In a publicity stunt worthy of Larry Flynt, Playgirl.com has just shot a layout of Levi Johnston (though recent word has it that he will not be giving the world "The Full Monty"). For those not familiar, he's the wayward father of Sarah Palin's new grandson, and player in the real-life soap opera that is the Wasila clan. Fleshbot, who was holding a Fleshbot Award ceremony right around this time, was quick to bestow him with a "Mainstream to Porn Crossover" Award.
Over at The Awl and the awsome Porn Perspectives, this news has segued into an interesting discussion of the decline of Playgirl magazine, mainly as a function of how they were unable to ever fully appeal to either a gay male or straight female audience, in no small part because it has long been a back-burner publication of some fairly low-end men's magazines. Porn Perspectives hopes for some publication to hit the niche Playgirl was originally supposed to hit, namely, a high-end porn publication or site with appeal to straight women.
Easier said than done – while its definitely the case that plenty of straight women look at porn, attempts from Playgirl to Candida Royalle to come up with something with broad appeal to straight women have never been entirely successful. This has been not only true of specific publications and film series, but even any attempt to come up with what "straight female porn" as a genre should look like.
'The Feminist Pornographer'
On a somewhat related note the Albequerque Weekly Alibi profiles Tristan Taormino. Contrary to the received wisdom in the feminist community, which seems to posit that feminist porn can only exist in complete opposition to "mainstream porn", Taorimino discusses how Vivid CEO Steven Hirsch has not interfered with her creative control, and the good working relationship she has with porn stars.
Liberal Feminist Porn Wars
Renegade Evolution, Natalia Antonova, and Anthony Kennerson have responded to Amanda Marcotte's kneejerk and snobbish response to Playboy model Joanna Krupa's statement about feminists. Now I will admit that Krupa definitely was provoking a response by calling out of feminists specifically, and was using a blanket argument about "empowerment" that's a bit simplistic. Still, the liberal feminist "big blogs" who chose to take the bait – Pandagon, Salon's Broadsheet, Bitch, and Feministing – definitely did not put their best foot forward in the least, largely acting with collective indigence that a mere porn model would have the temerity to question them, in several cases also blaming women like her for other women's body image issues. I don't think any of the major feminist blogs that responded had much of anything worthwhile to say, but Amanda Marcotte's response in Pandagon has perhaps drawn the most heat for sheer cultural snobbery and, once again, talking down her nose to sex workers. And certainly Marcotte, a latter-day yuppie if there ever was one, really doesn't have much business attacking somebody like Krupa for her particular path to upward mobility.
However, Natalia Antonova really scores a major win in my book for her followup post in defense of Sasha Grey. Natalia has saved me from writing an article, because she actually succeeds in making all the points I would have made regarding Sasha Grey and catty responses toward her:
Addendum: I had missed this, but a discussion of the Marcotte article came up on one of my favorite porn forums, the LezloveVideo Group. Nica Noelle of Sweetheart Video posted a particularly interesting comment that's well worth a read. This part was particularly quotable and pretty much sums up so much of what war wrong with the latest round of feminist commentary:
I like Sasha Grey. Not necessarily for high-falutin’ pseudo-intellectual reasons either. I think she’s really pretty, and she seems to be the type of person you could have a genuine conversation with, and that is really all I need.[....]
A lot of people have this smug response to Grey – “oooh, she thinks what she’s doing is art, girlfriend’s in denial, she has no idea WTF she’s talking about.” I think that what these people really want is for Grey to go on a popular talk show and completely break down, send mascara running down her cheeks, and tell everyone about how she really WAS in denial, how soulless and horrible and disgusting her life truly is, and how she’d rather do something more wholesome and fulfilling from now on – stock the shelves in a rural Mississippi Wal-Mart for minimum wage, maybe. I think what grates on everyone is that Grey appears to actually know exactly what it is that she’s doing, and that just doesn’t make sense. Porn stars aren’t supposed to act self-aware. If they do act self-aware, they’re supposed to be doe-eyed and apologetic. And if they’re not doe-eyed and apologetic, they certainly can’t appear to be smarter than you.
I will say that some feminists are very threatened by sexy women for reasons I can't understand. Some "feminists" have A LOT of very strange ideas, if you ask me. Calling yourself a "feminist" doesn't mean you're suddenly logical or reasonable or speaking for anyone other than yourself.Yep.
One for the Sex-Poz Basic Library
Anthony Kennerson reposts a blast from the past, Sheld0n Ranz's 1989 interview with Nina Hartley in the progressive Jewish zine Shmate. Its very in depth and is a very good exposition of Nina's ideas on sex-positive feminism. Reposted in 5 parts:
Nina Hartley SHMATE Interview by Sheldon Ranz — Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5