Big Porn Inc

Big Porn Inc is a book of articles on pornography, many of which are written from a radical feminist perspective. The book was edited by two well known Australian feminists Abigail Bray and Melinda Tankard Reist and published by Spinifex Press. This post is my personal reaction to reading this book. Please be advised that this post contains graphic descriptions of rape.

“…children’s expressions of terror and horror are also a source of sexual excitement for men. In 2004, I was informed about a case in Australia when Police swooped on a child sex abuse and pornography ring. One lot of pornographic images showed an infant girl the police believed to be approximately 2 years old. The photographs show her being held down by at least two adult men while she is being fully penetrated. The child’s face is twisted in pain and terror. Police also uncovered a video of the same of the same horrendous crime. During an interview, the man who had penetrated the toddler told a female detective that there was “nothing like hearing the ‘crack’ of an infant’s pelvis while you are penetrating them.” This ‘crack’ was the breaking of the child’s pelvic bone.” (Caroline Taylor, Big Porn Inc)

I have read too much about pornography. I have read too much and I am crying as I am writing this. I shouldn’t have to read about pornography. I shouldn’t need to know, I shouldn’t need to care, because there are things that should not ever happen to any woman or girl in this world. I shouldn’t be sitting here at midnight crying about a little 2 year old girl, the images of her rape, and wondering about her fate. Wondering how many men masturbated to the video of her rape, felt pleasure at the sound of her pelvic bone cracking.

I am scared of reading about pornography. I have images burned into my mind after reading Pornland by Gail Dines. I cannot erase these images. They are seared there and I will live with them for life, and I simply cannot imagine surviving that kind of abuse. I read and hear about the heart-breaking, soul-crushing tortures that so many girls and women are subjected to and we call it porn. Porn. As if that word can even begin to describe the horror that is pornography.

I am scared of reading about pornography. I don’t want to have these images in my mind. I don’t want to know about the little 2 year old girl. I don’t want to wonder about her fate. I don’t want to feel compelled to buy and read books with titles like Big Porn Inc, Not For Sale and Pornland. But unfortunately, right now, these books are vital reading for anyone who has even a modicum of belief in the value of women and girls, and we need to be passionately engaged in creating a world where pornography is unthinkable, utterly and completely unimaginable.

Big Porn Inc is a very incisive collection of writing about pornography. The devastating stories of survivors force us to understand the harms from their eyes.

“Now I always know that there is another ‘little me’ being seen on the Internet by other abusers. I don’t want to be there, but I am. I wish I could go back in time and stop my uncle from taking those pictures, but I can’t. Even though I am scared that I will be abused of hurt again because I am making this victim impact statement, I want the court and judge to know about what I have suffered and what my life is like. What happened to me hasn’t gone away. It will never go away. I am a real victim of child pornography and it affects me every day and everywhere I go. Please think about me and my life when you sentence this person to prison. Why should this person, who is continuing my abuse, be free when I am not free?” – Victim Impact Statement from Amy, a pseudonym, who was abused as a child from the age of four by her uncle. Her uncle took images of her abuse and these pictures have been globally trafficked online since the late 1990s.

Stella writes of her experience of dancing pornography, explaining that men use strippers and prostituted women to enact pornography on.

“The trauma from dancing came in many guises and has taken a long time to recover from. I left with my self-esteem in shreds, my pockets empty, my body damaged, and my heart filled with shame, both self-imposed and compounded by the social stigma of having being a junkie stripper. It was a hair raising ride to the bottom… I often wonder where life would have taken me if I hadn’t been pressed by circumstance to become a stripper, if I had lived in a world without strip clubs, brothels and other institutions built on the trade of flesh and so heavily reliant on people in compromised positions to feed them. I passionately hope that my daughters might inhabit such a world.”

The world that Stella imagines is one that we are all invested in as women who want to change the world. We need the knowledge contained within these books that I am scared of reading. We need it to ignite the fire that will fuel our revolutionary resistance. We need our grief too. We need the tears, and the love and the compassion for all of our countless named and unnamed sisters who have suffered far too much. We need to believe that we can end the terrorism enacted upon women and called pornography.

