[Cross-Post] Porn Stars are a Scary Kind of Sexy

Kittens, I am so excited to introduce this cross-post to you. The Fornicating Feminists are a group of Smith College students running a very new, very kick-ass community blog about “our recent musings on sexual encounters in college.” From their mission statement:

Our mission is to examine the gender dynamics in the sexual milieu of college life and reclaim female sexuality to be equivalent (although not identical) to male sexuality.

We hope that this will be a positive forum for women to discuss sexual issues. Our main goal is to have fun!
Oh, college. Where you can use words like “gender dynamics” and reclaim stuff right and left in ordinary conversation. You can see why I decided to be lazy today and let these smart women do my thinking for me.

But what does fornicating have to do with the beauty industry, you ask? Only everything, as it turns out. (See some of my Beauty U reporting on Brazilians if you’re not convinced.) Last week, the lead Fornicating Feminist (or Sex Fairy, as she’s called at home) wrote about porn pros and cons after screening her favorite porno for the group. It’s not required reading for the post that’s about to follow, but it is pretty great and you might find it to provide some helpful back story. And then after, you can follow it up with another Sex Fairy’s post on Even More Porn. (These ladies like to take a theme and run with it.)

I’m cross-posting this piece from a fornicating feminist who calls herself The Librarian, and brought the discussion around to one of our favorite topics – beauty standards! — by asking:

What if porn is not what floats your boat, but what’s programming your boat to float?
THIS is what freaks me out. Because I have NO desire to have sex “like a porn star” or resemble a porn star in any way. It amazes and terrifies me that plastic, fake blonds with beach ball boobs that look like they might slip out of place at any second are determining what so many men (and some women) think a sexy woman looks like.
While women’s idea of “what is sexy” is pretty fluid throughout their lives, men’s turn-ons are pretty much set for life by age 15 or 16. If porn has had a more dominant influence on their sexual experience at that point than real girls, what does that mean for the rest of their lives? Men in the 16th century thought hairy legs, well-fed figures, and plucked foreheads were beautiful, because that’s what they were told to think was beautiful. Why has the media and the porn industry turned sexy into starvation victims with injections in all the “right” places? 

Not to mention, the concept of sex in this porno was so limited and mechanical – what do you even need another person there for? There was no human connection whatsoever, which as I’ve said before, is the part of sex that appeals to me most and provides the most fun and pleasure. To not even have the actors’ bodies connecting – except where a camera can view them slamming into each other – was bizarre and disconcerting. Is this really a normalized vision of what sex is?

I was surprised. I didn’t expect to love, or even like porn, but I also didn’t expect it to make me never want to have sex again. Probably that won’t last, but seeing porn for the first time was a HUGE turn off for me. All I could think (aside from, GROSS) was, “Is this really what guys are expecting? Is THAT what I’m supposed to do? And if so, I have probably been a huge disappointment to every partner I’ve ever had. I’m boring and not at all sexy and never will be.”

Now, I know this is not true. I don’t have any desire to be with someone who can’t appreciate my individual appeal, and I was proud that the next thought to cross my mind was, “Damn, no wonder so few guys have managed to give me an orgasm, if this is their instruction manual. That would never work for me, and that’s their problem, not mine.”

I’m glad that it cuts both ways, and didn’t only undermine my self-esteem. But I’m in the most empowering environment in the universe – how many girls think they need to turn themselves into something resembling the very limited conception of a porn star in order to please their partner, and put pleasing their partner above being comfortable and pleasing themselves? How many guys are programmed by the limited ideas of what “sexy” can be?
Who knows what they would find appealing if the ultimate embodiment of sex propaganda was more open and realistic? Maybe the body hair phobia (a whole ‘nother post) would die down and women wouldn’t have to look like pre-pubescent girls. Maybe girls who develop late, or just have small breasts, wouldn’t spend as many hours hating their bodies.
I don’t want to judge any one’s personal choices; go forth and fetish to your heart’s content, so long as you have a consenting partner.
But don’t make me feel like I can’t be sexy, just because I’m not interested in that version of sex, and don’t want my personal life to resemble something that’s packaged in shrink-wrap and comes in a box. 

Other thoughts, anyone?

Lots of Love,
The Librarian

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3 Comments

Filed under Beauty Schooled, beauty standards, week 27

3 responses to “[Cross-Post] Porn Stars are a Scary Kind of Sexy

  1. Great topic!! I wish more people were writing about porn. There’s so much to say…

    I’ve talked with a lot of guys about porn, and most of them swear that they’re not into that “plastic” looking stuff, or that they’ve watched a wide variety of porn.

    But what about women who watch porn? I wish someone would do some research. What bothers me most is how much I LIKE porn. I wish I was disgusted by it. Instead, I totally disagree with the type of sex being had, and find it offensive, but it still turns me on. Annoying as hell.

  2. Rhian

    I go to Smith with these women, and comment on their posts, which is what led me to this. Some of this comment draws from previous comments I have left on Fornicating Feminists.

    I think that, as I have mentioned in comments at FF, that when we consider pornography and feminism we must consider how pornography and the sexuality it presents is a direct product of the male gaze. The female sexuality it shows is not female sexuality in its natural state; it is a performative, shallow kind of sexuality that conforms to the male conceptualization of female sexuality. Feminist pornography cannot exist because it simply reinforces the cultural ideal of female sexuality as something to be viewed through a lens, separate from the emotions of the viewer.

    Women are conditioned to see our sexuality in the same way that men view it; think also of how women’s bodies are used to sell anything from alcohol to shoes. The male body is powerful or funny, but the female body is merely “fuckable,” a sexual designation defined and controlled by the male gaze. Female-controlled pornography cannot be feminist for it too plays into these very same desires – the erotic charge of performance.

    I am against this conceptualization of female sexuality. I am against the commodification of human sexuality and desire. There are huge elements of privilege at play in pornography, but if a system exists in which oppression is possible – the violence against women found in so much male-directed pornography, for example – then this system must be destroyed.

  3. Pingback: [Never Say Diet] Why Talking About Good Sex Boosts Your Body Image | Beauty Schooled

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