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wombat
Oh, dear. (genuine distress, not sarcasm)

I admire you, girl trouble, I think you are a brave, smart, talented, loving, tough, strong, sexy, beautiful person. You have made your own life, with great work and courage. The last thing I want to do is sound like or be like your mother.

My own female relatives were more traditionally subservient, and they ended up being very unhappy in their lives.

I don't put you -- or for the record, tes or any other women in bustboardland! -- into that category.

I was feeling very bummed about posting that because I don't want people to think that I hate kitties, puppies, knititng, cooking, or people who like them. I just mean, I have known some women who think they should be limited to a certain kind of life and I fear becoming one of them. I got so much example and scripture that way, ya know? I am between jobs now and I am trying to gear up for something new and learn a lot of new stuff. "Be all technical and go out there and do great art and knock'em on their ass" was not something my mom was about. That's in the past, but it's hard to not fall back into the influence when under stress.

My mom would sit and read magazines and watch TV and smoke cigarettes and clean house when stressed, I need to say "stick to that computer screen and get that stuff out there!" That's my battle. Doesn't have to be yours.

***

When i make a general social statement I do not mean that I am trying to get everyone to live "my" way.

I feel that there is more to our individual stories than just our individual stories, and I wish people would get together, stop blaming themselves and stop fighting others for the crumbs, and realize that if it weren't for Reagan and Bush and certain think tanks *deciding* to take money away from social programs, that there would be just as much money and progress possible now as there was in the 60s and 70s. Now, instead, things are going backwards. I know I'm not telling you anything you don't know, girltrouble!!

A lot of other people on here know it too!

I also -- grad students definitely can be great, it's cool for medicine, law, engineering, and even to keep the great books alive, but the thing is that they are trained to be critics and authorities and to be very competitive. Those might be necessary skills/attitudes/qualities to adapt to that environment and perhaps to go through and later take on a valued social role as an adult, but lately there is a tendency to say that graduate students should be in charge of the popular culture and creativity, and much much much of those judging criticizing validating invalidating behaviors are destructive to culture and creativity.

***

I appreciate you for continuing to engage, because sometimes -- most of the time, I hate to argue. then, I hate myself for not arguing. *sigh!*

You are a gutsy person and I believe you when you say you have respect and safety and positive direction in your world.

***

chronic back pain. My mom was a housewife, and she had it. They linked it to depression, then went off the deep end and said it was ONLY depression. Now, they have found a way to image nerve firings, and they can tell when a very specific part of the brain is not working correctly and causing pain! They used to say, well, it's not showing up on the X-Ray, so we don't know what you have!

Probably the whole 'You're in pain because you're depressed" thing is assbackwards any way, the way they so often put the cart before the horse - more likely being in pain would depress you, eh?

Same with alcoholism. People in subjugated social groups have a higher rate of alcoholism. They are despairing at losing ability to get things and to control their lives. Racist people (including anti-irish back in the day) would say, naturally they are poor because they are alcoholics. But no, they are alcoholics because they are poor, because they have been driven from their land.

****

I really appreciate this entire discussion and everyone in it.

I have really frightened myself with some of the things I have posted on the bust boards and I bet you have too.

Bust boards rule.

((girltrouble, erinjane, maddy29, tommy_nomad and MEEEEEE))
girltrouble
girl bomb---! good and good question. is it your right to protest it as a feminist? absolutely, i think it is absolutely your right to point out what you see as something that harms women in the larger sense, but that doesn't to my mind mean that it is ok to call names, harrass or demean women who make choices you don't care for. but i think you would be better served by not just saying that porn doesn't work for women, but creating an alternative of a porn that is healthy. i don't say that meaning make porn that is classic "women's porn" but of something that takes those messages in "average" and standing them on their head. a porn that doesn't simply look at porn in a simplistic bad or good binary, but one that takes into account the complexities of power. a good eg. of this is giving head. there was a point at which that was automatically assumed to be a submissive act, but today it can also be seen as a position of power. it's that deeper look at the workings of power that can give us a different porn.


wombat. i know you are afraid of turning into your mom, --but chica-- you could never be her. you my not be able to see it yet, but i think you chased those ghosts away a long time ago. if your posts are any judge, you are too willing to fight, and unwilling to lay down for anything you don't believe in. for years i felt the same way about my dad (now there is a weird statement), but his rigidness, his closed-mindedness, his inability to listen, and his being a know-it-all were traits i thought could feel in my dna. and i fought it hard, until i realized i had worked so hard to get away from that, to go down that road was the antithesis of who i was, and everything i believed in. just being me kept me from growing into that. and i would bet my life the same is true for you. you could never be that. you know better. and mama, i adore you! you rawk!
tommynomad
QUOTE(girltrouble @ Dec 27 2006, 03:27 AM) *

personally, i find academics talking about sex work as revolting as you. but then again, i bristle at anyone who hasn't done it talking about it as if they were an authority, just as offensive.


That's a tough position to take, girltrouble. Does that mean you should have no say in politics, if you won't run for office yourself? What about school: should parents who are not teachers not have a say in their child's education? I question my doctors all the time--should I bite my tongue because I haven't been to medical school? I hope I didn't come off as "an authority." I have a decade or so of research into sex, porn, and feminism behind me, but in the end, all I have is my experiences, whether first- or second-hand. I think that's all anyone has, and no one's invalidates anyone else's, because it is all subjective.

QUOTE(girltrouble @ Dec 27 2006, 03:27 AM) *

because i am a stripper, a hooker, a phone sex operator, or in someway make money from a bodily function, doesn't mean i've been lobotimized. it doesn't mean i cannot stand up for myself in a relationship, or that i must fold to the will of every man that crosses my path. and if anything, i think it's simplistic, and belittles women, and our intelegence.

Brill. Simply brill.


QUOTE(wombat @ Dec 27 2006, 06:27 PM) *

I don't like a social movement that promotes sex work as a tactic to make conditions better for sex workers. Is there nothing else for people to do? So many skilled and renumerative jobs have been denied us. Be the ruling class or be a servant? server? servicer?

I don't want to serve anyone. I want to be paid for skills that have nothing to do with being a domestic or sexual servant.

Bob Dylan said: "you gotta serve somebody," and I think that cuts to what I was trying to say earlier: under capitalism, we all sell ourselves in some way. Are some ways inherently more demeaning than others? I don't think so. I think what makes sex work demeaning for some people are the circumstances that get one there. But factory work, or drug dealing, or offuce work can all be just as awful if its desperation driving the person to do something that goes against who they are. I know quite a few people who do sex work because they like it. I am not so naive to think that all people do it for that reason, but not all grannies want to build warheads (see: Why We Fight), either.

I live in a society right now where young women rather routinely (even I am shocked, and not much shocks me) trade sex or sex(ish) acts for cash, and do so very cavalierly. I've seen a woman take her bra and panties off in a Starbucks (on video) so she could buy a Prada bag. If I asked her or her similarly mercenary sisters if they felt their personal worth was lessened by such transactions, they'd laugh in my face. It's just business to them.

QUOTE(girlbomb @ Dec 28 2006, 09:04 PM) *

I think the question here, however, is, "What if those choices are great for the individual woman, but the repercussions of the individual woman's choices are not so great for other women?"

Aye, there it is: the personal is political. But where do we draw that line? Do I eat at McDonald's? No way. Do I encourage my friends to do the same, and tell them why? Of course. Do I bomb franchises or harass those coming out the doors reeking of special sauce? Nuh-uh. That's their choice, and as much I think they're selfish, earth-hating, corporate sycophant assholes, I think confronting them would make me more of an asshole than they are.

QUOTE(girlbomb @ Dec 28 2006, 09:04 PM) *

It seems to me that a lot of porn has repercussions that are not so great for other women (and for the poster who said below that most mainstream porn isn't violent, I disagree -- most of what I've seen shows absolutely no anatomical understanding of women's pleasure

Maybe I have to accept that the porn I watch just isn't as mainstream as I'd thought. I mean, I also enjoy literary, audio, and other forms, but video seems to be what most are taking about here. Sure, the sex is often cartoonish. Sure, the bodies tend to the unnatural. But most of the time, the female-to-male orgasm ratio is 4:1 or 5:1 or more. Most of the time, it is the woman's face the viewer sees: the men are faceless (and largely bodiless) cocks.

QUOTE(girlbomb @ Dec 28 2006, 09:04 PM) *

So how do I express that to a young woman who's in the porn business? I don't want to condescend to her, and say, "Your choice is hurting you," since she's the only one who can really make that call. But what if I think her choice is feeding into a hurtful system of misogyny and oppression?

It's hard for me to keep my mouth shut when I see something that seems unneccessarily politically fucked up, like it's hard when I see people bragging about their fur coats. And I think most porn is fucked up. What if it's "my choice" to advocate against it? Isn't it anti-feminist to tell me not to?

But there's SOOO much out there that is part of that oppressive, misogynistic, exploitative system. What pisses me off is that so much of the vitriol gets aimed at the sexual realm. In the end, the efforts of some feminists to limit choices in that area get used by their neocon-in-arms sisters to limit access to sex ed, and abortion information, and sexual counselling, and gay literature, etc.

Modelling is one example of an industry with at least as much endemic miosogyny as sex work--how much do we as femisits work to bring down madison avenue? We don't.

We fucking celebrate Sex and the City for it's sassy, independent characters and ignore the lead character's conception that $800 for a pair of slingbacks with someone's name on them are ok.

