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Jennifer

A blatherer and a dirty ol'perv...

Mike Schilling

If they didn't want it to attract dirty old men, they shouldn't have called it Bangkok.

travy

everyone knows nipples are evil...

Ken Houghton

We "do not want the effects of porn production scrutinized very closely"?

Is there an industry whose production has undergone more scrutiny? Certainly there has been more "analysis" of it than, say, Wal-Mart's union-busting practices (to keep to Franke-Ruta's context). How much money was p*ss*d away on the Meese Commission report alone?

And what other industry is so self-policing? If Ann Bartow is so concerned about porn production, why is it Jenna Jameson who is at the forefront of working for safer working conditions for the industry's performers?

Ann Bartow

Lance, I'm still a reader, and like you, I am being misunderstood. It is the effects of porn production that I am claiming is odious.

The porn industry is not in the least "self-policing" and there are few industries that get LESS scrutiny. If you want to know more about the odious aspects of porn production, do some research on sex trafficking, and the high percentage of trafficked women who are forced to perform in prostitution. And the people who consume the porn that is produced through violent coercion are less than fully human.

GGW's Francis has been accused of exploiting underage women and in at least one case raping an 18 year old. Some "liberals" are characterizing his prosecution as "censorship." I've seen him in action and talked to some of his victims, and I do not think the problem I see is one of "free speech."

Ann Bartow

I added a supplemental comment to the above that did not post. Apologies if this is repetitive, but here are links that illustrate some of the problems with porn production:

http://feministlawprofs.law.sc.edu/?p=1041

http://feministlawprofs.law.sc.edu/?p=1535

http://feministlawprofs.law.sc.edu/?p=1086

solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short

Oh, for faking orgasms out loud. Are we talking about porn or are we talking about snuff? Seriously, how did we get from drunk college kids to sex trafficking?

"And the people who consume the porn that is produced through violent coercion are less than fully human."

Agreed. And y'know who else I don't like? People who pay to spend a weekend on some evil tycoon's private island hunting hobos.

David W.

Ann, what percentage of pron is produced due to "violent coercion"? I'm genuinely curious.

Ann Bartow

David W. - I don't know, I don't think that number could be reliably estimated, at least not by me. Here are some related observations:

1. With respect to GGW: Some of the women who appeared in GGW and came forward with complaints alleged physical coercion, but as a percentage I imagine in that context the number is fairly small. You can read anecdotal accounts in various places, such as here: http://www.latimes.com/features/printedition/magazine/la-tm-gonewild32aug06,0,5620406.story?page=1&track=mostviewed-homepage
or in Ariel Levy's book, Female Chauvinist Pigs. And you can read the press coberagepertaining to the suits against Francis (one example: http://asia.news.yahoo.com/060926/ap/d8kci6ig1.html ) The criminal and civil complaints in these cases are also quite graphic. The Akron Beacon Journal ran an "expose" series on Francis that you should read, but I can't find a live link at the moment.

2. If you read the San Francisco Chron's account of sex trafficking (I provided an indirect link for above), you will see the Chron estimate that 70% of the trafficked women who have been forced into prostitution have also been forced to appear in porn.

3. It depends on how you define violent coercion. I'd certainly include situations in which women believe something bad will happen to them or their family members if they do not follow directions to appear in porn. Even women who have not been "trafficked" are vulnerable. The links between porn production and "organized crime" have been fairly well established by law enforcement entities, and both physical and economic coercion of "performers" is believed to be widespread. Women with children and/or substance abuse issues are especially vulnerable.

4. The ordinary observer would have a hard time discerning whether a porn "performance" was voluntary or not. Porn production is virtually unregulated, unlike most industries, and even relatively mild laws intended to make sure all performers are 18 or over have been aggressively opposed, see e.g. http://www.concurringopinions.com/archives/2006/02/recordkeeping_i.html

5. Consult a research librarian at your nearest university library (or any good public library) if you have a serious interest in the question you posed - there is a lot of empirical material from around the world that addresses this issue more substantively than I can do here.

Ann Bartow

Dave W. - another comment: A number of the people who leave the porn industry and then speak out against it have had religious conversions, see e.g.: http://www.shelleylubben.com/index.php?truth=porn
and I understand why some people feel that undermines their credibility. Read her site and make up your own mind about her truthfulness, I guess.

