Etrika Christakis has a post about the concept of fair trade porn:
We have fair trade coffee and humanely raised pork. So why canât we create a market for ethically sourced pornography? A couple of decades ago, people didnât give much thought to their foodâs provenance. We didnât care about carbon footprints or the working conditions of the poor Africans who sold us our coffee beans. Slowly, however, consumption habits began to shift under the weight of scientific evidence and cultural change. Weâre becoming a little more selective in our consumer choices.
Yet not with that multi-billion dollar white elephant: pornography. We hear rumblings here and there about the sexual trafficking of women and children, and itâs always a relief when a criminal ring is busted for whatâs euphemistically called âabuse.â Itâs reassuring to know that whatever was going on in the far reaches of a few sick minds has little to do with our own primitive â but relatively harmless â impulses.
But do porn consumers ever think about where their porn is sourced? What a downer! No one wants to hear about drug-addicted runaways or Albanian teenage sex slaves. Nobody wants to imagine STD infections on movie sets or the life circumstances that would impel a woman to engage in physically punishing sexual acts on camera. (And just Google the word âbukkakeâ if you want a quick education in the mainstreaming of fringe sex acts.)
Seems a pretty good idea…fair trade porn….let me think a bit more about that.
Part of the problem is our reluctance to acknowledge the pornification of contemporary life. If we can relegate porn to the margins of our cultural conversation, we can pretend it only touches a small minority of adult men, rather than theÂ vast majorityÂ of Americans, many even in their first or second decade of life.
Maybe itâs just too embarrassing to admit the extent of our obsession, but people of all stripes really like watching sex acts. For example, surveys of Evangelical ChristiansÂ reportÂ porn viewing rates similar to the general population. UtahÂ leads the nationÂ in per capita subscriptions to online porn. Technology has produced the ideal Petri dish for the biggest sexual market in human history, providing easy access, affordability, and anonymity in one appealing package.
Right so fundies seem to be into porn in a biiiiig way…I’m convinced.
But shouldnât consumers have some context to evaluate what they are viewing? Shampoo bottles and Tuna cans assure us that animals were unharmed. Shouldnât we know if porn actors are subject toÂ out-of-control STD rates, or are forced to do things against their will? At a minimum, a Porn housekeeping seal of approval would tell us by, and for whom, the porn was made. It might make you think twice before downloading that random YouPorn video or chatting with a âhorny Russian slutâ at LiveJasmin.
There probably are attractive, uninhibited people who are excited by the rewards of porn careers â people who are untroubled by the ethics or lifestyle limitations of making a living as sex workers, or who at the least may consider it the best of their uninspiring options. But there are probably relatively few of these people, and consumers should know who they are so they can make informed choices.
Making such informed choices would have a few collateral benefits. If we knew for sure that porn production was free of coercion and desperation, for example, we might find there are fewer women willing to be gagged, choked, and âtriple penetratedâ on camera.
Hard to fault her logic really.
Fair Trade porn might also finally allow us to call a moratorium on assertions that women arenât aroused by visual imagery or donât sometimes fantasize about anonymous, unemotional sex. And market forces could eventually affect the aesthetic standard of pornography, which might, in turn, shift the skewed gender balance of viewership. If you think this is a fairytale, recall that a generation ago, no one talked about animal abuse or the case against corporal punishment. Cultural norms do change.
Pornography is a fact of life, and parental controls and moralizing spoilsports wonât make a dent in its exponential growth. But the bar needs raising. The sustainable food movement hasnât eliminated factory farms or our inexhaustible craving for junk food. But it provides an alternative model of consumption that we can aspire to. Organic and fair trade practices are leading us, gradually but inevitably, to a better relationship with food. Maybe Fair Trade porn could reconnect us to a better relationship with the human body.
Sounds like something the Greens can promote.