Quite simply, there is no other aspect of our media that is as poorly understood as pornography. Where is it produced and how is it marketed? What are the working conditions for those both in front and behind the camera? Who is accessing it, and how? What are the differences between various forms of pornography and how they represent sex and sexuality? Once we find answers to these questions, we may be able to ask better ones about how we discriminate against people based on their sexual identity and sex practices.

Our ignorance about pornography practices in Canada, and our desire to pretend that it’s only something that happens elsewhere, makes conversations about sex and sexuality more difficult and less complex. This is a problem because sexuality is a critical part of how we define ourselves and relate to each other. No matter how hard we try to deny it, pornography is a part of our sexual culture…

Some pornographies practically serve as manuals for the oppression of women and sexually marginalized peoples. Others are challenging gender norms and body images, giving voice to diverse sexual experiences that are otherwise repressed in our society. Similarly, production runs the gamut from the collective and collaborative to the coerced and exploited. Understanding these differences is crucial to improving the way we think and talk about sexuality.