Nine Deuce, from Rage Against the Manchine, explains why radfem theory consider pornography to be anti-feminist. It bears repeating because it seems no one ever gets it: radfem is not against people’s choice to participate in pornography, but against the institution of pornography (and, by extension, the people who perpetuate it) and its effects on women’s lives.
Get naked, hump away, take pictures, make a video, party down, but when you’re done, don’t come and tell me that what you’ve been doing is a feminist act. Don’t piss on my leg and tell me it’s raining, as it were. Working from within an industry that is inherently anti-feminist, one cannot create a feminist product or further the feminist cause. I’m going to have to drop the p-word here — in a patriarchy, women are valued for their usefulness to men. One of the ways in which women are useful to men is as sex objects. When women choose to allow themselves to be treated like sex objects, they are acquiescing to the patriarchy, not fighting it.
Saying that women working in porn are feminists requires taking a very myopic view of the world and women’s place in it. Let’s say there was a right-wing men’s organization that wanted to fight to keep women out of higher education. Would a woman attorney working for that organization be a feminist just because she’d reached a lofty career position within her field? Or would the actual results of her actions matter more in the grand scheme of things? Pornography has a net negative effect on women’s lives, on our chances for equality, and on our personal relationships. I won’t argue that there is no such thing as a woman who is into porn, who thinks it’s been a force for good in her life, but most women do not see pornography as a boon, because on the whole it isn’t one.