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The Porn Industry and Exploitation

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

I go from not supporting porn to being ambivalent about porn.  One thing that never wavers for me though is support for porn workers (when we say “Workers of the world unite!” that means all workers) and condemnation of porn industry executives.

Just when I thought I was completely anti-porn (well, I guess, me confuse) Renee blogs:

Normally I am in agreement with most things that Noam Chomsky has theorized but in this case I must respectfully disagree. The idea that the decision to work in the porn industry is simply a result of womens exploitation ignores the degree to which womens agency can make this an active choice. While all paid labour in a capitalist economy is defiantly exploitation, working in the porn industry is not more exploitative because what is being produced is sex, or rather the imitation of reciprocal sex.

Why is sex work necessarily more degrading than working at McDonalds, or a Dunkin Donuts for that matter? Both involve the sale of ones body, and labour power to a certain degree. Both involve not being adequately compensated vis a vis profits versus wage, yet pornography is deemed horribly degrading. I submit that this because womens sexuality is only culturally acceptable when it is virginal in nature.

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One Comment
  1. dksu permalink
    Friday, August 1, 2008 8:16 am

    Maybe porn, ideally, is not necessarily more exploitative, or not exploitative in a different way than any other job (I’m undecided ;/). But I don’t think it’s possible to argue that this holds for most porn produced today, as it’s definitely riven with degradation of women (and furthermore, it’s very open in it’s racial stereotyping). Not just so-called ‘extreme pornography’ either. To narrow the question down to issues of ‘agency’ or ‘choice’ is to totally ignore the underlying ideological factors at work in those who participate in, watch, or market pornography, and thus to ignore the ‘ensemble of social relations’ that underlies the decisions made by individuals.

    My point is that, if one decides to take part in degrading pornography, there are factors at work beyond the appearance of immediate choice (for both the men and women involved). Though perhaps it’s the case that there’s such a thing as non-degrading pornography, I don’t think it’s the case that much exists today ;/.

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