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Twenty Questions About Pornography. This Is A Test.

Posted on December 16 2010 10:00 pm
Phyllis Chesler is an Emerita Professor of Psychology and Women's Studies at City University of New York. For extended biography visit The Phyllis Chesler Organization.

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13. How many women from wealthy and prominent families, or with advanced educations,  “choose” to work in pornography or as prostitutes?

14. Did you know that, by definition, pornography is that which has to do with “prostitutes.” “Porne” in Greek is a “prostitute.” The so-called actresses in pornography are treated as if they are–and usually soon are–also “working” as prostitutes.

15. How different is being a prostitute from being a stripper, massage therapist, or a nurse?

16. How many prostituted girls and women are actually free to leave, walk out, give it all up?

17. Where might they go? Where might they call “home?” Who will help them get off drugs and alcohol, restore their ravaged health, support them as they deal with the sexually transmitted diseases, including AIDS, with which johns have infected them?

18. Do you have any idea of what the average age of a pornography actress/prostitute is?

19. How long a shelf-life does a “working girl” (prostitute, pornography actress) actually have?

20. Why does pornography “turn” people on?

I lived through the great feminist Sex Wars. I was both a participant and an eye-witness, as well as a confidante to feminists who were on both sides of this War. But before I share memories and analysis, I really want to hear from you. Your answers will help me understand how to share a vast body of knowledge and history with you in the most productive way. Here’s a hint to help you think through these questions.

Pornography is a multi-billion dollar industry, right up there with guns and drugs. It is enormously profitable but not to the “workers,” most of whom are girls and women who have been sold by their parents, captured in war, kidnapped off the street, forced by their husbands, or who have been driven by poverty, racism, incest, and the most violent sexism into the arms of pimps, traffickers, landlords, advertisers, law enforcement officers, and johns.

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