Sasha Grey and Feminism

Lea Tarabay –

Sasha Grey, born Marina Ann Hantzis in North Highlands, California, entered the adult film industry at the age of eighteen.

Since then, she has been ceaselessly criticized and labeled either as a victim of the porn industry for performing at such a young age with no other choice, or as an anti-feminist degrading women and harming the process of empowerment worldwide. Grey is accused of promoting the inferiority, abuse, objectification, and humiliation of women especially through her praising of BDSM (Bondage and Discipline, Dominance and Submission, and Sadism and Masochism).

When Sasha Grey decided to enter the porn industry, she was already a student at Sacramento City College. She had the choice to finish her college education, and having a college degree means bigger and better opportunities and a brighter future. Consequently, Grey chose not to and made the decision to be an adult film performer on her own terms and greatly succeeded in it becoming one of the top BDSM porn actresses in the business. Grey won Female Performer of the Year in 2008 as well as multiple other awards.

Adult film actresses and sex workers are constantly attacked and demeaned by some feminists for their career choices. BDSM is largely bashed for humiliating and undermining women, however, many of the women who take part in it do it for their own reason such as deriving pleasure from it, financial incentives, because they care for their partner who derives pleasure from the experience, and multiple other reasons.

Does a person going after what she wants and succeeding at it not sound like empowerment? Does a woman making her own choices and getting treated fairly no matter what they do for a living not sound like feminism? Are expressions of sexual freedom and women having a sex-positive attitude and taking part in things they enjoy or choose to do degrading to the power and status of women?

Sexual liberty, including labor, is a controversial issue in feminism. Some feminists think it’s moral and ethical to choose sex work as a means to financial security. However, mainstream feminism has become a washed-down viewpoint that’s only applicable to women who support certain feminist preaching. Feminism is supposed to be about supporting all women and their right to make their own choices, no matter what their background, opinions, beliefs, and career is.

For a change in the misogyny and abuse that can be witnessed in the porn industry, feminists should critique and work against modern pornography and the false depictions it portrays instead of denouncing other women.


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