The violent pornography model in service of men’s pleasure is outdated. A modern feminist offers an empowered and enlightening stance on erotic films.
It began with playing cards and ended with Playboy. Since the end of the 18th century, scantily clad women have been featured on just about everything. This fixation with the female form as a means for arousal is really nothing new. However, now that pornography has made the leap from novelty bikini pictures to full-on movies of women in the act, concerns over the morality of it all have become commonplace.
Some of the most poignant arguments against video pornography come from feminists, who focus on how porn perpetuates the view of women as being subservient to men. This assertion points out that porn’s constant display of women in demeaning sexual situations is threatening to the social status of women in the real world. In addition, some feminists further this stance by claiming that videos that fall on the more extreme and violent end of the spectrum are a contributing factor to rape culture and crimes against women. Watching porn that glorifies the beating and raping of helpless females, while legally consensual on the part of the actors, arguably has the power to desensitize some men enough to want to try it out for themselves in order to achieve the same gratification they may feel when watching such films.
Just like vibrators went from being a tool of male-administered oppression to an empowered female apparatus of arousal, porn too can make a similar jump.
As a woman and a feminist, I am actually quite surprised at this limiting and dated opinion of porn altogether. While I do acknowledge the potential harm in viewing ultra violent fringe porn, I believe the same can be said of violent television, video games, and movies. When it comes to porn and the traditional feminist point of view, it is actually quite short-sided to throw the baby out with the bath water. There are plenty of positive attributes to pornography some women just may not be privy to yet. Take vibrators – they were originally created as devices to be used by male doctors in order to “stimulate” women out of mental hysteria. I would label that medical practice intrusive, oppressive, and archaic. Now vibrators are independently used by women all over the world as a means of do-it-yourself sexual gratification.
Let’s be honest, porn was not originally invented with the tastes of women in mind. Since the era of the Internet, however, the pornography industry has flourished making it possible to find any type of pleasure with the click of a mouse, usually for free. This largely varied world of sex on display is not all oppressive toward women; in fact, the most common search on American porn sites is ‘MILF’ (mom I’d like to “bang”). Violent terms do not fall to the top of any “commonly searched porn term” list I could find.
Just like vibrators went from being a tool of male-administered oppression to an empowered female apparatus of arousal, porn too can make a similar jump. If more women embraced porn and viewed it as something they could actually enjoy watching, not only would its image as another piece of society keeping women as subservient be erased, but the market itself would shift toward becoming more female-friendly by the basic principle of supply and demand. I believe being a feminist doesn’t necessarily mean a woman has to neglect something because it is only supposed to satisfy males. Instead it should mean taking ownership and not being afraid to be in charge of it, too.