DISCUSSION: “Screwing the Patriarchy” by Caroline Blanton and “Making Sense of Modern Pornography” by

Can porn be feminist? Why or why not?

7 thoughts on “DISCUSSION: “Screwing the Patriarchy” by Caroline Blanton and “Making Sense of Modern Pornography” by

  1. I personally don’t think there’s anything morally wrong with watching other people have sex, so long as the people involved are clearly comfortable, treated fairly and having fun. My issue with a lot of mainstream porn, however, is that it doesn’t come under these categories, as Katrina Forrester also notes in “Making Sense of Modern Pornography”. And this is I think, where a lot of people take issue with porn. A lot of it is very… conservative, for lack of a better descriptor. It looks and feels weird and calculated, not to mention quite uncomfortable (I mean, so much porn is of cisgender heterosexual men JUST penetrating cisgender heterosexual women (unless of course, a lesbian fetish comes into play). No foreplay. No fun, sweet dialogue. Nothing but raw intercourse.)

    And then another can of worms is opened when it comes to how a lot of porn actors are treated in the industry. A lot of the stuff people find nowadays is very amateurishly produced. There aren’t enough regulations on whether the performers are practicing safe sex, or whether the performers have been screened for STDs. Furthermore, there’s a lot of fishy issues with consent within the industry – particularly towards female porn stars.

    So, yeah, there are a lot of issues with mainstream porn in general. Even with porn companies that don’t do these terrible things, I’m still reluctant to use the label ‘feminist’ for them, because being ‘feminist’ would mean that it was actively empowering women – and there’s still plenty of discourse within feminist communities about whether alternative porn can or can’t ever do that.

    I don’t think that people who currently work within the industry should be shamed for being in the industry though. Rather, I think any porn production’s diversity of genders and sexualities, productions standards and treatment of workers should improve. If the workers are treated better, and everyone clearly enjoys and consents to the acts they perform (or are performed on them), then I think the porn industry as a whole could improve attitudes towards sex in general.

  2. After reading the two Articles “Screwing the Patriarchy” and “Making Sense of Modern Pornography” I believe that porn can be feminist. As Forrester discusses the pro-sex feminist argument that “women should be able to use, and make, porn” (5). It seems to me that to say that porn is inherently anti-feminist is to suggest that women should not and cannot enjoy sex. Forrester argues that feminist porn is a real possibility, but that the industry needs to adjust the way that they portray women in sex. Rather than depicting sex and violent and controlled by the man as the industry currently does, it ought to show sex that is consensual in all aspects and in which both parties involved feel pleasure – this would be considered “feminist porn.”

    From this article, it seems that Sasha Grey embodies this idea of feminist porn. As a porn star, Grey says that she “[wants] to tell young women that sex is O.K. It’s O.K. to be a slut. You don’t have to be ashamed” (6). The goal of feminist porn is similar: to spread a message that it is okay – in fact it is normal – for girls and women to enjoy sex. Though this issue is no doubt a complicated one, I believe that it is possible for porn to be feminist.

  3. After reading these two articles, I have hope that porn can be feminist, but at this moment I think modern day porn perpetuates a lot of problems dealing with gender and sexuality.

    Currently, the porn industry turns sex into a commodity that is more about power and profit than pleasure. Because in this industry, sex is turned into a product and perpetuates the objectification of women’s bodies. I don’t think there is anything inherently wrong with porn, but I think there are problems with how it is created and how it is used.

    A lot of times, young boys learn about sex through porn. This is an issue because porn does not depict safe, consensual sex. Although it is not porn’s responsibility to teach its viewers about sex, I think it, unfortunately, contributes to a lot of the widely held misconceptions about sex.

  4. I fully believe that porn can and should be feminist. To say that porn cannot be feminist is to say that sex cannot be feminist. And if that’s true, I cry for over half the population that will apparently never experience good, respectful sex. The concept brought up in the Observer piece that porn inherently objectifies women is pretty closed minded, in my opinion. I see no reason why porn cannot value both of the actors equally or expand to show a wider range of partnerships on screen. Saying that we need to abolish porn all together says that there is no hope anywhere in society for women to gain equality in sex. Throwing up your hands in defeat is not going to move us towards equality, but allow the idea that women are there to serve men persist. Subverting this narrative and providing an ulterior, feminist option is the only way to actually make progress.