TV, music, government, the financial sector, natural resource extraction, and the law are all examples of sectors where inequality and abuse and misogyny persist. How much feminist railing against those has anyone heard lately?

Hugs right back atcha, wombat and the other BUSTies!
girlbomb
QUOTE(girltrouble @ Dec 29 2006, 01:39 AM) *
i think it is absolutely your right to point out what you see as something that harms women in the larger sense, but that doesn't to my mind mean that it is ok to call names, harrass or demean women who make choices you don't care for.


There's no way I would harass, name-call, or demean any of my friends in the sex industry, nor any of the young women with whom I've volunteered at the homeless shelter where I used to live. Who I WILL harass, name-call, and demean are the people who lie to those women, entrap them, coerce them, and make profits off them. (I recognize that not all women in the sex industry are lied to, entrapped, etc., but many are -- especially in porn, you hear about girls who arrive on the set prepared to do one thing and are then pressured to do much more. Like double penetration. In the same orifice. Ouch.) In any case, the last thing I'm interested in is providing an alternative to porn or sex work that includes more porn or sex work. The first thing I'm interested in decrying systems that are harmful to individual women, and to women as a class.

And tommynomad, I think that "showing a female orgasm" is only woman-positive when the woman might actually be having an orgasm from the acts portrayed. A wincing, whining woman pretending to have an orgasm from an obviously physically painful act (outside the rubric of BDSM) is even more backwards than showing no orgasm at all. "Oh baby, I'm coming," does not an orgasm make, but that's what a lot of porn-loving guys might think, because that's what they see. Repeatedly.

I do plenty of advocating against sexism in all arenas -- the fashion industry, academia, politics, and etc. But I'm not going to shut my mouth about one of the most virulent and obvious manifestations of society's endemic hatred of women -- mainstream porn, and much of the sex industry.
girltrouble
tommyn: office holders and teachers are both jobs that are, at their core jobs that are done for the public benifit, and so they don't require me to run for office or teach to say this person is good or not. but i take your point. my problem is people tend to take these things they think they know, and univeralize them. when the on the ground reality is much different.

girlbomb: i absolutely agree people who lie, entrap, etc. in porn, sex work or even non-sex work should be harrassed, arrested or whatever means are available.

i can understand that you might not want to have anything to do with creating porn, but the point i was trying to make is that to simply say that there should not be any (porn) without alternative is censorship. now i know that is a simplification of what you were saying, but i don't think porn is ipso facto automatically sexist, misogynistic, or violent or bad. litterally or semioticly. i am not a fan of porn that is, but if that is the case, should we not support, build and encourage porn that is pro-human? pro feminist? pro-equality?
i have posted in other threads my pov on this, which is grounded in my experience as a transexual. the world had a much different attitude and understanding of people like me then. people like me-- and most in the queer community were expected to be in the closet, and sexuality was taboo. having been in a world where sexuality was not discussed in a real way, shown in a real way (not that porn is always that) i think our life would be much worse. think about children without a sex ed class being told the simplistic mantra of "absinance". from there you get crazy ideas like using coke as a contraception. i really do think we are better off being open about sexuality instead of hiding it.

and as for keeping your mouth shut about anything, chica, far be it from me to do that. lol. i'm one of those, "disagree-with-you, but-defend-to-death-your-right-to-say-it" type folks. and that's the thing, i am just as serious about decrying injustice, i just can't abide censorship either.
girlbomb
Oh, I didn't think you were telling me to keep my mouth shut, girltrouble. I just get all het up arguing with the demons in my head -- id est, reliving old arguments I've had about porn, where every negative comment I make about porn equals me slagging sex workers. I very much appreciate everything you've said here, and I especially appreciate that you're able to tell the difference between disliking most mainstream porn and disliking most women in the industry, where other "sex-positive" feminists (because I am so obviously "sex-negative," and I hate doing teh sex or knowing that other people do it!) don't make any distinction between hating what I perceive to be vile misogyny and hating on women.

Still, I don't agree that the way to combat "bad porn" is to make "good porn." I'm all about sexual honesty and the graphic representation of sexuality -- I've had more than one piece of work rejected from Major Media Outlets for being "too explicit."* But I don't think porn is the only alternative to censorship. And frankly, I don't think the consumers of most yucky porn would be interested in what I have to sell them in terms of what I find sexy, which is something I mostly choose to keep private.

[Except for this: Yul Kwon, the guy who won Survivor this season, is ungodly, unfairly, unbelievably sexy. And watching him negotiate calmly and rationally with respect for his tribemates all season, WHILE SHIRTLESS, was better than porn to me.]

I think part of the problem is that I'm able to see what search strings lead people to my blog, which is a very explicit blog (though not very sexy). And soooo many people are looking for stuff like "rape fuck," "thirteen year old blow job," and my very favorite, "my daughter fucking a niger" (which is what I get for writing about "fucking," "daughters" and the food crisis in Nigeria). I have a hard time believing that it's women looking for this hateful, hateful stuff, and I have a hard time with any system that supports or endorses those appetites. I know that mainstream porn doesn't deal with underage sex or incest, and yet the "barely legal" kink is totally mainstream, as is the "I had sex with twins" trope. So the line gets pretty fine, in my opinion, and that fine line wavers, and the whole thing makes me want to go...look at a picture of Yul Kwon, shirtless, until I feel better about life in general.

(* Okay, I'm totally bragging here.)
girltrouble
lol... i know what you mean. i used to have a very explicit blog about escorting. i wasn't writing it as erotica, but rather as a release. but the searches that would bring them to my blog were none too trans-positive, but i figure it serves them right to find out what the t-girl they just paid was thinking about them....hmmm..."note to self: offer clients breathmints. lots of breathmints. lots and lots of breathmints."
wombat
Thank you, girltrouble. You rawk, too.

Sometimes I think experience of the world is not welcome on the bust boards.. A lot of the time, actually. sad.gif

Nope, I'm not digging the Bob Dylan quote, tommy_nomad.

We are not "all servants to the rich if we would only admit it"

Hate that line of thinking. People want to justify their own privlege in the system, so they say, "everybody is serving the rich! I'm just luckier to work in "the big house!".

Nah.
tommynomad
I 've been through this very carefully and can't figure out why the tags don't work. *le sigh* maybe they will when the final post gets made. Just in case they don't, I'll 'tag' my portion with **, for ease of reading. Sorry!

QUOTE(girlbomb @ Dec 29 2006, 01:24 PM) *

And tommynomad, I think that "showing a female orgasm" is only woman-positive when the woman might actually be having an orgasm from the acts portrayed.

**An important distinction, but exactly why I chose my terms carefully.

QUOTE(girlbomb @ Dec 29 2006, 01:24 PM) *
I do plenty of advocating against sexism in all arenas -- the fashion industry, academia, politics, and etc. But I'm not going to shut my mouth about one of the most virulent and obvious manifestations of society's endemic hatred of women -- mainstream porn, and much of the sex industry.

**What I find unfortunate, Girlbomb, is that you're willing to qualify the one: "much of the sex industry," but not the other "mainstream porn." Why not say "much of mainstream porn," or even better "misogynistic mainstream porn"? I would think it would strengthen everyone's position if people would acknowledge that
1. Sexual art is ok.
2. Sexual art that contains misogynistic messages is representative of the anti-woman bias in our culture and needs to be addressed.
3. The exploitation of people (specifically women) to make sexual art is not ok, and those that do so should be prosecuted.


QUOTE(girltrouble @ Dec 29 2006, 05:06 PM) *

girlbomb: i absolutely agree people who lie, entrap, etc. in porn, sex work or even non-sex work should be harrassed, arrested or whatever means are available.

**Thanks for pointing out that this happens in sex work and other work, and should be dealt with in all arenas.

QUOTE(girltrouble @ Dec 29 2006, 05:06 PM) *

i can understand that you might not want to have anything to do with creating porn, but the point i was trying to make is that to simply say that there should not be any (porn) without alternative is censorship. now i know that is a simplification of what you were saying, but i don't think porn is ipso facto automatically sexist, misogynistic, or violent or bad. litterally or semioticly. i am not a fan of porn that is, but if that is the case, should we not support, build and encourage porn that is pro-human? pro feminist? pro-equality?

**Exactly! And there is lots of it out there.

QUOTE(girltrouble @ Dec 29 2006, 05:06 PM) *
i really do think we are better off being open about sexuality instead of hiding it.

**And since the censorship that is instigated to combat porn is almost always used to attack sex ed, pregnancy counselling, gay literature, etc., it is the greater evil. A society that is open and honest about sexuality will see its sexual problems reduced.

QUOTE(girlbomb @ Dec 29 2006, 09:40 PM) *

Still, I don't agree that the way to combat "bad porn" is to make "good porn." I'm all about sexual honesty and the graphic representation of sexuality

**But "the graphic representation of sexuality" is pornography. The work you had rejected my major media outlets (kudos) make you a producer of good porn: congratulations!

QUOTE(girlbomb @ Dec 29 2006, 09:40 PM) *
And frankly, I don't think the consumers of most yucky porn would be interested in what I have to sell them in terms of what I find sexy

**So what? Fuck 'em. They--and the ones whose horrible search strings you see--are not the ones you're interested in provoking with your art, anyway, right? So damn them and make all the good porn you like for the people who will like it.

