In the aftermath of the Frenchay Porno. Comment by Lauren Moore.

uwe-bristol-porn-8
Empowering women?

I’m not usually one to get started on the position of women in pornography and the damaging effects of rape culture because it’s such a vast and interconnected issue that I like to avoid thinking about it. But as this issue has been brought to my lecture room door, I can’t help but chime in.

Yes, I am of course talking about the pornographic video made by British porn star Johnny Rockard which depicts him looking for love on Frenchay campus and is available from your local search engine provider, although UWE have controversially banned viewing it on campus.

If you haven’t seen it, the story basically goes like this: Creepy old man (sounds good already, right?) prowls uninvited around a summer time Frenchay campus, salivates over unwitting female UWE students telling the audience how fit UWE students are as a collective and what he’d like to do to us. Eventually he finds a porn actress playing the role of “UWE student”  and they proceed to perform various sexual acts in public. He then takes her back to his place and does something to her off camera which she doesn’t seem to enjoy, her wearing a frightfully uncomfortable looking metal-spiked gag and a rather degrading dog collar equipped with leash.  The sex that followed was equally degrading, the only way I can describe it is to quote a character from Lena Dunham’s HBO series “Girls”, that the creepy old man “f**ked her like he didn’t love his mother”, which is pretty much what that was.

Now, I personally don’t mind the fact that a pornographic film was set on a UWE campus. That is; if it were about two consenting people, both present and willing at the beginning who have some sort of reason other than “he wants to f**k her” for having sex. I would have preferred the context to be ‘Two crazy students, living the dream, look at them there 69ing on a bench outside Red Zone, they’re loving it.’ Perhaps she could have an orgasm, wouldn’t that be nice?

The problem I have with this film, and why like many other female UWE students I feel a little indignant and a little invaded by this film is because it depicts us, the women of UWE, as just potential bait for prowling men. Not ‘students’, not ‘sexual partners’, and not really ‘people’. This film will be watched and enjoyed by many at UWE and all over the world. It will indulge a fantasy of “catching” a female UWE student, and taking her somewhere to be “smashed”.

I know, it’s a fantasy. We should all have fantasies and to hell with morals for that 15 minutes of the day, of course. But this video is just one in a sea, seven seas of pornography, that depict rape, torture or at least degradation of women. Finding  porn that doesn’t degrade women can take about as much research as an essay. And one of the main discussions on porn at the minute is the fact that young people are increasingly learning everything they know about sex from porn.

Boys who make their transition into men while riding this wave of degrading material are the same men who post creepy “I saw you in the library today and got an erection” posts on Spotted: UWE*. Or the young men who lose a bucket of eligible bachelorette friends on Facebook by sharing a picture from Uni Lad** of a passed out woman on a couch at a party with the words “She’s getting smashed later” written underneath. This “smashing” fantasy is produced by and in turn reproduces the norm of domineering patriarchal sexuality which is forever present in university culture.

Women already feel watched, prowled upon and judged on the basis of their sexual appeal on campus. Uni Lad and Spotted:UWE are awash with sexual objectification of women on campus which is part and parcel of viewing us as sexually submissive show-dogs rather than human beings seeking an education. This film was inevitable, the audience is vast. Smashing female uni students is a hot topic right now. In 2014…

*NB: This is an exaggerated, somewhat satirical depiction of the types of posts on Spotted:UWE, not a direct quote.

**Same again.

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