The House of Termites »« Do women really ‘choose’ to be prostitutes

Let’s Eroticize Equality

 

“Pornography is the theory, and rape is the practice.”  — Robin Morgan

 

I am against  pornography because it  has  many  harmful effects:   encouragement of  sex trafficking, desensitization, pedophilia, dehumanization, sexual exploitation, sexual dysfunction,  inability to maintain healthy sexual relationships. Pornography is exclusively for men’s pleasure. Women  are used as sex objects. I know some women will   say, ‘we love to be sex objects’. Millions of misogynists are out there to  support the idea of the objectification of women.  I do not have to support this.

 

I am against pornography, because I am against abuse or degradation. But I am not against erotica. The definitions of pornography and erotica come from Diana Russell.

Pornography: Material that combines sex and/or the exposure of genitals with abuse or degradation in a manner that appears to endorse, condone, or encourage such behavior.

Erotica: Sexually suggestive or arousing material that is free of sexism, racism, and homophobia, and respectful of all human beings and animals portrayed.

 

 

I like what  Gloria Steinem says, “Pornography is directly linked to sex trafficking. It normalizes degradation and violence as acceptable and even inevitable parts of sex, and it uses the bodies of real women and children as its raw material. The difference between pornography and erotica is clear in the words themselves — porne means females slaves, eros mean love — and we can see that pornography, like rape, is about violence and domination not sex. Millions of lives depend on our ability to untangle pornography from erotica, violence from sexuality.”

 

Researchers say,   “Most female performers are coerced into pornography, either by somebody else, or by an unfortunate set of circumstances.  Pornography leads to an increase in sexual violence against women through fostering  rape myths. Such rape myths include the belief that women really want to be raped and that they mean yes when they say no. Pornography desensitizes viewers to violence against women, and this leads to a progressive need to see more violence in order to become sexually aroused.”

 

“The pornography industry is a lot bigger, more powerful, more legitimate, more in everyone’s face today than it was a quarter of a century ago. To the degree that it cannot exist without doing real damage, it could still be stopped in its tracks anywhere by this  law. Sexual objectification and violation does not happen all by itself. Real social institutions drive it.”

 

“Pornography, an industry of woman-hating dehumanization,  is implicated in violence against women, both in its production  through the abuse of the women used to star in it , and in the social consequences of its consumption by encouraging men to eroticize the domination, humiliation, coercion and abuse of women.”

We should rather  Eroticize  Equality!

 

Survey says, “porn does not stimulate men’s appetites–it turns them off the real thing.  ‘Not tonight, honey, I am logging on’. Internet porn is everywhere, even ‘nice’ guys are hooked.”

A psychotherapist told us about  Myth and facts about pornography.   I find it quite interesting. Porn is fake, girls are real.

I believe Pornography and prostitution are not necessary evils, they are unnecessary crimes.

 

Look what you watch.  Porn1, Porn2, Porn3  ….. Do you want to watch more? Leave it. Let’s listen to  a song . Let’s change the world

 

 

Comments

  1. Suido says

    Broadly agree, but those definitions get awfully confused when BDSM and various other fetishes are involved.

    Is every submissive a victim, and every dominant abusive?

    • julian says

      By definition yes but there is (ideally) never any full abdication of consent or autonomy. The dominance is only an illusion that helps in sexual release. All partners retain the ability to in some way or fashion signal “no” in a way everyone involved will understand.

      • Suido says

        That’s how it should work in reality, but how is that conveyed via film?

        Porn blurs the lines between reality, fiction and fantasy, and so a short clip from a long film could easily be taken out of context and used to show abusive/degrading behaviour that may not be intended.

        As such, the definitions quoted above are too simplistic and generalised to be relevant given the range of sexual behaviours and the media through which they become pornography.

    • Jennie says

      Again, you (a man, of course) are straying from the original subject of Taslima’s writings. BDSM is a whole other entity. We are talking about ponography. I am not going to write anything further on this today because this issue, and men”s blase’ attitudes about it severely piss me off.

      • says

        Stop blanket statementing people, you jerk. (Notice how I did not attribute your behavior to your membership in any gender, race, or nationality).

        • Liz says

          FFS Mark – we do live in a gendered power hierarchy, or did you not notice? Quit calling women “jerk” for pointing out male privilege – you look like a bully and a bigot.

          • says

            Hi Liz, I HAVE noticed that we live in a gendered power hierarchy. I wasn’t calling Jennie a jerk for pointing out male privilege. I called her a jerk for saying “men’s blasé attitudes” – a blanket statement offensive to men who do not, in fact, have blasé attitudes about these issues. There are definitely many men who take advantage of the society we live in, but there are quite a few who realize this attitude is dehumanizing both to women and to themselves, and stay as far away from “blasé attitudes” as they can.

  2. smrnda says

    A question – how possible do you think it is for people to produce material that is sexual (erotic) but which is free from sexism or misogyny? I just ask since I do think that it’s possible to make positive portrayals of sexuality, but I just don’t think that it happens all that often.

    Do you think that more positive portrayals of sexuality would have the potential to become more popular amongst men? I tend to think that men’s attitudes about sex are probably more shaped by society than anything else so I don’t think that there is anything inherent in most men that would steer them towards more degrading, misogynistic stuff.

    I have always thought that dealing with sex in film is like dealing with race, there are enlightened ways of handling the topic, but there are also ignorant ways. Somehow we’ve made a bit more progress with race than sex though, part of it might be that there’s a general perception that what’s wrong with some stuff is that it’s sexually explicit, where the real issue was something like misogyny.

  3. Annie says

    You’ve given me something to think about. But I agree with the first commenter…lots of ambiguity.

    How do you feel about BDSM?

    • says

      I agree with Melissa Farley.
      10 lies about sadomasochism.
      ’1. Pain is pleasure; humiliation is enjoyable; bondage is liberation.
      2. Sadomasochism is love and trust, not domination and annihilation.

      3. Sadomasochism is not racist and anti Semitic even though (sadomasochists) act like slave owners and enslaved Africans, Nazis and persecuted Jews.

      4. Sadomasochism is consensual; no one gets hurt if they don’t want to get hurt. No one has died from sadomasochistic scenes.

      5. Sadomasochism is only about sex. It doesn’t extend into the rest of the relationship.

      6. Sadomasochistic pornography has no relationship to the sadomasochistic society we live in. If it feels good, go with it. We create our own sexuality.

      7. Lesbians into sadomasochism are feminists, devoted to women, and a women-only lesbian community. Lesbian pornography is by women, for women.

      8. Since lesbians are superior to men, (they) can play with sadomasochism in a liberating way that heterosexuals can not.

      9. Reenacting abuse heals abuse. Sadomasochism heals emotional wounds from childhood sexual assault.

      10. Sadomasochism is political dissent. It is progressive and even transgressive in that it breaks the rules of the dominant sexual ideology.’

      • says

        These are not lies, though. I present myself as evidence.

        “1. Pain is pleasure; humiliation is enjoyable; bondage is liberation.”

        Pain isn’t pleasure for everyone, but that does not make this a lie. I thoroughly enjoy my bdsm scenes. I derive pure joy from the pain visited on me by my tops and sadists.

        “2. Sadomasochism is love and trust, not domination and annihilation.”

        I have more love for my tops and sadists than for anyone else in my life. Note: I do love many others, but the depth of feeling is not the same.

        I trust my tops and sadists with my life, more or less literally. There aren’t many others in my life I’d trust that far.

        “3. Sadomasochism is not racist and anti Semitic even though (sadomasochists) act like slave owners and enslaved Africans, Nazis and persecuted Jews.”

        What?

        Sadomasochism is engaged in by consenting adults. Are you suggesting that enslaved people gave consent to their treatment? Are you suggesting that the persecuted Jews consented to the Holocaust? Are you *insane*?

        “4. Sadomasochism is consensual; no one gets hurt if they don’t want to get hurt. No one has died from sadomasochistic scenes.”

        I’m not aware of any deaths from s&m scenes, but I don’t suppose it’s flat-out impossible. I’ve told all of my tops and sadists the same thing over and over again: “If something should go seriously awry, if I should die during a scene, I want you to know that it’s exactly the way I’d want to die: of pleasure.”

        “5. Sadomasochism is only about sex. It doesn’t extend into the rest of the relationship.”

        Well, it’s not about sex for me, but it’s certainly all about the pleasure. And I certainly know lots of people for whom it’s all about the sex.

        The very nature of a “scene” is that it has boundaries negotiated in advance. If people choose to set the boundaries broadly enough that it encompasses other aspects of life, it’s still within the parameters of a scene.

        To say that this is a lie is to say that two people who’ve ever had sex are always and forever engaged in having sex in every moment thereafter. Like, when two parents are in a hospital and worried to death about the health of their sick offspring, they’re having sex. Which would be *insane* to think, wouldn’t it?

        “6. Sadomasochistic pornography has no relationship to the sadomasochistic society we live in. If it feels good, go with it. We create our own sexuality.”

        The “sadomasochistic society” you speak of is very interesting to me. Would you send me some of your brochures?

        “7. Lesbians into sadomasochism are feminists, devoted to women, and a women-only lesbian community. Lesbian pornography is by women, for women.”

        Not my place to say, really, but this seems at least plausibly true for most cases. Which may not make it universal, but certainly means it’s not a lie.

        “8. Since lesbians are superior to men, (they) can play with sadomasochism in a liberating way that heterosexuals can not.”

        I’m not sure that I buy the premises of this one, either. So it might be untrue, but that doesn’t mean folks are lying when they say it.

        “9. Reenacting abuse heals abuse. Sadomasochism heals emotional wounds from childhood sexual assault.”

        To my knowledge, I wasn’t the victim of sexual assault. I’m not reenacting anything. Nor would I recommend bdsm as a universal therapy for rape survivors.

        That said, I’m by no means certain that those with a history of being victimized can’t benefit from bdsm. If it’s working for them, who are you to say that their coping mechanisms and healing methods are lies?

        “10. Sadomasochism is political dissent. It is progressive and even transgressive in that it breaks the rules of the dominant sexual ideology.’”

        Hm. I suppose it is and does. That’s hardly my purpose, but I can see how an outside observer might see it that way. So, not a lie, as such.

        – emc

      • says

        You might as well say that gay people don’t exist, that homosexuality could be cured.

        You are an intolerant fascist who only wants people to agree with her, to confirm her biases.

        • Cee-anonymous says

          Agreed. It’s easy to sit on a high horse and act like people who engage in BDSM are messed up somehow, but it’s a total load of horseshit and you cannot deny it. Just like with homosexuals; people who are into this come from all walks of life, all kinds of jobs, races, incomes, conservatives, liberals… and they function just as well as other people in society. Acting as though what they do is wrong is ignorant.

  4. carolinedykstra says

    I’m really glad to see you here on FTB, Taslima. I wasn’t familiar with your writing before you came here, but you’ve quickly challenged me and made me consider things in ways I had not before.

    Eroticizing equality is definitely something the world at large needs. The other day I was reflecting on the fact that many young people regardless of gender first face a fictional portrayal of sex which is glorified rape. Violent pornography, “romance” novels which rely heavily on themes of male sexual domination, mainstream movies being filled with less overt versions, etc. Pubescent and starved as they are for titillation, it might make connections that wouldn’t have existed otherwise, and certainly helps perpetuate rape culture. I know that all of the books I and my friends found around the age of twelve that had “dirty bits” were actually about rape (Clan of the Cave Bear, V.C. Andrews novels, historical romance novels, etc), but we devoured them because we were looking for books with sex in them. Only later did I realize how deeply disturbing those books really were.

    I’d imagine much the same thing happens with boys who are curious about sex and then find degrading, objectifying pornography. Even those things which aren’t discussed in public are still part of the culture and still shaping how people see and interact with one another. The effects on the women in that sort of pornography are terrible, and so is the impact on society.

  5. Pinky says

    I think your first paragraph could have been written better. I can imagine how a religious righter could twist the paragraph to say damaging things about freethinkers, but I don’t know everything.

    Keep plugging away. Speak your own mind. If I agree with an article or not, bloggers who question if the emperor is wearing clothes keep the group from sliding into group-think.

  6. says

    I would sooner lick chalk off a sidewalk than read a novel “that is free of sexism, racism, and homophobia, and respectful of all human beings and animals portrayed.” Sanitized fiction is boring fiction. Independent of erotic content.

    • says

      I don’t want to read fiction the narratives of which consider sexism, racism, homophobia, etc. to be good things. Or which use bigoted tropes for no particularly good reason (for example, “fridging” the female love interest, i.e. killing her off, so that the hero can wallow in man-pain).

      That said, I do want fiction that reflects humanity as it exists, whether in this world or in fictional ones, for good and for ill. And I sure as shit don’t need to have every character in it shown respect. Disrespect on every level is part of human existence. And some people, by their actions, deserve no respect.

      If I want sanitized, didactic fiction, I’ll go to a xtian bookstore and find something aimed at 6-year-old.

  7. says

    I think trying to give prescriptive definitions of words never works. A large amount of what the general public thinks of as porn isn’t by your definition. I know plenty of women who like what they think of as pornography. Telling them it isn’t really porn, it’s erotica goes against the way they use the word and comes off as a Scotsman argument.

  8. Akheloios says

    I’ve followed this thread for a couple of days. Yes, Nasreen is right when she says prositution is slavery, and yes, Greta et. al. is right when they say Prositution is okay when it’s the law protecting it is liberal and just.

