Bea the Bud is back with one of her passions: kink. Are kinks inherently misogynistic? Where do they come from? And can you watch porn and still be a feminist?
In the world of porn, sex and kinks, anti-women sentiments are rife. Porn especially has a clear theme of objectifying women, often giving them no active role within sex. There are often clear gender roles of men dominating, and women being submissive. Even lesbian porn seems to be largely aimed for the consumption of straight men as the porn stars still act overdramatic in their showing of their pleasure and their sex positions don’t always make sense to those who actually have lesbian sex. Is there actually a way to consume porn without sullying your status as a feminist?
Can Porn in General be Ethical?
There is a model and activist, @darth_bador, who advocates paying for porn. She claimed that ethical porn does exist. Porn aimed at the consumption of women existed. A site she recommends is Bellesa, it’s a porn company for women run by women. I haven’t seen any of her posts in a while but I know she’s still around. Not sure if she’s still being an ethical porn activist.
I’ve never paid for any of these platforms but I am curious to see how they tackle misogynistic behaviour within porn, considering that is one of the main pillars on which most porn sites stand. These ethical porn sites do pay their actors well and ensure more safety for them. However, what is their stand on misogynistic kinks? The question remains, can misogynistic kinks be ethical at all?
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Another ethical way of consuming porn I’ve seen and tried is podcasts. They have a storyline, almost like you’re listening to an audio book and they talk you through where you are and who you’re with. And I personally felt like it was a more holistic approach to porn. There’s a large build up. They set the scene, they set how you’re meant to be feeling. The story is almost whispered to you. I think when I listened to it, which I have to admit was a very long time ago, it was around 10 minutes long. I’d tried it because I’d read that people swore by it and I wanted to see what the fuss was about. I’ve only tried it once and maybe I should try it again.
My takeaway experience was: I didn’t like the sound of the woman’s voice, she had a very standard US American accent and it made her sound almost like Siri. The fact she sounded fairly monotonous, which I assume was to make it sound more constand and flowing, really didn’t help the fact she sounded a bit like Siri. Also, it felt so long, and as someone who gets very easily distracted, I needed something more intense. It may be more ethical but it left me not feeling as, let’s say, satisfied as normal porn could.
Which Kinks are Misogynistic?
For me, what comes to mind first is degradation and r*pe kinks. But what else? Not that I’m aware of all kinks and I’m sure there are many more than I could ever name. But these I think of straight away. Degradation kinks I think work both ways: I believe that, often, when women enjoy being degraded, it’s coming directly from the patriarchal notion that women are lesser or even that they are meant to be punished simply for being women.
I also believe the reverse; that men who want to be degraded by women get turned on by the fact that a woman is taking power over them. The woman, who is meant to be submissive, is then taking the dominating role and almost embarrassing him. Scrap that. It’s meant to be embarrassing, that’s where the enjoyment comes from in that kink. I’m sure there are people who believe that degrading kinks can be ethical. I’m not one of them.
But also, how come I can only name two misogynistic kinks? It’s common knowledge that in porn and also in real world sex misogyny plays a large part. But why is it so hard to name which kinks and what really is misogynistic? Are we just made to believe sex and porn are inherently evil? Why am I struggling so hard to name misogynistic things?
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How to Separate Fantasy From Reality
A lot of people argue that kinks are fantasies, that they are completely separate from reality. I assume it’s a bit like role-playing kinks. Like, you wouldn’t be turned on if a doctor started touching you inappropriately in real life, BUT in a sexual fantasy… The thing with kinks is, it’s all a play of who is in control. For some, they enjoy being in control throughout their entire lives in every segment of their lives, but it gives a little to let go in your sex life. Give someone else some control for once.
It is worth adding that within the sexual world, consent is key. Therefore, when you’re giving someone control, it’s not actively being taken from you.
Kinks are allowing things that are normally considered taboo to become real life. Maybe that’s the thing that makes kinks so common. It’s simply something that isn’t normally accepted and therefore it’s a thrill when it does happen.
So, my take is two things: firstly, with these kinds of kinks, you are still in control, it is still consensual. Second, kinks are something that normally wouldn’t be allowed in normal life. The excitement of a lot of kinks is just about how socially unacceptable they are.
The fantasy aspect of kinks is the important part to remember. Just because someone wants to role play a fantasy, doesn’t mean they actually mean they want that thing to happen to them.
So, Are Kinks Misogynistic?
I’d love to have a clear message about this but I’m really not sure if kinks are misogynistic or not. I think they definitely reflect values we have in our societies, which makes sense because our society is very patriarchal and also misogynistic, but do they also then reflect our personal values? It’s easy to blame the world that we live in but do we not have any agency in what we consume and what we enjoy? I really would love to end this article with a definitive close but I’m really not sure how to. The questions of ‘can porn be consumed ethically?’ and ‘can I be a good feminist and also consume porn?’ have been on my mind for many years, and I simply still don’t have an answer.