Women and porn just don’t mix?

Today, Salon published an article called “A Day At The Porn Palace”. Life on the other side of the lens is quite special, boys and girls…or, should I just say boys? The article, while fun in a voyeuristic, “let’s see what the naughty girlies are up to” type of way, also seems slanted to titillate a hetero male audience. Sex work is painted as being happy and sexually fulfilling, with eternally aroused women loving everything that they do to each other.

See, this is what I don’t get. This is the movies, folks…butt plug or no butt plug. Movies are slow- really, really slow. In porn, the ladies get tired; nerves are overstimulated; people get cranky and angst-ridden from being fondled or poked in the wrong way. The whole shoot couldn’t have sailed through entirely on this shallow level. So, why isn’t this article more honest? It almost looks like Stephen Elliot is out to assuage the male conscience or something by painting this hard, difficult work as some pleasure jaunt that exists solely to catch hot, eternally horny chicks getting off.

Take this passage, for instance:

For the climactic scene, Satine is gagged and tied with her legs held apart by a spreader bar, her head forward and her hair tied to the front of the trunk she’s squatting on. Donna places voice-activated electrodes on Satine’s ass so every time Satine moans she’s electrified. Meanwhile Donna slaps her between her legs with a cane.

Halfway through the shoot they have to stop because Satine is crying.

No crying is allowed in Kink.com videos.

“I’m sorry,” Satine says. “It just feels so good.”

Satine is the author’s pretty, dirty princess. She is illustrated as one-dimensional, fluffy, and flighty. It’s as if Elliot has projected his vision of a porn heroine onto this woman, rendering her about as real as the plastic dolls that you see bent over in any number of anonymously downloaded film clips. There are so many opportunities to deepen the reader’s perception of Satine. Soooo many. It hurts my feelings that he doesn’t take advantage of even one of them.

Between setups Satine and I talk about relationships. She recently broke up with her boyfriend who didn’t want her doing male-female porn. She wasn’t willing to give up control over her career. “I’m an exhibitionist,” Satine says. “I like it when people watch. And I like boy-girl scenes, I like fucking. This is who I am.”

(snip)

“I’m going to get a benefactor to pay for fake boobs,” [Satine] says. “It’s nice when someone will do that for you. I know people that have gotten $2,000 boobs but it’s not the kind of thing you want to save money on. A good boob job costs $10,000.”

Why leave us hanging, man? When I read stories about the realities of the porn industry, the best parts are where I connect with the humanity of the actors. Am I supposed to simply accept that she’s a goldigging airhead, then, who just lives for the moments that she’s poked with a cattle prod? I suppose I am, since the pussy doesn’t matter unless it’s howling and mewling happily. We don’t get much elaboration on why she chose this path (other than the sentence, “I’m just paying off bills…I was an alcoholic. My skin was fucked up all the time because of alcohol and coke. I haven’t had a drink in a year and a half”). The back-story that led to this downward spiral and redemption is probably fascinating, but there’s no evidence by the author that this story is of any importance. What is important is that she’s bound in tape, her hair wrapped around hooks, and her face contorted in grimaces of pain-filled joy.

What I can also tell you is that Satine’s hot, and that the domina of the film, Donna, is also hot.

I’m with Satine Phoenix, a model who flew in for the day from Los Angeles…She has skin the color of sand and long, thick black hair. She’s exotic, extraordinarily beautiful.

(snip)

In the dressing room with us is Princess Donna, the web mistress for Wired Pussy. Donna is effortlessly beautiful. She has long legs and thick black hair and big eyes that soak in her surroundings.

So, we have two beautiful women who are sex! kittens!, right? One of them has “benefactors” (read: johns paying for her time) that will make certain she has the best boobs money can buy. The other is a domina. That’s all you need to know. Donna forbids noise, sticks her hand in Satine’s ass, and tortures her. Donna runs the website. Satine jokes about her broken cooch. They’re hot. That’s all.

I’m going to also have to point out, as a woman who is exploring her sub side, that this all makes subbing seem very…I don’t know…shallow, as well? It’s almost like it’s not real play. Submission and domination is painted as something akin to getting a really good pedicure, or a first piercing:

[Donna] remembers her first bondage porn shoot. She was tied in a box with another woman, the other woman’s foot tied forcibly in Donna’s mouth.

“I love this job,” Donna says.

Donna asks, “Are you nervous, excited?”

Satine: “Yes. I’m excited.”

Donna: “What have you done since your last shoot with us?”

Satine: “I’ve played a lot in my personal life. Flogging. Rope bondage.”

Donna: “What do you like?”

Satine: “I like duct tape. I love hair pulling and I like being face slapped.”

Donna: “You do?”

“Oh, and I caught Chicken of the Sea tuna on sale, 2 for $2 at ShopRite. Better go get some.”

Is there this disconnect to shield the readers (and probable porn viewers) from the realities of sex work? The media seems to either gloss over these people’s lives, or they make them into downtrodden whores that live in a sad world of continual depravity. Reading between the lines, there is this overwhelming feeling that Elliot is assuaging his guilt over massaging his cock. Why else would you make sex work this shiny and happy? Granted, there are some really fun times to be had, but a lot of this stuff is WORK, as I’ve said before. I’ve never done films, but I know people who have. It’s just like any other job, and I’d be hard pressed to find an article about the run-of-the-mill office that was this merry in tone.

There is little here to appeal to the female reader, who is no doubt looking for common ground with these women. We indeed find out toward the end that the story is focused on men:

You may or may not be into electrified bondage, but if you’re male, chances are you’ve watched a porn or bought a dirty magazine in the past year. If you didn’t, look at your friends; they did.

Well, gee, I’ll remember than the next time I’m posting with my other online friends about the gay pr0n that we love to watch, then.

This might as well have been a puff piece for Stuff Magazine. The marginalization of women in porn, both viewer and star, won’t stop until the media takes steps to more fully illustrate the whole truth of the female erotic world. There is a lurking elephant in the corner that needs to be addressed: we can accept the virginal goddess, and we can accept the paid slut…but can society accept a fully sexual woman on her own terms?

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~ by isiskali on February 7, 2007.

One Response to “Women and porn just don’t mix?”

  1. Eh.. Do you have a sense of wonder about my cogent driver Good joke 🙂 Why does Santa Claus go down the chimney on Christmas Eve?Because it SOOTS him!

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