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  • Alex Wok

Can Porn be Good for Women?



Porn connoisseur and self proclaimed genius, Kanye West, recently put his expertise on pornography to use as the Pornhub award’s first ever creative director, designing a set of dildo shaped trophies. Pornography, it seems, has now become more popular and normalised than ever, with the Australian Institute of Family Studies finding that nearly half of children in Australia between age nine and age sixteen are regularly exposed to sexual images, with around 80% of young men aged 15-19 consuming porn on a weekly basis and two-thirds of young women who watched pornography consuming it at least monthly. However you spin it, pornography's widespread acceptance in society makes it indisputable that it has some effect on society, be it positive or negative—and in an industry estimated to be worth $97 billion and growing, these effects are bound to get bigger. The history of pornography helps contextualise today's discussion of porn. In the early 1980s, a period of intense conflict between sex-positive and anti-pornography feminists is often referred to as the feminist sex wars. On one hand, some feminists saw sexual representations as a fundamental element of female sexual oppression (with Gloria Steinem famously describing a woman reading Playboy feeling like a 'Jew reading a Nazi manual'), whilst others claimed that the censorship of unacceptable expressions of sexuality only exacerbated the problem, arguing that the history of widespread fear of any sex but the reproductive, romantic, and married kind, had only led to the marginalisation of sex workers, LGBTQI, and other so-called sexual deviants, but also cast sexuality as such into the shadows. Ultimately, this debate illustrated that feminists overall agreed that sexuality had always been held in a patriarchal stranglehold but disagreed about what to do about it.

​ Given that 88% of pornography contains violence against females, a question remains: can pornography be good for women? The effects of the widespread proliferation of pornography in promoting or reinforcing negative attitudes and behaviours towards women remains elusive.

Issue:

Can pornography be good for women?


read more:


  1. The Telegraph, ‘Girls on top: The rise of feminist porn’.

  2. Huffington Post, ‘Women Can Earn More Than Men - But Only In Porn’.

  3. Psychology Today, 'Evidence Mounts: More Porn, LESS Sexual Assault'

  4. Fight the New Drug, ‘How the Porn Industry Thrives On Promoting Racism’.

  5. Independent, ‘How to be an ethical porn consumer in nine easy steps’.

  6. Huffington Post, ‘Principled Pornography: How Queer/Indie Sites Are Reframing the Industry’.

  7. The Washington Post, ‘The case for banning pornography’.

  8. Berfrois, ‘Feminists Against Pornography’.

  9. The Guardian, ‘The age of patriarchy: how an unfashionable idea became a rallying cry for feminism today’.

  10. The Telegraph, ‘The truth about men who watch violent porn - and how dangerous they are to women’.

  11. Amnesty International, ‘Sex Workers’ Rights are Human Rights’.

  12. ABC News, ‘Labiaplasty: Understanding why women have cosmetic surgery on their vulva’.

  13. The Guardian, ‘Why more and more women are using pornography’.


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