Archive for February, 2012

The Economy of People Revisited

February 2, 2012 11 comments

Lately I’ve been fixated on anti-pornography. Last night I was sharing a presentation I’m putting together on the topic with a great group, Rahab’s Resistance in Denton, TX. We shared ideas for a few hours, and some thoughts have sparked my interest. I’d like to share them, if you’re interested.

The first idea is that Pornography cannot be consensual sex. Think about it, if one or all people involved in the filming of pornography is being paid then they are not consenting to have sex with one another, they are consenting to get paid at the price of their body. At best it’s bribery at worst it’s exploitation, coercion, and prostitution. Consent is an interesting topic, I think, since each individual makes the decision for themselves to be involved in pornography. When studying I came across an article I find particularly interesting about the making of pornography, with some stories told from the on-lookers of a porn shoot. This quote expresses the plight porn actresses find themselves in: “If she doesn’t do what Jim is asking her to do, she may or may not get paid. If she doesn’t do this, it’s entirely possible no one else will hire her after today. So, she concedes.”

Feminism was brought up often during our discussion. The idea is that with the rise of women’s rights was the rise of pornography. Porn is sexually empowering women to be sexually expressive. I fundamentally disagree with this viewpoint. Porn generally has the opposite effect. It degrades women to a submissive object whose sole objective is to gratify a man, bending to his every notion. Often time the idea of ‘man’ is absent from porn, and only a penis is present, which the women in porn are made to fawn over. Pornographic material also redefines what the “perfect” women is supposed to be. Reading an article I came across the quote “For the first time in history, the images’ power and allure have supplanted that of real naked women. Today, real naked women are just bad porn”. I’m learning more and more how this is true. Maxim’s Hot 100, a list of the hottest women ever, is now featuring a fictional character, Aki Ross. That’s a CGI character making the cover a jack-off magazine. It’s hard enough for women to have to compete with knock out models, now they have to compete with Computers? While researching this I found that H&M is also using computer generated models. I also found another quote in a NY Times article about a CGI model, Webbie Tookay: “‘Webbie can eat nothing and keep her curves,’ boasted Mr. Casablancas, who left Elite and founded Illusion 2K, an agency dedicated to representing virtual models. ”She can be on time, or in two places at one time, and you know she will never get a pimple or ask for a raise. Sometimes I wish all models were virtual.” This is the same sexually empowering road that women have taken that are now replacing them for objects. Women are being replaced by an imitation of an imitation of a real woman.

So, how does this all relate back to economy? Porn is a multibillion dollar enterprise. According to the Internet Filter Review, worldwide porn sales totaled at $97 billion in 2006. The US contributed 13.33 billion. Individuals are profiting at the exploitation of young women, and men. They strip them of the ability to say “no” while filming for fear of financial trouble, and bribe them to do sexually terrifying things. To the women who do feel sexually empowered by filming porn we must ask “at what cost to all other women?” The illusion of empowerment to one leads to the suppression of all others. A Shelly Luben talked with Christ Hedges, and is quoted in his book Empire of Illusion saying, “You have to do what they want on the sets,” she says. There’s too much competition. They can always find other girls.” My buddy Christ commented on the coercion of pornography, something to the effect of, “Most girls aren’t looking at a variety of meaningful alternatives and saying, ‘I choose porn’.” And it’s not really a choice. If I wash dishes for a living, I am making that choice over working in retail or going to school to get an education to do whatever I want. I have that option. Can we really say the same for the emotionally abused girl who stumbled into porn? Possibly at the beginning of her career, but what about 5 years into it? 10 years? There’s a price tag we’re putting on human begins. As consumers, instigators, and innocent bystanders. Porn is plastic, sure, but let’s also remember that pornography coats the industry over in plastic as well. They’re not just selling women, they’re also selling the ideology that it’s okay. Don’t buy it.