**Lots of feminists are opposed to porn and sex work because the porn and sex work to which they've been exposed is yucky and exploitative and evil. But instead of fighting that stuff, they put it all in one category and go after all of it. Lots of people who might not call themselves feminists sympathise, because they think it's yucky, too. Soon, lots of people are screaming "porn is yucky," and we have ourselves a climate of two negatives, of confrontation, with censorship looming. The alternative is for the first group to pointedly attack the exploitation within some porn and sex work, while encouraging positive manifestations of both to flourish. Soon, the aforementioned sympathisers see the positivity in the new art/work, and start asking for it--I don't know a lot of people who don't like sex, do you?. They start spreading the "good" porn around, start asking their representatives to support safe, healthful sex work with legislation. Maybe eventually, the vermin who seek out hateful porn are left with fewer choices in a broader marketplace, or better yet, are marginalised the same way smokers and white supremacists are today.

QUOTE(wombat @ Dec 30 2006, 07:12 PM) *

Nope, I'm not digging the Bob Dylan quote, tommy_nomad.

We are not "all servants to the rich if we would only admit it"

**All evidence to the contrary.
Sorry wombat, that was cynical and unrepresentative of my true feelings. I didn't say "the rich," nor did I use the quotation to suggest people are seeking justification for their priviledge at the expense of others. The fact is, capitalism is exploitative, and if you live in it, you have to sell part of yourself to someone to survive. If you do this willingly, I say go ahead and sell any part of yourself you like: the most fundamental liberty starts at your own body. I believe government and community have a responsibiity to speak out (and impose safeguards) to ensure people do not have to sell any aspect of themselves, in any labour capacity, out of desperation.

girltrouble
i guess i just don't want to throw away the baby with the bathwater. that just seems like ceeding too much ground. i'd rather figure out a explicity feminist porn. and i don't think the 'romance' flowers n' candles version is very feminist. it smacks too much of that cinderella complex, fairy tale kinda thing. i want something more real. and --i'm just a sucker for semiotics-- i am always interested in the messages beneath visual messages. and i love the idea of subversive porn. for instance, if the "moneyshot" is the point, or the "climax" of heterosexist film, privileging the man's orgasm over the womans, then why not porn that is about denial-- which would subvert the man's orgasm to something explicitly under control and perview of the woman. even more so in a scene where there is no "moneyshot."

perhaps it's the domina in me, but i've always loved denial. to me it always seemed an utterly feminist idea. as does much femme-domme stuff. i would just love to see it in a mainstream porn-pop setting. i'd rather see it without the leather and latex (too cliche'd for my taste anyways), i think it'd be hot not with the woman wearing any sort of "fetish costume" that indicates she is the object of male fantasy/wish fufillment, but rather, street clothes. i can't help it. i want a real feminist porn that celebrates female power.
girlbomb
QUOTE(tommynomad @ Dec 30 2006, 08:31 PM) *
"the graphic representation of sexuality" is pornography.


Nope. The graphic representation of sexuality with the intent to cause sexual arousal is porn. The graphic representation of sexuality with the intent to educate or inform is not. A lot of men (and a lot of legislators, and a lot of editors, apparently) don't seem to get that distinction, but it's an important one.

When girltrouble was writing about her escorting, it was meant to inform people about what sex work was really like (eg, her clients sometimes had bad breath). She wasn't writing about it so that people would take out their dicks (or pussies) and stroke them while reading it -- if they did anyway, well, people will stroke it to just about anything, I've learned. But her intent was not to "write erotica." It was to respresent the truth about sex work. Similarly, when I wrote a sestina about finding my ex's stomach-turning porn, the phrase "her stretched-out asshole" was not meant to get anyone hard or wet. It was meant to express my horror at seeing this obviously miserable girl with two dicks crammed into her butt at once. Exactly the opposite intent of porn, and, I hoped, the opposite effect.

I agree that it's a shame that explicit materials for education or information get lumped in with "yucky porn," and that advocating against one often leads to the regulation of the other. I don't have anything against education, information -- or, for that matter, materials designed to produce sexual arousal. I don't want to throw out any babies with the bathwater either. I just want to call people's attention to how fetid a lot of the bathwater has become, and to provide a voice that advocates against bathing in shit.
wombat
Your talking about denial of sex is an interesting point, girltrouble, and a complicated one. To name just one point, it references the hostility I notice in highly sexual people. As always, provocative, honest, original -- kudos.

tommy_nomad: I'm still not buying the "capitalist society is inherently exploitive of all labor" blah blah. Because, while it seems to be a humanitarian and wise and radical and pro-worker view, it is actually not.

There is a difference between the restricted, unfair, unbalanaced capitalism we see running amok for the last couple of decades. There has been nothing like that since the robber baron era. And I don't give much of a rat's ass for the robber barons' belated charities.

That is not to hate on everyone who makes money or who inherits wealth, however. I may come accross that way, but, no.

The thing is, if you pay for my skills, talents and products I can easily say you are serving ME.

There are farmers and plumbers and auto mechanics and, yes, designers and writers such as myself, who need to be won over and need to be paid, and do things for people that they cannot do for themselves.

Also, tommy_nomad, I am not credulous nor am I ignorant of economic theory and definitions. You said you only made a couple thousand dollars per course as an adjunct professor so you are not wealthy. But wealth is not money a person makes, a salary. Wealth is money a person has without working for it. Family money, a family home to go back to, real estate, assets, and investments.

I highly doubt that you had several jobs at the same time you were going though school. And, no, teaching assistant doesn't make the cut. I would bet anything your family paid for your school, you have a house to go back to if you need to, you will never be on the street, you can dump things there when you travel, etc.

None of that makes you a "bad" person, but it makes your arguments about people's "choices" in a captialist society have less validity when you are talking to three people here who are the proverbial two paychecks away from poverty.
erinjane
QUOTE(wombat @ Dec 31 2006, 12:16 PM) *

And, no, teaching assistant doesn't make the cut.


I was just curious as to why you said this. I know a few people who work as TA's at my university and it is not an easy job. They have a lot of marking and a lot of meetings with prof's to work around their own class schedules. It's a paying job that you have to be out of the house to do, so why doesn't it 'cut it'?
girlbomb
QUOTE(erinjane @ Dec 31 2006, 02:05 PM) *

I was just curious as to why you said this.


Yeah. And I'm curious as to what the fuck-all making personal speculations about another poster's financial history has to do with sex work, feminism, or porn.

It's pretty goddamn tiresome.
tommynomad
QUOTE(girlbomb @ Dec 31 2006, 01:38 PM) *

Nope. The graphic representation of sexuality with the intent to cause sexual arousal is porn. The graphic representation of sexuality with the intent to educate or inform is not. A lot of men (and a lot of legislators, and a lot of editors, apparently) don't seem to get that distinction, but it's an important one.

A lot of women don't get that distinction, either. But you're absolutely right, and I should have made that point. All that being said, it was a woman who first introduced me to gaping porn (I find it revolting). The act itself, and the depiction of it for titillation purposes, is neither inherently pro- or anti-woman. Context is everything. And that's why I maintain that all efforts ought to be aimed at the reality (working conditions, rate of pay, freedom of labour to work or not work, to move) and not with the fantasy ('yucky' images, representations of taboo/illegal/immoral activities).

QUOTE(wombat @ Dec 31 2006, 06:16 PM) *

tommy_nomad: I'm still not buying the "capitalist society is inherently exploitive of all labor" blah blah. Because, while it seems to be a humanitarian and wise and radical and pro-worker view, it is actually not.

There is a difference between the restricted, unfair, unbalanaced capitalism we see running amok for the last couple of decades.

A difference between that and what? I don't get what you're saying here.
And I made the point that while the system is inherently exploitative, it is the state of desperation in which people take money for services which dictates whether that exploitation is just or unjust. How is that not pro-worker, exactly?

QUOTE(wombat @ Dec 31 2006, 06:16 PM) *

Also, tommy_nomad, I am not credulous nor am I ignorant of economic theory and definitions. You said you only made a couple thousand dollars per course as an adjunct professor so you are not wealthy. But wealth is not money a person makes, a salary. Wealth is money a person has without working for it. Family money, a family home to go back to, real estate, assets, and investments.

I highly doubt that you had several jobs at the same time you were going though school. And, no, teaching assistant doesn't make the cut. I would bet anything your family paid for your school, you have a house to go back to if you need to, you will never be on the street, you can dump things there when you travel, etc.

None of that makes you a "bad" person, but it makes your arguments about people's "choices" in a captialist society have less validity when you are talking to three people here who are the proverbial two paychecks away from poverty.

I never said I was any kind of professor (in fact, I think I specifically said I wasn't one). I never said I make a couple of thousand dollars per course. I respect your arguments and your opinions, wombat, but your propensity for attacking and simultaneously misquoting me leave me less than respectful of your style.
Yet I feel compelled to clarify (Then I agree with girlbomb, that we should get back to the matter at hand: porn and whether some feminists are being cock-blocked by it.): I personally have no family money, no real estate, no assets (beyond a snowboard, a bicycle, and some camping gear) of significant value (all that together is equivalent, no doubt, to anyone's car, iPod, TV, cellphone, etc.), and no investments. I cannot "go back to" my family's home: if I lost this job, I would first have to find six thousand dollars to get back to my parents' suburban bungalow, which is just small enough that there is no bedroom in it for me to sleep in. My educationally strict communist parents forbade me to work while I was in school, except for the twenty hours per week (minimum) of community service volunteer work I was required to put in. I have been "on the street" twice in my life, in 1989 (when I was also penniless and foodless), and again in 2003 when an acquaintance kindly took me in until I got back on my feet. When I travel, I take everything I need with me. Any accumulated possessions I sell if I can, or give away.

