New feature: Across the porn divide

It’s time to end the battle of words, argues Debi Crow

A stand-off between feminists who are against pornography, and those who are not, has become a well worn narrative for the feminist movement. There seems to be some imaginary chasm, across which navigation is nigh-on impossible, and also ill-advised. The two camps stand on the edge of the precipice, looking across at the others, occasionally taking a pot-shot, or setting off a flare, but with no real communication. I am talking specifically here about feminist bloggers, but I should think this article would apply just as easily to feminists, past and present, who do not blog, or perhaps even write their beliefs down in any form.

The current situation, where the two sides mostly sit and glower at each other but make no effort to find any common ground, is getting us nowhere, on the issue of pornography, or any other issues, even ones that we may be surprised to find we agree on. While we are so fixated on this one issue – porn – and playing tit-for-tat back and forth on every nuance of the subject, we are ignoring other issues that we possibly could agree on more easily, and work together in a concrete way in the real world to actually achieve something.

Porn is a very important issue, and this article in no way attempts to say we should ignore it, or give up fighting for what we believe is right. But, I think that all kinds of feminists need to realise just how unproductive, unhelpful and ultimately meaningless the current stand-off is. We repeat the same arguments, we all stay in our own ‘camp’ and do not venture out, not even for the shortest time, to converse with the ‘other side’. We each go round in our own orbits, and never meet at any point. So much more could be achieved, and we could actually start to move forward with the issue of porn and other issues, if we could take some time to visit the other side, and actually engage with them. Talk to them. Begin some kind of dialogue.

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