Meet the New Porn

2 min read

photo: SexArt

How the internet brought out adult entertainment’s empowering side

There is not much that the proliferation of porn hasn’t been blamed for over the years. From being demonized by the religious right for spreading sin, to being fingered by certain feminists as harmful to women, adult entertainment has quite the negative reputation. However, the more we learn about the effects of pornography, both on humans and on society, the more we find that the opposite is true — the wide availability of adult materials has positive effects, and is more empowering to women than ever thought before.

Recently, CBS News Berlin aired a segment with porn studies scholar Madita Oeming as part of its “Speaking Frankly: Porn” series. Ms. Oeming, who teaches porn-related studies at Berlin’s Universität Paderborn, explained that the changing nature of porn production has created a diverse market that actually empowers women: “The internet basically changed everything about pornography.

In contrast to the idea that online porn “killed” the adult entertainment industry, more pornography is being made today than ever before. One major streaming site alone hosts over 7,000 YEARS worth of content. Oeming pointed out that “the internet offers many new ways of monetizing porn and of uploading their own content, and controlling their own content.” That sort of direct control means that there are more women working in all aspects of porn production than ever, and leads to performers creating content on their own terms, with less interference from producers and agents who may not have the actors’ best interests in mind.

Oeming also elaborated on the outdated notion that pornography perpetuates negative body images for women, selling a mass-produced silicone ideal of sexuality. She said that critics are “stuck in the very ‘80s image of the porn star with the giant enhanced breasts and the very fake tanned body and so on.” However, the reality is that porn offers far more variety in representation than Hollywood ever has. “There is such a diversity of bodies in porn today,” and “some of them have shaved heads but actually body hair in other areas, you can see they have tattoos, they have very small breasts, they have natural breasts.”

Marketing content more directly to fans has also created one of the only spaces in which queer sexualities are presented frankly. As communication and direct marketing to fans has improved with the internet, content creators have been able to give the people what they really want, which is a far more “real” and diverse picture than was conjured by porn’s earlier pioneers. As it becomes easier to make porn, it also becomes easier to make porn that people actually want to see — porn that mirrors themselves.

Oeming stands behind the fact that porn can “absolutely be empowering to women.” In contrast to the ideas that moral crusaders have propagandized to the point of cultural saturation, the real danger for women lies in stigmatization and shame. Around the world, sexual stigmas often serve as an excuse to justify ostracization and violence. “Even for just writing about and teaching porn I’m confronted with a lot of stigma and it’s so much worse for everyone actually working in the industry. Stigma comes from a place of fear and misconception which is why we need education on every level so badly.”

Resources:

  • https://www.cbsnews.com/video/does-modern-porn-lead-to-more-sex-positivity/#
  • https://www.popularmechanics.com/culture/web/a29623446/pornhub-porn-data-storage/
  • https://www.xbiz.com/news/248453/porn-can-absolutely-be-empowering-for-women-scholar-tells-cbs-news

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