I spent a little time this past Friday at the opening evening of the XO Expo, hosted by the Adult Video Network. I was expecting to see fun new sex toys, maybe some interesting demonstrations, and crowds of people.
I saw none of those. Instead, there were tattoo and piercing booths, tables of the same sex toys I can find anywhere else, and the crowds were mostly men. These men were standing around the booths with the porn stars, and the booths that were advertising local strip clubs, staring and taking pictures of the women like they had never seen a woman in a bikini ever before in their lives. It was gross, and made me feel very uncomfortable.
One booth in particular caught my eye. It was pretty incongruous with the rest of the expo. This booth was for a group called the Pink Cross (I am choosing not to link to their website, because I really don’t want to direct traffic to the site.), which is a Christian non-profit dedicated to telling the young women who are involved in the sex industry that they are bad people who just need a little more Jesus in their lives. I was completely baffled, but after delving into their website a little bit today, I am even more baffled. Some of the testimonials are just ridiculous. One was equating BDSM with the occult and devil-worship. I actually laughed out loud at that one.
While I understand that there are some young women who are forced into sex work, there are even more who choose to be a sex worker. I have many friends who work in the local pornography scene, and they are happy with what their line of work. Equating all of the women who choose to work in pornography as unwitting and unwilling participants simply doesn’t ring true to me. What are your thoughts, dear readers?