What is really being sold in a pornographic film? It’s a conception of sexuality that Dworkin identified— it is not just sex on film. It is sex presented in the context of domination and subordination. Pornography does not just eroticize or sexualize male domination over women. It eroticizes racism. It eroticizes every power dynamic that you can imagine. Think of any power dynamic that you know where there is a hierarchy. I can guarantee you that there is a pornographic film that eroticizes that dynamic.
Robert Jensen (via blinko)
male/female, white/poc, employer/employee, parent/child, etc…it is a sick sick industry.
i haven’t seen any sex-positive feminists defending racism as a valid “kink” yet (funny), but there’s still time.
edit: i HAVE NOW. nazi kink, for real.
and i read a good argument for the concept of “full-time” “slavery/ownership” in BDSM being inherently racist.
I have problems with Robert Jensen and they way he essentially speaks over those who are actively trying to change the status quo in porn. Are these problems in mainstream inherent? Damn right. But to go “and that’s why ALL PORN IS BAD,” completely overshadowing the number of people who are trying to make their money and be ethical about it is some bullshit. You cannot put Jiz Lee on the same level as something from Bang Bros. You just CAN’T.
[HUGE TRIGGER WARNINGS, ESPECIALLY FOR TRANSMISOGYNY, CISSEXISM, RACISM, CRIMINALIZATION… PLEASE SEE MY TAGS]
*Prepares self for a long discussion*. Robert Jensen and I have had many lovely— and by “lovely” I am completely sarcastic and I mean “horrendous”— interactions when I attended a day long discussion/presentation of his.
He knows who I am personally and explicitly dislikes me, which is wonderful, because that means I succeeded in calling his shit out, over and over.
There are many legitimate arguments to make about the horrendous racism, sexism, cissexism, etc, in mainstream porn. (I’ll save my arguments for why the eroticizing of power dynamics by and for those oppressed by those power dynamics can be cathartic and positive for a different time.) Regardless of one’s views, I strongly recommend not quoting Robert Jensen to make any arguments.
Three of MANY reasons not to promote Robert Jensen in any form:
1. He is massively transmisogynistic and cissexist. One example is when he verbally attacked and misgendered a trans* woman who was, at the time, also an anti-pornography scholar. (She has since changed her views, but more importantly, this is her description of his transmisogyny in interacting with her.) In a public gathering, when confronted by myself and my friends (having read her post), Jensen OPENLY misgendered trans* women as a whole, tried to COMPLAIN ABOUT HER TO US, and tried to argue that trans* people are upholding patriarchy and gender oppression BY IDENTIFYING AS TRANS*.
2. He promotes the criminalization of sex work of ALL FORMS, in ways that have been explicitly stated by sex workers (especially sex workers of color who are already targeted by police) to TANGIBLY INCREASE THE RISK OF HARM AND DEATH IN THEIR LIVES. (i.e. Although Jensen does not promote imprisonment of sex workers themselves, he promotes criminal punishments for johns and those who purchase sex, which sex workers articulate causes the industry to slip farther underground, with riskier, more violent clients the ones most likely to stick around.)
3. Robert Jensen is a rich, white, cis man who claims to know what is best for women, and/or people of color, and/or sex workers. When they disagree, he explicitly says they have a “false consciousness” and are being brainwashed. He literally said this in response to one of my discussion questions about what actual sex workers of color are saying they need. As defined by people who experience these oppressions, Jensen is sexist, racist, transmisogynistic, cissexist, and just plain harmful.
Bonus: Despite claiming to be anti-capitalist, he gets paid top dollar (I promise you, I saw the numbers… a lot of money) to talk about the oppression of women of color without including the perspectives women of color in his talks!
I could go on for hours, but I think that’s enough for now. Jensen’s role model, Andrea Dworkin, was unbelievably racist and cissexist, too, and Robert Jensen is worse.
I recommend Emi Koyama, “a multi-issue social justice activist and writer synthesizing feminist, Asian, survivor, dyke, queer, sex worker, intersex, genderqueer, and crip politics,” for a nuanced, non-criminalizing analysis of the sex industry and intersectional oppressions within it. Her writing on this topic is available on her linked website.
(Edited to add: Forgot to mention, my own personal experience is that I literally had only sat down and introduced myself a minute before when Jensen 1) misgendered me, and 2) started commenting in detail about my physical appearance. This is someone who makes a living talking about objectification.)
Oh, I remember how he tried to shut you down when he came to our school. He was on some severe bullshit.