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HeatherAdministrator
Be-Musing Momma


Reged: Feb 05 2006
Posts: 728
Loc: Seattle, WA
Re: The Pornography Division [Re: BethicaBunny]
      #1526 - Mon Jul 31 2006 04:41 PM

(strong language warning, here.)

Quote:

I don't see porn as demeaning to women, any more than it is to men. I mean, the pizza guy is hardly a 3-dimensional character.




For sure. But I think some of what is being suggested by some here, which is apt, is that on the other hand, because porn is marketed to men, and generally made and marketed in such a way that does not show a great value to women specifically (and often marketed to those who also don't feel great value for women in this vein), you don't see the men called pricks on the cover, you don't often hear (not that that would necessarily be better, mind) men being identified as "fresh cock," or the like the way women are. The men in (hetero mostly, but even in a lot of gay male porn, the butch/macho men don't get this treatment, either) porn aren't sold as "whores," aren't filmed with as much of the same sorts of exposure much of the time, aren't filmed reaching orgasm from things which realistically don't bring that about much of the time, etc. To boot, many of the male actors in pornography look a LOT more like men we see every day on the street than the female actors do. One of the best-paid and most widely used male porn actors is overweight, not anything close to mainstream model-material, has a LOT of body hair, has a skullet going on, etc. The most widely paid/used female porn actors could not dream of being allowed anything close to that degree of realism in their appearance.

And of course, given their valuation in culture overall, even if all things were equal in those regards as well as others, the impact would not be the same.

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If I had to characterize one quality as the genius of feminist thought, culture, and action, it would be the connectivity. - Robin Morgan


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DaniellaModerator
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Reged: Jun 21 2006
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Re: The Pornography Division [Re: Heather]
      #1586 - Tue Aug 01 2006 11:48 AM

Ah, porn. Great topic.

Personally I'm of the anti-porn camp. Sure, there's been some improvement in recent years with the feminine influence and subsequent emphasis is some industries, but pornography is still largely about serving the male who purchases it. My instinct is to associate this with scientific studies on arousal based on specific sensory stimuli, to go on about how women just aren't stimulate visually like men are; but I think that's oversimplifying in this day and age when we're aware of individual sexual attitudes.

But it's more than that; it's the acts of the women involved and the sterotypes they portray on film. The fact that there is a porn 'type' is what's distressing, that this set of women are the ones who are sexual and sexually arousing. They'll do whatever you want and look hot doing it. And that's a scary thing to compete with when you're a real conflicted normal-looking woman. Especially when men in porn are not held to any comparable standard.

What about 'traditional' porn aimed toward women? Please note that I don't say "designed for women" because it's obvious that's not the case. Porn for women, not to be confused with erotica, mostly includes large penises and overmuscled men striking statuesque poses. Or at least it used to. Regardless, hardly what I'd find arousing. But you see the problem? It's just the porn formula--glorifying the accomplishments of men while setting women in awe of their 'skills'.


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DJo



Reged: Aug 18 2006
Posts: 32
Loc: Canada
Re: The Pornography Division [Re: Daniella]
      #1938 - Sat Aug 19 2006 06:10 PM

Daniella - actually men in porn are held to a single, comparable standard, can they keep it up in front of large groups of people. If they can't, they aren't in mass produced pornography.

I'm not anti-porn. I actually have a large collection of porn. I enjoy watching it from time to time, and I have many male friends who feel the same way. I also like large, muscley men - many women do.

When abuse is present, to me, porn is a problem. When underage girls are used, porn is a problem. When consenting adults are involved, I do not believe that porn is a problem.

D.J.

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Life isn't all sunshine and rainbows


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summergoddess



Reged: Aug 17 2006
Posts: 46
Loc: Ontario, Canada
Re: The Pornography Division [Re: DJo]
      #2132 - Wed Aug 23 2006 08:11 PM

"What is your take on porn? That is the discussion here."

Pornography gives a false sense of intimacy. Before, I go on to further my explanation. Pornographyís purpose is to enhance sexual arousal. Pornography has four effects. Those four effects include sexual arousal, user attitude, sexual behaviour, and aggression towards women. Thatís where I come in about false sense of intimacy.

