Former Porn Actress Jan Meza interviewed on JMC Live
(starting point, est. 9 minutes, 43 seconds)
[To get through porn performing and prostituting] I put my subconscious on a shelf. I just didn’t even think about it. That was the only way to get through it, [it] was pure survival mode. … . It was just something that was innate, it was in my nature to survive no matter what, and to provide for my children no matter what. I didn’t want to become a victim of The State, I didn’t want to end up in a homeless shelter. I didn’t want to experience those things that I had experienced as a child. And I was willing to do anything and everything, obviously, to make sure that that didn’t happen. … My journey into the porn industry was justified by my desperation to feed my children, that was the bottom line, I was desperate.
When I got into the porn industry I had no idea of the type of monster I was about to enter into. There was no formal education about the industry. There was no Free Speech Coalition there to protect me, protect my rights, and explain the porn industry and how it works. The Adult Medical, AIM as it was, was a complete joke. I mean, they gave me such a false sense of security as to what I was going to be tested for and what I was going to be exposed to that I just really had no clue. And I am an intelligent woman. I’m not going to say that I was totally naïve. Yeah, I knew that I was going to be selling my body for money on film but I had no idea about the different amounts of abuse(s) that goes on behind the scene(s). I didn’t know about the emotional, and mental, and physical abuse that went on behind the scene(s).
I got into the porn industry and it was crazy. I had to constantly be this character. This demonic Elizabeth Rollings. I lost sight of Jan Meza, I lost sight of who she really was. I didn’t know who I was anymore. I wasn’t a good parent, I wasn’t a good mother in the form of being there for my kids even though I justified what I was doing in order to take care of them. I was constantly driving from Las Vegas to California in order to do films and sometimes I would fly to New York and other states. Basically wherever the money was is where I went. And I just lost track of days and times, and started going into parties and then you have to spend all the money that you get on living up to this persona that everybody thinks you’re supposed to be; this glamorous lifestyle that doesn’t exist.
Porn is not glamorous. It’s not some great fantasy lifestyle that you’re living. It’s hell, it’s hell on Earth. Producers started using me, they wanted me to have sex with them …, the agents wanted me to have sex with them …, it was all just a big game to them. They didn’t care [about] the destruction that they were wreaking in your life. They didn’t care what you went through personally, as long as they made a dollar off of you, that was all they cared about. Their bottom line was that you were bringing them in money and the minute that you started giving them a hard time about that, or standing up for your rights, or saying, ‘But, isn’t this the way that you should be treating me?’, you’re out, you were blacklisted and you were never going to be able to work again. And to any girl who’s desperate for money, especially if she’s a single mom, you’re going to want to keep making those paychecks.
And so, it just came to a point where I couldn’t handle it anymore. I was numb. I was void. I was tired. I didn’t know if I was Elizabeth Rollings or Jan Meza, from one day to the next and so I just started drinking, and smoking pot, taking painkillers. … It’s not like drugs and alcohol are ever hard to come by [in the porn industry]. [Porn] producers and agents always have it ready on the set. As soon as I got there, ‘Oh, do you need something to drink?’, ‘Do you need some bud?’, ‘What do you need? What do you need to relax?’. And they also use that as a tool to get more scenes out of the girl(s).
A lot of the time they [porn producers] tell you that you’re going to go to the scene to do just, like, a simple boy-girl. You get there and it’s some kind of hardcore, anal, gang-bang. And if you don’t do it, guess what? You’re not going to get paid. So any girl who wants that money, again, she’s going to do what they’re telling her to.
… They want to keep their abuses secretive. People only see that 30 to 40 minute finished product. They don’t see the 3 to 4 hours that goes on behind the scenes and what these girls are physically and mentally and emotionally having to go through, and sometimes the men too, in order to make this money.
… I have never once, in my entire time in the [porn] industry, had an orgasm. It’s all fake. There’s scenes that they call squirter scenes, it’s just so, um, – fake, in the industry, I mean, that’s all the industry is. It’s a fake, made-up, lie in order to make money. People do not care, people in the porn industry: the producers, the agents, the companies, they do not care about human value. They don’t care about the pornstars, they don’t care about the porn actors, they don’t care about the porn addict. All they care about is that you’re making them money. They don’t care [about] what porn does to a person’s life.
There were so many times where I was in pain and the producer would actually just stop the scene and say, ‘Okay, look. We don’t need you to show that you’re in pain. We need you to make it more believable. We need you to make it so that people know you’re enjoying yourself. So, instead of saying ‘Ow’ or stopping the scene, just moan harder, just moan louder.’ And any kind of safeword that anybody thinks you can use in the porn industry is a total lie too. There is no safewords [in porn], they will just keep rolling* (i.e: filming*), they don’t care how much pain you’re in. They don’t care if they split you. They don’t care if they cut you, if they bruise you. They don’t care what happens to you. You’re nothing but a product to them. And they’re going to just keep using that product until it’s no good anymore.
