Women in Porn: Empowering or Degrading?

On Saturday, April 6, 2013, the University of Toronto will be flooded with feminists talking about porn. The Feminist Porn Conference will be part of The Good for Her Feminist Porn Awards.

“Feminists have been debating, studying and creating pornography for decades, and the transformation of feminism, sexual politics, porn and popular culture over the last decade has broadened the dialogue,” Tristan Taormino, one of the editors of The Feminist Porn Book, wrote in a call for papers to be presented at the conference.

“With the resurgence of anti-pornography feminist scholarship,” the call continues, “the time has come to hear from progressive, anti-censorship, sex positive and sex worker feminist voices.”

There’s a lot of debate within feminism about whether pornography can be empowering to women, or if it’s only degrading objectification. And even among those feminists who believe that porn has the potential to empower women, there are different views on which kinds of porn falls into that category.

Some say all porn is empowering because the actresses are using their sexuality to their own means, to make money and support themselves. Others have strict definitions of what qualifies as feminist porn.

On the one hand, a large amount of what’s depicted in porn is definitely degrading to women, and teaches men to treat women like sex objects. It sends a largely negative message to young people. But on the other hand, in terms of the actresses themselves, they’re being paid good money to embrace and take control of their sexuality. More and more porn companies are run by women, so that they’re not just commodities being bought and sold by men, but are captains of an industry built around a love for the female body.

These debates and varying definitions, as well as options for the future of women in porn, will be among the topics discussed at the conference.

For more information on how to submit a paper, presentation or workshop, check out the call for submissions here.

How much do you trust the information in this article?

Lilly O'Donnell

Lilly O'Donnell is a freelance writer, currently working on her first book.

MORE FROM

‘Insecure’ season two is television for us, by us — and it’s even better than before

Creator Issa Rae shouldn't sweat the Emmy snub — her connection with her core audience is what really makes this series shine.

We talked to military experts about who will win the Iron Throne

Does Dany have a chance? Historians, tacticians and scholars weigh in on the ultimate outcome of 'Game of Thrones.'

‘Game of Thrones’ Season 7, Episode 2 Trailer: New alliances may form in “Stormborn”

Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen may have an unexpected intermediary.

Tyler, the Creator is still a “walking paradox” on the rumor-baiting ‘Flower Boy’

Is he queer? Maybe. Does he know how to use the speculation to further his art? Definitely.

Note to Ryan Murphy: ‘American Horror Story’ reveals don’t need to be a scavenger hunt

The title and premiere date of the seventh season of 'American Horror Story' were revealed Thursday.

‘Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later’ proves sometimes it’s OK to skip the reunion

If you're looking to trim down your Netflix consumption, start by avoiding this pointless sequel series.

‘Insecure’ season two is television for us, by us — and it’s even better than before

Creator Issa Rae shouldn't sweat the Emmy snub — her connection with her core audience is what really makes this series shine.

We talked to military experts about who will win the Iron Throne

Does Dany have a chance? Historians, tacticians and scholars weigh in on the ultimate outcome of 'Game of Thrones.'

‘Game of Thrones’ Season 7, Episode 2 Trailer: New alliances may form in “Stormborn”

Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen may have an unexpected intermediary.

Tyler, the Creator is still a “walking paradox” on the rumor-baiting ‘Flower Boy’

Is he queer? Maybe. Does he know how to use the speculation to further his art? Definitely.

Note to Ryan Murphy: ‘American Horror Story’ reveals don’t need to be a scavenger hunt

The title and premiere date of the seventh season of 'American Horror Story' were revealed Thursday.

‘Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later’ proves sometimes it’s OK to skip the reunion

If you're looking to trim down your Netflix consumption, start by avoiding this pointless sequel series.