A Plea for Porn (and other Women’s Rights)

The Adult Film Industry is still a taboo subject despite the burgeoning sex trade. But by disparaging and isolating adult film actresses, we are opening the floodgates. These actresses are making a choice. They are willingly using their bodies to earn a living, and there are several organizations to help ensure that the actresses can work in an environment that respects their boundaries, their contracts, and their safety.

APAC is one such group. The Adult Performer Advocacy Committee’s mission is to “provide representation for performers in the adult film industry and to protect performers’ rights to a safer and more professional work environment.” Organizations like APAC are essential to help safeguard women’s rights in the adult industry workplace. They boast an impressive network of resources which include mentors, educational health videos, and a code of conduct.

However, the current state of pornography is spearheaded by amateur videos. Anyone with a camera can coerce, exploit, or forcibly subject a woman (or teenager) to have sex on camera. It doesn’t take much to upload a video or to quickly search for the tags- ‘anal slut’ or ‘teen whore’. Rarely are the subsequent feelings of betrayal and broken trusts considered, yet these reluctant stars are particularly vulnerable. They have no safety net, no network of support to help them understand risks and inform them of their rights. Many of these sex victims don’t have contracts, or safe words, or access to appropriate health care (a necessity given the nature of the trade). These reasons alone should compel us to open the discussion on pornography, not stifle it. If we truly believe in women’s rights then we should make information available and support the legitimate and consenting adult performers.

Although a long time porn watcher, the sudden realization for the need of “conscious porn” was the result of reading The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court by Jeffery Toobin. As I read the first few chapters I was shocked and then horrified to see the extent that government has been trying to legislate women’s bodies through abortion laws. I knew Roe v Wade was a huge issue in the courts, and I recognize its current role in American politics, but I hadn’t understood how deeply pervasive the issue was/is – seemingly more so than racism. And this frightens me.

Whether in pregnancy, porn, or any other arena, women should have a final say in what they choose to do. Freedom is what affords us the right to make informed decisions that coincide with our desire to self actualize. This tenet stands regardless of whether individual opinions differ (as long as one is not enacting violence on another – and according to interpretation, because a fetus is not a viable, self-sustaining human, the issue of murder is moot).

It behooves us, therefore, to decry those who do not adhere to these standards in pornography, “directors” who do not safeguard the rights of their workers, but rather force them (either implicitly or explicitly) into the trade. And so I make a plea for porn, porn that is legitimately produced by companies who take interest in the welfare of their performers, for it is this group of performers that will be able to protect themselves by joining unions and advocacy groups. A teenage girl who was coerced into filming her first anal sex experience by her boyfriend will not be safeguarded, neither will an Eastern European girl who was sold into sex slavery to have her sexual experiences plastered on forums. And there are countless others. The only way to protect our sisters is to support Industry produced pornography that releases films with fully consenting adults with contracts and unions to defend them.

 

 

 

 

 


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