Porn symbolizes women as sex objects. Women are always ready for sex. So when men go watch porn, they learn to think that women are automatically like that in IRL but not every woman is always ready for sex. Granted there are some of us that are nymphomaniacs, which means, we love to have sex A LOT! Porn portrays their women as those with blonde hair, blue eyes, shaved and etc. I have two sides to pornography though because not only I am a woman, but also I am a bisexual. So I do appreciate women and the beauty of themselves. I appreciate that woman have the confidence to be so comfortable in their skin to be viewed publicly doing sexual acts with other people. You need to love yourself first before you can share that same love to somebody else before sharing all of you to that person. It needs to be respected. Porn also makes women wonder about their bodiesóif we should have our private areas shaved and etc. This stuff is a private choice. If men donít/respect our choices of how we decide what to do with our bodies, too bad for them. We only OWN ourselves. MEN donít OWN US. They donít have the right to demand sex, same for us. I want to make it clear that I do enjoy pornography but I also understand what it portrays. I engage in sexual acts on my own terms.

Pornography has four objectifications. Those objectifications include portrayal of women (which Iíve already mentioned), moral grounds and child pornography. What I donít like about porn is that they donít practice safe sex because then that means men think that they have the power to have sex whenever they want without condoms. There are some people who arenít ready for unprotected sex, or birth control, or whatever. Pornography can be an education to sex but not all of it is reality. A lot of it is what sex should be idealistic. Pornography doesnít educate about communication which I stress is very important. Not everybody wants/is interested anal sex, S&M and such. Iím glad that they show every kind of sex there is in the world, itís just not advocated to the world properly.

Pornography is only really a major serious problem when itís being used for violence. They actually act out in IRL such as child pornography, gang sex, etc. I really have huge problem with especially child pornography. Children do not have consent and they have NO clue what they are doing. The penetrator is either someone of a family friend or a family member or somebody thatís somewhat connected to the child/childís family. Itís morally wrong to use a child to engage in sexual acts. UGH! It breaks my heart. Children are innocent and should be left alone with their innocence. They should enjoy life being a kid and not have to do things that are more for adults. It takes a child to enhance your sexual arousal??? Man, those people have really low blows! Sorry. I really get a rise out when it comes to that kind of pornography.

"Personally, I continue to want porn made in a consensual, non-violent, safe workplace to continue to be legal, even if I think its contents are misogynist, because I don't trust the law to make distinctions about which erotic material is appropriate and which isn't."

^^I agree; enough said.

"BUT, I want to encourage consumers of misogynist porn to question why that stuff turns them on, and what it means about their attitude towards women as a whole that they are aroused by misogyny. I think engaging with people and trying to make them THINK about what they're consuming is a more successful (not to mention healthier) strategy than simply trying to shame them for purchasing or enjoying the stuff. Shaming just drives the stuff further underground and makes it that much more malevolent."

^^I also agree.
®
"Lastly, I want to encourage more woman-friendly porn and erotica, as it appears we all do.
This is a similar issue to the fact that the industry STILL pays actors (male and female alike) more money for going without safer sex/condoms, why actors who won't tend to get no work, why we don't see condoms in pornography. During the last big HIV scare in visible actors, a few places suggested this and there was a client UPROAR: most users made clear that condoms in the films would totally ruin things for them, with little to no care for the fact that their entertainment was at the expense of the actors' health and in some cases, their very lives."
®
^^ Seriously, Iím all for that big time and I mentioned in my statement earlier. I disagree with they donít show safe sex. Safe sex should be advocated more!

Thus, pornography is a great fantasy but people should have sex in whatever way they are truly are comfortable with, and all other elements that come with sex such as communication, protection, honesty and etc. Future porn should be done in more of a positive and legalistic view (so more like IRL, rather than ideal fantasy).

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Jules


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HeatherAdministrator
Be-Musing Momma


Reged: Feb 05 2006
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Re: The Pornography Division [Re: summergoddess]
      #2133 - Wed Aug 23 2006 08:35 PM

I don't have time to respond to all of this tonight, at all, but I wanted to make sure to note a couple of things to/about your post summergoddess:

1) Some of what you've said here is pretty provocative, and includes some statements (and approaches: the term "moral," all by itself is SO tricky, especially when it's used in a way which implies morality is anything less than subjective) which often make discussions on porn go totally haywire. So, if everyone could be sure to tread light to keep this thread productive -- if inclined not to -- I'd be appreciative. This has been one of the most productive discussions I've seen on the topic, honestly, covering an array of options, and I'd be seriously bummed if it couldn't remain that way.

