"Consent" in pornography: an analogy with combat sports

Discussion in 'Off Topic Area' started by Timmy Boy, Jun 9, 2013.

  1. Timmy Boy

    Timmy Boy Man on a Mission

    This is something I've been thinking about recently; I wonder what your take is.

    Many people object to pornography on the basis that it exploits women. When it is pointed out that most of the women in porn consent to be in it and many say that they actually enjoy it, the argument then becomes about finding some way to invalidate their consent and suggest that they must be messed up and incapable of making their own decisions. After all, no sane woman would want to put herself through that, right?

    But this strikes me as a bit of a double-standard when you consider our attitude towards male-dominated combat sports. Most guys would not want to get into the cage and batter each other into oblivion for five consecutive rounds, yet clearly some do and we are happy to accept "well, they consented to it" as justification. Although MMA is certainly not to everyone's taste, you don't see people claiming that the fighters have merely been "brainwashed" into liking violence.

    I would argue that we assume at the back of our minds that male MMA fighters know what they're doing simply because they are men, whereas we instinctively want to wrap women in cotton wool, which is quite patronising.
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2013
  2. Southpaw535

    Southpaw535 Well-Known Member Moderator Supporter

    I don't have anything constructive to add, but this line

    I have seen applied to mma fighters that are female. I have absolutely no idea if that's relevant.
  3. holyheadjch

    holyheadjch Valued Member

    I forget where I read it, but the point was made somewhere that there are two types of women who are involved in porn. Women who really like sex and women who have experienced some form of abuse that has warped their relationship with sex. I don't necessarily think it's as black and white as that, but there is some truth there, I'm sure.

    Also - why doesn't porn also exploit men? They don't get paid as well as women (where are the equal pay brigade when you need 'em eh?).
    I don't think the comparison is justified, since men who choose to participate in combat sports are not shamed to anything like the extent that women involved in the sex industry are. Women in porn are effectively selling their dignity as much as they are selling their bodies. The same cannot be said for men participating in combat sports.
  4. Timmy Boy

    Timmy Boy Man on a Mission

    I would make the following counterpoints:

    1. Combat sport athletes are not sacrificing their dignity, but they are putting their health on the line, e.g. Muhammad Ali, which to my mind makes the decision to participate in it a comparable one.

    2. Speaking as someone of a liberal persuasion, I would argue that the only reason they're "selling their dignity" is because of the very outmoded, quasi-religious ideas about gender roles that we're all supposed to be against. So if people didn't have such a problem with porn then there would be no "loss of dignity" in the first place.
  5. Gripfighter

    Gripfighter Sub Seeker

    why is the comparison between men who fight and woman who star in porn, do male pornographic actor's not fit the bill for all these things being attributed to women.

    EDIT: as for the comparison its self its dumb, the only people who would say it with conviction do not understand combat sports or really even pornography. Does it require anymore dissection than that ?
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2013
  6. Falcord

    Falcord Valued Member

    There is another major distinction to be made, I feel.

    Being a professional fighter requires training and dedication. You can't just grab some muscular guy from an impoverished neighbourhood and throw him into a cage. The notion that you need to make sacrifices to get to a professional level gets several kinds of abuse out of question (although more subtle ones like pressure from parents may remain).

    In contrast, to make porn you just need to have a nice body. You don't even have to pretend you enjoy it.

    Still, the notion that "no same woman would go through that" is stupid. Adults are free and welcome to do what they want with their sexual lives. In the spectrum of human interests there is more than enough room for women who simply enjoy producing pornography without being damaged in any way. However, it's undeniable that a big fraction of women in the porn industry aren't there out of their own interest, and the underlying issues must be fixed (or those responsible prosecuted) as with all forms of abuse.
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2013
  7. Timmy Boy

    Timmy Boy Man on a Mission

    I make the comparison because, while there certainly are male pornographic actors, there is less demand for them and they make less money, which is kind of the opposite of the situation in the porn industry. Therefore, if we assume, for the sake of argument, that porn is about exploitation of women because it primarily focuses on women (though I agree with you that it's kind of flimsy), then that same argument can be flipped on its head when we look at combat sports.

    To be clear, are you saying my point is dumb or that theirs is?
  8. Timmy Boy

    Timmy Boy Man on a Mission

    How does that impact on the issue of consent?