Another feminist blogger once asked why "liberal" men who went out of their way to buy products like "cruelty free shampoo" and "dolphin safe tuna" refused to even consider legislation that tried to insure that porn production was "women safe" (not coerced). I think that's a question worth considering.

David W.

Ann, I guess then it's difficult to judge all pron by one nortorious example. I don't doubt that women forced into prostitution could also be forced to do pron, but I'm fairly sure that most women doing pron aren't coerced into it, if the 2257 regs mean anything at all, and I'm guessing that they do. Having lived through the Dworkin/MacKinnon episode in Minneapolis over pron, what Franke-Ruta seems to be advocating here seems very similar, at least in terms of 18-21 year old women.

solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short

This is kinda frustrating. I have SO MUCH to add to this conversation, but knowing more about the porn industry than most people isn't something you can go around bein' all smug about, so I'll stay out of it.

Except to repeat what I said before (translated from the original wiseassese): Prof. Bartow is talking about snuff. It's a criminal enterprise and the product is distributed on the black market. It may be pornography, but it's not what we're talking about when we talk about "porn" (which, to be sure, has its own disquieting aspects, though a cursory reading of Shelley Lubben's site leads me to believe that a better case study would be Traci Lords, who was famously abused and exploited [as a minor, no less] and speaks out against the business frequently and eloquently).

Franke-Ruta's piece specifically cited the case of a college student who, if she could turn back time, wouldn't have entered that wet T-shirt contest. There's no slope slippery enough to get us from that to violent coercion.

Ann Bartow

Dave W. - the civil rights ordinance advocated by Catharine MacKinnon et al is very different than what Franke-Ruta is suggesting. I don't mean this to sound snippy, but if you think that, you do not know much about the issue, and I'd again suggest you do some research.

Also, I don't know what you mean by "one notorious example" or why you think the record keeping legislation, which has only been in place a short time, is having any effect on coercion in porn production in this country. No one contacts the women to see if their appearance was voluntary, or ask whether they were forced or hurt in any way, or whether they actually got paid.

I am not suggesting women can't or shouldn't appear in porn voluntarily. I'm saying there is a boatload of evidence that many are coerced, and that this needs to be addressed. Lance apparently doesn't want any part of this conversation, so I will now take my leave.

David W.

Ann, what I was referring to was the similarity between how Dworkin/MacKinnon's anti-pron law allowed victims of pron to sue pron producers for damages and Franke-Ruta's proposal to allow 18-20 year old women to essentially sue pron producers for possible damage to their reputations.

I disagree with you about there being a "boatload" of evidence that most pron is produced by coercion. That doesn't mean there isn't coercion with respect to women, especially foreign women, which I agree has to be addressed. Franke-Ruta's proposal doesn't really do that though.

anticrat424

Since Joe Francis is in fact being legally penalized for his horrible behavior, what is it about his example that shows that we need to change the laws in this area?

Let's get real

As a man, I am terribly, terribly distressed about the fact that some women have admitted to enjoying ogling the Chippendales.

And I remember back in the 70's when my wife even admitted to looking at Burt Reynolds' Cosmo centerfold.

Totally disgusting!

low-tech cyclist

Ann Bartow says: "the people who consume the porn that is produced through violent coercion are less than fully human."

I'm no more than an occasional consumer of porn, but I've missed the warning labels specifying that this porn was produced through violent coercion.

Nor, in the alternative, is there an outfit that will certify (as Bartow suggests) that no women were coerced in the production of this porn, and apply a seal of approval like the "dolphin free" tag on tuna cans. (BTW, it doesn't take passing a law - not that I see any women proposing such legislation that us librul men simply "refuse to consider." It's hard to consider something that isn't available for your consideration.)

So as best as I can tell, in Ann Bartow's view of the world, any consumers of pornography are less than fully human.

gus

1) Some porn is produced via coercion.
2) Coercive sex is always wrong, and should be absolutely stopped.
3) Plenty of porn (the majority?) is produced absent coercion.
4) Consensual sex between adults is dandy, and may (should?) be enjoyed.
5) Are wet T-shirt contests a type of porn?
6) Is 'peer pressure' a type of coercion?
7) If the answers to #5 and #6 are both 'yes,' does #2 kick in?

