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Minority womens’ poor portrayal in pornography

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By Sue Chen

2/16/16

Admit it, we love porn—well, at least those of us who actually watch it love it. However, things can get a bit distasteful as we look at the facts and logistics on what goes on behind the scenes in the porn industry.  

The porn industry is one of the most prolific and fascinating phenomenon. It caters to adults, both male and female, spanning several ages. It is inclusive to people of all ethnicities: It is essentially a menu of whatever turns one on.  

However, despite the growth and advancements in the porn industry, racial fetishization and racism are still widespread and prevalent.

In pornography, minority women are most commonly fetishized and categorized by racial stereotypes. For instance, Asian women are continuously showcased as submissive and subservient to their male counterparts. Latinas are almost always labeled feisty, “hot and spicy” or “sexy senoritas.” Black women are always portrayed as aggressive, demanding and even “extremely ghetto,” as porn star Misty Stone puts it.

The porn industry also plays into stereotypes of minority women as they always have a specific role within each individual ethnic group. A scene with a Hispanic woman would typically involve the Hispanic woman being a maid. When a black woman is on camera, she would be portrayed as a thug, or the aggressive, dominant type. Some videos featuring a black woman are labeled as “Black ghetto girl…” whereas when an Asian woman is filmed, she is either a masseuse in a silky kimono or an innocent schoolgirl, waiting for a command.  

In contrast, when white women are filmed, they play roles such as doctors, lawyers, teachers or other high status professions.

“The porn industry makes money from fetishizing minorities.  There’s no way around it. They sell this fictionalized idea on what minorities [are] and it affects how men perceive many women around the world,” said Maria Pareja Borsic, a University at Albany senior.

In addition to minority women being fetishized, they are also some of the lowest paid actresses in the industry. Specifically, black women are currently paid the least, with Latinas and Asian women following.  Similarly, minority men are also negatively portrayed, some of whom are not even given enough time on camera. Asian men, to be specific, are rarely in pornographic films, unless it is with another Asian actress. Asian men are also portrayed as weak or docile. Contrary to Asian men are black men in porn who, most of the time, are portrayed as aggressive thugs.

To make matters worse, white actresses demand higher salaries when they are asked to perform with a black man.

In an interview for The Daily Show, porn star Lisa Ann said, “White girls will ask for double, triple and even quadruple to do an interracial scene,” and when they reject the offer to shoot with a black man, they say things like, “My parents don’t want me to do interracial.”

Today, the porn industry may appear to be racially inclusive, as it does include people of all colors.  However, it is continuously showing racial biases and stratification through its portrayal of women of color and how it pays them.

“Although the porn industry has the diversity needed to entertain the whole ethnic spectrum, it is heavily stereotyped and that results in negative preconceived notions [of] women in different ethnic groups,” said Brent De Leon, a UAlbany sophomore.    

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