Women in Pornography
Posted by BroadBlogs
In America, pornography is almost unavoidable. What sorts of messages does it send?
To find out, I looked at the 10 “most viewed” videos on PornHub.
Two were celebrity sex tapes, and I didn’t look at those because their popularity was probably less about what they were doing than who was doing it.
All of the remaining videos were:
- shot from the male’s perspective
- the male’s pleasure was primary
- “foreplay” consisted of fellatio
- the female’s body was the focus of most shots
- the male orgasm concluded each video
The pornography I looked at ignored female sexuality and was degrading toward women.
For instance, the women were are often put in vulnerable positions that indicated inferiority. The usual sexual positions included man on top, woman on top, “doggy style” where the woman was posed on her hands and knees or her stomach, or side by side.
In a majority of the videos (7 of 10) the woman was on her knees, mouth wide open, while the man ejaculated onto her face or into her mouth. This is an obvious sign of disrespect.
Maybe the most disturbing trend was the normalization of sexual assault, incest, and the invasion of privacy.
Nearly half of the videos began with the premise of a stepbrother or stepfather spying on a woman, or a woman and her group of friends. Knowing that these were pornographic videos, this scenario always led to what appeared to be consensual sex between the characters. But in reality, incest and invasion of privacy are not consensual.
- the male’s pleasure is primary
- men are entitled to sex
There were 24 actors and actresses in the videos. Of these, 21 appeared to be white.
The remaining three were Latinas, and stereotypes were in force. In one video, the woman was dressed as a maid who spoke solely in Spanish while her partner spoke mainly in English. The other two played into the “spicy Latina” stereotype.
Lastly, pornography creates unrealistic beauty ideals. All 10 videos showed women with the same body type: young, slim waist, large breasts — and buttocks to match, with long, typically blond hair.
Since pornography is so commonly viewed, men may become accustomed to this body type to the point where they expect it. This creates pressure on women to conform, creating body negativity and self-esteem issues.
By contrast, men’s bodies were rarely seen in any of the videos. (Although, I have heard men complain about a large penis size that they feel they must live up to.)
The message pornography sends is that the most acceptable female is a submissive white woman, who is often humiliated, or used as an object.
I fear that the easy access and popularity of this sort of pornography will only continue to perpetuate the inequality between men and women.
This was written by one of my students to asked to use a pen name.
About BroadBlogsI have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.
Posted on September 14, 2016, in body image, feminism, objectification, pornography, psychology, sex and sexuality, sexism and tagged body image, feminism, messages of pornography, objectification, pornography, psychology, sex, sexism, women in pornography. Bookmark the permalink. 125 Comments.