Oh, and here's 5.5, or 8, or 12) 'Barely legal' adults are, in fact, as completely legally adult as any other adult. Adult is adult.

W. Kiernan

"anticrat424" (but who are you, really?): Since Joe Francis is in fact being legally penalized for his horrible behavior, what is it about his example that shows that we need to change the laws in this area?

Joe Francis is not being prosecuted for the behavior Franke-Ruta decries, that is, taking photos of the undressed bodies of women between 18 and 21 years of age. He has been or is being prosecuted for a wide range of other offenses - here's a probably-not-too-inaccurate list of them on Wikipedia - but not for merely taking naughty pictures of women older than the age of consent.

cs

I have to say, I was kind of appalled by that Franke-Ruta piece that quotes you. Every blog post she cites (not just yours), she takes some light-hearted or half-serious comment out of context to try to discredit the blogger. (Also, I believe GFR mischaracterized a Roy Edroso post without linking to it, so you weren't actually the only one who didn't get linked.)

low-tech cyclist

I don't 'get' about Bartow's remarks here pertaining to trafficked women, such as "do some research on sex trafficking, and the high percentage of trafficked women who are forced to perform in prostitution."

Who the fuck cares?? Since one must assume that "trafficked women" in this case means women coerced into sexual activities for others' profit, what percentage of them are used for what hardly matters, does it? It's all odious; the only important question is, how many women are on the receiving end of such treatment?

Also, if what Bartow is saying is that a high percentage of trafficked women are forced to perform in pornographic films, that's backwards reasoning. It's like saying that the vast majority of college students who fall off balconies have been drinking. Even if it's true, who cares, if only a handful of college students each year fall off balconies?

doug r

What's wrong with a "cooling off" period of say 24 or 48 hours between photography and consent signature?
Gives the photographer time to check that these "girls" are actually over 18 as well.

gus

doug r:

Does anyone have a problem with that?

brendan

As for me, I just enjoy looking at pictures of naked people fucking. I don't really read too much into it.

But that's just me.

Phoenix Woman

Somebody needs to forward this to Susie Bright. She'd set GFR straight right quick.

anticrat424

He has been or is being prosecuted for a wide range of other offenses - here's a probably-not-too-inaccurate list of them on Wikipedia - but not for merely taking naughty pictures of women older than the age of consent.

Well, that's kind of my point. When someone like that crosses a line into behavior that is genuinely harmful to the women involved (coercion, illegal distribution of images, etc., not to mention things like rape that aren't part of his job description as GGW CEO), there are legal remedies in place for that. I really don't see what's crying out for change here. Especially since what we are talking about with things like GGW isn't the de facto indenturing of desperate, disadvantaged girls/women into a long-term explotative situation that will destroy their lives, but rather well-off college students who are embarrassed because they did something dumb when they were drunk this one time.

I'm 44, and I still do stupid things when I'm drinking sometimes. I don't see how raising an age limit addresses that phenomenon.

Also, anticrat424 is my real name.

gus

Sure, brendan, and I just enjoy driving around in my SUV.

There're a number of questions here, and a bunch of 'em strike me as trivial. But there's no reason to pretend that one of the questions isn't perfectly valid: who's being victimized in this industry, and how do we address that victimization?

To the extent that porn coerces performers, I'm sorry, but it's -not- just you. Not any more than workers coerced in garment manufacturing or agricultural work. You might benefit from the coercion--we might all--but there's a little more to it than, 'but hey, I like strawberries, and I -love- my new shirt!'

itsbenj

yeah, sorry to burst people's bubbles, but the porn industry is very heavily self-policing and its production is scrutinized very closely. back in the 70s and 80s and before there was more to this argument. regardless of whatever, raising the age of consent for women is still nothing other than a macho, chauvanistic act of trying to protect women from themselves because, according to some people (women this time) they can't be trusted to make their own decisions as adults. luckily this argument will go nowhere and the age will not be raised. there are many women who are avid porn fans. i believe that the ladies in question probably don't know this crowd of people, they are a bit wackier than the blogging scene, you know. but they exist. just bringing this up to also shoot down the argument that being even an avid fan of porn is akin to sexually mistreating women or being a sexist. i thought these arguments had withered years ago, but here they are again to annoy us for another few years.

