How Can I Be A Feminist and Still Like Porn?
Maybe you’ve picked up your laptop, pulled up youporn in your incognito browser, and thought— ‘Oh, for fuck’s sake. Does watching porn make me lose credibility as a feminist?’
First, it’s important to mention two approaches to feminism upon which feminists disagree—bearing in mind that the overarching definition of feminism lies in equality.
The two kinds of people who want equal rights for women include the following:
- Feminists, who say they don’t watch porn (how suspicious).
- Feminists, who do watch porn and are probably watching porn right now.
Just kidding; albeit, there’s some truth to that. The first group of feminists feels it’s important not to perpetuate behavior that exploits women and maintains the status quo. The second group of feminists feels that it’s necessary to take charge of sexuality – meaning having a say over sexualizing images and not shaming women over sex.
In 2015, Rashida Jones (one of the cast members of the popular Netflix show Parks and Recreation) produced a movie about young-adult girls who signed on to do amateur porn – partly for the sake of increased financial independence. In an interview about the film in the New York Times called “Why Rashida Jones Changed Her Mind About Porn,” she says, “is objectifying yourself ultimately a feminist thing, or is it an internalization of the patriarchy?” Anyone pulling up Youporn while overhearing that question would say, ‘hold the laptop (phone). Does watching porn make me not a feminist?’
There’s a youtube video called 10 ways to be Parisian by Caroline de Maigret. In the video, she’s telling her friend that she doesn’t like how society exploits women and complains about how there’s naked ladies on billboards. Then, the scene cuts to her watching porn alone in the dark. That’s funny and seemingly French, but that clip also manifests that watching porn doesn’t disqualify you from being a feminist.
The grey area lies in the “internalization of the patriarchy,” as Rashida Jones mentioned. In general, feminists do not want to shame anyone for sex. The controversy relates to whether watching porn condones a power imbalance where the industry exploits women. In the aforementioned movie, Hot Girls Wanted, the young girls – who were just above the age-threshold of a minor – may not have had a workplace hierarchy or support network to set proper boundaries that would allow for equality.
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A common misconception people have about feminism entails women hating men. In fact, feminism has nothing to do with hating men, as Beyonce clearly states the definition in her song, Flawless– “Feminist: the person who believes in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes.” In hindsight, naming feminism something else entirely would have helped a lot. It’s like if men started a movement called masculinity: none of the women would
feel particularly inclined to join. However, Beyonce demonstrates in Flawless that anyone who believes in equality and human rights for women can adopt the name feminist.
Furthermore, Beyonce sings about sex appeal and sexuality in a way that doesn’t discourage anyone from being sexual—male or female. She merely points out “we teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings in the way that boys are.” A major discrepancy between equality and the porn videos itself lies in the violence or any abuse of power towards women. Surely, lots of feminists get off to porn— guys included — and the discussion continues as to how society can create equality. Keep calm and carry on with youporn.