Thursday, May 28, 2009

Win and fail

Some briefs from around the Internets. In the "win" category, comes this post from FurryGirl on sexual objectification. Now this is a subject that's been the topic of not only some very extended writing/argument around the feminist blogosphere, but is the subject of entire books and journal articles. Nevertheless, FurryGirl in a brief post manages and effective smackdown of the "it objectifies women" as a be-all end-all of charges against porn:

Ah, “objectification”, one of those buzzwords - like “empowerment” - that I’ve heard so many times, it just sounds like gibberish. And really, I’m not sure if I ever knew what it was supposed to mean in the first place.

This topic is one of my major headdesk issues with anti-porn crusaders. They say, “porn objectifies women!” as though that’s some kind of end-all analysis. I address this topic from two directions.

Firstly, as a porn model and cam girl, it’s my job description to “be a sex object”, (as the anti-sexers would define it), and it’s a job with which I’m very happy. My friendlier customers treat me like a multi-dimensional person, too- but it’s not required of them, and I don’t resent the ones who don’t try and get to know me. (Hell, I know it annoys me when I, as a customer, get an overly chatty waiter or cab driver who tries to impose socializing on me when I’m not feeling up to it.) On cam, my customers pay $3 a minute for the expressed purpose of not having to wine and dine me and pretend to care what I’m saying in order to get me to take off my clothes. It’s so much more honest than dating.


Secondly, everyone at their job is “objectified” in their roles. I don’t profoundly care for the cashier at the grocery store, but no one’s ranting online about how he’s being oppressed and “objectified” because, at work, most people see him as “a cashier”. I don’t care to delve into the inner intellectual passions of the woman who made me tea at a cafe, but I’m not aware of any college courses being taught on the “objectification” of baristas. I have never fallen into deep romantic love with a nurse who’s weighed me and taken my blood pressure at the doctor’s office, but if there are protesters outside the clinic that day, their signs don’t read, “Stop the exploitation of women! Planned Parenthood objectifies nurses as mere one-dimensional healthcare workers!”


In the "fail" category is yet another anti-porn documentary Overexposed. It was made a few years ago, but has gotten some recent buzz over the Film Talk blog, which is unfortunately lapping it up. Trailer and website for the film here. It appears to be a kind of right-of-center version of The Price of Pleasure (featuring Drew Pinsky, Pamela Paul, and evangelical Steven Arturburn) that was produced at USC of all places, and focusing on the claimed addictive and degenerative effects that porn has on men. The centerpiece is Drew Pinsky spouting off some piece of junk science on the evil that porn does to men's brains. (Aparently, such images stimulate pleasure centers in the brains of men – uh oh, can't have that!) Pinsky is up there with Dr. Phil as being among my least favorite sex-negative pop psychologists. The negative messages coming from these guys don't get enough attention and response from "sex positive" community, even though each probably ultimately have more direct influence on public attitudes toward sexuality, sex workers, and sexual minorities than Robert Jensen, Gail Dines, and Melissa Farley put together.


  1. Hey there - just a quick note to say you're giving 'Overexposed' pretty short shrift - while it is a student film and suffers from the faults that most student films have, (re: lack of development time/budget issues, etc.), it's an interesting pic - it sounds from your post that you haven't actually seen it.

    If you look again at the post I wrote on The Film Talk about it you'll find that there's a space for discussion about the effects pornography can have on men - it's a fascinating subject and one the film genuinely tries to explore - it's not a hatchet job on porn.

  2. Thanks for dropping by, and I will come back by your blog for a discussion on the subject.

    I really would like to see the film in its entirety, but I'm familiar enough with the issues involved and the participants in the film to say, in all likelihood, its a hatchet job. The junk science spouted by Drew Pinsky (who I consider a dreadfully bad pop psychologist and conservative ideologue) just in the preview tells me as much.

    I'm quite familiar with the arguments for and against the "harms" of pornography – probably at least as much as yourself or the makers of that film for that matter. I find the arguments that pornography has a harmful effect on its viewers to have little merit, especially if one actually bothers to go and read the original studies that are often cited and see how poorly done or biased they actually are.

    What also concerns me is that the anti-porn movement is ultimately a pro-censorship movement. (Some in that movement claim they're not, but often have some pretty dishonest definitions of what constitutes censorship.) As somebody who is not only a confirmed porn fan, but also a film buff and art lover, censorship of any form of imagery solely based on notion that the images may give somebody the wrong ideas is anathema to me.

  3. i hear what you're saying iamcuriousblue - i've seen 'Overexposed' but haven't seen the trailer - the pic is about 30 min. long and is a portrait of two men and their take on the use of pornography in their lives -

    i take your point re: 'junk science' - but i found the film more of a character study - if you want to see it there's a link on the blog post to the director - he'll send you a free copy for only the cost of postage and handling.

  4. Just to clarify, I'm not critiquing "Overexposed" as a film, since I haven't actually seen it. I don't know whether its effective as a documentary or as a film.

    I am criticizing the views presented in it, however, since those do come through in the trailer and the supporting material. Especially given the figures who are listed as the "experts" in the film's description. Considering that there are no notable figures from "the other side" to offer counterpoint (if there are, the description and trailer certainly ignore them), then picking up on bias in the film is simply a matter of Understanding Media 101.

