Up Front by Emma Hart

Read Post

Up Front: They Have the Best Rides

141 Responses

First ←Older Page 1 2 3 4 5 6 Newer→ Last

  • Kerry Weston,

    Here's an everyday use of porn - a woman (or a man) is with a man and he can't do the business. So he says "Hang on, let's just watch a little stick film, then we'll be right."

    Is this okay to you? That he needs porn to get aroused and then uses your body - who is he really screwing? Is it just visual viagra?

    For me, the line is really clear between sex for its own sake and meaningful sex between people who have a relationship beyond sex. But I don't perceive that as necessarily how it is for everyone else.

    Manawatu • Since Jan 2008 • 494 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    <quote>Was it for this the suffragettes lay down their lives?</quote?

    Oh dear... with all due respect, Cecelia, is this the feminist argument of some Colonel Blimp huffing "is this what our boys fought and died for during the War?" :)

    Still, you're quite right about one thing, I rather doubt the kind of 19th and early 20th century suffragettes who believed extending the vote to women was a natural extension of the idea of women as "the angel of the hearth" -- a moral imperative to protect men from themselves -- would have the slightest whit of sympathy with moral delinquents.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Is this okay to you? That he needs porn to get aroused and then uses your body - who is he really screwing? Is it just visual viagra?

    Well, no it wouldn't be OK with me. Then again, I wouldn't really be happy with the sexual component of my relationship if the Better Half "needed" an Abercrombie and Fitch catalogue to prime the pump. I think we'd need a pretty free and frank exchange of views about our respective boundaries.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    And the commodification of pretty much anything will tend to map onto already established isobars of power, as inflected by gender, race, socioeconomic status, etc etc etc. Or is it a chicken and egg thing, and those fault lines create the commodification in the first place? In any case, claims of empowerment inside that structure might well be approached sceptically.

    That's what I was trying to express yesterday, although you put it a great deal better. But it's not as if I don't see how a sex worker who happened to enjoy her work and was pretty comfortable with herself might feel verily annoyed to be told that she's trapped in a power structure built by some guy back in the day when we were hunter gatherers.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    But the day will come when you find yourself on the less powerful side of the equation - when the other people you're up against hold all the cards.

    This is common for everybody, often everyday, in all walks of life, not just a selective few that don't fit the mould. We don't have a perfect system so, yes, the courts stick to the law (albeit I assume not good laws for the family court, but then it's the law that needs addressing). We have tried to respect different self employment professions (by legalisation) ,but, in many jobs, there is always some at the bottom of the ladder and some at the top. Consequences come with every choice made and I can't see why it always reverts to " Wont somebody think of the children." We as adults could try and make it better all around by acceptance of others choices without personal moral judgement.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    this is a must read

    Link no worky, anjum, can you repost it?

    I will get there, when I have more time, but is any of it causal? ie, we took a bunch of people(male and female), examined their attitudes towards men and women, then made them watch a bunch of porn over an extended period of time, then re-questioned them and their attitudes had changed? Because it may be, surely, that having those attitudes towards women makes those men more likely to watch large amounts of porn, and not the other way around?

    If you surveyed couples who watched pron together, do you think you'd get a different result?

    <quote>Is this okay to you? That he needs porn to get aroused and then uses your body - who is he really screwing? Is it just visual viagra?

    Kerry, I wouldn't be happy if someone 'used my body', whether or not there was porn involved. If a woman uses sexual fantasy to become aroused and then has sex with her partner, do you view that the same way, as 'using his body'?

    Was it for this the suffragettes lay down their lives?

    Can you see how some women feel like, socially, they've traded being told what to do by men, for being told what to do by women? They're defending their right to choose. Katie Roiphe said feminism had gone from giving women a voice to telling them what to say, and was lambasted by feminists, which kind of proved her point.

    In any case, claims of empowerment inside that structure might well be approached sceptically.

    Believe me, I see both sides. I also think there's a difference in usage of language that stops both sides from properly understanding each other. So when some people talk about empowerment, they're talking about an entirely internal, personal thing, and others hear them and are confused and horrified because they're thinking of being empowered in terms of an external power structure.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Heh, epic quote fail. More coffee...

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • rodgerd,

    <i>and if you don't know, then it's possible you are a party to abuse.</i>

    If you drink coffee, there's a good chance you're a party to opression. If you use oil - by eating, driving a car, taking a plane, using the bus - you definitely are.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 512 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    If you drink coffee, there's a good chance you're a party to opression. If you use oil - by eating, driving a car, taking a plane, using the bus - you definitely are.

    Tsk, we source our gasoline directly from a co-operative in Venezuela.

    (But seriously, would fair trade oil be a tremendous idea or what? I'm putting it in parentheses cause I don't want to end up like Enrico Mattei.)

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    If a woman uses sexual fantasy to become aroused and then has sex with her partner, do you view that the same way, as 'using his body'?

