Women Take Control of Cyberporn ; the American Psychological Association Conference
Cherry Norton Social Affairs Editor, The Independent (London, England)
WOMEN HAVE seized control of the sex industry and now control more than 50 per cent of pornographic sites in cyberspace.
"Scarlet collar" workers are the feminists of the modern age, say psychologists, free from coercion and the dangers of the traditional, male-dominated business. In the past two years they have moved away from traditional activities such as prostitution and lap dancing to become the majority of cyberporn owners in a branch of the sex industry now worth more than pounds 1bn a year.
Research, presented at the American Psychological Association's annual conference in Washington shows that these "webmistresses" are in their late 20s to mid 30s - taxpayers who are, to the untutored eye, respectable citizens working in e-commerce.
Their interest in cybersex has been driven by a new form of empowerment, it is claimed: the women have independent salaries, control of their work environment and flexibility of hours. They earn salaries similar to those of teachers or clerical workers.
Many have chosen to have children and are leading "normal" suburban lives, hidden by the anonymity of the internet.
Dr Kimberlianne Podlas, a former criminal lawyer and now a psychologist at the Bryant Institute, New Jersey, and author of the study, contacted the women through her previous contacts with the police and vice-squads.
Dr Podlas said: "I have come to the conclusion that it is true liberation for women in the sex industry. Far from being complicit in the oppression and exploitation of women, webmistresses may reflect a degree of emancipation from male-dominated female imagery and economic control."
In the past decade, internet porn has been demonised "as the scourge of the web" and has been accused of leading to physical violence against women. …