Rachel Wright opened for the pro team and I have to say I was impressed by her. Rachel is/has (I'm not quite sure on the details) a sex worker and porn actress who feels that her own work has done nothing to disempower her as a woman - indeed, that it has done quite the opposite. Although I felt a little sorry for the opposing team, who obviously can't match her personal experience in the area, it did make a pretty forceful point. One of the main issues that both sides repeatedly touched upon was the empowerment of sex workers. Nobody on either side wanted to do anything to impede the ability of sex workers to be able to choose their own destiny, which is fair enough, but I felt that the anti-porn side's attempts to express this were tokenist. They didn't really have an answer to Rachel's charge that their condemnations of sex work were disempowering for her and her co-workers.And
The anti-porn side tended to talk exclusively about pornography as it is now, focusing on the male dominated nature of the industry, the formulaic nature of sex scenes, etc. The pro-porn side tended to talk about pornography as it could be - they acknowledged that there are problems with the industry as it exists, but that they are not universal and that the best thing to do is improve pornography, not throw the baby out with the bathwater. This is defensible, since focusing the debate on features of the industry that could be changed with relatively trivial effort does not make for a strong critique, but I'm not sure it's decisive - to base one's advocacy of pornography on some idealised future pornography is to avoid the question of exactly how likely that idealised future pornography is, and why, with pornography in its modern form having co-existed for so long with an active feminist movement, this hasn't happened yet.Haven't clicked through yet? Now is the moment!