    This is a strange but poignant reiteration of the privilege arguement.

    Nasreen, from the experience she had, is completely justified in saying that prostitution is slavery. The women/girls in her examples had no volition, no choice, in their lives when forced into prostituion. So yes, Prostitution is abhorent.

    And similarly, Greta’s et al.’s arguement that prostitution is a valid choice of career is completely fine, but only when viewed when the individuals involved actually have a choice.

    I agree with Greta et. al.’Sex Work’ is valid, and in fact empowering, but only when those involved have a choice. To add into the debate the male prostitutes is a valid observation on Greta et. al.’s side, Nasreen’s ignorance of male prostitution is a sign of the privilege on her side. Whereas the ignorance of the real slavery problem is valid in her attack of prostitution in her arguement.

    When people are forced into slavery, no matter what the cause or end result, is an evil. Nasreen is perfectly right in her observation that the majority of prostituion/slavery should be abhored by us. Where she has gone wrong is in stretching her example of her own experience in prostitution to the rest of the world.

    If some one chooses to us their body, no matter which gender they are, as a source of monetary gain, then they should be celebrated. It is, as many people have observed, no worse than a McJob, where long hours, physical discomfort (into long term disability through work related stresses), is equible to any other McJob where the same problems occur.

    Yes, Nasreen has ignored the male prostituion PoV, yes she has missed the volition, but she has pointed out that there IS no volition in the majority of prostitution of cases that she is aware of.

    Yes, ‘prostitution’ should be legal, yes it should be celebrated as a valid choice of career, but in the same arguement it should be criticised in the strongest possible terms when it is slavery as part of any arthoritarion and/or patriarchal system.

    Legalise it, regulate it, and trade unionise it. I’m sure the trade union representative, in any functioning system, will be the first to alert the authorities of slavery and child abuse. The same way they pushed child labour out of textile and mining industries.

    Though this is dependant on a functioning system of checks and balances between the powerful and the workers, and this is obviously not what Nasreen has experienced.

  9. Andrew G. says

    I am against pornography because it has many harmful effects,

    Now, see, that would have been a perfect opportunity to link to some empirical studies about the effects of pornography.

    What’s that? The empirical evidence is ambiguous and doesn’t support the claims of harmful effects which are so often reported by anti-porn campaigners? What a shame. Here, have a table to pound on.

    (How many times do I have to say it! Get better sources!)

  10. Leum says

    I think trying to give prescriptive definitions of words never works. A large amount of what the general public thinks of as porn isn’t by your definition. I know plenty of women who like what they think of as pornography. Telling them it isn’t really porn, it’s erotica goes against the way they use the word and comes off as a Scotsman argument.

    Agreed. Trying to redefine a word in order to make it easier to make a blanket condemnation of something is a poor rhetorical technique.

  11. Sexual deviant says

    What about my huge collection of fucked-up pornographic furry drawings? Since there’s no real women in them, no harm done, right?

  12. davekendall says

    Do you have links to research showing that pornography encourages things like sex trafficking, pedophilia and rape, or that most female performers are coerced into it?

    The research I’ve seen links increased access to porn to a drop in rape. Of course correlation doesn’t prove causation, but I haven’t even seen that level of evidence supporting the claim that porn actually causes rape.

    The youtube videos, links, and feminist quotes you’ve posted are heavy on ideology and theory, but light on actual evidence.

    As for pornography exclusively being for men’s pleasure, I think you’ll find that there are plenty of female viewers. My girlfriend’s a regular porn viewer herself. Only solo-male and male/male “gay” porn though, and I’m not sure how that fits into the idea of porn as inherently woman-hating…

  13. says

    I don’t think pornography is a necessary evil. That’s because I don’t see it as intrinsically evil. Objectification, exploitation, lack of consent–these are evil things. But I’ve watched and enjoyed porn that included none of those things. I guess you’d call it erotica. Looked like porn to me.

  14. Mikey says

    Alot of these points shows that people need to have a discussion about how we view porn. I never realized how I objectified women using porn until I started reading feminist articles on pornography and how it changed my expectations of reality. Now I understand that the porn I use is a heightened reality, akin to that of an action film or romantic comedy. It’s not reality and shouldn’t be treated as such, but it’s also a fantasy and need not conform to reality.

    Its something I use to elicit an emotion. If I wish to feel laughter, I watch a Jim Carrey flick. If I want to feel pumped up, I watch Die Hard. If I want to feel aroused, I watch a Mindy Main clip. But I never forget that the people I look at in these visual mediums are actors playing out a fantasy.

    Saying that because I consume porn means I want that to be a reality is like saying because I play Left 4 Dead that I really want a zombie apocalypse. No one really wants one to happen, but it’s a fun fantasy world to inhabit for a while.

    Whats needed is better understanding about the expectations of reality and ethical training. But this applies to more than
    just porn. People need to talk about the expectations set up by true love rom coms, action movies can lead to murders and vigilantism, and other types of media we consume.

  15. says

    I have a hunch that trying to explain consensual isn’t going to get me anywhere.

    This may not get me anywhere either, but Taslima, please understand that no one outside a small number of anti-porn activists uses the definition of porn you do.

    If you’re going to insist on doing that, okay, I guess, though I have no idea why you would. But don’t talk about porn statistics on porn use as if the statisticians were using your definition. Don’t talk about the porn industry as if it would even be the “porn industry” under your definition. Don’t attack other people’s defenses of porn by assuming they’re using their definition.

    Really, insisting on this definition of porn that hardly anyone uses is basically opting out of the vast majority of discussions of sexually explicit media (whatever you call it).

  16. says

    You weren’t trying to make me feel guilty for enjoying the female body, were you?

    I agree with most people here – those definitions are lacking. To me, porn is that which arouses. And like Mikey above, if I want to laugh, I watch a comedy. If I want to get turned on, I watch porn.

    I’m not trying to say that no pornography ever made demeans women – there are plenty of examples of that.

    But why through the baby out with the bathwater?

  17. says

    So, just out of curiousity, why is “animals” listed under erotica? I am not intending to nitpick, it just seems…odd.
    Bestiality, unlike sex work, cannot be consensual by definition.

    I would also ask about your apparent contempt/disacknowledgment of BDSM…some people find (consensual) abuse and degradation rather preferable to other forms of sexuality. Are you subtly condemning certain sexual practises among consenting adults due to your politics?

    Lastly, who decides where the actual dividing lie between pornography and erotica lies…shall we set up committees to go through all the pictures and burn the ones they deem offensive?

    I look forward to your thoughts on these questions, and any similar ones posted by other readers.

    Bob

  18. Robert B. says

    Mind your intersectionality, please. The works I read and view to get off have no women in them at all, because I’m gay. To attack sexy works of art/entertainment, as a broad class, for being sexist is to erase me and my experience from the discussion. The abuse and degradation you speak of are, I agree, real and terrible. They happen to male performers and male characters also. (Though less frequently, I imagine, patriarchy being what it is.) Since I tend to identify more with the submissive partner, I find these abusive depictions quite as disturbing as you do, when I come across them.

    Also, regarding being a “sex object.” I suspect the women you speak of (and the men you curiously do not speak of) are using the word “object” in a different sense than you are. There is a very large difference between a sexual submissive who enthusiastically surrenders agency for his or her own enjoyment, and a sexual victim who is brutally deprived of agency for the enjoyment of others. You rightfully condemn the latter. But when we say we love being sex objects, we are rightfully lauding the former. We are talking about different things.

  19. says

    Again… Porn is in the eye of the beholder. What is sexy and tittilating for one person is “meh” for another. It’s the same with sex. What may be fun for one person is entirely not for another. We don’t follow set paths and we all have different ideas of what is pleasurable in sex…

    What occurs in pornography (and indeed in the bedroom) are not the same as what happens outside. A perfectly loving couple who respect each other and love each other very much may fantasise about rape and rough sex that you may consider abusive. BUT the important thing is it is done with consent. You may say that there is no reason to call a woman a slut or a whore, I say you haven’t dated a woman who wanted to be called those in the context of sex and dirty talk. I know people who play with knives and hit each other. And every single one of that occurs in the context of a loving relationship where consent is given. AKA I want you to hit me, if I don’t like it I will say “Red”, if I am uncomfortable but want to continue I will say “Yellow”… Okay?

    The problem is people do not sit down and teach their children context.

    The ultimate joke is that the same argument is used with violent games and movies. It’s ridiculous… Violence if anything has gone down with the consumption of those. To claim that most of us cannot tell the difference between reality and fiction is doing us a great disservice. We never blame violent or misogynistic books but we all love to blame porn, games and movies because they are just the latest in a long line of things we have blamed. (I am sure the 70s satanic music scaremongers would have a heart attack at what modern hiphop, rap and pop have managed to achieve. Suddenly down tuned guitars and face paint look rather twee when compared to surly men with guns, drugs and scantily clad women.)

    Yes, I can see situation where porn IS harmful. If your only understanding of sex comes from pornography. I see a more benign version of it in India. Indian Movies… Indian kids don’t have anyone to give them any advice on relationships. So they take all their advice from the only source they can find. Each other and the Rom/Com/Action/Musical/Drama movies they watch. This leads to TERRIBLE decision making when it comes to relationships because they are being informed by a fantasy source.

    Only in that situation would I consider pornography as detrimental and that’s corrected by actual education rather than the hilarious “I am sure they will figure it out” nature of the act.

  20. ik says

    Firsst, you could use a lot more citations.

    Second, how will you define consent.

    Third, can everybody stop redefining words like this? According to you and Dworkin, a fair number of people don’t technically use pornography because what they do use is respectful. Social justice really has to stop coming up with its own word definitions.

    Greta Christina actually had a pretty good thing about this. Her view is that when you strip away bias, most people consider pornography to be highly focused on titillation and erotica has more artistic or political content, or storytelling.

  21. julian says

    What about pornography that relies on racial, social, regional or gender stereotypes? For example, the dumb blond duped into giving a police officer a blow job or a Korean woman who’s role is to be the subservient partner in a relationship.

    There’s almost never any discussion of how what we’re attracted to is shaped by the stereotypes and bigotry that we’re brought up in. Yet much of pornography (or any material meant to sexually excite us) depends on these stereotypes. Is whatever section of the mind that controls sexual attraction partitioned such that it won’t be influenced by personal attitudes towards minorities or others? Can it be said viewing this type of porn will only stimulate that sex region without affecting the other portions that determine our views?

    • says

      Well, though, this wouldn’t be an issue just for “pornography”, but instead for pretty much anything. Since the primary purpose of pornography would be to cater to sexual attraction and not to produce a great, fair, reflective story, it may rely on stereotypes more than others … but, then again, it may not, since it may simply not need to present anything in order to get its point across. Ultimately, I think it could be argued that all it is doing is trying to make a realistic enough presentation that massive suspension of disbelief doesn’t occur, but then most people are indeed smart enough to realize that what happens in pornography is not generally what happens in the world. In that sense, it’s a bit like watching cartoons; you know this isn’t real but its presentation is such that you generally don’t notice while you’re watching. So, because it has such a direct primary purpose and since in order to achieve that it has to be by nature artificial, in theory there’s less of a chance of it conditioning people into stereotypes than in other media, and it really can claim to only promote stereotypes precisely as far as the stereotypes exist in the minds of the consumers of the product, as that’s all it really wants to do. If those stereotypes changed in the minds of most of its consumers, I certainly think that pornography more than almost any other media would change to the new ones almost immediately, since it costs them little to do so and if they are too far out of step it will break the suspension of disbelief and, ultimately, cost them money.

      • julian says

        in theory there’s less of a chance of it conditioning people into stereotypes than in other media

        Why would there be? Because it serves a specific purpose (arousal)?

        The primary purpose of a cartoon like the ‘Amazing World of Gumball’ is to entertain children around the age of 7 with comical depictions of a lower middle class family of anthropomorphic animals. It’s meant to make kids laugh, which to me is every bit as narrow a goal as to cause arousal. If it began to propagate racist ideas would it be wrong to be critical of it?

        Of course not. It’s in our best interest to rebuke racist ideas. So we are right to criticize the places that become platforms for these ideas.

        • says

          No because, as I said, it’s ARTIFICIAL:

          “So, because it has such a direct primary purpose and since in order to achieve that it has to be by nature artificial, in theory there’s less of a chance of it conditioning people into stereotypes than in other media, and it really can claim to only promote stereotypes precisely as far as the stereotypes exist in the minds of the consumers of the product, as that’s all it really wants to do. ”

          Why is it that so many people snip out the parts of sentences or paragraphs that explain and answer the questions they then ask for explanations for?

          Because it’s aimed at sexual arousal, it’s artificial because it’s far more sexualized than reality is. Thus, almost everyone who uses it knows good and well that this isn’t the way reality works and that there’ll be direct use of exceptionally simplified stereotypes to build fantasies, because that’s what a lot of fantasies are. Another difference between this and your example is that we are dealing with adults who are generally expected to know the difference between fantasy and reality, unlike children who have a more blurry line. Thus, since it makes it apparent that it’s all about fantasy and only uses stereotypes to suspend disbelief so that you can get into the fantasy, at worst it’s no worse than anything else and at best in theory it’s better because it makes no pretense about reflecting the way the world really is.

          Now, the practice may be different, but that would require studies. And, as I also said, if prevailing opinion changed so that those stereotypes were no longer prevalent, I imagine that porn would change its depictions faster than mainstream media would.

