kink.com is a torture pornography production company. In January 2007 kink.com purchased a large building in San Francisco, in the Mission District, a community that is in need of affordable housing, that has many at-risk youth, and that for many years has been identified as the Latino heart of San Francisco. In February 2007, the Mission Armory Community Collective demonstrated against kink.com’s use of a large and valuable piece of San Francisco real estate – for torture pornography production. Instead of using the block-long building for torture pornography, the Mission Armory Community Collective has proposed that we use of the Mission Armory for affordable housing, a community center, and a space for community nonprofits.
Torture and humiliation are commonplace in pornography. Kink.com is where women and some men are filmed for pornography named Men in Pain, Wired Pussy, Hogtied, Water Bondage, Ultimate Surrender, Fucking Machines, Sex and Submission, and Whipped Ass. Pornography like that on kink.com is real action taken against real women. Observing the making of torture pornography at kink.com, author Stephen Elliott commented: ” This is not fake. Satine and Donna are truly in role. Satine is feeling submissive and Donna is definitely on top. Donna is hurting Satine; Satine is being hurt.”
kink.com advertises filmed prostitution. Prostitution is advertised online on sites like kink.com where it is indistinguishable from pornography. Pornography is a specific type of prostitution, in which prostitution occurs and, among other things, is documented. The women whose prostitution appears in pornography are prostituted women. The Internet is one way that women are trafficked into prostitution.
Another reader of Elliott’s Salon.com article said the site was reminiscent of African women’s genital mutilation. Why is there such a great silence regarding the torture of women in prostitution during the making of pornography? Here in San Francisco some embrace torture pornography as hip, sexy, liberal. Lots of folks are afraid to criticize pornography for fear of being labelled fundamentalist, antisex, or homophobic. “Yet when we criticize McDonald’s for its unhealthy food, environmentally destructive business practices, and targeting of children through manipulative advertising, does anyone ask whether we are “anti-food”? Of course not, because no one conflates McDonald’s with food; we recognize that there are many ways to prepare food, and it’s appropriate to critique the more toxic varieties. The same holds for pornography; pursuing a healthy sexuality does not mean we have to support toxic pornography.” Bob Jensen and Gail Dines http://www.alternet.org/story/47677
The existence of state-sponsored torture is decried by social critics on the Left, yet the identical treatment of women in prostitution is ignored by those same analysts. Many view torture by the United States of prisoners at Abu Ghraib with shock and horror, yet at the same time consider the identical acts perpetrated (and photographed) against prostituted women to be sexual entertainment. Condemning the Bush administration’s tolerance for torture in the war on terror, one journalist noted the “gleeful sadism” of guards at Abu Ghraib. Yet political pundits maintain silence regarding the same gleeful sadism of men toward women and gay men like that seen at kink.com.
Specific acts commonly perpetrated against women in prostitution and pornography are the same as the acts defining what torture is according to international conventions: verbal sexual harassment, unwanted sex acts, sexual mocking, physical sexual harassment such as groping.
The sex industry is driven by pornography. Men learn how to use women by looking at and masturbating to pornography, developing a taste for prostitution. In the case of kink.com, men are conditioned to sexual arousal by torture. Pornographers are indistinguishable from other pimps. Both exploit women and girls’ economic and psychological vulnerabilities and coerce them to get into and stay in the industry. Both take pictures to advertise their “products,” suggest specific abuses for johns to perpetrate against women, and minimize the resulting harms. Pornography is a documentary of specific women’s abuses in prostitution, and its consumers obtain pornography as a “document of humiliation.” Yet in order to conceal the harms that are documented in the picture, the pornographer disconnects the picture from the person. The pornographer and his allies then name what is happening to her in the picture, “speech” or “adult entertainment,” rather than “torture” or “sexual abuse.”
