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Regarding the Sex Industry and Empowerment, Pt. 3 – No Acceptable Losses

Posted by A birch tree on April 4, 2008

I try to subscribe, as much as it is possible to subscribe and still live in this society, to a “no acceptable losses” rule. Simply put, I am not willing to tolerate any losses, in terms of womens’ lives, for my choices. I do not use pornography, because I will not support an industry that destroys even a single woman’s life.

Even if I can be mostly sure, by some ineffable mystical process, that the pornography in front of me at any given moment was made only by willing, fully consenting women who had a multitude of true choices in front of them and who are being fairly treated, looked after, and compensated, I cannot be 100% sure, and therefore I am not going to take the risk that I am supporting someone else’s pain. Because my number is zero. I will not take any risk, even 1%, that my persuit of entertainment is enabling a woman to be abused or raped.

If the porn industry only directly led to the abuse of a single woman a month, it’s not worth it for an orgasm. If it was only a single woman in a year, it’s still not worth it for an orgasm. A single woman every ten years is not worth it for an orgasm. My orgasm is just not that important.

My view is simply that my orgasm isn’t worth the risk that I might be masturbating to a picture of a sex slave or a coke addict who would not be in that position if I wasn’t busy helping to create a market for it. Sure, there are women out there who enjoy those acts and being in that business, but how can I ever be sure that the specific woman I’m looking at is one of them? Statistically, that’s a huge gamble to take, and I just don’t have the stomach for it.

I won’t take that risk, and I look down on men who are willing to take that risk, who say their orgasm is worth that risk. Especially since, in this day and age, that risk is not at all insignificant.

Now if I had a girlfriend or wife who enjoyed taking pictures or movies of herself or us for our private veiwing pleasure, well, in that case, I can be sure she’s one of those who enjoys that kind of thing. Because I’d know her personally, and she’d say “Hey, I have a great idea…”

Of course, the things we’d be recording wouldn’t be the things you see in porn, either. Porn is to sex what UFC is to ballroom dancing.

I hold to the same rule for strip clubs, and prostitution is, of course, right out.

Obviously, to head off the oncoming point from someone without the ability to detect nuance, that rule can’t hold for things required for everyday existence in this culture. I realize that my clothes were most likely produced by children in a third-world country making five cents a day in appaling conditions. I realize that my car, if I had one, would be responsible for deaths in an incalculable fashion due to gobal warming and pollution.

But to compare materials required to live in a modern society to an orgasm aid? That would be pretty darn silly. As far as things as completely insignificant as masturbation go, I hold very strictly to “harm none”, and I think we would be better off as a society if everyone did so.

Which, unfortunately, means I would get rid of the sex industry entirely until the mindset of society can evolve enough maturity and respect for women to handle such a thing appropriately, because I can’t endorse an industry that does so much to harm women both individually and as a societal group.

In the majority of cases women come to this industry from an abused, sexually traumatic past, continue to live out that sexual trauma as a component of their job descriptions, and if they ever get out, come away from it with PTSD and scars on the body, mind, and heart. While this is not true for every participant, it’s true of enough participants that I believe some more critical examination is in order, as well as some kind of corrective measures.

I mean, how bad did Nike have to treat its workers in China for liberals of the world to get up and boycott them? Not all those workers lived in such nasty conditions, though… but we didn’t focus on them. We focused on the suffering, we organized action, and we got results. When it comes to the sex industry, though, we see similarly deplorable treatment of workers, but we focus entirely on the ones who have it pretty decent and say things are pretty much fine as they are, no action necessary against the industry or even specific companies.

I see it as a pretty sad statement of the western world that we seem to be saying that we’re willing to tolerate more horror and abuse in producing our orgasm aids than we are in producing our shoes. The symbol of that is while we didn’t focus on the American Nike workers, or the Nike workers with connections who got a decent wage and didn’t get whipped for poor production quotas, that’s definitely the equivalent population we seem to want to focus on when it comes to the sex industry as an excuse to avoid confronting that industry directly with any kind of legislation, or even grassroots market-based actions.

Men don’t have a right to exploit women who just want to make a living. The men who are getting their kicks from watching women pretend to orgasm over incredibly painful, damaging, and/or dangerous acts are exploiting women’s sexuality for their own feeling of control and power. A2M is a perfect example of a new, explosively popular, amazingly dangerous sexual act that women in these industries are being expected to perform. Why? Because men are getting off on it, and men are making money from it.

The sex industry isn’t about women, or women’s sexuality. It’s about women pandering to men’s sexuality in order to, in the vast majority of cases, make money for other men.

It’s a bit like saying that African-Americans should have the right to participate in Minstrel Shows. Sure, maybe they should. But are the white customers and white producers helping African-Americans express their culture when they promote and support such things? Of course not. They’re promoting a pleasing stereotype of an oppressed class in order to give themselves a feeling of superiority and line their pocketbooks in the process. To re-focus the issue on “Well, banning these shows, or boycotting these shows, only hurts poor African-Americans and takes away their right to make choices!” is taking the lens away from the real root of the issue and making the continued exploitation of the oppressed group out to be the only solution to that group’s immediate, short-term problems.

The long-term affect on both the performers, the consumers who are being trained to believe that the performance is actually reality, and the members of the oppressed class who are not participating, either willingly or at all, in these performances are never considered.

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2 Responses to “Regarding the Sex Industry and Empowerment, Pt. 3 – No Acceptable Losses”

  1. […] that I could never begin to understand them, if that’s the case. Read parts two, Choices, and three, No Acceptable Losses, here. ***** […]

  2. stormy said

    I see it as a pretty sad statement of the western world that we seem to be saying that we’re willing to tolerate more horror and abuse in producing our orgasm aids than we are in producing our shoes.

    It is indeed very sad. 😦

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