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Yale Bans Sex Week: Does Being a Porn Star Disqualify One from Sex Education?

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The Straight Story Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-12-11 10:57 AM
Original message
Yale Bans Sex Week: Does Being a Porn Star Disqualify One from Sex Education?
Amanda, I totally agree with your thoughts on the unfair struggle that porn stars face in trying to change careers. After giving so many viewers pleasure, its shamefuland hypocriticalthat we treat them like dirty tissues when we should be rooting them on to more sustainable employment in mainstream film or elsewhere. Indeed, one of the areas where some porn stars might be most qualified to work is sex educationafter all, theyve made a living in an industry where sexual health, safe sex practices and consent are of primary concern, if not always totally honored. Whether their experience was positive or negative, they can certainly speak to the importance of these issues; furthermore, there isnt anyone better positioned to elucidate the key distinctions between pornographic fantasies and the poorly-lit, generally unglamorous realities of sex.

But even in this seemingly obvious field, porn stars are under attack. According to Jezebel, Yale University has just canceled their infamous Sex Week with the administration citing an over-influence of porn as the main reason. To be fair, part of the ban stems from the fact that Sex Week organizers may have received kickbacks from porn corporations, an accusation that if true, is definitely a problem. However, much of the anti-Sex Week sentiment seems to have been expressed as a general hostility toward pornography. One student organization, Undergraduates for a Better Yale College, had this to say to their classmates:

Tell Yale that a pornographic culture does not create respect but degrades, does not build up relationships but undermines them, promotes not consent but the ugliest form of pressure, does not stop sexual harassment and the objectification of one another's bodies but makes us numb, blind, and indifferent to how we actually look at and treat others. Tell Yale that you want a campus marked by respect and love, full of flourishing friendships based on the acknowledgment of each person's integral value, relationships based on true love between partners not transient lust and a sense of familial trust between all students. Tell Yale to say "No" to Sex Week and all it stands for, because Yale can do so much better.

The central notion herethat porn must necessarily degrade, undermine and numb otherwise loving and sexually mature individualsbetrays a real lack of understanding about how most people use porn. Sure, there are cases in which viewers lose the ability to distinguish between fantasy and reality, but most adults do not. We lust over porn and then turn it off to (hopefully) lust over and love our actual partners.

But that's all old hat. The real issue here is that critics believe that because many porn stars and industry professionals have been involved in Sex Week, the event is somehow privileging titillation over education. This dichotomy is false. It is entirely possible for an attractive female porn star to discuss the emotional issues involved in having multiple partners, for example, while also consenting to being eye-candy. These things are not mutually exclusive, and, really, probably work better together. I suspect that the organizers of Sex Week understand this; its too bad that theyre being punished for being so savvy. Hopefully the students will be able to find a way to continue their event in a more staid form without excluding those so perfectly positioned to share their wisdom.

http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2011/11/11/yale_bans_sex_week_does_being_a_porn_star_disqualify_one_from_sex_education_.html
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seabeyond Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-12-11 11:06 AM
Response to Original message
1. wow, if this article was not one sided and full of agenda. good for the yale students not buying
into the bullshit
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snagglepuss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-12-11 11:24 AM
Response to Reply #1
3. Exactly. Absolute rubbish from the billion dollar porn industry.
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HopeHoops Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-12-11 11:06 AM
Response to Original message
2. Seriously, I think porn stars are more well educated in sex ed and social diseases than most others.
I know at least California has some pretty serious testing and reporting laws. So far they've avoided mandatory condom use (apparently that's not appealing to the audience), but at least the professionals take it seriously. I doubt that's true for the "amateur" actors.

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snagglepuss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-12-11 11:26 AM
Response to Reply #2
4. Pure propaganda from the porn industry. If you want to know the truth about
porn industry read Chris Hedges' Empire of Illusion.
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HopeHoops Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-12-11 11:29 AM
Response to Reply #4
5. Thanks for the reference, but I'm frankly not that interested in it.
I'd read what I stated in the paper a few years ago when they had an HIV scare in northern California. You're right, probably propaganda.
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JackintheGreen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-12-11 12:02 PM
Response to Reply #4
6. Propaganda has two sides.
The kinds of things Hedges considers "culture" are always rooted in spectacle.
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snagglepuss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-12-11 12:09 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. There are no two sides. Hedges documents the complete exploitation of
women in the porn industry. Saying there are two sides is like saying there is two sides to what Madoff did or for that matter what banksters continue to do.
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JackintheGreen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-12-11 12:28 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. I was not clear enough
I do not argue that most porn systematically exploits women.

But Hedges book, if remember correctly, deals much more broadly with the downfall of what he sees as American culture.

I realize that I posted this is response to an OP about pornography. I tried to expand the discussion, and it was probably the wrong place (and way) to do it. By the same token, there are other writers who have written about the exploitation in pornography as discreet pieces. Had you mentioned any one of them - e.g. Catherine MacKinnon, (cough cough) Andrea Dworkin, Gail Dines - I probably wouldn't have chimed in at all.

And I mean this seriously...my bad.
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The Straight Story Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-12-11 05:09 PM
Response to Reply #7
9. I think perhaps the other side is - choice
Whether it be abortion, porn, etc
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snagglepuss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-12-11 08:44 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. Do porn workers have the choice to form a union?
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