05/09/2012 01:53 EDT | Updated 07/09/2012 05:12 EDT

CHANGE MY MIND: Should Modern Women Feel Empowered by S&M Porn?


With the recent popularity of Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James -- a book which focuses on the relationship between a recent college graduate, and a young businessman with a sexual penchant for BDSM -- people are asking themselves whether this is a topic that empowers the modern woman, or is a fantasy which promotes their degradation and exploitation.

Are ropes, chains and handcuffs in the bedroom the literal shackles of sexism? Or do they represent an enlightened sense of self and choice amongst modern women?

Should we, as a society, accept this particular fetish as being a powerful tool for women to assert themselves today, or should we stand in opposition to it, and denounce it as not only a patriarchal construct, but a violent and demeaning one as well?

Erika Lust, an award-winning erotic director and writer, and Dawn Hawkins, executive director of Porn Harms and Morality in Media, wrestle over the issue below. Who changes your mind?