Professor Points Out Inequality, Racism in Porn

The porn industry produces 13,000 films a year, generating $10 to 15 billion in revenue. In comparison, the Hollywood film industry produces about 600 films a year and generates around nine to 10 billion dollars. These surprising figures on the presence of porn in our society were presented in Robert Jensen’s discussion last week, “Pornography and the Perfect Storm of Inequality: Sexism, Racism and Economic Exploitation.”

Jensen, a self-proclaimed feminist and associate professor of journalism at the University of Texas, discussed heterosexual pornographic films and the reasons why he finds the acceptance of this industry concerning and detrimental to a moral society. “The inequality of patriarchy, the inequality of white supremacy, the inequality of capitalism and the naturalizing of this inequality, tells us about the nature of the world we live in,” said Jensen.

Specifically, Jensen spoke on how pornographic films are openly racist, capitalizing on the blatant stereotypical views of all ethnic groups. He also spoke on the disturbing theme of male domination rooted in female subordination. Jensen concluded that men, who account for 70 to 90 percent of the customer base, need to restructure their view of masculinity.

Sophomore psychology major Megan Pohlman found the charismatic Jensen helpful in expanding her knowledge on the injustices found in pornography. “It was extraordinarily enlightening,” said Pohlman. “It made me think of some many different aspects of sexuality, pop culture, and politics of gender… it was fantastic.”

Those who did not have high praise for Jensen were sex workers Karly Kirchner and Patria West (non-students). Kirchner, who prefaced her comment by telling the audience that she is a prostitute and had had sex with a client for money the prior night, found Jensen to be unfair in his characterization of women as merely helpless victims of the industry. “I do think this discussion was misleading, but it’s important that these issues are being addressed,” said Kirchner.

Jensen says he has seen and heard it all. In his 20 years of taking a critical eye to the porn industry, he co-founded an advocacy group called Stop Porn Culture and has written several books, including the newly published “Getting Off.” He finds that his work makes a personal case to men, and the need for them to look at the real messages of pornography. “Feminism is a gift to men,” said Jensen who hopes society will begin to reject porn on moral principle.

The discussion was sponsored by the Department of Media Studies and the Gender and Sexualities Studies minor.

393 thoughts on “Professor Points Out Inequality, Racism in Porn”

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