Thursday, December 11, 2008

Saving The World One Savage At A Time: Porn To The Rescue

One of the messages that we are constantly told is that we can shop our way to redemption.  Today many product are somehow "greened", or a percentage of the profits are aimed at fixing imbalance. Somehow it is believed that the exploitative capitalist economy will undo some of the damage it has caused globally.  This approach is the Bono model to guilt free consumption.

It seems that almost every single industry is attempting to clean up its image to make itself more palatable.  We want to consume and we want to exploit we just want to do so in ways that are not as visibly obvious.  Call it living in denial.  Clearly the porn industry can fall under the extreme end of exploitation, when it is not an active part on the part of participants or when it actively chooses to present images that are dehumanizing.  It is not a simply matter of what get you off as much as it is why certain images get you off.

Interracial porn is the stuff fetishes. Ingrained in the sex act are the master/slave binary and the defilement of white women, or women perceived as pure by the sexual bestiality of men of colour.  The sex further takes on different connotations when it occurs between POC; call it the exotic voyeur made real for the digital age. The sexual activity of the other is somehow dirtier, more sexual because of how we have constructed the bodies of POC.

Even this impulse to consume the other is now be constructed as positive.  You can relieve your guilt by purchasing Porn of this nature by buying from companies that donate to the savages in need.

The following images are sexual in nature and are not safe for work.

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You are supposed to feel relief because the men that are being employed to work as "studs" are receiving income that they otherwise would not have had.  We just won't focus on the fact that a choice in constrained circumstances isn't necessarily a choice.  While I wish to believe in the activeness of bodies that we have constructed as docile, this does raise many problematic issues.  At what point do we say that the potential for exploitation mitigates the degree of free will any one individual possess?

For their performance the producer, Sakkun. gave a Kenyan aid organization one million yen (around $10, 800 U.S.) and 1,000 more (currently about $10.77 U.S.) is donated for every DVD sold  Does this feel like a "win win" situation for all involved? The company makes profit and an aid agency gets badly needed funds.

It all seems to work just fine if you ignore the fact that it constructs Africa as the land of unevolved savages waiting to sexually consume women.  It's harmless if you ignore the exoitifcation of African black bodies for western consumption, and finally that every industry can be made positive by throwing a few scraps from the table.

Porn for the poor fails on so many levels.  The fact that there is even an attempt to justify it only reveals the degree to which our self interests takes precedence over the actual suffering of human beings.  We will do anything to make our narcissistic tendencies seem less harmful than what they are including throwing pennies at a problem that requires human engagement and the dismantling of a predatory system. We cannot shop our way to absolution; and therefore fucking our way there is even less of a possibility.

H/T Sociological Images via an email from Kimberly


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