I’m a feminist but I’m also pro porn

Being feminist, to me, seems like a no brainer.

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By DeMorris Byrd on Unsplash

Feminism is wanting equality for women. It’s a simple concept — it simply means in all aspects of life, women are treated with the same dignity, criticism, and respect as men. There are subcategories to this but that’s a broad umbrella definition of what it means to be feminist.

So how does writing about sex and porn fall into it? The porn industry is toxic. There’s no way around that — there are too many holes in the system to say that as an overall industry it’s doing good.

Mia Khalifa recently spoke about her experience on twitter.

She talks about how she had the agency to start but quickly left because it was more damaging than rewarding.

That’s not surprising given the history of porn. It’s highly exploitative and more often than not, it exists to create a very specific image of women. Also, most of the porn is just highly unrealistic.

It’s never as good as you think it is — the money made in the game isn’t nearly as much as people think it is. And at the end of the day it’s hard to find other work once everyone has seen you naked.

In today’s climate, porn is presented in a very different light than it was before. Gone are the days of the label-less tapes and in are the alphabetic records of your porn collection. Social media has come a long way in making porn “normal” and “fun.” Pornhub is one of the funniest and on point Twitter accounts in the social media world.

But being funny doesn’t mean you’re okay. Pornhub is known for destroying the porn industry — what used to be a small world is now an industry booming with actors and actresses consistently stolen from and used for profit by third parties. Studios take all the money and lend it to who they want — which means the stars can become highly popular and barely make any money. The movies stay forever and they’ll keep getting views but the stars get their one time paycheck.

There are too many people who get into porn through desperation and or manipulation and the results are catastrophic. Porn builds expectations for sex lives, self worth, and the role of people in the world. This point, for some, seems ridiculous because how can porn dictate your way in the world? This isn’t some bible that everyone adheres to you. And you’re right, it’s not, but it does provide countless people expectations on what is okay and isn’t okay in terms of sexual expression. And for a society that is just learning to accept sexual expression that can be a dangerous thing.

So how does this relate to feminism

Let me start off by saying there are only certain aspects of porn I respect. Most of it can die in a fire. What I like about porn is the agency it can provide. The act of commercializing and commodifying a woman’s body occurs outside of porn everyday. Porn allows a woman to take advantage and use that same energy for her own use — she can take back the position society has placed on her and gain from it. Sex work is work and when it is done properly it benefits those that engage in it.

What we need from porn is a systematic change. Unlike the big companies, porn can be a place for women to celebrate their choices in engaging with their bodies to produce the results they want on their own terms.

There’s Still a Long Way to Go

In terms of making porn and sex work safe. I support porn and sex work for what it can be rather than what it is. I support the women who have chosen to do things on their own terms and hope that they can do so without discrimination. Sex work is systematically challenged at all ends. For many, it is seen as degrading but there’s no real argument that can explain why it is degrading other than society’s prejudices against sinful sex.

The idea that porn is only a result of manipulation is a self fulfilling prophecy. The more society wishes to hide and cover up sex work, the more radical and demeaning the rules and regulations become. If sex work is seen as something to be hidden then the laws that surround it will make it more difficult for workers to live freely.

Sites that begin as platforms for sex workers are easily places that being hostile for the same groups of people who grow on them. Patreon was a place for many sex workers to create patronage on their own terms — a set of user wipes and regulations has greatly diminished the number of users. Tumblr was long known for growing groups for minority sex workers to connect and thrive — the subsequent porn ban meant many had to move elsewhere.

There’s too much of a stigma to porn. And a lot of it is a result of people being unable to separate their misguided ideas of what porn is. Tumblr’s ban was a result of a neglect to control it’s vapid child pornography userbase. If that had been taken care of early on the result wouldn’t have been a sitewide ban on all things “inappropriate.”

I think it’s feminist to be pro-porn

because allowing the freedom to do what you want with your body and life is feminist. Agency should never be stripped from anyone. Allowing a safe place for people to work and live can be done, it’s all still a work in progress.

Writer, artist, book lover. Shakespeare said “look like the innocent flower but be the serpent under it.” Someone help me be the flower.

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