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Radical Sister

Mar 30 '13

Why pornography is oppressive

If being aroused by porn makes it morally right, then pedophilia is also morally right. This is not an argument.

  1. An action is morally wrong if it harms people.
  2. Porn actresses are people.
  3. Porn harms porn actresses.
  4. Therefore porn is morally wrong.


ad 3) Porn harms porn actresses:

- Porn actresses can only give consent by contract, but a contract does not constitute meaningful consent. A meaningful consent is such that it can be withdrawn anytime, including during a sex act. The purpose of meaningful consent is to guarantee the avoidance of sex abuse. It should also reflect the full approval of the woman in question.
Within the context of porn as a multi-billion dollar industry portraying women as willing to engage in any sex act, the avoidance of sex abuse is very unlikely the first priority and therefore, even if sexual abuse is not always the case, puts porn actresses at a heightened risk of being a victim of sex abuse, which makes porn, at the very least, morally questionable.

Furthermore, many porn actresses were victims of sexual abuse prior to entering the industry, so the possibility of vulnerability due to trauma should be taken into account whenever consent in this context is discussed.

- A porn actress has to follow instructions given by directors. This is coercive, because there is a likelihood of pressure if she doesn’t agree to certain sex acts, considering the competitive nature of porn industry and agents talking porn actresses into performing sex acts they might not be really comfortable with in the first place, but agree to anyways, because they are considered requirements in industry - the latter is very much in conflict with the concept of meaningful consent, but still a common practice in porn industry.
In addition, meaningful consent is already blurry due to the fact that instructions are given by directors and producers. The range of options and sex acts an actress can agree and “consent” to is already provided, creating a questionable scenario of prearrangement which does not likely reflect the range of sex acts a porn actress (or concrete woman, that is) would willingly and comfortably engage in otherwise. This is something commonly objected to by pointing at the monetary compensation, but that is disputable with regards to concerns about physical and psychological health. So there is already a coercive aspect without additional pressure.

- There is no way a consumer can tell the difference between actual rape performed in front of a camera and sex acts the porn actress has consented to. This is not only something every porn consumer is morally obliged to ask him-/herself, but also something that is relevant with regards to the porn industry. If, in fact, the consumer is not able to tell them apart, why should porn producers be interested in making sure that no rape occurs? And it goes for both professional and amateur porn, with the latter being at seemingly greater risk of involving a coercive act or actual rape. If there is no way to differentiate, how can the consumer make sure that the porn film was made under safe conditions and how can the porn producer be trusted to maintain those if there is such a disparity?
And are they to trust at all, given the fact that the very practice of producing legal porn films is already questionable in the context of meaningful consent? Because it seems like this is either secondary or irrelevant to porn producers, but unfortunately also to porn consumers and how can we say that porn actresses are working under ethical conditions if there is such a societal approach to porn actresses’ safety and well-being in general?

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  13. radsis reblogged this from sorion and added:
    All in all, my arguments were about porn industry’s INHERENT problem with consent. Privileged porn actresses might be...
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  16. sorion reblogged this from motifsky and added:
    Thank you, emigrl. In fact, there are several accounts of porn actresses who stated (vehemently) that they are treated...
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