To bring you up to speed, James Franco (whose book Dangerous Four Boys I just ordered) is being shamed in a recent article by Professor/Anti-Pornographer/Anti-Porn Star, Gail Dines. In her CounterPunch.com article, Where are the Protests Against James Franco’s “Feel-Good” Torture Porn?, Kink.com is “the Abu Ghraib of Porn”; Franco’s film kink is a celebration of “torture porn”. Sounds intense, right?!
According to Dines, the torture porn of Kink.com is akin to “the Spanish Inquisition: stretched out on racks, hogtied, urine squirting in their mouths, and suspended from the ceiling while attached to electrodes, including ones inserted into their vaginas.” And, “They are not mere simulations: the women are clearly bound and in contorted positions, and many are grimacing. This is not a fun, fantasy place run by a charming band of outsiders, but a group of savvy businessmen who missed their calling at Abu Ghraib.”
It’s thrilling and full of description!–James Franco has a “robust interest in porn”; Kink.com, Franco and Sundance are “getting away” with a “travesty”–yet… no interviews? No quotes, no evidence, no facts? What?! Just an emotional reaction?? No sex workers to gesture to who say, firsthand, “That is correct! I was a slave like those at Abu Ghraib!” What is this? Science fiction academia? I wouldn’t be surprised if the only time she quotes the voices of college students, they are her own students! …
Beth Brigham was Gail Dines’ understudy for a time and was interviewed for the anti-porn film The Price of Pleasure (review here). She states that the “diverse group of college students” from the film were Dines’ students. Damnit! I hate it when I’m right!
Drama aside, you can’t prove anything with fiction prose, even if it is well-written (or not). What of actual sex slaves? Dines’ bit of fan fiction is insulting to actual victims. I’m an ex-sex worker on various fronts, and I’m offended by these pseudo-pornographers speaking my mind for me; asserting my ability to “choose”; retelling my life story through dishonesty and the prism of their personal perversions. This level of hysteria and intellectual dishonesty is scarier than aggressive pornography. I worry for the youth whose education lies in their hands, but I wouldn’t try to outlaw education because some people wield their power recklessly.
Fortunately, intelligent people can see her research is as fluffy as a pastry: flaky, loaded with filler, lacking nutritional value.
Small except from Ronald Weitzer in Violence Against Women:
“In an earlier article in this journal, I critiqued a particular theoretical approach to prostitution, what I call the “oppression paradigm” (Weitzer, 2005; see also Weizter, 2010). The present review extends this critique to some recent books on pornography, both of which are ground in the oppression paradigm–a perspective that depicts all types of sex work as exploitative, violent, and perpetuating gender inequality. This paradigm does not hold that exploitation and violence are variables–present in varying degrees or absent in some kinds of sexual commerce–but are instead constants central to the very definition of prostitution, pornography and stripping. I have argued that those who adopt the oppression paradigm substitute ideology for rigorous empirical analysis, and that their one-dimensional arguments are contradicted by a wealth of social science data that shows sex work to be much more variegated structurally and experimentally (Weitzer, 2009).“
I’m a compassionate human being. It may outrage me to see a meaningful conversation about sex and the sex industry reduced to one-sided rambling, but ultimately, I hope Professor Dines finds some resolution for her deep-seated anger issues. I hope, beyond hope, that all of the legal-age women and men who perform sex scenarios on camera for Kink.com are doing it because they want to. Their voices alone tell their own story.
However thrilling the adjectives and intense the delivery, all Gail Dines proves through this ridiculous shame article is that attacking consenting adults is a lazy, highly imaginative and lucrative way to make a living without doing any actual work.
*For an insiders perspective on Professor Dines, I suggest Beth Brigham’s blog; particularly her post, on the ex-mentor, Gail Dines (part 1).
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