Friday, 22 June 2012

porn n that, yeah?

Did a little writing on porn. It got a bit complicated and I got nowhere. Anyone want to read? Go on, you might disagree. I think I might disagree. Like I said, a bit complicated.


PORN N THAT, YEAH?


A couple of Sundays ago I watched Louis Theroux's Twilight of the Porn Stars. I enjoyed it, but of course I did, it's Louis Theroux. He does plenty of that 'ask candid, searching question and then shut up' thing. He wields the power of awkward silences like a mace.

The last shots and voice-over of the documentary focussed on some of the positive elements of the sex industry; the tenderness between actors and the assumed community of misfits that might not 'fit-in' elsewhere. It is easy to cast a cynical eye over porn and I guess that Theroux wanted to shed a hopeful light on the characters he'd met, and essentially have a happy ending for his program. He did touch on the exploitative nature of the business but quickly shimmied past it while lightly plucked guitars rang out over an LA sunset.

this is a manchild. duh.
Porn is such a quandary. I would love to say that as a man-child that considers himself to be relatively moral, ethical and thoughtful, I do not watch porn, but that would be a lie. In fact, I don't know a single man that doesn't. I don't think that there is anything wrong in watching people have sex, or anything else, whatever you're into. But how can you tell if it's all totally consensual, that people are being treated decently and no ones being horribly exploited?

I think the short answer is- you can't.

If you haven't seen the documentary, it's on BBC iplayer. Watch out for the particularly nasty piece of work that works at LA Direct. She is a British lady, probably in her mid 40's, who refers to her actors as whores and is reason enough never to watch a jazz movie again. She is evil and I hope she catches Bird Flu.

Dobby from Peep Show (I was poorly on Sunday. Thank you 4OD.) says this-

'Men like to look at troubling images of heroine addicts showing their genitals for money. That's hardwired, like spatial awareness. It is disgusting and shameful, but y'know, so's the textile industry.'

This rang a little bell for me. I know the textile industry pays terribly low wages to workers in awful conditions in poverty-riddled countries. I don't know facts and figures but I have heard enough on the wind to get very bad juju off it. And I trust my instincts. So generally I buy from charity shops, I don't buy Nike or Gap or Primark, and I if I'm going to spend real money on something new, then I try and do some research into where it's come from. Although that very rarely happens as I am impoverished (relatively of course). Basically, I make an effort to contribute as little as possible to the horrible things that soulless, powerful people enforce on the under-classes. It's not perfect, but it works for my conscience. I can say, head high (or at least not hung in shame), that I am a moderately discerning consumer. But how can I be even moderately discerning when it comes to porn?

I think the short answer is- I can't.

If I see porn that worries me, obviously I don't watch it, I turn it off. But it's still there, behind the thumbnail, shrieking and grunting at me like a Vicious Knid or Gruncher. But whether the images within the porn are disturbing or not, is it possible to watch pornography in which women, or men, haven't been exploited. Is it possible to be a moral porn consumer?

We are all exploited when we work low-wage, long-hour jobs. We give our time and labour for some shit-fisted tosser at the top of a ladder of bastards, who makes infinitely more money than we do. Porn actors give up their sex and their privacy for better money (arguably). They have a choice, at least we hope they do. That choice is, 'Guzzle this fuzzy brutes cock-jam today or work a menial low-paid job for two to four months'. Deal or no deal? Someone is making waaay more money than the actors in a porn film. Someone considerably richer than the actors has decided how much anal/threesome/gang bangs are worth. If one woman/man doesn't do it, there will be someone who needs the money just that tiny bit more, who almost certainly will. In a society where money equals freedom and is essential for any upward mobility; education, security, healthcare in America, this is exploitative. I'm aware that some porn actors/actresses may have skills in other trades, but I'm going on a presumption that they might do other things if they had the chance.

I wonder if this quandary would even exist in my mind if porn was a little less male-exclusive. The ratio of disturbingly nasty porn seems to be way too high, to the point where porn seems to actively exclude women. Sexual violence is an obvious example, but the sleazy grabbing and squeezing of women's breasts and asses, reducing them to actual meat, is ubiquitous and totally gross. I don't want these douche bags to get laid ever. Men and women both like rough sex but where are all the men getting degraded? Dominant ladies are hot. The prodding and inspecting is live objectification and it's fucked. Stop doing it.

Went a bit off-topic there.

I don't want to write forever. The can of worms I've opened in my own brain is spilling everywhere and making quite a mess. I'm going to curtail it there.

Basically porn's fucked. I'm a dick and if you watch porn, so are you.

Sorry.     

2 comments:

  1. Interesting article, Adam.

    I visit this site occasionally (perhaps for redemption):

    http://www.antipornmen.org/

    It can be a tad sententious, but good that it exists me thinks. Thought this article was interesting:

    http://www.antipornmen.org/2012/07/22/porn-hurts-women-so-say-the-partners-of-users/#.UD34U0gu2Cw

    Hope all's good with you.

    Nath

    P.S. Ha. Cock-jam. Must use that one more often.

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  2. I've read this article a couple of times. Over the years I have had very similar thoughts, especially making the connection between third-world workhouses and pornography. I think porn is pure capitalist exploitation- people sell their meat, the only commodity they are born with, to make money. I think one of the reasons pornography is so problematic in thinking peoples heads is that it explicitly shows what we are all doing all the time.

    One thing that I think is missing from this article is how pornography exploits both men and women. Men are the target audience of most porn, therefore the men in the video must look like it is their choice, that they are having fun, that they are in control, and that it is totally their choice- selling wish fulfilment to the target audience. At the same time the man in the porn must make himself no more than a penis, a meat stick that the male watching can project his self onto, and that is why the men are usually cut out of shot, their faces unseen, whilst the sex is on. POV porn is very popular for this reason, the male porn worker becomes an avatar for the watcher.

    As,on the whole, the target audience for porn is men, the men can't look to be exploited- that is, in most, shall-we -say 'mainstream' pornography- I know there are 'niche' markets where the men get degraded, but that doesn't fit into the given narrative of most porn so let's just skip it right now. A lot of gay men work in straight porn, and a lot of straight men take male-on-male porn- it's a job, it's work, and that is all the sex industry is,another place to work, and quite often you have to do things you don't enjoy to make a buck. By not recognising this you uphold the fantasy sold in the porn industry- a fantasy endemic to most of our culture- that it is men who want to have sex all the time and will stick it anywhere they can given half the chance, that men don't care about a woman's personality, and that women are subserviant to male sexual desire and have little of their own.

    Obviously in what I'm saying I have discounted all the more dubious aspects of the sex industry- drugs, sex slavery, revenge porn, blackmail, rape-fantasies, pseudo-paedophile porn, actual-paedophile porn, etc. But I don't want to go on- I might as well write my own blog. Basically, I just wanted to add to the conversation and let you know that I think this is an interesting and important subject and that I find it admirable that you want to talk about it, especially in conjunction with other labour markets. Well worth exploring in depth.

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