Gender talk discusses pornography
In this day and age, pornography has become a worldwide phenomenon. What once only came in the form of magazines and playing cards can now be viewed on DVDs, on the Internet and on smartphones.
The Women’s Resource Center kicked off their weekly Gender Talk with an open conversation about pornography. They discussed how pornography affects women’s equality and attempted to figure out whether porn is liberating for women or a form of oppression.
Women’s Resource Program Coordinator Malkia Hutchinson hosted the event and believes Gender Talks are important for all students on campus.
“I plan on showing two video clips, then have a group discussion about the possibilities of pornography empowering women,” Hutchinson said. “It’s important for students to expand their knowledge on different types of porn out there and to know they have a safe place to discuss it.”
The first clip was of MSNBC’s “Melissa Harris-Perry Show,” which discussed the American porn industry. It was a debate between feminist pornographer Tristan Taormino, associate professor of law at Fordham University Jaclyn Friedman, and Georgetown University professor Michael Eric Dyson.
A major point in the discussion was that most porn is geared towards pleasuring men, leaving women to remain an afterthought. Friedman said that many men use pornography as a tool for sexual education, and by watching porn, a man isn’t properly educated.
Women’s Resource Center Director Beverly McPhail believes many people can produce porn, but it is impossible to determine the way people are going consume it.
“I’ve read that men who watch a lot of porn find it hard to be satisfied with their partner,” said McPail. “With a click of the mouse men are able to have whatever they want in a woman, and that can be dangerous.”
Human development junior Autoosa Abadi said she feels that pornography is a step up for the equality of woman, but at the same time feels that it is dehumanizing women.
Other students feel privileged to live in a free, enlightened society and to have the ability to do as we please, but think the porn industry promotes violence against women.
“I think it’s nice we can talk about porn being feminist, but I think the consequences of porn on a woman is devastating,” said Abadi. “It seems to me that human trafficking is an offset of the porn industry.”
Accounting senior Huy Truong has been enjoying Gender Talks for several semesters and thinks they’re a great way to learn about issues that seem too taboo to speak about in most situations.
“It’s very open and accepting. Everyone presents their own ideas and thoughts about the discussion topic,” said Truong. “No one tells anyone they are wrong or is derogatory in any way. If people disagree, they do it in a civil manner.”
Gender Talks are held at 11:45 a.m. Wednesdays at the Women’s Resource Center in the University Center. Next week’s topic will be gender and gender expression.