As for you and your cries of poverty, let me point out that it is relative poverty. (If you're going to question my "poor cachet" wombat, then I'm going to question yours, even if only to make a point.) If you live in the western world, and have a marketable skillset, and have friends with homes where you can crash, and can even conceive of "a paycheck," then you're just not poor. You have no more validity than I do, talking about poverty in a world where 3 billion people live on two dollars a day, or in many cases a LOT less.

QUOTE(girlbomb @ Dec 31 2006, 08:22 PM) *

Yeah. And I'm curious as to what the fuck-all making personal speculations about another poster's financial history has to do with sex work, feminism, or porn.

It's pretty goddamn tiresome.

Agreed, and I apologise for the above. Nevertheless, I felt it was an accusation (that's twice I've heard accusations of privilege) I had to address, if only to show that our relative wealth--we're using the internet, for chrissake--invalidates all of us from talking about real, endemic, unbreakable, multigenerational poverty.


girltrouble, I don't think feminist porn has to be especially "flowers 'n' candles." Some of my favourite stuff is Anne Rice's Beauty trilogy (speaking of fairy tales), and it's far more BDSM than my own proclivities run. I even had a professor tell me that Rice, and I, couldn't be feminists if we enjoyed "that kind of thing." That to me is the worst mistake. I think the idea that feminist porn has to be somehow softer in content and delivery than non-feminist porn is ludicrous. The roughest sexual treatment I've received was at the hands of a very strong woman. I've seen lots of very hardcore, aggressive, powerful porn created by women and/or with women in positions of power.
wombat
I'm not trying to be "poorer than thou," and I worked hard for many years to have what I have.

Also, I am not part of the "we" that celebrates "Sex in the City." I find them to be narrowminded and unattactive.

I am not rich, at least not as rich as I have been made out to be. I've never owned a car or a home. Under Canadian definitions, I was legally poor from the age of 21-35. I am not a professor (never said I was), I'm an instructor: a sessional. I work for peanuts compared to real professors, have a higher teaching load, and every year, I have to try and earn a new contract or I'm out the door. I'm 38 years old, and in my whole life, I have never had more than 7 thousand (Canadian) dollars to my name, and on the two instances I did (both times living on $20/week so I could save to go travelling), the money was gone six months after I had it.

"Oh, I'm not a PROFESSOR, I'm an INSTRUCTOR"

***You teach in a college.***
You had to go to grad school to do that.
I am not attacking and misquoting.
Stop obfuscating.

If you are not getting about 3 thousand dollars per course you are not getting the going rate. I know many people who have academic careers. You're not a PROFESSOR until you get TENURED so I'm MISQUOTING you and I'm so WRONG.

Get over it. Puh lease. Don't pull that.
girltrouble
ok. truce time, k?

both of you have made your points i think and really, it's getting silly and myopic. even in talking about the sub-subject you were discussing-- "is everyone exploited in a capitolist system." my take on that is, would you do the work you do for free? really free? no? then it's coerced on some level. either because you don't have enough to do it for free, or you don't love it enough to do it for free.

either way, the point of that discussion was if sex work was a choice, or was it out of economic duress. and looking at it under that rather simplistic lens most jobs fall under that rubic, meaning most people's jobs are if not equally, then somewhat out of that same type of duress.


now, can we get back to porn + sex work + feminism please? general terms unless talking about one's self. ok? it's fine to locate yourself in terms of where you are on the privilage scale, but it's not to be ammunition. and i'm talking to myself as well as the other conversants here.

Tommy said:"
woman who first introduced me to gaping porn (I find it revolting). The act itself, and the depiction of it for titillation purposes, is neither inherently pro- or anti-woman. Context is everything. And that's why I maintain that all efforts ought to be aimed at the reality (working conditions, rate of pay, freedom of labour to work or not work, to move) and not with the fantasy ('yucky' images, representations of taboo/illegal/immoral activities)"

i want to agree with you, but the end of your para--" ('yucky' images, representations of taboo/illegal/immoral activities)" are subjective. i know there are things that might be yucky for you, are hot for me. and this is where censorship comes in, and while i doubt anyone here wants censorship, i think we all think there are limits, and for me it's good to go to a bdsm rule: safe sane and concentual. of course this breaks down a little bit with pay, but over all you can do things that are not for everyone's taste, but hopefully the people involved are into it and not just for the paycheck. after all, transgendered people and to a smaller extent queer folk in general are still taboo. but that's my point. it's your taboo. not mine.

i am not sure about what you mean about fantasy. are you talking about behind the scenes? it sounds like you are, and that i agree with you there. all of the working conditions should be open to prevent exploitation, but no fantasy in front of the camera, isn't that one of the things that sets humans apart? what is sex without some fantasy and or imagination?
tommynomad
Sorry, what I meant was the fantasy, the story, the content of the scene, the art should not be censored, even if it represents taboo/illegal/immoral concepts.

For example, incest may be taboo (or illegal) in some places, but that doesn't mean we should censor a movie in which two actors who aren't brother and sister IRL have sex. Not even if they moan "O, it's so hot to be having sex with you, my brother." while they're doing it.
wombat
I loves you, but you are boring the crap out of me.
erinjane
QUOTE(girltrouble @ Jan 1 2007, 11:58 AM) *

i know there are things that might be yucky for you, are hot for me. and this is where censorship comes in, and while i doubt anyone here wants censorship, i think we all think there are limits, and for me it's good to go to a bdsm rule: safe sane and concentual. of course this breaks down a little bit with pay, but over all you can do things that are not for everyone's taste, but hopefully the people involved are into it and not just for the paycheck.


This is a good summary of my take on the issue of porn and sex work.

In other news, I just ordered a copy of "Hot and Bothered: Feminist Pornography". https://www.nationalfilmnetwork.com/store/P...x?ProductID=277

It used to have it's own site but I can't find that anymore. I'm using it as a reference for a paper and just personal interest. I'm curious to see how the director is going go at this subject.
girlbomb
Tommynomad, you note that "context is everything" when it comes to pornography -- we were speaking, specifically, of gaping porn, which you say you find disgusting. I happen to agree that context is crucial, which is why I looked up some gaping porn videos and read the accompanying text on the boxes.

Maybe the act of penetrating someone so drastically that their orifice is distended is, as you say, in and of itself, value-neutral (though I find it hard to call something "value-neutral" when it's so physically extreme as to cause such distention; the same way I find "a-to-m" porn, which involves women sucking dicks that have just been in their asses, to be "value-negative," as it's just about guaranteed to make someone physically sick). But the context in which gaping porn is presented is pretty explicitly angry and violent. "Tear her a new one!" promises one set of videos. "Watch her ruined asshole sputter," promises another. Reminds me of the website, True Porn Clerk Stories, where the countergirl talked about the guys (ALWAYS guys) who rented such videos at her store, as they stood there staring in awe at the packages, which promised, "Gaping Assholes Inside!" And she thought, "Not to mention the gaping asshole staring at the box."
wombat
That was a horrifying post, girlbomb, and, kudos, because sometimes horror is needed.
rantrave88
I'd like to split "porn" up into two categories:

A.) Porn industry = what goes on behind the scenes, the "staging", the hiring or coercion of actors, money made, publicity, etc.

B.) Representation of Porn = more philosophical, and can discussed in relation to other visual media discourses. When we talk about "representation" we are talking about "concepts" and "ideas" conveyed solely by *what we see*.

I believe A.) to be very simple on the "safe & consentual" rule. The economic and social problems of other market industries also apply to the porn industry. Therefore, when we talk about the *making* of feminist porn, we basically grapple with *the discourse of human rights* intervening in an industry. I argue that Making feminist porn is not necessarily mutually exclusive with making porn that adheres to hegemonic "human rights" doctrines--simply due to the nature of an industry.

Category B.) on the other hand is similar to how I view the (frankly, fucking BORING) "problem of the media" in terms of Representation of Women. As Tommy nomad states:

"The act itself, and the depiction of it for titillation purposes, is neither inherently pro- or anti-woman. Context is everything."

True.

Therefore, why is there a crusade to label porn with a "FEMINIST" label?
Why is "Feminism" the end-all to everything Good and Just?

I consider myself to be a feminist, but don't believe in a specific "movement"

Therefore, if porn is cock-blocking feminism, so is all visual media that depicts women in questionable *representational* ways.


