The dangers of the sex industry are both apparent and surprisingly not apparent. When we think about the sex industry and the dangers presented by the sex industry the first thought is prostitution, the spread of diseases, the murder of the women and men who work the street. However, there is a passive sexual violence that is so heavily present in our media, its considered strange when you don't watch or enjoy it.
I'm not talking about the male gaze that is so often in most media, movies and video games being the most common. Because we don't generally recognize male gaze, its so often a part of media we only notice when it's not there, Mad Max Fury Road and Wonder Woman popping up as the front-runners. Mostly because this isn't something that we as individuals can't change, except for screaming at Hollywood, which I mean, sign me up. There is something where a good majority of people in the world, in a word, enjoys.
I'm talking about porn.
I will be pretty honest here, maybe too honest (hi, mom).
I have never gotten porn and I've never masturbated to porn. I always thought that this was because I am asexual, that the grinding of flesh on a screen isn't enjoyable because my view on sex is different than that of the general populace, which could be an article on its own. But the older I get, the more I wonder if perhaps it was less about my sexuality and more about the systematic violence against women that is everywhere within the porn industry. In a way, there is systematic violence against females, everywhere in our society. Our world seems to be very cruel to females; our sex lives mirroring this is in a way, almost expected.
Except we don't expect it. Culturally we frown at domestic abuse. We expect the males in our lives not to be abusive. Although, we have a long way to go in how we talk about domestic abuse and how we protect female, and in some cases male, victims it is still considered a crime.
However, spend any amount of time on a porn site, and sexual violence is everywhere. Although, I am sure, and have been told, that there is 'Good Porn' – i.e., porn that's not violent towards women. Yet, how many men watch 'good porn'? How many more watch porn where everything is centered on male pleasure, specifically white male pleasure, regardless the danger and pain the victims are experiencing.
Before I go on, I do want to mention the amount of racism within the porn industry, even though this is not the primary focus of this article, because you could write an entire article about racism in porn. That being said, there is a lot of racism in porn. One of which we, as white women, have to be able to recognize the danger that sexual violence poses to women of color because we, in a way, have a white shield around us.
Not only are White female porn stars paid more than their women of color coworkers, but they are also paid more if they have sex with men of a different race. However, their WOC coworkers do not get the same paycheck for the same work. There is also a lot of white men rapes [insert minority here], in porn.
In August of 2017, individuals at the University Of Nebraska came out with a study in which they wanted to study the effects of porn on how men view women. They hypothesized that if men began to watch 'hardcore porn' or porn with violence towards women at a young age and with it forcefully pushing porn on young men, they would later in life view men as superior, to tie the last paragraph, they saw white men as superior.
Now, let me be clear; this is the first of a long line of research that needs to be done on the effects of porn. They reported on no correlation between porn forced on young men and male superiority. I can almost hear you asking: Why add it? Well, because it shows that I am not the only person who sees this correlation. The danger of violence in porn, and the seeming non-issue most men have with this violence.
I have only ever heard one man discuss the danger of this violence, about how uncomfortable it is to watch a female be forced to have sex. But that is undercut by the idea that there is a good kind of porn. As if it's not fueling an industry that repeatedly rapes women for the entertainment of men.
I haven't even gotten to talk about the effects of porn on the women who film them. Nor have I talked about the physical danger these women are in, nor have I talked about the classism in porn. How women who are impoverished both have no choice and are demeaned for doing porn, while richer women are praised for the same tasks. Nor have I talked about the harmful effects of porn on men. Nor have I talked about how when women, or men, quit the business their faces and their videos still make the company money while they get nothing.
I think the best option is to shut down porn.
I honestly don't care how much you will hate me if that actually happens. What I care about is protecting women, which can only happen if we tear down everything that can harm them, including, but not limited to, shutting down the porn industry.