Wednesday, February 05, 2003

The carrot or the stick?

Adam passes along a link to a piece about exploitation in the porn industry:

Let's put this into perspective. A 20 year old corporal who is fighting in subfreezing temperatures in the Afghan Mountains makes about $23,000/year. He may get killed or permanently maimed. He also can't quit - not unless he gets kicked out. That's fucking exploitation. Taking it up the ass while being able to quit at any time for $100,000+ isn't.

I'd have to say I'd agree. I remember reading an article somewhere a few years ago that pointed out women "actors" in the porn industry typically get paid far more than their male counterparts. Granted, the folks making the big bucks are typically the male producers, but isn't that the case in most of life's endeavors? Go ask any musician who makes the most money in the music business.

So, what is exploitation? My Webster's New World Dictionary (Second College Edition) partially defines exploitation thusly:

to make unethical use for wone's own advantage or profit; specif., to make a profit from the labor of (others)

The key word to me is "unethical." If these women know that they are acting in a porn movie and they are getting paid at a rate that is acceptable to them, what's unethical about that? I could see a valid complaint if the women were filmed without consent -- of if they consented to the filming, the film was displayed publicly against their wishes (e.g. a spurned ex-boyfriend putting the images up on the Internet as "revenge"). If they were made to act against their will, that would be exploitative too. I would even say that using underage models is exploitation as well ... probably the worst kind.

People (okay, women) sometimes complain about topless bars. "Oh, that's just so terrible and demeaning to objectify women like that." But who's objectifying whom? Any man who has even set foot in one of these places can tell you that the objective isn't to present beautiful women to the men ... it's to separate the men's money from their wallet.

Exploitation, indeed.

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