    I'd be happy to take the director up his offer, actually. I probably will point out that my politics around this issue are the complete opposite of the "experts" and that my review is likely to be highly critical of the views presented. I wouldn't want to hide where I'm coming from. Hopefully, the director will still be OK with sharing a copy.

    BTW, are you familiar with The Price of Pleasure? Its another anti-porn documentary (albeit, from more of a "left"/feminist perspective) that's getting a lot of buzz lately. Its also one we've published a point-by-point critique of, mostly by Ernest Greene, who actually appeared in the documentary in question.

  5. Haven't seen 'The Price of Pleasure' - though sounds interesting -

    I admit I am not up on the state of the debate about pornography production/consumption - am curious though re: people who try to legislate against porn, (does this still happen?), what do they think of consumer production?

    surely the majority of porn made today is by the participants themselves with their video/phone cameras etc. = we're in a very different world then even 10 years ago.

  6. I like the post, but this really bugged me:

    "On cam, my customers pay $3 a minute for the expressed purpose of not having to wine and dine me and pretend to care what I’m saying in order to get me to take off my clothes."

    I know that some people do "give" sex as a reward for good food or whatever, but this really reads like that's what everyone does, and that bothers me. If I eat dinner with someone, it's because I want to. If I have sex with someone, it's because I desire to.

    I don't think that talking in a way that suggests every woman is actually "paid" with food or attention (especially when "pretend to be interested in what I have to say" suggests that said woman would not deserve attention if she weren't sexually attractive) is really very productive -- after all, there are "radical feminist analyses" of marriage and dating that suggest that anyone who has sex with a man is simply doing transactions.

    If (generic) you personally enjoy that as a kind of gift-ritual-seduction, okay, but please don't suggest that people having sushi dinner with me are "pretending to care what I have to say," thanks. That implies I wouldn't know the difference, and that's pretty disgusting. I'm not an idiot, thanks.

  7. Sarah Kearns, Fishers, IN
    Unless we're just good friends who like to talk about things of a sexual nature and never act on them, which could be the case, I suppose! And I really like to talk about such things, as I'm sure you've guessed. Sorry if you feel this is not very "ladylike" for me to talk like that, but hey, I don't think there's anything wrong with discussing your preferences and such while getting to know someone. That way, if things do progress to a different level, you are better prepared and know a bit more about what to expect (although the element of surprise is so much fun, too!).

    Anyway, you had asked me about my foreplay preferences earlier. I've been thinking about it, and have more specifics for you. Ready? First off, I like to start with really light kisses (lips, ears, neck--love the neck!). Not a lot of tongue to start--just gentle and slow. Work into the tongue thing slowly; lots of caressing and such (with clothes still on--love rubbing on top of clothes! I like them to come off gradually and very slowly, unless I just can't wait. Then rip them off!). :-) Like most women, I like to feel like I'm the only thing that matters and for the other person to focus only on me and what we're doing. Work your way down slowly. No fake boobs, but I don't like them to be touched as much as I do other areas, for some reason. Doesn't do much for me. Unless that's your thing (or the person's thing who I'm with! I forgot that I'm speaking hypothetically!). I like anything oral (giving and receiving, as you already know!) and lots and lots of finger play of all sorts--especially direct clitoral stimulation (very sensitive--I get the strongest orgasms from that--tongue, finger, whatever. Love it!) and not-too-rough (usually) finger(s) insertion. Was that specific enough for you? But remember, I tend to be multi-orgasmic, so that may add to the intrigue. "How many times can I make that happen?" I like foreplay to be long until I just can't stand it anymore and have to go for the real thing. That's why I was joking about doing such things in a car--no time to enjoy it! I like it to last. However, sometimes the urge hits where you don't need much foreplay at all. You just never know. But not for the first time. That should be a little more memorable than a wham-bam, I think. So, sorry in advance about Saturday. You're sure you can't get your wife out of the house for a bit? She could just wait outside until we were done. I promise I won't be loud. I'm totally kidding! Like I said, something about you brings out the dirty girl in me! I'm not normally like this. What's up with that? :-)

    In terms of how I like to reciprocate (which you didn't really ask me about, but I'm on a slutty roll so I might as well keep going): I've told you what I really like to do. I enjoy angling myself so the person can kind of see what I'm doing to him and how much I like to do it (remember, I prefer the dark, so I said "kind of"). My hair is long, as you know, so I like to let my hair lightly tickle the sensitive areas while I'm doing what I'm doing--adds to the sensation, I'm told. I give attention to all the parts of this sensitive area, not just the main elongated one. :-) I use my tongue a lot, but vary the rhythm, and coincide this with my hand. Long strokes, short strokes, in between. When the final peak happens, I usually don't swallow, but continue stroking with my tongue until the end. Enough detail for you? Ready to self-service now? Well, here's more: Sometimes I get so excited while doing this that I can't finish and instead have to hop aboard and "ride the pony." Just can't help myself. Like I said earlier, I do what feels good to me at the time! How about that? I told you my filter was gone. :-)

    I realize I haven't addressed any of the points we were talking about in your last message, so I apologize. My mind is totally in the gutter tonight. What is going on with me? I've become a raging obsessed sex addict! I don't know what's up! Help!