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Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
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35 Responses

  1. Hugo
    Hugo January 22, 2007 at 7:12 pm |

    As articulate a summary of one aspect of what’s so fundamentally wrong with porn as could be asked for, Jill. Thanks.

  2. Anne
    Anne January 22, 2007 at 7:47 pm |

    Awww, those poor dudes. Where do I send my donation?

  3. Heliologue
    Heliologue January 22, 2007 at 7:59 pm |

    Considering the last few years’ trend toward voyeurism, I’m actually somewhat surprised this is an issue. It seems as though the porn industry’s “gonzo” approach to filmmaking has already broken down some of the barriers between plastic goddesses and real women with cellulite and acne–albeit real women with cellulite and acne who will felch on-camera.

    I guess what I’m saying is: I was under the impression that porn had taken a decidedly wicked twist from a pasttime wherein fake-looking women were objectified through sex to one where relatively flawed, girl-next-door types ran a gauntlet of ever-more-degrading perversions. This article is a surprise to me….. but it’s also not as though I expect the NYTimes to be spot on with its porn radar.

  4. Lis Riba
    Lis Riba January 22, 2007 at 8:10 pm |

    Only tangentially related, but we just saw Stranger than Fiction in second run.

    Emma Thompson elected to wear no makeup for the role (as a reclusive and eccentric novelist). I wouldn’t’ve known if I hadn’t seen it mentioned. Just a datapoint regarding what is and isn’t noticeable visually…

  5. JW
    JW January 22, 2007 at 8:24 pm |

    When I heard about the craze for HD, I wondered what effect this would have on porn. I should have known that it would result in an even greater lurch towards a celebration of all things plastic, rather than a step towards understanding women as humans. A huge proportion of technological (audio/visual/digital) leaps can be credited to the Quest for Porn, and women’s bodies just keep getting thrown under the bus. Goddammit.

  6. mythago
    mythago January 22, 2007 at 8:35 pm |

    Pretty soon they’ll just swtich to live porn being mo-cap and they’ll overlay weirdly flawless virtual models.

  7. Mnemosyne
    Mnemosyne January 22, 2007 at 8:38 pm |

    I still remember that a guy I knew in college almost broke down in tears when I mentioned that they Photoshopped the models in Playboy. (To be fair, he hadn’t turned 21 yet, so he was just a little whippersnapper.)

    It’s sad how much some men still want to believe there’s such a thing as perfection.

  8. Heliologue
    Heliologue January 22, 2007 at 8:51 pm |

    I still remember that a guy I knew in college almost broke down in tears when I mentioned that they Photoshopped the models in Playboy.

    O_o

    Some people’s children….

  9. Henry
    Henry January 22, 2007 at 9:27 pm |

    Not to be a dick, but isn’t a “perfect” depiction of women and sex kind of the point for porn? People pay for the fantasy.

    Of course, I freely admit that popular images in movies, tv and porn have given me completely unrealistic expectations of female beauty. It’s a character flaw I’m working on.

  10. Bolo
    Bolo January 22, 2007 at 10:55 pm |

    Pretty soon they’ll just swtich to live porn being mo-cap and they’ll overlay weirdly flawless virtual models.

    I was just thinking that. It will happen. They’ll create a “perfect” standard of unattainable beauty.

    Not to be a dick, but isn’t a “perfect” depiction of women and sex kind of the point for porn? People pay for the fantasy.

    Maybe, but if that fantasy then ruins the subsequent realty:

    I freely admit that popular images in movies, tv and porn have given me completely unrealistic expectations of female beauty.

    Then perhaps that shouldn’t be the point of porn. If it does you more harm than good (subjective, I know), then its time to change the point of it.

  11. ako
    ako January 23, 2007 at 12:37 am |

    Not to be a dick, but isn’t a “perfect” depiction of women and sex kind of the point for porn? People pay for the fantasy.

    The point of porn is to get people sexually excited. That sounds obvious, but there’s an important distinction.

    A big part of it is selling fantasies, but the image of perfect beauty you see in porn isn’t as natural a part of most men’s fantasies as you might think. There’s some degree of being biologically inclined to perfer certain things, but historical and cultural standards of beauty vary on many things. A trace of cellulite, a bit of hair that’s not on the head, and a lot of things that are probably making you go “Eeew!” right now would be in place on a “perfect” women for many cultures and many men. But with the women in pornography held to an increasingly standardized replica of homogenous attractiveness, the videos aren’t just offering guys a fantasy of their perfect women. They’re telling guys, “This is what a desireable woman looks like.”

    That’s rather hard on the women, few of whom could fit that ideal even if we were all in careers where looking good naked was our biggest professional concern. It’s also not exactly great to train guys up to chase a particular image that isn’t out there in real life, and make them feel unworthy if they’re involved with a woman of a different, ‘lesser’ physical type.

    And none of that is essential to producing an arousing video that appeals to the average person, or the average man.