    As an aside, I'm not sure the bit in bold is true of most mainstream, legal porn.
  9. Happy Feet Cotton Tail

    Happy Feet Cotton Tail Valued Member

    Many people objectify to porn because it objectifies; exploitation in the porn industry is a problem but I wouldn't say that its the most popular criticism... especially nowadays.

    I think there are very different dynamics in terms of money and power with regards to the motivations of your average amatuer (and even professional) MMA fighter and the motivations of most -female- porn actresses.
  10. Gripfighter

    Gripfighter Sub Seeker

    I'm saying the analogy is dumb.
  11. Dave76

    Dave76 Valued Member

    I think much more research should be done before any conclusions are drawn. :D
  12. Gripfighter

    Gripfighter Sub Seeker

    The main one being that there isn't much money to be made in amateur mma.
  13. Happy Feet Cotton Tail

    Happy Feet Cotton Tail Valued Member

    Yeah, I suppose what I'm getting at is the absurdity of the idea that there are ex-mma fighters out there saying.

    "I had no job, no friends, piles of debt; so in my desperation I did the only thing I could do... I became a professional MMA fighter."

    Porn can often be "easy money for the desperate" that later on has negative psychological ramifications and MMA can't really do that because you need to be so well trained for it. An MMA fighter steps into the ring after taking considerable mental and physical preparations so its very difficult to accidentally blunder your way into an MMA career that you soon come to regret.
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2013
  14. Blade96

    Blade96 shotokan karateka

    I dont think its a fair comparison to be honest. MMA arent showing people as sex objects. There is not s history behind it where men are being sexualized, like it is with women and porn.
  15. Happy Feet Cotton Tail

    Happy Feet Cotton Tail Valued Member

    If we're talking about objectification, which is quite different to exploitation, I don't think sex is the issue. Objectification is any case where you in-appropriately strip an individual of their autonomy and it is quite a sliding scale.

    I objectify my shop-keeper when I fail to think about whether he "wants" me to pay by card; and that isn't too much of a problem. If I objectify someone in the sense that I pay little, or no, attention to whether they "want" me touch their crotch... then we start getting into some more dangerous territory.
  16. Blade96

    Blade96 shotokan karateka

    I just think it simply does not follow. The exploitation and objectification that is a history behind pr0n and prostitution - thats another one - simply isnt like anything like in martial arts. It doesnt figure.
  17. Happy Feet Cotton Tail

    Happy Feet Cotton Tail Valued Member

    Oh yeah, the connection between the two activities outside of the implicit voyeurism is tenuous at best.
  18. Saved_in_Blood

    Saved_in_Blood Valued Member

    It is in man's nature to be violent, a controlled sitation is better than not but to want to test ourselves is part of being a man and even woman. I'm not sure about the porn side of it. We are sexual beings of course, and I suppose that one could consider porn a "controlled" situation where there at least isn't disease. However I don't see a whole lot of ways to compare the 2.
  19. aikiwolfie

    aikiwolfie ... Supporter

    Personally I'm kinda stunned that nobody is concerned about the men who are involved in porn. Why is it such a bad thing women are involved? Why do we question the woman's ability to consent and not the men's?

    I'm guessing this is another one of those issue championed by some bra-burning yahoo who insists all women adopt their values in the name of female liberation, freedom and empowerment. There's also likely a book on the subject.

    The porn industry is made up of a lot of different people who found themselves working in that industry for many different reasons. Without doubt some are being taken advantage of. But then again Foxxcon's factories in China where Apple products are made don't exactly have a stellar record either.

    Some of the most vocal voices that speak out against pornography are those of religious leaders. Pornography is a symbol of everything they oppose. So it's natural they should seek to attack it and destroy it. Of course the sexual exploitation of women and men and boys and girls will still continue. Because there are people in the world who seek to do these things.

    I also sometimes think pornography wouldn't be such a big deal if we were a more openly sexual society. By that I mean if we stopped pretending sex was bad or dirty in some way immoral. Perhaps we'd also then get the STD epidemic under control. Because then we could make people aware of these issues more openly.
  20. Saved_in_Blood

    Saved_in_Blood Valued Member

    People don't seem to feel as sorry for the men IMO because many girls are very young that get into that. At 18 and getting into an industry that uses them for their youth and less flaws than older women is easy because when you're 18, hey.. you have sex and make money so a lot of young girls would want to be into that.

    Honestly though the music industry, and many others do the same thing, maybe not with sex, but young kids both get used. Military? Well much better cause IMO, but still is similiar in the sense that you have to get those kids young before the frontal lobes develop and they start to lose their nerve before they are trained.

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