A feminist response to Gluck Magazine
Lynne Miles // 9 June 2006
The Guardian women’s section today carries a review of new indie-porn-for-girls magazine, Gluck, written by the editors of the feminist fashion zine Pamflet.
Gluck, which I haven’t seen myself, features ‘pale, skinny, sometimes hairy, indie boys in the comfort of their own bohemianbedsits’. Naked, and flaunting their (pale? skinny? hairy?) penises with, apparently, very little shame.
The article’s authors, Anna-Marie Fitzgerald and Phoebe Frangoul, are disappointed with Gluck, feeling that “it has appropriated men’s language and imagery” which is ‘as prescriptive as any lads’ mag, even if it is wrapped in girlie packaging. Their argument seems to be that porn remains an exploitative industry, promoting two-dimensional images of womanhood meaning that, for women, porn can never be totally lighthearted and that “to embrace it and ignore porn’s murky side would be to dismiss all the women who have suffered in its making”.
Beatriz Jahr Concejo of Object also agrees, saying the images “reinforce, rather than challenge or subvert, existing power relations between men and women”, whereas Jessica Valenti of Feministing.com is more of a fan: “clearly there’s porn out there that is damaging to women and warrants our criticism. But that’s not all porn -I don’t know if I would call it a step towards equality exactly, but it’s definitely fun”.
I do understand the concerns of those who dislike projects like this, but my own view is firmly that there’s nothing wrong with porn in itself, just that the vast majority of mainstream porn, and a significant amount of specialist porn is deeply exploitative and demeaning. But I differ from Fitzgerald and Frangoul in thinking that we should embrace ‘good’ porn as an example of the type of thing we want to see more of, rather than writing off the whole genre. Subvert from within and all that. Or p’raps I’m just some pervy old woman who quite likes the sound of indie boys flashing their bits.