13 Comments

  1. I almost feel like that’s a koan.

    Actually, I think it’s the Mormon women. Porn actresses are disposable. An actress doesn’t want to do something (e.g. perform without a condom)? Fine. They’ll pay someone else to do it.

    Say what you might about Mormon sexism, but Mormon women aren’t disposable to the men. It sounds cliched, but strong female leadership can affect change within the LDS church. I’ve seen plenty of times when a bishop has been cowed by an insistent RS president. They usually play it off as a joke (those opinionated women!) but there is real power in the hands of Mormon women.

    The question is whether they will wield that power. For the most part, the answer is no. They either agree with their male leaders, or feel it’s wrong to disagree. The sad truth is that they don’t want to use the key in their hands to free themselves. A modern Lysistrata would have a hard time organizing Mormon women.

  2. I agree with Jonathan. If a large percentage of the women in Mormonism were to agitate for change, equality, etc., I think that the church would listen. They’d have to.

    The problem is convincing enough women that they’re being treated unfairly and unequally. Many (if not most) of the women who are active in Mormonism don’t even seen the sexism and oppression.

  3. Just to add, for example, I get all my sex toys from online feminist sex shops and the porn (or erotica, as I defined it in a previous thread :)) available at these sex shops is often made by women-owned companies.

  4. Interesting point. It made me imagine a feminist schism where women exercise the priesthood. Not unlike the Community of Christ now that I think of it. Maybe it’s time for Mormon women to set up their own shop and exercise the priest(ess)hood that they were promised. 🙂

  5. Catholic women called to the priesthood have essentially broken off—they got a bishop to ordain them & now they celebrate their own masses. Perhaps Mormon women could do that…

    my take: Generally speaking, neither women in porn nor women in LDS have a whole lot of power, but I certainly see female porn actors as being more “empowered” than women in a patriarchal religion such as Mormonism. That said, hanging out with the fomo crowd has opened my eyes to the ways in which Mormon women are empowering themselves—demanding authority & control over certain areas. They have far to go, surely, but they have definitely changed my preconceptions.

  6. G

    I’d say it depends on the circumstances of the mormon woman/porn actor. situations vary wildly with women both in groups being at one end of the spectrum or the other in terms of empowerment.
    but, to be honest, like ayw said, there are women in the porn/sex toy industry that are autonomous in their field. There isn’t an area in the church in which LDS women have that.

  7. Female porn actors have more power to change the system in which they are embedded.

    Mormon women can only change the system if they opt out of the system. As xJane noted, fomos can – and do – carve places of power, but I don’t see those as institutional changes.

    Women in porn can – and do – create their own realms and dictate the terms of their employment, as AYW noted. While it may be true that porn actresses are disposable, as Jonathan says, the laws surrounding age documentation (the notorious 2257 regs) and the industry-implemented STD testing procedures have drastically changed the rights of those who make their money in porn/erotica.

    And now my mind is reeling with the kink of submission and how that may relate to the voluntary submission of some Mormon women. Interrrresting.

  8. G

    johnathan, I had a thought today about what you you said, about being disposable (ie the porn actress who won’t perform without a condom) and I think that the church actually DOES have ways of doing this as well. If you consider church callings as a form of validation and recognition, a woman who doesn’t toe the line may find herself routinely overlooked for positions of responsibility.

    The example that comes to mind is Juanita Brooks, who wrote a (superbly researched) book about the Mountain Meadows Massacre. Although she was never formerly disciplined for writing the book substantial church callings were withheld from her after it’s publication.

  9. You have a good point. I think though that there is power to change the system outside of callings. Speaking out in public meetings would be a good start.

    (On a meta note, isn’t our first reaction to this suggestion interesting? We know almost instinctively that speaking our mind isn’t countenanced in the culture of the church. Some of the most feminist of Mormon women learn to be politic in order to be part of the community.)

    I’m not talking about calling for the ouster of the patriarchy. Just things like mentioning historical facts about polygamy and how that makes us feel, or mentioning how the idea of women held the priesthood in earlier times.

    In a way, worrying about callings is an impediment to change. Women (and like-minded men) need to be willing to work outside of the normal system to affect change in the system. And this particular system seems to take about 20-30 years at least to catch up with the mores of the rest of America. If enough Mormon women could somehow unite to turn up the heat, things would happen.

    I suppose the same could be said of porn actresses, but the reality is that even if they unionized, it would be hard to fight market forces. If U.S. porn actresses unionized and changed their situation, perhaps business would go to European porn instead. Mormon women benefit from the fact that it’s much harder to find another Mormon wife if your first one gets too uppity.

  10. I say women in porn for the reasons angryyoungwoman stated.

    There’s an awesome boutique in Minneapolis called Smitten Kitten that is run by feminists and all about education and empowerment. They are outspoken in the industry regarding toys that are toxic for people and the environment.

    The institutions of porn and the church are so different in that the latter is totalitarian. It’s hard to affect change from within. Just try and hold some education and empowerment classes for lds women (beyond baking and changing a tire) and see how quickly you’re disciplined. It’s a lot easier in the institution of porn to form their own production company and still be part of the industry.

  11. Joe

    If LDS really belive ‘all things will be restored’, what about the office of Prophetess as written about in The Bible?
    In LDS culture women are property and an adornment. The 7 cow wife is a good example, buying a babe with bragging rights because she cost so much. Limited slavery is what LDS believes about Women. Polygamy = Property acquisition, nothing more. They are interchangeable and worth less than a cow per one LDS Prophet.

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