opinion : Boo Su-Lyn

What’s so immoral about porn stars?

Boo Su-Lyn

MAY 12 — Former adult film actress Maria Ozawa seemed to have caused quite a stir when she visited KL for a holiday, so much so that a lecturer said that such excitement indicated an erosion in Eastern and Islamic values

Universiti Teknologi Malaysia lecturer Kamarulzaman Yusof reportedly told Muslims to look up to “more moral actors” instead of respecting those involved in “immoral activities.”

What is so immoral about pornographic actors or people who work in the sex industry? They are merely trying to make a living, just like all of us.

There is no difference between women and men who act in pornographic films and those in conventional movies. And just like the Oscars, the adult entertainment industry has its own awards ceremony — the AVN Awards — that recognises the best in porn. One just involves sex and the other doesn’t. 

Similarly, there is no difference between lawyers, for example, and sex workers — both provide paid services.  

If we believe that premarital sex is immoral (much less have sex on camera), consumers of smut deserve a greater share of the blame than porn stars because without demand, there would be no supply.

And ironically, we see high interest in Kelantan and Terengganu, two states with (unenforced) hudud law, as they had the highest Google searches on Ozawa when she was vacationing here.

It’s much easier to accuse women of immorality or to even blame them in rape cases, rather than to scrutinise men and to control their behaviour instead.

We criticise women who do sex work, act in an adult film, or even dress “sexily” in a miniskirt, but don’t tell off the men who patronise brothels, watch porn, or catcall women on the streets.

Judging porn stars has nothing to do with morality, but everything to do with power.

Such people (both men and women) want to control women’s behaviour by telling them how to dress and how many sexual partners they should have (just one). And sometimes, even if she is raped, she is told to marry her attacker, as if having a (violent) husband on paper is preferable to having (forced) sex outside marriage.

A woman’s character and morality is often based on her body. So a woman who seems to flagrantly exercise her sexuality by taking part in an adult video (and even charging for it) is considered offensive. And everything about her is reduced to her vagina and how many penises she puts in it.     

A woman paid for having sex on camera is slut-shamed for her career, but the many men (single or married) who jerk off to her at night are spared any moral judgment.

A successful porn star like Asa Akira, for example, talked about reaching a crossroads as she entered her 30s because she was unsure about continuing her career or having kids, as if the two are mutually exclusive.

It’s not porn stars who are ruining our so-called Eastern values.

Corrupt politicians who steal from the people and religious fundamentalists who insist on imposing their way of life on everyone are the immoral ones.

Malaysians need to be less hung up about sex and moral policing. Other people’s sex lives are none of our business, nor the State’s.

* This is the personal opinion of the columnist.

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