2) Nymphomania, as a term and an idea, is INSANELY loaded. Namely, it is a term for psychosis, not healthy sexual beahviour. It's one which was, at first namely applied to women who simply had healthy libidos (and used to suggest that those women were psychotic, and thus, demonize women's autonomous sexuality outright), but at this time, when NOT used in a biased manner, it's about sexual compulsion, not about a healthy, functioning libido, or merely enjoying sex a lot.

3) It's important to remember when forming analyses of porn that there is a LOT of porn out there without ANY women in it, at all. So, while, for instance, I think it can be sage to suggest that in some regards, sometimes, gay male porn may portray and suggest aggression towards feminization, I don't see how it'd contribute to aggression against a group nowhere in the material, how gay male porn would make women wonder about their bodies, etc.

4) I think it's also important to think long and hard about the suggestion that fantasy material, of any type, is, in and of itself, a problem. By all means, I think we'd all benefit by there being MORE material that is more realstic, diverse, et cetera; by there being a better balance. But I'm not so sure it's sound to suggest that fantasy is a problem in sexual material (or that cliaming to be so, or only in explicit sexual material), period, especially without a sound argument for why fantasy would be a problem in other media. (Or other things used as porn, such as women's romance/fantasy novels, which SCADS of women use as pornography: I have a good story on that issue for another time, too.)

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If I had to characterize one quality as the genius of feminist thought, culture, and action, it would be the connectivity. - Robin Morgan


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BeppieAdministrator



Reged: Jun 22 2006
Posts: 362
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Re: The Pornography Division [Re: Amelia]
      #2277 - Thu Aug 31 2006 12:04 AM

Saw this article in The Guardian today:
Violent Porn Ban

Basically, the British goverment is about to pass legislation "outlawing the possession of images of extreme sexual violence, necrophilia and bestiality as soon as possible. It is already illegal to produce or distribute such material."

The article cites substantial circumstantial evidence that violent porn makes people (almost always men) more likely to commit violent sexual abuse. There is actually non-circumstantial evidence to support this theory (see here).

Of course, there are also plenty of people who see this as a limitation on the freedom of speech, and fear that it will also outlaw depictions of consensual activities.

Personally, I am pretty anti-censorship, and I'm not sure how I feel about this. It's important to keep a few things in mind about the notion of "freedom of speech" in this discussion.

"Freedom of speech" traditionally (as it is formulated in John Stuart Mill's On Liberty) refers to the freedom to state political and personal opinions without fear of persecution, BUT it also traditionally allowed for provisos banning certain types of speech that were likely to result in harm to others-- thus, for instance, it's completely okay to ban someone from saying or publishing something to the effect of "let's go and violently assault <insert group of people here>," because these types of speech infringe on the liberties of the people who are likely to be victims of violence as a result.

So, I think the question here is, can violent pornography be taken as an incitement to violence against women? For the sake of this discussion, let's make it violent pornography in which the recipient of violence is portrayed as not giving viable consent.

Does the fact that violent pornography makes sexual violence against people who are usually women into a "good" thing? Does the fact that the implied male viewer is reaching orgasm-- something generally considered positive-- in tandem with viewing violence against women mean that this pornography is promoting such violence?

And if it does promote such violence, are there grounds for restricting it, in a society that generally promotes freedom of speech? Do you think that banning violent pornography will limit the potential to freely exchange political ideas? Or do you think that the harm to women that results from violent pornography is a far greater risk to society than any potential harm to the exchange of political ideas?

Edited by Beppie (Thu Aug 31 2006 12:05 AM)


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Laura
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Reged: Jun 23 2006
Posts: 52
Loc: Monterey, CA
Re: The Pornography Division [Re: Beppie]
      #2371 - Tue Sep 05 2006 02:02 PM

I would liken it to the idea of violent video games. Just because I am an avid tomb raider fan doesn't mean I'm going to go set out on a shoot em up archeological dig anytime soon.