Girlbomb i find that yucky too. But is agreeing on that even relevant?
girltrouble
welcome, rantrave---i think the split you propose is a useful one, since we seem to bounce back and forth between the two. thank you for that and your comments. very interesting comments! i look forward to more from you.

and i have to say i disagree with your comment about a-- if we are to talk about feminist porn, then to my mind it MUST adhere to a higher standard, one of equality. and how can you discuss human rights absent of equality.

to clarify: i don't think that because it is a feminist making the film it is not automatically a feminist film, and since we are talking about side a, this means, she may not pay or treat her actress up to standard, residuals etc. what makes a production feminist, to my mind is a urge to treat those working behind the scenes (techs, editors, pre and post production) ethically. but if we call the production feminist based in aim and action, then it must be about more than just making money.

as to your comment about b, and tommy's comment, i don't know it that is true. if we were to talk about rape, the act by definition is an anti-woman act. even being a believer in bdsm and it's SSC rule, consent is the difference between rape and "rape." if you understand what i mean. but it is consent--a personal choice to do-- not context that changes it from an anti-woman act, into a constructed, consentual act that isn't necc'rly anti woman. it is then that context comes into play, after consent.

i see the problem as well, with the things you said after, too.

if you don't believe in a specific movement that stands for something, in this case feminism, then it has no meaning, and becomes little more than a generic word. like "green" well, what does that mean? there are corperations that dump waste in rivers, but claim to be green because they use new energy efficent light bulbs. it is only when we look at, debate and choose specific ideas and aims that we can give voice and direction to any movement. there must be concepts to rally around.

so, if we believe in a feminism that is specifically based on equality-- that of a higher standard for us and all women, and we believe that it makes our world better and see women as human beings,as equals, and insist on it, that women are not chattle, then feminism isn't "the end all" but it is another step towards a more equal, just, peaceful culture, country and world. if you look at feminism from it's origins to now first thru the third wave plus (and i always drone on about 3rd wave) you will start to see an evolution of thought, thrust and awareness. it is very important that the intention behind any movement have an aim that works for all of its constituants, so to have some amorphous, nebulous idea (as feminism did at it's begining) is useless, where as a more specific idea later 3rd wave-- is really more than ideas, but also a way of understanding what feminism is on a global scale-- not just one located in the upperclass of the us, and what people in different countries need to improve their lives. clarity is paramount-- what is good for white, upperclass women ain't always good for a newborn little girl in china or the middle east. but more than that feminism MUST NOT operate from a point of view that gives white upperclass american women privilage over those of color, in the third world. do you see how things that are vague begin to undermine those who would be served by a specific feminism? i would recommend wikipedia's overview of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, and next wave feminism to understand where we have been and where we are going.

why look for a feminist label for porn? because, porn is about human sexuality, and either you think that porn is automatically sexist, or you think that it is more a matter of semiotics (visual language of meaning and codes) and context, and in that there is room in porn for feminist ideals. and are interested in finding and discussing it.

any culture is cohesive because there are constant signals to reinforce norms. film, tv, music, books, media-- all have a subtext of re-inforcement. feminism is about breaking up and changing the underlying male-based view of norms into one of equality. visual representation needs to be broken up too.

girl bomb's yucky act-- whatever it is, was relivant because we were talking about censorship and moral relativism in porn, and as you were even discussing "the act vs. context." and she was giving an eg of a specific act.

ok. i'll shut up now, but thank you rant/rave for asking some VERY IMPORTANT QUESTIONS....
wombat
QUOTE
why look for a feminist label for porn? because, porn is about human sexuality, and either you think that porn is automatically sexist, or you think that it is more a matter of semiotics (visual language of meaning and codes) and context, and in that there is room in porn for feminist ideals. and are interested in finding and discussing it.

any culture is cohesive because there are constant signals to reinforce norms. film, tv, music, books, media-- all have a subtext of re-inforcement. feminism is about breaking up and changing the underlying male-based view of norms into one of equality. visual representation needs to be broken up too.


well put!
girlbomb
Girltrouble, another great post, and thank you for making rantrave's post more intelligible to me, because I wasn't getting it before your analysis.

I'd like to clarify that I don't find all porn to be inherently sexist; however, I think that the a great deal of what's commercially produced and consumed could easily fall under the classification of "hate speech," and that much of it is antithetical to the goals of feminism (eg, that women's bodies are to be recognized, understood, and respected, which would preclude acts that are painful or injurious outside the realm of BDSM).

I'd also like to note that a lot of stuff produced under the rubric of "feminist porn," for instance Suicide Girls, winds up being the same old fucking shit. This site used to run banners for SG, to which I and some other posters objected greatly, which caused a huge kerfuffle and lots of back-and-forth bickering, with many posters insisting that SG was "different" and that SG was "feminist porn." Lo and behold, less than two years later, SG is exposed as a male-run site that ripped off and lied to its workers.

Rantrave, is it relevant that we agree that some porn is "yucky"? Yes, it is. Because enough people have agreed that it's not okay to call people hateful names based on ethnicity or religion or country of origin, and now it's culturally accepted that certain words used in certain contexts are fucked up. Whereas mainstream porn is still considered "cool" and "edgy" and "sex-positive."

A majority of mainstream porn is yucky and fucked up. If enough of us agree on that, then an important cultural shift takes place.
girltrouble
i'm glad you brought up suicide girls, i have to agree with you, to a limited degree, gb-- on some level, sg is a bit feminist, because it espouses a different kind of beauty-- something i a wholehearedly for, but i do think that you must look beyond that.
are the girls talked about on the site in a respectful way?
are they looked at as partners, or product?
do they have input on how they are portrayed?
etc, etc....

for a while i was thinking about starting my own escort agency simply so i could offer the girls a better deal than the places out there. now i know lots of people who wouldn't think that that is a feminist act, but i very much thought of it as that. why? because i was looking at giving them more control, showing them, things about how to portray themselves, and basically making sure they were aware of their options. and assiting them in any way i could-- even if that meant they wanted a straight job. for me i wanted to have them be partners, not employees.
rantrave88
Girltrouble writes:
so, if we believe in a feminism that is specifically based on equality-- that of a higher standard for us and all women, and we believe that it makes our world better and see women as human beings,as equals, and insist on it, that women are not chattle, then feminism isn't "the end all" but it is another step towards a more equal, just, peaceful culture, country and world.


I think this is the crux of where we disagree. IMO, feminism's "job" so to speak, isn't necessarily "equality" but the recognition of *inequality* through the lens of gender. Hence this is why sometimes feminist goals may conflict greatly with other "justice goals" such as combatting poverty, racism, etc.
I know that this has already been acknowledged. Girltrouble, you acknowledged it in your post, specifically how the 3rd wave has attacked that question on a global scale. You write:

"... i disagree with your comment about a-- if we are to talk about feminist porn, then to my mind it MUST adhere to a higher standard, one of equality. and how can you discuss human rights absent of equality.

Many people can. Many people have used "human rights" as a superceding moral doctrine---including many feminists. But this thread isn't about all that. I'm not trying to justify human trafficking or anything of the like. But if you take porn to be in the realm of "human rights" issues, we've got some discussing to do. What does "equality" really mean? (I know, you don't mean just equality with men, that's been tried already) Perhaps this doesn't belong in this thread, but porn has everything to do with it.

girltrouble writes:
why look for a feminist label for porn? because, porn is about human sexuality, and either you think that porn is automatically sexist, or you think that it is more a matter of semiotics (visual language of meaning and codes) and context, and in that there is room in porn for feminist ideals. and are interested in finding and discussing it.

I agree with that. My question is, can you have this both in industry and representation (categories A & B )?
I'm thinking it is easier to conceive of feminism in porn solely in one of the two. For example, the industry might be woman-friendly, but the *effects* or *underlying consequences* of the representation may not be.


Therefore, I ask, which of the two is more important, must we choose, and why?
I'll be back soon to respond to Girlbomb.
maddy29
hey all-this is a random quick drive-by, i've been following along-i just came across this at work:

Clin Infect Dis. 2007 Jan 15;44(2):301-5. Epub 2006 Dec 8.



Epidemiologic Investigation of a Cluster of Workplace HIV Infections in the Adult Film Industry: Los Angeles, California, 2004.


Taylor MM, Rotblatt H, Brooks JT, Montoya J, Aynalem G, Smith L, Kenney K, Laubacher L, Bustamante T, Kim-Farley R, Fielding J, Bernard B, Daar E, Kerndt PR.



Division of STD Prevention, National Center for HIV, STD, and TB Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, USA. taylorm@azdhs.gov.



Background. Adult film production is a legal, multibillion dollar industry in California. In response to reports of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) transmission by an adult film worker, we sought to determine the extent of HIV infection among exposed workers and to identify means of improving worker safety.Methods. The Los Angeles County Department of Health Services initiated an outbreak investigation that included interviews of infected workers to elicit information about recent sex partners, review of the testing agency's medical records and laboratory results, molecular analysis of HIV isolates from the 4 infected workers, and a risk assessment of HIV transmission in the adult film industry.Results. Many adult film workers participate in a monthly program of screening for HIV infection by means of polymerase chain reaction-based technology to detect HIV DNA in blood. A male performer tested negative for HIV on 12 February 2004 and 17 March 2004, then tested positive for HIV on 9 April 2004. During the period between the negative test results, he experienced a flulike illness after performing unprotected vaginal and anal intercourse for an adult film produced outside the United States by a US company. After returning to California, he performed unprotected sex acts for adult films with 13 female partners who had all tested negative for HIV in the preceding 30 days; 3 subsequently tested positive for HIV (a 23% attack rate). Contact tracing identified no reasonable sources of infection other than the male index patient.Conclusion. Although current testing methods may shorten the window period to diagnosis of new HIV infection, they fail to prevent occupational acquisition of HIV in this setting. A California Occupational Safety and Health Administration-approved written health and safety program that emphasizes primary prevention is needed for this industry.

free_spirit
I guess this is O/T, but....

Maddy29 said to the effect of: A male performer tested negative for HIV on 12 February 2004 and 17 March 2004, then tested positive for HIV on 9 April 2004.
...After returning to California, he performed unprotected sex acts for adult films with 13 female partners...3 subsequently tested positive for HIV...

That is so sad. And so very scary. I can't understand why or how people can let them selves be put at knowing risk in this manner. Its already risky enough with people who are in "regular relationships".

That is so sad that these people lives have been effected in this manner....
Just been skimming all the long posts, but did any one post about what the porn industry is doing to prevent things like this from happening?

