Opinions & Editorials

Porn is not Pornhub

written by: Mo Juenger, World News editor

I think that Pornhub is unethical, but I also think that pornography is ethical. Allow me to explain. 

Last week, the brilliant and talented staff writer Grace Hamilton made an excellent case against Pornhub, on the basis that it promotes misogynistic ideals and can be literally dangerous to women’s health. This is absolutely true. 

But this argument is missing something. Pornhub is porn, obviously, but not all porn is Pornhub. There are hundreds of thousands of sex workers in the U.S. who benefit financially and emotionally from their professions. 

A major issue with the anti-porn discourse comes from confusion surrounding consent. To clarify, sex workers give consent for every video or photo they star in and every act they perform for a client. 

Individuals who do not give consent, no matter how that happens, are victims. They are not sex workers, prostitutes or porn stars. 

Anyone can create a Pornhub account and upload videos. You do not have to prove that the video you upload is you, or a person who has given consent to be posted on the site. 

Pornhub is a disgusting and horrific website, not because it features pornographic videos, but because some of those videos feature individuals who did not give consent. This ranges from revenge porn videos to rape, and all of it speaks to the horribly low standard Pornhub uses to vet videos before they are posted. 

The system Pornhub uses is misogynistic in that it disproportionately posts nonconsensual videos of women more than men, but it is wrong to everyone. Cis and trans men, women and non-binary people are all affected by this.

This is disgusting, but it is not the whole picture. 

Real sex work, with sex workers who consent to being part of porn, can be an empowering and liberating work experience for many people. It is a profession, just like my profession is to edit articles for Newswire, and it can be equally rewarding. 

A woman owns her body in the same way that she owns her ideas. When I write an article, I own the thoughts that I’m writing and I sell them to Newswire for consumption. I’ve consented to Newswire publishing my thoughts, and I hope that readers enjoy my content. 

A sex worker owns her body, and when she makes a nude video of herself, she owns that too. She might be self-employed and publish it on her own, via a service like OnlyFans, or sell her videos to a distributor, like Bellesa or xHamster. Either way, she is providing an audience with content for financial gain, as well as emotional gain if she enjoys her profession. 

These ethical porn sites only include videos of sex workers, all of which are consensual. These sites are simply ones that allow sex workers to take control of how their videos are published and the wage they will receive, further professionalizing the industry. 

A common argument against this idea of sex work as ethical is the fact that a high level of sex workers are extremely low-income. People often refer to this as being “forced into sex work” because of a lack of job opportunities. 

Sex work is a job. When a skilled individual is unemployed, they apply to jobs within their skillset until one of two things happens: they find another job within their skillset or are forced to take a job beneath their skillset. This could be a part-time job at McDonalds, waiting tables or sex work. 

There is no difference between consensual sex work and consensually working at McDonalds, except that a sex worker would typically earn a much higher hourly wage. If the idea of a person being economically forced to perform sex work is horrifying to you, you don’t have a problem with sex work, you have a problem with capitalism. 

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