It’s not easy being a defender of adult consensual sexual media, or those in the majority of humankind who safely and consensually consume and produce said media for our personal pleasure and even profit.
Actually, it’s very easy in most aspects, because sex with someone you love or someone you really like, or watching people who are really into each other engage in sex, can be pretty damn cool, if you ask me.
No, the real difficulty is that you have to deal in a regular basis with people who basically want to persecute, prosecute, or even kill you for the sin of enjoying people engage in consensual sex. And, you have to deal with their ceaseless attempts to control the debate with all sorts of illogical and obtuse arguments against consensual adult pornography, those who make and produce it, and those who consume and enjoy it.
For once, this isn’t part of the continuing series against Gail Dines, since her monstrosity as an antiporn “feminist” has been well established here.
Rather, the subject of this essay is a slightly more militant antiporn “feminist” going by the moniker of “One Angry Girl”, who works out of the United Kingdom through the British antiporn group Object.
Recently, in an effort to deliver what she considered to be the coup de’gracie to those evil pro-porn arguments, OAG broke out a pamphlet crib sheet in which she attempted to fisk out 17 “pro-porn” position statements, with rebuttal arguments attached to each argument. The actual sheet can be found here at OAG’s blog as a PDF file; but here’s a copy of it:
Others have already taken full umbrage of OAG’s crackpot strawmen, and have posted re-rebuttals of her “arguments”; see this Jordan Owen YouTube video (or scroll down to the bottom of this post) and this response by the British anticensorship group Sex and Censorship (via their chief spokesperson Jerry Barnett).
However, since some, if not most, of OAG’s arguments are so over-the-top wacked out and filled with her own bile of vengance, I thought that it deserved a more personal touch.
Henceforth, here’s my own point-for-point rebuttal of One Angry Whackjob…errrrrrrr, One Angry Girl. Like Jordan and Jerry before me, I will break it down per argument. Bolded is the supposed “pro-porn” argument; italicized is OAG’s rebuttal.
Dive into the deep crazza with me, folks.
1) They say: But they’re enjoying themselves
You say: If they enjoy it so much, then they would be willing to do it for $7.50 per hour.
Ummm…you do know that porn women do actually have sex for free with their significant others/husbands/boyfriends/girlfriends, right?? And, there is this thing called “masturbation” for which you need neither money or permission from others to play with yourself, am I correct?? If people are so willing to pay them for the pleasure of watching them engage in sex they already enjoy, then who am I or you to prevent them from collecting their hard earned pay??
And…kind of strange for a movement that calls itself “leftist” to say that workers should permanently restrict their compensation for services they offer to less than what the market would compensate them for?? I mean, if forced free labor is so immoral and wrong, why should sex workers, porn models, and performers be required to put out for free?? A right-winger makes that kind of argument every day against Walmart cashiers/stockers making $8 per hour. It’s no less right-wing when “feminists” throw it at sex workers.
Or: Women in porn are often screaming with joy, but sometimes they are also screaming in pain. Which should we believe? If their pleasure is real, and not faked, then their pain is also real, and not faked.
Yeah, and should we believe it when we see Jason slice and dice through several humans in the Friday the 13th series, too?? Or, when pro wrestlers or pro boxers run plenty of “I’ll KEEEEEEL YOU!!!” smack prior to their matches? Yeah, Mike Tyson really would eat Evander Holyfield’s children, if you believed the mythical powers of overhype and satire.
Some women in porn really are loud when they come, and some women aren’t so much, but they enhance the performance up a bit to heighten the portrayal of sexual pleasure for their audience. That’s what we call…good acting.
Now, some acts might indeed be uncomfortable or even somewhat painful to endure, too…but that’s for the performer herself to endure for her craft, or complain to the producers or her partner to not quite push so hard. It is NOT, however, up to some outside bypasser to determine just out of sight or assumed bias.
