On Porn and Professionalism: The Staggering Hypocrisy of a Rarely-Questioned Perspective

I wrote the following comment for an article (also excerpted below) Emerald posted in her blog yesterday, December 7th. For those who don’t recognize her photo, she has read as a featured Salon presenter on several occasions. Emerald also led, The Talk: For Adults at the Salon, posing the question as to whether erotica authors have the responsibilty to present safe sex in their writing. It was a most interesting exchange with the attendees. Her erotica has been published in several anthologies, plus she is an advocate for human sexual rights.

Well-stated Emerald. I encourage you to write an article regarding erotica and professionalism. The last scheduled featured presenter for the Salon cancelled her appearance. She feared her professorship status would be compromised with the publicity she receives. I am overly protective of attendees of the Salon since I have been informed on numerous occasions that “if my boss knew I were here I would be fired.” The shame of sexual pleasure, either from physical act, fantasy or sex memoir is being perpetuated by society. I have been told on numerous occasions I am doing a brave thing by offering a space to share uncensored words. The first few times I heard these words I truly thought it was an exaggeration, but I now realize it to be true. It is a sad commentary that one has to be brave in order to allow people the freedom to express themselves sexually, while doing no harm to others.

Upon someone’s recommendation (I am sorry that I don’t remember whose right now), I took a look at an article several days ago by which I found myself feeling quite annoyed. Not that I wasn’t already aware this happened, but Salon.com was reporting about former porn performers being fired from jobs because they’re former porn performers. A judge quoted in the article justified upholding this behavior by stating the following:

“[…] the ongoing availability of her pornographic materials on the Internet will continue to impede [Halas] from being an effective [middle school] teacher and respected colleague.”

Not for the first time, I am faced with the inevitable question: why the flying fuck (no pun intended) would seeing someone have sex preclude that person from “being an effective teacher [or whatever] and respected colleague”? What, seriously, is the matter with people? As maddening as I find this, I also feel truly bewildered, because I simply do not understand this phenomenon.

First of all, according to our people-under-18-don’t-think-about-and-shouldn’t-have-any-exposure-to-sex culture, the students shouldn’t be seeing her work in its “ongoing availability” anyway, so I’m not sure why it would affect her capacity to teach them even if I did find her past profession relevant. But mainly, if you don’t want to see other people having sex, I recommend not watching porn. If you do, then why the hell would it seem to be a problem that the people you watch having sex also do other things in their lives, including making a living in another industry? What, truly, is the problem here?

Read more:

http://thegreenlightdistrict.org/wordpress/2013/12/on-porn-and-professionalism-the-staggering-hypocrisy-of-our-rarely-questioned-perspective/comment-page-1/#comment-148562

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