On Trans Porn

Butterfly WomanSo, as I may have mentioned, I now work in a porn store. As you might imagine, we have a section of DVDs dedicated to transgender actresses, labeled as “shemale” porn. As you might imagine, I have some mixed views on this, so let me discuss them in detail.

First off, I fully support that there is an industry of porn for trans women to star in. As the rules of the internet tell us, if it exists out there, there is porn of it (rule 34), and if there isn’t porn of it, then it will be created (rule 35). We are already going to be fetishized, no matter what, so if there are those who want to make money off of that industry who happen to be trans, such as the actresses, then I fully support them. At the same time, I will admit to being made uncomfortable with it on a regular basis, just based on the level of fetishization that occurs, including on the boxes.

So I must hate the use of the word “shemale” right? Well, that’s also a mixed issue. When it’s used specifically for the genre of porn, I don’t mind it as much, as it helps those looking for porn online find it, while also filtering out porn for those looking for actual information. The problem with the term, however, is when it is taken from the porn world and applied to trans women as whole. Let me give you an example.

So, I’ve had customers looking for the section before, and most of them are nice and polite and go about their business. However, sometimes, there are creepers. These are the guys who are very vocal about their interests, as if I care. “I love them shemales. Can’t get off without them. Do you know anywhere nearby where I can view shemales in person?” That kinda thing. They don’t distinguish between the name of the genre of porn and the actual people in the films. To put this into perspective, imagine someone who had a thing for the taboo genre (which tends to include stories based on incest, sleeping with stepmoms, etc.) referring to their relatives as “taboo” and wanting to hit that. Or buying into the stereotypes put forth in other genres of porn as well.

See, while porn can exist that is not outright offensive and/or playing to stereotypes, a lot exists that thrives on negative stereotypes, particularly when involving minorities of some sort. Take porn with Latina actresses being given names like “Maid in Mexico” “Taco Flavored Kisses.” Or porn with Asian American actresses being given names like “Wong Way” and “Me Suck You Long Time.” So all porn must be bad, right? No, it’s actually not.

Remember last time how I mentioned that most of what Japan gets in forms of messages regarding other nationalities and ethnicities tends to come from the media. And while porn is certainly a terrible offender, other forms of media exist that are just as bad. Case in point, the 2011 game Deus Ex: Human Revolution has a minor character, Letitia, who is a walking, talking stereotype of black people from before the dawn of the Civil Rights movement. It’s not a stereotype you see as much anymore, having been changed for newer, though still harmful images. Allow me to show you what I mean.

I did a look for clips of her, and one of the videos (shorter and lower quality than the one I linked above), actually had “Is this racist?” as part of its title. Yes, it’s very racist. So yes, the porn industry is a major offender, but it’s not the only offender. We need to do better everywhere, and we need to make it clear to those creating such media, be it films, video games, or even porn, that we won’t accept this. We can still have our porn without the offensiveness, just as we can have our video games or TV shows without it. Portray real, human characters without the negative stereotypes. I guarantee, these porn actresses can still be plenty hot without that demeaning crap, just as we can have good stories without resorting to such low opinions of the subjects.

Until next time.

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