Abigail Bray and Melinda Tankard Reist are brave women. The research they undertook to put this book together must have been arduous and traumatising.

The survivors who shared their stories in this book are courageous beyond belief. As are all the survivors of prostitution and pornography who dare to share their stories and resist. I honour their resilience and I stand with them all the way.

Though I am scared of reading books like Big Porn Inc, it is necessary for us to fully understand how unbearably horrific this thing called porn is that we fight. We have a responsibility to do everything in our power to end this. We need a world that is safe for Stella’s daughters. We should have had a world that was safe for Stella, Amy, that little 2 year old girl and every other girl and woman whose torture images are wanked to by men.

What we call porn is a political, male supremacist act of terrorism against a subject people: women. While pornography exists women will never be human. As long as pornography exists, we will resist.

How to resist:

How to buy Big Porn Inc:

USA

Australia

24 comments
  1. I hear you. And shed tears with you. I resist with you. We will end this. This reign of terror against women and girls. One way or another we will end this. Maybe it isn’t possible with men at our sides (which is what I believe). Maybe it will end when we no longer associate with men and this might not be in our life time. Either way, our tears will stop and our resistance will no longer feel futile, but will succeed in the liberation of all women. In solidarity and Sisterhood!

  2. Hecuba said:

    As long as women continue to speak out male supremacist systems will never achieve total male domination over women and girls which is why Big Porn and the writings of Andrea Dworkin, Adrienne Rush, Louise Armstrong and other radical feminist women’s work is so essential.

    All that is required for male domination over women to be successful is for women to be like the three wise monkeys – see no evil (no male domination over women) hear no evil (refuse to listen to women’s first hand accounts of systemic male violence committed against them) and of course speak no evil (refuse to hold men and their male supremacist system accountable). All that is required for men to maintain their male domination over women is for men to speak no evil (refuse to accept they are accountable) hear no evil (refuse to take accountability for their endemic male hatred of women) and see no evil (refuse to accept women’s first hand accounts of systemic and endemic male violence against women is not just another isolated incident but is promoted and encouraged by male supremacist system because men cannot harm women since men claim only they are the default humans).

    But we also need to read exactly what men are continuing to commit against women and girls and challenge male supremacy’s propaganda war on women because as one feminist said pornography is theory and male violence against women is the enactment. In fact pornography would not exist without male supremacy’s condonment and justification for pseudo male right to enact male domination and male control over all women. Reading what men do to women and girls is never easy and those images can never be erased but unless women are told the real facts concerning systemic male sexual violence against women euphemised as ‘pornography which is just harmless fantasy’ then we cannot possibly begin to hold men accountable and this means naming the problem – not euphemising it and/or hiding it by using such language as ‘violence against women or ‘gender based violence.’ Name the issue because this is what men do not want women to hold them accountable. Big Porn begins that task and remember none of those accounts were ‘fantasy’ this is what innumerable women, girls and yes female babies suffer each day because males continue to declare only males are human and females only exist to be males’ disposable sexual service stations.

  3. ybawife said:

    I weep and resist. Dworkins work forced me to
    recognise that to see and read porn was something womon have to to know what is being done to us as womon and girls in the name of male entertainment sold to us as ‘normal’ for meb boys to ‘want’ this horrific stuff.the results of which girls an womon have to deal with everyday. As uou all know Dworkin was threatened and cut down by the pornocrats
    who make billions from babies children womon.
    I had the joy of meeting Andrea twice here in Uk it will soon be the anniversary of her untimely death I miss her voice and her determined activism that brought to her door death threats and vile personal abuse. The internet has brought a whole new challenge to us a rad feminist where unfetted access to pornvileness

  4. smash said:

    Thank you Allecto for this powerful post.

  5. zeph said:

    Brave brave post! Thank you for having the courage to write it.

  6. Allecto – thank you for reviewing this book. I too have been hesitant to get a copy. I’ve read about pornography too much, more than any person should have to, probably about as much as any radical feminist and it never gets easy. Each time bringing oneself to delve in and face the secondary trauma leaves new layers of psychological damage but we have to do it. For the 2 year old girl, for girls who experience the same violence we have, for the girls in the future who hopefully by subjecting ourselves to the horror instead of turning away we can prevent ever knowing this trauma.

