The Legends Issue
It’s here! View online or pick up your copy outside of the Wells College dining hall during lunch and dinner!
This was decent except for that Porn Legends article. Really? That’s one of the only ways you’re going to focus on female legends in this issue? (with the exception of Jeanne Goddard).
In porn? As if women’s worth wasn’t already tied only to their attractiveness and sexuality as it pertains to the male gaze. Very shallow, disappointing article. I would have expected something better out of a Wells student than patriarchal pandering described as ‘sex positivity’. All so liberal men can feel a-ok about continuing to consume porn featuring women doctored to appeal to solely male fantasy. So many progressive men loooove women’s sexual lib NOT because they care about women’s right to choose, but because it means they can use it to their advantage. Just because they might let you have sex with other men does not mean they don’t still view you as an object for their gratification. There are tons of sexually liberated women who end up in abusive relationships with ‘sexually liberated’ men who use sex positivity to control and abuse their partner. But of course, you’d never hear about that at Wells, goodness no. Discussing power and sex and the way it feeds into patriarchal power structures even within ‘liberated’ spaces is sex-shaming, or prudish, etc. etc.
Yes, women should not be shamed for participation in the porn industry, and I am firmly of the opinion that watching amateur, privately-produced porn is fine if you like it (as is most sexual play- if it’s fantasy, it should be fine as long as it doesn’t inform outside-bedroom choices/opinions), but maybe we should be asking ourselves WHY the commercial porn industry exists as it currently does- as hugely abusive and exploitative industry. Maybe we should be asking ourselves why women are again being valued only for their sexuality, why women in all sorts of non-male catering fields- science, the arts, math, etc- are continually and regularly dismissed on the basis of their looks. Why anti-woman language- bitch, cunt, etc- is used consistently and ubiquitously in porn. Maybe we should be asking ourselves how porn objectifies women and helps lead to the attitude in many men that women are at best disposable tools- be it for sexual, emotional, or other forms of gratification?
But no let’s have the major female-centric article in The Sycamore be about porn and feature sexualized graphics rather than even actual images of the women discussed.
Because let’s be honest, they’re legends not as people to the people who ‘look up’ to them, but as legendary objects of male sexual gratification and gaze. Should we really encourage women to pursue such a lofty goal? Of existing purely for male consumption? Because as a woman, you’re generally that by default anyways.
I would not say that the article was the “major female-centric article” (or even “female-centric” at all) in The Sycamore or that Professor Goddard was the only other nod to women in this issue (Professor Lohn, the Greek Muses, Snow White, Mulan, and every author in the book review are women, too). (In fact—hopefully it’s not poor form to mention this—a “legendary women” article was in fact scheduled to appear before the author ran into scheduling conflicts and decided to withdraw from the group.) Also, the article did represent one male porn star. Granted, he stars in adult films that are probably most marketed to straight cis men, but he also identifies a female porn star as a major influence and role model.
Thank you so much for reading the issue, and in my personal opinion many of your criticisms of men who consume porn and the porn industry itself are valid, but I do want to defend Jes and her right to write an article that in my opinion is not “shallow.” While you argue that these women are “legendary objects of male sexual gratification and gaze,” I think Jes does a good job of bringing forth biographical information and quotes from the stars themselves that depict these women as possessing definite agency in their career choices. Just look at the Stoya quote Jes references about her feeling more respected in a room full of her male fans than on the street. Okay, maybe “looking up to her” isn’t what they’re doing, but they’re valuing her as being the best (for them) at what she does. And if what she does is less reputable to someone as another vocation (say, of making music you like to listen to instead of starring in films you masturbate to), I would say there could be some sex negativity going on. Not everyone has to love sex, but many do and that shouldn’t be a shameful thing whether that person is a straight cis man enjoying mainstream porn or a female porn star capitalizing on their love of sex by starring in adult films.
Also, there are a lot of women and non-gender binary individuals who get their rocks off to mainstream porn too. Of course, more diversity and variability in porn should be depicted (and I get the impression from our ever-expanding internet that this is happening every day)… but that’s not to say that the porn Jes is writing about here is enjoyed strictly by men.
These are just my personal opinions, not that of The Sycamore.
When you grow up as a girl, the world tells you the things that you are supposed to be: emotional, loving, beautiful, wanted. And then when you are those things, the world tells you they are inferior: illogical, weak, vain, empty. The world teaches you that the way you exist in it is disgusting — you watch boys cringe backward in your dorm room when you talk about your period, blue water pretending to be blood in a maxi pad commercial. It is little things, and it is constant. In a food court in a mall, after you go to the gynecologist for the first time, you and your friend talk about how much it hurts, and over her shoulder you watch two boys your age turn to look at you and wrinkle their noses: the reality of your life is impolite to talk about. The world says that you don’t have a right to the space you occupy, any place with men in it is not yours, you and your body exist only as far as what men want to do with it. At fifteen, you find fifteen-year-old boys you have never met somehow believe you should bend your body to their will. At almost thirty, you find fifteen-year-old boys you have never met still somehow believe you should bend your body to their will. They are children. They are children.
Did you know that poetry isn’t hard at all and that writing a poem is as simple as plagiarizing the first line of every color’s Wikipedia page??
Blue is the colour of the clear sky and the deep sea.
Red is the color of blood, rubies and strawberries.
Green is the color of growing grass and leaves,
of emeralds, and of jade.
White is the color of milk and fresh snow.
Black is the color of coal, ebony, and of outer space.
See, perfect poem. I told you.
we’ve dubbed him Mr. A
we’re hoping it will appease our cat demon.
considering we go to Wells we have a good chance
Ica got me a present. She made it.
When I’m studying for a test I’m super unprepared for in really cold weather… and dreaming of last summer…
Snowy campus ❄️❤️❄️❤️#snow #winterisuponus #wellscollege #sycamore #snowy #gorgeous #loveit
I’m going to miss this place.