        • julian says

          replying to myself to prevent excessive nesting

          Pornography is no more artificial than cartoons or comedy in general. We know we are dealing with overly simplified versions of reality (especially in comedy) but that doesn’t absolve the developer from responsibility.

          almost everyone who uses it knows good and well that this isn’t the way reality works

          Let’s be entirely honest here. Porn consumers are no more an enlightened group than the rest of the population. You may say we can distinguish between fantasy and reality but no, we can’t, not when that fantasy reinforces or speaks to our biases and prejudices.

          Is it a fantasy to view redheads as naturally kinkier than blonds or brunettes? To see Asian women as naturally subservient to their men? To assume No means Yes or that silence is consent?

          We have no reason to believe the suspension of belief that follows watching Professor McGonagall animate an army of stone soldiers is going to translate to us abandoning whatever preconceptions we have about sex while watching pornography.

          And this leads me to my next point,

          Another difference between this and your example is that we are dealing with adults who are generally expected to know the difference between fantasy and reality, unlike children who have a more blurry line.

          Many porn consumers are underage, prepubescent and adolescent children just discovering their sexuality. It won’t due to say adults know the difference between fantasy and reality when we aren’t talking exclusively about adults.

          • julian says

            Just a quick note. Personally I have no problem with children just discovering their sexuality exploring it (with pornography, erotica, whatever you want to call it.)

          • says

            Blanket statement. Have you heard the story of the kids who, after watching Beavis and Butthead lit their couch on fire? While possibly an urban legend, it’s plausible. But that doesn’t mean Beavis & Butthead is a bad show, but simply that SOME people have a hard time differentiating between reality and fantasy. Hardly a reason to ban the show, totally a reason to educate your kids about the difference.

            See my previous point.

            Also, do you think part of the problem with porn is precisely that it is taboo to so many? You’ve got these kids discovering it without any sort of parental discussion on the matter (i.e. “Porn is not an accurate reflection on reality.”) When I watch Lord of the Rings with my kids, we discuss the differences between a world with wizards and magic and the one we live in. (I’m not advocating watching porn with one’s kids, by the way, but I do think a frank discussion about something THEY ARE LIKELY GOING TO DO ANYWAY can go a long way in helping them differentiate between sex on the screen and sex in real life).

          • says

            @Mark We read in the newspapers superman inspired kids jumping to their deaths from windows. ‘Six million dollar man’ inspired kids jumped from the roof of their houses. Not only children. Men learn from porn. In a recent study, 80% of men said that the one sex act they would most like to perform is to ejaculate on a woman’s face. http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2010/jul/02/gail-dines-pornography http://www.oneangrygirl.net/brochure_bothpages.pdf

          • says

            Julian, just saw your quick note, which helps answer my comment, which, by the way, demonstrated absolutely no knowledge of how to use tags…. :S

          • says

            @talisma
            I read both your links.
            First off, I think everything needs to be continually studied. So I’m not against studying the effects of porn on people.
            Second, I’ve also noticed that everyone likes to quote “studies.” Just because someone quotes studies doesn’t mean that what they’re advocating is true. Maybe creationism has desensitized me to pamphlets with a bunch of quotes in them.
            Third, there were two “anecdotes” in the anti-porn pamphlet that I found interesting:
            “I’ve definitely noticed that naked images that used to arouse me don’t anymore, so I had to move on. I found that I was getting numb to basic images. I needed to keep progressing to more explicit stuff.”
            Maybe this is true. But that doesn’t mean everyone is like that. I certainly am not. I tend to vary in what turns me on, and I don’t always “move on” to more “hard-core” stuff.
            “I don’t see how any male who likes porn can think actual sex is better, at least if it involves all the crap that comes with having a real live female in your life.”
            Good lord, this guy has a terrible imagination. For me, a REAL woman is always better than the woman on the screen + my hand. Kind of like receiving a massage is better than giving yourself one. Kind of like talking to a friend is better than having to be alone with your thoughts all the time. Geez. I doubt this guy would be any different socially without the porn. He’s got social issues, not porn issues.
            You said that 80% of men said that the one sex act they would most like to perform is ejaculate on woman’s face. Can you be certain that this is porn inspired? Or is porn inspired by fantasies that people already have? Also, what percentage of women want have a similar fantasy? Careful – just because YOU yourself do not have this fantasy does not mean other women don’t. Some men have the fantasy of being completely dominated by their partner. Some don’t. Do you want to say this is bad, and therefore “let’s blame porn!” ?

          • says

            That’s not really learning from porn. That’s getting ideas. If men thought that the vast majority of women liked it when men ejaculated on their faces due to seeing it in porn and this wasn’t true, then you would have a point.

            Women do this, too, as Richard Carrier pointed out. i know at least three women who talked their boyfriends into making half-hearted attempts at being doms after seeing Secretary.

          • Andrew G. says

            This whole business of treating media reports as though they were automatically true is getting a bit annoying.

            Yes, newspapers and other news outlets sometimes manage to report the truth. But more often the truth is boring; and instead what gets reported is a sensationalized version, often based on weak evidence of causation or on observational biases; then an amplification effect sets in (sometimes known as deviance amplification) where the higher profile of an issue due to the initial news reports causes people to attribute or (more often) mis-attribute other events as being caused by the same thing, increasing the number of news reports and increasing the effect.

            In occasional cases this results in a full-blown moral panic over an issue which is completely non-existent; the most famous example probably being Satanic Ritual Abuse, where the panic got so bad that a number of completely innocent people ended up spending decades in prison.

            Other times it just results in widespread urban legends, such as “sex bracelets”, LSD on stickers given to children, and so on.

            For an idea of how silly this idea of blaming children’s behaviour on cartoons can get, see: http://www.snopes.com/horrors/parental/spongebob.asp

    • says

      Regarding the “80%” figure….can I ask why that is a bad thing?
      Are you actually trying to pretend that, while certainly sometimes people being ejaculated on is “demeaning”, that often wont be the case? Or is every sex act automatically political? And what about a man ejaculating on another man’s face?

      If I help a woman acheive a g-spot orgasm, and she ejaculates on me, have I been demeaned somehow? I certainly don’t feel demeaned, just aroused….but if you think you know better than me how I should feel, I am sure you will educate me.

  22. SAWells says

    “Macbeth” is the theory and murder is the practice. Let’s only allow drama that doesn’t have anything in it that you wouldn’t want to really happen!

  23. Bernard Bumner says

    I am against pornography, because I am against abuse or degradation. But I am not against erotica. The definitions of pornography and erotica came from Diana Russell

    Fine, by those definitions I would agree, but others have noted the problem with applying those definitions to things like BDSM material. (I also find those definitions to be at odds with general usage, which could confuse the discussion.)

    I would also note that plenty of people use material which is not inherently sexual as pornography. In those cases, objectification in the absence of overt sexual cues may be even more destructive and harmful than the use of pornography.

    If you want to define healthy titilation as eroticism and unhealthy stimulation as pornography, then I think you also need to build a consensus around exactly what that means. That would seem to be very difficult, given the complex nature of human sexuality. If even obscenity has proved difficult to define for the purposes of legality, then a difference between the erotic and pornography is even muddier. The major issue is of the informed consent of the performers, which is essentially currently unknown when consuming an image. This is problematic, because it would suggest that images of appparently consenting adults cannot be treated as eroticism.

    What then of fabricated imagery? Presumably we can all agree on the relative potential harm of an obscene fabricated image of a child versus a merely pornographic image of apparently consenting adults? In this case, it is not just the process of making the image itself which is more or less potentially harmful, but also the intent of the user. That example is extreme, but does it again imply that, since the intent of the user is unknown, any image is problematic.

    I suppose that I would say that broad redefinition of terms may be unhelpful, since people may be ill-equiped to judge the relative harms of imagery, essentially slaves to their own biases. I’m sure that very few consumers of pornography would like to think of themselves as actively doing harm, even those who look at sexualised portrayals of violence. Educating people to identify prejudice and harm will eliminate the problem without needing to redefine commonly understood terminology. I imagine that proper education around sex, informed consent, and sexual equality will help to remove demand for the worst kinds of violent and exploitative imagery.

    A movement toward the ethical consumption of pornography and some sort of regulated Fair Trade standard for the industry may be a better practical solution than to attempt to attack the label of “pornography”. Has anyone systematically explored this idea?

  24. says

    You are playing word games here just like in your piece about prostitution. Almost everyone uses pornography in a different sense than you do. You get people to agree with you that a certain type of pornography is bad and should even be banned then that gets transferred to all pornography (in the normal sense of the word; these days, a useful definition is “what you can find at YouPorn”), intentionally or not.

    At least in some countries, the number of women who consume pornography is equal to or larger than the number of men. Look into a sex shop in Germany (you don’t even have to go in)—not a problem since they are frequently in pedestrian-zone shopping districts—and often most of the customers are women, many without any male accompaniment. Maybe they have been brainwashed into mindless robots?

  25. janiceintoronto says

    If you want people to believe your assertions, you’re going to have to present one heck of a lot of citations.

    Some of your arguments and assertions are staggeringly weak. I really expect better of a blogger on this site.

    Please take your readers criticisms seriously. You’ll become a better blogger for it.

  26. says

    1) What you need is to do more than simply define a vague difference between pornography and erotica, but outline what you mean by that and how to determine what is what. So, presuming that you find mainstream pornography — meaning, say, Playboy, Penthouse, etc — at least problematic, imagine someone who wants to get into the “sexy books” business but wants to avoid the problems of what you call pornography. What would you tell them to do differently keeping these restrictions in mind:

    1) The targeted audience will be primarily male (I don’t really think you want to argue that anything aimed primarly at male interests would be bad by definition, and most of what is called “pornography” is aimed at men).

    2) The medium will be visual.

    If neither you nor your sources have any advice on things to remove from even mainstream pornography to turn it into what you call erotica, then it seems that you don’t have a clear enough definition and so this wouldn’t be an argument, but again mostly rhetoric.

    2) On the more “violent” forms of pornography, there is an issue with respect to presentation and practice. Many of the previous commenters have asked about BDSM, and the main issue here is that it seems to me to be difficult to say that something cannot be shown in erotica but it can be practiced by two consensual adults who both enjoy it. So if you don’t allow those sorts of depictions, then that seems to suggest that people can’t practice it either, and that involves judgements of what actions are or are not acceptable, which will quite rightly be criticized. It also opens you up to charges that what you exclude from erotica are the things you personally don’t enjoy or understand, and not things that actually cause objective harm. So definitely those things must be considered and argued for taking into account the perspective of people who engage in and enjoy those sorts of activities.

  27. bbg says

    I am a woman who loves porn. Porn is NOT “exclusively for men’s pleasure.” I watch it alone and I enjoy it. I’m bi, so I can enjoy any style of porn with any number of participants of any gender.

    There is no scientific evidence that porn is harmful in and of itself. I expect an atheist blogger to cite sources when making claims.

    Sex is awesome and can be made even more awesome by sharing it with others. If you don’t like porn, you don’t have to watch it, but I like it and I don’t appreciate being told that I can’t enjoy porn because I am female. That’s just crazy talk. I can and do enjoy all sorts of porn and will continue to do so no matter what people may think about it.

      • says

        She probably doesn’t watch those. When people at least initially think of pornography, it isn’t those extreme cases that people think of, but the more mainstream ones. So, when you argue that she can’t enjoy pornography, you equivocate to limit it to only the extreme cases when most people consider the less extreme cases as well, and you can’t use the extreme cases to judge the less extreme ones. Thus, you really, really, really need to define what you consider pornography, what you don’t, and how to tell the difference.

        • says

          Right. On Usenet, based on her behaviour, Taslima would probably be classified as a troll. Commenter: Marriage is great, I like being married, I’m a woman, I love my husband, we have a wonderful relationship which includes great sex. Taslima: You like marriage? Check out . How can you like marriage?

        • says

          Right. On usenet, based on her behaviour, Taslima would probably be classified as a troll. Commenter: Marriage is great, I like being married, I’m a woman, I love my husband, we have a wonderful relationship which includes great sex. Taslima: You like marriage? Check out this collection of links to picture galleries of battered wives. How can you like marriage?

          • mynameischeese says

            As a happily married woman, I can admit that I benefit from criticisms of heteromarriage. It was really extreme feminist criticism of heteromarriage and women who were willing to abstain from it all together that led to the start of the breakdown of the rigid, status quo form of exploitive marriage in our culture. And there’s still lots of breaking down to go, so any woman who wants to rail against heteromarriage can feel free, as far as I’m concerned.

            And if a load of gay people all moved to Rhode Island at the same time, outnumbered the straight people and banned heteromarriage, I’d applaud them. Not because I really want heteromarriage to be banned permanently, but because I’d love to see privileged people forced to renogiate the definition of marriage even more.

      • uncephalized says

        OMG, Taslima, you are so dishonest! That is not what all pornography is like and you damn well know it. A lot of it is just attractive (well, sometimes) people f***ing like howler monkeys and getting paid for it. Some of it is nice, sensitive enactments of “lovemaking”. And some of it is brutal, abusive stuff that turns on people with a rape fetish.

        And regarding the last type, most of it is still probably consensual! They’re actors! They are agreeing to film this stuff for money! (No, I do not deny some of it is probably videos of real rapes, and yes, of course that should be illegal–which it already is, because rape is illegal) And I, for one, would rather have videos available to cater to that kind of fetish than the alternative, which is probably for those people to act out their rape fantasies on real people, killing or no, because the low-risk, low-harm action of jerking off to a rape scene in the comfort of their basement is not available. People aren’t going to switch off their attraction to the idea of violent or exploitive sex just because you ban the consumption of this material.