MasonMcD

Can we stop recruiters from signing up 18 year olds for the military, then?

They get, like, shot, and stuff.

Mike M.

I think it's kind of funny that people are required to say that porn is odious or bad before they defend it.

How about this? Porn is good. 18 is a fine age of consent. Human bodies rock.

aeroman

I can't speak for anyone else, but before this post, my frustration with Franke-Ruta's proposal was always what a poor fit it was to the problems she specified, especially as compared to existing laws and other reforms people proposed. Ezra Klein, I think, suggested greater clarity and more cracking down in laws invalidating waivers made while intoxicated, which seems like a reasonable policy that would strike at many if not all of the worst GGW examples. Plus, legal clarification could be coupled with funding for individuals who wished to challenge their waivers.

2257's documentation requirements, which Professor Bartow alluded to, I think, also make it easier to crack down on people who try to distribute material noncommercially without explicit consent, which Franke-Ruta mentioned as another potential target. You can't really comply with 2257 without a photograph's subject participating in the verification process. So, if someone posts pictures of his girlfriend on his site, he'll violate 2257 in the process. It'll be easier to go after him on those grounds than Franke-Ruta's proposed age grounds, b/c there's less fact-finding necessary - you'd just need to forward the site to the fed, it'd fail a review for 2257 info, and it'd be done.

Plus, as people have mentioned, your own copyright and publicity rights will shield you in many situations if you choose to pursue them.

The reputational problem (other than that employers et al wrongly penalize women for personal decisions) is that photos and video get out before legal action can be taken, and there's no way to get the genie back in the bottle due to distributed information networks. Franke-Ruta's proposal does jack-all to address that.

The labor issues are an additional concern, as Professor Bartow points out, but Franke-Ruta's proposal is an ill fit for those as well. It allows terrible treatment of anyone over 21 and forbids equitable treatment of 20-year-olds.

Jennifer

"blogger Lance Mannion prefaced his defense of current law with this panting anecdote"

Should we refer to you now as Pants Mannion?

Jon Swift

It seems to me that Ms. Franke-Ruta and Ms. Bartow are callously turning their backs on women from ages 21 to 65 by refusing to protect them as well from the clutches of pornographers. Their capitulation to the white slavers betrays a troubling lack of commitment. Only when they sign off on my proposal will I believe they are really serious.
http://jonswift.blogspot.com/2007/05/raising-minimum-age-for-porn.html

anon

There is a liberal feminist, that's Nadine Strossen of the ACLU.

Most of the other feminists are much more likely to be casual, fair weather, liberals. They stress invasive, punitive, authoritarian strategies like speech policing, and thought policing for people that disagree with them.

Quite literally, they are nutty.

My own most interesting find of the weekend, turns out that Ilyka Damen (I like the men) of Pandagon is *currently* a self-proclaimed radical feminist liberal. But as she admits on her own website, and as can be seen at Dean Esmay's site where she used to blog, she was actually for quite a long time, a raving 9/11 changed everything, let's roll, nukem till they glow, wingnut.

Scratch most feminists, GFR included, and you get an anti-civil liberties, authoritarian mindset. And one that is often pretty damn bigoted to boot, whether that bigotry is against men, transexuals, or fathers.

GFR just turned against Lance. I always worry about fair weather friends, how long until they turn against me?

Gabe

Oh dear. Ann Bartow doesn't know what she's talking about when she says that the porn industry isn't "self-policing" nor regulated much at all. I am a 2257 records keeper for an adult video company and for an online subscription photo site. At any point in time, without any warning, the FBI can knock on my door and demand to see the signed release for any model in any image on our site or in our videos and the photocopy of their valid government issued photo ID. Not only do I have to produce them but they must be filed in a specific way, separating "sexual activity" from "non" and cross-referencing in every way imaginable. The FBI has been doing these "inspections" aggressively for a couple years now since the 2257 regulation was changed. The entire industry went into a paper-flying mode to comply when they did this because it was retroactive to all images produced since 1997.

