Other Porn Critics Take Note: THIS is Reasonable Porn Criticism

“Oh boy,” I thought when I read the headline. “Here comes a torrent of anguished, politically-correct nonsense I’ll soon regret having read in the first place.”
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Other Porn Critics Take Note: THIS is Reasonable Porn Criticism

– Calico Rudasill, Sssh.com Porn For Women

“Oh boy,” I thought when I read the headline. “Here comes a torrent of anguished, politically-correct nonsense I’ll soon regret having read in the first place.”

The headline in question read: “Representation in porn, or a lack thereof, and why it matters.” One of my first thoughts was the word “doesn’t” was missing from it, but after reading the piece, I found it far more reasonable and measured than I expected.

Sure, some of what I expected to find in the article, like concerns over whether porn performers accurately reflect demographics and physical traits of the general public, are indeed in there. What I found refreshing, though, was the very reasonable conclusion which followed Rebecca Vipond Brink’s analysis of porn performer demographics.

Focusing her inquiry on “art porn” and “women-friendly” porn, Brink says a cursory view of such material reveals it to be “even whiter than conventional porn”, and that “female porn actors…. have average reported weights that are 48 pounds less than the American average” while male actors come in around 27 pounds less than the average male, the difference between which Brink opines “says something about what we expect of women’s bodies and what we expect of men’s bodies, proportionately.”

Perhaps – or perhaps it says something about the extent to which American women and men, respectively, are obese. The data from 2010, for example, shows that a slightly lower percentage of American men (33.7%) were obese than women (36.5%). (Such is the danger of incomplete statistical analysis; absent their context, numbers can appear to mean something very different than they actually do.)

What I like about the piece isn’t the analysis, though; it’s the final upshot of Brink’s inquiry.

“There’s nothing wrong with gratuitous, conventional porn, of course, I just get tired of it,” Brink writes, drawing a distinction between her subjective, personal taste and objective notions of right vs. wrong, or good vs. bad. “It’s made for a male audience, and I’m not male. I want to see something different.”

So, is the answer to enact legislation forcing pornographers to use more diverse talent? Should we ban porn which features nothing but skinny white chicks and musclebound Anglo studs?

Thankfully, Brink isn’t about to go there. Her answer is refreshingly, delightfully simple: “We need better pornography.”

You hear that, Gail Dines? If you don’t like the way porn is, the answer isn’t to try to shut down the porn industry by pretending every single pixel of it is a moving embodiment of woman-hating, soul-crushing sexual vitriol. The answer is to make better porn.

Somehow, I don’t think we’ll be seeing Gail Dines in any upcoming BBW porn titles, but you get my point: When Dines says she’s not “pro censorship” but simply wants to “raise awareness” about the harms of pornography, I’d find her spiel a whole lot more believable if it left room for the possibility of porn existing to which she wouldn’t object.

I know it’s too much to ask for anti-porn activists to adopt a “Be the Change You Want to See (In Porn)” attitude… but it’s sure nice to see it from someone.

Thank you, Rebecca Vipond Brink! Today, you’ve done the impossible highly improbable: Restored at least a little of my faith in the women-criticizing-porn segment of humanity.

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Calico Rudasil
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Calico Rudasil

Calico Rudasil is a feature columnist for Sssh.com, the web’s original porn site for women by women. With over 16 years’ experience of writing about and for the adult entertainment industry under her belt, Calico qualifies as something of a Web Porn Dinosaur; similar to a tyrannosaurus, only with far more attractive arms and a less pronounced overbite.
Calico’s work has appeared under various pen names in adult industry trade journals and on several mainstream op-ed portals, including the Huffington Post.
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