Sex on Camera: the Porn Industry and its Effects

29 Jun 2016

An ex-worker blogs about her experiences in the sex industry, the reality behind the videos, and the effects of such material on the younger generation

I have sampled the sex industry in its full and varied diversity. And in that time, I had taken two overdoses, been raped twice, consistently manipulated and became a functioning drunk. It’s true to say, I am a rehabilitated abuse victim who gave her consent. The turning point was recognizing I had to change for my child, now children, as well as furthering my education – which awarded me the ability to see the truth of what happened to me. I wasted most of my twenties in the industry, continuously pursuing the promise of a bit more money than the average wage, only to be left with no CV, and struggling with feelings of anger from sexual and emotional violation. 

I must first point out that not all pornography is harmful, that sex on camera in itself is expression and can be artistic.

What I do have a problem with, is how easily misogynistic pornography can be accessed. This kind of porn, what I will refer to as ‘gonzo’ porn, worryingly commands approximately 98% of porn internet traffic and is the current point of reference for sex education.

Women in gonzo porn are pitted as a debased object; voiceless and used and abused by men, who mock them and subject them to degrading acts. This is expression you may think, even if it isn’t respectful. In some ways I’d agree with you – but because gonzo pornography is so easily accessed, it has permeated our everyday lives and distorted reality, with dangerous consequences…

Gonzo Porn has replaced our understanding of the natural development of sex that exists in real relationships, between two people. It has sadly carved out a new identity for women who subconsciously embody the damaging ‘slut’ persona, feeling that this is the only way to ‘impress’ men. Porn also promotes self-sexualisation in very young girls, and has brainwashed boys and men into seeing women as fodder, not the multi-faceted people that they really are.

The word ‘slut’ is a common phrase in memes seen on many young teenagers Facebook feeds and other social media, describing certain female classmates. The frequency of this unfair adjective is a new arrival, and goes hand in hand with the increase of degradation porn. Sure, when I was young there were girls who got intimate with more boys than others, but they weren’t shamed to this extent. The children who grow up in the media-obsessed culture of today are experiencing an entirely new animal.

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Girls are encouraged to self-sexualise through expectations of boys who watch porn regularly, but are then ‘slut-shamed’ for doing so. It’s a trap, and one that society should be aware of for public health. Gonzo porn is presented as edgy, and a reflection of freedom of expression. It is never presented in truth: as one gender’s mass-scale violation.

If expression was really free in porn, then subgenres like ‘alternative porn’ would be more popular – where both genders are depicted as equal. The current porn industry is about control and humiliation of women, but boys and men are also being damaged by pornography; experiencing erectile dysfunction due to the bombardment of high speed graphic images. As a consequence, they also experience desensitisation to real sexual relationships.

The industries that make these representations don’t care for one minute how they affect people. They only care about money. To remain healthy, it is our responsibility to maintain our sense of self-respect and to not be coerced into unwanted sex, or extreme acts just because porn has normalized them. The porn stars who act in these films are only doing it for money, and many of them are damaged people who take drugs and have had problematic upbringings.

I found myself in a bad place in my teens. I had a terrible relationship with my mother and left home at a very young age to stay with people I didn’t really know. I starting seeing a man who was much older than myself, and then fell into the glamour industry. At first I thought it was fun – but very quickly I had developed a drinking habit to cope with the people who (in retrospect) used me. My world became very dark. Sure, there were some good things, like the money, but that eventually disappeared and all I was left with, were the scars of being sexually objectified.

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I believe that sex workers should have worker’s rights that prevent them from the coerced sexual abuse that happens time and time again. There are situations constantly cropping up on social media of girls complaining of being violated outside of shoots. I also believe that porn stars should be able to buy back images of themselves after ten years so they can transition in society more comfortably. The sex industry pays women more, as it needs its object to function, and women in the industry think they are getting a good deal, until they find themselves with no way of getting out. The permanence of their appearance on film leaves them with little prospect in corporate society. Women are not people in the sex industry, they are voiceless caricatures.

We don’t know the true effects yet, as the internet is relatively new, and I’m not dismissing its sheer awesomeness for one minute, but what I am fighting against is the graphic depiction of women as fodder. Are glamour models victims of a culture that sexualises women and young girls? What effects do these identities have on everyday women? Our children need more protection – both boys and girls. Glamour models are certainly not empowered like some say they are, but they wouldn’t bite the hand that feeds them would they? If they weren’t facilitating men’s demands they wouldn’t be of interest to these men.

The glamour model is an unhealthy construction and teaches women that they are decoration. They are merely brainwashed by a culture that disregards the best interests of humanity. We need to encourage connection and co-dependency, which means real rapport between boys and girls.

 

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