The Adult Film Minute: Why Does The Vocal Anti-Porn Lobby Refuse To Debate?

07.10.14 3 years ago 33 Comments
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Once per month, Dr. Chauntelle Tibbals will be telling us a little bit about what’s going on in adult entertainment and why it should matter to you.

Porn is not just about people having sex and others watching it, even if that is the fun part. Porn is a business, as well as a community and culture with a wider sense of place and space. As such, porn also has events, and these events are not all *just* expos and trade shows. Sometimes there are debates, and sometimes those debates are about serious topics – things like women working in the adult industry. One such event is coming up on July 22nd.

Sssh.com, the self-described “premier porn-for-women site,”* recently announced an event called “Women in Porn: Shattering the Myths.” “Women in Porn” is slated as “an interactive [four-person] panel discussion that pits prominent women working in the adult entertainment industry against some of porn’s harshest critics to debate the nature of the industry and women’s changing role in it.” (quote here, site NSFW)

(*I’m not gonna get into debates related to the genre and moniker “porn for women” today, but trust me – they exist)

Cool! But also, who cares? It’s 2014 – aren’t we over all this women in porn stuff yet?

Well… Personally, I care about this event for two reasons. First, though it may seem so 1980s, anti-porn people still discuss adult entertainment as this giant monolith that only employs (read: exploits) women as performers. Not true – women work in every facet and at every level in the adult industry. Now, there are myriad complex issues related to the gendered distribution of labor in porn, but this is not unlike what occurs in every single other industry and workplace. A lot of my academic work has explored issues related to these phenomena, so I care about “Women in Porn” because of that.

But I also care about this event for a second reason – I helped organize it, and I’m also moderating it. (full disclosure here, people!)

A few months ago, the folks at Sssh asked for my input regarding the structure of the event, possible speakers, and developing questions/topics. I was obviously happy to oblige and have had a good time working through planning details, talking impact, and helping secure three killer speakers…

Wait, what?

Yes – as of this moment, we have a four-person event scheduled with only three participants. (!!!!!)

We have a performer, an executive/producer, and a woman who rides an interesting cultural line between “real” sex and porn. BUT – as of right now, at this very moment, we cannot find an anti-porn person who will agree to participate. (!!!!!)

We’ve already invited all the big names – you know, the ones who plan anti-porn conferences, rally on college campuses, and speak endlessly to media about the how bad adult entertainment is. Declined. The event is will be done completely via webcast, so it doesn’t involve travel (or even any shared airspace with porn people). Denied. We’ve reached out to organizations, activists, professors, former performers turned speakers, and even self-described recovering porn addicts. Thanks, but no thanks.

So then, how in the hell are we supposed to have a discussion that brings together a wide range of perspectives on porn when one of the most vocal positions – anti-pornography – refuses to engage?

It’s like Tito Ortiz calling out Chuck Liddell ten some odd years ago and then stalling, stalling, stalling when Chuck was like “Let’s go!” …only to get his ass handed to him – twice.

Le sigh.

The “Women in Porn: Shattering the Myths” event is scheduled for July 22, 2014 at 3pm EST. The live video broadcast will be available to viewers free of charge on MindBrowse.com. You should come watch, listen, and send questions via twitter at @ssshforwomen and #WomenInPorn.

Dr-CTibbals

Chauntelle Tibbals is an embedded public sociologist. Her research has been published in numerous scholarly journals, and her ebook series You Study What? is available on Amazon. She has been studying the adult entertainment industry for more than ten years.


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