DEAR ANTI-PORN ACTIVISTS — Chew on this.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the reasoning and ideology behind anti-porn talking heads (Gail Dines, Naomi Wolf, Shelley Lubben), “activists” (AHF), and legislation (Cal-OSHA). Though I have many arguments against most of this ideology on small levels about the wrong-headedness of shame surrounding sex and porn, etc, it occurs to me that there’s a much bigger and glaringly obvious fault with anti-porn ideology. Namely that its major, though often unstated, goal seems to be to shut down the porn industry for its gross moral indecency, unsafeness,  exploitation of women, and the affects of all the aforementioned degeneracy upon the masses of seemingly hapless consumers who develop addictions and sexual dysfunctions when drowned in smut. But for anyone  who gives a shit about human beings at all, which most of the people touting these ideas claim to be, these perceptions about what comes out of porn valley are not only willfully ignorant of the realities of the porn-making process, they are actually the very reasons why it’s of the utmost important for outspoken human rights activists to stand up for the porn industry instead of bashing it.

Here’s why.

If you think porn should be shut down in southern California and other bastions where it’s established itself because it’s immoral, indecent, exploitative, unsafe, or dangerous to the general public, or if you don’t but you’re interested in finding out why this is wrong, just spend a few minutes thinking about what would happen if the self-policed, self-monitored, self-contained industry that has built itself up around this commodity were to vanish. Consider the consequences of the porn industry vanishing. And I mean consider, not shrug it off. The results would be, in short, a deeper dive into degeneracy, danger, and mayhem than the industry as it exists now could ever go. All the things people despise about what they think the porn industry is like would be magnified and deepened. Things wouldn’t get better for sex workers. They would get immeasurably worse.

I can’t, of course, say that all porn is made ethically or that there aren’t companies with big budgets out there doing very unpleasant things that stretch the limits of what can be considered consensual. It’s not that I agree with everything that established pornographers do, or that I think their wares always have a positive effect on the people who consume them. Far from it — there are a lot of things I’d like to change about how the jizz biz is run in a lot of situations. But the truth of the matter is that nobody cares more about the health of porn performers, the legality of porn operations, the quality of pornographic movies, or the safety of everyone involved… than the porn industry. Certainly not porn critics. Certainly not Cal-OSHA. Absolutely not the “activists” over at AHF. And certainly, not by a long shot, the general public. Yes, the porn industry, like every other legal industry in America, has its flaws: The self-imposed testing system used by the straight industry and the largely condom-mandatory policy used by the gay industry aren’t failsafe. And it’s not cool to me that they’re held so separate in the first place. Not every director and performer is exactly a NICE person. Agents are just as often sleazy and underhanded here as they are anywhere else, often with more dire physical consequences to the well-being of their clients. There are outliers who are really nasty people who really want to see women degraded. It’s not all a pretty picture by a long stretch of the imagination.

But even with all these flaws and icky little nuggets of unpleasantness, the porn industry is interested, deeply, in the welfare of its own people, the public’s perception of itself, and the legality of its product. The porn industry goes to the utmost lengths to prove the age and documented consent of every person it employs. It bends over backwards to make sure every person filmed has recent STI testing because it simply cannot afford, monetarily or public opinion-ly, for there to be epidemics among its ranks. It takes itself very seriously, and it wants nothing more than to please consumers enough that they will spend money in appreciation of its wares. It wants to survive, and it will do what consumers want it to do in order to reach that goal. It will change, morph, stretch, condense, and move itself with a rapidity and liquidity almost unknown in other industries to please its consumers. It has a lot to lose if it goes down, including billions in annual income. It has a vested interest in keeping everything it does above the board, safe, legal, and consensual.

No imagine if some government activity or powerful anti-porn special interest group forced through some sort of legislation (ahem, AHF) that could manage to tear apart this existing structure, either by outlawing the production of pornography or by imposing such rigid constrictions upon it in its southern California nest that the industry fell apart or fled. I mean it, Naomi Wolf, Gail Dines, AHF “activists,” soccer moms, Tea Partiers, Michelle Bachmann… all of you. Really, actually, spend a few minutes thinking about what would happen instead of knee-jerk reacting or spewing some dogmatic bullshit. Think.

It’s ok, I know thinking is difficult for some of you. So I’ll tell you what your brain would have concluded if you’d used it properly: If the porn industry were taken down, people would NOT STOP MAKING PORN. It is an impossibility that human beings could to stop making porn. People like sexual imagery. We always have. From cave paintings to paleolithic sculptures/totems, to papyrus, to the printing press in its early years, to early photographs, to some of the earliest moving pictures, to home video technology, to VHS, to DVD, to HD, to 3D, to the internet, to mobile phones, we have used every major mode of human expression developed during our history to produce versions of pornography. It’s in our nature. It’s not going to just stop because a few of us think the people running aren’t very nice.

And if you can’t stop it from happening but you try, what will happen? If the legal avenues for well-produced, well-paid, safe, consensual sex being performed and filmed and sold in the United States are torn asunder by activists or conservatives, people will continue to make porn. In their bedrooms, in their basements, in anyplace they can go to bone and film it. With more technology than ever before available at our fingertips to document our sexual adventures, amateur pornography — already a huge presence online — will blossom into a massive underground, largely non-legal, behemoth of a pseudo-industry. But not just the amateur couples at home with a camera on their laptop will be involved — with the existing structure and the big boys out of the way, underground, unsafe, exploitative pornography will flourish. Without a place to call home, pornography making will become a free-for-all. Remember what happened during Prohibition, with the gangs, crime, and violence? Think that. Except with the health and well-beng of thousands of nubile young people at stake in a very real way (as opposed to the limited risk of their becoming involved in the well-monitored, well-taxed, and well-lit existing industry).

Think mainstream porn is degrading to women? Well, think what could happen in someone’s basement late at night to a drunken teenager when the chances of the video getting millions of hits skyrocket because there’s no more professional stuff out there. Feel like porn workers are in danger of contracting STIs and drug addictions in the legal industry? Imagine the likelihood of amateur, underground porn rings requiring test results or sobriety before filming. Think porn stars are underpaid or overworked in an above-the-board industry? Imagine if filming porn became like bare-knuckle boxing matches or dog fights because it had no safe place to go. You think agents and directors are sleazy glorified pimps? Imagine if their legal livelihoods were taken away and they became just pimps. Imagine what might happen to the stats on sex trafficking, violent abuse of pornography workers, and underground performers’ health and safety.

Chew on that for a few minutes, anti-porn activists, speakers, writers, thinkers, and legislators. Spend just a few seconds realizing the reality: that the world loves pornography and will not stop demanding its production, no matter what you do to the industry that exists to make it. Spend a lot more time, like a few hours, mulling over what would happen if that industry gets wiped out due to your efforts. If you consider yourself any kind of proponent of human rights, especially with regards to sexuality, you should not only support the porn industry in thought, but also in action. Want things to get better for performers? Fight piracy. Stand up for porn profits. Demand fair compensation for porn performers and autonomy in the porn industry. Be a real activist.

—Miss Lagsalot (republished from Conflicted Exxistence)

1 Comment on DEAR ANTI-PORN ACTIVISTS — Chew on this.

  1. .Front box cover for a pornographic video…Pornography or porn is the portrayal of explicit subject matter for the purposes of and ..Pornography may use any of a variety of media ranging from or . However when sexual acts are performed for a live audience by definition it is not pornography as the term applies to the depiction of the act rather than the act itself. Thus portrayals such as and are not classified as pornography..A pornographic poses for pornographic photographs.

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