  7. rmott62 said:

    Thanks Allecto.
    I was very moved by this. At the moment I going through a very tough time, as my mind and body is remembering the “amateur” porn I was made to do by punters or “managers” in porn.
    It is very tragic and terrible that porn is poured into very young children, my heart explores with pain and some memory for that. I know when my step-dad finger-fucked me until I was bleeding, aged 6 – he was influenced by his consumption of hard-core porn, especially “Hustler”.
    But for me – it was the world of prostitution where porn is everywhere, and as I was marketed for the punters who were highly sadistic – porn was forced into me or I was filmed during sexual torture and that became porn.
    Porn and prostitution are interlinked, not in academic theory – but in the minds and bodies of the women and girls that men pay to sexually torture.
    Whatever is trendy or fashionable in porn will be forced into prostitute all the time, in every continent. I was in the time of “Deep Throat”, “Last Tango in Paris”, the general gang-rapes which are the stable of all porn, and porn where the purpose was to kill the woman – to fuck her to death.
    Porn is inside my body – every time I was gang-raped, there was a movie in the minds of my rapists. Every time I was with a penis forced into the depths of my throat – I know some idiot punter was looking for the second clitoris. Every time I was raped whilst being strangled or pillow on my head – I heard the porn jokes of how they playing “Kill the Whore Game”.
    Please always know porn has been horrific for the prostituted class – our bodies have been used as an experiment to see how much pain and degradation can put into a living body – since the invention of painting rape maybe by cavemen. The invention of the prostituted class run alongside the invention of porn – for if men can invent a class of women and girls who it their role and only purpose to be filled with violent porn fantasies – then men can rape, do sexual torture and murder without consequences or even a a tiny piece of guilt.
    Porn is finally being recognised as a human right issue – and slowly the voices of women who have survive being made into porn are being heard.

  8. Maggie said:

    Thank you for this post, Allecto. Pornography and prostitution are male hatred, abuse and torture of women. It really makes me sick how such misogynistic, violent industries get so heavily defended as being “free speech” or “work” in our society. Women really have to open their eyes and stop distancing themselves from what happens to prostituted women. Men treat those women just like they’d want to treat any other woman: with contempt and with misogyny. Women need to realise how much men hate us, how much men torture us!

  9. survivorthriver said:

    This is excruciating, enraging and empowering. Empowering if we dialog, and tell the truth that underlies this rage and pain.

    Right now I’m messaging a “mainstream” message to my circles: Modern porn online cannot be guaranteed to be consensual, as many trafficked women are filmed for profit plus sold for prostitution. Also, Modern porn online cannot comply with the spirit and intent of the law to prevent hardcore porn from getting to juveniles, and “I am 18” click does not equal due diligence in following existing laws.

    Those two tiny facts are what opens conversation with “civilians” in my life who need to learn about this. I just committed to our local county sexual asssault violence prevention center, the oldest in the nation and now with 3.5 million annual budget, to talk to at least ten people about my experience as a survivor. They have “100 Conversations” between youth discussing the issue of sexual violence. At the breakfast they asked those of us touched by sexual assault to stand, or if we had a close person in our life affected and over half of a room of 1,000 community members stood.

    I vow to share this book with ten people who are “civilians” in this issue and to ask them to stand up for the truth with us. I will ask for donatiosn to Stop Porn culture, in addition to support for our local sexaul assault prevention center.

    I wonder how we can start humiliating users of children and slaves? Sweden has found that publishing the photos of arrested johns is way more effective than taking classes and education. Public humiliation and ostracism, what are our levers to accomplish this?

  10. Thank you for this post, Allecto. I also find this information terribly hard to digest. I wish the people who really need to know what goes on inside the porn industry would take the time to read books such as these.

    I want to let you know that for those interested in discussing the issues raised in Big Porn Inc with like-minded folks, Stop Porn Culture will be hosting a conference on combating mainstream pornography in San Diego, CA this July.

