Not for Sale: Feminists Resisting Prostitution and Pornography

By Rebecca Whisnant; Christine Stark | Go to book overview

Kirsten Anderberg


No more 'porn nights'

Mainstream pornography is not empowering to fat women's self-esteem. The mainstream pornography industry has relegated fat women to a strictly fetish standing. It has also rendered fat women constructively invisible. It is not surprising, in a society whose media are obsessed with one body type for women, that the trend would continue on to porn also. The amazing part for me is how little room there is for constructive criticism on this topic within the 'sex-positive' community. Thus, even when a woman ventures out into a more open sexual lifestyle, the pornography industry will keep reminding her of whom she is here to serve.

I am a proponent of free speech and nudity; I am anti-censorship. But I still maintain that pornography hurts fat women. I have experienced this directly and this is my story.

In my quest for a broader sexuality, I began to associate with several 'sexpositive' groups in 1997. These included groups focusing on bisexuality, polyamorism (loving more than one), 'sacred sexuality', tantra, sex education, and lesbianism. In this 'erotic community' there was an unspoken rule of acceptance, where one was not to judge another's sexual preferences. I became involved, eventually, with one of the nation's polyamory poster boys, a man who had a 'pro-sexuality' website with some of the highest traffic in the sexual education genre. Many times we argued on topics related to feminism, but it was the topic of pornography that ended our relationship.

My partner's 'sexual society' had organized a 'porn night'. People would go to a member's house and watch porn together. I had avoided pornography my whole life as the little I had seen made me feel degraded, but since I trusted the people involved, I decided to give it a chance. But this 'porn night' was the end of my relationship with that community.

My partner and I arrived to find twelve people present—six men and six women—of whom I knew all but two. The first movie they showed was called Daring Debutantes. This movie consists of a middle-aged, fat, bald guy in socks asking young women to masturbate for him. He tries to touch them at times, and they back away in horror. After some time of watching this man sexually harass these young, naïve women, I asked the group of 'friends' why all of the women in the movie were thin, blonde and young. 'Because it is a fantasy', one man blurted out. I commented that not one woman in the room

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