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Yale - Panel split on porn

Diverse feminist views collided Saturday in a panel discussion about the ethics of pornography.

Three feminists from a range of professions spoke about the industry and its impacts on women before a mostly student audience of about 60 people. The talk continued Sex Week 2012’s dialogue on controversial social issues as the panelists shared their views on how the industry has shaped modern attitudes toward sex and become more socially acceptable.

“Pornography is a pervasive commodity on campus and in society,” Sex Week co-director Paul Holmes ’13 said as he introduced the speakers.

Gail Dines, a professor of sociology at Wheelock College in Boston and anti-pornography activist, argued that pornography can be understood through a Marxist lens. Likening the porn industry to those of food and fashion, which she argued shape how people eat and dress, Dines said the porn industry determines the power dynamics and economics of sex.

A strong opponent of porn, Dines condemned the industry for “selling humans.” She added that porn productions demean women by portraying them as sexual objects, and also often exploit the actresses involved.

The Return Of Sex Week at Yale

Sex Week is coming to Yale – complete with a porn star, anti-porn advocate and a "love week" alternative.

Sex Week 2012's porn princess, Maggie Mayhem, is not expected to wreak havoc on the Yale University campus as her stage name might suggest. Mayhem, who declined to give her real name for personal protection, is scheduled to be part of a panel discussion about the ethics of pornography during the series of events from Feb. 4-14.

Student organizers -- who fought long and hard to have the event this year after facing much friction -- say pornography is an important part of the series, but a small part. Besides Mayhem, they have other speakers on their itinerary, including authors and activists.

"We don't think an issue has to be either exciting or educational. We really think it can be both. That's doesn't mean we're doing anything explicit or inappropriate," said student organizer Paul Holmes. "The discussion itself should be interesting, and some students will find it stimulating."

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