        Next I’ll be expecting a post from you claiming all sex is rape. It would be pretty consistent with your pattern so far.

        • says

          Spot on.

          “Taslima, you are so dishonest! That is not what all pornography is like and you damn well know it.”

          Of course she does, if she reads and understands the comments here. One has to ask the question why she prefers to confuse the issue by redefining common English words with an accepted meaning. If one really wants to solve a problem, the first step is that everyone agrees on definitions so that it is clear what the problem is. She seems to be working against this.

          Of course, one can redefine things and still be consistent. The question is what the purpose is. If I say that when I write “George” I mean the number 17, and the number 18 is denoted by “the fall of Rome”, and instead of 337 I write “fwjj4jnfnm34″, then my writings might be internally consistent, but quite useless in trying to convince someone that I am making a valuable contribution to a debate.

        • says

          And regarding the last type, most of it is still probably consensual! They’re actors! They are agreeing to film this stuff for money!

          This reminded me of something I’m pretty sure that Taslima isn’t aware of. That is, that those of us who do watch abusive porn (and porn in general) try to only watch porn that actually is made consensually and responsibly. Greta has an article (“When Porn Goes Bad”) about this to an extent, which I won’t link due to not wanting to end up in moderation limbo, but essentialy it’s about how Girls Gone Wild doesn’t have a clean record of making sure all women consent to be in their videos.

          Her response to this? “They are not a trustworthy source of consensually- participated- in porn. Don’t buy their videos.”

          Key word their.

          I don’t support non consensual porn. Most of us don’t. If we find out that the actors in porn by certain companies are coerced, we stop watching their porn. We don’t declare that all porn is non consensual and demand that everyone watch acceptable erotica, which would probably just consist of cheesy romance novels.

          • julian says

            So aside the unlawful distribution of illegally obtained sexual images of others, is there any pornography you would object to?

            You’re not going to get support by making the things that we like out to be vile and detestable

            This is the double standard that always grates me during these arguments. You are free to enjoy and become aroused by degradation, dominance and subjugation when the context is sex. Taslima is not allowed to be repulsed by the same things when the context is sex. What makes her response less legitimate than yours?

            In many cases I can see the obvious prudishness or underlying prejudice. For example, objecting to depictions of anal because ewww or objecting to sex with transpeople because that’s gay. There’s a clear personal bias with no foundation other than bigotry at work.

            But here, it’s just an extension of principles held outside of sex. Taslima does not wish to be dominated or humiliated and views these things as abhorrent (a view many share although not necessarily to the same extreme) when done to others. Why is her response wrong?

            I’m asking in earnest. I would like to finally sort out where I should be in these porn debates.

          • says

            This is the double standard that always grates me during these arguments. You are free to enjoy and become aroused by degradation, dominance and subjugation when the context is sex. Taslima is not allowed to be repulsed by the same things when the context is sex. What makes her response less legitimate than yours?

            Because she isn’t just saying she is repulsed by degradation, dominance and subjugation, but that everyone should be and that people who find it arousing support rape. There’s a big difference.

          • julian says

            There’s a big difference.

            True… Alright, double standard was reaching to far and I apologize to Grimalkin for that. It is not a double standard.

      • Drivebyposter says

        Wow. I can’t understand why people were excited to have you here based on what I’ve seen so far. Why do you assume all porn is “gang rape” or “brutal”? Is it because your argument is absolute nonsense if that isn’t the case? (The answer to that question is YES). You’re grasping at straws and not even doing that very well.

        Your argument is monumentally disingenuous and I have this creepy feeling in my gut that you’re completely aware of that fact and forging ahead anyway. It’s shameful and I feel embarrassed to have read something this ridiculous from someone hosted by FTB.

      • says

        Do you honestly think that that’s what the poster you’re responding to watches and likes? Do you think that any of the porn-viewing commenters here actually watch any porn that’s as unpleasant as that? I don’t know how you could pretend otherwise without knowing that you’re misrepresenting this commenter’s position for the sake of scoring cheap rhetorical points.

        This sort of strawman argument is unseemly and beneath your dignity.

      • says

        I know the question isn’t aimed at me, but I’ll answer anyways: How could I enjoy those? Why, because I’m this fancy thing called a masochist. Also, a submissive.

        Alternately because, as the phrase goes, ‘that is my fetish’.

        If I didn’t know very well that sites in that format tended to be virus-filled and never lead to actual footage, I’d be all over them.

        I know you’re trying to link to the most DEPRAVED and HORRIBLE things that nobody could ever possibly like without being evil rapists, but honestly that’s not going too well for you. Looking past all of the people who have already pointed out that that’s a poor representation of all porn, you need to realize that there are some women here who genuinely enjoy such things. You’re not going to get support by making the things that we like out to be vile and detestable, and telling us that only men enjoy them is honestly just laughable.

        • Robert B. says

          you need to realize that there are some women here who genuinely enjoy such things.

          And men! I’m not a masochist, but I am a submissive, and there are plenty of guys who are both. And not all of them are gay, by any means.

        • says

          Oh, she thinks you enjoy them…she also thinks you shouldn’t enjoy them. Because your sexuality conflicts with her politics, you see.

          How this makes her any different from a homophobic theocrat is beyond me.

      • says

        Note that one of the links is called “Extreme Sex Galleries,” as opposed to regular sex galleries. The sites actually brag that they are not regular porn, so it’s disingenuous to claim they are.

  28. MojoRisin says

    Jeebus effin christ on a cracker. Men get awfully upset, and verbose, when you threaten their dog-given right to teh p0rn. Titillating fantasy? Sure. But you’re over-rationalizing if you think it doesn’t reinforce the idea that women are three-lock-box meat-socks. And BTW, gay porn is quite different. How men relate to men, or women to women, is not the same dynamic as men to women. Don’t back down Taslima!

    • uncephalized says

      Also, yes, people who are not Puritans or afraid of normal human behavior do tend to get upset when authoritarian fearmongers try to take away the freedom to do things they enjoy or find value in while harming no one.

      • mynameischeese says

        I’m really bored of these Puritans who absolutely need to reinforce the sexist status quo 24/7 and who feel their freedom “threatened” by someone writing a critical blog post.

        • Robert B. says

          Yup, that gay porn I’m defending is tooooootally sexist. Every woman who appears in the porn I watch – all zero of them – have been completely dehumanized for the sake of my sexual fantasies. My submissive, gay fantasies. About men. Yyyyyup. That’s fine, though, I’ll just be over here being erased by the mainstream discourse which paints porn as being by nature a conflict between men and women.

          Or you could give me a pass. You could say that since I’m gay, my porn must be okay. But that would mean that, A, it’s possible for a man to watch porn, including porn that portrays an asymmetric power dynamic, without oppressing anyone. And B, that a person can enjoy and even be empowered by porn that inspires submissive sexual feelings without being a brainwashed tool of the Man. (Or if they are, they probably get to stop if they use the safe word.) That would totally be okay, too, unless those two admissions would contradict your prior assumptions somewhere.

    • lighthousecreeper says

      “BTW, gay porn is quite different”. Laughable!

      I browse straight and gay porn and erotica. Reading stories on literotica.com, my impression is that there are a significant number which deal with the theme of being coerced into homosexual sex (from both the instigator’s and, perhaps even more frequently, from the “victim”‘s point-of-view), being “corrupted”, being gang-banged, etc… I also feel that BDSM is more common, or at least more “normal” (less stigmatised) within the GLBT community.

      These fantasies are frequently played out in consensual, pornographic productions… want some links?

      “How men relate to men, or women to women, is not the same dynamic as men to women.” –Right, the dynamics of top/bottom, butch/femme, bear/cub, daddy/son, etc. …have nothing to do with power exchange at all.

      • MojoRisin says

        Gay men and lesbians start any encounter as societal equals, however they choose to play out the sexual fantasy (top/bottom, etc.). Men and women do not. Even in our free and fair country, patriarchy is the norm which automatically puts women on a subordinate footing right from the get go.

        Uncephalized: never said I was trying to deny your wankification aids. I simply find the whole p0rn enterprise to be rather ridiculous. Like my sex IRL. Don’t understand why others want to watch.

        • Mikey says

          Unfortunately thats never the case. You have other factors involved too, such as race, class, wealth, intelligence, body strength/type, religion, etc. Its not as blak and white as you may wish to believe.

          • MojoRisin says

            I understand what you’re saying, Mikey; and I don’t mean to oversimplify the endless possibilities of human interaction. Yet, male/female is worldwide, regardless of race, wealth, religion, etc. and is a strong factor in determining how people view and treat each other.

        • lighthousecreeper says

          “Gay men and lesbians start any encounter as societal equals [as opposed to the case between men and women], however they choose to play out the sexual fantasy (top/bottom, etc.)”

          Supposing this to be 100% true… in contrast to your original point that “gay porn is much different”, you’ve just shown that “societal equals” may nevertheless act out roles of dominance, control, and objectification of another which in practice and in pornographic presentation is (I assure you) not really distinguishable from roles played out between men & women.

          (unless… you’re not suggesting that ‘top/bottom’ etc. are superficial fantasy roles of the ‘naughty millionaire/sexy French maid’ variety, are you? Don’t.)

          Mind, I’m not saying that men don’t have real social privilege over women, or even that it might not have an impact on men’s (and women’s) fantasies. But to presume that the sexual dynamic in one case is pure exploitation while the other is harmless fantasy is not an argument at all.

    • mynameischeese says

      Seriously. Post something on the wage gap between men and women, and you might get five lukewarm comments. Post something that threatens man’s right to pay for sex, and suddenly a load of men turn armchair feminist and get concerned about women’s agency. Some of these men just need to pay for it. There could be a free-for-all orgy in the street, and some of them would have no interest. They need to pay for it. They need it to be a transaction. They need it to be about them having more power than women.

      • Mikey says

        Also also, the low response could because most of us agree abou the money gap
        Betweeen men and women and disagree with on this one

        • mynameischeese says

          Nah, I’ve done this experiment. They post to mansplain the wage gap away by saying that it only exists because teh womenz have teh babies or girls are just too lilly-livered to ask for raises, etc etc etc.

          And some of them, in fairness, might think that the wage gap is unfair and might offer a lukewarm comment. But certainly none of them get passionate about reforming society over the wage gap. They save the legal reformations and the concern for autonomy for the times when their right to objectify women is under threat.

      • lighthousecreeper says

        I don’t doubt there are such people for whom it’s necessary to tie sex to a sense of superiority. (Though for ‘sex’ you could substitute any number of things, from ‘money’ to ‘managing an office’, with privilege and exploitation not far off)

        What provokes so much backlash? Personal interest? Sure! I am admittedly disinclined to be associated with rapists and slavers on the basis of an empirically unsound ideological argument against which the only defence, apparently, is to join in shouting hyperboles like ‘All porn is rape! Sex is violation!’

        I had my fill of gleefully appointed shame and self-loathing when I was young, thanks, and I can say that it is no help toward forming equitable, satisfying relationships.

      • Dendritic Trees says

        I’ve heard this sort of argument before, and what never gets brought up is the actual source of harm, since its always in the context of overall male/female equality.

        If you find it sexually arousing to be paying for sex, and you do so with a consenting partner, and you treat them with dignity and don’t hurt them, is it a problem?

        I’m notoriously obliviously about these issues, which is why I ask.

        • mynameischeese says

          To ask what the problem is, you must be making the assumption that media does not form our desires at all, which contradicts the scientific evidence (just look up “desensitisation” in psychology if you still don’t know what I’m on about).

          Second problem: You might be assuming that all people have the same amount of privilege and we’re all on an even playing field. But we’re not. Women are paid less than men for the same work. As long as sex work is more valuable than other work women can do, porn/prostitution is going to be exploitative. Think about it: Why is it overwhelmingly the case that men pay women for sex as opposed to women paying men?

      • says

        Post something that threatens man’s right to pay for sex, and suddenly a load of men turn armchair feminist and get concerned about women’s agency. Some of these men just need to pay for it. There could be a free-for-all orgy in the street, and some of them would have no interest. They need to pay for it. They need it to be a transaction. They need it to be about them having more power than women.

        This is complete rubbish. Do the experiment: Go to a brothel and, when the customers come in, offer to pay their costs for the night.

        I’ve heard this argument before. It is rubbish. Note that in no other context would anyone claim that the person paying the money is the one wielding the power.

        • Robert B. says

          “Note that in no other context would anyone claim that the person paying the money is the one wielding the power.”

          I think you’re mistaken on this particular point. The whole point of labor unions is to balance the power of the paycheck. Anyone who’s worked in retail, or read stories about it, knows that when there’s a dispute between an employee and a customer, the stereotypical resolution is that the manager sides with the customer. For that matter, government payrolls are one of the big factors that back modern currency – that’s power on a huge scale.

          Money basically is power. Now, when money is used ethically, the person being paid has certain rights and powers of their own, but that doesn’t negate the power money has.

          • says

            Get real. Please. Of course, he who pays the piper calls the tune. Sure, money is power in that someone with money can buy things. That is the whole point of having money. The reason employers pay employees, or people pay money to buy things in a store, is because that otherwise they wouldn’t get what they pay for. Money is a means to an end, not an end in itself, at least with mentally healthy people. You seem to imply that it is the act of paying which the customer of a prostitute wants. If so, why not just pay her without having sex with her? You can do the experiment with an employer or with a customer in a store: offer to pay the employees’ wages or offer to buy the customer whatever he wants. Will he refuse because it’s really the act of payment which he’s after and not that which he is paying for? No way. Do the experiment and come back. Your word games are as bad as Taslima’s.