ETA: This is something that should have been mentioned on that episode of the Tyra Banks show. Esp. when some of the guest were commenting about how it didn't matter to them whether they used protection or not.
maddy29
yeah, i'm just looking at other ways that the porn industry is not so great, other than the degradation of human sexuality.

this was scary to me, because this guy was being tested monthly, but when you are having that much unprotected sex, you never really know-and if you take it one step further-all those 13 women that he had sex with-who knows how many other people THEY had sex with.....

i don't really know why it's legal to have porn actors not use protection, that seems crazy to me-a major public health issue. why is this just like oh well no biggie? it seems that requiring condom use would be a huge step in the right direction. it would also be good because then people watching porn will get used to seeing and using the condom-it'll become a normal part of sex, instead of guys seeing all these women doing it condom-less, and then pressuring the women they have sex with to not use condoms.

i've been thinking about all this, and i really think that we are in a tug of war that is just kinda, well, pointless. not htat it's a bad thing to talk and discuss and debate. BUT, if the world wasn't sexist, then porn wouldn't be sexist. mainstream tv wouldn't be sexist. i think that the problems i have with porn are really problems i have with patriarchy and sexism.

we are talking about sex workers being raped and abused, but it's not just sex workers getting raped and abused-rape is a condition of a sexist society, for the most part. it's not because they are in porn, it's because they are females in a female-hating world.

and that's why i get mad at women who do this stuff-because participating in a sexist activity just bolsters sexism. i get mad at myself when i do non-feminist things like getting laser hair removal on my legs. this is totally perpetuating a cycle, and i'm not happy with myself about it. i'm totally giving in to patriarchy telling me women should have hairless smooth legs. ok yes, i'm still doing it, but i AM reinforcing sexism by doing this.

does this make sense to anyone?
go_kayte
QUOTE(maddy29 @ Jan 5 2007, 11:48 AM) *


does this make sense to anyone?


Yes, it totally makes sense to me. I think you just summed up the most key issue. I think mainstream porn shapes a lot of young mens' sexual thinking. They see all the focus on the male orgasm, they see the woman working really hard to pleasure the man without expecting any herself. They see the men talk to the women in degrading ways. They see fucking without condoms. This is then all eroticized for them.

Temporary derail:
About the hair removal, if you don't like it why do you do it? I haven't shaved my legs since I was 14. It's such a non-issue for me I forget that people even do it. That's not to say I think it's really horrible or unfeminist (it's a choice, just like dying your hair or wearing a bra or make up), I just wonder why people bother if they don't want to do it.
maddy29
glad it made sense!

re: the hair removal, i know, it's so dumb. i did just let it grow free for a long time, and i didn't like how it felt. i don't like the way it feels with my socks on, it feels really itchy and annoying. but mostly i just don't like the way it looks-and i know that's been just brainwashed into me. i've always been really interested in permanent hair removal and i finally decided to just go for it. i feel like i totally caved on this one. it was weird, i thought i had really thought it through, but then after my first session, all of a sudden i was like "oh no! how will i explain this to my 7 y.o. niece????" at home for xmas, my sister wanted to see my legs, and then my niece came in and i'm like la la la la, changing the subject.

i DO think it's unfeminist of me. just like i feel when i'm putting on makeup and a booby shirt....
rantrave88
I agree on the protection thing, it seems weird that it wouldn't be a general overriding safety standard. I mean, i feel like there's a lot of post-production work that could be done not to let the condom take away from the scene.

On the young men's sexual thinking -
Yeah, mainstream porn definitely plays a role, but I'm wondering why the market for what seems to be "the yucky stuff" here on Bust has still crossed over to the "progressive, feminist" viewers. Because I really believe in the whole "different standards for partner vs. porn" thing coming true. Is part of the allure ALSO the antifeminist, "bad" implications of mainstream porn? Because sometimes I feel even more turned off by so-called "alternative" or "feminist" porn due to the *gaping* holes (sorry, couldn't help it) left in the tired, "subversion will conquer" argument.

I admit that my private desires end up being anti-woman and contrary to my public, political opinions. And i think the same is true for many women and feminists.

Because while much of the market may have to do with widespread cultural phenomenons (why heterosexist shit still prevails), I think desire--even when not dressed up in postmodern bullcrap--is much more complicated (where is that thread when you need it??)

Girlbomb, I asked you if our agreement was relevant because once upon a time it took the federal government to bring justice by overriding <i>public opinion</i> If enough people agree that XYZ is yucky, that's great. But that alone doesn't stop underlying phenomena. I think "weeding out" certain types of yucky porn is probably legally feasable in the future, yet only until other, perhaps even more probablematic norms take hold.




maddy29
QUOTE
but I'm wondering why the market for what seems to be "the yucky stuff" here on Bust has still crossed over to the "progressive, feminist" viewers.


can you say more about this? i'm just not quite sure what you mean. thanks smile.gif
rantrave88
ok. smile.gif in other words:

I know that people with "feminist" values still watch "antifeminist" porn. And many decent people view their porn-watching habits as completely separate from their feminist actions. For some feminists, the porn=injust equation is KEY to them getting off. Perhaps watching mainstream porn is almost a *deviant* act because pornography in general is taboo socially and mainstream porn is taboo for political feminists.


Why is that?
girltrouble
QUOTE
Because I really believe in the whole "different standards for partner vs. porn" thing coming true. Is part of the allure ALSO the antifeminist, "bad" implications of mainstream porn? Because sometimes I feel even more turned off by so-called "alternative" or "feminist" porn due to the *gaping* holes (sorry, couldn't help it) left in the tired, "subversion will conquer" argument.


i almost want to agree with you, (although i am not sure i really get your point) but i have to go back to bdsm's ssc ethic as a guide, because i think that you can be feminist, enjoy submissiveness, and the "yucky" without giving up/betraying feminist ideas. it is when it is out of duress, or forced. feminism MUST be about women having the ablility to choose what THEY like. you can't help what you think is hot-- i'll be the first to tell you that for obvious reasons-- but what you can do is insist on consent. believe me, i know of masochist submissives that have mutilated their bodies, in ways that even many in the bdsm community thought extreme. things they did certainly aren't my cup of tea, either, but it is their body, their choice, so for me the feminist stance is to support their choice. i do take your point that's made just before this one. i think sometimes we get so caught up in having the label of feminist that we forget what it means. central idea is that a woman control her own body isn't it? wasn't part of the point a new sexual honesty about women and their desires?

but to say that watching mainstream porn is an act of rebellion, frankly, that's bullshit. something done in a closet? that sounds more like it.

i also disagree with just shrugging at the idea of what boys digest as misogynistic behavior and calling it "normal", "mainstream" or what have you. i think that this is just for lack of exploring alternate naratives of sexuality. case in point is fem/dom.

QUOTE
I admit that my private desires end up being anti-woman and contrary to my public, political opinions. And i think the same is true for many women and feminists.
see, i don't feel that way. i think i can embrace what i find hot-- all those things that you are refering to as "anti -woman", but because i stand firm on the idea of consent for me it isn't any less hot, or any less feminist.
QUOTE

Because while much of the market may have to do with widespread cultural phenomenons (why heterosexist shit still prevails), I think desire--even when not dressed up in postmodern bullcrap--is much more complicated (where is that thread when you need it??)
i disagree. i understand that you are saying what turns you on comes from the gut, hey, i get that, i'm no different. but the 'post modern bullshit' is our means to understand/counteract the messages our culture is telling us. post modernism is all about saying, we have been told x (gender roles, female submissiveness, "porn bodies as an ideal, etc, etc.,) is natural, but it's not. x is cultural construction. x is a way of keeping us all hypnotized. but if we modify x, then the underlying message is disabled. further modification can take us from x to '-x'-- it's inverse. and '-x' is all about feminism, but is every bit as hot as x.

QUOTE
If enough people agree that XYZ is yucky, that's great. But that alone doesn't stop underlying phenomena. I think "weeding out" certain types of yucky porn is probably legally feasable in the future, yet only until other, perhaps even more probablematic norms take hold.
see, i just can't shrug it off like that. i think we can work towards what replaces that yuck is something that in some way incorperates feminism without sacrificing the 'hot.' the problem with that statement is that it makes the assumption that whatever comes next can't be helped. that's 'the natural progression' but, i don't buy that. these things are chosen, they are constructed. and we can choose to be passive and accept whatever comes next or we can CHOOSE what we'd like to see, and put that out there as an alternative. it doesn't have to be bland, but it, and we, should be aware of it's own meaning.

and maddy, getting your legs done isn't anti feminist, anti-woman, or any other nonsense. it's your body to do as you please. you do you. don't let anyone tell you any different. you make you a woman. not some stupid rule, or someone elses pronouncement.
tryb8
QUOTE(tommynomad @ Jan 1 2007, 08:40 PM) *

Sorry, what I meant was the fantasy, the story, the content of the scene, the art should not be censored, even if it represents taboo/illegal/immoral concepts.

For example, incest may be taboo (or illegal) in some places, but that doesn't mean we should censor a movie in which two actors who aren't brother and sister IRL have sex. Not even if they moan "O, it's so hot to be having sex with you, my brother." while they're doing it.


This is my first post so be gentle. I have read through all the threads and this issue has always been a sticking point for me. Porn seems to be the central issue in which feminism is debated. While I am not naive to the unseemly and predatory goings on in the porn industry, what we are missing here is personal responsibility. This may not be a very popular view but I can't help but go back to the fact that it is a choice, or series of choices that have been made to get an individual where they are, be it drug addiction, poverty, an abusive relationship etc...Many people have had very horrible things happen to them in their lives related to abuse but they have chosen different things for themselves which led them a different way. Even the "slavery" concept still doesn't sit right with me. Meaning, there were choices that were made to make the individual vulnerable to that predation.

