PVV – smackin’ down!!

About a month ago, ZW drew my attention to jordanowen42’s youtube channel.  I’m going to go ahead and assume jordanowen42’s actual name is Jordan Owen; this way I can refer to him as Jordan… like I know him or something.

Jordan’s stuff is super interesting!  In a nutshell, he systematically and unapologetically critiques various anti-porn activists’ and scholars’ positions and perspectives.  He plays bits of pre-recorded footage wherein an anti-porn person is speaking about some supposedly destructive dimension of adult film and content production and then offers his take on what was said.  This is an exceptionally awesome element of Jordan’s video blog – he critiques the positions, not the persons offering them (for the most part… he does offer a little snark on occasion).

As of now, he has multi-part commentaries on Gail Dines, a professor of Sociology and Women’s Studies at Wheelock College (see some commentary on Dines here); Mary Anne Layden, an assistant professor of Clinical Psychology in Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine; Sharon Cooper, a professor at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill Medical School; and Shelly Lubben, an anti-porn activist who worked briefly (14 total scenes over the course of two years) as adult film talent in the mid-1990s under the pseudonym “Roxy.”  Although each of these persons are off mark in their critiques, they are well-regarded in their respective circles and, in some cases, rather outspoken – pretty bold of Jordan to take them on.   

Throughout his course of self-described “smack downs,” Jordan responds to many of their critiques and brings up several key counterpoints.  Here are some of them:

Methodological Issues

One of Jordan’s strongest points centers on his informal critique of anti-porn activists’ poor research methodologies.  He highlights how content is cherry-picked by anti-porn activists to make specific points and brings up their general unfamiliarity with the various genes of adult.  He also draws attention to the problems that arise from attempting to use one “horror story” as an exemplar of the overall industry and/or of all workers’ experiences (I discuss a similar occurrence here).  This type of “logic” would not even be entertained in most scholarly discussions, and yet anti-porn activists and scholars regularly attempt to incorporate anecdotal and/or occasional “data” of this sort. 

In response to these methodological issues, Jordan does a great job highlighting the vast and multiplicative nature of adult film content – all porn is not the same, one or two random films from a niche sub-genre are not representative of all adult film content, and one or two persons’ experiences cannot speak for the experiences of everyone working in the industry.   

Manipulation of Health Statistics

Jordan calls attention to the over-inflated HIV infection rates tossed around by anti-pornography activists and scholars.  He demonstrates through simple math how, if the number of infections cited were even true (which they are not), the rate is virtually non-existent relative to the amount of sex that is happening through the course of adult film production.   

Comparisons with Other Industries

Comparative analyses are always interesting to me, and Jordan does a great job drawing parallels between the adult film industry and other occupations that require physical labor.  He highlights the ways in which professional athletes, for example, also must contend with excesses of physical stress through the course of their occupational duties.  This discussion is rather interesting, and brings up a wealth of issues.

Personal Responsibility

Jordan addresses the issue of personal responsibility nicely.  The adult film industry does not coerce persons into adult film performance or production.  Although the vast majority of adult film performers and industry workers seek out their employment, some people who may feel desperate in their lives for various reasons may turn to the industry as a last straw effort …but they also may turn to working at Wal-Mart or as a day laborer or as an elementary school teacher.  Jordan points out the ways in which it is problematic to blame the adult film industry for personal problems that may have emerged from a combination of preexisting circumstances and/or conditions.

For-Profit Problematic?

Jordan also makes an additional point about making-money-making-you-bad that I loved.  He points out the problematic nature of critiquing the for-profit dimension of the adult film industry while simultaneously peddling one’s work and opinions via book sales (and through speaking engagements that, most certainly, are not done for free). 

I find this point fantastic and have made it several times myself – how can one call someone out for wanting to make money while simultaneously selling their own work?  That’s a little silly.  It becomes even sillier when you realize that the one critiquing is actually dependent on the adult film industry for their own economic viability – without porn, what would they have to write about?  When one starts giving their work away for free, then perhaps they may critique others for attempting to earn a living.  Not before.

There is much more to Jordan Owen’s smackin’ down than I can cover succinctly here, but suffice it to say that I think he does a great job of presenting a myriad of issues.  I also really admire the form by which he engages the material he is critiquing.  I can’t tell much about Jordan’s own biography from his channel and posts – he plays in a band, makes some pretty great sarcastic faces, and doesn’t take himself too seriously.  Here is one of his videos as a sample.  Check it out, maybe visit his channel even, and see for yourself.

Questions? Comments? Email me!

You may quote anything herein with the following attribution: “Reprinted from Porn Valley Vantage, copyright © Chauntelle Anne Tibbals, PhD (www.pornvalleyvantage.com).”

Porn Valley Vantage – Critical Commentary on the Adult Film Industry

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