hawkinsssable wrote:Speaking from experience, truly sex-positive pornography is very, very hard to find. It's out there, but I don't think it's too generalised a generalisation to say that "pornography is demeaning to women!" if you define demeaning in terms of things like "privileging male pleasure over female" or even "portraying degradation and women's sexual displeasure as conducive to males' sexual pleasure." So sure - pornography might not be intrinsically demeaning, but I think it's fair enough to talk about 'pornography' without adding the caveat of "except for that 1% that dignifies both male and female sexual pleasure and is performed by actors who are actually happy about participating in the production."
I also think it's completely fair for the school to ban pornography without adding the caveat of "except that 1% that (etc.)"
My problem is more with the language than anything.
I think what you are saying--and what the above passage describes--are very
important bits of information. I think it is very
useful to say things like 'We have noticed that the vast majority of pornography privileges male pleasure over female', or 'the vast majority of pornography portrays degradation and women's sexual displeasure as conducive to male sexual pleasure'. Those are things that are illustrative of deep problems with sex and society, and the fact that this is the majority of pornography that we consume troubles me, because it strongly suggests we are not a very sexually healthy culture.
But that being said, to describe pornography as demeaning to women carries an implication I don't like--that all
women find valuing male sexual pleasure over female sexual pleasure demeaning--that all
women find sexual degradation and sexual displeasure demeaning. I realize that seems like a trifling point, but one thing I have learned is that the world is full of strange kink--and so long as that kink is performed between consenting adults, no end is ever served by telling any
of them that they've demeaned themselves (unless that happens to be their kink!).
This is the notion I want to get out: If people enjoy themselves during sex, that means it was sex-positive. If everyone involved wants sex, and everyone involved gets what they want, it is impossible
to describe this as anything beyond a 'sex-positive experience'. You can't do it. Because when you describe it as anything else, you are telling people how they should feel about their sex. And that's a power I don't want; that's a power I don't think anyone
I can completely understand finding pornography to be demeaning to yourself. I can certainly understand finding its implications to be deeply troubling (I know I do). But one thing I can't do: I can't say it's demeaning to women
. Because that implies I know what women find demeaning--and I genuinely don't.
I'm much more comfortable with 'demeaning to everyone' (which implies society), or perhaps 'demeaning to the sexual identity of women', or 'demeaning to the sexual pleasure of women', because those are more specific, and carry less troubling implications (to me). I'm even very comfortable with 'pornography portrays women as objects to demean and/or degrade'.
I'm just not comfortable telling
women they've been demeaned.