CONTENT WARNING: THE PIECE AT THE LINK DISCUSSES RACIST SEXUAL VIOLENCE.
The last time I wrote a critique of porn, some people left comments saying I had no business criticizing the stuff because “they liked it” and being sex positive meant that if you like something, it is not OK to challenge it. Ever since, I’ve been thinking a lot about those comments, specifically because of how they close the possibility of any kind of intersectional approach (namely, how our preferences and actions are informed by a conflagration of factors including, race, class, dis/ability, etc.). Well, I set to challenge that idea. From the piece:
If you point out that there are ingrained elements of racism within certain sub genres of pornography, to wit, some stuff that is presented as “fetish”, the usual defense, even from many in the sex positive feminist camp, is that “people like what they like” and, as long as it is consensual, we should not question it. This kind of determinism due to preference remains unexamined, unchallenged, as if our personal taste would develop in a vacuum, devoid of any other sociocultural influence. As if we could separate ourselves from the environment where we exist. I suspect this uncritical “we like what we like” argument stems from a need to anticipate the attacks based on moralistic arguments. I understand that anything that deviates from the heteronormative and patriarchal ideas of “acceptable” is criticized on tenuous arguments involving “values” and supposed “deviance”. However, “we might like what we like” and still, that supposedly personal preference might not be as simple or as harmless as we might want to believe. Kyriarchy, after all, infiltrates even the most seemingly disconnected areas of our lives.