Pornography does not always objectify women
Margarita Rosario wrote an opinion piece this week entitled “Feminizing porn: voyeurism, sexuality as seen in erotica,” and I’m very glad she did. It’s important to open up this conversation and not shove it under the rug or treat it as a taboo. In her piece, she mentions that there is a growing demand for feminist porn that fosters consent, better working conditions and showcases different types of people than whom are typically seen in mainstream porn. Margarita will be happy to know that there are production companies that focus solely on this and are growing in popularity, as written about in the Journal of Porn Studies online.
However, towards the end of her piece, she states her disapproval of mainstream porn (as it is) and says that it “strips women and ‘feminine’ bodies of their sexuality.” I would say that it does not strip them of their sexuality –– it merely presents a different type of sexuality. There are many articles in the Journal that feature firsthand accounts of women in the industry who say porn is a form of self-expression and self-discovery. With that in mind, we should not be so quick to declare that mainstream porn strips a woman of her sexuality. That kind of statement discredits the multitude of porn actors and actresses who enjoy having careers that revolve around dominant/submissive sexual acts. Forceful sexual submission is a fetish in itself, and it is not fair to tell people who enjoy themselves through that fetish that doing so is wrong.
Another thought to consider is that men or masculine bodies are portrayed as simple tools or means to foster a female’s pleasure. Note that in many pornographic works, men's faces are cut off the screen, making the female or receiver the more relevant actor in the film.
I think a more beneficial conversation to have would be to encourage the proliferation of feminist and body-positive pornography into the mainstream. Dismissing the experiences of those who act in more commonplace forms of erotica is wrong, and so is treating actors like something to get rid of.
Lesly Kurian is a Rutgers Business School senior majoring in supply chain management with a minor in Spanish.