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Please stop mansplaining porn to women, Rudy.

Rudy Giuliani was a mediocre mayor, a failed presidential primary candidate, and, for a split-second that lives on in internet infamy, a cringey drag queen. Now, he’s President Donald Trump’s lawyer, and he has some choice words for women who defend adult performer Stormy Daniels.

“If you’re a feminist and you support the porn industry you should turn in your credentials,” Giuliani reportedly told CNN’s chief political correspondent Dana Bash.

Giuliani’s response comes after he said he doesn’t believe Daniels had an affair with President Trump, arguing that he refuses to “respect a porn star the way I respect a career woman or a woman of substance or a woman who has great respect for herself as a woman,” among many, many other things.

Giuliani even suggested that, thanks to Daniels’ career as a sex worker, his incredible cross-examination skills will make it clear that she has no “credibility.”

“Explain to me how she can be damaged,” Giuliani said, CNN reports. “She has no reputation. If you’re going to sell your body for money, you just don’t have a reputation. I may be old-fashioned, I don’t know.”

Like many men, Giuliani seems to think that he’s an authority figure on what feminists should and shouldn’t do. But he’s not. Feminism is a movement led by women and other marginalized genders, and men like Giuliani have literally nothing useful nor productive to say regarding feminism’s “rules.” That’s just plain-old mansplaining with a sex-negative spin.

But beyond Giuliani’s condescending demeanor, there are larger questions that haunt his comments, questions whose answers should be obvious in the intersectional feminism of 2018 but continue to arise: Should feminists support the porn industry and its performers? Should feminists buy and enjoy porn?

During the infamous “sex wars” of the ’70s and ’80s, pornography became a hot topic across feminist circles as the second-wave grappled with adult content’s treatment toward women. Even today, feminists still ask themselves if they can be activists in the streets and porn aficionados in the sheets, especially as society continues to question porn’s positive and negative effects.

To be blunt, the mainstream adult entertainment industry does have problems. Sexual assault accusations have been levied against performers and crew members alike throughout the field for years, from on-set sexual abuse by directors to sexual abuse allegations against superstars like James Deen and Ron Jeremy. Even Daniels herself was once accused of enabling the problem. It’s rampant.

But sex work itself isn’t inherently exploitative. Consensual sex work remains incredibly common, and plenty of adult performers stress that they feel in control of their careers. Rather, porn’s sexual abuse problem speaks to a larger issue with abusive men in positions of power within fields where women are slut-shamed for participating. When women are told that they are worthless if they perform in porn, that leaves stars vulnerable, and it gives sexual predators a fertile ground for abusing others.

And when abuse happens, it mirrors the same misogynistic power dynamics that can be seen across every professional field from music to sports. Porn has an abuse problem, and that only means it needs feminist support even more. Men need to be held accountable for their actions and women need more support networks in the industry.

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Meanwhile, feminist porn and ethical porn doesn’t suffer from these same problems because both center their work around the women performing in scenes. Both put consent first, and in the former’s case, this porn focuses primarily on the queer, trans, or female gaze. When porn lets its performers have a safe, welcoming, and affirming space that takes abuse allegations seriously, that leads to a healing and affirming sexual product. And that’s something that should be celebrated by feminists of all stripes.

https://twitter.com/bustybruiser/status/1004743865151078401

https://twitter.com/sarayasin/status/1004739781350313984

Rudy Giuliani, longstanding blowhard, thinks he has the right to tell feminists what to think and who to support. But he’s just a rusty lawyer that’s trying to discredit Daniels by suggesting porn stars forfeit their basic rights when they engage in sex work.

As feminists, it’s our duty to support sex workers across every single industry—and that means clearly condemning comments like Guiliani’s, for starters.

Ana Valens

Ana Valens

Ana Valens is an LGBTQ reporter and essayist for the Daily Dot. Her work has previously appeared in Bitch, the Establishment, Vice's Waypoint, Rolling Stone's Glixel, and the Toast. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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