… [In the porn industry] You’re a slave. There’s no way to sugarcoat it. There’s no easier way of saying it. You’re nothing more than a slave. Everybody has a price on their head, some people get paid more, some people get paid less. You’re not a person, you have no real name. You’re just an object, you’re just that point of fantasy that people can relate to but it’s not real. These porn addicts don’t understand what these people are going through and they don’t care because all they care about is what they see and believe on camera to be real, and it’s far from the truth.
… What started as [my] breaking point was the gang-bang scene that I did. I did a 25-guy gang-bang scene, and people right away would be like, ‘Oh my god, holy crap! I would never allow myself to be put through that.’ But I was so far gone already into alcohol and drugs and wanting to numb out and void myself of the lifestyle that I was living, the job that I had because, I mean, it is a job. When the agent and producer came to me, approached me, about the movie they basically played it off as like, ‘Look, you’re going to get $4,000 to do the scene. We’re going to pay you this money, but you’re not going to actually have to sleep with all 25 guys.’ And then the preparation that I actually had to go through for this scene; I didn’t know what to expect because I had never before done anything like that, especially not in my private life even though I was married before.
[In preparation for the gang-bang scene] I had to cleanse my body. So basically I just kept taking colon cleansers. I didn’t eat, I just kept drinking alcohol. I just wanted to numb myself completely. I got completely high. And what’s so funny about the porn industry is that they will film you and they will ask you if you are well aware of what you’re about to participate in, and every single person, of course, is going to say ‘Yes.’ But I guarantee you, at least 90% of those people that say ‘Yes’ are high, or doped up on something, or have been drinking, or have no idea where they’re even at that day.
When I got there [for filming] the producer basically told me, ‘Well, I know I said you weren’t going to have to sleep with these guys, but we’re just going to make it look good.’ And they just kept saying that, ‘We’re going to make it look good.’ He told the guys to, ‘You’re going to respect her,’ and all this other stuff, ‘When she says stop, just stop.’ But nobody did.
… After the scene is done and I’ve just slept with 25 guys, and I’ve been hit, I’ve been punched, I’ve been slapped around, my hair is crazy, and I am miserable, I am in pain even being high. I just wanted to get the hell out of there. All these guys are coming up to me saying, can they take their picture with me. And I’m like, okay, wait a minute: So here I am laying in body fluids, covered from head-to-toe, and these guys are coming up to me, these so-called professionals who have been in the industry for so long are coming up to me and asking me for my picture and I’m like, ‘Why?’ Well, I come to find out, after the scene, that these guys, most of them, weren’t actually people who had worked in the industry, they weren’t employees. They were people who had been answering an ad to come and sleep with their favorite pornstar, and I was devastated. I mean, devastated isn’t even the right word. I was petrified because I’m thinking, oh-my-god, what did I just get? That was my first thought, ‘Did I just get AIDS?’, ‘What did I just open myself up to?’ because I trusted this agent and this porn company to do their jobs and to protect me like they said they were going to. Who knows, I mean, that’s probably the day that I did get herpes, but thank God it wasn’t something worse. And that was the breaking point for me.
I couldn’t go to the bathroom right after that for like, two weeks. I couldn’t even walk right. I didn’t even want to get out of bed for the next couple of days. I didn’t want to move. I was just sick to my stomach of what just had happened.
(excerpt ending point, est. 24 minutes, 8 seconds)
The disturbing world of teen porn, in which thousands of 18- and 19-year-old girls have sex on camera for money, is exposed in a documentary premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.
Hot Girls Wanted tells the true stories of a group of them, mostly naive small-town girls enticed by the promise of money and fame in the bright lights of Florida or California.
The reality is, of course, far less rosy: they typically last less than six months in the game, before either their parents find out, or the industry tires of them, constantly seeking “fresh meat”.
“It’s the Wild West,” director Jill Bauer told AFP after the movie was screened at the independent film showcase festival in the Utah mountain resort of Park City.
“Anyone can make a video. Any producer can go online and recruit a girl on [the small ads website] craigslist. You just need to prove that you’re 18 years old, but anybody can do it and its art, protected by the First Amendment, freedom of speech.”
The girls involved are typically working minimum wage jobs straight out of high school and see adverts like “Hot Girls Wanted” on craigslist.com as “a ticket to freedom, adventure and their dream of instant fame”.
“This really is a perfect storm … for these girls you take, say, 18-year-old, impulsive, and you mix it with (instant online) access and no decent sex education,” she said.