          • Robert B. says

            I think I may have been unclear. I didn’t mean to imply that doing business with sex workers (porn, prostitution, etc.) is more about the money than the sex. As you say, that would be unreasonable. I have seen porn which makes much of the fact that the actors (or at least, the characters) are doing things for money that they would not do otherwise. But that’s a specific kink, not porn generally. And I bet that even big fans of that kink would rather watch (or read or etc.) things that featured sex but no money, rather than money but no sex.

            I was merely saying that, as you agreed, money really is a form of power. The act of paying someone money is rarely or never the goal, but nonetheless the person paying is often, by virtue of that, in a position of power. Just because some people make too big a deal out of that in the context of sex work, doesn’t mean it’s not true. I don’t think paying for sex is any more troubling than paying for journalism or paying for health care or paying for music… but then again, the effects of money on those professions have indeed been a bit troubling. Consider the biases of corporate news organizations, private health insurance, and overproduced pop music. It’s not really a problem with porn, it’s a problem with money.

          • Cee-anonymous says

            Just regarding the ‘money is power’ thing;

            I agree, to a large extent. I’m a sex worker (dancer) and the first lesson (and most important) that I ever learned was to Get Paid Before The Dance Begins, always, 100% of the time, because if you take the money BEFORE the dance, then you’ve taken the power. Exactly how it was phrased to me by an older girl.

            If you’ve waited and are dancing for them without the money up front and they get grabby or aggressive or anything, you’ll feel pressured to tolerate it because you need/want the money (or they can try to leave without paying, which happens). OR, if you get the money upfront, you’ll be able to walk off whenever if they mess with you. (although both choices exist in theory either way, it’s a huge difference; the difference between feeling exploited and not).

            And yeah, most of the time the person spending the money is not the one with the power… it doesn’t even make sense. Since the money is the power/gives you the power, then you’re just giving the power away.

  29. karmakin says

    I think the place to draw the line is more or less correct, it’s just that the terms and definitions used serve to create unnecessary conflict and strife. Depictions of degrading, seemingly non-consensual behavior are obviously bad. They’re also increasingly marginalized (which is a good thing). It’s simple. There’s good porn and there’s bad porn. And the good porn is becoming more popular (one reason why women are more attracted I think) and the bad porn is becoming less popular. I think a large part of it is a generational shift where younger people tend to be less attracted to over the top depictions of traditional gender roles and gender-based domination.

    An obviously loving BSDM scene is a completely different thing.

    The other issue, is one of desensitization, where access to sexual media desensitizes us and as such makes us require more “extreme” media for the same “kick”, eventually effecting our real life. I don’t think this is the case. I think there’s a short term effect based off of excitement, but in the long-term I think that as long as we know that it’s fiction what we are experiencing, then desensitization doesn’t really happen all that much.

    • says

      Desensitization is a myth. Reference: personal experience (my own and people I know). One might as well say that a starving person enjoys a meal more than a gourmet. Maybe he is more thankful for it, but he certainly doesn’t enjoy it more—probably less.

      • karmakin says

        I don’t think it’s a myth entirely. I think people such as paramedics do get desensitized (and this is probably a good thing, for them)…it’s just not something that happens for people who can distinguish between fiction and reality.

        Needless to say why religion can be desensitizing as well, because people think it is real.

        • Mikey says

          I agree in that ever eat nothing but pizza? And you keep eating until youre sick of it? Over exposer is a
          Problem and porn can disrupt a marriage. The person using it can get overly dependent on it and leave he partner unsatisfied. The other partner has a moral objection or was taught by society to believe if a man really loves them, hed had no need for porn.

          Again, this is like other media in that too much consumption on anything can have a negative effect.

          • =8)-DX says

            Actually, I don’t think the negative effects of porn on marriage are when it is done in secret there are issues of trust. And secondly CPS – chronic masturbatury syndrome where intenste masturbation can lead to a person being unable to climax from their partner’s hands/genitals/orifices. Either way these aren’t problems with porn, per se.

      • mynameischeese says

        Desensitisation is not a myth in medicine or psychology (Source: wikipedia. Surely wikipedia is democratic enough for anyone?)

        • Andrew G. says

          In psychology, desensitization refers to a specific process (which can be used to cure simple phobias, for example).

          However, as used by anti-porn campaigners, ‘desensitization’ is usually used in a much looser sense: most commonly for the idea that consumers of porn will need to seek out more and more extreme forms of stimulus in order to maintain the same level of sexual response that they desire. It’s this that is the myth.

  30. tenya says

    I’m sorry to see that your interesting thoughts and your posts are just getting attacked from people determined to “prove” their point – which is apparently that all sexual imagery is the same and great because hey here are some women that like it, the “but what about BDSM??” derailing (you’re under no obligation to explain your thoughts on that just because someone wanders into your comment section and demands you do so), and various other snipes (you can’t be a troll of your own blog). Keep writing, keep talking, these people need to take some of their own advice about if they don’t like it then they don’t need to read it, and comment, and accuse you of being wrong about whatever and everything like they’ve just ‘won’ in some kind of game.

    • Robert B. says

      It’s not derailing. The whole post is about the distinction between healthy sex art (termed “erotica” by Taslima) and unhealthy (termed “pornography.”) Her stated standard is that of respect and equality. But many works of sex art depict relationships that are unequal in important ways, such as BDSM, but might still be pinned on a fundamental respect and enthusiastic consent – even if the principals pretend that’s not true during the act. It’s a legitimate edge case that’s important to quite a lot of people.

      What exactly stops someone from being a troll on their own blog? I don’t think Taslima is deliberately inciting unnecessary strife and arguments, but it’s entirely possible for a blogger to do so. I think what’s happening here is that Taslima wasn’t prepared for the consequences of majorly redefining heavily charged words in front of a general audience. (It didn’t help that the thesis “I am against pornography” came well before the definition of what she actually means by “pornography”; that was very ill-chosen.) bbg and uncephalized are clearly using the mainstream definition and understanding Taslima to take a more extreme position than she actually does. If Taslima had caused that misunderstanding deliberately (which, again, I don’t believe she did) she would be a troll.

      And don’t put words in our mouths, please, especially since there are three or four different counterpoints being made. It makes you sound like a troll.

    • says

      Nobody is “attacking” her. Dissenting comments addressed to Taslima on these posts have all been well within the bounds of civility. On the other hand, she called a sex worker a “house slave” on a previous post, which is vile on multiple levels.

      FTB is a site where, if you make an assertion that is not self-evident, you will be asked to back it up. Taslima isn’t backing anything up except with links to websites which don’t back up their assertions, either.

      Go back to Radfemland, where you can get all the validation you want without having to defend yourself with facts.

  31. Gregory in Seattle says

    Pornography is exclusively for men’s pleasure.

    There is a sizable body of pornography produced by women for a female audience and that is purchased and enjoyed by women. While much of this is heterosexual in focus, there is a small but thriving industry of lesbian porn, made by lesbians and targeting lesbian customers.

    Women are used as sex objects.

    Gay porn does not exist? I wonder what I have been watching for so many years.

    I do not have to support this.

    No one has ever said otherwise here at FTB. But when you make blatantly untrue assertions such as the ones you made in your first paragraph, you undermine your credibility.

    Your operative distinction between “pornography” and “erotica” is also suspect. There is a lot of pornography that is respectful and free of sexism, racism, and homophobia; there is a lot of erotica that combine sex with degradation and abuse.
    There is a very large body of material — paintings, sculpture, images and literature — that do not fall into either category. Where would you place the nightmare works of Hieronymous Bosch? The descriptions of Hell written by Dante’s Inferno? Works that depict mutually consensual S&M? Hokusai’s famous woodcut, Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife?

    Ending exploitation and degradation is a noble fight, and one that I support enthusiastically. But you seem to be saying “I don’t like porn, therefore porn should be abolished altogether.” How is that any different from a religious person saying “I don’t like abortion, therefore abortion should be recriminalized”? Or taking a similar stand against contraception, or same-sex marriage, or a woman’s right to work outside of her father’s or husband’s home?

    • sisu says

      There is a lot of pornography that is respectful and free of sexism, racism, and homophobia; there is a lot of erotica that combine sex with degradation and abuse.

      And there’s a lot of religion that’s respectful and free of sexism, racism, and homophobia. Yet we acknowledge that those are a true minority and not representative of the whole, and condemn religion across the board. why is it so difficult to acknowledge that the majority – NOT ALL, but really the vast majority – of prostitutes aren’t working by choice in unionized San Francisco clubs? And the vast majority of pornography IS sexist and objectifies women?

      Do we have to qualify every statement that’s made that acknowledges something we like can be harmful?

  32. Stretchycheese says

    I’m a little fascinated by this odd sort of alliance between radical feminists and religious conservatives. Both seem to want a more neo-Victorian or puritanical society that suppresses the expression of human sexuality. See the following quote:

    America is suffering a pandemic of harm from pornography… Pornography is toxic to marriages and relationships. It contributes to misogyny and violence against women. It is a contributing factor to prostitution and sex trafficking.

    Take a guess. Who made that assertion? Andrea Dworkin? Gail Dines? Amanda Marcotte? Nope. Rick Santorum! Their rhetoric is different, but the meanings are almost the same. Instead of “objectification” it’s “sinful thoughts.”

    • Gregory in Seattle says

      I’m a little fascinated by this odd sort of alliance between radical feminists and religious conservatives.

      Margaret Atwood’s A Handmaid’s Tail, published in 1985, is in part a critique of second-wave feminists who allied themselves with religious conservatives. The fanaticism of both groups created a moralistic and political climate such that when a terrorist group blew up Congress, the nation turned to the Christian fundamentalist group the Sons of Jacob (who, in fact, did the deed) as “moral exemplars” to “help the nation through this crisis.” Thus, the Republic of Gilead was created. And their first deed once in power was to exile or execute the feminists who helped them.

    • davekendall says

      I’m a little fascinated by this odd sort of alliance between radical feminists and religious conservatives.

      It can be utterly surreal sometimes. You get someone like Rick Santorum quoting Marxist radical feminists, while those feminists share a platform with the same fundies who push “Biblical marriage” and “cures” for homosexuality. Very strange bedfellows indeed.

      From the look of it the “THINK PORN IS HARMLESS?” video Taslima links to is from a conservative Christian rather than a feminist. They’re difficult to distinguish due to both using the same arguments and sources, but terminology like “bankrupted souls” gives it away.

  33. says

    Ms Taslima is strawmanning. She (mis)represents pornography with the most extreme examples she’s willing to link to or able to find. She has also stacked the deck in her favor by defining pornography as intrinsically evil.

    I’m sorry but this is very bad form.

  34. says

    We’re already doing that.

    You call for us to “eroticize equality” rather than support pornography, and all I can think of to say is that we’re already doing that.

    As a feminist, I consider it one of my duties to examine how gender and sexuality is depicted in the media – both mine and everyone else’s. Since I became a feminist, I’ve started to look more closely at the romances depicted in the stories that I read, including those that end in sexual relationships. In that sense, pornography (in the general understanding of the word, rather than in your definition) is part of that mission to critically examine the way gender is portrayed in society.

    Many such works don’t live up to the standard I impose, of course. Whether they’re erotic or not. But others do. I look at a story, and see what is effectively a rape, presented as if it is supposed to titillate. This I condemn, as I do your three examples of pornography. I look at a different story, and see something that could be called an actual, honest relationship – fantasized to a degree, of course, but not disrespectful to female agency, and certainly not abusive or degrading – and accept it. Even when the people involved are depicted having sex.

    I can do that without redefining the terms of the debate. I can do that while respecting the need for intersectionality and the agency of the people involved. I feel like your own ways of getting at this situation are failing to show that same respect (particularly for intersectionality). I would humbly ask you to take what we are saying and re-examine the way you think about this issue.

  35. Cswella says

    Why is it so hard for people to make distinctions between 2 topics? Yes, there is some pornography that is bad, but to then equate some with all, i dont get it.

    I like books, but it doesnt mean i also support books like Mein Kampf or Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion.

    If my xfriend and i have sex and videotape it, then later i/we masterbate to it. What changed to make it a bad thing? If i later loan it to a friend for hir personal use, is that also bad? Or, even if i post it online for free or pay, what wrong is there?

    I hope that taslima will at least acknowledge the points people are bringing up, rather than resorting to logical fallacies.

    It doesnt hurt her completely valid case regarding sexual inequalities or non-consensual abuse to admit that porn can be good? Why create unnecessary friction with your allies?

  36. says

    A question, and a brief historical reference…

    The question: are women freer, or safer, in countries where porn is suppressed, than they are in the relatively porn-saturated West?

    And the historical reference: back when porn was illegal in the USA, “obscenity” laws were used to suppress, not just lewd photographs and stories, but factual information about sex and sex-related issues. In fact, there was one well-documented incidednt where our Postmaster General, a guy named Comstock, refused to allow factual information about birth-control to be distributed through the US mail. Be careful what you wish for — you might get it.

  37. Cswella says

    And i should add, for those who use the arguement “Porn is fake, Girls are real”:

    Thanks for the broad generalization that A: all porn is only for lonely guys who are too lazy to find a girl, and B: that you should easily be able to find a girl to fuck whenever you are horny.

