It is a known fact that almost every adult in the US has watched porn at some point or another. Although the audience consist mainly of males, there is an increasing amount of females who watch porn as well. As outlined in the PBS Frontline documentary, the porn industry has become a multibillion dollar business! There were quite a few things I didn’t know about the porn industry including its revenues, therefore I googled “porn industry” and found a blog written by a woman who set out to investigate about the porn industry. You may check it out by clicking the link: http://thoughtcatalog.com/2013/17-little-known-facts-about-the-porn-industry/.
So what is this whole ideology behind the porn industry? At first glance, it looks like an honest business full of business men, meetings, and such. It may well be a business like that for those legitimate porn production labels, but what about the amateur porn industry that is now emerging because of the internet and the high demand for porn? One of Storey’s ideology definitions is “ideology can refer to a systematic body of ideas articulated by a group of people.” (Storey) This made me think a bit about what ideas are in the minds of the leading porn production industries’ leaders and how they differ from the low budget film producers.
The documentary featured Rob Black and his wife who made porn movies that can be depicted as too “hard core”. They make low budget movies that show women being beaten and act as though they are being raped, and are they? The adult industry has evolved to include movies with acts of obscenity that are found offensive by many people in the community. I find it interesting how the ideology of porn has evolved. It begs the question however, if the porn stars, specially women, are being put at any risk by this prosperity. Larry Flint, the “god father” of the porn industry sees a future decline in the industry due to porn related cases at the supreme court level. He blames the explosion of explicit material such as those created by Rob Black and his wife, “If you got a video that is indefensible to try to take a hard-line position for yourself, you are not going to do anything but harm yourself and the industry”(Flint) I found an article that talks about the treatment of actors and actresses in the porn industry. http://www.examiner.com/article/porn-stars-are-abused-and-are-human-trafficking-victims I also found a video about Rob on youtube and thought it was interesting how him and his wife ended up in jail due to their films. Although the reporter has a different view about the case as I do, I think it is interesting to hear her point of view. She says that people actually like to watch this kind of obscene pornography. So has the view of sex been altered in our brains due to this industry?http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E9yp7hh_374
Another definition of ideology suggests the masking or distorting of reality. Storey talks about one of the fundamental assumptions of classical Marxism. He says that cultural texts and practices are the “superstructural ‘reflections’ or expressions’ of the power relations of the economic base of society” (Storey) I find that this ideology best fits with the porn industry. I think that the industry shapes the way we view sex. It paints a picture that sex can be pleasurable even when it doesn’t seem as pleasurable. Women in many of the porn films look as though they oppose to the sexual activity, and although they may be acting, it does not take away from the message conveyed by the films. “The dirty little secret of the industry is they’re mannequins” (PBS documentary). The actors/actresses agree to do scenes just for the money, they know that if they don’t do it someone else will.
I believe that we all have the right to sexual fantasies but our needs should not be fulfilled at the cost of other people’s safety and well being. People watch these films not knowing anything about the way the actresses and actors are treated. Maybe the big time producers do treat their employes well, but I am not too sure about the low budget films that are more available to people.
Regardless of the ideology depicted by the porn industries, there is a speculation of a decline in the industry. As shown in the PBS documentary, community members want to shut down the production of obscene offensive pornography. Some are also afraid that with the massive amounts of unfiltered pornography on the internet, the value of the entire industry will decline. (More on this topic: http://www.alternet.org/sex-amp-relationships/success-killing-porn-industry?page=0%2C1) Although I do not believe pornography should be completely shut down, I do hope for an increase control over the industry. Actors and actresses are regular employes and although their line of work is different than most of the population’s, they should have their rights protected as well.