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"In the city of my birth, I had a dream..."
Today's all-female roundtable is up at ANN... 
16th-Dec-2008 11:50 am
The topic is pornography for women, and Yours Truly is moderating~!!!

Now, I know everyone's a critic, but I'd like to throw back the proverbial curtain for a moment: No planning or forethought worth speaking of went into my participation in this week's roundtable. I only knew we were going to do one about five hours in advance, and I was offered the position of moderator a mere ten minutes before we started. So basically, what I covered is what came to mind first; if I'd had more time to think about it, I might have brainstormed other, more pertinent must-cover subjects related to the night's topic. My main contribution, besides overall structure, is actually how the roundtable ends because I'd really like to talk about the ethics of censorship in the future...we'll see.
16th-Dec-2008 08:58 pm (UTC)
It occurs to me that not all women identify with the women being victimized in porn. I know women who enjoy porn that is heavy in themes of victimization, be it gay, straight, lesbian, tenticle, etc. They view the porn from the perspective of the dominant character.

Porn becomes a fantasy about power, not necessarily about the objectification of a specific gender (as it could be either gender present in the fantasy submitting to the hands of whomever). Some women who would like to have that kind of dominance but who are physically incapable of it have to relegate the idea to fantasy.

I think there is a subtext in the desire for that specific kind of power play in sexuality, but I'm not sure it could ever be fully explored. Especially with people being as repressed as they often are.

By and large though, I agree that the trend of rape in porn is for the gratification of men through the objectification of women. I just think it is a mistake for anyone to assume women would want the raping when plenty would like to rape in turn.
16th-Dec-2008 09:23 pm (UTC)
Fantasies about power are something I wanted to talk about in a future roundtable about censorship. Which may or may not ever happen, but I'm hoping. I've written specifically about the simultaneous emotions of desire and anger directed toward men in porn/erotica for women in Japan nearly a decade ago, and I thought came up in another of the roundtables we did. But honestly? I'm having trouble remembering what I said where. >_< Getting old, I guess.

Edited at 2008-12-16 10:01 pm (UTC)
16th-Dec-2008 10:46 pm (UTC)
You should check out the feministsexworkers LJ community. Not that I'm a feminist sex worker, but it is interesting to hear from women who chose to pursue sex work and who don't propagate the victim mentality.

I'm looking forward to more of your roundtable discussions. I always get food for thought on your blog!
16th-Dec-2008 11:29 pm (UTC)
I don't believe that allowing oneself/choosing to be objectified is empowering, sorry feministsexworker gals. 'Cause in fact, all subjugated people on some level have to choose their subjugation It's only involuntary/coerced from a practical standpoint when the alternatives are too inconvenient or painful. (I'm pretty sure I said that in this most recent roundtable.) In that I reveal which strain of feminism I'm sympathetic to. :P
17th-Dec-2008 01:47 am (UTC)
Eh...the roundtable brought up some good points, but it wasn't really about "Porn for Women"--it was about "How a Few Women Feel About Porn, With Extra Focus on Male-Oriented Western Porn." Not what I was expecting, or hoping for, at all. You were the only one who sounded like she knew what she was talking about--you've read your fair share of ACTUAL porn for women, aka shoujo smut and josei porn, which both cover ideas/feelings/explorations our male-dominated media in the West couldn't possibly understand without repeat exposure and a lot of discussion. Which we're still not getting. The other women in the roundtable basically covered the average mainstream anime viewer's feeling on women and porn, which is "Why would a girl want to watch another girl get tentacle-raped?!" Which is completely missing the point, of course--the tentacle-raping of girls is almost exclusive to porn made by and for MEN--and provided very little additional insight into the topic. Why do we need to hear more people chorus with "I don't get it"? They don't even know what they don't get, since they're not READING IT.

Thank you, as always, for bringing a more informed opinion to the topic. Those other women in the roundtable seem very intelligent, but they also seem woefully under-exposed to true by-and-for-women Japanese media. Considering the table has brought up by-and-for-women media multiple times, this is especially disappointing. I don't want more opinions about shoujo from people who haven't read enough shoujo, even if those people are women.
17th-Dec-2008 02:27 am (UTC)
Sorry about that; the other gals *really* wanted to talk about those advertisements that come up toward the end, and they kinda left it to Gender Issues Specialist (me) to come up with a way to integrate that with the roundtable's mandate. "Pornography for Women" was the best I could do late at night at a minute's notice.

It so happens that we all have very different backgrounds, and while that does provide a diversity of opinion and broadens the number of topics we can cover, it also narrows the number of topics that multiple members are able to cover *well*. (See the "Key Animation" one for an example of me bleeding my ignorance--combined with I-Just-Got-Back-from-a-Three-Day-Conference-in-D.C. a couple of hours before exhaustion--in all directions.) The other gals are anime specialists, and yeah, there just isn't that much by-and-for females anime out there, which accounts for this topic being one of their weak spots. I'm also the oldest of the four of us, if you find that little tidbit at all illuminating. (The inappropriateness of the column title is really starting to show as well 'cause it hasn't been about just anime all that much...but that's a whole 'nother can of worms.)

Unfortunately, despite the fact that the majority of the U.S. manga market is female, there aren't that many female manga-centric "public intellectuals" (I use that phrase with irony) writing in English out there...and I too have been dissatisfied with the breadth and depth of the women writers' knowledge. Most of the most knowledgeable ones are guys, and they just naturally have a different perspective.

Do you have any suggestions for things I might be able to cover that you haven't seen covered yet? I admit that I'm still unsure as to how high to pitch the discourse. (I like aiming high--it's the one place I'm optimistic about the world, but I probably shouldn't have brought up Mulvey, especially given my contempt for film theory generally. At the time, I figured it was standard college level reading, and since both Sara and Bamboo have some film studies background...)

Hell, I'm always on the market for a better soapbox, but those are few and far between. *sighs*
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