    As i hopefully believe you support women’s right to choice, what do you say to the person who desires sex but cannot get it with 2 person intercourse?

    • says

      Millions of people do not get food, clothing, shelter, drinking water, sanitation, basic education they deserve. Nobody dies without sex. You always can masturbate.

      • cswella says

        Millions of people do not get food, clothing, shelter, drinking water, sanitation, basic education they deserve. Nobody dies without sex. You always can masturbate.

        The whole world is at risk of meteor impact, why are you caring about part of the world?

        Please don’t expect diversions from topic to be valid. Address the points given within YOUR OWN TOPIC.

      • Robert B. says

        I wish you wouldn’t be so dismissive of what is, essentially, a form of expression and speech. You would never say “nobody dies from being unable to read poetry” – it’s true, but we nonetheless recognize that poetry is important. Yes, porn often gets corrupted and turned into a tool of privilege and oppression, but so does every other form of speech and art – look at Hollywood!

        I much preferred your tone in the OP, where you admitted that sexual art could be a good and positive thing, and your opposition was specifically to the oppression and dehumanization.

      • says

        No, we aren’t allowed to masturbate, unless we look at images you aprove of. That turn *YOU* on. If we think about something that doesn’t turn you on, you will try to criminalize it…
        You suppress the sexuality of women who differ from your politics, and are no better than the men who do the same for their politics.

  38. Happiestsadist says

    I see you still can’t back up your absurd claims with anything approaching decent science or critical thought. The bizarre definitions you seem to use as well aren’t doing you any favours.

    Why the hell do you claim to be in favour of free thought again?

  39. mechanoid says

    This is the second article I’ve read of yours where you use the construction “Researchers say,”…

    Citation please. Without that, your statements come across as an argument from authority without actually, you know… showing the work.

      • Happiestsadist says

        When you make frankly inane claims and state that they are a proven fact, you will be asked for some kind of evidence. Either state that these opinions are opinions or show the damn work. YOU are responsible for YOUR assertions.

      • Andrew G. says

        So I googled the exact phrase “most female performers are coerced into pornography” and find… this post, the wikipedia article “Feminist views on pornography”, and people copying or quoting the wikipedia article.

        Nothing at all from any actual researchers, and the wikipedia article does not cite any sources for the claim.

        So where is the evidence?

      • Ray Staroof says

        I did some googling around. The first sentence of the first quote from the “researchers” seemed to be from the Wikipedia article Feminist Views of Pornography, and did not contain a citation or intimate that it was a conclusion from any research. The rest of the quote was a summery of a different paragraph and was sourced from an interview with Catharine MacKinnon in the Guardian in 2006.
        The next quote (which I understood to be the from the same “researches”)was from an article written by Catharine MacKinnon from 2005 in the Times Education Supplement.
        I couldn’t find your third quote anywhere.
        I’m not sure what survey you are referring to, but I did find a similar quote as the subtitle to an article by Naomi Wolf on the same site as the ‘Not tonight honey, I am logging on” article (no mentions of surveys in either article).

        • says

          I am sorry. I am not a porn scholar. I have read both pro-porn and anti-porn arguments and anti-porn arguments make sense to me. Not only I studied the works of Andrea Dworkin, Gloria Steinem, Robin Morgan – the great feminist authors, Melissa Farley, clinical psychologist and researcher of prostitution, Diana Russell and Catherine MacKinnon, feminist lawyer and researcher of pornography, I watched porn movies too. I am convinced that women are humiliated and abused in most porns.

          I have been paying the price for having different views than others. I know I will have to pay the price as long as I live. I also know that I can learn a lot from my fellow secularists on FTB.

          • Andrew G. says

            Watching porn is no substitute for reading the arguments for the anti-censorship and sex-positive positions.

            Whose writings have you read from that side?

            Also, now that you know that the claim that porn encourages or causes rape, which is a key argument in the anti-porn camp, is not supported by the factual evidence, how does that change your view of their arguments?

          • says

            “I am convinced that women are humiliated and abused in most porns.”

            With any sensible definition of porn (i.e. not one which defines porn as involving abuse and humiliation of women) this is simply not true, at least with any sensible definitions of abuse and humiliation. It is one thing to have an opinion which is not supported by the evidence, but now you are moving to denying reality.

  40. says

    I am beginning to think this blog is a very poor addition to FTB. Instead of reasoned argument we’ve seen post after post of opinion, sometimes bizarre opinion, stated as unrefutable fact. You guys are supposed to be the ones against that type of behavior if I remember correctly.

    The statements in this article, and the prostitution article, are easily falsifiable. Further, allusions to research in both have pointed to highly flawed scholarship, ideological extremists, and generally poor factual sources (or no sources at all). There is simply no legitimate scientific evidence that demonstrates a causal relationship between porn and, if anything, there is a counter-correlation between the rise in porn and rape. The usual response to this argument is some inane anti-woman comment to the effect that women can’t tell the difference anymore because porn has soiled the sexual landscape. Please.

    I provided evidence, as did others, of sex-workers who were not enslaved, not coerced, who chose their vocation. This was ignored. When addressed, Taslima referred to them as “house slaves”.

    The mere existence of homosexual porn counters arguments that porn only depicts abuse of women. The fact of female porn consumption counters the claim that it is an exclusively male, anti-female product. Your blanket statements about BDSM reflect value judgements about others’ sexuality that are not justifiable or appropriate. Some people just like weird stuff, and that’s their choice. I am very disturbed by people who have such intrusive opinions about what others should do in their bedrooms, and what rights they have to their own bodies and sexual expression.

    Your posts are paternalistic, sex-phobic, and increasingly laughable. You are saying adult human beings can not engage in consensual behavior that you disapprove of, even if it’s what they want, makes them happy and hurts no one. I don’t see how what you write is so different than the anti-gay bigotry of the Christian right.

    FTB has made an error here. They should consider reversing it before it’s too late, as someone who demonstrates the kind of ideological extremity, as evidenced here, will likely further expose themselves as an increasingly cranky, and embarrassing, contributor to FTB.

    • Bernard Bumner says

      We are having a discussion, though. I’m not sure it is helpful to start trying to silence anyone at this point.

      Perhaps Taslima, who undoubtedly has a unique perspective and a wealth of experience to share, will take some time to find a style which suits FTBs. Perhaps that it is this style, maybe not for you or I, but perhaps for others.

      Don’t be too quick to judge, just because you don’t like someone’s opinion or argument on one matter, doesn’t mean they don’t have things to teach you.

      Aside from that, if you really don’t like her work, then don’t read it. Popularity is not the arbiter of truth, but it is certainly one measure of successful blogging.

      • says

        There is a difference between silencing someone and saying, “hey, this is freethought blogs, we believe in science and reason here.”

        It’s not like I’m calling for her house arrest, I’m saying this style of authoritarian moralization against consensual sexual behavior is not a good fit for a free-thought organization. Maybe WND should take her.

    • julian says

      What Bernard Bummer said.

      If this isn’t your thing don’t read it. (There’s a couple blogs here I avoid simply because I don’t enjoy the format.)

      And, honestly, dude, should you really be judging someone’s value based off a couple blog posts?

    • Robert B. says

      Oh, yes, let’s kick people who make mistakes out of the group. That will do awesome things for rationalism¿

      Someone on Black Skeptics offered this same thesis about porn – in fact, I think it was actually less nuanced and more absolute there – but they’ve been an awesome blog overall. Frederick Sparks once delivered a slam so eloquent that it made PZ Myers cream his pants. So let’s not jump to any conclusions here, okay?

    • msironen says

      I agree with MarkH 100%. It’s disingenuous to claim that Taslima is being attacked for simply writing a couple of blog posts that espoused rather unpopular views. If she had done that and supported her positions with evidence / rational argument and responded to counter arguments gracefully, we wouldn’t be having this discussion.

      Instead she mostly just links to other people making the same baseless assertions, complains about the need to support her “every opinion with scientific evidence” and to top it all off refers to her critics as “house slaves” and now “misogynistic Taliban”, even if indirectly.

    • Andrew G. says

      While I’m disappointed by some of the posts and (even more so) by the responses to comments, I’d much rather see her stay and hopefully learn more. I don’t think FTB has much to lose by it unless things get much worse than this.

  41. lighthousecreeper says

    I’m troubled by the choice to represent pornography by those three links. Besides disingenuously misrepresenting the sexual tastes of (maybe) everyone here, the depiction of rape doesn’t prove that ‘porn is rape’ any more than ‘The Sopranos’ proves that television is a violent criminal enterprise.

    Nevertheless, it’s deeply disturbing to me, and of course that is the entire intent: “Look what you watch“. This is not a reasonable tactic–it’s emotional brute force, akin to standing outside a birth control clinic, holding some questionably accurate representation of an abortion on a sign chosen to be as bloody as possible, yelling at female passers-by, “You murderer!”

    Disclaimer:
    …That having been said, of course, the object of my comments betrays that my experience of sexuality is, largely, highly privilaged–my emotional associations with it ultimately lie about empowerment and self-expression and bonds formed with other people. I have never witnessed or been in serious personal danger of rape, and I do not wish to trivialise Taslima’s sense of the suffering of women in sexual slavery which must be, to me, unfathomable.

    • julian says

      Oh get over yourself. It’s no different from holding up a violent passage from the Bible or pointing to some worst outcome scenario from a bill.

      What makes the example you give so horrible is that it preys on people in an already poor situation, people who face incredible societal hatred and contempt for making that decision. People who likely stand to lose family, friends and (possibly) employment for their decision.

      You are being asked to defend what you believe is valid material to masturbate to.

      • lighthousecreeper says

        “It’s no different from holding up a violent passage from the Bible or pointing to some worst outcome scenario from a bill. . . . You are being asked to defend what you believe is valid material to masturbate to.”

        If that is so then very well. I rather had the impression of a dishonest distortion, that Taslima had all but said ‘all porn is like this’. Use of gross over-generalisation has been a frequent criticism on this blog already….

  42. says

    I am sorry I don’t have the energy to address the people who think there isn’t evidence that porn has harmful effects. I did read a summary of a study about how watching porn made male viewers much more fine with a description of sexism, and violence against women. I don’t know where it is.

    This distinction makes a lot of sense to me (queer woman), especially as what little porn I’ve seen has been anything but arousing. Descriptions of sexual excitement and acts and emotions are great though, as I imagine would be visual erotica where I could relate to the characters.

    Porn just isn’t something I know a lot about and I find its implications exhausting to think about. I think a lot of skeptics talk about porn from a very privileged place though. I really mean that, people who are often good at checking your privilege, please do so. I would like more studies and sources too, if only so I can refer to them. I certainly don’t know of any scholarly evidence that it is just fine, and given the abuses in much of the porn industry, I think that’s where the burden of proof lies.

  43. says

    Holy uncited claims, batman!

    I, for one, love porn. In fact, I love porn even by your definition of porn! Material that combines sex and/or the exposure of genitals with abuse or degradation… yep, pretty much 99% of what I watch. In fact, if they didn’t look like the kind of sites that are crawling with viruses and such, I’d love the kind of sites you listed too. BDSM and the like are just the tops, really. Oh, and I’m female, of course.

    I’d love to hear your reasoning for why I like BDSM, though, along with being the subbiest of subs. Am I seekritly a misogyistic man on the inside, or do I just hate myself for being female? Have I been brainwashed by my male oppressors? Clearly it’s one of these things, because according to you, those rape porn sites are all for icky men exclusively.

    Except for how, you know… that’s just baseless bullshit. You realize that a very high percentage of women have rape fantasies, correct?

    Granted, you’ve probably heard that, and denied it because it didn’t fit your views of women/all of those women were brainwashed into not knowing what they like/they’re like house slaves/etc.

    Women must be so damned fragile and stupid from your view. We can’t even wrap our heads around how we like sex, apparently.

    Oh, and for the record, women who have rape fantasies and watch rape porn don’t actually want to be raped, and people aren’t completely shocked to find out that sex isn’t like it is in porn (save for some amateur porn). Just as we can play violent games without ever wanting to be in such situations, we can watch porn without ever expecting or even wanting such things to really happen. People really aren’t that stupid, not even when they’re caught in the grip of Teh Evil Seckz.

  44. aaron says

    Like a lot of people here, I’m just befuddled by why you (and radfems who do the same) feel the need to prescriptively redefine words like pornography. Sure, it makes more a splash (what! all pornography is for men! all pornography is harmful!) but it’s basically just very unhelpful if you’re trying to actually communicate anything. So much of what you consider erotica most people consider pornography. Just accept that — and that way, when you want to write a post criticizing violently misogynistic pornography, you can do so without having to go through this whole conversation.

    And, yes, you do need to actually provide evidence/proof/arguments for your claims. It isn’t our responsibility to look it up — in theory, if you actually have evidence for your views, it shouldn’t be *that* hard or time consuming to include them in a blog post.

      • aaron says

        Let’s see:

        Link 1: an article on nymag.com which has some anecdotes about men who feel guilty about or addicted to internet porn, a brief interview with a psychologist (therapist?) — but absolutely no evidence to support your numerous generalizations.

        Link 2: a blog post by a psychotherapist making a whole bunch of unsupported assertions. Supporting your unsupported assertions with someone else’s unsupported assertions *doesn’t work.* When people ask you to support your work, they mean with actually evidence-based, logical arguments.

