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Marxist Porn

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It is the struggle of utilitarianism and postmodernist in general to comprehend as many overlays on social life as possible, so that the most apt may be chosen at the appropriate time. In Harry Brod's article "Pornography and the Alienation of Male Sexuality", he applies a Marxist overlay with mixed, but generally beneficent results.

Sound academic enough? Really, that's the biggest flaw with this work; it tries very hard to be a rigorous bit of theory, and becomes really difficult to comprehend in doing so. But the basic thrusts (ha!) are relatively easy to comprehend and accept in our daily lives.


  1. Systems of dominance damage the dominating group as surely as they damage the oppressed.

  2. Male sexuality is portrayed in pornography (and elsewhere) as being based in a single organ, "physically nothing more than localized high blood pressure".

  3. These images provide unreasonably high expectations - and also serve to disassociate men from their own experience during sex.

  4. These images ignore other areas of sensuality and connection - and serve to disassociate men from their own experience during sex.

  5. #3 and #4 estrange men from their activities, which is exactly like Marx's concept of economic alienation.

  6. Pornography thus reduces men's individual power while reinforcing the apparatus of patriarchal power.



But the real value in this essay is the best distinction between porn and erotica that I have yet to see: "While the erotic nude presents the more pristine sexual body before the social persona is adopted through donning one's clothing, the pornographic nude portrays a body whose clothing has been more or less forcibly removed, where the absence of that clothing remains the most forceful presence in the image... Erotica, as sexual art, expresses a self, whereas pornography, as sexual commodity, markets one."

This captures the distinction between sex positive activists and exploiters, between mature adults sharing and playing with boundaries and those trampling boundaries in aggression. I've been told that I'm reading my own bias into it, but be that as it may, I think that there's a qualitative difference between cherrypepper (first page is SFW, deeper links are not) and exploitative porn (it's the internet, search for yourself). Sure, there's a great big grey area in there we can still argue about - but defining the extremes gives us somewhere to work from

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