    Oh say, I don't think this is a fair comparison, maybe it shows a fundamental difference between the sexes, but getting one's body "used" is the prime objective of many young (and possibly old) men.

    Since Nov 2006 • 2075 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    They're defending their right to choose.

    I note that for different celebrations, such as those things women do before they get married,( some hen thing goin' on there:) Show Boys is very popular. I am not keen on the idea myself and twice now have declined, because, it's not my thing, but many thoroughly enjoy that and I hear stories of how raucous it can get.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    Oh say, I don't think this is a fair comparison, maybe it shows a fundamental difference between the sexes, but getting one's body "used" is the prime objective of many young (and possibly old) men.

    Did you mean, Young mens bodies being used by old men?

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4327 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    Did you mean, Young mens bodies being used by old men?

    Well I was responding specifically to the suggestion that a woman might get fired up on fantasy & "use" a man's body. I mean, that would have been a dream friday night when I was in my 20s.

    Since Nov 2006 • 2075 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    I mean, that would have been a dream friday night when I was in my 20s.

    ..and for many others too. And then in their 30s, 40s etc

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • anjum rahman,

    here is the full link: http://rmott62.wordpress.com/2008/04/04/not-for-sale/. i thought i was doing well finally managing to do proper links, but not perfect yet!

    i ended reading a lot last night of the experiences of women in the porn industry. i accept they aren't universal, but i feel totally comfortable making judgements about an industry where this kind of thing happens:

    "That's it you little bitch, suck that cock. Share your pretty fucking mouth. Welcome to Blow Bang you whore. Yes, gag you little bitch, to the balls. Yeah, spit up, you little baby. Yes, the cocks love you. You like all the attention, don't you little girl. Filthy fucking cock slut. You are going to cheer for us, you little bitch. You're going to take six for the team. Choke on it. Yes, aren't you popular. Now we know why you're the popular cheerleader. You're not done yet, little girl. You're not done until you give a gift, until you puke. Now you're speaking our language."
    --Dialogue from Blow Bang #4, quoted in "Getting Off" by Robert Jensen.

    here is a powerful piece:

    See, here's the deal: just as the men who come to the bar have to be completely devoid of empathy for the women they're buying, the women also have to be completely devoid of empathy for the men who are buying them. It's a survival thing, and besides, how can we like you when you're paying to own us? No, oftentimes women will think and fantasize about smashing your head in with a baseball bat while they gyrate in your lap. But of course, we can't really do that can we? For whatever reason, we must allow ourselves to be bought and sold for the erections that men get over the power associated with owning a human being.

    So, while we may be thinking about how disgusting your teeth are, how horrible your breath is, what a stupid shirt you're wearing and how we'd like to run a cheese grater over your smug face, we're smiling and looking at you through submissive eyes as we robotically rub our bodies over yours. But that anger has to go somewhere doesn't it? And, just as with everything else, it does. The anger turns into something else, and oftentimes it is turned inwards. We starve ourselves and abuse ourselves, and let you abuse us because we believe we deserve it. Other times we dull the pain, using alcohol and downers to rid ourselves of the anger, to crush it and keep it in check.

    steven, i totally accept that teenage boys can often suffer a significant amount of abuse in the production of porn, that in fact their experiences may be similar to many of the women. maybe some of the men suffer as well.

    i guess the reason that some of us have stereotypes about women in the sex industry because of information like this:

    In 2003, Melissa Farley and Jacqueline Lynne interviewed 100 prostituted women in Vancouver , Canada .

    Their findings included the following:
    • 82% reported a history of childhood sexual abuse, by an average of four different perpetrators
    • 72% reported a history of physical abuse by a parent or guardian
    • Since they began prostituting:
    • 90% had been physically assaulted
    • 78% had been raped
    • 75% had suffered injuries ranging from black eyes to concussions and broken bones
    • 67% had pornography made of them
    • 64% were forced to perform an act that customers had seen in porn
    • 86% reported past or current homelessness
    • 82% wanted treatment for drug or alcohol addiction

    of course many women may freely choose to be involved in this industry and genuinely enjoy it. but what about that seemingly large number of women who don't, the ones who are abused? being non-judemental doesn't seem to be any kind of answer. being supportive of the individual women who have suffered - yes, absolutely. i totally disagree with the "radfem" comment that emma referred to. but let's not pretend that everything is light and fun, and is provided at no cost to anyone.

    hamilton • Since Nov 2006 • 130 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    of course many women may freely choose to be involved in this industry and genuinely enjoy it. but what about that seemingly large number of women who don't, the ones who are abused?

    What Ren does for them is work for SWOP, which involves getting help for sex workers who need it, getting them out of the job if that's what they want, and supporting them if they want to stay in it. I'd say she's got as firm a grasp on the realities of the situation as anyone - that's why I chose her for this. She doesn't paint the whole thing as a glorious rose-strewn path, and neither have I.

