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How does porn look like for the #Metoo movement?

In case you haven’t heard about it, let me start by explaining what the #MeToo movement is. It is about encouraging women from all walks of life; from all classes and races, to lodge official complaints against employers who have ignored, tolerated or committed sexually abusive behavior in the workplace. It exists to expose the sexual harassment, abuse and assault and how vulnerable people (presumably women) have been subjected to such systematic and often institutionalized mistreatment. Harvey Weinstein and other top Hollywood moguls have borne the brunt of this movement if you know what I mean.

Each day, the #MeToo examines how sexual aggression finds its way into places where such interactions are both inappropriate and unwelcome. From the face of it, all women want is freedom from the erotic approach in their places of work, the women want to live free without worrying about the consequences of refusing the sexual advancements of powerful men in powerful positions.

Workplace harassment and the use of pornography at work

To start with, the #MeToo movement has forced a speedy reckoning of the gender relations at workplaces on a scale never witnessed before. It has caught employers pants down. They don’t know whether to fire employees, implement training programs on sexual harassment, set up more robust channels for lodging complaints, or perhaps more importantly, analyze what constitute sexual harassment. But one thing is inevitable, sexist jokes, lewd behavior, and inappropriate touching will no longer be tolerated. That’s a new reality. If you are one of those guys who like grabbing pussies in the workplace, your days may be numbered. You may soon find yourself on the wrong side of the #MeToo movement – and the law.

And now back to watching porn at the workplace and sexual harassment. The view shared by the proponents of the #MeToo movement is that the two are very much connected. And with good reason as well. Statistics released by PornHub, arguably the most prominent porn website in the world, indicate that 50% of their viewers visit the site between 9am-6pm.  Anyone with a functioning brain can tell you that these are working hours. One guy actually told me that “I don’t know a single guy who hasn’t looked up porn at work.” Hard to argue with that.

How does this translate to sexual harassment you ask? Well, watching porn at work facilitates a corporate culture that tolerates harassment and abuse of female employees, at least according to feminists. It is true that the bulk of porn content available contains both physical and verbal abuse targeted against the female performers.  A study conducted on mainstream porn sites, PornHub included, showed that physical aggression, which included spanking, open-hand slapping, and gagging, occurred in over 88% of scenes, while expressions of verbal aggression — calling the woman names such as “bitch” or “slut”—were found in 48% of the scenes. The researchers concluded that 90% of scenes contained at least one aggressive act if both physical and verbal aggression were combined. To proponents of #MeToo, that’s recipe for institutionalizing sexual harassment.  They put the blame squarely on porn.

Watching porn in the workplace is seen as a way of legitimizing objectification of women and encouraging a culture of disrespect for women. Simply put, that’s how porn looks like for the #MeToo movement.

Internalized violent sexual scripts

Further studies have shown that consumption of porn can increase the likelihood of committing acts of both physical and sexual aggression the age notwithstanding. How do you ask for the second time?

Apparently, there is a positive association between porn consumption and attitudes that support sexual violence against women. The study showed that watching lots of violent porn can lead to the individual internalizing the violence and dishing it out in real life. This is the reason why feminist porn, porn that shows sex as something a woman is a part of and enjoys, was invented. It was meant to provide an antidote for mainstream porn which for long has been perceived to objectify women an3d therefore encouraging a culture where sexual harassment against women is seen as normal. That’s the kind of awareness the #MeToo movement seeks to provide.

What do pornstars think?

If you thought that sexual harassment is only confined to offices, think again. Pornstars have a lot to say about the whole campaigns as well. They too have been subjected to sexual harassment. You see there is a notion out there that ‘Porn stars can’t be raped. They brought this on themselves.’ Nothing could be further from the truth.

One pornstar to speak about sexual harassment during a shoot is Eva Lovia. In 2010, the then 23-year-old was on set in Miami for an all-girls shoot. The director, a man, had other ideas though. She says  that the director went on about how “it’s kind of expected if I make a move on you and you’re nice to me, then obviously I’m going to give you more work, and if you go around and tell everyone, it’s my word against yours, and then I’m just never going to shoot you again.” During subsequent shoots, she says that the same director choked her as two female performers were performing oral sex on her.  She refused to name the said director for fear of retribution. That alone is indicative of how even the porn industry needs its #MeToo movement.

Nikki Benz, a more than ten year veteran in the industry, was also subjected to such abusive behavior from a director when shooting for high-profile production house Brazzers. In a tweet, she said, “the director himself put his hands on me and was choking me.” While the director, Tony T, was fired, how many other such cases go unreported?

Conclusion

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m all for people to watch porn. But I had to give you a perspective of the whole #MeToo movement and what it stands for and how they see porn from their side.

My final submission; Watch porn all you want! Just do it responsibly. Don’t go around attempting to replicate whatever you see on women you work with or any woman for that matter without their consent. Trust me, this movement is not going away, and you better don’t stray on the wrong side of it. Else, you WILL face the consequences.

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