        Link 3: I’ll admit, I didn’t rewatch this, because I don’t have 47min. As I recall, though, from having seen it before, it doesn’t offer any evidence to support your general assertions re: pornography. No one is claiming that terrible things don’t happen in the porn industry. What we’re saying is that you claim more than that, you claim that this is always the case, in all porn –which even using your redefinition of the word, isn’t supported (iirc) by this movie.

        Link 4: A youtube video that offers more unsupported assertions

        Do you understand that these aren’t reliable sources?

        And I’m not trying to defend pornography and the porn industry from criticisms. There is plenty to criticize.

      • Andrew G. says

        Let’s take a look at those links, shall we?

        First link, saying where you got the definitions from, is to Diana Russell’s website; I’ll get to that later. The problem with the definitions has already been pointed out repeatedly.

        Second link is to an NYmag article. Popular press articles are not a reliable source of evidence, surely you understand that?

        Third link is to the blog of a random psychotherapist. Again, worthless as a source.

        Youtube link apparently to Dworkin. We know what Dworkin thinks about porn, we also know she has no evidence. Not going to waste time watching this. (I’m a reader, not a watcher.)

        Youtube link to a video with more claims not backed up by evidence (and I agree with the other commenter who said this is likely to be a religious source).

        Three links to porn sites, which others have pointed out the irrelevance of already.

        Youtube link that doesn’t work for me.

        So after discarding the worthless stuff, we are left with Diana Russell. Is there any evidence there? Well, her book cites some of the early experimental and correlational studies on exposure to pornography. Since this is an area of ongoing research, a better source would be a review article in the academic literature, such as this one:

        http://www.hawaii.edu/PCSS/biblio/articles/2005to2009/2009-pornography-acceptance-crime.html

        which actually looks at (and cites references for) the evidence on BOTH sides, not just selectively supporting a specific viewpoint. Unfortunately it doesn’t support your position.

        In your previous post you said:

        I feel suffocated because I am opposed by a group I proudly belong to, a group of atheists, secularists, humanists, rationalists.

        Do you not understand that being a rationalist requires dealing with evidence rather than emotional or ideological appeals? Learning to recognize bias? Examining the evidence against your position? Understanding that results trump theory? Abandoning beliefs that don’t fit the facts rather than trying to defend them?

        The same observational tools that tell us that God doesn’t exist also tell us that there is no simple “porn causes rape” effect.

        Likewise, a humanistic approach to ethics and politics requires that you not try and force other people to conform to your expectations.

        • says

          You already made up your mind. You will not accept any citation or evidence I provide. It is hard to convince you as it is hard to convince a misogynist Taliban who believe women are nothing but inferior beings or sexual objects. You already hate Andrea Dworkin. You even do not want to listen to her. Would you listen to anyone who says, ‘women are human beings, they have the right to live with dignity and honor’! Who knows you would probably ask for the evidence for women being human beings! You should know that there are people who love Andrea and I am one of them.

          My blog posts are not new science theories. I do not need to provide evidence for my every little opinion. I am a free thinker, I think freely, and it is Freethought blog. The question is whether Porn harms or not. For this, no evidence is better than porn movies. I think you should better watch those porn movies again and again, and see how girls and women are humiliated and tortured and abused to entertain men.

          I know very well it is easy for people to be an atheist, but it is not easy to be a humanist.

          • says

            My blog posts are not new science theories. I do not need to provide evidence for my every little opinion. I am a free thinker, I think freely, and it is Freethought blog.

            Wikipedia says “Freethought is a philosophical viewpoint that holds opinions should be formed on the basis of science, logic, and reason, and should not be influenced by authority, tradition, or other dogmas.” So science, logic and reason are needed, not just appeals to largely unspecified authorities.

          • aaron says

            You already made up your mind. You will not accept any citation or evidence I provide. It is hard to convince you as it is hard to convince a misogynist Taliban who believe women are nothing but inferior beings or sexual objects.

            Seriously? You make a whole bunch of broad statements without any evidence, and when we ask for some concrete justification for your claims, we’re somehow now the Taliban? Seriously?

            Of course I’ll accept evidence and citations — actual evidence and actual citations, that is. Your evidence is just as unsupported as your own post — the closest you get to actual statistics is that video, which doesn’t cite any source for its statistics.

            It may surprise you that I dislike and do not watch porn (except for very occasional forays into queer/feminist porn — which you’d call erotica). I have found what little mainstream porn I’ve tried to watch repulsive. So don’t go thinking I’ve “made up my mind” to think porn is awesome no matter what. I’m open to being convinced — but polemic is not evidence.

            And for goodness’ sake. The Taliban? Really?

          • Andrew G. says

            I really don’t know how to respond to this.

            In my view of ethics, the right of individual self-determination and individual bodily autonomy, for men and women alike, is as close to being absolute as anything gets.

            But exactly this principle means that we can’t go around banning things without proper evidence. If porn really did cause an increase in rapes, then banning it might be justified; but the evidence is that it does not.

            I don’t “hate” Dworkin, I simply observe that she and the other anti-porn feminists are using emotional appeals to push a policy position which is in no way supported by evidence, and are prepared to ally with the religious right against other feminists in order to achieve this. The old anti-porn feminist position seems to me to be significantly outnumbered now by the sex-positive feminists (whose existence you deny apparently without giving them any hearing); and while I don’t consider my own opinions on women’s issues to be of much value (what with not being a woman), when presented with two contradictory views of a feminist issue I don’t see any reason why I shouldn’t enquire into which has the better evidential backing and support that one.

            I don’t need to listen to her on this issue this time around because I’ve been through this debate before on another blog a couple of years back, and I read extensively on both sides of the issue then. If any new evidence on her side had come to light since then, it would have shown up in my searches for academic and research literature.

            So I ask you, why should I believe that Dworkin is right on this issue and, say, Greta Christina is wrong?

          • Bernard Bumner says

            I think you should better watch those porn movies again and again, and see how girls and women are humiliated and tortured and abused to entertain men.

            Two questions:

            1) Are those movies generally reflective of pornography as most would understand it?

            2) Will it change the masturbatory fantasies of men who enjoy sexual degradation of women if they cannot access that pornography?

            The harm caused by the production of pornography needs to be addressed by changing the conditions for those who make it, and in particular by criminalizing and prosecuting exploitative pornographers.

            The harm cause by consumption of damaging imagery needs to be addressed by education of pornography users, and via the general movement towards equality and fairness.

            I’m not sure that your call for redefinition of erotica and pornography helps more than it possibly confuses and thereby hinders.

            It is hard to convince you as it is hard to convince a misogynist Taliban who believe women are nothing but inferior beings or sexual objects… Would you listen to anyone who says, ‘women are human beings, they have the right to live with dignity and honor’! Who knows you would probably ask for the evidence for women being human beings!… I know very well it is easy for people to be an atheist, but it is not easy to be a humanist.

            This sort of rhetoric might be fine if you want to wage intellectual war against people you see as enemies, but it certainly isn’t helpful if you’re trying to build a consensus and change minds.

            Do you really see this as a binary issue, that we’re either with you or against you?

            Do you really think that there are people arguing here who want to harm women? That is what you seem to be suggesting. I can see that you might think that there are well-intentioned but wrong-minded commenters, but I don’t see the flagrant dishonesty that you seem to be accusing people of.

          • mechanoid says

            Holy crap.

            You already made up your mind. You will not accept any citation or evidence I provide.

            And this…

            Would you listen to anyone who says, ‘women are human beings, they have the right to live with dignity and honor’! Who knows you would probably ask for the evidence for women being human beings!

            Pretty nasty strawman… erm… strawperson. (/fixed)

            I hate to do this, but… Ed?

            I’d like to nominate Taslima for your Bobby Fischer award.

            Damn.

          • says

            “You already made up your mind”…

            Well, at least that’s a problem only everyone else has, and not you, am I right?

            Must be nice to be completely unbiased.

            O_o

          • says

            This is exactly what I’m talking about. I’m am concerned Taslima is acting like a crank. I’m afraid beyond having an unpopular opinion the deeper problem is she is proving herself incompetent at judging sources of scientific evidence. When her poor sourcing is criticized for legitimate reasons, extensively discussed, and alternative sources provided from actual scientific work her response is “you didn’t look at my sources” and “you’re the taliban”. No the opposite is true. We keep looking at the sources and finding them to be illegitimate sources as well as insufficient to back up your repeatedly falsified claims. As far as the Taliban goes, we’re not the ones proposing a moral code based on ideology and no evidence here. We’re saying consensual behavior among adults (even self-destructive) should not be restricted as long as it doesn’t cause harm to others. Your evidence of harm to others is poor.

            This is the classic Dunning-Kruger “incompetent and unaware of it” phenomenon. The problem we keep circling around is that she simply doesn’t know what good evidence is, and since she’s incompetent in presenting it to us, or finding actual scientific research to base her claims she’s lashing out at her opponents calling them house slaves and Taliban.

  45. says

    Oh get over yourself. It’s no different from holding up a violent passage from the Bible or pointing to some worst outcome scenario from a bill.

    If pornography were all one thing, then this would be a valid comparison. This is more akin to using a worst-case scenario from a bill to argue that laws in general are bad. This is actually what libertarians generally argue. Governments sometimes do bad things, so we shouldn’t let them do anything.

    • julian says

      How so? Taslima admits to a type of pornography she does not object to (what she describes as erotica) and she acknowledges the importance of sex. You may object that what she believes is appropriate pornography is to narrow or to constricting of human sexuality but she is right in asking you to defend specific instances she views as being problematic (because of the role they assign to women/because they depict scenes of explicit violence/whatever).

      • says

        Basically, you can object that just because that law is bad doesn’t mean all are or that the law isn’t bad and the alleged worst case scenario either would be outweighed by the potential benefits or couldn’t really happen. Either would invalidate the argument. I think there is an argument to be made that degradation porn isn’t necessarily bad, but it’s far more obvious that lots, probably most of what the public calls porn doesn’t fit her definition, so we don’t need to even get that far.

        • julian says

          I really don’t want to get bogged down fighting about an analogy or metaphor but

          I think there is an argument to be made that degradation porn isn’t necessarily bad

          Likewise. The argument that springs to my mind is that sub/Dom fetishes are just another expression of human sexuality and that there is only ever an illusion of control. All participants retain their agency and (ideally) everyone is free to leave.

          But how far does that go? Even just in a porn setting, is there any material (outside of illegally obtained pictures of non consenting individuals) that is inappropriate, wrong or out of bounds?

          • says

            Yes, Julian, there is..and that’s why there are protocols and those things we call “safewords”.

            That’s not to say that there aren’t some really bad a-holes who attempt to play a top and take things a lot too far….but the bottom still has the option of cutting the scene and running if things get too intense.

            Try actually asking someone who is in the BDSM scene before making assumptions about them.

            (And for the record, I am NOT into BDSM, but I know plenty of caring, loving people who are.)

          • julian says

            I realize there are limits for sex. I was asking for examples of what would be inappropriate for pornography. Excluding illegally obtained images of non consenting individuals.

      • says

        The problem is that Taslima has never in any way defined what counts as pornography or erotica beyond exceptionally vague terms, and then is challenging someone who says that they do view pornography by tossing out extreme examples and asking if this is what they view, except that it is almost certain that they don’t and probably agree that that would count as “bad”. Thus, the person has no idea if what they view counts as pornography under Taslima’s view — even though it clearly does under theirs — and so the reply is more an attempt to dodge definition and argument through emotional appeal than to come to any kind of understanding.

        It would be a perfectly valid argument for Taslima to say that there are good kinds of sexual expression and bad kinds, that she will call the bad kind pornography and the good kind erotica, and then spell out in at least some detail how specifically she tells the good from the bad in objective terms. But since she doesn’t do that, equivocation is almost guaranteed, and this case specifically seems to be saying that the really extreme end is bad, therefore the less extreme stuff is also bad. A problem that could be solved by her simply outlining in detail how to go about determining what’s pornography to her and what’s erotica.

  46. Who Knows? says

    I would like to say that I agree with the original poster’s view of pornography and that this is not Scienceblogs, it’s Freethoughtblogs. I woudl think opinion is just fine here and if you like to read studies, there are plenty of places to do that.

    • Drivebyposter says

      Whatever. But she is making claims and representing them as fact.
      You can make up your own opinions, but not your facts. People are calling her out on that. She can have an opinion, but people can also criticize what they consider to be stupid or ridiculous opinions that have gone completely unsupported.

    • Robert B. says

      A writer who did not wish her conclusions to be judged scientifically would not use the phrase “Researchers say” so frequently.

      In fact, I wonder if Taslima might be offended by your claim that she was just presenting an “opinion.” I guess I shouldn’t try to speak for her, but I sure would be in her place. Social justice is not the place for “well this is how I feel about it.” It is not the place to give your opponents room to excuse themselves with “I happen to have a different opinion than you, let’s all just live and let live.” It is a place for “These are the facts, this is wrong, and we must stop this.”

      I disagree with Taslima on some of the facts here, and on some of the details of her rhetoric, but in basic objectives and methods she is clearly my ally. I support her clear desire to make a case supported by evidence, and I support her way of unapologetically stating her best understanding of the truth rather than suggesting an opinion. In fact I agree with her much more than I agree with you.

      • Bernard Bumner says

        A writer who did not wish her conclusions to be judged scientifically would not use the phrase “Researchers say” so frequently.

