#WomenInPorn discussion on Mindbrowse.com

I recently had the honor of moderating Mindbrowse.com‘s first discussion-debate event – “Women in Porn: Shattering the Myths”

It was a wonderful conversation featuring Kelly Holland (Penthouse), Ashley Fires (performer/producer), Cindy Gallop (MakeLoveNotPorn), and Frederick Lane (attorney/author).

The intention behind the event was to have an open discussion about a wide variety of topics related specifically to women working in the adult industry… except that it wasn’t nearly as simple as that!

My opening monologue was wayyy long because of all the explaining and disclaiming I had to do. Here’s some of what I said:

Even today, in 2014, the “merits” of adult entertainment is hot topic. Regardless of background or direct experience, just about everyone out there has an opinion on porn – it’s good or it’s bad, it’s exploitative or it’s liberating. Now, to some of you, these debates may sound like old news… and they are old news… but they’re also today’s news and are invoked regularly in mainstream media and culture.


Rather than being characterized as just good or bad, in reality, adult entertainment and the porn production industry are far more complex; however, many groups still debate these finer points, all looking for a hard and fast answer.


In today’s discussion, we’re going to consider some of the most frequently presented and commonly discussed rhetoric positioned for and against the porn industry, focusing specifically on women – women’s experiences in adult entertainment and the impacts pornography may have on women consumers (and society as a whole).


Our goal with today is not to argue whether porn is good or bad or right or wrong. Instead, we’re here to consider multiple perspectives across a range of viewpoints regarding women and adult entertainment and today’s adult content production industry.


One quick disclaimer however before we meet our panelists: as a sociologist and feminist scholar, I would like to acknowledge the fact that we have in no way been able to represent every existing viewpoint, nor will we be able to discuss every issue, regarding women and adult entertainment here today – women are endlessly diverse, as are perspectives on porn and sex work. In organizing this event, we focused on capturing a range of pro, both/and, and anti positions on porn, and – as you’ll soon see – even exploring this small and relatively surface-level slice was challenging.


As we proceed, I invite everyone out there to consider the viewpoints being offered today in conjunction with this event’s specific focus. Ideally, each person here will provide you with some insights that may inform your own thinking – your ideas may be supported or you may see some huge holes that need to be addressed. Whatever your viewpoint, the purpose of this event is to garner insights from individuals directly involved – good, bad, anti, pro, and everything in between. Before we even meet them, I’d like to thank each of our panelists for their willingness to share their experiences and engage the issues from their own unique standpoints.

…and then I introduced the panelists. I also offered this bit of disclaimer about one:

One quick note about Frederick Lane’s participation here today: between myself and the organizers at Sssh.com, we contacted over 20 vocal and public anti-pornography activists, academics, and organizations, inviting them or their affiliates to participate in today’s event.


We were very explicit in our desire to gather a range of perspectives, as well as our mission to bring varying viewpoints to the table for an open discussion. Unfortunately however, after months of planning and outreach, we were unable to confirm an anti-porn participant. Consequently, Frederick is serving here today as a proxy for the anti-porn perspective.


Frederick has lectured across the United States on porn and the culture wars. He also served as a consultant to the U.S. Department of Justice during its defense of the Child Online Protection Act. Further, as a current member of the EnoughIsEnough, an organization dedicated to protecting children online, and S.E.S.A.M.E. (“Stop Educator Sexual Abuse Misconduct & Exploitation”) advisory boards, Frederick is well versed in anti-porn positionalities. He’s also an ardent advocate for 1st amendment rights and the father of four boys. Thus, in spite of their refusal to engage, we feel confident the anti-porn position will be well represented here today.

So once aaall that was done, we were finally able to started the discussion – and what a discussion it was! You can watch the whole thing below, on YouTube directly, or on Mindbrowse.com

Enjoy, and let me know what you think!

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Looking for a greater, research-level understanding of the adult industry? Perhaps gender and sexualities as they operate in society? Then make an appointment for virtual office hours with Dr. Chauntelle right here!

You may quote anything herein with the following attribution: “Reprinted from Porn Valley Vantage/PVVOnline.com, copyright © Chauntelle Anne Tibbals, Ph.D.”

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