Emphasis here on “assumed bias”, since OAG essentially assumes here that porn women only scream out of pain from being “raped” and “degraded” and “abused”, because that’s the only roles she is capable of giving them that fits her narrowly tailored vision of porn as perpetual rape.
Or: Once Jenna Jameson got very powerful in the industry, she began refusing do scenes involving anal sex. This suggests to me that she doesn’t actually enjoy anal sex. Yet Im sure if you investigate her earlier movies, you can probably find a scene or two where she is appearing to enjoy it. Why? Its called acting.
Interesting how Jenna Jameson always seems to crop up in antiporn “feminist” arguments as the antihero who profited from her own abuse, doesn’t it?? Maybe the reason Jenna decided not to do anal sex after she got some power was that she simply lost interest in it, or, she decided that she didn’t need to engage in it in order to pursue her porn career.
Plus, if I remember right, she became a highly publicized “VIVID Girl”, which (if I recall correctly; someone can correct me if I’m wrong here) contractually forbidded her from performing anal scenes for anyone other than that company. Not sure about her later contract with Wicked.
Besides, Jenna is but one performer; what about the hundreds of other performers who willingly perform anal sex with relish and without any damage whatsoever, or those who do so even with the occasional injury because they simply love the feel of cock inside their asses?? Or, the multitude of performers on the other side of that paradigm whom have had successful careers without so much as performing one anal scene…even though some of them enjoy anal in their personal non-porn lives? All OAG would have to do to get some truthful information is to simply ask porn performers about their anal experiences. Apparently, that would be just a bit too much effort; so much easier in the antiporn hivemind to simply assume injury out of spite.
2) They say: Strippers are empowered
You say: If they’re so powerful, then why do strip clubs have security guards protecting the dancers? Why do women working bachelor parties have to take security with them?
The answer to OAG’s first question: Because strip clubs are under strict regulations to avoid direct sexual contact already, and the security guards are there as much to control the dancers from going too far as they are to protect them from the occasional drunk assholery of some patrons. Plus, gate crashers looking for trouble can be an occupational hazard.
To answer Q #2: As far as I know, most women working bachelor parties don’t need security; if things go awry, they can simply leave or call the cops. Plus, there is one very important control on the bachelor’s (or his buddies’) behavior: his wife-to-be (or their sig others) discovering his overstepping his boundaries and throwing his ass out. (Or, their asses out.) That tends to keep things handled quite well.
Or: How is it empowering for women to give men exactly what they’ve come to expect from us?
Really, OAG?? You mean, men only expect women to drop their panties, get on their knees, and suck on men’s knobs at a moment’s notice? Does that include men’s mothers, sisters, relatives, and any woman they see at the moment?? If that was the case, then there wouldn’t be any need for porn because men could get their rocks off quite easily through the next woman they see, amirite?? Misandry is a powerful drug, I guess.
Or: How is it empowering to grovel and compete for male attention and cash…like a trained seal doing flips in a tank to get his fish reward?
First off…adult women are not FISH.
Secondly…even trained seals used to flip around in the ocean when they were untrained in the wild in order to attract their mates.
And finally….whatever happened to equal pay and comparable worth?? And, isn’t it the MEN who are doing most of the groveling for female attention…and they’re the ones being seperated from their cash, too??
3) Porn/prostitution have always been around, they always will be, so what’re you gonna do?
You say: Rape, murder, and incest have always been around too. Should we be okay with those things?
Sexually violating, physically abusing, and murdering people are already illegal and should damn well be. So is having sex with blood relatives. Consensual adult sex, whether done for free or in exchange for cash, isn’t quite the same, and should not be persecuted or punished anywhere near the same. Being OK with it isn’t the issue; actual informed consent is.
4) They say: Porn-stars and strippers are celebrating their sexuality
You say: Why does celebrating your sexuality always seem to happen in public for strangers and a paycheck? Does anyone ever get to celebrate their sexuality in private with their partner?
