Tuesday 9 November 2010

Pornography: Defended by... what!?! feminists?

Wendy McElroy
Wikipedia: Wendy McElroy
Wendy McElroy (born 1951) is a Canadian individualist anarchist and individualist feminist. She was a co-founder along with Carl Watner and George H. Smith of The Voluntaryist in 1982.

official site: http://www.wendymcelroy.com

Wendy McElroy enumerates 3 types of feminists
  1. anti-pornography
    hypornography is an expression of male culture through which women are commodified and exploited
  2. the liberal position
    combines a respect for free speech with the principle "a woman's body, a woman's right" and thus produces a defense of pornography along the lines of, "I don't approve of it, but everyone has the right to consume or produce words and images."
  3. pro-sex
    true defense of pornography - arises from feminists who have been labeled "pro-sex" and who argue that porn has benefits for women.
A Feminist Defense of Pornography by Wendy McElroy
"Pornography benefits women, both personally and politically." This sentence opens my book XXX: A Woman's Right to Pornography, and it constitutes a more extreme defense of pornography than most feminists are comfortable with. I arrived at this position after years of interviewing hundreds of sex workers.

XXX: A Woman's Right to Pornography

Nadine Strossen
Wikipedia: Nadine Strossen (1950-)
New York Law School: professor of law (1988-)
president of the American Civil Liberties Union (1991-2008)
  • Defending Pornography: Free Speech, Sex and the Fight for Women's Rights
  • Speaking of Race, Speaking of Sex: Hate Speech, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties
Defending pornography: free speech, sex, and the fight for women's rights By Nadine Strossen

Book Review: Defending Pornography: Free Speech, Sex, and the Fight for Women's Rights
Strossen’s arguments can be divided into three groups. The first, naturally, is legal: censorship of pornography is ultimately unconstitutional.
Second, Strossen argues that censorship of pornography is counterproductive — especially from the perspective of the feminists in question. These anti-pornography feminists argue or just assume that society is patriarchal and anti-women, but then they want to give this same society the power to decide what qualifies as pornography and what sorts of material will be censored.
Finally, Strossen argues that pornography and sexual expression are positive goods which need to be supported, not necessary evils that need to be protected lest we slide down a slippery slope of censorship.

Feminists for Free Expression
Advisory Board
The Advisory Board has included such names as Betty Friedan (1921-2006), Erica Jong and Nadine Strossen.
Mission Statement
Feminists for Free Expression (FFE) is a group of diverse feminists working to preserve the individual's right to see, hear and produce materials of her choice without the intervention of the state "for her own good."
There is no feminist code about which words and images are dangerous or sexist. Genuine feminism encourages individuals to choose for themselves. A free and vigorous marketplace of ideas is the best guarantee of democratic self-government and a feminist future.

Feminists for Free Expression, a not-for-profit organization, was founded in January 1992 in response to the many efforts to solve society's problems by book, movie or music banning. FFE believes such efforts divert attention from the substantive causes of social ills and offer a cosmetic, dangerous "quick fix."

Candida Royale
Wikipedia: Candida Royalle
Candida Royalle (born Candice on October 15, 1950 in NYC) is an American producer and director of couples-oriented pornography and a former pornographic actress. She is member of the XRCO and the AVN Halls of Fame.

Initially trained in music, dance, and art in New York, with studies at the High School of Art and Design, Parson's School of Design and the City University of New York, she eventually entered a career as a porn star, acting in some 25 movies.

In 1984, she founded Femme Productions, with the goal of making erotica based on female desire. Her productions are aimed more to women and couples than to the standard pornographic audience of men, and have been praised by counselors and therapists for depicting healthy and realistic sexual activity. Her company has been very successful, producing a series of products known to have a more artistic touch, lacking some aspects of common porn, like a focus on male ejaculation. She described her approach to film-making in an interview in the Wendy McElroy 1995 book XXX: A Woman's Right to Pornography. Royalle has stated she tries to avoid "misogynous predictability," and depiction of sex in "...as grotesque and graphic [a way] as possible." She also criticizes the male-centredness of the typical pornographic film, in which scenes end when the male actor ejaculates. Royalle’s films are not “goal oriented” towards a final "cum shot"; instead, her films depict sexual activity within the broader context of women's emotional and social lives.

Gloria Steinem: against pornography but not erotica
Along with Susan Brownmiller and Catharine MacKinnon, Steinem has been a vehement critic of pornography, which she distinguishes from erotica: "Erotica is as different from pornography as love is from rape, as dignity is from humiliation, as partnership is from slavery, as pleasure is from pain." Steinem's argument hinges on the distinction between reciprocity versus domination. She writes, "Blatant or subtle, pornography involves no equal power or mutuality. In fact, much of the tension and drama comes from the clear idea that one person is dominating the other." On the issue of same-sex pornography, Steinem asserts, "Whatever the gender of the participants, all pornography is an imitation of the male-female, conqueror-victim paradigm, and almost all of it actually portrays or implies enslaved women and master."

Final Word
Pro-sex but anti-misogynist, anti-domination, anti-violence. Makes sense to me.

In my blog Sex: I'm a man and you're a... I talk about the traditional status quo where women are not permitted to express their sexuality, the ol' double standard. The women mentioned above are stating their position as being pro-sex but against that tradition. But how to get there? In my blog Ballroom Dancing: A metaphor for men and women? I talk about how the relation one has in ballroom dancing with one's partner is not aggressive and passive; it is not dominant and submissive; it is assertive and receptive. It is a true partnership of two equals who are different with different roles but who are nevertheless equals.


Pornography: My investigative series

PBS: Frontline: American Porn
investigative report 2002: first amendment proponents

Wikipedia: Feminist views on pornography

XXX: A Woman's Right to Pornography by Wendy McElroy


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