A response: “These porn stars. Where do they all come from?”
Many of the threads on the site where I chat are ridiculous, stupid, infuriating, bitchy, mean, and generally worthless; however, they tend to generate some classic flame wars, so that makes them tolerable. I admit that my own contributions have often taken them in that direction. I’m not innocent in this. However, there is one thread running right now that is particularly interesting to me. The paraphrased title of the thread is, “These porn stars: Where do they all come from?” The original question centers on trying to figure out the source of all the denizens of online porn models. It looks sometimes like almost EVERYONE is a porn star, thanks to the internet and affordable technology for home use.
The original poster has a good point, of course. The internet has made everyone an expert on everything (How do you think I’ve been empowered to make myself the Dr. Phil of gay strippers?). People can simply say whatever they want, and it’s the truth… because they said so. The printed word once carried a great deal more weight than it does now (in my non-cited, unscholarly opinion). Such is the way of the world and the evolution of language/communication: Writing was once a treasure, an arduous skill possessed by only a few illuminated minds, and it went to reason that anything written was therefore precious for one reason or another. By contrast today, every ignorant ass in the galaxy knows how to record his/her stupidity for posterity. Writing simply isn’t the mysterious, permanent voice of the gods anymore. It just isn’t. (Because I said so.)
Although I know most of what everyone writes (myself included), is utter tripe, I still invest in what people have taken the time to commit to a format more permenant than the spoken word. Theorists say words are random and have no real meaning. I disagree, and in a new book called “Alphabet Juice” by Roy Blount, Jr., he explains why the words we use are connected to us at far deeper levels than simple sound associations. I’ve studied languages and writing. I love them. I can’t help finding weight in that which is written. Take this response to the thread’s question, for example:
They come from their worthless little lives with no ambition and dignity. A few hundred dollars to them is just another bag of cocaine.
The problem here is that although his opinion if full of unmitigated hatred, it’s not necessarily full of untruth. Yes, there are definitely people in adult entertainment who are on a downward spiral. And that spiral is fueled by destructive people who encourage destructive behaviors. What is not present in this response is any acknowledgement that there are also adult entertainers who do consciously contribute something valuable to the culture at large.
When I give these examples, it isn’t a plea for understanding and empathy. I intend it more as an example of why that person’s over-generalized response requires discussion. So then, here are some examples of people in the adult entertainment industry who do something good through it, or because of it:
- Many people use adult entertainment to fund an education they otherwise couldn’t get
- Many directors (e.g. Chi Chi LaRue) specifically address the importance of safe-sex in an attempt to keep vigilance about STD’s in the front of viewers’ minds: “Safe sex is hot sex!”
- Several of the adult entertainers I know are involved with charities, which benefit from the presence or endorsement of the celebrity in question
- Pornography is a form of safe sex in and of itself
- Pornography is a tool for teaching people about sex (for better or worse), and keeps issues concerning identity, gender, and sexuality at the fore. The very “clichés” people make fun of in porn are there because there’s a demand for them. What does that say about you as a consumer?
- Adult entertainers, whether they intend it or not, force the culture to discuss issues of sexual politics, and in their own way (intended or not) are part of the dialogue that is the struggle for LGBT equality.
And what about the more practial fact that most adult entertainers have enough work ethic to support themselves and their families through multiple jobs, rather than take unemployment or other forms of government aid? Scotty dreams of buying his finacé-to-be a nice ring, and to provide her with a home and comfort. My dancer friends with children bemoan the slow nights at the club, because (and I directly quote a beautiful man I know at Swinging Richards named Star) “I could’ve stayed at home and held my baby.” What about the fact that adult entertainers who claim their tips and pay their taxes have contributed money that is just as green as any doctor’s, lawyer’s, teacher’s, or engineer’s?
I do not intend to refute the stereotype that porn stars and strippers are drug addicted whores who are not only oblivious to their own wasted lives, but who also undermine civilization by bringing others down with them (Isn’t that what the religious Right says about homosexuals? ALL homosexuals? Even the judgemental, bitchy cunts who make hateful comments about people in their own community in an effort to ally themselves with the very Puritanical culture that rejects them?). I have no need to debate this assumption: The content of this blog, and the clarity with which I speak (even if I were the only sober adult entertainer on the planet, which I’m not) proves that, at the least, there exist exceptions to the “rule.” (Because I said so.)