        Go and read Uncommon Descent; subverting and misrepresenting research is their stock-in-trade. They will happily tell you what researchers say, but it doesn’t make it true.

        If you really want to demonstrate that the research agrees with your thesis, then it is simply good practice to guide people to that research so that they can see first-hand the evidence for themselves. (And better practice to critically evaluate it beforehand.)

        If you think that people are already familiar with the literature, or that they should do all of the work to find that literature, then what good is it appealing to that authority, unless it is simply to bolster your polemic and anticipate criticism?

        If your audience isn’t familiar with that body of work, then why waste the perfect forum to share that information?

        Social justice is not the place for “well this is how I feel about it.”… It is a place for “These are the facts, this is wrong, and we must stop this.”

        If the statement of self-evident facts was the only determinant of social justice, then I fail to see how we could ever overturn the status quo. The establishment has always had it s own set of supposed facts with the machinery to promulgate them, and it has often been the forensic examination of those ideas which have eroded their position.

        Talking about facts and truths is all well and good if everybody already agrees on what those truths are, but not so useful if you need to convince people that they are wrong.

        • Robert B. says

          Facts, by definition, are not self-evident. They are evidenced by… y’know… evidence. And yes, there’s a problem where the dominant group controls the means of gathering evidence along with everything else. There are topics where the academy has collectively screwed up so badly that good data is not available. But I don’t think this is one of those topics.

          I didn’t mean to argue that Taslima had the best evidence or that she presents it in the best way. (In fact, I’ve been deliberately avoiding making an argument one way or another about that. Not because I don’t have a position, but because trying to participate in every argument on a thread like this is too confusing and stressful for me, so I limit myself to disputes where I think I have something new to say. Even so I probably talk too much.) My point was that Taslima at least intended to present good evidence to back up her claims, which is the proper way to debate policy. It’s not the only thing you need, but it’s vital – otherwise you get factual incoherencies, like the folks who want to stop abortion but oppose birth control.

          • Robert B. says

            Ack, did I just use the phrase “by definition”? Bad habit, in anything but a math proof. Kindly ignore those two words.

      • says

        Perhaps she has her own definition of what the term “researcher” means? After all, she has no problem with changing the difinition of what “pronography” is…

  47. says

    Nice try again, Ms. Nasreen….but you reference three out-of-the-way and totally beyond the pale free picture/video trading sites which specialize in the most extreme behavior (or, perhaps, even just consensual actors/actresses playacting “rape” scenarios into their consensual activities).

    And, you offer the usual amount of evidence — as in, NONE — that any regular porn viewer would find any such acts to be anywhere near sexually arousing, or that 99% of those who would view such material would even think of recommending such acts to their significant others. Mere assertion does not equal solid evidence, as usual.

    And none of your misdirections and shenanigans will evade the ultimate truth that the overwhelming majority of adult sexual media consists of a combination of these three categories: (1) adult solo women mastubating to their own orgasms, occasionally with the aid of a sex toy or their own hands; (2) women engaging in consensual sex with other women; and (3) couples (whether married, engaged, or otherwise emotionally attached) engaging in mutually consensual sex with each other, or with the participation of others whom they have mutually invited to play with them.

    That’s not to say that there isn’t a tiny minority of men and women who may be attracted to the kind of “scenes” that those three sites offer…but they are far more likely to be attacted to them for the same reason that perfectly normal people are attracted to multiple car accidents or the MTV series Jackass or NASCAR racing for the firey accidents: the “shock and awe” value of seeing something horrific. Sexual arousal is not the reaction they are after.

    Using these vids to indict the diaspora of porn is a bit like using Jerry Sandusky’s alleged pedophilia to slander all college football coaches as sexual predators…or using O. J. Simpson’s legendary car chase around Los Angeles to indict all drivers of white Ford Bronco SUV’s as muderers.

    But then again, why let fact get in the way of a good propaganda screed??

    Anthony

  48. Pinky says

    111 comments for this article and my comment (number 5) is still in purgatory. Why is this. I see you changed the first paragraph.

    My free advice is not worth the money you pay for it, however I do not like being censored.

    I’ll read elsewhere.

  49. Kimi says

    I disagree with you how prostitution should be treated.
    I dont disagree woth you about human trafficing.

    I know some people that have been raped. Some better I know better some I only kind “of know”. One is actually in my family.

    Linkin to real pages THAT ALSO CONTAIN VIDEOS OF ACTUAL RAPE is something I just cant deal with!

    “…what you watch. Porn1, Porn2, Porn3 ….. Do you want to watch more?”

    This is not why I read in the first place your blog!

    You dont shun anykind of filth and scum to black paint your opponents!
    You are a nice piece of it!

    • says

      Just to be fair, Kim….we don’t know that these sites are actual depictions of real rapes and/or sexual assault, or whether or not they are just outtakes of really lousy consensual sex scenes gone awry or merely playacting on the part of the performers, that were clipped together and sold on these sites with the usual hyperbole and shock value.

      But, nevertheless, it serves Taslima’s purpose to use them to slime regular porn consumers, so..there they are.

      • Bernard Bumner says

        Just to be fair, Kim….we don’t know…

        Then the assumption should be that they are what they appear to be. (I haven’t looked at them to be able to judge, so I’ll take your word for it.) In that case, it would be wrong to use them as pornography, but it would be equally wrong to use them without fair warning, and without a very strong point-by-point justification for their use.

        It should be made very clear that such imagery should be treated as real (in the absence of strong evidence to the contrary). It should not be used to score cheap points in a debate.

        I would hope that those arguing for wider prohibition and those arguing for ethical consumption would strongly agree on those points.

  50. =8)-DX says

    Just. Wow. Taslima.

    You do know that in this day of the internet, everyone is looking at pornography of some kind? Your arbitrary definitions of pornography/erotica are completely baffling to me. With conventional definitions, erotica is depicting suggestive/sexual images without actual sexual intercourse taking place. Are you saying that all pornographic material (of people having sex) is bad, or that this is only bad if someone is being degraded? Is an actress playing a raped woman in a feature film being degraded in the same way? I have a strong distrust when someone redefines words to fit their own ideology. All you are doing is lumping non-consensual/abusive/illegal pornography (child porn, snuff porn, etc) with consensual, legal, regulated pornography? Or if your definitions were to hold, a vast majority of all pornography online has suddenly been redefined as “erotica”. In which case why are you quoting “Millions of lives depend on our ability to untangle pornography from erotica, violence from sexuality.”?

    1) I am baffled at your sexist approach towards porn. Don’t you know that many women watch and enjoy porn? That men act in porn as well, gays and lesbians have their own porn?

    2) I am baffled at what seems to be a total ignorance of human sexuality. People often have sexual needs and drives that appear “degrading”, but the BDSM communities have shown can be enjoyed in a healthy and mutually consentual fashion.

    3) Do you know that there are women pornographers out there as well? And so-called female-friendly porn?

    I am a man who has looked at pictures of naked women online most of my adult life and sometimes video of men and women or just women having sex. From all I have seen, 99% of these women (and men) were models getting paid for their work, not coerced but there legally and by choice. I have had a happy sex life so far and am in my second long-term relationship. I have never had sex with a woman I didn’t have an intellectual and romantic connection with and have never had any urge to sexually or violently degrade a woman, nor do I consider women to be any less than men, sexually or otherwise. I have no problem distinguishing the sex that takes part in porn from real-life sex and relationships, just as I have no problem distinguishing the violence that takes place in computer-games from real-life situations.

    Now please explain to me who my porn consumption has harmed?

    Arguments for better education of youngsters on sexuality, for better laws protecting women in pornography, for crack-downs on sex-trafficking, child-pornography, etc – those are maybe interesting and make sense. But otherwise I can’t agree with your opinions in the least.

    I guess this blog is the place to come for the latest expression of radical feminism.

  51. Maude LL says

    It seems like we haven’t seen the same porn. Your post positively seems to come from another world.
    But this is freethought blogs, so I would love to see the studies about “the negative effects of porn”. Particularly the one about porn leading to pedophilia. It’s offensive that you would even speculate on this.
    I am troubled by “feminists” who think women cannot possibly have the capacity to make their own choice. Porn is not black and white, I concede that some people, men and women, get coerced into it. But dismissing women’s desires while accepting men’s is anything but feminism. We are human beings, mammals, animals. We like sex. All (most) of us.

  52. Jasmine says

    What is your evidence for the so called dangerous effects of porn?

    All the evidence I have seen tend to dismiss the radfem claims of it leading to more rape etc.

    Kom igen Taslima visa oss bevisen tack.

  53. suresh says

    I not against Nasreen Taslima, actually I admire her, she is a revolutionary in any sense. I don’t know what I would have done If I were in her situation. But, her perspective on this sexuality is not much progressive, actually regressive.

    Here is one which might add to the present dimension.

    ” “Poonam Pandey got naked but not satisfied. She wanna do dirtiest things none did before. Wants to get f****d in public! (Sic)”

    http://www.andhrawishesh.com/home/top-stories/24930-taslima-goes-wild-on-poonam-with-dirtiest-comments.html

    Its okey Taslima, if someone want to get dirtier than dirty, its okey.

  54. JohnS says

    After reading the comments here and Taslima’s responses, I can’t say I’m surprised this is turning out the way it is. When I read her 3rd post, Similarities and Differences, it was clear that this was someone with a chip on their shoulder (See my comment, #25).

    IMO Taslima has been through some VERY rough stuff and is having problems adjusting to the cool rationality of this place. This is analogous to a soldier going through the jarring transition from chaotic battleground to American shopping mall complete with muzak.

    We all would do well to remember that Taslima has experienced a gauntlet of sexism, oppression, death threats, censorship, hatred, cruelty, and cheap, mean-spirited criticism most of us will never encounter. As a result, I have no doubt she had to grow a very thick skin to avoid being discouraged and a confrontational attitude to hold her own against unfair attacks from privileged opponents while promoting liberal values in hostile territory.

  55. Gorbachev says

    The problem is that we all have different views of what sex is.

    Viewing sex as a mechanical function may be more of a male method of viewing it, but it’s intrinsic to male sexuality.

    One problem is that Ms. Nasreen is trying to come up with one-size-fits-all guidelines. If porn and sex say anything, it’s that while there are definite trends in male and female sexuality. That’s what the Dworkinites and Mackinnons of the world refused to admit; for them, and the two of them seemed by their writing and reports from those who knew them more asexual than anything else, and Dworkin’s time as a sex worker has been widely questioned, even among her supporters, for them – sexuality was not individual, but an amorphous blobbish mass that could be manipulated in an overtly Marxist class analysis.

    So long as it’s consensual, goes modern feminism, whatever two individuals (or more) do, is up to them. Absolutely nobody has a right to comment on the positives and negatives or the morality of this behavior.

    It’s sexual liberation.

    One of the consequences of sexual liberation is losing the ability to police other peoples’ sexuality. Shame must be discarded.

    I this manner, Ms.Nasreen more closely resembles her Nanny State Taliban-like critics.

    By all means, eroticize equality. But don’t make that a comment on other peoples’ experiences of sex.

  56. Cee-anonymous says

    I’d also like to point out (as both a rape victim and an avid pornography consumer) that your links at the bottom of this article that say “porn” are not what a vast majority of people watch when they watch porn; they are links to videos of women being attacked and RAPED, which was NOT something I really wanted to have SHOW UP IN MY FACE WITH NO WARNING AND TRIGGERING ME, and also NOT portrayals of pornography in any sense. OH, and NOW, these links to these RAPE SITES are going to be on my god damn computer’s history.

    I honestly, truly feel like if I could sue you for this, I would.

    Under no circumstances that I can think of is it okay to link someone to those videos… and under even FEWER circumstances (ie, NOT EVER) would it be okay to link someone to those videos WITH NOT ONLY A LACK OF A WARNING, BUT A STRAIGHT UP MISREPRESENTATION IN THE FORM OF A HYPERLINK.

    It’s not cute and it does NOT help you prove your point. In fact, it UNDERMINES it. If you can’t even show anybody how awful and horrible porn is for the female actresses without linking to the fringe stuff, it just shows that you can’t back your argument up.

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  58. Imran says

    This is something written by feminists who don’t want to face reality, and who fear porn because it is the “crime with no victim”

    There are many things in the world that treat women like objects, any film that has a rich man with two beautiful women on his arms purely for decoration, the villain who has a vacant eyed woman in his spa, the millions of posters and magazines where a woman is standing next to a prize in a short skirt.

    Porn however, is about sex and desire. To see something being done on screen that one wouldn’t be able to do. Of course there is violent porn out there, but anything that is commercially produced, is by its nature, done with the woman’s consent, and often enjoyment. If you have a mental block when it comes to women’s rights, you will see women being degraded in everything. A woman wearing a suit and being chairperson would offend you if she was presiding over men, because the board should be full of women.

    This kind of thinking actually harms women’s rights. You can’t take away her right to choose what to do, just because it doesn’t fit with your narrow worldview.

    In closing, we should remember that porn was never needed to justify rape. Rape has happened for thousands of years and (though I hope this not to be true) is likely to continue for a long time. A lack of fear of the repercussions of rape is more likely to embolden the rapist more than anything seen on a screen.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Taslima Nasree continues her crusade to turn the freethoughtblogs into an anti-porn propaganda rag with her latest installment on the sex industry “Let’s Eroticize Equality.” This piece is complete with all the usual assertions about pornography and it’s alleged “effects” on society with none of the empty calories that come from PROOF!  [...]

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