Yesterday, it was announced that Hustler is releasing This Ain’t Girls XXX, a porn parody of the controversial HBO comedy. Lena Dunham is not thrilled. At all. Creator/star/writer/director/producer Dunham took to Twitter to explain why she wasn’t happy with Hustler:
It’s refreshing to see someone take a stand against something they find offensive. In this day and age, it seems like female celebrities are just expected to follow the “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” way of life, especially in regard to sexuality. Rather than be offended, laugh it off! Be like the boys! Uh, no. If you’re not comfortable, there’s a reason you’re not comfortable.
While I’m proud of Dunham’s response (and surprised, I thought she’d be all for it, to be honest,) I can’t help but have so many mixed feelings on the subject of porn itself. It’s odd how porn has gone from trying to be on par with mainstream films (please watch Inside Deep Throat, the documentary about the controversy behind 1972’s Deep Throat, if you can. Linda Lovelace’s story is so heartbreaking and the whole hoopla was so…odd. You just have to watch it) to protested to “empowering” and now it seems to be back again.
Is porn itself sexist? No. The core of porn is that it’s two (and sometimes more) people engaging in sexual acts. That is not sexist. What is sexist, however, is the porn industry. I remember watching a porn clip with some of my guy friends in college, and while they were all for it, I looked at and thought–really? This is what gets you guys going? I found myself very uncomfortable with an often “faceless” penis going at a very busty young woman, who looked like she was having an orgasm just looking at a bald middle aged man. It irritated me then and it irritates me now.
While you do hear the stories of people from broken lives entering the business, you also seem to hear stories of people doing it just to do it. While Farrah Abraham denies that her “sex tape” was actually a porno, you have to admit that it’s kind of awesome that she took control, hiring her co-star (James Deen, who is something of a teen idol despite his profession) and using a professional studio to create the scene. Jenna Jameson made a pretty penny with making her own line of sex toys and being one of the first to start a pay site. And there is the rise of feminist porn, porn made for and by women.
But that doesn’t really change that porn is still problematic for many, and it’s not just about the way women are presented. Even in gay porn, there’s still issues, especially when it comes to barebacking and the question of whether or not it objectifies men–I can’t help but notice that some gay porn studios like to take risks with scenes–coaches and baseball players that look disturbingly young, for example. And there are some scenes from certain studios that look very close to non-consensual, presenting one performer as being intoxicated and the popular jailbird and security guard scenario. That isn’t all pornography, but there seems to be a lot of it.
But if you indulge in porn, should you be ashamed? Isn’t shame part of the reason pornography exists, as our society is so backwards when it comes to sexuality? What’s your take on this very loaded issue, LivLunatics?