that time, continued double standards over
workplace protection and legislative threats to their
safety and livelihood have compelled an entire community
of professional porn actresses and sex workers to take
up grassroots activism.
We’ve spotlighted and spoken by phone to a handful
of women across both the porn and sex-work fields
who are ready to marry politics to their profession.
In some cases, they’ve committed full-time to activism.
Others have followed what they see as a calling while
continuing to work — with all the assumed risks —
on camera or with clients.
The Future for
“It’s so much more accepted than it was five or 10 years ago,
so I think it’s going to keep evolving in that direction.
Ultimately, sexuality, it comes second. The No. 1 thing is
communication and feeling a connection with someone else.
With social media out there, people are less
and less connected, so it’s another way to get
closer to your fantasy girl.”
Sex work can be very profitable for women. Many
of them may enjoy work which allows them to
express creative sexual activities.
Sex work can allow those paying a way to safely
explore their desires which they can’t do
through the current social norms of heterosexual,
The sex work industry and its workers shouldn’t be chastised
by a society that clings to puritan ideals of what is moral.
“There should be a mandatory law that made it obligatory
to be trained on a basic level, like every other industry,
in sexual harassment and assault before you set
foot on an adult film set.
I also think there should be a reporting system,
so it’s easy to report the predator, and there
should be something where the companies have a
way to deal with assault or harassment that would
be incorporated with the reporting system.
And before a performer gets to set, they should
have thorough knowledge of what they’re doing t
that day and have paperwork that outlines that.
Sex Professionals Are Part
of the Entertainment Industry
“My dream would be that adult performers and industry
people could be looked at like any other entertainment entity.
You have other physical laborers, like athletes,
who get to have multi-million-dollar contracts.
It would be great to see adult performers be sponsored
as the face of a company, a Victoria’s Secret line
or something like that.
It’s little things like that that make the general
public think, ‘Huh, they really are normal people.’”
We Need a Healthy
& Safe Environment
“I hope that folks within the sex-worker movement and on the
outside start seeing sex-worker rights as a public health issue.
Framing that is vital. There are specific steps that need
to happen as far as decriminalization and destigmatization
so we can work in a healthy and safe and thriving environment.
I think that will lead to the things we need, which are
people understanding sex workers are the experts on
their own experience, and having sex workers centered
in all policy made about the sex trade.”
“Sex work should be decriminalized. Then we wouldn’t be
viewed by society as second-class citizens.
We’re not even human at this moment, If you go
online and read some of the comments.
I’d also like workers’ rights movements
to be more interested in our fight.
Sex work is labor, and a lot of these things are
labor-rights issues but a lot of labor-rights
activists don’t want to touch us.
I want us] to be seen as people and for people
to actually give a shit about our rights.”
Brothels As Playhouses
“It’s hard because I’m so cynical, but ideally, I would
like everything to be decriminalized. I’ve been reading
a lot about brothels and how it used to be.
I would like it to get to a place where
everybody’s making a fair wage and people
aren’t getting arrested and murdered.”
Porn & Male Lust
According to Amanda Marcotte, porn is a business devoted to the expression of male hatred of women.
She uses the recent release of a book about the history of 20th century adult magazines, Dirty! Dirty! Dirty!: Of Playboys, Pigs, and Penthouse Paupers — an American Tale of Sex and Wonder by Mike Edison, as her launching pad.
Marcotte unleashes an indictment of male pornographers and the porn they make, deeming pornographic representations of male sexuality an abomination and the business that manufactures them a factory of male-on-female loathing.
In a word, Marcotte claims, porn is misogynist. But is it?
I’ve been writing about the adult movie industry for 5 decades. Unlike Marcotte, I’ve investigated the business. I’ve talked to pornographers and performers and spent time in so-called Porn Valley.
Here’s the truth about porn: It’s an expression of male desire. Watch a porn movie, and you’re seeing male fantasies projected onto a screen, a facsimile or simulacrum of real fantasies that exist in real minds in real men.
Unfortunately for Marcotte, she cannot control those desires and they are not always politically correct. What men want — in their dreams, in their masturbatory reveries, in their sex lives — doesn’t adhere to what’s right and what’s wrong, what’s sexist and what isn’t, what’s OK with Marcotte and her feminist sisterhood and what the truth is that a man thinks about when it comes to sex.
Porn is a business like any other in that it obeys simple rules of supply and demand. As a pornographer once told me, “If people didn’t want it, it wouldn’t be made.”
Men are the primary consumers of pornography — not feminist bloggers — and, as such, the porn industry has no interest in sating the desires of anyone other than the men who consume its product.
Marcotte deems pornographers misogynist, as well, announcing — based on what, I’m not sure, maybe some googling? — that men who make porn — her dreaded enemy: the pornographer — hate women, too.
I’m going to go out on a limb and guess I know more pornographers than Marcotte, more men who work in porn, and more men who are paid to get it up on camera.
If Marcotte is interested, or, unlikely as it may be, open-minded enough to learn something, she may be surprised to know that men who work in porn do not hate women. They have complicated relationships with women.
Their relationships to women are as complex as that of their consumers: Women are something that is desired but in some way never had. So, they make movies in which, for once, the guy always gets the girl. That’s their happy ending.
The porn industry isn’t misogynist. It’s human. Misogyny is Marcotte’s problem, not porn’s.
We Came from
The Work of Art in the Age of Digital Reproduction
When a painting of a woman’s sexual parts appeared on the walls
of the Musee d’Orsay in Paris it inevitably caused a sensation.
The Origin of the World by Gustave Courbet depicts the torso of
a reclining female nude, with her legs parted.
A recent donation, the painting is now on permanent display in
the museum. While the more liberal newspapers welcomed its
appearance, others asked whether this 19th century centrefold
had a place in a national museum.
Originally commissioned in 1866 by a Turkish diplomat and
known lover of the erotic, it has remained in private
collections until now.
Last year it briefly featured on the cover of a novel
in France but had to be withdrawn on the grounds of
Despite such provenance, the painting doesn’t seem
pornographic. The body lies on a clinical white sheet,
buttocks clumsily folded underneath.
This is hardly titillating or even sensual. Rather,
the model looks as if she’s waiting for her