Sunday, June 24, 2012

Pornography is the Depiction and Documentation of Sexual and Racial Oppression

image is from here
Below is a revised and expanded version of a comment I posted to a Kyler J.'s blog, A Radical Black Feminist Teenager. To read her post, titled "Erotica is not feminist and other things like Porn, BDSM, and Prostitution", please click *here*.

This is my response, adding to the discussion:
As a white gay intergender [anti-gender] male who has witnessed the effects of pornography on gay males over the last thirty years, I'll add a few thoughts about how corporate pimps exploit the LGBTIQA community.

I completely agree with you that "lesbian porn" is consumed by het men for het men's pleasure. There's nothing progressive about it in terms of its overall social effect, even if the intention by a very few lesbian producers is progressive. (Needless to say, most "lesbian porn" is not produced by lesbians.) Many times het men have asked me, "What about the porn that lesbians make for themselves?" Aside from noting that the question is blatantly (if not always consciously) self-serving, my response is this: Any such porn is such a tiny percentage of the whole of the horrific pornography-prostitution-trafficking industry; to pretend it actually effects any sort of progressive to radical change in the overall aesthetics or agendas of controlling forces (that, in the Western world, is predominantly rich white het men) is to engage in wishful thinking not backed up by "hard-core" reality. And whatever lesbians make, for whatever purposes, will, if it is public (such as being on the internet or for sale), be appropriated by het men. Once consumed by het men, it is then in service to their patriarchal, misogynistic sexual appetites, which, far too often, are acted out against pimped girls and women, usually poor and of color, with no lesbian empowerment in sight. And, as you well note, most of it is not distinguishable from dominant non-lesbian pornography in overall style and content.

The pornography that is marketed to gay males is also produced and owned by white het males and functions to reinforce white supremacy, het supremacy, male supremacy, corporate capitalism, and Western anti-Indigenous imperialism. Gay males have been willing to consume this material for complex reasons, but the effect on our community has been to teach us how to "do sex" the way patriarchal het men "do sex", except to one another not to women and girls. But the aesthetics of het pornography show up in white gay men's actions. A disheartening example of this in the "legitimate" film industry is the new film "Rock of Ages", which Adam Shankman had a strong hand in shaping as the director: the "look" (which means the racist misogynist behavior and the values) of white het men's pornography is infused into it. (You can get a sense of that from the movie's trailer:

The effect of gay male consumption of het male-made pornography has been to promote and promulgate white power, masculinist power, and anti-queer heterosexism among gay males of all colors and ages and to forge an alliance between gay and het men against feminist lesbians who have been taking on the rulers of pornography and prostitution, showing them up for what they are: corporate pimps, serial rapists, traffickers, and slave traders of girls and women of all colors.

The pornography of allegedly "transgender" people has been historically racist, anti-transgender, anti-gay, anti-lesbian, and anti-woman. It, too, serves the same dominant forces mentioned above. And it also promotes some very dangerous ideas about what being transgender is: male-bodied people with silicone breast implants and bleached, straightened hair, for example. Similarly to females in the sexxx-ploitation industries, gay and non-gay males, and intersex and transsexual people are economically coerced to alter our bodies to appear the way white het male consumers, procurers, and pimps insist we appear--and do what they profit from us doing. Similarly to "lesbian porn", very destructive portrayals of transsexual people of all colors are marketed by the pornography industry's owners as a niche fetish for non-transgender male consumers.

Liberals habitually promote "gender" as a social difference in need of greater diversification, while the radicals I know believe that it is the power of capitalism and heteropatriarchal white supremacist gender hierarchies that must be abolished. Gender has been diverse outside of white imperialist societies; this is both destroyed and forgotten by ruling classes of people. To argue for diversification of gender while keeping ruling structures in place is to participate in anti-Indigenous genocidal behavior.

Pornography, as an industry, is virulently anti-queer, anti-woman, anti-female, anti-transgender, anti-Black, anti-Brown, anti-Asian, and anti-Indigenous. The fact that many gay males and other queer people have supported it financially and otherwise only speaks to the effectiveness of the ruling class in trying to convince all oppressed people believe that we need to buy what the ruling class sells as if our sexual and social lives depended on it.