03 December 2012

Feminism Has Won

For now, at least:
A study published this week has debunked the stereotypical portrayal of porn actresses as 'damaged goods' who enter the adult entertainment industry because they suffer from low esteem or have been victims of childhood sexual abuse. The report in the Journal of Sex Research found that porn stars are not more likely to have psychological problems than other women.

In fact, they discovered those in the sex entertainment industry had a more positive outlook on life with higher self-confidence and more flattering views on their body image.

'In terms of psychological characteristics, porn actresses had higher levels of self-esteem, positive feelings, social support, sexual satisfaction and spirituality compared to the matched group,' the report summarises.

Researchers at Pennsylvania's Shippensburg University, Texas Woman’s University and the Adult Industry Medical Healthcare Foundation said they found no evidence to support the 'damaged goods hypothesis' that all porn actresses have come from backgrounds of sexual abuse. [Emphasis added.]
I remember, years ago, reading Traci Lords autobiography. I was shocked to discover the sheer amount of sexual abuse she’d gone through before she started porn. If memory serves me correctly, she was molested by one or two of her step-dads (while her mom watched), and was essentially pimped out by one of her uncles. Her dad was not part of her life, and she developed a tendency, fairly early in life, to hook up with douchebags. After she got into porn (at the ripe old age of fifteen), she started doing a ton of drugs and alcohol, mostly because she was unable to perform sober. Then she cleaned up her life and lived mostly happily ever after, so far.

In contrast, most modern porn stars don’t have quite the troubled background. Sunny Lane, for example, grew up in a “sex-positive” family, and her parents (yes, plural) act as her manager. Sasha Grey appears to have a fairly decent background (though her parent are divorced), and apparently entered porn to do some avant-garde stuff that was supposed to change the industry or something like that; she has leveraged this into a minor film career. Bree Olsen (who apparently went to high school in my school district) has a fairly normal background as well, at least relative to this day and age.

My point in all this is that the girls who are porn stars today are generally quite different from the porn stars of yesterday. The girls who went into porn, say, twenty years ago, did so because they had daddy issues and or serious addictions to pay for.

The girls who go into porn today do so basically because they enjoy sex and want to get paid for it.

Or, to state it another way, porn used to be for women with serious psych problems. Now it’s for sluts.

And really, it shouldn’t be all that surprising that seemingly normal girls go into porn these days. Between birth control, feminism, and the increasing sexualization of society, porn has evolved from a last chance for extremely damaged women into a semi-legitimate career path. And so, as porn becomes normalized within the culture, expect “normal” girls to become more prevalent in the industry.

Another thing worth pointing out is how feminism has been generally harmful to women. Since the study results are relative, not absolute, it should not be surprising that porn stars aren’t all that different from normal women. A good number of women are fairly dysfunctional in their relationships; they simply have the good decency not to leave video evidence. So, one way to interpret the results of this study is that most women have roughly similar sex lives, and a few of these women happen to be porn stars.

Of course, since the study is basically self-reported polling, it may be the case that female porn stars are lying. But then, it’s not like non-porn-star women are renowned for their honesty, so maybe women’s general tendencies towards dishonesty cancels itself out.

In all, I don’t think much can be made of this study, but I would urge caution in interpreting it, especially since it’s not only possible, but it’s likely that the sex-positivism of female sexuality as espoused quite forcefully by feminists over the last forty years may finally be coming home to roost. If so, this study is but a harbinger of things to come.


  1. I'm not so sure it's much of a victory for feminism. Porn is a form of prostitution, which has always provided a living for destitute or disposable women. Selling sex to teh eeeevil mens, no less.

    This might well be a blow to feminism, because prostitutes of every stripe have long been among feminism's favorite female victim groups. Prostitution doesn't really "belong" to feminism, and as more women in the commercial sex industry prove themselves immune to it's woman-annihilating effects, feminism's claims of needing to protect those poor girls, starts to look more and more like the thin veneer of BS that it is.

    I'm certainly not saying that prostitutes are rarely harmed by their profession, but prostitution shouldn't be a weapon in the feminist arsenal. I suspect we're about to hear either dead silence from the feminist camp, as they pray that this news will go away if they ignore it, or a whole lot of screeching that these poor pathetic dears are delusional and need feminism more than ever.

  2. There are two basic schools of feminist thought: the sex-positive and the sex-negative. Sex-positive feminists basically claim that women are equal with men (more specifically, alpha males), including in their views of and appetites for sex. As such, the ideal women is one who is as promiscuous as any given man, one who basically acts as a crazy, sex-starved, horny slut who is always and forever down to fuck. Assuming that this is actually indicative of the reality of female sexuality (and I tend to doubt that it is), it would be reasonable to expect women with multiple partners to be healthier than their more repressed sisters.

    Given that generally healthier girls are now entering porn, it would appear that women are now more inclined to believe the tenets of sex-positive feminism. The short-term benefits of embracing sex-positive feminism appear to be beneficial, at least if porn stars aren't liars. As such, it should be expected that an increasing number of girls increasingly become more in touch with their inner slut, and do so for profit, thus completely commoditizing sex and, in the process divorcing eros from love. Time will tell whether this is a good thing (and the early trends suggest that it is not).

    Further evidence that the pornification of culture and decreasing women's sexual inhibitions is the result of sex-positive feminism can be demonstrated another way. Simply ask yourself whether young women would behave in the manner that young women behave in modern America if they lived in a strongly patriarchal society (like 19th century America, or the modern day Middle East).

    Incidentally, sex-positive feminism is the predominant feminist movement. The sex-negative feminists are still around (think Hilary Clinton, e.g.), but their general social influence is minimal. Both schools can trace their roots to equalist-feminism (i.e. the suffragettes). For a long time, the feminist movement was concerned with attaining political equality with men. Once that was generally achieved, feminists found themselves wondering what to do with their power. Some feminists suggested suppressing men (i.e. attaining dominance), thus spawning much of the current legal regime against men, which is now on the wane. Other feminists basically suggested just doing whatever the hell they wanted to do. When the movement began to split several decades ago, the sex-negativists had more influence initially and began to enact certain legislation (like Title IX, certain provisions within the EEOC, etc.). This was a top-down approach that has begun to fizzle out of late, thanks to the social havoc it has wreaked, and also because of the law of diminishing returns. The sex-positive movement began more organically, and took a bottom-up approach, generally seen in things like the Grrl power fad/movement of the 90s, and in the "release your inner slut" meme of roughly the same time. Since the average girls is far more interested in screwing alphas than in politics, particularly in this age of dumbed-down "education," it should come as no surprise that most girls are sex-positive feminists, albeit this is mostly an informal role. (See here for an example.)

    I suspect that sex-positive feminists, and a large number of outright stupid girls, will trumpet the results of this "research" and use it as a rationalization for slutting it up even more.

  3. I suggest watching/reading some of this:

    Not sure about research, but there is no way that those porn actress are non-damaged :-)

  4. @anon.- thanks for the link. I believe, though, that my specific assertion was that "most modern porn stars don’t have quite the troubled background." It's not that they all had perfect lives, it's that they don't appear to be as messed up as pornstars of the past. To put it another way, it's not that the current behavior of modern pornstars is normal, it's that the background of modern pornstars is normal, relative to the current culture.