Reading Analysis Week # 9 – Pornography

I believe that the prominent theme of the three readings this week is: Gender roles and pornography. In a broad sense, each of the authors are arguing their view of pornography and it’s effects. Ciclitira explains that their are two ( or more but let’s keep it to two) sides of women’s feelings on pornography. On one hand, there is the apparent and attrocious acts of abuse of women in adult films, where they are subjected to violent behaviour from men. But on the other hand, the act of pornography is just a scenario where women can watch and feel empowered and get to know their sexuality. The roles of the performers and the watchers are intermeshed.  Ciclitira comes to the conclusion that pornography is subjective and confusing depending on where the viewer stands on their beliefs. The take on the actual comments from interviews was a really nice touch, I enjoyed reading less formal ideas and thoughts.

Dines argument is the roles of race in pornography. White men want to see black men have sex with ‘their’ white women as a kind of voyeuristic, sadistic theatrical performance. Dines mentions that white men have to be seen a certain way and that includes during sex, so seeing a ‘black man have his way with a white woman’ is animalistic and exotic and taboo. White men are seen to fetishize the interracial pairing but I think that this might be a fetish ( and not in a bad way ) to black men as well. This topic isn’t really brought up in the argument, but I would find it interesting to see the black men’s side of interracial porn. Is it a fetish for them? Is it taboo?

Johansson’s writing is interesting as it is statistics and documented percentages of youth and pornography. It’s a well-known fact that every boy watches porn at least once in his life. It’s startling to learn how young some boys start though! A dear dear person to me ( who shall remain nameless ) watched their first porn video on the PC when they were eleven! I couldn’t believe it. At eleven, I was too scared to swear and still watched Kratt’s Creatures and Blue’s Clues! Also at that time of my life,  I still had dial-up and streaming a two minute YouTube video would take roughly an hour so I wouldn’t ( couldn’t ) dabble on that side of the internet.

I’ve come to see that pornography ( at least nowadays) is empowering for the women performing and the women watching. I read Jenna Jameson’s autobiography How to Make Love Like a Pornstar ( I recommend this to any avid reader, it is truly interesting to see the other side of life ) and it was definitely mind-blowing to see how far pornography has come as a profession. At first, she was coerced and threatened and abused by her superiors ( directors, male leads, etc ) but as the business became more mainstream, the girls got to pick what they did and with who and where. They were now adult film stars and were billed and received a lot of fame ( or infamy?) as well as money. It was an interesting read for sure.

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