At the CEASE UK conference, we have 3 speakers each covering different aspects of pornography. Tom Farr will be examining how it leads to a culture of masculine entitlement; Janice Williams from Object! will give us insight into the UK government’s age verification plans; and Dr. Heather Bruskell-Evans will look at how pornography has been legitimised and endorsed by the medical establishment.
You might be asking: what has pornography got to do with sexual exploitation? If it’s just watching consenting adults having sex, where’s the harm in that? Of course, sometimes performers are under-aged or coerced or in real distress (who can tell?).
But even if there is consent…
• What about the way that porn shapes its consumers’ ideas about women, women and sex?
• What about how it eroticises sexual violence towards women and gender inequality?
• What about the well-documented negative effects it has on gender identity, body image, relationships and the mental health of men, women and children?
As Dworkin writes: “pornography is an industry that buys and sells women; pornography set the standard for female sexuality, for female sexual values, for girls growing up, for boys growing up, and increasingly for advertising, films, videos, visual arts, fine art, and literature…”
In its essence, pornography is about reducing women to erotic objects, to a series of body parts put on display for a man’s sexual gratification. This is ground zero of sexual exploitation.