  12. Mike
    Mike January 23, 2007 at 2:12 am |

    So what’s our great discovery here?

    That it took decades and decades of culteral and technological “advances” to come right back to great-grandma’s
    admonition that ‘…….. leaves nothing to the imagination’?

    Thanks HDTV, except that now we have been rendered incapable of imagination anyway.

  13. Hawise
    Hawise January 23, 2007 at 8:15 am |

    But, Mousie, thou art no thy lane,
    In proving foresight may be vain:
    The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men’
    Gang aft agley,
    An’ lea’e us nought but grief and pain
    For promis’d joy!

    My borrowed 2 cents.

  14. Nomie
    Nomie January 23, 2007 at 10:08 am |

    Hawise, I doubt Robbie ever expected his poem to be applied in quite this fashion…

    …but it made me laugh.

  15. Frumious B
    Frumious B January 23, 2007 at 11:35 am |

    Not to be a dick, but isn’t a “perfect” depiction of women and sex kind of the point for porn? People pay for the fantasy.

    The point of porn is to get people sexually excited. That sounds obvious, but there’s an important distinction.

    I would argue that the fantasy is integral to the excitement. “Pornotopia” is how my lit prof named it. He neglected to mention that it is only pornotopia for men.* The women are beautiful and always willing, the men are not attractive enough to be threatening, birth control is not necessary, and STD’s don’t exist. Nothing interrupts the flow from “man sees woman” to “man sticks penis in woman.” That’s fantasy, my friend.

    *in the world of straight porn for straight people

  16. Bolo
    Bolo January 23, 2007 at 12:59 pm |

    Ding ding ding! I declare Frumious B to be the winner! That is the most concise, spot-on summary of most of the porn world I’ve ever seen.

  17. Susan
    Susan January 23, 2007 at 1:49 pm |

    JW:

    women’s bodies just keep getting thrown under the bus

    Actually, it was fairly clear to me from reading the article that at least some of them are flinging themselves under that bus.

  18. David K
    David K January 23, 2007 at 2:33 pm |

    Actually, it was fairly clear to me from reading the article that at least some of them are flinging themselves under that bus.

    Yes, but the women are only doing so to fit the body image mandated by the porn industry. The acts of exercising, dieting and submitting to surgical revision of breat implants are less a matter of free agency on the part of the women than a response to the imperative set by men. To say that they are flinging themselves under the bus is equivalent to saying the baseball hurls itself toward home plate. It’s a close-cropped snapshot that excludes the action of the pitcher.

  19. Peter
    Peter January 23, 2007 at 3:23 pm |

    *in the world of straight porn for straight people

    Thank you.

    And can we also remember that even if we can accurately apply sweeping generalizations to all straight porn, that it doesn’t necessarily follow that it applies to all men, or even just to all men who buy porn?

  20. Morgan
    Morgan January 23, 2007 at 3:59 pm |

    wow. what a world.

    although i have to say, i read about a thousand romance novels from age 10-15 or so, and i am still able to have romantic and sexual relationship with a (real) man. most guys i know love the fantasy/perfect porn, and yet have relationships with real women.

    having said that, i think it’s f*&^ed that he won’t let that poor gal have her carbs. after a day of self-abasement, i’d check out with a bagel, too.

  21. Aura Kitten
    Aura Kitten January 23, 2007 at 7:14 pm |

    dammit, where’s that head-smashing-into-wall emoticon when you need it??

    JW, Frumious B and Henry all said some things i think need to be repeated.

    i am yet another person who had held the vain hope that HD would bring us to a state of mind in which we as consumers are more accepting of the naturally flawed human body… but alas, apparantly this is not the case.

  22. Borderline Crazy
    Borderline Crazy January 24, 2007 at 4:43 am |

    But … but … it’s just porn. Who the hell gets their idealistic picture of beauty from porn? So what if the girls tits are bouncing oddly? Just get your rocks off and be on your merry way. If a small non-perfection only seen by the eyes on the HD camera and TV are enough to turn you off then maybe it’s time to turn off the porno, close your eyes and imagine your ideal fantasy comming to life. Blemish free . . . The fact that HD porn is a problem to some makes me wanna smack somebody. As for the “directors” wanting their girls to trim up in a few areas, that just comes with the territory. Dont like it or think it’s unfair? Then stop whoring yourself out and do something productive instead.

  23. Vera Venom
    Vera Venom January 24, 2007 at 7:32 am |

    “i am yet another person who had held the vain hope that HD would bring us to a state of mind in which we as consumers are more accepting of the naturally flawed human body… but alas, apparantly this is not the case. ”

    But, didn’t you read the article? People watch porn for “personal contact” and they want to see what’s “real”. *snicker*

    “Real” to the porn industry must mean “as artifical as possible”.