We can't dismiss the fact that there are women who enjoy this type of activity. Being exploited or watching the exploitation. Does that automatically get them blacklisted from the feminist movement? I don't think you can separate out what turns you on versus what are your political views on porn. That seems hypocritical. Sexuality is both nature and nuture and to deny what arouses you would be denying who you are and what forms your identity. And if that enjoyment comes from the traditional or more aggressive types of porn, is that what makes or breaks a good feminist? I think having the guts to say what it is that you want lays the groundwork for making a good feminist.

I personally don't enjoy watching male/female porn because I can't be convinced that the woman is really enjoying it. Meaning, not because I think she is suffering any subjugation but because porn is a completely visual media and the female arousal response isn't. I would much rather watch something where the arousal is very prominent and clear. And, that orgasm is occurring.

I think porn is cock-blocking feminism because it doesn't let us move on to so many other things. For the entirety of the feminist movement, we always come back to porn as the central issue and it is distracting us from moving forward, looking much deeper into those things that are probably more damaging as a whole.
lilyblue
QUOTE(tryb8 @ Jan 13 2007, 08:54 PM) *



I think porn is cock-blocking feminism because it doesn't let us move on to so many other things. For the entirety of the feminist movement, we always come back to porn as the central issue and it is distracting us from moving forward, looking much deeper into those things that are probably more damaging as a whole.


I have to disagree with this a bit. I don't think it is a central issue but part of it. I see feminists discussing racism and gender, privilege (economic and otherwise), sexuality and body. Those are all aspects of our humanity and that's why I do think the porn discussion is important. I also think porn is part of the discussion because it both reflects and influences what's going on in our society.

There is a site where you can view videos on demand (pay-per-minute) and they have these categories: black, asian, latin, black dicks/white chicks. I think that is total fetishization and reduced people to things and not people. As a black woman, I don't like having my sexuality defined for me and the porn industry isn't helping. Having feminist use it has one of the springboards to discussion is helpful, at least for me.

QUOTE
Even the "slavery" concept still doesn't sit right with me. Meaning, there were choices that were made to make the individual vulnerable to that predation.


There are actual situations where this does take place. It may not be in the mainstream porn industry but it is in the real life world where women seeking some freedom fleeing their home country find themselves as prostitutes to pay off their debts. I will not, at any time, blame any of those women for how they ended up in their situation.
maddy29
i've been trying to keep up with this thread, and i just started reading "Female chauvinist pigs" and its all just making me think so much! it's really great. i have too manyt houghts to really write much, but i did want to say one thing- re: choices not making you a "bad" feminist or whatever.

i have to say, i DO think it's an unfeminist act to get laser hair removal. how could it not be? i'm just using that as one example. but i am paying lots of money to conform to a standard of beauty that was created by a patriarchal sexist culture. so yes, i have the freedom to make that choice, and that's important, but it's not so simple as me just making my own choices. i don't live in a bubble. my choices do have an impact on others.

i think that of course, women can make whatever choices they want, and it's important that we all have that freedom, male or female. at the same time, we have to accept responsibility for the choices we make, for the consequences that occur from the choices we make. so, i think a woman who gets breast implants "should" be able to make that choice. BUT< i think that is not a feminist act. I think that is someone giving into coercion, just like me with my hairy legs! it's the whole "The personal is political."

so many thoughts all jumbled up in my head.... blink.gif
girltrouble
i understand why you'd say that maddy, this gets back to our working girl debate, cos don't porn stars (escorts, prostitutes, strippers, etc.) set us back? but i can't agree. if shaved legs are anti feminist, when what isn't? who gets to decide? do we need a commission to tell us all what is and isn't feminist? taken to it's logical conclusion, feminism ends up being an empty bunch of rules, that are nothing other than a counter to mainstream culture.

does each woman have an obligation to become a body builder? after all that is the antithesis of our culture's idea of womanhood --despite all of female bodybuilding's trappings of fake boobs, nails, heels and hair. is it anti feminist to wear heels? skirts? make up? have long hair? is it anti feminist to wear something low cut? tight clothes? all of those things can be seen as conforming to stereotypes of femninity. i hate this phrase, but it's true, "its a slippery slope."

being black i see how that kind of thought has fucked up black culture, and i've felt the brunt of it too. are you black enough? why do you talk like that? it ends up doing nothing but making you eat your own young. in the queer culture, its the opposite, doing all that they can to be as beautifly mainstream as possible: nambla, isn't the only casualty, transpeople, kinksters, anyone who might bring bad press is jettisoned, and you have the same thing:eating the young. and either way, the people in control of the message, isn't the minority group, but mainstream culture. feminism reduced to a reactionary impulse. i prefer black, queer filmaker marlon riggs' take in his movie "black is/black aint" which was; if you are (feminist, black, queer, whatever), then you are (feminist, black, queer, whatever). everybody is in this family-- even if we aren't comfortable with all their choices or who they are. i'd rather be inclusionary than cut off my nose to spite my face. the small things aren't as important as supporting each other to be the best we can be.
notwearingwords
I agree with you, girltrouble. I don't like the idea of people condemning or judging other people for not being feminist enough or black enough or whatever.
I do think that the majority of the current porn industry is mostly anti-feminist - but then again, it isn't claiming to be feminist. I do not enjoy seeing porn and on the few occasions that I have seen it, it depresses me. I know the women in the pictures and movies have a choice to participate or not, and if they feel empowered by the experience, then good for them. I just find it difficult to believe that they would have made this choice if it wasn't so acceptable in our society for women to be treated as, regarded as, and encouraged to be sex objects instead of sexual beings. There are some porn producers that cater specifically to women, but I think of that type of media as erotica, and porn as the common patriarchal institution that breeds destructive and abusive behaviors attitudes in men against women.
My brother and I are really close, and he confessed that when he first started having sex, he was shocked that women don't really look and act the way they did in the pornography he had seen. He grew up with a certain perception and expectation of women and their bodies and desires and how they display them that was completely unrealistic and demeaning. My brother is not a bad guy, he respects women, but he had some twisted ideas about women and I highly doubt that he is one of only a few men who shared them. I know a lot of people say that since the women in these pictures and films are there voluntarily we shouldn't have a problem with the porn industry, but I think that their motivation is bred in a society where girls are told that boys only want them for one thing, one reason, and these women decide to use it as best they can. And they are encouraged to. I used to be a dance instructor and some of the girls I taught had playboy bunny cheeky shorts and belly shirts and thongs and belly rings while they were still in middle school. I'm not saying women shouldn't be able to dress as sexily as they want to, I just think we should thing about the reasons WHY they want to dress sexy. Does it make them feel sexy or are they just putting on a show for the boys in their classes that idolize porn stars, trying to emulate them. They;ve been so desensitized to objectification, it's no wonder so many girls willingly get naked for a bunch of guys with a video camera for free and find themselves on infomercials for Girls Gone Wild at 2am when they get back from spring break or wherever. It makes me crazy.
maddy29
great post nww-some great lines like :

"I'm not saying women shouldn't be able to dress as sexily as they want to, I just think we should thing about the reasons WHY they want to dress sexy."

and: "I just find it difficult to believe that they would have made this choice if it wasn't so acceptable in our society for women to be treated as, regarded as, and encouraged to be sex objects instead of sexual beings."

yes, that's it exactly. we don't make choices in a neutral vacuum. we have people, tv, etc etc encouraging us to do this or that. sure, at the end, we all make our own choices, but even those choices have been formed ina sexist society.

anything that the patriarchy thinks is great, and encourages, i'm going to be suspicious of. anything that they want me to do, or to look like, i'm going to question. of COURSE the patriarchy loves porn, strippers, women who are "fun" and "open" sexually, etc. Cause it wants to continue to perpetuate these ideas about women existing solely for men's sexual pleasure.

so when i talk about personal choices being political (as in leg hair) i think: why does my society WANT me to have no leg hair? Because that is what has been defined (by men) to be beautiful for women. Because they want me to spend my money and time and energy worrying about my looks, instead of more important things.

one note-being a feminist is totally different than being black or queer-those are not choices, being a feminist is. i'm not talking about saying "oooh you are a BAD feminist!" or anything like that. but i consider my hair removal to be a non-feminist act. i can be a feminist and engage in non-feminist activities.

for me, it's at least important that i'm aware of the things i do that aren't feminist (like continuing to watch stupid "deal or no deal" even though they objectify women horribly). that doesn't mean that the feminist community should condemn me or anything, but i should be aware that i'm not really living all of my beliefs.

i also take issue with the whole "whatever turns you on is ok. you can't help what turns you on." i think that is just not true. so people who are turned on by naked kids-that's ok? they shouldn't try to change that? ok, that's a more extreme example, but it fits the argument i'm trying to make. i used to be "turned on" by degrading stuff, and i changed that. i worked on my reactions and my arousal to turn it around. now, degrading icky stuff is just that-icky. i've changed the pathways of my arousal. why is it so crazy to consider doing that? yes, we "can't help what we think is hot" but we CAN Change it, if we find it disturbing. and if we think that our arousal has been conditioned by a sexist world that hates women.

i know that i'm on the other end of the spectrum from some others, and our views will never match up, which is ok.

i'm really getting into "female chauvinist pigs" and it's making a huuuge impact on me. just like when i read the beauty myth. it's being like a lifesaver for me. she just says it so clearly, what ive been thinking, and of course can't put words to. i highly recommend it to everyone interested in this thread.


