Monday, February 28, 2011

Porn, Porn, Porn

Politics is pretty dumb when you get down to it and the best way to understand the society we live in is through articles like this one, "Why Lesbian Port Is the Best," at Alternet. It focuses on Jincey Lumpkin, the creator of Juicy Pink Box, a lesbian pornography company.

The article is a really interesting take down of modern pornography as well, and, being a left-wing journal, looks more at the sociology of porn and comes to a none too shocking conclusion:

The epitome of straight porn is Bang Bros, a production company founded in 2000 that has 18 active porn sites and uses a “gonzo” filming style. It’s unclear if this “gonzo” style is real or not; Bang Bros Corp did not return my e-mails or phone calls to answer that question. Since Bang Bros don’t appear to be facing criminal investigation, it’s likely acted out, like “reality” TV.

One video I watched opens with a van and two men: one behind the camera, the other driving. They start talking to a young man and woman who are on their way to lunch. The cameraman asks a woman wearing a short mini skirt and a tight top if she usually dresses like “that” for work. She responds no, she was just picking up her paycheck. They ask her if she knows why they are filming her and she doesn't know. They look at the young guy, who looks a bit sheepish and says, “He didn't tell you?” The men laugh, and the woman looks confused.

At this point, nausea washes over me. The three actors finally get her in the van. It takes what felt like 30 minutes of laughter and awkwardness for the two men who approached the woman with the camera to finally tell her that they are a porn company and want to film her having sex with the man. Finally, they coax her into it. I almost had to turn it off because it made me so uncomfortable.

The video is a typical mainstream porno portraying the man and woman in the back of the van. I could say they had intercourse, but that doesn't quite feel right. She “gets it.” It's nauseating.

I'll be a completely honest man and say publicly that I have watched my share of porn. It releases tension, something men are just genetically endowed with in spades. I've only watched Bang Bros. a few times and, like the writer, I was a bit disgusted by it. The one time I watched it there was literally a scene in which the woman featured started to talk about where she came from (she was Puerto Rican) and the man in the scene interrupted and said, "Hey honey, I don't care where you come from. That's not why you're here." Yeah, and they make money off of that.

If you've ever seen The Big Lebowski (a film that literally seems to provide quotable logic for everything in life, like some sort of religious scripture), you'll know the character of Jackie Treehorn. Treehorn, while mixing a poisoned drink for Jeff Bridges' character, waxes about the decline of the porn industry. "Now that we're competing those amateurs, we can't afford to invest in little extras like story, production value, feelings."

That's why modern porn is really, really awful, with an average of five minutes, you're now looking at an industry filled with porn made in the style of a skateboarding video or an episode of Jackass. The description "adult entertainment" seems inappropriate, because there's nothing adult about it, and if you're an actual adult, it's probably not that entertaining.

Possibly because it's a feminist tinged article that she is writing, Lisa Gillespie went to the netherworld of Bang Bros. and didn't look at the strange product of Naughty America. Naughty America is a weird enterprise. They create pornographic movies that often weigh in at around half an hour and use the five minute viewing medium as promotion of their actual product.

Unlike BangBros, Naughty America flips the narrative script of porn. Instead of the man talking an unrelenting woman into having sex, which understandably made Gillespie very uncomfortable, the opposite occurs. Naughty America is filled with alpha females - feminists of the Nicki Minaj variety instead of the Maud Lebowski variety - who are often talking cowardly, recessive men into having sex with them. It's fantasy of course, as marketed porn generally is, but their product is one that seems far less tilted in the direction of extreme male fantasy.

Still, Naughty America is largely for a male audience, not a female one or even an equitable one,unlike the product that Lumpkin produces:

“The mainstream industry excludes male homosexuality, puts straight male desire in charge of female homosexuality, whilst the straight woman is just a reflection of the male desire, not showing own feelings, desires, wishes, decisions, except for serving straight male needs for a ridiculously unrealistic stereotype of manhood and male desire,” Lust says. “So as I didn't see myself in those porn films, I also thought that there must be a lot of men quite bored with those dull images. I figured that if I wanted a different [kind of] porn, I had to do it myself.”

She produces longer films, usually at least an hour long (porn these days is usually no more than five minutes long) with actors paired with other actors of the both sexes. She says she recognizes that men also have a need for more realistic and less objectifying porn.

“Less and less people are willing to buy their low quality films as you get this stuff for free on the net quite easily, while more and more people discover our productions,” Lust says. “For a female audience, there needs to be female characters to identify with that realistically are driven by desires and wishes that real women have. It's more balanced; it's like objectifying and being objectified: giving and taking. Like it is in sex: you give pleasure, and you get your share.”


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