There is a documentary out there titled ‘Porndemic’ which looks at the pornography industry and the HIV outbreak in the 1990’s. This blog post isn’t about HIV/AIDS but about liberation and oppression with the rise of porn around the world, sex education and how sex is viewed within the space; with how this translates into sex in relationships.
Liberation and oppression are interesting concepts because one person’s form of freedom can be another person’s tyranny. When thinking about sex work around the world there is a lot of conversation about how liberating it can be for so many people to be able to express themselves sexually in a way that perhaps could not have been done before. However, does this perspective only consider people who by free will went into that work and industry. When you take a deeper look into the sex work industry it can be a very sinister thing; where a lot of what is visible can be perceived as “soft” compared to what is really available out there. I don’t feel as though a lot of the discussion of sexual liberation is considering the people who are trafficked or forced into things based on what is now “normal”. It can be a challenging thing when trying to support freedom and expression whilst being painfully conscious of how that can impact you personally.
When it comes to the impacts of the rise of the porn industry it can be a confusing thing for people because in a way it can be a form of sex education. Whilst sex education is taught in some schools and spaces, in my schooling experience it was predominantly human anatomy as sex education. It may be different today however in some countries and cultures it is still something very taboo. A lot of how people learn about “sex” is through porn. With porn being so readily available today and being a typical thing for people to consume it is not surprising that a lot of sex today is reflective of this. A big issue in this is of consent and how this takes place, demands and expectations of how people should perform and what is considered normal. I have heard a number of people tell me that what they learn or think they have to do during sex is from what they see in porn or on TV. This is not to solely criticise the sex work industry, people who work in the sex work industry or people who take part in it. I believe that you can be sex positive, support freedom of expression and not necessarily have to do or agree with everything that is out there.
I think there needs to be a more enhanced and genuine focus to understand how sex is portrayed today and how it has an impact on women and people in their lives. Overall, I believe that when discussing issues related to liberation and equality it is essential to consider not only who and how people experience the freedom of something but how people also experience the abuse and oppression.