Aside from the fact already made in response to Point 1) that porn perfomers and sex workers already engage in such private sex with their significant others, what in the hell does OAG have against celebrating consensual adult sexuality in public?? Or, getting paid enough to survive comfortably by promoting consensual adult sex?? She sounds more like an antigay fundamentalist ripping on about Leathermen and twinks to dismiss gay men..while ignoring, perhaps, the radicalfeminists celebrating lesbianism as “female bonding”?? Oh, I’m sorry…am I stepping on your hypocrisy a bit too much, OAG??
5) They say: My partner and I both enjoy using porn, so what’s the problem? Who’s getting hurt?
You say: Some people like to wear fur coats, or eat veal, or shop at Wal-Mart. Your enjoyment of a product does not erase the suffering that went into creating that product.
Except that not all fur coats come from dead animals, not everyone eats veal or chooses vegan, and there are actual alternatives to Walmart that are as bad or even worse when it comes to exploiting their employees. But hey, if OAG really did care about exploitation of working folk outside of porn (or veganism or animal rights, for that matter), wouldn’t she actually give those issues the same emphasis of anger that she so throws at women who do porn and the men (and women) who enjoy watching them??
6) They say: Ok, maybe some of the women in porn didn’t freely choose their careers, but lots of them did.
You say: If you have a comprehensive research survey of all current and former porn workers, I’d love to see it. There isn’t one available. However, there are major studies involving prostitutes around the world, which found that 90% of them wanted out immediately, but didn’t have the resources.
Hate to get ahead of myself, but let’s remember: In porn, performers are paid to engage in sex with other performers for their own pleasure and the pleasure of others. In prostitution, the worker is paid to have sex with the client actually paying. Now, there are gray lines, such as self-made “Fuck-a-Fan” porn where a “civilian” gets to have sex with his favorite performer…but only after stringent testing. And even there, the “civilian” usually is a long-time fan of the performer to begin with. There is a difference, you see.
Plus, as Jerry Barnett responded with, even before the Porn Studies Journal became a burr up Gail Dines’ butt, there has been plenty of study of porn performers from plenty of angles. Do the works Pleasure and Danger, Sex Work, Dirty Looks, Whores And Other Feminists, and You Study WHAT??? ring any bells, OAG??
Also….so sorry, but just as the plural of “anecedote” is still not “data”; regurgitating Melissa Farley’s ofted disproved/debunked stat of “90 percent of all ‘prostituted women’ want out of the industry” is still not the same as “scientific study”. Not even if Ashton Kutcher endorsed it once.
7) They say: Ok, well not everyone who uses porn becomes a rapist/addicted/fucked-up
You say: Not everyone who smokes cigarettes gets lung cancer, and cigarettes still come with warning labels.
Except for the essential facts that 1) Cigarettes and other tobacco products contain active carcinogens that have been proven beyond a doubt to contribute to lung cancer, yet we still don’t go so far as to ban people from smoking; 2) There has been NO scientific studies even coming close to proving that porn contributes in any way to increased rape or “addiction”..and many studies actually reach the opposite conclusion; and 3) Kind of hard to place “warning labels” on sex acts since it is still people who commit abusive acts, not the acts themselves…..other than that, OAG might actually have a point there. Ahhh….no, she doesn’t.
8) They say: If you hate porn, just don’t watch it
You say: That’s like saying if you hate air pollution, dont breathe. I’m surrounded by porn everywhere I go whether I like it or not. Where’s my free choice not to see it?
Well…I’m surrounded by assholes, wingnuts, idiots, and other assorted miscreants everywhere I go, but I don’t feel the need to go out and banish people for even being assholic or wingnutty or idiotic. That kinda comes with living, you know.
And, just like I don’t have a free choice to determine where my tax money is going, nor do I have a free choice to choose which taxes I have to pay, part of living in a diverse world is that you put up with people, imagery, or acts that you may or may not like or even detest. As long as those acts or people do no harm onto others or themselves, though, you’ll just have to run along and deal with it. You can’t just shut out the world because it upsets you.