Furthermore, our company has several adult personals-type sites where people can upload photos to accompany a profile or ad. Every image of a sexual nature, and 2257 defines that in rough terms, on an adult site falls under certain legal guidelines. We can't let people upload whatever they want. Everything goes through an approval process. Hell, we even have moderators for each of our message board forums to make sure there's no talk of underage sex, etc. Every ad and profile placed goes through a review for the same. This is standard practice in US based adult entertainment companies.

Why would she think the adult industry doesn't self-police? Based on stories that make it into the press? Excellent research!

I keep saying this, people like Franke-Ruta and Bartow should just maybe do some real research and talk to people in the adult industry before making broad assertions. Because a few news stories about some young women who regret drinking illegally, regret lifting up their tops, regret signing a release, regret waiting for someone to make a copy of their ID doesn't inform one enough to be making calls for taking a big chip out of the First Amendment and further narrowing who should have sex, what type, where, when and how. But my guess is that folks that talk down the adult industry so ignorantly would be never consider sullying themselves by interviewing pornographers or even consulting our lobbying group, the Free Speech Coalition (yep, we've had one for years). So they'll go on blathering, conspicuously uninformed.

solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short

Uh, Gabe? We're trying to use the subject of porn as an excuse to beat each other over the head with our dogmatic preconceptions, so couldja put those facts away please? Thanks.

Hey, while you're here, do you know of any production companies that cater to the fantasies of men who harbor a bizarre, all-consuming obsession with a certain feminist blog's comments section? The poor guy's gonna explode if he doesn't find an outlet.

Seriously, thanks for offering something substantive, instead of just being a glib dipstick like me.

David W.

Thanks for your post, Gabe. I knew something about how the new 2257 regs impacted U.S. pron, but it's good to hear someone's actual experience dealing with it.

anon, there are more than a few feminists who genuinely struggle with the whole free speech/pron issue and a few like the late Andrea Dworkin who just browbeat others with it. Garance I think falls in the former camp, which is why I'd really like to see her engage Avedon Carol on the subject.

Avedon

I wrote some more about porn here. Check the comments, too.

dirty ol' grandma

Sheeesh. I guess I better not say anything about those tight young buns I saw on the way home today.

travy

liberals taking knee-jerk conservative positions is always good for cheap publicity... this comment is worth repeating:

"regardless of whatever, raising the age of consent for women is still nothing other than a macho, chauvanistic act of trying to protect women from themselves because, according to some people (women this time) they can't be trusted to make their own decisions as adults. luckily this argument will go nowhere and the age will not be raised. there are many women who are avid porn fans. i believe that the ladies in question probably don't know this crowd of people, they are a bit wackier than the blogging scene, you know. but they exist. just bringing this up to also shoot down the argument that being even an avid fan of porn is akin to sexually mistreating women or being a sexist. i thought these arguments had withered years ago, but here they are again to annoy us for another few years."

spot on

Anthony J. Kennerson

Thank you, Lance, for giving such a strong and worthy defense of sexual autonomy against those who would distort and censor it.

Don't let Ann Bartow fool you, folks....she is as aggressively pro-censorship as any other antiporn "feminist" of the MacKinnon-Dworkin school of antipornradicalfeminism. She claims that she is only talking about "snuff" films when she criticizes "porn production"....yet she openly rails as "degrading" and abusive images of fully clothed women in suggestive poses as encouraging rape and "objectification" of women.

Furthermore, she conflates "trafficking in women" -- which means women who are physically abused and economically exploited and coerced into the "sex industry" against their will -- with women who willingly choose for their own reasons to perform in sexually explicit media and imagery. In her mind, there is no difference between the two; the former are innate victims of "patriarchy" and male rapicity; the latter are either ignorant, blind "sexbots" who are too mindless to see how they are being exploited, or active sellouts and paid agents of "The Man".

And how pathetic that she and Garrance Franke-Ruta resort to the "Joe Francis" card to smear critics of their perspective policies: as if all who defend the rights of 18- to 20-year old girls to make their own decisions on whether to participate in sexual media were active supports of the smarmy and exploitative tactics of Girls Gone Wild.

(BTW, none of her suggestive regulations or restrictions would prevent the likes of Francis from targeting such women anyway, since GGW is technically NOT considered pornography by legal standards; the skits only go as far as flashing boobs and booty, grinding, air humping, and an occasional liplock, with no active sex involved.)

