Noam Chomsky On Pornography

H/T Lenins Tomb

Normally I am in agreement with most things that Noam Chomsky has theorized but in this case I must respectfully disagree.  The idea that the decision to work in the porn industry is simply a result of womens exploitation ignores the degree to which womens agency can make this an active choice.  While all paid labour in a capitalist economy is defiantly exploitation, working in the porn industry is not more exploitative because what is being produced is sex, or rather the imitation of  reciprocal sex.

Why is sex work necessarily more degrading than working at McDonalds, or a  Dunkin Donuts for that matter? Both involve the sale of ones body, and labour power to a certain degree. Both involve not being adequately compensated vis a vis profits versus wage, yet pornography is deemed horribly degrading. I submit that this because womens sexuality is only culturally acceptable when it is virginal in nature.  Good girls, or authentic women don’t actually enjoy performing sex acts, or participating in any form of voyeurism.  Certainly there are women working in the porn industry that are not happy about that choice but not all women feel that way.  If you ask Walmart workers, I  some will tell you that they are not happy working there either.

For us to accept this as completely degrading to women, we must ignore those in the sex trade industry who unequivocally state that they perform this labour because they enjoy it, and therefore if we truly feel that it is necessary to respect women, we should validate their experiences and accept their explanations about their labour.   Is it still demeaning if the one performing does not feel demeaned? By telling sex trade workers that they are uniquely oppressed are we not guilty of seeking to discipline their bodies in the same manner that we accuse others of doing?  Are we not creating them as other? It is simply not progressive to tell someone that they are oppressed when they themselves feel no unusual exploitation.  Validating agency means respecting  choices even in cases where we are in disagreement with them.

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