Feminist war over smut rages on

Sex writer Violet Blue launches a pro-porn campaign to counteract an upcoming anti-porn conference

Published June 3, 2010 12:01PM (EDT)

It's time to check back in with the feminist battle over porn. I've entirely lost track of the score, but I can report that it's still going strong ... -ish. OK, so it's still going, that much is indisputable, because sex writer Violet Blue just kicked off a feminist pro-porn campaign in an attempt to preempt a feminist anti-porn conference being held next weekend in Boston. 

On the website "Our Porn, Ourselves," she explains the movement's raison d'être like so: "We women are tired of people trying to control our sexuality by telling us what we should or shouldn’t like sexually (porn) based on what someone else thinks is best for us." Righteous. She also makes a call for supporters to submit "a short video that tells us you are pro-porn." The site's tagline: "Women like to watch porn. Deal with it."

I dig the in-your-face, screw you attitude, and I consider myself a pro-porn feminist. So, if you detect a lack of enthusiasm, it isn't because I think it's a boring or unworthy aim. In fact, the intersection of feminism and porn makes for one of my favorite subjects, and it's one I've been thinking, reading and writing about for most of my adult life. I just can't believe we're still debating whether porn is a good or a bad thing, feminist or antifeminist -- as though it falls clearly into one clear, impermeable category.

There have always been feminists who love porn, feminists who hate porn and feminists of every ambiguous type in-between. There are women who both love and hate porn, depending on the actual content of the porn. There are women who like the idea of porn but haven't been satisfied by any of the porn they have actually come across. And there are women who watch porn, but don't want to broadcast their love for smut to the entire world in a gesture of online activism.

As the author of "The Smart Girl's Guide to Porn," you can be sure that Blue understands this all too well. The truth, though, is that you don't get much attention for talking about the intricacies of female sexuality. Part of the reason the so-called Feminist Porn War has been raging for so long is that we rarely hear about arguments that don't fit an either-or framework. Anything in-between women's all-out hate or love of porn could mean talking about the variability of female sexuality -- and we're clearly much more comfortable labeling it a dysfunction and taking a pill for it.

By Tracy Clark-Flory

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