Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A sex-worker embraces sexual objectification

I wondered on this blog before if there is any real difference between the sexual objectification of women in pornography and the intellectual objectification of writers. I pointed out that readers do not worry themselves about the author as an individual, using the writing only as a way to get information. When I was researching for a social research project recently I barely even registered the sex or nationality of the authors I was referencing, caring only about the knowledge they were giving me. I was objectifying them.

Almost all workers are objectified. It struck me as odd that a woman who is paid to pose for sexual photographs is considered a victim, while a man or woman who enters a boxing ring and risks brain damage by being battered about for the pleasure of an audience is considered a sports star.

So I was fascinated to come across this argument by 'Furry Girl', the pseudonym for a self-described sex-worker who runs the blog Feminisnt. Furry Girl runs four pornographic websites, to which she links on her blog, and stars in some pornographic photography and video. She also bitterly rejects the complaint that pornography objectifies women:
Firstly, as a porn model and cam girl, it's my job description to "be a sex object", (as the anti-sexers would define it), and it's a job with which I'm very happy....

I have never met a sex worker who was unaware of that their job entailed before taking it. When asked why she got started, not one replied, "I became a stripper because I was looking for the true love of an intellectual partner who appreciates my inner beauty and doesn't oggle my body." Those types of people answer romance ads on eHarmony.com, not ads in weekly papers for "B/G anal scene $500 cash". It's not as though this whole thing is sprung upon random unsuspecting victims- it's the definition of the work.

"Being objectified" by customers is not something that sex workers themselves are railing against as an injustice they seek to overcome. It's a half-baked analysis being imposed upon our work from outsiders- outsiders who presume to tell the world what we experience and how we feel about it, without ever having asked us.
She then makes the point I made last year on The Harvest:
Secondly, everyone at their job is "objectified" in their roles. I don't profoundly care for the cashier at the grocery store, but no one's ranting online about how he's being oppressed and "objectified" because, at work, most people see him as "a cashier". I don't care to delve into the inner intellectual passions of the woman who made me tea at a cafe, but I'm not aware of any college courses being taught on the "objectification" of baristas. I have never fallen into deep romantic love with a nurse who's weighed me and taken my blood pressure at the doctor's office, but if there are protesters outside the clinic that day, their signs don't read, "Stop the exploitation of women! Planned Parenthood objectifies nurses as mere one-dimensional healthcare workers!"

We can't have a genuine connection with everyone we encounter in our lives, whether they are strippers or bus drivers or sales clerks at a shoe store. To say that "being objectified" as a sex worker is somehow so vastly different than "being objectified" in any other role is telling about the accuser's personal issues with the sex, not the work.

Some people try to "take a step back" and use this as a part of a broader critique of capitalism, but I disagree with that, too. So, under socialism, anarchism, or what-have-you-ism, every human will express heartfelt interest in the well-being of every single human they come into contact with over the course of a day? I find that quite silly.
I have quoted a large chunk of her words here but she says what I have been thinking well. Her blog is fascinating, this is an insider's view of the porn industry. And she loves it.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.