    While most of the porn readily available on websites like Pornhub is male centered and sexist, I believe there is a huge demand (largely from adult women) for porn that focuses on a woman’s pleasure instead of a man’s. Many people falsely hold that women don’t watch or can’t enjoy watching porn, but I find that to be totally wrong, if based on nothing else than conversations I’ve had with many women in my life. I think that these women are a powerful demographic that could really be utilized to change the industries if a few providers would take a little leap of faith. If feminist porn becomes available–that is, porn that focuses equally on male and female pleasure and abandons the “punish fuck” narrative–many women will eagerly switch to watching that over what they’re been settling for, and that sort of porn will become the new mainstream.

  5. I feel like porn can achieve what was being described in the articles, but I’m still a little bit fuzzy on how they tied it together with feminism. To me these two concepts seem a little bit separate. How I see the article, they are describing a porn that displays equality for all genders. Currently, there is quite a lot of porn that does already represent this idea but isn’t necessarily categorized as feminist porn. This porn is the kind that requires the actors to be of legal age, to concept, ones that focus on the emotional developement of the stars and their relationship with each other that is balanced and equal and also showcases genuine arousal and orgasm, for the most part. This is especially clear im amateur porn as opposed to directed and more mainstream porn.

    However, the one aspect of porn that was described that ties it with feminism is the part about degrading women and there being a power dynamic that is borderline representative of rape. To me, this seems like this cannot be achievable successfully because often times, this is what people come to porn to see and get off to. This “feminist” porn, although it can be achieved, may never obtain the audience that this “non-feminist” porn achieves because it is that rough and crude porn that displays the aggressive that mirrors rape that often times is what people are turned on by. It is the harsh reality of this situation that makes this situation tough. People are into this kind of stuff that is marketted in current porn and wouldn’t stray far from it in order to achieve a more just system and a more just porn industry.

  6. I truly believe that porn can and actually should be feminist. As we know for almost all of time, porn has taken the role of exemplifying men as the power rulers over women in the industry. The industry has almost demystified the idea of a women being able to express and appreciate their sexuality comfortably. The idea that a woman can be the more powerful one in the scenario has almost become oblique. Now a days, unfortunately, our sex world and our concept of sex has been influenced by the porn online. For many boys, that’s all they know of. So whatever bad signals and acts are perpetrated online can take tremendous effect in real life since we are influenced by lots of online content. Whether we know if it’s wrong or right, the pornography industry has constructed the idea of what sex is. Sexual violence and pornography have had a noticeable link. To say that we shouldn’t have feminist porn or that feminist porn isn’t possible is absolutely insane. Yes, the idea that a women can the controller in her sexuality can be frightening and alarming to the anti-feminist world, but in reality that is what is needed in order to break the stereotypical and influential content that is on porn sites. If we have created a male dominating industry why shouldn’t we be able to create a female dominating one too?

  7. I do believe that porn can be feminist. I think by arguing that it cannot be, you are almost arguing that sex cannot be feminist, which is simply not true. However, I think much of porn today is anti-feminist. Women are constantly portrayed as submissive and are constantly being objectified by producers and male porn actors. The role-playing mentioned in the article such as the “candy shop” or “school girl” are portrayals of women as less powerful and submissive characters to a more sophisticated man.

    The fact that women are paid more based on “how far” they go is deeply upsetting. This exemplifies the fact that porn is anti-feminist because men do not have incremental payment based on “how much” they do. This makes it seem like women are having something done to them, which is unacceptable.

    The way that pornography is progressing is very concerning. It seems like the industry is becoming less and less restricted/ regulated. Most women working as porn stars are also “sex workers” on the side, and their careers do not last long at all. The less regulated the industry is, the more problems there will be with the health and overall treatment of actresses.

    In conclusion, I do believe that porn has the potential to be feminist, however, we are not there yet. Our society needs to do much more than ensure that the sex in porn is consensual. We need to ensure that it is also safe and equal between the partners. This will contribute to healthier gender norms in society as a whole.

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