The function of pornography as an influence on consciousness is a major public issue of our time, when a multibillion-dollar industry has the power to disseminate increasingly sadistic, women-degrading visual images.
But even so-called soft-core pornography and advertising depict women as objects of sexual appetite devoid of emotional context, without individual meaning or personality: essentially as a sexual commodity to be consumed by males. (So-called lesbian pornography, created for the male voyeuristic eye, is equally devoid of emotional context or individual personality.)
The most pernicious message relayed by pornography is that women are natural sexual prey to men and love it; that sexuality and violence are congruent; and that for women sex is essentially masochistic, humiliation pleasurable, physical abuse erotic.
Pornography does not simply create a climate in which sex and violence are interchangeable, it widens the range of behavior considered acceptable from men in heterosexual intercourse-–behavior that reiteratively strips women of their autonomy, dignity, and sexual potential.
A piece from “Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence” by Adrienne Rich
Photo from Tadao Cern’s “The Blow Job Portraits” (conceptual photography project, where people volunteered to sit in front of a leaf blower and let the gusts of winds play with their faces)