Plus, there are more direct ways than censorship to control air pollution: Punish the polluters and have them clean up their environment. Or, give support to efforts by responsible businesses that are committed to cleaning up said environment and improving the conditions for everyone. You know, like, what sex worker activists and some porn performers/producers/consumers are trying to do right now, but can’t suceed in doing as long as you dismiss them with your cries for blanket censorship??
9) They say: Nobody is forcing them to do it. It’s their choice.
You say: The word “choice” implies that there was at least one other viable option available. What was their other option?
Are you saying, OAG, that if another choice other than stripping or porn performing was available, they should have been forced to take that other choice?? Even if the other choice was worse off (even if you considered it “viable”)?? Or, are you saying that a sex worker’s choice shouldn’t be accepted or recognized if it doesn’t fit your fatalistic fantasy of innate abuse and rape?? Either way, who the hell are you to judge someone else for their actions merely for your personal fee-fees??
10) They say: Pornography and prostitution are different.
You say: Not really, pornography is just prostitution plus a camera.
See response to 6).
11) They say: Porn has always existed. Look at Pompeii.
You say: Three wall paintings in Pompeii do not compare to the multi-billion dollar global industry we have today. That’s like comparing a caveman’s smoke signals to the iPhone.
You mean that the cavemen or the Romans could have actually invented the iPhone back then, but they were just too stupid and manly and too busy jacking off to wall paintings to put forth the effort?? Seriously.
Plus, you’d be surprised and shocked and amazed by the depth of sexual imagery that went on in ancient cultures, and not just in Rome, either. If anything, the depth of the sexual freakery was even filthier than modern times. Plus, they made their money through touring, too. Maybe not in the same form as the modern industry, but sexual commerce thrived when not repressed by fundamentalist religion…and probably even in those places, too, under the radar.
12) They say: You just hate sex.
You say: Porn is not sex, but a distorted, for-sale, fictionalized version of sex. If I told you I don’t eat at Burger King, would you tell me I hated food?
Not eating at Burger King is certainly your perogative, as is not watching porn you dislike. Nuking all hamburger-based restaurants because you don’t like Whoppers, on the other hand, or calling for jailing every man who views a porn clip because he MIGHT end up raping someone, probably makes you a fascist censor. And no, your personal opinion on sex has not a Goddess damn thing to do with that.
And…”porn is not sex”?? Isn’t that like saying that the National Football League isn’t real football, but a “hyped, for-sale, fictionalized version” of…you know, high school football??
Or: I like sex just fine. But I prefer to have sex only with someone I actually know and like, for free, in private with no strangers watching. Why is that weird to you?
As if porn performers don’t like the other performers they let into their pussies, mouths, and asses? I mean, you have to like someone very much in order to be that intimate with them, even if it’s only for an 4-5 hour shoot.
And…just because you are more conventionally prudish (and that is your right to be, as well), doesn’t mean you get to bash down on those who aren’t so private with their enjoyment of sex, and who still do no harm to anyone. They’re not imposing their openess on you; why should you impose your prudishness on them??
13) They say: You’re just jealous because you’re not as pretty as a porn-star
You say: Even porn-stars don’t look like their original selves. After a few rounds of surgery, a dye job, and some makeup I could look exactly like them.
Two words: Shelley. Lubben.
Three more words: Tammy. Faye. Bakker.
Plus, allow me to introduce you to Dana DeArmond, Siri, Courtney Trouble, Jayla Diamond, Debi Diamond, Marilyn Chambers (well, when she was still alive), Christy Canyon, Vanessa del Rio, April Flores, Carmen Valentina, and countless other porn performer legends/superstars/models who managed to survive on only makeup and slutpower, without any artificial enhancements.
