The Ms. Magazine of my youth couldn’t mention pornography without excoriating it and stripping all agency from the women who appeared in it. For them to publish an interview with a scholar who could say a thing like this? It would have been inconceivable:

So when we talk about women in pornography today and reduce the conversation to trafficking, we miss how women are aware of the constraints and have made a choice to do this work because they’ve weighed it against other limited options and found it to be beneficial for them. Rather than judge them for being “wrong” in their choices, I wanted to see what they were doing and what they were trying to say. Some of the most important messages from the archives is that, even in the midst of the greatest oppression, we still want to love ourselves sexually and we want to be erotic beings, and we want to survive and thrive and be courageous and savvy, even if that means using the sex industry to carve out other choices and live better lives.

That’s from an interview with Mireille Miller-Young, author of A Taste for Brown Sugar: Black Women in Pornography.

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