Porn: Though Mainstream, It's Still Dehumanizing

By

Jenna Jameson
The truth about the porn industry, from a writer who's covered it for more than a decade.

There was a point at which porn hadn't simply gone mainstream, hadn't yet jumped the shark, but had somehow lost its taboo altogether, and that was November 17, 2009, the day Jenna Jameson appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show.

I remember watching it with a mix of bemusement and sadness. I first met Jameson in the summer of 1997, when she was dancing at a strip club in San Francisco. The Las Vegas-born daughter of a police officer and a showgirl, Jameson entered the adult movie business at 19 and became the most famous porn star in the world. In the 12-plus years since I began writing about the adult movie business, porn's place in American culture had changed as dramatically as Jameson's seemingly much-altered face.

In the early 90s porn was still shocking. Now a porn star-turned-mother of twins was telling Oprah her life story while an audience of Middle American women looked on, nodding sympathetically. Apparently, porn was no different than baking a cake or knitting a sweater. Porn had transcended its own bad reputation.

Today the Internet, TV and the pages of glossy magazines are peppered with tales of porn stars who claim to have found their feminist emancipation by getting paid to have sex on camera. In reality, the myth of porn and the reality of porn are as far apart as ever. Why Guys Love Porn

Maybe to distance themselves from their mothers' feminism, a new generation of young feminists decided porn wasn't misogynist, after all. It was empowering. In their view, porn is an X-rated Garden of Eden where women can reclaim a female sexuality long repressed by the patriarchy, the result being so-called "feminist porn" movies like Penny Flame's Expert Guide to Hand Jobs for Men and Women and Perversions of Lesbian Lust Vol. 1.