I don’t understand the Feminist Anti-Porn Point Of View

I grew up in the 1970s and even as a child I rejected so much of what my mum told me (and still tells me)

  • women can’t do these jobs
  • women need a husband to be the main bread winner
  • and to keep a husband you will have to cook, launder and iron his clothes
  • etc, etc… old fashioned, outdated view of gender roles…

Obviously I mean cook for him, not cook his clothes!

I am pleased to say great battles for equality were taking place and the principles of equality and equal pay were won.  The garden isn’t all rosy now but things have certainly changed.

I called myself a feminist way back but when it came to porn I found myself in a difficult place.

I loved sex and porn.  Not all porn. But the porn that I like, the stuff that turns me on.  And there was a lot NOT to like.

The earliest porn that turned me on, were stories in something like Forum Magazine (perhaps it was Forum Magazine), some of the stories in the “Top Shelf” Men’s Mags and just occasionally some of the pictures too.

But most of the stuff from back then did not have that effect – it was not supposed to, it was made for men, not me. And it made me feel uncomfortable because it  was made by men who were the same generation as my mum.  Those same sexist views, stereotypes and sexism were part of the content.

But remember, sexism wasn’t just in porn, it was part of all of the content around us.  It was how we were brought up by our mothers, it was reflected in TV programmes, toys, schools, it was simply the society we lived in.  I think porn was just reflecting  society.

In my life I noticed the biggest shift in society in the 1990’s.  I can’t help thinking shoulder pads were very big in 1990 and had gone by 1999, I never would have predicted that.

Today, of course, there is so much sexually stimulating material made for women.  Call it erotica if you like.

  • Erotica is what we like and porn is what we don’t like. No that’s not the definition.

Many people who comment negatively describe porn as all one thing but now there are so many types to chose from with amateur made porn being very popular – real people making available their home-made sex films containing real orgasms/ photos/ stories.

Downloading erotic stories to my e-reader:  If it is intended to get you going and it is a story (no pictures) it is still porn, i.e. material intended for that purpose.

As a feminist AND someone who did a degree in sociology in the 1980s I have real a lot of feminists putting the case for anti-porn and I don’t understand it.

For a time in the 1980s I wasn’t sure where I stood.  It just seemed wrong to like porn and it was largely taboo to admit it.

Why did it seem wrong? perhaps because of context: made for a male audience within an old-fashioned sexist society. And perhaps I was also shackled by old-fashioned views of women and sexuality.

What has changed?

Here in the UK sexism still permeates society but things are much improved and when it comes to sexuality there is much more enlightenment.  Things aren’t perfect but they are nothing like how they were 40 years ago.

Today I can understand why some people object to certain types of erotic material, there is an argument for getting rid of page 3 or removing “Lads Mags” from supermarkets – I’m not saying I agree, but I am saying I can understand there is a good case there.

But

I don’t understand the feminist total anti-porn stance in this century.  Do those women have sex?

A couple of more detailed articles on the subject are here:

Stuart of Scotish Socialist Youth: http://ssy.org.uk/2011/04/feminism-pornography-and-the-fight-against-patriarchy/

Despite giving the definition that includes the written word, anything designed to turn you on, this article seems to focus on the stuff which involves real actors or models.  And it is this type of erotic material refered to in the comments that follow.  A good introduction to the subject.

and

Christine Blackthorne

http://christineblackthorn.eu/erotica-and-feminism-i-sexual-revolution-of-the-female-kind-2

for a very different point of view.

 

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