However, it is possible that there is an unrelated correlation. Perhaps violent people are more likely to watch this type of material - but the material itself is not likely to make a person violent.


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rhi



Reged: Jul 07 2006
Posts: 165
Loc: England
Re: The Pornography Division [Re: Laura]
      #2379 - Tue Sep 05 2006 03:53 PM

A few random thoughts...

The doctor who started and still runs AIM (Adult Industry Mecical Centre) in the San Fernando Valley, and where all pron stars (who don't have to use condoms) have to go to get their industry mandated HIV tests etc, made a comment on a channel 4 documentary I watched a few nights ago. The documentary was in general talking about how the industry shut down alst MArch/April/May cos of a HIV outbreak, but part way through, they switched to talking about gonzo porn. For those who don't know, this is pron that tends to have a whole bunch of unrelated sex scenes, one after the other with no actual plot, unlike say porn made by Vivid, whcih is a regular film with some sex thrown in. Gonzo can have a story, there was a film about a US journalist being abducted in Afghansitan and....well you don't need details, suffice it to say it wasn't good. A typical gonzo shoot will contain the infamous double anal (use your imagination) along with a whole bunch of other degrading things.

Where am I going with this, I hear you ask? Well, the point was that when this docotr saw the AbuGraib photos from Iraq, her immediate thought was that the soldiers in question had seen a whole lot of Gonzo and were re-enacting scenes from it. They had been directly influenced by it.

Second, equally undisjoined point, Japan has a massive culture for things like violent video games, movies and cartoon porn (you can do things in a cartoon humans can't do) - which doesn't have age restrictions on in some palces. And yet the instances of violent crime, of random street attacks etc are way lower than in the West where such things are regualted, and limited, and less prevalent.

Those are my immediate thoughts, anyway.

Unless you want to think about Sexcetera's Susannah Breslin calling women like Houston (pron star) and Annabel Chong the "ultimate femenists". Annabel Chong was the first woman to have a "gang bang", she filmed herself having sex with, I think 351 men in one day. Houston is the third person to hold the record, she had sex with something like 611, in one day, as part of the "Houston 500". Everything was, as always, taped.

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Did you cover your eyes when they told you that he can't come back
Cos he has no children to come back for

G. Michael


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rhi



Reged: Jul 07 2006
Posts: 165
Loc: England
Re: The Pornography Division [Re: summergoddess]
      #2380 - Tue Sep 05 2006 04:04 PM

Quote:

What I donít like about porn is that they donít practice safe sex because then that means men think that they have the power to have sex whenever they want without condoms.


Gay porn, at least the N. American stuff, always uses condoms.

As far as straight porn goes, every month every actor gets checked and gets a certificate of health, not certificate, no filming. (Again, this is N.America CA, home of western porn). The actresses take birth control.

When you say "safe sex" you mean condoms. Be specific.

--------------------
Did you cover your eyes when they told you that he can't come back
Cos he has no children to come back for

G. Michael


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HeatherAdministrator
Be-Musing Momma


Reged: Feb 05 2006
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Re: The Pornography Division [Re: rhi]
      #2382 - Tue Sep 05 2006 05:44 PM

Rhi, neither of those things are always true. Not by a serious long shot.

As someone with plenty of friends still working in pornography, and who has been pretty well versed in both sides of the face of the industry for a long time now, I can assure you those things often are not so. A few of the biggest studios have started requiring STI screenings and contraceptive use, but even then, people let things slide, and more to the point, what comes out of the small handful of big studios is nothing close to the largest amount of pornography produced.

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If I had to characterize one quality as the genius of feminist thought, culture, and action, it would be the connectivity. - Robin Morgan


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rhi



Reged: Jul 07 2006
Posts: 165
Loc: England
Re: The Pornography Division [Re: Heather]
      #2383 - Tue Sep 05 2006 05:58 PM

So, conclusion, depends where you go and what you do when you get there.

Standing and saying "they don't practice safe sex" is as incorrect as saying what I said.

Right?

--------------------
Did you cover your eyes when they told you that he can't come back
Cos he has no children to come back for

G. Michael


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HeatherAdministrator
Be-Musing Momma


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Re: The Pornography Division [Re: rhi]
      #2385 - Tue Sep 05 2006 06:05 PM

Not really.