    Here is the description from their website:

    Contemporary Radical Feminism in the Age of Porn
    University of San Diego
    June 18-19, 2012

    Porn has moved from the back street to Wall Street, and is now a multibillion dollar global industry and a leader in technological innovation. As porn seeps into the mainstream economy, and softcore porn migrates into pop culture, the porn industry has become more hardcore and cruel. Porn images increasingly shape our visual landscape, and the pornification of the culture is played out on the bodies of younger and younger women who have grown up in a culture awash with hypersexualized representations of femininity. At the same time, much of mainstream popular and academic feminism has embraced a neo-liberal ideology that celebrates individual empowerment and agency while de-emphasizing the structural realities of gender, racial, and class inequality. In place of economic, legal and political liberation, we are supposed to be happy with individual “empowerment” in the form of stripping, waxing and hooking up.

    Our goal is to rebuild a vibrant, radical, unapologetic feminist movement that energizes and mobilizes women and pro-feminist men into fighting the porn industry, and fighting for real liberation. Presentations will explore how to make radical feminism timely and relevant in the lives of young women, and how to build activist movements on the local, national and global level.

    Topics include

    The Pornification of Representation in Pop Culture
    Heterosexuality and Hook Up Culture
    The Political Economy of Porn
    Sexualized Racism in Pop Culture and Porn
    How “Queer” is “Queer” Porn?
    Radical Feminism and the Right
    Men, Masculinity, and Radical Feminism
    Porn and the Culture of Humiliation
    Organizing Against a Global Industry

    You can find out more and register at http://www.stoppornculture.org

    Thank you. ❤

  11. smash said:

    Thanks for including that info, WOAJ.

    I’d also like to share an interview with one of the editors of this book here: http://rabble.ca/podcasts/shows/f-word/2012/03/big-porn-inc-exposing-harms-global-pornography-industry

    Also, I wanted to reiterate a very powerful statement you made above, Allecto, “What we call porn is a political, male supremacist act of terrorism against a subject people: women. While pornography exists women will never be human. As long as pornography exists, we will resist.”

    Indeed, yes!

  12. Marcia said:

    What a compelling post. It breaks my heart that women and girls have to endure so much pain and lifelong suffering in our society. These terrible atrocities are committed against women and girls every moment of every day. And although it’s often very hard to read about stories such as these, the horrendous acts depicted prompt us to open our eyes and increase our understanding that pornography is a horrible industry that has an awful impact on society.

  13. FCM said:

    this post is also being discussed here:

    http://thearcticfeminist.wordpress.com/2012/03/13/who-fights-monsters/

    i commented there, so i guess i should also come back to the source. heh.

    it is very difficult to take this leap and to commit to knowing all the things men do to women and girls. i have not been able to do it and so am not very well-read in the areas of pornstitution or rape-crimes. i know enough and have seen enough in my travels to know that the things men do are so horrifying that they are literally beyond my imagination, i literally cannot imagine what is in store for me if i were to go all the way. the only thing that i “know” is that i wont and cant know the reality of it until i see these things for myself. and at that point, you cannot un-see it, no matter what it is. we all know this. there is no such thing as “informed consent” when delving into this area, informed consent is a joke because you do not and cannot know what you are in for. it is a leap of faith that what you see there will not change or damage you so drastically that you cannot function. the image/event you relay in this post is one of those: previously beyond my imagination, now its not, and will be with me always.

    knowing that men do things to women and girls that are so horrific that just the KNOWING of it would change me, and keep me up at night, is information that i do not know what to do with. what do you do with knowledge that is that devastating? and that doesnt even count the PTSD and secondary trauma that comes from knowing the details. should we, in solidarity with the victims, and in our commitment to the truth, commit to knowing the truth including all the details of it, no matter what it is? i dont know the answer to that. it would be nice if we had some assurances of support from other feminists, that if we literally cracked from the knowing that we would be nurtured and supported back to health, but we dont have that. this is a real fear for me and others, where we have to be able to function in “real life” (including interacting with males and being male-pleasing) and are already traumatized from what we have already experienced and what we already know. obviously, that there are these aversions and barriers to knowing the real, whole truth about men and what they do is all completely supportive of the patriarchy and the male power that created and sustains this problem. the problem of men raping babies, and living in a world where this happens all the time.

    anyway its very difficult and i am glad you posted about it. thanks.

