Solutions to Porn’s Problems Part Two

1.       Getting Sex Work Taken Seriously, and its Workers Protected

Some, maybe many, have the belief that sex work needs to be ended, because it’s bad for society and its workers. I think this is fueled by an opinion that no woman that had a solid childhood and a loving family would want a job involving sex.

It’s an underlying concept, an ironic concept considering we’re talking mostly about feminists, that if these women are doing this, obviously they have no control of their sexuality. It’s odd because this concept is never applied to men who work in the industry. The attitude I’ve always been exposed to goes something like “women go into pornography because they crave attention and filling a massive psychological void; men go into pornography because they crave filling many vaginal voids.” It’s an attitude nobody ever self-doubts, or considers the double standards to. It reminds me of the Victorian Era, only if I visited my doctor today and requested a fingering for my female hysteria, he’d look at me like I was nuts.

Everybody has different tastes in where they want to work, what they want to do, and why. I’ve spent more time than I’d like to admit pissed off at the men in my life who couldn’t understand the point of college. Manual labor, to most of them, was the ideal; the higher the risks, the fucking sweeter the work. Some wanted to be these social romantics who got by on being friends with every person in town with a couch while they spent their whole lives “finding themselves”

I do not understand either of these. Manual labor, unless I’m at home and can start and stop, merely halts my mental processes. Great ideas come to mind, but if I stop to take them down every time I got them, I’d be fired in minutes. It’s not that I’m a lazy worker or anything, I actually tend to kick my own ass; but I just prefer working things out in my mind, and that’s my long term goal. As for couch surfing, I never understood the idea of not being independent, or at least striving to be.

I used to work at a fast food burger joint, and I knew folks who loved it. I, on the other hand, couldn’t stand it. Let me get this straight: I have to serve people food that are in their thirties, who treat me like a stupid cunt, even though at nineteen I had a higher education; yet I’m not given the opportunity to spit in their food? What the FUCK sort of job is this?

I could never work in garbage trucks, I could never be a politician, and I could never imagine being followed everywhere I went by paparazzi.

Yet here I am. I’m not working to shut down warehouses, or fast food establishments, or garbage systems, or Hollywood, or even the American government. I just accept different strokes for different folks, I treat people with as much respect as I can, and I go on with my plans and my life. I am an American, and the American Dream is different for all of us.

Put fifty women that can’t understand prostitutes who like being prostitutes in the same room, however, and you’ve got a non-profit organization.

I have a belief that once something is in the world, you cannot fully remove it or its impact. The allies won World War Two, but there are still Nazis. There are dead languages, but were it not for them, we would not have the languages we have today.

And there are people in this world who love pornography.

Sex work is the oldest work. Fertility goddesses are thought to be the oldest artworks in world history. Animals participate in prostitution. Do you know why? It’s because, ignoring all social constructs we’ve developed as “advanced” creatures, sex feels good so why not live off it?

Yet we’ve developed these “advanced” social constructs that say women should be ashamed of their sexuality. It’s because we are sexual creatures that Eve took the apple from the tree or something confusing like that. And somehow, this means that if a woman wishes to use her sex to pay her bills, that not only are we to not understand why, but we are to force her out of it and treat her like crap if she won’t leave; and don’t even get us STARTED on the concept of a woman doing it solely for her own enjoyment!

Do NOT get me wrong, I think in both prostitution and pornography there are serious problems. Sex trafficking is a huge problem worldwide, when women are taken and forced to go into prostitution. Sexual assault on sex workers is a huge problem.

What people don’t understand is legalizing and regulating prostitution has the potential to fix a lot of those problems. If there were legitimate businesses devoted to men buying sex from women who want to sell it, it would be much harder for criminals to drag women into it (especially minors), it’d be easier to find the people doing it, and punishments could be more severe.

And y’know, porn needs regulation too. The current laws on obscenity are vague. There’s either the standard (which I learned in Human Sexuality class) of “it’s not obscene if it’s art with story” or there’s the ruling in Miller vs California that says “it’s not obscene unless the community decides it is”.

Another point Jiz Lee made (I really need to write about Oakland still …) is that pornography is difficult to censor or put limits on because it’s about exploring fantasies. I have concerns with porn though as a viewer. Is what I’m watching a fantasy, or is something seriously wrong here? Does this fantasy allude to a larger problem, one that shouldn’t be promoted?

My opinion for that, which I doubt will catch on but I feel would be a great fix, is for porn sites to have totally honest open interviews before and after, like kink.com does. It shows consent and mutual interest in the portrayed fantasy, even if minds change halfway. The problem is some sites have taken the interview model and scripted those too. So there’s a whole problem too in keeping these sites accountable and good to their model employees – male, female, and all in between.

What about the establishments that are legal, you may be asking. Many women love stripping, yes, but just as many if not more hate it. Sometimes horrible things happen to these women and nothing is done about it. Shouldn’t, by your theory, the law be on their side?

In the industrial age, workers were treated poorly. They were paid less than their living expenses. They worked 14-16 hour shifts without breaks. There are horror stories of people being locked in the buildings for their shifts, and then the buildings being destroyed or damaged on a severe level while the employees were locked in. There are horror stories of young children being made to work.

I’m talking about so-called “legitimate” work here – assembly lines, stores, etc.  Yet people still had to fight for better workplace environments.

I’m going to link to an interesting website I found when I first started looking at feminist porn and feminist sex sites. It’s the website for a documentary called Live Nude Girls Unite! about what occurred when a strip / peep show club tried to unionize after they discovered videographers coming in and making pornography of their work without any form of consent, after their employers told them to just get over it. I haven’t found a copy yet so I have no clue how the situation unfolded, but I feel whether it was successful or not, is can show us that there are ways for us to think outside the box and solve the problems these women and all of us as people face with sex and the sex industry.

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~ by Stefani Vonne on 01/31/2011.

One Response to “Solutions to Porn’s Problems Part Two”

  1. […] Solutions to Porn’s Problems, Part Two […]

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