Porn Myths, Next Week’s Washington DC Anti-Porn Conference and Concerns About Content

After the Stop Porn Culture conference this weekend, their organizers/keynote speakers will being going to Washington D.C. to join other anti-porn organizations and have another conference, with political intent. Groups joining them include “Women Against Violence in Pornography and Media,” Christian anti-porn organization “Pink Cross Foundation,” “Porn Harms” and “Enough Is Enough.” Tuesday’s day-long Congressionally-focused lobbying conference called “Pornography Harms: A Briefing” is sponsored by the “Coalition for the War Against Illegal Pornography” — from former Justice Department prosecutor Patrick Trueman and his supporters, who recently launched PornHarms.com. A PDF file of the conference lineup is linked here and reproduced above (click to enlarge) if you want to see exactly who is intent on persuading US lawmakers to believe the opposite of everything Our Porn, Ourselves — and all those who are like us — stand for. And yes, many of the female speakers cite “feminist” as a credential.

It is unfortunate that their arguments will not be balanced out by alternate points of view, research and data. That only one side of this important issue could potentially be accepted by lawmakers is a troubling thought. Our Porn, Ourselves would like to offer alternate reading in the following summary, Concerns About Porn — here is an excerpt:

Porn Degrades Women

For most people, the idea of a woman being shamed, degraded or sexually harmed for someone’s viewing pleasure is not acceptable, nor arousing. Some people have strong convictions around pornography and women, and believe that graphic erotic images of women are harmful, from cartoons to “tube”-style videos — regardless of the participation level of the woman in the imagery, or the intent of the viewer. Another perspective sees porn as an industry that forces women, physically, emotionally or economically into sexual slavery. After all, no woman would voluntarily do something like that. Nor would any woman like it. Or would she?

People who make statements saying that porn (all porn, including feminist and homemade porn) degrades women are making a lot of assumptions about the people in porn, and the people watching it. And no one is asking the women in the “degrading” images how they feel about it. What does “degrading” mean? It means to lower, make inferior, drag down moral character. So, whose standards are we talking about here, if we’re saying a woman’s value is measured by sex?

* This posits as fact that the woman is ashamed of what she is doing — or she should be.
* This claims that she isn’t enjoying it, or that women as a class can’t, don’t or should not be allowed to enjoy certain kinds of sex.
* This states that penetrative sex makes you less than human, and a helpless victim.
* This states that the viewer is always male (and always non-gay). (…read more, ourpornourselves.org)

If you look closely Tuesday’s speaking schedule (above, click to enlarge) you will see a familiar name: Shelly Lubben. A few years ago I was invited to speak about sexual privacy online at the Google campus in Mountain View for their Google Tech Talks. I was asked primarily because Shelly Lubben had approached and persuaded Google to schedule her to give a talk about her “Pink Cross Foundation” and to enlist Google in her campaign against pornography. Partway through my talk Sex On The Internet: The Realities of Porn (1,510,665 YouTube views), you’ll see where I discover that Lubben backed out of her talk. A Google employee explains that they approached Lubben and offered to help her research her data points for her presentation, and when they did so (and had difficulty), she canceled her talk.

These are the kinds of things that everyone, not only lawmakers, should know about.

PDF tip thanks goes to IACB.

About violet

Violet Blue (tinynibbles.com) is a Forbes "Web Celeb," a high-profile tech personality and one of Wired's "Faces of Innovation." She is regarded as the foremost expert in the field of sex and technology, a sex-positive pundit in mainstream media (MacLife, The Oprah Winfrey Show, others) and is regularly interviewed, quoted and featured prominently by major media outlets. Violet has many award-winning, best selling books; her book The Smart Girl's Guide to Porn is featured on Oprah's website. She was the notorious sex columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle. She headlines at conferences ranging from ETech, LeWeb and SXSW: Interactive, to Google Tech Talks at Google, Inc. The London Times named Blue one of the 40 bloggers who really count (2010). Violet Blue is in no way associated with the unauthorized use of her name (or likeness) and registered trademark in pornographic films.
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7 Responses to Porn Myths, Next Week’s Washington DC Anti-Porn Conference and Concerns About Content

  1. For the record, Violet, her first name is spelled Shelley…small error.

    Being a pro-porn progressive activist, I’ve also happened to have had a few battles with Shelley Lubben and her Pink Cross Foundation (her group of former porn performers turned converted fundamentalist Christians). Basically, she was a low- to middle-level porn performer who uses her newly found religion as a club to bash female performers into joining her organization under threat of outing them for engaging in “extreme acts”. Strangely enough, she had teamed up with anit-HIV/AIDS activist Michael Weinstein in his efforts in California to impose mandatory condom usage on all porn production…but I guess that even that wasn’t enough to fuel her antiporn zealotry.

    Let’s leave it to say that she is not too well liked even within the porn performers’ guild. That she is now fully allied with the likes of Gail Dines and Patrick Trueman and Donna Rice Hughes speakes volumes about her true agenda.

    Anthony

  2. violet says:

    Gah, thanks for catching the typo. Did you notice Lubben’s summary statement? It reads, “…the illegally operating porn industry in California where 85% of the world’s adult content is produced.”

