Hustler’s sex negativity once again reasserts itself

By Amanda Marcotte
Wednesday, May 23, 2012 21:36 EDT
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I just want to ditto everything Lindsay says here about Hustler’s idiotic attempt to “defend” reproductive rights by making crass sex jokes about silencing S.E. Cupp with sex. I like to make fun of Cupp’s obvious play-acting at being a fantasy sex kitten for the easily aroused and rather slow-witted conservative fan base that never seems to grasp the contradictions, but “neener neener, you suck cocks and that makes you a stupid bitch” strategy that Hustler is taking is misogynist and demeans not just women, but sex itself. 

I’d like to add, on top of everything Lindsay says, that this is just yet another example of how silly it is to equate mainstream pornography with sex positivity. Mainstream porn like Hustler is really sex negative. Anyone who thinks that accusing a woman of being sexually active is a way to insult and demean her is—and I would hope this is obvious—sex negative. The notion perpetuated in most readily available porn is that sex degrades and demeans women. I fail to see how that tacit argument is any different from the anti-choice movement’s virginity worshipping. Misogynist porn and anti-choice activists also agree that women’s purpose in life is to be the biological servants of men, though they approach it from different angles, with porn producers seeing women as here to serve men sexually and antis seeing women as vessels for the almighty seed. But by and large, they’re singing the same message: women are inferior, women are here to serve, sex is degrading to women. Which is why it’s laughable that Hustler is posing like some kind of supporter of reproductive rights, because ideologically, they’re far closer to the antis. 

I have no problem with porn per se. I look at it, and if you’re willing to do a little work, there’s stuff out there that minimizes or even, on occasion, eliminates the “women are trash” messages of mainstream porn. Human sexuality is only a little about genitals, and mostly about fantasy and what’s going on in our heads, so erotic materials are not just inevitable, but desireable as a way for people to get more pleasure out of sex. But most of the mainstream stuff reflects, the crudest way imaginable, larger cultural narratives about how sex is dirty and women who do it beneath contempt. Hustler is just the most obvious example. Admitting this is the first step towards envisioning a world with better porn that manages to be hot without being woman-hating. 

Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte is a freelance journalist born and bred in Texas, but now living in the writer reserve of Brooklyn. She focuses on feminism, national politics, and pop culture, with the order shifting depending on her mood and the state of the nation.
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