The general tone of all my previous musings on the subject has been one of shall we say, defense of the genre. Because, in spite of all of its problematic issues (heteronormativity, misogyny, oppression, exploitation, etc), I still believe porn is inherently good as an aid in developing a healthy sexuality. Porn representations are powerful in that they can normalize valid forms of human expression. So today, when I read Shouting at the explicit sky at Unleashed (a website that is part of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation) I realize how much of my issue with anti porn activism can be summarized with this (emphasis mine):
The Stop Porn Culture (SPC) organisation, of which Gail Dines is a board member, is actively working towards “ending industries of sexual exploitation”. The organisation’s web site is anti-pornography and “affirm[s] sexuality that is rooted in equality and free of exploitation, coercion, and violence”. Yet the site and organisation make no reference to viable alternatives that affirm sexuality. No compelling alternative to entice the market away, no solution for a group reared to expect porn immediately.
Of the talented, passionate and intelligent people involved, it is a monumental waste of effort. In fact, go outside and have a good shout at the sky. Did your shouting actually stop the sun or halt the rain from falling? No, it just annoyed the neighbours. That’s the SPC. Shouting about the need to fight or end the porn industry will not stop people looking at porn nor will it ever be the answer to the feminist struggle for equality. Men won’t freeze mid-stroke and fervently hope the woman currently bouncing reverse-cowgirl style on their computer is respected nor will they abstain from the current porn on offer unless there is a viable and, quite frankly, equally addictive alternative with the same ease and immediacy currently on offer.
And that, is exactly at the heart of the matter.
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