Feminist porn is not the solution

By Nanette Asby

The way we consume pornography has changed drastically. Volumes of Erotica books or video tapes from the local video store have been replaced with hardcore pornographic videos freely available on the internet from anywhere at any time. This has positioned mainstream pornography as the main sex education resource for children and young adults in the 21stcentury. However, with this evolution to online distribution different genres had room to flourish such as feminist or ethical pornography. 

Firstly, what is feminist pornography? It is a porn genre produced by and for people who believe and fight for gender equality. It is important because it demonstrates sex as a healthy, natural part of life worth celebrating whilst placing female pleasure at the heart of it. With its sex-positive, progressive and powerful representation of women, feminist porn is an ethical alternative to counterbalance mainstream pornography. 

It is believed that feminist porn provides a more gender equal alternative is believed to lead to healthier and more equal relationships. Porn makes up one third of internet traffic and every fourth search request on google is pornography related. Porn sites welcome more visitors on their sites each month than Amazon, Twitter and Netflix combined (Lust). 

Since it is so easily accessible, it has become the main source of education for young people. A person gets exposed to adult content on average at the age of eleven. Most of the first encounters involve quite nasty imagery. And what is taught? Women are being objectified and men are portrayed “as some kind of penetrating sex machine” (Lust). The sexist and chauvinistic values embedded are imprinted on the young viewers who have no other frame of reference. Parents usually shy awayfrom questions around porn or talking about sex in general. 

Young people are led to believe that the only role the female plays is to please and nothing else. And they don’t question it. What we consume changes the way we see and feel about sex or any other topic for that matter. The values taught through porn have a lasting effect on someone’s sex life. It also spreads into other areas of life such as the workplace. Women are being mistreated and sexually assaulted at their workplace. Feminist porn on the other hand tries to not just arouse, but also inspire and educate by showing gender equality and diversity. It demonstrates that men, women and non-binary people are equal human beings and are able 

to have a pleasurable experience for all parties involved. “The sex can stay dirty but the values have to be clean” (Lust). 

Girls watch porn to find out what is expected of them. Authentic female pleasure is rarely shown in mainstream porn. Through lack of representation female pleasure fades out of public knowledge, which has consequences on how women are treated in and out of the covers. Same goes for minorities such as black people, gay and trans people. Many kinds of alternative pornography highlight diversity in casting and narratives. For LGBTQ+ youth mainstream porn is usually the only source of information which has huge consequences on their self-image and sexual encounters. For example, the most watched gay porn videos often contain homophobic rhetoric. 

So, knowing all this, why is feminist porn not the solution for our young people? As with most things you need to know it exists to be able to find it in the depths of the internet. Feminist porn is as mentioned a niche genre. If you do come across filmmakers such as Erica Lust or Vex Ashley, their videos are only accessible in exchange for money. Many teenagers do not have a credit card at hand. Mainstream porn, however, is free and readily available. Feminist porn is a great alternative for adults, but not an option for most young people. 

References:

Lust, Erika.It’s time for porn to change | Erika Lust |TEDxVienna.TedxTalks, 03.12.2014.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z9LaQtfpP_8&nbsp

Photo by Taras Chernus on Unsplash

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