Anti-Pornography Website

An Observation on Those Few Women who become Pornographers

Sometimes, as an excuse, porn apologists use the "There are some women who become pornographers" rhetoric. As a reply, we should say, first, that there are very few of them -- most pornographers are men -- and, second, that those women have become pimps, or more exactly "madams", and they are to be held responsible for the other women they oppress and hurt.

Feminist writer Christine Stark has an answer to the question "Why do some women become pornographers?". In her excellent essay that she wrote on the so-called sex radicals, she explains that, as we live in a world where one in three girls is abused by the time she turns eighteen, "For a woman to masturbate to, or enact, the rape and torture of women and girls she must dissociate from the one being hurt, thereby dissociating from any part of herself that is, has been, or could be victimized. Finding pleasure in another woman's pain is a way to not feel one's own vulnerability or hurt and to do that a woman must get over on other victimized women. [...] It's just women abusing women." (Not for Sale; 2004).

Stark's theory especially materializes through the story of the female pornographer Lizzy Borden:

"Lizzy Borden, born Janet Romano, runs Extreme Associates with her husband Rob Black. This porn production company lives up to its name with films like "Forced Entry", which, according to Salon is "the story of a serial killer and his gang who rape and murder a series of women -- an 18-year-old virgin, a pregnant woman, etc.-- before being caught and lynched by an angry mob." The actresses in the film are slapped, spit and urinated upon, and violated in every orifice, while sobbing and screaming and begging for mercy."

Salon continues...

Her stepfather was an abusive alcoholic, [Borden] says, who beat her mother viciously and regularly. Her mother stayed at home to raise Lizzy and her three half-siblings, and took out her own frustrations, says Lizzy, by beating her with her fists and assorted sharp objects...

When she turned 18, Borden headed off to a local community college on a scholarship... Frat parties led to raves; acid and Ecstasy led to speed and cocaine use, which led to a job as a stripper, assorted abusive boyfriends...

"When I was a child, my step-father was an alcoholic. So I think I had deep issues, and this is kind of therapeutic for me, to take my aggression out on other people. So in a way, I'm exploiting people, taking all my inner demons and aggression on them. But it's good for me. So I guess that's all that matters...

"I'm just making a life for myself and happy, making good money. I used to be exploited when I did movies. So if someone's going to do it, I might as well...

"The idea that women don't make good directors is a commonly held belief in the porn industry, [Borden] says, because women "shoot all the soft stuff, all the lovey-dovey stuff that there's not a big market for. In the video stores, that's not what you go see: You want to see hardcore ass-fucking, DP [double-penetration], cum, piss, shit, whatever you can."

Borden...began to see herself as a kind of female challenge to the male-dominated industry: "I said: '...I can be a man!'..."

Source:, quoting 20/lizzy_borden/print.html

As Rebecca Whisnant says, "the essential feminist question is not whether some individual women like or choose or benefit in certain ways from X, but whether the overall effect of X is to keep women as a group subordinate to men." Whisnant also quotes a self-proclaimed "feminist pornographer" called Nina Hartley, whose website prominently features a film entitled “O: The Power of Submission”. "Perusing Hartley’s list of favorite links, one finds a site called Slave Next Door, which carries the tagline “real sexual slavery.” The portal page of this website reads, in part, “Slave Next Door is the graphic depiction of a female sex slave’s life and training for sexual slavery. It contains extreme bdsm situations and . . . sadistic training.” (Rebecca Whisnant, Article Contemporary Feminism in a Porn Culture; 2007).

Those women who become pornographers (or more exactly madams) are simply trying to be more "like men", or more exactly like male pornographers, which means they want to join the oppressors, not to stand up for an historically oppressed group. Although they sometimes market their products as "feminist", the content of their pornography is not much different from that of the porn appealing to heterosexual male consumers. These female pornographers are to be held accountable for the women they use and abuse and the sex inequality they perpetuate, in the same way that male pornographers are to be. Some women oppress other women; it is rare but it does happen sometimes.

However, we need to remember that there is only a small portion of pornographic films which is produced by women. It is also important to keep in mind that the vast majority of the women who are in the pornography industry, are there as perfomers and not as producers and -- although most of them are survivors of childhood sexual and/or physical abuse -- they do not victimize other women; they are instead re-victimized by those who abuse them: the pornographers, who are mostly men.