Following on from these two posts last year (and better late than never!), below is a summery of the notes I took at the time while viewing the two-part documentary.
One of the main themes of docs was how ‘family friendly’ mainstream companies profited from porn, with mobile phone companies now one of the main purveyors of pornography, and search engines such as Google making money from advertising porn, and Visa/Mastercard profiting from sex industry transactions. What was also highlighted was how these companies were secretive about these profits, not offering breakdowns in there accounts as to where exactly the money was coming from (a ‘forensic accountant’ was engaged to investigate!).
There was also a section on how pirated copies of pornography were readily available in developing countries, and how they were altering the culture there (this is covered already here).
What I’d like to concentrate on though, is the accounts from the women and men working in the LA sex industry, and what this demonstrates about the nature of this huge industry.
In the first documentary the film crew went to a shoot for Anabolic. The unnamed woman performer said that she was still in pain from the porn shoot the day before; the director said it was “work not fun” and the performers did not make a lot of money.
There were no condoms used. The, also unnamed, male performer said he would prefer condoms, but “nobody wants that.”
Sharon Mitchell of the AIM clinic said that only one major company (Wicked) was still using condoms after the HIV outbreak that caused a temporary shutdown of the porn industry in 2004. Male performer Randy Spears said he has no confidence in HIV testing as a method to prevent transmission in the industry.
One unnamed male performer said that all the men were on Viagra, because the violent nature of what they were being asked to do made it difficult for them to get aroused. He had to use lubricant all the time (because the women weren’t aroused either), he had been puked on (whether this was a deliberate part of the performance or an unintended consequence isn’t clear), and he had only worked with a tiny number of ‘girls’ where it was not the case that “before a scene they were crying in the bathroom.”
Performer Nikki Jayne was interviewed. She said that her first film had involved simultaneous multiple penetrations, and she described “porn girls” as “guinea pigs for people at the top.” She wanted to get into producing (and therefore away from being in front of the camera), because she was not happy with the way she was treated.
There was another interview with Barbie Bucks, who had ‘worked’ with Max Hardcore (who has now been found guilty under obscenity laws). She described him as a “total psycho” who “doesn’t let you go.” She also described how, before a shoot, she was obliged to eat food that “comes up chunky”, and that during “your throat bleeds, you vomit.” She also said that she was “scared at the start [of the shoot] and scared all the way through,” and that “[you] can’t say no.”
For more on conditions in the LA porn industry, see:
My fears for all Felicities [EDIT: link updated]
the sexual sadism of our culture.
[…] is no reason to think that there is anything unique about any of the above. A blanket statement like ‘they chose to be there’ is meaningless. The […]
I loathe Max Hardcore. I loathe him. He is the epitome of every women’s worst nightmare. I know he spent time in prison, but that is not enough. He HATES women. Now, I am a Feminist, and anti-pornography. I have a question that I have never gotten an answer for: Why oh why do these girls and women DO porn if they hate it so much, and it makes them cry, etc. It makes my blood boil to read about women and girls in pain (let alone sexual pain), but I want to know. I know money is a big issue, but there are many other routes to take in the sex industry besides horrible, nightmarish hardcore porn films. They could be a daner, escort, masseuse, work at a peep show, phone sex operator, etc. I realize some of these women and girls have severe drug habits. I understand most have been molested, sexually abused, or/and emotionally or physically abused in their lives. I know they also probably have low self esteem. I have heard about what goes on in hardcore porn, and am afraid to watch it. Max Hardcore sucks, and is the most disturbing, from what I have heard..I’d never put myself through that. I am not talking about sex trafficked women and girls who are forced to be in this sick business. I’m talking abut the ladies who willingly move to California, get an agent, and actually seek out work in this field.
I’m not sure the ‘ladies’ you describe actually exist in any large number. Even Sasha Gray [EDIT: broken link removed] left as a ‘veteran’ after three years.
I think a lot of women go into the porn industry thinking it’s glamorous, or even fun, and that they will do ‘mainstream’ stuff and be famous, and then they get emotionally manipulated and worn down by their manager/pimps and the directors.
(I’d recommend reading the ‘my fears for all felicities’ link above [EDIT read here], to get an idea of the pressure women are under in the industry, but I’ve noticed the link is broken. Luckily I save these things, so can post it on this blog.)
The pay per hour is better than most of the other branches of the sex industry you mentioned – a stripper can end up in debt after a slow night as they basically have to pay to work.
Drug addicts don’t actually make very good employees, brothels want women who will do all-night shifts with out being obviously high, a few hours on a porn set may be ‘easier’ (for all kinds of reasons) than a ‘full-time’ job in a brothel or massage parlor.
Also, in LA at least, porn basically acts as an advert for the performers, who have to also prostitute in order to survive financially, and most women don’t last very long in the industry, six months is a figure I’ve heard more than once.
[…] noticed yesterday, when commenting on this thread, that the Evening Standard article My fears for all Felicities; doesn’t seem to be up there […]
Not letting a performer “say no” is RAPE, plain and simple. I wish I could tie Max Hardcore up and cut his balls off…