    Anyone else see some major problems with the logic and factual inaccuracy (and impossibility) in that statement?

  3. Lubben has for several years been claiming that most porn production is actually illegal because it exposes porn performers to bodily fluids, which she claims is violation of CAL-OSHA regulations. Though, actually, *there are no* CAL-OSHA regs for the sex industry, but simply language regulating medical workers, which she claims applies.

    It is also her express goal to hit porn production in California because she believes it to be totally illegal outside of California based on how she interprets California v Freedman (eg, porn performing is not considered prostitution in CA). CA v Freedman gives porn more solid legal status in California, but its not expressly illegal in other states either, and a fair amount of porn is produced in several other states, especially when you’re talking about web content. Though it is true that prosecutors in other states aren’t bound by CA v Freedman (though New Hampshire a couple years ago ruled very similarly) and so have the prosecutorial discretion to bust porn productions for prostitution if they were so inclined.

    I’m not sure about Lubben’s “85%” figure, either, since there’s a non-trivial amount of porn shot in Europe, including some titles that simply get American company names slapped on them when they get US distribution. Over the last 10 years, Prague in particular has grown into a major porn production center, and in spite of the myths about exploited Slavic girls, is largely as professional and above-board as Porn Valley is, albeit, average pay is lower than in the American industry. (Similar to the American industry’s AIDS scares, the entire Prague industry shut down for a month when there was a large syphilis outbreak in that city.)

    Between the web and overseas porn production, its pretty clear that the antis aren’t going to “stop porn culture” any time soon. What they can do is bring down law enforcement on a lot of innocent people, increase stigmatization of viewers and porn performers, and push sex workers rights backwards, and that’s why they need to be opposed.

  4. Pingback: Coalition for War on Illegal Pornography’s Washington Anti-Porn Presentation Big on Fear, Short on Fact | Our Porn, Ourselves

  5. maduceone says:

    Just to add to your information – I believe that a fairly large amount of porn is produced in Japan (not always to my taste) South America (Brazil) and even India. Europe has been producing porn for many years and the output has likely been increased a lot since eastern Europe has come on line. I’m sure that there is data from European countries (Germany and the Scandinavian countries, maybe France as well) that will clearly show that it does not have a negative effect on society. The French probably don’t even bother with studies, etc. The anti-porn groups are another attempt to impose the beliefs of a few on the rest of us by making up “facts” and producing phony data. I tend to think that the younger generation has a very different view of sex and porn than members of past generations and it scares the some people to death. There was a line in a TV show spoken by a well-known female porn performer that sums it up: “What’s the big deal? It’s only sex!”

  6. maduceone:

    Oh, there’s “porn wars” going on in Europe too, as an extension of the whole moral panic over sex trafficking. Especially in the Scandinavian countries. Iceland has always banned porn and reconfirmed that ban recently when it made strip clubs illegal. Norwegian feminists and far-leftists are pushing for a total ban there as an extension of their prostitution ban there from a few years back. Sweden, in spite of being at the forefront of this anti-prostitution legislation, interestingly enough has a small porn industry, and there are no moves to make that illegal.

    France has a long-standing porn industry and has always made high quality porn. Conversely, I haven’t heard good things about actually working in the porn industry there, at least when it comes to most of their industry – Rebecca Lord became an American porn star after doing only a few French pornos because she thought the treatment of performers sucked in her home country. I hear better things about John B. Root and Explicite-Art, but that company is an independent. Interestingly, there’s one very activist sex-positive porn star there named Ovidie who hardly anybody Stateside seems to have ever heard of. She was active in the early 2000s and so much of Sasha Grey’s career and ideas parallel Ovidie’s that she ought to be paying her French counterpart royalties! Ovidie wrote a sort of sex philosophy book called “Porno Manifesto” which has never gotten a proper English translation. She’s also shooting movies now, and the one that I saw was quite good.

    On the other hand, another porn star, the late Rafaella Anderson who starred in Boise Moi, was quite embittered and wrote a very negative tell-all book about the French industry. Interestingly, unlike in the US, that launched no mass movement to either ban or reform the industry. Which is in great contrast to the US, where anything negative about the porn industry always brings new calls for its elimination.

    One trend in Europe that I think is really cool is that there’s been an attempt by some directors to break down the wall between straight films in porn. Hence, you have fully plot-driven films with explicit sex like “All About Anna” and “Nine Songs”. And another genre of fairly explicit erotica, like the recent lesbian romp, “Room in Rome”. There’s very little of that in the US, with the possible exception of Eon McKai’s attempts to shoot pornos that look kind of like a real film. Oh, and “Shortbus”, though I didn’t find that terribly erotic at all.

    You also mention some Asian countries. I don’t think India has a large industry by any means, as porn is very illegal there. Whatever is produced is very underground or made outside India. Japan has a huge industry with high production standards, but weird laws on showing genitalia (which they cover with a mosaic screen). The JAV industry is also very insular, and only in recent years has even started acknowledging a fanbase outside of Japan and making their content available on English-language sites that take overseas payment.

  7. Pingback: What Happened With Our Porn, Ourselves and Facebook | Our Porn, Ourselves

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