I like the educational focus website very much, but I just read the Porn section and I think it is lacking some crucial pieces of information about the sex industry.
I am an animal rights activist because I care about the treatment of animals, and I'm a feminist because I care about the treatment of women. I would never leave the cruel treatment of animals by the meat industry out of a discussion about meat, and I can't figure out one good reason why the well documented abuses of prostitution and the making of pornography were left out of your section on pornography.
Porn isn't just an idea simply to take or leave as you suggest. It is an industry that hurts many people involved and whose production regularly causes bruising, bleeding, genital and anal tearing, fistula, the transmission of STDs like herpes, HIV, genital warts (unstopped by condoms), and more. I used to be a porn user who amazingly convinced herself the lack of condoms during sex scenes and cum shots routinely sprayed onto women's tongues, gums and throats weren't actually unsafe sex for the performers. I have since learned a whole lot about the porn industry and what people who have been involved with its making say (Traci Lords recently told Larry King that when people come up to her and tell her they've seen all her porn films she feels like she's being stabbed.)
I can see your website is devoted to truth, and it is in the name of truth I ask you to consider the peer-reviewed research available about prostitution (which is what porn is, filmed prostitution) that lets sex workers say for themselves how much they hate what they have to do for money, how it has harmed them physically and mentally, and how the sex industry capitalizes on child rape, drug addiction and poverty. The Department of Justice says the average age a girl is first prostituted in the USA is 13 years old, putting to further question the suggestion that most sex workers voluntarily choose this lifestyle, and the United States is the #1 producer of child pornography in the world. www.prostitutionresearch.com
Please discuss on your website the truth about the production of pornography as it really exists in the world today, not how you think it might one day be. The labor involved with the manufacture of the product is an important part of deciding if one wishes to consume the prioduct. You have covered the basics of the idealogical debate, but have left out the reality of how the sex industry treats the women and men involved with the production of porn (including the much higher suicide rate and overall death rate of prostitutes compared to non-prostitutes.) I implore you to correct this. Please do not substitute your personal involvement with the prostitution industry any more than you would substitute a tale of how you make your own clothes as a counter-argument to the misogynist labor practives of sweatshops. You and the global multibillion dollar prostitution industry are very different things.
SMBerg Founder of SHAG, Sexual Health Activist Group of Portland, OR.
Hey SMBerg: per the user registration agreement, please don't double post very similar or identical topics.
Your post in sex ethics is already being replied to by users and staff. Thanks!
(It stands to mention that the author of our pornography article, Hanne Blank, to my knowledge, hasn't had any personal involvement with "the prostitution industry," so I'm unclear where that's coming from.)
That post was for them, this one was for you.
Please don't distance Heather Corrina from the sex industry when she goes out of her way to promote her involvement with it. She may not have been the author of that particular text, but this is one of her websites and to take credit for the good educational parts of it she should also take responsibility for the misleading ommissions.
------------------ Conservatives think women should be private property. Liberals think women should be public property. Feminists don't think women should be property at all.
And I can assure you, that while I don't link out at Scarleteen to the work I do in written erotica or fine art nude or portrait photography here at the site -- because it is our policy in general not to outlink to material which it may not be legal for our userbase to view -- I also make absoliutely no secret with our users here that I do that work, though it is often not within the context of any "industry" because I work for myself as an independent artist, and what I promote is my involvement with my own work, artistically (much of which isn't sex work at all), as well as the work I do here at Scarleteen and in other related arenas.
While I would not call Hanne Blank's article in the Boyfriend section on pornography in any way misleading -- it's intent was to discuss, at an entry-level, what porn is, how people use it, and if it's okay to do so -- it is, as is any article, the representation of one author's perspective, and I would stand behind it and say it is an excellent article on the general issues it addressed. It is not the same perspective as mine, nor is it apparently the same as yours. It is, however, in our entire tenure here, the ONLY submitted article we have ever recieved on pornography at Scarleteen, despite having more than one complaint about it and my stating clearly I would be glad to accept and consider others (done for a young adult audience expressly).
I'm one person, and one who is maintaining a tremendously large website (the message board potion of which is adied by volunteers, the main site in general is not), as well as two others, a heavy load of freelance work in seveal areas and penning a sex education book at the moment. So, I'm incapable, just with time contraints alone, of representing absolutely every take on a given issue, unless others step up to the plate and submit articles doing so, which is absolutely encouraged.