For example, the filming of 251 men’s prostitution of Grace Quek (called Annabel Chong) was sold as “The World’s Biggest Gang Bang.” After being edited down to 4 hours, the film became hardcore pornography. The filming of johns assaulting Quek was stopped after 10 hours because she was bleeding internally. For Quek, the film was not an idea, it was not a narrative, it was not a representation. Real johns perpetrated real sexual assaults on her resulting in real physical and psychological injuries.
(Melissa Farley, 2006, Prostitution, Trafficking, and Cultural Amnesia: What We Must Not Know in Order To Keep the Business of Sexual Exploitation Running Smoothly. Yale Journal of Law and Feminism 18:109-144)
I’ll take a shot at the kink.com rant.
1. The author of this piece finds BDSM porn disgusting. It turns her off and grosses her out.
Many straight people, if forced to watch gay sex, would find that disgusting and gross.
In many ways, the feminist left rant against kink.com is identical to the religious right rant against gay sex–it is disgusting, even if it is consensual. In short, the mental processes behind “homophobia” are the same as the mental processes displayed in that article.
In fact, one of the comments posted at the end of the article says that this sort of web site “is an abomination and all efforts must be made to stop it.” An abomination? Isn’t that the word that one finds in the Bible to describe homosexuality?
2. The author alleges that making porn is prostitution. As a matter of case law, this is clearly incorrect. In short, she makes up an incorrect legal analysis out of thin air.
3. The author alleges that pornographers “exploit” porn actresses. Why is this any more exploitive than any other employer/employee relationship? Why is it any more valid than saying that porn actresses “exploit” male audiences? What makes something exploitive? Does McDonalds “exploit” its employees? Does GM exploit its employees? What it comes down to is this: the author considers a form of employment to be exploitive if she herself (the author) would not be so employed. She is using her own subjective decision making to decide what is exploitive for other people.
4. The author never comes to grips with the fact that there is a difference between something that is done to someone consensually, and something that is not. Is there some magic about the fact that pain is involved? If that is the touchstone about what activities ought to be banned, why not ban piercing or body modification? Why not ban tattooing? They both involve pain. They’re both considered gross by at least some people.
5. The author says that the acts done during porn include “unwanted sex acts”. Unwanted? Is she saying that the sex in porn is not consensual? Is she saying that it is rape? If that’s true, how come there aren’t rape charges brought against pornographers? The fact that such charges are very rare demonstrates that this is not an accurate and representative view of porn.
5. The author, without any evidence, says that women are coerced into porn. If that happens at all, it is an anomaly.
BTW, for the last 30 years, I have been economically coerced into working for a living. I don’t see any bloggers railing against my misfortune of having to work when I would have much rather preferred loafing.
6. The author says that the pornographer exploits a woman’s economic vulnerability. Again, so does every other employer of women on the planet. Any one of these women, if she was so inclined, could get a job elsewhere. They could work elsewhere, but they choose not to.
7. The author says that “The World’s Biggest Gang Bang” (starring Annabel Chong) was sexual assault. If this were so, how come nobody has brought any criminal charges against the sexual assailants? There’s certainly plenty of evidence concerning what happened. The fact that not a single charge has been filed based on Ms. Chong’s movie suffices to show that this blog is silly.
8. Another comment at the end of the Article: “Reading USA pornographers forums and some former mostly christian sexworkers forums, I have came to the conclusion that a large group of the women involved in pornography are mentally ill. Their so called consent is not solid. Let me see, paranoid schizofrenic (sic) women, bipolar disorder women, histerical personality disorder, postraumatic stress personality disorder from rape or chid abuse, 90% of them are heavy drug users, mentally retarded women, autistic women. Almost all well known US porn stars fall in one or more of those cathegories. Many are also in codependent relatioships, sometimes abusive. So much for consenting adults.” Schizophrenic? Retarded? Luke, have you ever encountered a porn star who was schizophrenic or retarded?
To summarize, this piece is simply a rant with no coherence or logic. I hereby order the author of this piece to present herself for appropriate punishment.