Porn Cannot be Empowering

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"I don't think it's impossible for someone to come up with porn that is good for women," says Ariel Levy in her interview with Judith Orr (September SR). There are two major problems with this statement.

Firstly, Ariel offers no definition of what she means by "porn". Does she mean all commercially produced erotic material? If so, her statement that "no one is asking what women want, what women find erotic", is nonsense.

Marketing firms are not squeamish about exploiting women's erotic fantasies to sell their goods.

Secondly, is she talking about the act of consuming porn, or the act of producing it?

Like everything else under capitalism, socialists should be examining the sex industry from the point of view of production.

We should also be challenging the middle class ideology that becoming a professional erotic writer or making boutique sex toys is a route to empowerment for all women.

The overall impression given by the interview was that Levy seemed more interested in the images produced by the porn industry than the material facts of how porn comes into existence.

Daphne Lawless
Auckland, New Zealand