Noam Chomsky On Pornography

H/T Lenins Tomb

Normally I am in agreement with most things that Noam Chomsky has theorized but in this case I must respectfully disagree.  The idea that the decision to work in the porn industry is simply a result of womens exploitation ignores the degree to which womens agency can make this an active choice.  While all paid labour in a capitalist economy is defiantly exploitation, working in the porn industry is not more exploitative because what is being produced is sex, or rather the imitation of  reciprocal sex.

Why is sex work necessarily more degrading than working at McDonalds, or a  Dunkin Donuts for that matter? Both involve the sale of ones body, and labour power to a certain degree. Both involve not being adequately compensated vis a vis profits versus wage, yet pornography is deemed horribly degrading. I submit that this because womens sexuality is only culturally acceptable when it is virginal in nature.  Good girls, or authentic women don’t actually enjoy performing sex acts, or participating in any form of voyeurism.  Certainly there are women working in the porn industry that are not happy about that choice but not all women feel that way.  If you ask Walmart workers, I  some will tell you that they are not happy working there either.

For us to accept this as completely degrading to women, we must ignore those in the sex trade industry who unequivocally state that they perform this labour because they enjoy it, and therefore if we truly feel that it is necessary to respect women, we should validate their experiences and accept their explanations about their labour.   Is it still demeaning if the one performing does not feel demeaned? By telling sex trade workers that they are uniquely oppressed are we not guilty of seeking to discipline their bodies in the same manner that we accuse others of doing?  Are we not creating them as other? It is simply not progressive to tell someone that they are oppressed when they themselves feel no unusual exploitation.  Validating agency means respecting  choices even in cases where we are in disagreement with them.

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4 comments on “Noam Chomsky On Pornography
  1. Simon JM says:

    edit Without sex negativity and patriarchy the act is like any other service or labor, after all if unwanted sex is wrong unwanted labor is slavery.

  2. Simon JM says:

    I’m in a similar position on Chomsky I agree with him on many things but he is mired in archaic patriarchy and sex negativity on this subject. Similar to Chris Hedges. Without sex negativity and patriarchy any abuse the act is like any other service or labor, after all if unwanted sex is wrong unwanted labor is slavery.

  3. Bee says:

    You don’t get PTSD from working at Walmart. I think you need to engage your noggin a bit more if you want anyone to take this post seriously.

  4. Jackson says:

    You didn’t even present an argument.

    During the salve trade there were many blacks who lived under good living conditions and were treated well. Is this an argument for slavery? No!

    Pornogrophy and the sex trade epitomize what is capitalism. Even if one enjoys the work they do it is quite obvious that subjecting ones body and intamacy is more degrading than working at Walmart.

    Today there are many women still, who believe a woman’s place is in the “kitchen”. Do we then suggest that this is a valid argument because it’s the words of a woman?