The Dawn Chorus

Fresh Australian Feminism

“Dear Congress, Please Give Us Money So That Our Degradation Of Women May Continue…”

Posted by Clem Bastow on January 8, 2009

Following ‘filler’ news pieces recently about how the adult industry looks set to be “recession-proof” (take this news.com.au piece, for example: “Entrepreneurs are flocking to the sex trade with even once conservative manufacturers like Philips Electronics and Hitachi have joined in the vibrator business” – news.com.au’s own mangled syntax), it would the porn industry does not share the dildo farms’ bulletproof attitude.

LFP and Hustler mogul Larry Flynt and the “brains” behind Girls Gone Wild, Joe Francis, have written to US Congress begging for a bailout – to the tune of $5 billion – in order to “rejuvenate the sexual appetite of America” (because apparently a US$13 billion industry is cause for financial concern.) From The Age/AFP:

“Congress seems willing to help shore up our nation’s most important businesses, (and) we feel we deserve the same consideration,” Francis said in a statement.

“In difficult economic times, Americans turn to entertainment for relief. More and more, the kind of entertainment they turn to is adult entertainment.”

Francis in particular would know all about money woes, having been charged with tax fraud (and don’t forget his jailing as part of a plea bargain on charges of child abuse and prostitution after filming underaged girls for his Girls Gone Wild franchise).

“The porn debate” is bound to rattle on and I base my views on pornography on a case-by-case approach, but I hope I don’t need to remind free-speech or pro-porn campaigners of Hustler‘s tendency to include, as Gloria Steinem noted (in 1997), “images of women being beaten, tortured and raped, women subject to degradations from bestiality to sexual slavery.” (She also noted that Flynt was not immune to ignoring his First Amendment campaigning when it suited him to attack the free speech of feminists and commentators who criticised Hustler.)

The fact that both Girls Gone Wild and Hustler are still going strong today says some worrying things about how much the general populace cares about the treatment (even if only implied, or “imagined” in the pages of a magazine) of women.

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4 Responses to ““Dear Congress, Please Give Us Money So That Our Degradation Of Women May Continue…””

  1. pernordin said

    Let me point out first that I personally dont like Hustler. It doesnt turn me on one bit. It is far to in-your-face and crude for my taste. As is most porn. I am not against porn in itself, it is just that most porn is too harsh for my pallet.
    Having said that, I think your reaction is a knee-jerk reaction… pause a moment and think deeper…

    Larry Flynt has often brought battles to court to point out inconsistencies both in legislation and in the public mind. One question that often arises is “what it immoral behavior?”

    I believe Flynt’s intention is to put a spotlight on that many are against bailing out a financially innocent company, just because the deal in porn, but applaud bailing out the scumbags who cost them their jobs, homes and who’s greed created the economic crisis in the first place. So the question is: why should we help those who have screwed you (the financial institutes that created the crisis) but not an industry that is actually innocent? Who is “immoral”: a guy who peddles pics of naked people or the ones who through greed misused peoples money, gambled with their homes and livelihood and ended up creating a global financial crisis? And who did the congress bail out with your tax money? Ironic, isnt it, when you think about it.
    I believe that is what Flynt and Francis want to achieve: that people actually _think_ about it.

  2. Jaa said

    I think Flynt and Francis want to achieve profits, first and foremost.

    Propagandhi’s song ‘Ladies Night in Loserville’ always comes to mind for me when the porn debate is raised.They are touring next month, superb.

  3. I understand the point that you raise, Pernordin, but I think it’s also valuable to think about the issue from another perspective. Larry Flynt may battle over morality, and certainly likes to be portrayed as a bastion of freedom (of speech, expression and access to so called distasteful content), but we shouldn’t underestimate the intentions of Flynt and/or Francis. They wouldn’t be fighting for these freedoms if they didn’t gain both monetary and sexual gratification from them.

    I find it hard to believe that this money they are appealing for would be spent on continuing employment in the industry. Do you think the women on camera will be taking a piece of that cash? No way. They will be coerced into doing more work for less money because they are vulnerable. Most women in pornography are enticed by the ‘easy’ money, or because they have no other option. Certainly once it is done they have far fewer doors open to them. A man might be happy to pay money to Flynt and Francis to provide him with images of the woman, but he won’t want her teaching his kids or working for him at the bank. Flynt and Francis make huge profits while their camera’s subjects walk away with fewer options then they began with and a sum of money that is negligent compared to what Hustler et al make off them.

    If given this money, Flynt and Francis have the same aims to screw over people as the financial institutions do. Cut lower-level service roles and protect middle-management and management jobs and salaries. In their case, they’d be taking care of producers, directors and other businessmen (or women), and further disadvantaging those lower down the food chain.

  4. caitlinate said

    I think Flynt and Francis want to achieve profits, first and foremost.

    Yep!

    Also for some reason this post made me think about that quote from… I can’t remember… about how if all women just stopped working and spending money the world and the economy would collapse.

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