A Philosopher's Blog

Women & Porn

Posted in Ethics by Michael LaBossiere on July 26, 2009

On the CNN website I found a link to an article reporting how more women are viewing porn (both online and via DVD).

I did not find this particularly surprising. After all, I already knew about the studies that have shown that women react, at least physiologically, to porn in about the same way men do (that is, they become biologically aroused). I also have been aware of the various feminist theories that women have been subject to sexual repression and have been told that they should not like porn. However, as social norms have changed and women are less oppressed, they have a greater freedom to be driven by their biology more than their social conditioning less-hence, the increase in women viewing porn.

Of course, this creates something of a problem for feminists. On the one hand, women should have the freedom to explore their sexuality. On the other hand, feminists have long argued that pornography is degrading and oppressive.

In response to this concern, some have argued that women can create oppression free pornography. Some have even argued that porn created by women for women would be thus free of such oppression.

Of course, unless there is some magic at work here, the mere fact that a woman created a porno for women would not seem to make it automatically non-degrading or non-oppressive. After all, how would anyone watching a porno know for sure whether a man or a woman created it? It seems odd that you would need to know who created the porn to know whether it was degrading or not-that should be evident in what is seen.

Perhaps women might be more inclined than men to create non-oppressive porn, but if the content of the porno is what makes it degrading or oppressive, then a man could also create the same sort of thing.

There is, of course, also the moral question of whether anyone should be viewing porn or not. After all, even if the porn is non-oppressive, there are good arguments that watching it will have detrimental effects. For example, it can create unrealistic expectations about sexual behavior and, one might argue, there really is no such thing as non-degrading porn.

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6 Responses

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  1. T. J. Babson said, on July 26, 2009 at 1:00 pm

    Most of the time on TV women are using sex in a manipulative way to get what they want.

    In porn women are actually depicted as enjoying sex. I think this is what drives the feminists nuts.

  2. kernunos said, on July 27, 2009 at 8:32 pm

    Yes, I like women in my porn…..What was the question?

  3. Bokep 3gp said, on July 30, 2009 at 4:45 am

    Nice info, useful for my job… thanks for share, keep posting… :)

  4. magus71 said, on July 30, 2009 at 6:14 am

    Porn is made for men–plain and simple. The market knows more about the differences in men and women than feminists will ever know.

  5. www said, on September 15, 2010 at 4:51 am

    *ignoring the ludicrous misogyn comments about feminists and women above* The reason why women have a complicated relationship with porn is not because we are asexual, or lack the aspects of human psychology that men has, but because of the perspectives it provides. Whatever trigging complex psychology the porn may provide us as humans, which even compells to women, the perspective still is that the male gaze is what’s beyond the camera, and the women are the “other sex”, the alien phenomena, next to the neutral subject that is the male sex drive, that is to be explored and conquered.. We are look on from above, from a distance, we are never the subject or the gaze behind the camera. Its extremely secluding and sexist. This is of course because of the gender roles, that men is supposed to be anonymous sexual conquerors, that wants to “own” the women more or less, instead of exploring a sexuality were both sexes share the same curiousity and ability. Im sure that if the women were the gaze behind the camera, the objectificated and alienated men would feel the same confusion about the porn market. It’s just not the real picture. in real life women have a sexuality of their own, much like the men’s , and desires and curiosity of men and sex that extends to more than to look like a good ol’ object before the camera and waiting to be “owned” by an anonymous man (that dont have to look good or be hot) Porn can be raunchy even when this thing is corrected, but what you’re missing here is how the problem is not in the raunchyness, but in the perspective of that porn is for men, not for women or from the perspective of the women gaze, and women are tired of being treated like the objects that are always looked upon from the outside like another race, and want to have a post were we can define as much as men, what’s rocks the boat and where to point the camera lens and who’s to be the neutral, human gaze. In a more evaluated and equal porn, that gaze would be human and not male. it’s really backwards.

    • www said, on September 15, 2010 at 5:06 am

      correction; “this is of course because of the gender roles, that men is supposed to be anonymous sexual conquerors, that wants to “own” the women more or less,”
      I mean that this male anxiety complex, built on the both for men and women sexist “object and provider”-system, also makes the mean thread in porn to concentrate in a most angsty and for women, annoying way on how to first of all break down a woman’s principle around sex. like women dont have a sexuality naturally but have to be talked in to it, and then get punished for it because they got talked into it, the madonna and the whore. this is not the same thing as playing around with bdsm or morals, which I think porn do in a good, symphatetic way, at least in theory. it’s more like a construction that has to stop if porn would to ever have an honest appeal to women. We dont want to be threated as dumber than men and as we dont have the right to have a natural sexuality and always have to be talked in to stuff. That’s sexism.


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