Monday, December 1, 2008

"The Price of Pleasure" Event Write-Up

"The Price of Pleasure" screening with Robert Jensen

While the documentary itself was thought provoking, I found the discussion to be especially interesting. A former professor of Jensen asked a question similar to this: "Is it difficult to talk about pornography or do you find that people aren't receptive to your concerns or thoughts on the issue?" In my own experience, I've had extreme difficulty finding people who hold the same views on pornography that I do. (Right wing conservatives are against porn, too, but it's not because they want to uphold any feminist ideals. Being horrified by explicit content is extremely different from being horrified  by the system behind that content.) Even highly intellectual individuals have told me that porn is just a matter of consent–I can choose to watch it, people in the films choose to be involved. That comment is valid to a certain extent, but unless I lived in a society with minimal technology, I could not escape the spread of pornography in mass culture. (Even if explicit porn images aren't featured on billboards or on the news, the adult entertainment industry funds so many things. Simply stated, porn greatly affects me, even though I do not consume the images.) 
One of the "amen" moments in the documentary was when an ex-adult celebrity explained wages in the porn world. She said that porn is extremely profitable for women, but that's a major problem. If women choose to be involved in adult entertainment because that's the only way that they can get good money, something is seriously wrong with our society. Women shouldn't have to rely on their bodies and their sexuality to support themselves and their families. A woman may choose to allow 13 men to cum on her face, but it could be because she needs to provide food and shelter for her children. There is no enjoyment involved in that situation, just desperation. 
Additionally, Jensen explained that porn is the pinnacle of white supremacy, patriarchy, and capitalism. He said that if our society became more racist, more patriarchal, and more capitalist, we would keep moving closer to the world that is seen in porn. I thought this point was extremely interesting because it shows how porn is a reflection (or magnification) of the dynamics in our society. Much like rap music, porn is not created in a vacuum. 
More than anything, this event made me angry. In the documentary, Jensen's comments, and the discussion, I was given so many reasons to believe that the vast majority of porn is not okay. The adult entertainment industry is so problematic because its primary profits come from exploiting women and perpetuating/creating violence. 

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