You'll notice, with most publications, that there is a statement posted or published that the opinions of reporters or authors contained within the site or magazine do not necessarily reflect the personal opinions of the editor or publisher.
And this is no exception.
Is this site my responsibility? You bet. Would I publish here something I felt was inaccurate or misleading? Heck, no. Are opinion articles posted here as they often are at any publication? You bet. And we do a very good job of representing a good diversity of opinion with the material submitted to us, much of which is scanty.
Will I pen an article representing an opinion or vantage point that isn't mine and say it is? No way -- that's terrible journalism and not ethically okay with me. So again, I wholeheartedly encourge anyone who whould like to, who can write coherently and levelly about ANY issue here, to submit away, and chances are pretty darn good I'll publish it. But when I don't have that material, ain't a thing I can do. What's my responsibility here is to publish what I know to be accurate and truthful, and with something with numerous perspectives, to represent them as best I can with the material available to me.
I am neither paid to do this, nor is this site publicly funded. It is NOT my responsibility -- as it is not anyone's -- to represent your particular view on this issue. If you would like yours represented, and feel that is vital, again, step up to the plate and do YOUR part to get it out there, be it here or elsewhere (but the way to accomplish that here is NOT to insist to me that only your view is correct or ethical, or that someone needs to write it up for you so it can be here on site). It is also no one's place to dictate paternalistically to me what is and is not my responsibility -- I'm a grown woman who can think for herself, thanks kindly, and this is my site, run largely by my own pro bono work. Beyond only being able to work with what we have available, in terms of my time and submitted material, I also have priorities in terms of what is most important to be doing in terms of the site, and right now, that is working on the book, and keeping other portions of the site more important to our userbase updated, accurate and added to -- pornography, however contorversial and important a discussion, isn't as important an issue to our users as birth control STI information, relationship issues or knowledge of their own bodies.
And if you've nothing else to offer than stating that you feel my view, or Hanne's, should be yours, or to tell me what I should or should not be writing or publishing based on your view, there's little else to discuss here, and I won't be harassed or harangued.
Per your edit; I'm not sure whose hand you think it is that feeds me, but I can assure you, it's hardly the pornography industry or prostitution.
I make nearly all my income (and am happy to disclose that) via caretaking and handywork at my apartment building, freelance photography (which occassionaly involves fine art nude, but more often are personal portraits, headshotes, and performers promotional photographs), via advertising on another site from independent women-run businesses like Good Vibrations and Toys in Babeland (is giving women a place to purchase a vibrator for her own use a feminist problem? If so, that's pretty terrifying, since the religious right doesn't care for it either.), subscriptions to view my full photography portfolio and self-portraiture work (and my fiction and nonfiction work), as well as freelance writing, most of which involves sex information in terms of safer sex, birth control use, relationship management, queer issues, and the lot.
I got referred to this thread by a chum, so forgive me if I break any rules in my post - but . . . .
SMBerg makes a couple of grand generalisations in her opening statement. You claim that those working in the porn industry have a higher suicide rate than those outisde the porn industry. That by itself proves nothing. Doctors have a higher suicide rate than non-Doctors, but that doesn't make the medical profession a bad thing. Perhaps a contributory factor to the stresses faced is judgemental attitudes from conservative busybodies? I dunno.
I'm similarly bewildered at your implication that feminism and the sex industry are mutually exclusive. Um, not if my experience of colleagues and friends in 'the industry' is anything to go by.
The comparison to animal welfare is a fallacy. Sure, you can be a vegetarian because you feel that the meat industry is exploitative of animals, but where does your analogy go when people *do* make a success of themselves working in porn? If you're a vegan, how are you supposed to react when the hen is marketing its eggs for you?
Sure, there are nightmare stories from 'the industry', but there's nightmare stories from people working in Wal-Mart too. There are failures, but that's true of any business.
The raison d'etre of this site is to allow people to make informed decisions, which does not necessarily mean that they will agree with your agenda. By presenting a series of specious arguments propped up by 'iffy' logic you're actually harming your cause.
Do some more research. Try Jenna Jameson. There are alot of women that make porn because they want to. I am an exhibitionist and have a suicide girls account. I don't see anything wrong with that. It's my decision. It's actually very anti-feminist to dismiss the porn industry. You don't give us enough credit. Feminism is about choice not shame.
Posts: 53 | From: Austin, TX, USA | Registered: Jan 2004
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