Bauer and Gradus hope the film will trigger a debate about possible changes in the law: either in labour laws, where appropriate, or possibly through forcing porn producers to get licences with strict rules.
The film is punctuated with startling onscreen facts about this type of porn, including that the websites involved garner an average of 41 million hits a month, more than many mainstream websites including CNN and Disney.com.
Banner ads like “Latina Abuse” and “18 & Abused” pop up like on a computer screen, to a thumping soundtrack.
Perhaps the grimmest segment of the film concerns extreme videos: the most disturbing one focuses on so-called “facial abuse” – forced oral sex – which new girls find themselves drawn into doing, for the promise of extra pay.
“We couldn’t watch it, so our editor watched it for us and she made the choices,” said Bauer of one scene in particular, which was edited to avoid direct footage, but with accompanying sound.
Perhaps one small mercy in all of this is the fact that young girls typically last less than six months in the “industry.”
The sex industry lobby scares the fuck out of me, not because of their “exposing abolitionists for who they really are” or “debunking the lies of (fake) ex-prostitutes who want to ban sex work”. Those things are as sincere as neo-nazi’s “exposing the zionist conspiracy that has enslaved the world”. No, they scare me because of their greater resources and the fact that they are not held back by the truth. They can lie all they want, because there is nobody trying to fiercely “debunk” their own personal stories.
All we want as survivors is to be listened to and to see that something effective is being done against the very thing that affected our lives so negatively. That’s it. Our goal is not “to prohibit sex work, because fuck ‘em dirty whores”, many advocate for the Nordic model (wich is NOT prohibition!) because they believe it reduces the influx into the industry. That’s prevention instead of damage control. We think prostitution is harmful, because we were harmed by it. And if that can traumatise us, it can traumatise other girls and women (and boys).
I understand that there are actual women in prostitution and porn who don’t mind, especially in elite sections of the industry. And i also understand that we both have people on our “side” whoms toxic breath breathes down our necks. You have the facilitators, pimps and pornographers and we have the religious nuts.
Some survivors have black holes in their memories due to trauma or drug abuse, many speak up after more than a decade of silence. Painting them as liars and delusional fiction writers to protect your economical interests is mean, we’re not speaking up for fun either.
You say it’s about safety, i keep that in mind, but what about our safety? And most important: what about the safety of all the girls who newly enter the industry against their free, independent will?
Perhaps it’s not us saying “fuck ‘em dirty whores”, but the people you consider your “pro-sex” allies.
From Legalised Lies, “A survivor of prostitution speaking up against the sex industry lobby”
Granting victims of slavery immunity from prosecution to give evidence about exploitation will be a key tool in tackling organised gangs, according to the officer in charge of coordinating new investigative powers.
The modern slavery bill, due to pass into law before the election, will help the 13,000 people estimated to be working under duress in the UK but may also put pressure on police resources, warned Shaun Sawyer, chief constable of Devon and Cornwall.
Sawyer, who is lead officer on slavery for the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo), said people are being forced to work in increasingly diverse circumstances: in car washes, cannabis farms, brothels, meat packing factories, on fishing boats, in nail bars, domestic servitude and as pickpockets.
His comments were made as the College of Policing puts out to consultation on Wednesday guidance to help frontline officers identify and investigate modern slavery. He told the Guardian that the most important approach for officers is to “see the victim first, see the crime second”.
The modern slavery bill contains a provision giving police and prosecutors wide discretion in whether to ignore minor offences committed by victims of slavery in order to assemble cases against those who exploit them.
“It’s the only way from my perspective to get the best evidence and to bring serious and organised criminals to book,” Sawyer explained. “If you are forced to commit a crime but you are enslaved it would seem to be against natural justice to [be] prosecuted.” Anyone who committed a serious offence, such as murder, would not escape prosecution, however.
Officers should keep an open mind when dealing with the vulnerable who have been enslaved and not assume they behaved like others, Sawyer added. “I don’t think unless you have been enslaved you can get your mind around the level of disempowerment,” he said. “Officers might say: ‘Surely you had access to a car or a phone [and could escape easily]’ if someone had been in domestic servitude.
“It’s about keeping professionally curious. Don’t assume. We might say surely they could take control but they are mentally if not physically disempowered from taking any action.”
Cultural critic Anita Sarkeesian is planning to follow her Tropes vs. Women in Video Games YouTube series with a new project in 2015 exploring representations of men and masculinity in games.
Sarkeesian revealed the new project in the annual report for her Feminist Frequency organisation, as well as her plans to launch another new series focusing on positive female characters in games, while continuing to point out negative examples with new episodes of her existing show.
The organisation is aiming to build on nearly 5.8m views of its YouTube channel in 2014 – a year in which Sarkeesian became a target for harassment from some elements of the online Gamergate campaign.
