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Ron Jeremy Goes to Dartmouth

DARTMOUTH — The issue of sex isn’t new for a college campus, but the presence of one the adult film industry’s biggest stars and an anti-pornography activist helped bring the discussion to a climax.

Susan G. Cole, senior entertainment and books editor for Canadian news and entertainment weekly NOW Magazine, and pornography film veteran Ron Jeremy argued their case about the impacts of pornography on society during the second installment of the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth debate series on sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll.

In opening the debate, Cole told the packed Main Auditorium that pornography has made it harder to stop violence against women while also exploiting them for sex and money.

She said of the thousands of women who have worked in the pornography film industry, only a few have become successful.

“We should do all we can to show women as human beings — porn doesn’t do that,” Cole said.

In rebuttal, Jeremy said the problem is one that lies in mainstream Hollywood, saying that the few women who get the break to appear as an extra in a mainstream film or attempt to break into a profession such as modeling are often only able to make their mark by sleeping with a modeling recruiter or a film producer first.

He argued that rather than being viewed as dehumanizing, pornography should instead be viewed as “consenting adults having consenting sex. Nothing more, nothing less.”

He said the pornography film industry has actually worked to stop fringe niches such as child pornography and bestiality out of the genre’s mainstream, and that hard-core violence has no place in the mainstream pornographic film industry.

He countered Cole’s claims that pornography films encourage violence, arguing that many R-rated films contain much more violence, often of a sexual nature.

While the differing views of Cole and Jeremy were apparent throughout the night, the first question from a UMass Dartmouth student showed just how opposed the two are on the impacts of pornography.

After the girl asked for Cole and Jeremy’s thoughts on why woman want to be called “whores or bitches” in the bedroom, Jeremy responded that he liked the way she said it, to which Cole groaned in disbelief and chastised her opponent for treating the girl with such an answer.

“I have no problem with women wanting (sex), but to have to put it in pornographic terms, I have a problem with that,” Cole said. “When I hear women saying things like that, I feel like we have thrown in the towel.”

In a more serious response, Jeremy argued that he sees it as nothing more than role playing between two people, adding that there is no place for using the same language about women outside of the bedroom.

Along with debating some of the questions from students, both Cole and Jeremy also took a few direct questions, including one that led Jeremy to discuss the type of women that typically go into the pornography film business.

Despite popular belief, Jeremy said, the industry does not attract women who are addicted to drugs or have a past history of sexual abuse. Instead, it opts for women who are willing to work on a schedule and treat the job as work.

“We don’t want any sad stories in porn,” Jeremy said.

In responding to a question later in the debate, Cole said she had heard enough about “women stripping in bars to get a sociology degree” and that in the end, the pornography film industry has “chewed up and spat out thousands of girls.”

“Pornography provides women with a lot of attention, but that’s not the same as true power,” Cole said. “I’m disturbed that people see women in porn as having freedom.”

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