The Porn Wars And Sex Wars Essay

The Porn Wars And Sex Wars Essay

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The feminist porn wars and sex wars throughout the 1980s and 1990s ignited the debate of whether pornography was a form of empowerment for women in the form of sexual liberation or a form of oppression spearheaded by men. Throughout the era, there were different types of feminists: those who critiqued pornography and advocated for its censorship and those who advocated for production that was sex positive, or consensual for all parties (Bakehorn, 11/17/16). Individuals who were in favor of pornography but wanted to withdrawal from the damaging representations of men and women portrayed in the mainstream industry sought to create a new genre, feminist pornography. This alternative style of porn functions as a form of activism in terms of how it is cast, directed and produced.
Feminist pornography is a new approach to sexual exploration that provides a setting for actors in films to authentically express themselves to an audience. In their work, Penley et al. define feminist pornography as, “[using] sexually explicit imagery to contest and complicate dominant representations of gender, sex, race, ethnicity, class, ability, age, body type, and other identity markers” (2013: 9). By depicting marginalized identities as desirable and in positions of control, feminist pornography seeks to challenge heteronormative representations of sex and gender where men are dominant. It also seeks to display alternative forms of attraction and pleasure that are not portrayed in the media in an attempt to destigmatize wide a range of sexual acts and identities. Penley et al. further define feminist pornography as a political movement; thus, pornography can be used to transform how sexuality is expressed and practiced throughout society (2013)....


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...dentities function to oppress them. In alternative pornography, there is an attempt to increase diversity within race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and body types. This enables individuals to express their identities without the constraints that society and the mainstream porn industry enact. Activism ensues when these films challenge heteronormative assumptions and redefine how sexuality can be performed among marginalized communities. By allowing individuals who are gay, queer, trans, or of color cast, direct, and produce their own films, they are able to portray an authentic representation of themselves that contradicts stereotypes presented in popular media and society. In the long run, pornography can be used as a form of activism when films are used to educate the public, encourage sexual expression, and redefine marginalized sexualities in a positive manner.

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