“In the late ‘70s, cultural feminists’ emphasis shifted from actual violence against women to representation of sexual violence in the media and then to pornography. Groups like Women Against Pornography and Women Against Violence in Pornography and Media adopted pornography as the quintessential symbol of a male sexuality assumed to be inherently violent and oppressive, then made that symbol the focus of a moral crusade reminiscent of the 19th-century social purity and temperance movements. Predictably, they have aimed their attack not only at male producers and consumers of porn, but at women who refuse to define lust as male or pornography as rape and insist without apology on their own sexual desires. While continuing to call itself radical feminist – indeed, claiming that it represents the only truly feminist position – the antiporn movement has in effect collaborated with the right in pressuring women to conform to conventionally feminine attitudes.”
— Ellen Willis “Radical Feminism and Feminist Radicalism” (originally published in The ‘60s without apology, 1988) reprinted in No More Nice Girls (1992)
One thing I’ve genuinely never been sure of with feminist discourse on “porn” is whether they mean to refer solely to films of actual people having sex, or, like… All porn.
Like, I have read some incredibly disgusting and misogynistic hentai, but it’s hard for me to understand how a process which essentially just involves men looking at ink arranged by other men can actually hurt women.
Or, like, even if it’s porn written by a woman that seems fundamentally different than filming sex.
They want to exercise cultural intellectual property rights over “femaleness” so that they can leverage it to extract resources. Some of them don’t even realize that’s what they’re doing.
That is my very, very cynical and uncharitable take.