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What Recent Porn Scandals Tell Us About This Massive Industry

I recently got told by a friend of Jen's that she did porn when she was younger. No, I haven't looked for it but the horror stories she told me, the variant of feminism she embraced and a great deal other things made it all make sense.

You could write an entire book of psychology about pornography and what it says about the mind. It is so widely available and cheaply produced that, whereas some mystique about sexuality could have actually existed for much of human history, there certainly is not now.

Pornography plays to fantasies. In the porn world, sex is easy to have, validation comes easy and everyone gets what they want. Anyone who has lived life should know well why this is all fantasy and the stories we hear from behind the scenes in the porn world demonstrate the fantasy all the more. We don't get what we want in that greater world - disappointment abounds, along with powerlessness, invalidation and confusion so, as a now widely digested form of entertainment (porn may be easier to get a hold of than any other form of entertainment now), pornography seeks to provide fantasy on a level that perhaps only cinema did before.

I had a brief taste of the sort of friends Jen had before she came to see me and, if she was in that world, I am certainly not surprised. Scandals have abounded as porn stars like James Deen have reportedly been accused of rape multiple times. Bree Olson, a fairly famous porn star in her own right, has now come out publicly telling young girls not to do pornography:



In the sort of economy we have for ourselves, it makes perfect sense why young women would fall in to pornography. Young women are seen as little else but sex objects and (not being one, I can only imagine) likely see all men as seeing flirtation as anything that comes out of their mouths. If the larger society only views you as a product for tittilation and you have bills that you must pay, why not do it in a venue in which you are relatively in control?

Many porn stars have their own websites in which they are in control of the production of their business. The perception that Olson alludes to of "screwing the man" must seem alluring, along with the easy money involved.

Pornography plays to fantasy however - and it's largely a male fantasy. Your average porn obviously plays to male power fantasies, much of what Olson did very much included. The reality - in which men like Deen aren't really "banging" every woman they encounter but are being accused of rape (and Deen is far from the only male porn star to be accused of rape) or stars like Olson leave the industry ashamed - is much more sordid. They aren't respected and, once leaving the industry as she has done, the sort of men that formed her clientle will let lose with a litany of abuse:

Media outlets across the US are giving fawning attention and victimhood to “former” porn star and apparent new feminist icon, Bree Olson. Why? Because, as she explains in the video below, everyone she knows now seems to think she’s a slut. While she claims to be coming out with her story as a warning to young women, her courting of the press appears to be an attempt to kickstart new income opportunities.

Olson, you may remember, was one of Charlie Sheen’s so-called goddesses during his highly publicized time as a warlock-with-tiger-blood after being fired from sitcom Two and a Half Men. Even as she decries the “sexism” she is somehow facing by being called a slut, she is still spruiking her x-rated videos via her personal website’s membership offerings. Plus, the entry page to this same website features a longstanding Amazon wish list, so men can buy her things. How is this not the behavior of a financially-minded slut/gold-digger?

That is from a pretty loathsome men's rights website. The reason why Olson would still continue to sell her porn work are detailed in the above interview. Unfortunately, to women like her, porn may be too alluring to resist as men in industry often are a lot like the blog I just quoted, unlikely to respect her unless she is providing what they want.

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Michael Orion is a blogger, writer, artist and photographer based in the Bay Area. Besides his maintenance and promotion of Radical Second Things, he contributes to the San Francisco newspaper SF Western Edition, where he writes about local non-profit organizations.

Mark Cappetta is a practicing Catholic and active LGBT activist. He has been instrumental in keeping Radical Second Things and updates the Facebook account almost daily.

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Radical Second Things is a liberation theology themed blog that has clear cut goals - we see the structural decline of the United States and much of the west and hope to present alternatives that will offer "a preferential option for the poor" as more become vulnerable.

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