  24. Rick DeMent
    Rick DeMent January 24, 2007 at 9:14 am |

    To extend just a bit what Frumious B was talking about the fact is that both genders tend to indulge in the “fantasy” of sex. While men tend to like their fantasy more visually focused, women tend to indulge in novels that portray a rather two dimensional vision of romance (which in this narrow context is really “sex”) that is every bit as unrealistic and contrived as the most surgically “enhanced” body and diffused focus can deliver.

    And don;t even get me started on typical mainstream depictions of sex.I mean it’s always in the context of some intense “love” framework, almost always a situation where the couple simply can’t help themselves ans must surrender any free will to the power of their attraction for each other. The couple moves effortlessly, clothes are never entangles, bra hooks magically unsnap, zippers never get stuck. The “lovemaking” is highly choreographed in sync with the most dramatic music and the camera angles always blocked to enhance the physical beauty of the whole act.

    Now contrast this to “real life” where typically uncoordinated people have to start and stop the whole process because they need to get a condom, lub … when clothes suddenly become strait jackets that will simply not come off, where less then perfect bodies rarely entwine in poses that are anything other then ridiculously contorted, and where people sometimes fart.

    Let’s face it, no one really wants to see anything that that even approaches “real sex” and if you do, go rent John Cameron Mitchell’s film, Shortbus where people have sex that look like real people having sex (and frankly it ain’t all that sexy), not actors trying to “look good’ having sex.

    The point is that while the posters point about the pathetic whining of porn fans having their fantasies ripped apart by the appearance of real people being shown in HD is perfectly valid, the fact is that most people consume entertainment to be entertained and for the most part reality tends to make things less entertaining.

  25. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub January 24, 2007 at 10:13 am |

    You know, they goddamn well should set some standards for men in porn. Ron Jeremey looked like a fucking hedgehog. You can’t have not-so-hot guys in porn and demand the chicks be perfect, and then blather on and on about how women just aren’t visually oriented or sexual. It’s a nice, passive-aggressive way to justify entitlement, but it’s not reality.

  26. Vera Venom
    Vera Venom January 24, 2007 at 12:28 pm |

    “While men tend to like their fantasy more visually focused, women tend to indulge in novels that portray a rather two dimensional vision of romance ”

    Could we stuff more inane stereotypes into one sentence. I’m sure we could work in “boys will be boys” and a “girls wear pink” in there too.
    ;)

    “You can’t have not-so-hot guys in porn and demand the chicks be perfect, and then blather on and on about how women just aren’t visually oriented or sexual. It’s a nice, passive-aggressive way to justify entitlement, but it’s not reality. ”

    BINGO.

  27. Fran
    Fran January 25, 2007 at 3:00 am |

    So Sheelzebub,
    What should be the standards that “they” set for men? Didn’t like the hedgehog look? What kind of men would you like to see?

  28. zuzu
    zuzu January 25, 2007 at 1:40 pm | *

    “Hot” would be a start, Fran.

    Duh.

  29. Nobody
    Nobody January 26, 2007 at 3:03 am |

    If there were more of a market for pretty boy straight porn, there’d be more of it. Men buy most porn (for whatever reason); straight men tend to be indifferent to the physical beauty of the male objects (with the exception that there’s a market for extraordinarily large, um, reproductive appendages; it’s not really beauty, but it’s of a piece with giant weirdly-shaped breasts). Porn is largely crap. Maybe exclusively, I’m not sufficiently well versed to know. The talent isn’t picked for the content of its character, so I don’t have much sympathy over their having to endure what are morally neutral, if not particularly noble, job requirements.

    To me, there’s more moral fodder in the specialization. Relatively pretty women can make money doing low risk, mainstream porn. Less attractive women end up doing the circus act, woman-hater stuff, like simultaneous, multiple insertions into any given orifice. The woman who went by the name Laura Roxx ended up with HIV because she wasn’t pretty enough to get a vanilla porn gig. That’s an extreme example, but the physical toll of gonzo porn generally is a little horrifying. Leaving aside how horrifying the market it caters to is.

  30. Fran
    Fran January 26, 2007 at 11:04 pm |

    Nobody,
    You bring up a subset of porn that few here will deny deny as horrifying. You stuck your neck out on this site, however, by alluding it having a ‘moral’ dimension. Kudos to you.

  31. Fran
    Fran January 27, 2007 at 4:54 pm |

    Moral? Philosphical is a better way to describe it, and that’s being generous. Usually philosphy also addresses the responsibilities that come with rights. What we’re more likely to get here “all the time” is hateful mockery and over-the-top sarcasm (quite funny at times in a stand-up comedic sort of way), that follows a desperate, frantic attempt to find kooks at the opposite end of the spectrum to react against.

    Plus there’s all the goddam cats.

  32. zuzu
    zuzu January 27, 2007 at 5:00 pm | *

    Fran, if you don’t like it here, you’re welcome to fuck right the hell off.

    And what cats? We haven’t done Friday cat blogging in a long time.

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