The Oxymoron of Ethical Porn

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As porn use and production become more rampant than ever, so do the justifications of the exploitative behavior. A new wave of so-called “ethical” porn has emerged to ease the consciences of the porn viewing community. Liz Walker has written an analysis of the many fallacies this theory poses.

First, there is the question of self-created porn. While this is an increasing trend due to the rise of smartphones, self-creation does not imply consent the way many assume. Walker first points out that just as in mainstream pornography, the actors may face external pressure to create this content. Another main concern she addresses is that many home videos are recorded and or distributed without a party’s knowledge, such as cases featuring ‘revenge porn’.

Walker then highlights that the claim of being ethical hangs on users paying for the content. The titles on several “ethical” porn sites still feature themes of sex with minors, incest, and workplace sexual harassment. While actors may be getting fair pay, assuming they are aware of its distribution, their creations are no more ethical or moral than that of hardcore mainstream producers. There is also the creation of “feminist” pornography, which is just another façade that claims to not degrade women. However, it still operates the same as any other profit-driven pornography industry, and they cater their content accordingly.

In addition, it fuels demand for more hardcore pornography, as Walker clarifies, “Feminist porn is not going to stop anyone from watching hardcore porn. The brain has a tendency to want more. Countless people have reported that they start out with benign images, have their curiosity spiked, look for more, become normalized and conditioned to harder content and wind up being hooked on extreme, fetishized and sometimes, illegal content.”

Perhaps most importantly, is that no creation of pornography, regardless of consent or content, can really be considered ethical as it increases demand for sex trafficking. This is because sex trafficking victims are used as performers in pornography, are trained through pornography exposure, and are used for traffickers to act out what they have witnessed in pornography.

Liz Walker has eloquently responded to the porn communities’ pernicious attempts to appear moral or reformed by invalidating their biggest claims. Do not be swayed by this deceptive use of the words “ethical” or “feminist”, pornography is neither of these things, it is degrading to society and a catalyst for sexual exploitation in all its forms.

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The Numbers

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NCOSE leads the Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation with over 300 member organizations.

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The National Center on Sexual Exploitation has had over 100 policy victories since 2010. Each victory promotes human dignity above exploitation.

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