I've asked a friend who works in the industry and with sex work/porn reform to come in and share some info with all of you so that whatever opinions you form about porn can be as informed as possible, so she'll likely explain this in more depth.

But overall, worldwide in most pornography, and outside of major studios in LA in the US, it WOULD be accurate to say that safer sex -- meaning, latex barriers and testing, combined -- is the exception, not the rule, in both gay and straight porn. Testing is the exception. Condoms are the exception.

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If I had to characterize one quality as the genius of feminist thought, culture, and action, it would be the connectivity. - Robin Morgan


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rhi



Reged: Jul 07 2006
Posts: 165
Loc: England
Re: The Pornography Division [Re: Heather]
      #2386 - Tue Sep 05 2006 06:08 PM

I emphasised that I was refering to the US industry, not say Brazil where doing anal scenes has been described as "suicide" by people working in the industry, for example.

--------------------
Did you cover your eyes when they told you that he can't come back
Cos he has no children to come back for

G. Michael


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HeatherAdministrator
Be-Musing Momma


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Re: The Pornography Division [Re: rhi]
      #2388 - Tue Sep 05 2006 06:11 PM

Okay, but the big LA studios are only one PART of the US industry. It's far, far bigger than that, even just in the US.

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If I had to characterize one quality as the genius of feminist thought, culture, and action, it would be the connectivity. - Robin Morgan


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rhi



Reged: Jul 07 2006
Posts: 165
Loc: England
Re: The Pornography Division [Re: Heather]
      #2389 - Tue Sep 05 2006 06:19 PM

If you don't count the "amateur" stuff, which, how do you regulate that anyway? The San Fernando Valley makes most of the porn, and sets a lot of the trends. It's where the biggest stuidios/production houses are based, be they for mainstream, such as Vivid, Lesbian/Gay porn etc.

They self-regulate to an extent, with the AIM programme (widespread and widely supported), with insistnace on condoms in some genres/studios...evidence is that the whole system shut down last year when one (then 4) cases of HIV showed up in the system.

You can't then say that porn doesn't practice safe sex. You can say "most porn doesn't use condoms" and nice fluffly statements with "most" and "the majority" in it, but blanket statements don't work, especially somewhere where incorrect information is frowned upon and opinions have to be clearly labeled as such, so as to ensure discussion runs smoothly/productivly.

--------------------
Did you cover your eyes when they told you that he can't come back
Cos he has no children to come back for

G. Michael


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DrK
Wordsmithsta


Reged: Jun 22 2006
Posts: 94
Loc: AL, USA
Re: The Pornography Division [Re: rhi]
      #2392 - Tue Sep 05 2006 06:41 PM

Well, Rhi, it's easier to be both precise and to be right when you've limited the terms to the smallest possible slice of the industry. Not admitting that one's facts are hopelessly reductive (when you've been caught out on it) no more facilitates a good discussion than blanket statements. As Heather has made clear (and, really, any adult with net access could tell you) the porn industry is much Much bigger than select studios in one valley in CA. I suspect we'll hear as much and more from her friend, when she posts. I think we ought to wait to see what she adds to the discussion before continuing this.

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Contre tout le monde, je me defendrai...je suis le dernier homme, je le resterai jusqu'au bout! Je ne capitule pas!- Ionesco, Le Rhinoceros


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rhi



Reged: Jul 07 2006
Posts: 165
Loc: England
Re: The Pornography Division [Re: DrK]
      #2394 - Tue Sep 05 2006 06:46 PM

I think I've ceased to make sense, but I thought I'd said that what I said wasn't right in all circumstances. I thought I said something about Brazil, about, well other examples. I forget.

What I was aiming to get at (if I remember right) with my SFV examples were that trying to generalise across a whole industry and say things about practices across a whole industry that is very very diverse, isn't possible.

--------------------
Did you cover your eyes when they told you that he can't come back
Cos he has no children to come back for

G. Michael


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HeatherAdministrator
Be-Musing Momma


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Re: The Pornography Division [Re: rhi]
      #2396 - Tue Sep 05 2006 07:09 PM

The thing is, this topic is about people's feelings in general and the industry as a whole.