In October, she was forced to cancel a planned talk at the Utah State University, after an anonymous email threatened “the deadliest school shooting in American history” if the event was allowed to go ahead.
In her annual report, Sarkeesian says her experiences in 2014 has led to an expansion of Feminist Frequency’s focus to include “advocacy around ending online hate and abuse, analyzing and advancing awareness of how gendered harassment operates online”.
The adult content filters being rolled out by some internet providers under a scheme championed by David Cameron are blocking the websites of businesses and charities and are a “distraction” for parents seeking to protect children from online pornography, claim campaigners.
But campaigners say that it is misleading to suggest these filters are just about blocking pornography, and that they block a range of content, such as drugs, sex, alcohol, tobacco and anorexia.
The Metropolitan police are currently producing a list of websites for the filtering services which they regard as terror-related.
A website discussing the legalisation of cannabis found itself blocked, as did several small wine dealers, said Pam Cowburn of the transparency campaign Open Rights Group. Last year research by the group found that 54 registered charities had their websites blocked by one or another of the filters.
Several were offering support and services to young people escaping abuse or alcohol dependency. One such charity, Alcohol Support, based in Aberdeen, called it a “big brother” approach.
“It’s still a problem; it isn’t being tackled in the rush to block what is deemed unsuitable.
“But it’s very simplistic: URLs with Sussex or Essex in them, for example, are blocked. It’s arbitrary and a blunt tool.
“There is no guarantee that all porn sites can be blocked, so parents can have a false sense of security that will actually stop them doing what they need to do, which is to talk to their children about the internet and about internet safety.”
Vicki Shotbolt, CEO and founder of social enterprise project the ParentZone, said: “Filters are at best a distraction from the most important way to look after your family online.” Open conversations and keeping informed were the way forward, she said.
I read the origin article at the time, but chose not to blog about it, precisely because of all the comments underneath saying that the abuse the woman suffered couldn’t be true.
Women who talk about the violence men commit against them are routinely disbelieved. Men (and women, whether anti-feminist, or liberal feminists who are invested in magical choosy-choice pro-sex industry arguments) would rather believe what they see in porn, or the glamourised accounts of already-privileged individuals like Brooke Magnanti (aka ‘Belle du Jour’) than actually listen to women who have been abused.
Women who talk about men’s violence face an extraordinary burden of proof, every minute detail of their account will be dissected and scrutinised and found lacking regardless, while all a man has to do is say ‘she wanted it’ or ‘she enjoyed it’ and he is automatically coated in Teflon.
The author of the piece said she was given no reason to doubt Megan’s story, which had been independently verified by the publisher HarperCollins, a charity and their lawyers. “The most contentious part of the piece would seem to be her claim that she had sex with 110 men in one night which, while shocking, was verified by the research I did into the operating tactics of Greek brothels as being entirely possible.”
The magazine’s editor added: “This was not a case offered by a charity alone – where we would have been more sceptical – but instead the subject of a book. The combination of reputable publisher, ghostwriter, charity and the opportunity to speak to Megan face to face meant we felt confident in reporting the story. Our first response here wouldn’t be to say ‘prove it’, but instead to listen until we were satisfied.”
HarperCollins told me it sought reassurances from several sources and was “very confident and satisfied” that that the book was a truthful account of Megan’s experiences.
It strikes me that had the publisher’s confidence been spelt out in the piece it might have gone a long way to quell readers’ scepticism and prevented their subsequent offence at having their comments removed.
John Redmond of Standards Against Female Exploitation wrote this under the story: “Wake up those of you who have posted cynical comments in this thread. Why can you not accept that there has been much effort and activity by countless professionals underpinning this girl’s story. Those of us that work in this field can assure you that [this] is not an altogether uncommon experience for those from the most vulnerable sectors of our society.”
Sheila Jeffreys, Unpacking Queer Politics
The Sun has published a picture of a topless woman on Page Three and mocked media outlets that said the long-running feature had been dropped.
On Tuesday, the Sun’s sister paper the Times said the tabloid would no longer feature Page Three girls – but one appears in the Sun’s latest edition.
The supposed ending of Page Three was widely reported, despite the Sun neither confirming or denying it.
On the page, the Sun “apologises” on behalf of all those who ran the story.
The Sun announces Page Three’s return with a trail on the front page that reads: “We’ve had a mammary lapse.”
It heads the image of the woman, who is seen winking into the camera, “Clarifications and corrections”.
A caption under the photograph reads: “Further to recent reports in all other media outlets, we would like to clarify that this is Page 3 and this is a picture of Nicole, 22, from Bournemouth.
“We would like to apologise on behalf of the print and broadcast journalists who have spent the last two days talking and writing about us.”