    Her situation is complicated by working in an environment where sex work is illegal.

    The UO report I linked to in the column has the data for NZ prostitutes. The number of prostitutes who say they've been raped by a client in the last year is 3%. Those who say they entered the industry to support a drug habit, 16% of female workers, but 60% of male workers.

    When it comes to reasons for staying in the industry, 'supporting drug use' is outnumbered two to one by 'enjoy the sex'.

    I agree that the language of some porn can be really, deeply disturbing and misognynist. But that's not all porn. Here's Ms Naughty talking about how she hates the clichéd language of porn, in the context of talking to another woman who likes it. There's an uncomfortable fact that some women really enjoy rough sex or 'degrading' sex, but it's still consensual sex.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    I mean, that would have been a dream friday night when I was in my 20s.

    ..and for many others too. And then in their 30s, 40s etc

    And I admire their stamina.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    Am I the only person horribly conflicted and (almost) thoroughly depressed by this topic? I don't know what I think. I do know that these debates always bring to mind Audre Lorde to my mind. 'The master's tools will never dismantle the master's house.'

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    'to mind... to my mind'? I am also rendered completely incoherent by this subject, apparently :)

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    'to mind... to my mind'? I am also rendered completely incoherent by this subject, apparently :)

    I keep having stuff to say but no time to sit down and get right ...

    Tomorrow, maybe.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    Am I the only person horribly conflicted and (almost) thoroughly depressed by this topic?

    In that you've finally found yourself discussing porn on an online forum? Yeah. Me too.

    Heh - I 'm expecting Lisa Lewis to turn up any moment! (Um. here, not where I actually am at present. Just to clarify.)

    Since Nov 2006 • 2075 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    In that you've finally found yourself discussing porn on an online forum? Yeah. Me too.

    Come to the Dark Side, Andrew, we have porn and cookies.

    I don't know what I think.

    There are areas around this where I am just hugely conflicted. I'm more interested in people who find the whole thing complex and difficult than those that see it in stark black and white terms, either way.

    Like breast implants. I hate breast implants (with the same caveats Craig put on it re cancer and transsexuals). I love breasts, I think they're great, but not if they look like missile cones.

    But according to what I've actually advocated, if a woman makes a free, educated decision to get breast implants, isn't that none of my business? Also, I've never been in the position of sitting home being miserable because I thought my breasts were too small.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • anjum rahman,

    but it's still consensual sex

    no emma, it isn't always. some of the links i've provided show that. the linda lovelace example was one where she was forced to pretend it was consensual and she was enjoying it, and wasn't free to say anything different until quite some years later. i don't think that is an isolated case, even if it's an old one.

    and it may be consensual, but when the alternative is homelessness/ poverty, or going back to an abuse situation, or issues of drug addiction, or issues of low self-esteem due to prior/current abuse, then i don't accept that situation fits into the notion that they've freely chosen to be involved in order to have a good time.

    that 35.3% "Felt that they had to accept a client when they didn’t want to in last 12 months" makes one wonder why they did accept them then. what hampered their ability to just say no?

    a possibly unrelated point is that the porn industry depends on the notion that the women are behaving consensually and are enjoying what is done to them. when their income depends on looking and acting like they're enjoying it, then chances are that some women are not going to be telling the whole truth when they say they enjoy the degrading sex.

    hamilton • Since Nov 2006 • 130 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    In that you've finally found yourself discussing porn on an online forum? Yeah. Me too.

    Yeah, that too!

    Oh, fuck it. Some anecdotal notes about pole-dancing: I have been to female-stripping clubs in the southern USA - not the 'postmodern, ironic, sex-positive hipster' kind, but the 'working-class married dudes who work at chemical plants bringing in six-packs of Budweiser' kind - and found the vibe really strange. For one thing, the men all gaze like lions on the Serengeti, without speaking. What are they thinking? Are they having fun? What's so serious about this for them? For another, the strippers all *loved me* because I wasn't into them in 'that way'. The experiences were... really odd, frankly. Even odder: the woman who made the most money in one of the clubs I went to *hardly ever took her clothes off*. She had just started dancing and she was shy and embarrassed and very sweet. She made a killing. What does *that* mean?

    It's all so confusing.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Sorry, anjum, when I wrote:

    There's an uncomfortable fact that some women really enjoy rough sex or 'degrading' sex, but it's still consensual sex.

    I meant, in their own lives. Y'know, ordinary women. So do some men, and I mean being on the receiving end. The BDSM community just doesn't break down by gender, their are fairly even numbers of Doms and subs in both genders.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

First ←Older Page 1 2 3 4 5 6 Newer→ Last

Post your response…

Please sign in using your Public Address credentials…

Login

You may also create an account or retrieve your password.