Bettie has some other work to finish, but she'll be posting later tonight. I can't speak highly enough of her, and she's about the best expert on these matters I could think to call in. She can talk about how, no, all of the LA studios did NOT shut down, moratoriums have NOT been held up, and about what the norms of all of this go. Speaking about the exceptions/limited practices just doesn't strike me as sensible or productive when the discussion is about the industry as a whole, and people's feelings about it as a whole, no matter what those feelings may be. It is NOT inaccurate, to say of porn as a whole, that more often than not, safer sex is not at play (and as Bettie will tell you, when it is, it's the actors who pay the costs, not the studios), and latex barriers are not used and/or shown.

I'd add that personally, I feel it is EXCEPTIONALLY important to be as grounded in the reality of pronography production, worldwide and locally, as possible if, whatever our personal take on porn, we've any interest in making the whole works safer and sounder for everyone, especially the workers within the industry.

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If I had to characterize one quality as the genius of feminist thought, culture, and action, it would be the connectivity. - Robin Morgan


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Bettie



Reged: Sep 05 2006
Posts: 3
Loc: Montreal
Re: The Pornography Division [Re: Heather]
      #2402 - Tue Sep 05 2006 10:52 PM

Hi everyone. I am friend of Heatherís. I am a sex worker Ė specifically a porn performer and model. I have a few other more ďmainstreamĒ jobs on my CV, but I am comfortable with the sex worker label at this time and specifically within this discussion. I have worked in the porn industry for nearly 8 years.

I thought I would jump in to share a few of my experiences with the role of STI testing and the use of condoms in the adult industry. I do not work in the LA scene, but I know people who do and as a sex worker activist I try my best to keep up with the state of affairs in the sex industry as a whole and around the world. I am tracking down various news sources for some of the comments I am making in the post so until I find them my comments are of a general nature.

AIM is an organization that tracks the voluntary testing of STIs of porn performers in the greater LA area. You do not have to test with AIM to get work in LA, but it greatly increases your chances of getting work if you do. Some performers outside of California do use their services, but it is the exception not the rule. I believe that the people who started AIM did so in hopes of creating a self-regulating system to better ensure safer working conditions for performers. While it is not a perfect system, if everyone follows their guidelines STI transmission is significantly reduced and trackable. This is a good thing. Unfortunately, there are many production companies outside of their sphere of influence and subsequently they do not require that their performers get tested.

As for the moratorium that was put in place after 4 performers tested positively for HIV in 2004, it was self-imposed. However, some production companies and performers continued to work (I am tracking down a news source for this). In any case, this only applied to the LA scene not to production in say Miami or New York. Some productions moved to Europe where they are not consistent about testing. By the way, in the past 5 years there has been an increase in sex workers in Eastern Europe including porn performers. While I have heard good things about the ease and cost of testing, I am not aware of anything being organized for tracking purposes.

Now on to condoms. There is only one company that I know of that is condom mandatory. There are smaller independent companies and productions that are condom mandatory, but they are in the minority. There are some companies that say they are condom optional, but only the top stars can demand condoms. For the most part if you choose to use condoms you wonít get the job because there is always someone who will work condom free. With the amount of turn over in performers (always a new gal or guy fresh off the bus to take your place) the competition is fierce. According to AIM the typical performer works in the industry for three months to three years. As well, only 17% of performers use condoms.

One thing that people have noted is true condom optional productions are more common online. Often these companies feature the owners as performers and so they are considerate of their own health and safety and subsequently those of their hired performers.

That is pretty much a quick overview. From a workerís rights perspective I have tonnes more to say. It terms of the ethics of porn I also have lots of opinions. One thing I know is that safer working conditions across the board would change the industry radically. Some people, for their own selfish reasons, do not want this to happen. I think it is very similar to other worker movements of the past. Owners do not want their workers to be empowered.

If you have any questions I would be happy to answer them.


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HeatherAdministrator
Be-Musing Momma


Reged: Feb 05 2006
Posts: 728
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Re: The Pornography Division [Re: Bettie]
      #2403 - Tue Sep 05 2006 11:16 PM

Thanks so much for piping in, Bettie.

(And always good to see you in/have you be some part of anything I do, per usual.)

--------------------
If I had to characterize one quality as the genius of feminist thought, culture, and action, it would be the connectivity. - Robin Morgan


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