maddy29
also, i just think porn is a big, fat lie. it's people PRETENDING to be aroused. it's all just a fucking lie. it shows us a twisted view of human sexuality. it gives us a twisted view of what men and women's bodies look like, and what is pleasurable to women. it shows us that women "get aroused" just from arousing a man. i feel like homemade porn, where the couple is reallyh having fun together, is totally different, because then you are watching REAL pleasure and arousal, not people just faking it for the camera.

and, one comment that stuck out to me-"I don't think you can separate out what turns you on versus what are your political views on porn. That seems hypocritical. Sexuality is both nature and nuture and to deny what arouses you would be denying who you are and what forms your identity."

i think that porn denys what we are, and what our sexual beings are. and i think as a feminist, it's my job to critique the "nurture" part-the part i've been sold about sexuality. and i really think that porn and all this other shit really takes away our true, free expression of sexual expression and arousal. i think porn takes away people's identities and shows us all as the same.

and re: feminism-a "good" feminist DOES look at her own personal actions and how they impact politics, and others, and feminism etc.
girlbomb
(Going back a few posts, but this has been bugging me since I read it:

QUOTE(tryb8 @ Jan 13 2007, 03:54 PM) *

This may not be a very popular view but I can't help but go back to the fact that it is a choice, or series of choices that have been made to get an individual where they are, be it drug addiction, poverty, an abusive relationship etc...Many people have had very horrible things happen to them in their lives related to abuse but they have chosen different things for themselves which led them a different way. Even the "slavery" concept still doesn't sit right with me. Meaning, there were choices that were made to make the individual vulnerable to that predation.


Spoken like someone who's never been poor. Or addicted, or abused. What an insulting, ignorant statement -- which is probably why the rest of y'all mostly skipped over it.)
maddy29
what are you saying then gb? that some people don't have choices about what they do? that seems to contradict what you've been saying in here.....

ooh ooh, i got it. i misread, i think....is tryb8 saying that people cause their own poverty? or is she saying that even people in poverty have choices?
girlbomb
I'm saying that, as much as I do hold people responsible for their personal choices, there are some things that are just out of people's control, like being born poor, being born gay or transgendered into a homophobic family/community, or being born into an abusive family. And the young women from the homeless shelter who I see entering the street-level sex industry "by choice" have all been born into such circumstances, which were beyond their control. Certainly, they could all choose to try to work at the local supermarket or fast food chain, but many of them have immigration issues, literacy issues, or mental and emotional illness that prevent "legitimate" employment. Therefore their "choices" seem to be: sell their asses, sell drugs, find what limited government assistance is available to them, or starve. I'd truly love to know what other choices these girls have, and so would they. Also, for tryb8 to imply that women who've been coerced or kidnapped into sexual slavery are somehow responsible for their plight is like blaming rape survivors for "being someplace dangerous where they could get raped," or some shit. I know tryb8's a newbie, and asked us to go easy on him/her, but...ugh. Ignoramus. Why not blame tsunami victims for living by the ocean?
greenbean
Girlbomb, I did read and skip over tryb8's post, mostly because I was confused by it. I certainly agree with you that there are circumstances that people are born into that lead them into certain lifestyles. Suggesting that sex slaves have made themselves vulnerable to kidnapping?!? Yeah, thats F-ed up.

As a spin-off to those statements, while I do know that there ARE victims of and criminal forms of porn, I also think there are women who are in porn by choice...and I am glad that some do make the choice to do it, because heck, its enjoyable to watch! I can't get on board with the notion that watching legal, non-abusive porn means you support the hells that so many in the sex trade are experiencing.

I mean, I have a cousin who is an alcoholic. Drinking has ruined his life...but does that mean that because I am a regular drinker I am contributing to his trauma with alcohol? I watch porn occasionally and go to burlesque shows, does that mean I am perpetuating sex slavery? I'm sorry but I can't agree with that.

Girltrouble, right on. Declaring what is proper feminist attire IS a slippery slope. I really never got the whole problem with shaving. I mean, we dont NEED body hair anymore, so why do we have to keep it? Guys shave too, so, we're all together on this arent we? Breast implants are a totally different thing, because only women have them, so I can see that as a feminist issue...but hair? We all got it, so perhaps its the great equalizer, no?

Maddy, notwearingwords, I totally get what youre saying about porn sending a false message to teenage boys on how women are in bed,...BUT, thats why porn isnt for childrens' eyes!! AND thats why there needs to be proper sex education in school that not only teaches sex safety but SEXUALITY as well. I think this is sooo important. Outlawing/being more strict with porn is not the answer. Education is.

As a wise adult though who is legal to watch porn, I do get aroused watching women come, even if I know its fake. They are acting after all, just like sex scenes in movies and cable tv. Besides, I'd rather see a women pretend to come then not come at all.
girlbomb
QUOTE(greenbean @ Jan 16 2007, 08:25 PM) *
Outlawing/being more strict with porn is not the answer. Education is.


Who said they were in favor of outlawing or restricting porn?

Why can't anybody say they don't like a lot of porn, and find that a lot of porn perpetuates sexist and/or racist ideology, without being implicitly accused of being pro-censorship?

If I say, "I think Star magazine promotes eating disorders as viable methods for getting positive attention," that doesn't mean I'm running around burning down newsstands that carry it. And I'm not glaring at the people who browse it in the checkout line. I'm just saying, I don't think that particular magazine makes young women feel especially disinclined to take horse tranquilizers to lose weight. And I don't think a lot of porn sends a particularly pro-woman message.

I will stick up for anyone's right to voluntarily participate in porn or the sex industry, whether it's their last option for employment/enjoyment or their first. But come on -- a lot of it is anti-woman shite. I think most of us know the difference in message sent by a burlesque show, and a video that shows women getting fucked in the ass with their heads in toilets.
notwearingwords
maddy29 - I know that being a feminist is different from being black or gay in various ways, but I was referring to the expectations each of these communities can sometimes have of its members. Some feminists are against people who call themselves feminists shaving their legs or getting breast implants, some black people resent other black people who try to fit into white culture or deny their culture, and a lot of gay people think not being out is a disservice to the gay community. Not all of the people in these categories live up to these expectations, and not all of said people expect these things from their communities, but a lot of them do, and that was what I was talking about in my last post.

girlbomb - I agree with you. As I said earlier, a lot of the women in the porn industry may have made the "choice" to perform in this way, but the circumstances they were given and the alternatives they did or didn't have definitely contribute to that choice.

greenbean - some food for thought. This is what I tell my gal pals that fake orgasms because they feel bad for their partners or for whatever reason. Faking it perpetuates the assumption, whether by a male or a female, that whatever he or she is doing is what gets you off. This can begin a cycle of bad sex, and if you finally do come clean in the end and admit that you faked it, they get upset because they've been using every past encounter with you to try to please you better next time and now they get the feeling that they have no clue what you like or what turns you on. I know you were talking about women faking orgasms in porn being hot, not talking about faking them yourself, but a lot of the big-business porn industry material shows women faking orgasms doing things most women don't have orgasms from. I'm not saying that porn should be a tutorial, and I know different people get off from different things, but teenage boys are going to watch porn whether it's legal or not and even grown men, or even some women, watching porn will compare what they see to what they experience and do. Women faking orgasms while giving blow jobs with no stimulation on their girlparts in porn can lead viewers to think that women can get off that way. Some can, but my point is that people usually watch porn that depicts what they enjoy. BDSM enthusiasts watch more BDSM porn and some people here like home-made amateur porn, and some lesbians like strap-on porn, but the common thread is that most people watch and want to do things that they see. They say to themselves, [i]hot position[i] and try it. And I realize people don't believe everything they see to be true, but it shapes their perception of reality.

I agree with you that seeing women have orgasms is sexy, because it is, it turns me and a lot of other people on too. But from a feminist perspective, anything that represents women in an inaccurate way designed specifically for men, in most cases, is demeaning to all women. I'm not saying that nobody should watch any kind of pornography at all, I am talking mainly about the "mainstream" porno industry that is run for and by men. If my girlfriend and I were to go to a video store to buy a lesbian porn, which is not something we do, but if we did, it would be hard to find one that wasn't just girl-on-girl action meant to turn men on. We;d have to go to a special sex store run by and for women, but the main market would have nothing but scenes of grown women dressed as schoolgirls making out and touching each other in the bathroom at school before being caught and fucked from behind by the male principal that teaches them how it's "really" done. Or two girls doing each other with dildos that they suck first! WHY would they do that? The wearer of the strapon would act really into it, as if she were a man and she could feel it. It's ridiculous. I know there are fabulous erotic lesbian films as well, but I'm talking about the kind of porn the majority of the world is exposed to and shaped by, to the detriment of society and women as a whole.

you said that seeing a woman pretend to come is better than not seeing her come at all, but don't you see that she isn't?! faking it is NOT coming. I realize that for practical purposes, porn stars can't have an orgasm every time they need to reshoot a scene, but the fake orgasms in porns are usually so exaggerated that when women have a real genuine orgasm, their partners can be unsure, since she may not be screaming her head off with her head thrown back, one hand in her hair and the other lifting a breast. That is the reaction they see in porn, and that is the reaction they are aiming to get out of their partners

also, I never said anything about censorship, and thank you girlbomb for pointing that out. I agree that sex ed should include discussions about sexuality and not be abstinence only anti-choice shit, but just because sex ed programs are another problem doesn't mean that the porn industry isn't still a legitimate problem as well.
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