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Maggie Gyllenhaal: Porn Is an 'Art Form... I Spend No Time Moralizing About It'

Maggie Gyllenhaal attending the National Board of Review Gala in New York City.

Their glorification of Hugh Hefner should be proof enough that Hollywood hates women. Not content to leave any doubt in anyone's mind, the industry consistently objectifies women and then brags about it. In a current example, Maggie Gyllenhaal glorifies the abuse of women in her latest TV show, and then calls pornography "art" when asked by the media.

Known for her roles in The Dark Knight, Nanny McPhee Returns, and Secretary, Maggie Gyllenhaal is currently starring in HBO's The Deuce. A TV show set in 1971 on a New York City street known for pimps, prostitutes, and strip shows, The Deuce focuses on the growth of the pornography industry in New York City. The show's writer David Simon says The Deuce is "about the commodification of women."

Simon's statement is interesting, if not hypocritical because the show itself engages in the "commodification of women" through the frequent exploitation of the naked bodies of young actresses. Maggie Gyllenhaal, who may be best known for allowing herself to be exploited on camera in Secretary, a movie about a masochist, plays a prostitute in The Deuce.

When asked about her response to a role that requires so much nudity, Gyllenhaal laughed to a reporter for The Guardian.

"'You know, I spent no time moralising it. I am pretty comfortable with it," she said. "I have never been very shy about my body, and this is something I really believe in."

She continued, "This is so silly, but the only place I have felt shy is imagining those people who I see when I pick up my kids from school watching it. And I have to be honest and say that I don’t think I ate any bread at all while I was making this show. When you know you are going to have to wear very short shorts all summer long, you don’t."

Gyllenhaal's flippant attitude toward The Deuce's exploitation of her body is further evidenced as she romanticizes the sex industry. Speaking of Annie Sprinkle, a porn actor and prostitute sent her way to help with her research for the role, Gyllenhaal tells the reporter,

"Annie said that sex work then really had a different feeling about it than now," nods Gyllenhaal. 'That they were just coming out of the 1960s, and there was a celebration of freedom. People had this idea that they were smoking pot and making love." Similarly, [Gyllenhaal's] ideas about pornography were transformed. "I thought of all pornography the same way, and what I realised is that pornography is an art form. And that there are actresses who are very proud of what they did in pornography."

That research and "education" allowed Gyllenhaal to realize that her character "thinks of herself as an artist."

Pornography and prostitution are directly connected to sex trafficking. There is nothing artistic about the violent exploitation of women. By romanticizing the sex trade, much less actively exploiting the actresses, Maggie Gyllenhaal and the producers of The Deuce are complicit in the continued oppression of women.