None of the links listed below require you to view offensive images
(unless you choose to explore them), but rather they generate information and
specific examples related to the required reading. Some descriptions of
activities may be offensive as well as some of the ‘banner’ advertisements.
Please do as much as you feel comfortable with.
WARNING: some workplaces do track the
internet activities of their employees. Also, your computer keeps a record of
the sites you have visited (hit 'Control' and 'H' now to see). The StopViolence
page about Domestic Violence has a link to clearing your browser's cache, and
you may also want to delete any cookies left on your machine from this exercise.
Pornography: What's Out
is a site that lists all of the USENET groups that carry attachments such as
pictures. (USENET is basically a large computer bulletin board divided into
numerous topical interests.) From the front page of pictureview, follow links to
see a list of all the groups they carry (500-600).
A. What percentage of the groups
would you say have sexual content?
B. What are the 3-5 groups you find
C. What are the 3-5 groups whose
pictures would be harmful to those who viewed them? Why and how are they
harmful? Are the harmful groups the same as the offensive ones?
D. Part of the feminist critique of
pornography is that it promotes an ideal, youthful image of beauty. But
Pictureview contains newsgroups about 'fatties,' 'senior citizens,' and groups
like 'breasts.small,' and 'breasts.saggy.' Does the existence or popularity of
these groups undermine the legitimacy of the beauty image critique?
Please keep in mind that the
title of the group does not always accurately reflect the content. You are not
required to do so, but feel free to see if the content matches the name - and
whether the images are as offensive or harmful as you might have thought. Also,
Pictureview does censor certain newsgroups, such as those most obviously
involving pedophilia. Other sites have all the groups.
Images involving eroticized dominance
and submission are a category of special concern for feminists – a concern
that is especially prominent in in MacKinnon’s article. Harmony
Concepts is in the business of producing videos that involve kidnapping,
abduction and erotic submission. They defend their videos in a statement, the
Harmony Philosophy of Love Bondage. In a few sentences, summarize their
justification. What, if any, concerns do you have with this material and how
might MacKinnon respond to the statement?
Although you do not
need to write about it, we'll discuss how well the Harmony Philosophy does with
depictions that involve consent, but have pain as a more salient theme (use
google or google images to search for "erotic torture" or a similar
keyword - make sure "Safe Search" is off to get full results). Since the Final Paper is also
related to this theme, consider exploring BedRoomBondage,
where Lorelei discusses her experience being in and producing bondage videos. In
Guide to Bondage, the author discusses her journey and getting started with
bondage. She claims that: On any evening while watching
TV you can expect to see at least one tie-up situation; 90% of Americans have bondage fantasies; 50% of Americans try bondage; 25% of
Americans do bondage on an ongoing basis.
3. Sex Work &
The issue of concern for this section
is not so much looking at movies or pictures, but the process of making them. Asia
Carrera is the stage name of a woman who recently retired after making 250+
adult films. She attended Rutgers University (double major in Business and
Japanese) and is a member of Mensa (the high IQ society); she built and runs her
own website now. Because the adult movie industry is a multi-billion dollar
business, there is probably not an 'average' experience so her writing is not
necessarily representative. But she is articulate and has some interesting
information. Read her biography, then follow the link “If you’re so smart,
why are you in porn?”. What comments or questions came to your mind? Read the
Frequently Asked Questions. What information do you think is most important to
understanding the connections between feminism, sex work and violence against
Video News is the trade publication of the adult movie business. It is part
propaganda, and part outlet for issues of relevance to the business (contract
and pay disputes, HIV testing, the use of condoms in movies, the increased
popularity of movies with women who have natural breasts, etc). explore their
site, including the top film rentals and interviews the stars. Also of interest
might be Alysabeth's feminist
See also the resources
on prostitution that are part of the companion website to Paul's Criminal
Justice Ethics book.
4. Pay and
Exploitation in Sex Work
An additional argument against sex
work – posing for pictures, being in movies and stripping – is that such
work exploits the women who do it (in addition to reinforcing the view of women
as sex objects who exist for men’s pleasure). Counter arguments maintain that
a great deal of work in an advanced society is menial, degrading and
exploitative. Please do A or B to explore this issue. Whichever one you choose,
please include a response to the 'For Further Thought' below.
A. ALSscan advertises themselves to be the new
standard in high resolution pictures. Even though most of their work involves a
woman alone inserting objects into herself, there is a long list
of jurisdictions in the US ALS will not ship to because of fears of
obscenity prosecution. Go to ALS and read the call
for models, including what is required from them and what they can earn. Is
this job exploitative to the women who do it (how and why)? What other (non
sexual) jobs could a woman perform for this kind of money, and are they more
exploitative, less or just exploitative in different ways? In what ways might
these images be related to violence against women? How do you react to the
argument that discrimination against women in the workplace and ‘glass
ceilings’ limit other choices for women and undermine ‘free consent’ to
engage in sex work?