Monday, May 12, 2014

Some brief thoughts on Asa Akira's NPR interview

The wonderful Asa Akira appeared on NPR's All Things Considered yesterday for a 6min 35sec interview. I was excited that Akira is earning so much mainstream attention for her recently-released memoir, Insatiable: Porn - A Love Story, but was also skeptical. While Akira responded to the simplistic and worn out questions with her usual candour and grace, I nevertheless found the line of questioning to be unhelpful, cliche, and condescending. I understand that the interviewer may have been uncomfortable with the subject matter (the pauses and flase starts were bad even for an NPR host), but I would have appreciated a little more depth and intellect seeing as they are dealing with a deep and intellectual woman. Would they have treated a different subject matter with the same superficiality? Doubtful.

Let's take a look at the questions posed, which I have rendered applicable to any line of work. Do we pose these questions to people of other professions? Comedians, lawyers, doctors, actors, models, teachers, housewives, textile factory workers, fast food servers, waitresses, babysitters, football players, chefs, landscapers, painters, flight attendants, light riggers, boxers... What would happen if we posed the same or similar questions to these people? Why do we not pose these questions to them, and what might we learn from asking them? Rather than attempt to stop people from asking these questions, how about we start broadening our scope and posing them to people of a variety of professions? I believe we might learn something not only about sex workers, but also about the nature of a variety of forms of labour that we would prefer not to think about in these terms. It's much easier to locate injustice, exploitation, racism, and misogyny in an already-ostracized industry than it is to reflect on the way our society operates as a whole.

  • [On posing the idea that some people find the porn industry to be inherently degrading and damaging to women to which Akira says no, she does not think that is the case; that yes, it objectifies women but it objectifies everyone] But you don't think that women get degraded a lot more? Think about race. Your ethnicity is fetishized and you make money off that. You don't think that's destructive?
  • Is there any dark side to the [industry] for you? [Workers] who are exploited economically at least?
  • For those women who come from more difficult circumstances, do you feel the industry supports them once they get in the business?
  • If you had kids, how would you feel about them going into the industry?

Anyone who would like to answer these questions, I would love to hear your response.

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