And..it should be noted that it was those very same 2257 regs which finally did in Francis in the first place, when he refused to register the names of the girls he used in his flicks without compensating them (or even giving them the right of approval through model releases).

As for the comparisons between the MacKinnon/Dworkin "civil rights" ordinance and the GF-R proposal; well, you could say that there is a difference between allowing any woman acting under the umbrella of representing "all women" to file biased lawsuits for treble damages against producers (and, in the original legislation, consumers) of porn under the claim that that material directly by its sheer consumption "damages" and "objectifies" ALL women; and enacting legislation to take away the rights of 18- to 20-year olds to sign lawful contracts and seek adequate compensation and protections if they choose to engage in legal and consensual sexual activity for pay. The former example is active censorship directed through intimidation and "death by lawsuit"; the latter is censorship directed through criminalization of the lawful employment of otherwise legal persons. Other than the basic intent being the same -- to wipe out consensual sexual expression that Franke-Ruta and Bartow don't seem to personally like -- I'd say that she might have a point there...barely.

If the issue is with misogyny, then the solution is to attack the misogyny on its own, and support the efforts of those within the industry -- including progressive sex workers and their fans/consumers -- to improve workplace conditions and provide fair and just compensation for their efforts....and to offer direct assistance to those who do want out and who do suffer from occasional abuse. Banning porn or punishing young women for merely getting caught up in their passions is not only a misplaced solution; it is the opposite of what feminism as a progressive movement should represent.


Rana

A question:

How is placing a new age of consent on participation in sexually explicit activity, and limiting it to women, any different than placing a curfew on women to protect them from rape or sexual harassment?

It's not.

In both cases, the burden and constraint is placed on women in the name of "protecting" them (thus defining them legally as an inferior sort of citizen) and not on the people who attack or exploit them.

In other words, the "solution" to women's exploitation is to take away their rights while leaving the rights of their exploiters unchanged.

WTF?

I don't want my rights restricted in the name of "protecting" me or others like me. I'm an adult, a legal citizen, a tax-paying, money-earning grown-up. I especially don't want my rights abrogated in order to avoid discussing the need to regulate those who would like to abuse me.

Proposals like this also tend to ignore all the other ways abuse can happen, particularly in cases where the victim "did the right things" (didn't go out at night, wore concealing clothing, didn't drink, wasn't young...)

It's the exploiters and their behavior that need to be constrained and limited, not the class of people they'd like to victimize.

xian

I don 't see where Prof. Bartow is talking about snuff. Can someone back that up?

However, describing any people as "less than fully human" has a pretty bad track record in history.

Matt T.

Especially since what we are talking about with things like GGW isn't the de facto indenturing of desperate, disadvantaged girls/women into a long-term explotative situation that will destroy their lives, but rather well-off college students who are embarrassed because they did something dumb when they were drunk this one time.

That's been my main malfunction with this whole donnybrook from the get-go, though I'm not sure I'd put it exactly that way. I take roy edroso's stroke on the matter, that there's something unsettling about what GGW, that sexuality is tied in with deviant behavior. I mean, it's not called "Perfectly Calm Girls Who Want, Of Their Own Free Will And After Much Consideration, You To See Their Bosoms" after all. That is screwed up and depressing. Watch one of those things, you'll be praying for a comet to come wipe the whole human race off the planet out of sheer embarassment.

Still. I graduated high school 14 years ago, and most of the girls I graduated with did not go to Florida to get liquored up and air out their hooters to the applause of yowling knuckleheads. They went to work. Couple went to college, but most didn't have much choice in the matter.* Couple of them had the lovely time of trying to figure out how to raise a kid when the daddy's too sorry to make child support.

I'm not sure I'm articulating this well at all, and I definately don't want to dismiss any legitimate discussion about what's all wrong with GGW and it's ilk**, but am I out of line if I suggest that maybe, just maybe, our perspective on all this is just a bit...off? Does that make any sense at all?

* On the upside, I come from Northeast Mississippi, and that area pumps out nurses and medical technicians like you wouldn't believe. Nevertheless, pursuing those fields does not lend one copious free time for "going wild", so I've been told.

** Though not neccessarily pron. However, I'm not personally prepared to take part in that partciular discussion if it is, indeed, part of the GGW thing or a whole different stroke all together.

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