  14. …, that if we literally cracked from the knowing that we would be nurtured and supported back to health, but we dont have that.

    We do have it here though at the HUB. We can turn to each other, and for that I am truly grateful. Really, truly grateful.

    Allecto, you obviously knew that you could trust us to support you even though in my case it took a few days to let the imagery mellow to the point where I could verbalize about it. That’s another attribute of the “Like” feature…

  15. allecto said:

    What i find so hard about reading about pornography and prostitution is the helplessness I feel. FCM really echoed much of how I feel in her comment: “knowing that men do things to women and girls that are so horrific that just the KNOWING of it would change me, and keep me up at night, is information that i do not know what to do with. what do you do with knowledge that is that devastating?”

    I remember watching The Jammed, an Australian movie about sex trafficking. I remember just crying my eyes out in the cinema. I couldn’t stop thinking for weeks about the the thousands of women in the world whose lives were reduced to nothing more than rape after rape after rape. It is almost impossible to stomach what men are capable of doing to us. And yes, what use is this knowledge other than inspiring in us the deepest rage and the deepest sadness?

    This is why I included action and activism within the post. We need to stop feeling helpless. We need to start revolting. The horrors are not coming at sometime in the future… we are living amongst the horror. We need to start believeing that we can end this. We need to be talking to each other, sparking ideas for action and activism. One of us sitting alone in a house and feeling helpless is not going to change the world. But collectively, we can take action and DO something: resist!

  16. J said:

    You rock! Finally a decent human being who doesn’t glamourize or trivialize disgusting things like this, that are, insanely enough, accepted in today’s society. Many women are like those men too and I have stopped having any respect for them. If anyone makes a joke about the sex industry, I really let them have it. Almost got myself in legal trouble while venting my opinion about this. It should be the other way around!
    I wasn’t able to read the end of the article or the comments because I wouldn’t be able to handle it, kind of like my issues with the enviromental and wildlife problems, but I’ve understood the basic point and it’s good someone was able to make it.

  17. Lily said:

    So this hit really close to home.. I was sexually abused as a little girl. What the hell is wrong with men? That’s what I want to know. Why are most of them so sadistic and cruel? And so good at hiding it too?

    I feel helpless too sometimes..

  18. Lily said:

    I forgot to add, it scares me that my own childhood trauma was actually small in comparison with so many others.. So many girls and women suffering far worse things every day, all girls and women.. My own trauma left me with nightmares and self-harming and depression and mental scars but. Knowing the scale of this, it’s truly horrifying.. What happened to that 2 year old girl, knowing that extent of horrificness..and that far worse must happen too, even than that. It’s going to haunt my nightmares forever.

    More than anything it enrages me.. I wish I knew where to begin. How I could help, even a little, to end all this><

  19. cathybluejazz said:

    rmott62 and Lily, thank you for sharing your experiences, which prove that the real intent is causing pain and humiliation (and death, if they can get away with it) to females. I hope you continue to overcome the trauma those evil pricks inflicted on you. We will raise awareness, and inform people who use porn just what they are subscribing to, as long as we can stand to be around such scum. I’m sure younger men treat me worse than older men, because the young have been exposed to so much porn, which is increasingly degrading of females.

    Every incident I learn about enrages me further.

  20. sea said:

    Thank you all. If not for you I would surely step off a cliff. I am only inches away from it most days. I too have a copy of BPI at home but haven’t been brave enough to open it yet. I read Gail Dines’s book and, like many others here, I’m still haunted. Rebecca, the work you do exposing the rape industry is extraordinary, thank you. I cannot imagine where you draw the strength; I am astounded at your courage. Lily, I too have come from a family riddled with child sexual abuse where I feel my own suffering was minimal compared to others. It is horrific, each and every day. Thank goodness we have each other. My dream is that teleport is invented soon, and when we log into the Hub we can actually port ourselves into a place where there are only radfems, and there will be comfy couches and tea and boxes of tissues and a huge garden to run about in, and we will all be safe.

  21. ella said:

    The account of that baby is the most horrifying thing I have ever read. It brought tears to my eyes and I wonder what kind of sick fuck would do that to anyone.

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