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Big Fat Lie: Porn Empowers Women

Last Updated: November 4, 2020

Matt Fradd

Matt Fradd is the author of Delivered: True Stories of Men and Woman Who Turned from Porn to Purity. After experiencing a profound conversion at World Youth Day in Rome in 2000, Matt has worked through full-time lay ministry in Australia, Ireland, Canada, and Texas. He has served as an apologist for Catholic Answers and has traveled all over the world, speaking to tens of thousands of teens and young adults. He and his wife Cameron have four children and live in North Georgia.

Some believe pornography can actually be empowering for women.

For instance, Betty Dodson has been an outspoken feminist leader since the 1970s. While she doesn’t think porn offers the best in sexual education and she would prefer men generate their own mental fantasies, she sees nothing is wrong with masturbating to porn on occasion. Moreover, porn is not just nice entertainment for men, it can also be empowering for women because of its ability to challenge the norms of our society that would control a woman’s sexual freedoms.

Ms. Dodson likens modern porn stars to the royal courtesans in Sumeria or the temple priestesses in ancient Egypt or the Amazon women of Lesbos—ancient women who had real social power. Dodson writes, “In order for women to progress, we must question all authority, be willing to challenge any rule aimed at controlling our sexual behavior, and avoid doing business as usual, thereby maintaining the status quo.”

Of course, on one hand, Ms. Dodson is on to something here. Pornography has become, in many ways, part of the mainstream, and some porn actresses have become the new high priestesses of female liberation in the eyes of the public. These women help us to throw off the shackles of gender norms. There are some women involved in porn that have actually become wealthy and famous, therefore, some argue, we should celebrate porn as empowering to women.

But is this really a fair assessment? Certainly, some individual women are more wealthy and have more influence because of porn, but has porn benefited women as a group?

Does Porn Empower Wives?

Ask the thousands of women whose husbands have habitually turned to porn instead of intimacy. Do these women feel “empowered” by pornography? Do they enjoy marriages of mutual respect, honesty, shared power, and romantic love when their husbands are habitually watching films that portray the exact opposite?

Related: Should porn be used to spice up the bedroom?

Does Porn Empower Girlfriends?

Ask the thousands of women who are living in a culture where men walk around with porn-standards in their minds. Do these women feel empowered by porn when they have to compete with a novelty? Studies show, the more porn one consumes, the more one views others as unattractive by comparison.

Does Porn Empower Porn Actresses?

Ask the thousands of porn actresses who have come and gone from the porn industry. Do they feel empowered as a group?

Take a woman like Jenna Jameson, perhaps the most famous modern porn star. While Jameson has repeatedly defended her involvement in the porn industry, one only needs to read her own memoir to see the kind of so-called “empowerment” she experienced. The sleep deprivation, the inhumane shooting schedules, the sickness, the mental overload, the physical pain, the insecurity, the name-calling, the drug abuse, the pimps, the terrible way she was treated and disrespected on and off the porn set, the attempted rapes.

In Jameson’s own words, when you do porn “You are the product.” This is not the language of personal empowerment. Whatever measure of empowerment any one person might get from porn, they do it only be playing into the hands of a culture that would treat them as a piece of meat, not a person.

Related: 4 Secrets the Porn Industry Hopes You Never Find Out

Female Empowerment?

Don’t be fooled. When did female empowerment become about better sex and bigger orgasms?

When there are women around the globe who are illiterate, poor, hungry, raped, and sexually trafficked, how is one porn star’s feeling of personal liberation paving the way for the empowerment of women as a class?

“Feminist pornography” is an oxymoron. Working for an abusive industry that uses your body to make a buck can only feed a system of oppression, not fight it.

All the talk about female empowerment is just the new face PR for the porn industry.

  • Comments on: Big Fat Lie: Porn Empowers Women
    1. Lydia on

      How can women be empowered by an industry that seeks to objectify them? Even if a woman says that pornography is a learning tool that may be used to enhance their sexual experience, do they not realize that the sex that is being portrayed is not healthy?? Women are not objects, and any sex that portrays women as such is unhealthy. Its unhealthy because we are not objects, we are people made in God’s image. We r his children. I recently learned that healthy sex is suppoused to build u up, not demean and degrade u. It’s hard for me because I crave demeaning and degrading sex. It’s sad to say but I’ve slept with many men in my 24years of life. And I never felt the sex I was having with any of them was “building me up” I received affirmation for WANTING others to exploit my brokenness. A lot of men would tell me I was fun bc I didn’t pretend I enjoyed degradation, that it was evident that I truly enjoyed it..well they we’re right, I do enjoy it. However just bc I enjoy something, that doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily healthy for me. I know it’s not glorifying to God and I don’t want to bring this baggage into my future marriage. I WANT to crave wholesome sex but the thought of it is a turn off and frightens me…I’m not entirely sure y this is…..the sex portrayed in pornography is definitely not sex that would “build” a person up. It’s degrading and wrong. Nonetheless it’s a turn on for me…I pray that God can fully cleanse my heart. I know he can! I know the more I pursue him, the more ill begin to desire what is right in his eyes

      Reply
    2. Joshua on

      The subject of the article is depressing. Everyday I feel like this world is gettig darker and darker. I never felt this way when I was a teenager and early twenties. I feel alone in the fight, which ultimately makes me place my words on the ground and sit down against a wall doing the thousand miles stare at the ground below me. I am becoming more alienated amongst my fellow man, with increasing enemies, and I am tired of fighting, LORD COME QUICKLY.

      Reply

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