But, why knock on women who are actually physically attactive and can perform well on screen or online? Like, only mainstream Hollywood actresses can’t make sex tapes, too??
14) They say: You’re just jealous because men like them better than you.
You say: It’s been successfully proven that just about any naked woman can get any straight man’s attention pretty quickly. It’s not hard to do, and it doesn’t make you special.
So….are you saying, OAG, that if Hillary Clinton or Sarah Palin tomorrow decided to go on the teevee tomorrow announcing their candidacies, take off their clothes, and pose buck naked for a nudie magazine, every single man would fall so head over heels for them that either one would be appointed President of the United States by acclamation?? Naaaaah, I don’t think so.
Nudity can produce plenty of reactions….overwhelming sexual arousal is only one of them. It depends on the individual responses of the subject, as well as the audience.
15) They say: I’ve watched porn and I’ve never raped anyone.
You say: I guess you are arguing that words and images paired together do not have the power to influence human behavior. If that is your argument, then kindly explain:
 the multi-billion dollar industry called ‘advertising’
 kids learning their ABCs from Sesame Street
 people learning to make a meal by watching Martha Stewart
 public service announcements telling us not to drink and drive
 (insert your own example here)
First off….rapists have been raping without the need for porn as an aid for centuries, and probably will still do so even if porn is banished as OAG would love to happen.
Seccondly….advertising does not control people’s hunger or thirst or desire for education; it simply passes on messages that people internalize and take into consideration in making their own decisions.
“Influencing” behavior is not the same as regulating it…and notice that OAG is using that as an excuse for her opinion that government should directly regulate male (and female) sexual behavior by criminalizing certain imagery and behavior as “abusive” and “degrading” to a group of people (women) solely on the basis of assumption.
16) They say: The women in the industry make more money than men, therefore it’s empowering to them.
You say: It’s true that pornography and prostitution are the only industries where a woman can out-earn her male counterparts. What does that say about our economy, or about women’s power, that the only way for a woman to outearn a man is to get naked and fuck strangers?
What it says is that the economy needs to be restructured so that women who perform the same jobs as men and who show the same compentency should be paid at least the same amount, and that women should be given the same level of benefits and responsibility and accountability as men should be. That’s an issue of sexism and inequality, not an issue of porn.
And, I have in my hand, as The Mighty Carnac’s straight man would say, the final argument:
17) They say: You want to censor all porn!
You say: I haven’t ever mentioned censorship, which doesn’t address demand for porn. You’re saying that to shut me up and it won’t work.
Of course, you don’t mention “censorship” since you want to cloak the issue of your dislike and disgust of porn under the realm of “civil rights” liberalism, and differentiate your movement from the Christian Right. And yet, how else would your hatred of porn resolve itself but to rely on censorship and punishment of the consumers and users?
Since “demand” for porn simply isn’t going to abate regardless of how much shame you throw at its users, how else are you going to bring down the demons? More “civil rights ordinances”, a la Catherine MacKinnon’s seminal Minneapolis ordinance?? Nope….that was killed by the US Supreme Court as censorship. Remarking porn as “sex trafficking” and sending all male users to “john school” to rid them of those nasty degrading desires?? Lotsa Luck there, ladies….that’s not even working for clients of street sex workers. I guess that all that’s left is forcing filters on ISP’s and “education” and bans on “revenge porn” and “violent porn” and “torture porn” expanded to drag everyone else in their dragnet.
But then again, if One Angry Whackjob….errrrrrrrr, One Angry Girl actually was interested in discussing real solutions to her angst about sexually explicit media, she wouldn’t be One Angry Girl, now wouldn’t she??
BTW…here’s that video from Jordan Owen I talked about earlier. The “One Angry Valley Girl” simulation of OAG’s “rebuttal” gives it a nice touch, no??
Jordan Owen (@JordanOwen42) refuting OneAngryGirl’s “handy comebacks” on pornography (via YouTube)