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March 03, 2016

Commentary: You Say 'Toh-may-toh'; I Say 'What The Hell Are You Talking About?'

JESUSLAND—Some people like pain. Scratch that; some people love pain—and fortunately for them, producers like Kink.com, Severe Sex, Venus Girls, Taboo Dream Studios, Glenn King, Aiden Starr and the like are only too happy to make content to appeal to that fetish. Never mind that such content is usually shot in exceptionally controlled environments, the action is discussed beforehand in minute detail so there are no (well, few) surprises once the cameras roll, safe words are de rigeur ("Scalia!"), and most importantly, nobody who has an objection to being tied up, whipped, gagged or made to wear ultra-tight-fitting corsets is forced to do so... and most performers don't. So we found it a little off-putting to read, in the first paragraph of Morality in Media's the National Center on Sexual Exploitation's Report: The Gender-Based Torture Found in the Pornography Industry, which they were kind enough to send to the United Nations' Rapporteur on Torture Juan Méndez recently, that "the pornography industry—and for the purposes of this report specifically hardcore or obscene Internet pornography— intentionally causes severe physical and mental suffering to the women filmed or photographed, and that it should therefore be recognized as torture." (Apparently, Méndez is busy preparing an official report on just that topic!) And rest assured, MiM NCOSE isn't just talking about BDSM movies; they mean just about every production this industry puts out! See, according to the definition used by the United Nations, torture is "any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind." Of course, it's usually governments that are committing torture—you know; like the CIA did in Iraq's Abu Ghraib or our own Guantanamo Bay prison—but there are also such entities as "non-state torturers," some of whom are noted to be "multinational companies, familial relations [and] human traffickers." Perhaps you see where this is going. If "human traffickers" are "non-state torturers," and since it's MiM's NCOSE's position that all actresses in the adult industry have been trafficked into it, it only stands to reason that every sex act in which an actress engages is, by that definition, "torture"! But actually, it's apparently worse than that. "Unlike theatrical movies, where punches are faked and sexual penetration is merely implied, the pornography industry is built upon explicit and real violence," the report's author, Haley Halverson, claims. "Women are not 'acting' as though they are being punched, choked, spit on, electrically shocked, or violated sexually in a multitude of painful and degrading ways, they are actually experiencing these abuses." Of course, Halverson is hobbled by the fact that she's never been on a porn set (or, we're guessing, a Hollywood one either), so she's apparently ignorant of the fact that while the Hollywood stuntmen and -women often do take actual punches (which they have learned to roll with), and that actors in late-night "Skinemax" fare sometimes do engage in sexual penetration that isn't explicitly shown in the finished product. And just because porn performers aren't usually described as "stunt people" doesn't mean that that isn't exactly what they are: They engage in more physical activity to make adult content than most Hollywood actors will ever do on-screen in their entire lives. But except in very rare instances, porn performers aren't actually punched, aren't actually choked (though some actresses say they like it), aren't spit upon unless they've agreed beforehand that it's okay, ditto for electrical shocks—but we're pretty sure that as far as MiM NCOSE is concerned, every sex act a performer engages in is a "sexual violation." The "report" (is something really a "report" if it has no factual basis?) goes on to quote from some UN conferences from as far back as the early '90s, that were attended by people at least as clueless about porn as MiM NCOSE itself—not to mention the "team of researchers" (ghod, how easily that phrase is thrown around!) which "randomly selected and analyzed 50 of the [most bought/rented] films, which contained a sum of 304 scenes," and "found" that "88% of these scenes contained physical violence, and 49% contained verbal aggression, and 94% of the time the violence and aggression was directed toward the woman. The typical scene averaged 12 physical or verbal attacks." Anyone who's kept up with the latest adult releases—even the ones from 2010 when this "study" was made—knows what utter horseshit it is that anywhere near 88 percent of them contain physical violence—until you understand that virtually anything that isn't pure, man-on-top, whitebread sex can be "found" to have "physical violence." Some of those "violent" acts include when one partner slaps the other one's ass in the heat of fucking; when the man holds the woman's head while she's giving head; when one partner puts a hand on the other's throat in missionary or doggie—the list goes on and on. In fact, perhaps the most telling sentence in the entire "report" occurs on page 7, where Halverson lets slip the incredible concept that, "Because there is no valid consent to sexual exploitation, all of the acts in pornography ought to be considered torture." And of course, since all acts in porn are considered by MiM NCOSE to be "sexual exploitation," 88 percent must represent the lowest estimate they thought they could come up with for "sexual violence." And what "report" would be complete without "researcher" Gail Dines, who "found" that the "most common themes in mainstream Internet pornography" are triple penetration, double anal, double vag, deep-throat with gagging and ass-to-mouth. And people actually think this woman knows something about porn! Next up are the "true life tales," beginning with a quote from a Max Hardcore interview in 2005 in which he claims to have invented having actresses drink cum from their asses, and throat-fucking them until they puke. Three guesses as to whether the "Rapporteur on Torture" will figure out that Hardcore is one of the outermost outliers in the field of porn production. The "report" also finds space for something moronic that Bill Margold said in '95, claiming that what men "really" want to see is "violence against women," and how anti-porn Prof. Robert Jensen is convinced that porn producers "offer men sexual gymnastics and circus acts that are saturated with cruelty toward women; they sexualize the degradation of women." Perhaps Halverson's single valid point involves the titles of some adult videos, like Anally Ripped Whores, Teen Dirty Slut and White Sluts on Black Snakes—but what the hell is wrong with a title like Horny Black Pussy? And the fact that despite the derogatory language, the action in many of these movies doesn't live up (or down) to their titles isn't something Halverson sees fit to include. The "report" also includes a list of other titles and categories Halverson finds offensive, all of which are drawn from descriptions on the Kink.com and Pornhub websites—and none of which are seen in mainstream porn. The final section of the "report" is devoted to single paragraphs by six unidentified women who claim to have had bad experiences on porn sets, which as far as Halverson is concerned, all meet the definition of "victim" found in the United Nations Committee Against Torture's Comment No. 3. This exercise is tantamount to reporting on the number of unarmed black civilians who've been shot dead by police, and using that to generalize that all police are racist killers. For those who are interested, the "Report: The Gender-Based Torture Found in the Pornography Industry" can be found here.

 
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