I was having a discussion with several people on Twitter (mostly men and a few women) on how porn is not just dedicated to sexual gratification but a lot more than that. Little do viewers realize that the porn industry is notorious for its power in reinforcing ethnic stereotypes. A specific ethnic identity is limited and chained to a set of ‘traits’ and ‘characteristics.’ Asian women are shown as weak, easily dominated while Latina women are shown in roles of ‘spicy’ women with little control over their libido. In some clips, I have also seen Latina women portrayed typically as “illegal immigrants” in jail, indulging in sex with white police officers.
For an average man, the porn industry is simply about getting off to a few minutes of romping around in bed. For him, it is never about a women’s identity or control over her sexuality. It is never about ethnic stereotypes and reinforcement of racial images. But if you look closer, you’ll find financed racism in the porn industry where identities are toyed with and abused.
I remember viewing a clip shared by a friend once on how a white producer created a plot for a porn clip in which an “Iraqi” girl (read: a Latina girl wrapped in a hijab) had to “give her body” to a “brave” American soldier. It was beyond sickening.
You should read Darrell Hamamoto’s strong take on ethnic stereotyping in the porn industry. Here are excerpts of racial identities depicted typically in porn flicks:Latinos and Hispanics
Pornography tends to stereotype Hispanic women as feisty, “hot and spicy Latinas”, sexy Señoritas, with a high sex drive and low impulse control. Many are portrayed as maids, illegal immigrants to the United States, or unfaithful wives. Since Latinos and Hispanics can be of any race (many are white Hispanic Americans, Mestizos etc.), cultural characteristics are sometimes portrayed via iconic items like South and Central American national costumes, sombreros, maracas, or Mexican dresses.Asian women
Are viewed as sexually willing or submissive. Asian men are hardly portrayed in pairing with white women and not as common compared to white men with asian women porn. Asian women are mainly portrayed as the: “Dragon Ladies”, as servile “Lotus Blossom Babies”, “Innocent School Girls” in private school uniforms, “China dolls”, “Geisha girls”, war brides, or prostitutes. Japanese media have also at times sensationalistically promoted the stereotype of Japanese women overseas as “yellow cabs”.
Large penis size in Black men is consistently emphasized in pornography, often by exclusively casting actors with larger than average penises such as Lexington Steele, Kid Bengala, Jack Napier and Mandingo. Men are often treated to stereotypes of gang affiliation, working class labor, and are overrepresented in gang rape fetish films. Also, they are represented as overly aggressive and demanding, and are performing with white women. Similarly, black women are often portrayed with large breast and buttocks, or ‘booty’. They normally play a submissive role while performing with a white male.
Homi Bhabha refers to this phenomena as racial fetishism as a fixation on other races being not different, but lesser or “mutilated” versions of the white male. Similarly, in her book “Racy Sex, Sexy Racism”, Gail Dines argues that “women of color are generally relegated to gonzo–a porn genre lacking any plot–which provides little glamour, security or status.”
nguyen tan hoang and richard fung have also written/produced artworks about the construction of the subordinate/effeminate asian bottom in gay porn which parallels many of the stereotypes associated with asian women in straight porn and ties into a history of cultural emasculation of asian men. (and of course there’s much to be said about the top/bottom binary in gay porn paralleling and/or subverting traditional gender dynamics.)
asian tops are similarly defined by their asianness, such as the urban legend about chi chi larue asking to see brandon lee’s “egg roll.” plus several descriptions of mixed-race asian actors on amateur sites: “his asian genes are strong” or “he gets his exotic looks from his chinese side and his big dick from his polish side,” etc.
not to mention every time an asian actor pops up on a gay porn site, half the comments are about the ~small dick~ stereotype.
lol my boyfriend is going to kill me for writing about PORN