"I am writing this not to complain about not making millions of dollars but to really try to push fans of performers to actually buy their content instead of watching it on tube sites or illegally downloading"
i don’t know if you have noticed how totally stoked i am that chelsea poe exists but if you dont know now ya know. here’s another on point blog post from her regarding the lifestyles of an indie porn star. hot damn.
I do porn because I love it and I feel like its a way I can express myself that i cannot throughout any other medium. In porn you can’t hide anything its pushes all your emotions, strengths and weaknesses for all to see. Before porn I was a bassist in a few hardcore bands in a diy scene and was making a living being a diy concert promoter. The idea of scrapping money together to get to gigs, staying on people’s floors and being lucky to break even was the life of being in a punk scene and something we all loved doing. I did not think coming into the porn world some of the same realities existed. I like most people assumed porn was made up of people making thousands upon thousands of dollars per shoot and a majority of the performers never having to worry about money in anyway. Whenever anyone talks about porn performers and their lives it often comes up with this glamorous life of doing shoots with gorgeous performers and living in a large mcmansion overlooking the ocean.
I want to lay this out in a very honest way with simple math. The cost of an average 1 bedroom in San Francisco is roughly $2,600 not including all other living costs on top of that. Lets say your trying to make a living alone as a porn performer. Being a male performer you make around $300 per shoot (unless you’re James Deen). With that rate per shoot you would need to do at least 9 shoots per month to simply pay rent for one month. Just to pay rent for an entire year you would have to do 108 shoots a year and have a part time job just to stay afloat in San Francisco as a male performer.
Being a trans woman performer the pay rate is much higher than what male performers make. On an average mainstream hardcore (sex scene) you make $800, an mainstream solo scene pays roughly $500 and an queer porn shoot will pay around $300. Being a trans performer if you’re booking one of each during a month’s time you are doing extremely well. Even with one of each you are only at $1,600. Cis woman rates aren’t much higher unless your shooting with an extremely large company like kink.com who pay models up to $1,500.
With this being the current state of porn most porn performers have some sort of day job rather than being other forms of sex work (escorting, webcam, stripping, ect.) or vanilla day job (the person making your sandwich at subway could be a porn star). Porn for most of us is our passions and the idea of doing porn for the money seems to me to be very outdated (very real in the 90s). I am writing this not to complain about not making millions of dollars but to really try to push fans of performers to actually buy their content instead of watching it on tube sites or illegally downloading. When your favorite performers do cam shows please tip some amount no matter how little and tell them how you enjoy their work. Really if you enjoy our work and want to see more of it please please please buy our content.
The problem that needs to be fixed is not kick all the girls out of YA, it’s teach boys that stories featuring female protagonists or written by female authors also apply to them. Boys fall in love. Boys want to be important. Boys have hopes and fears and dreams and ambitions. What boys also have is a sexist society in which they are belittled for “liking girl stuff.” Male is neutral, female is specific.
I heard someone mention that Sarah Rees Brennan’s THE DEMON’S LEXICON would be great for boys, but they’d never read it with that cover. Friends, then the problem is NOT with the book. It’s with the society that’s raising that boy. It’s with the community who inculcated that boy with the idea that he can’t read a book with an attractive guy on the cover.
Here’s how we solve the OMG SO MANY GIRLS IN YA problem: quit treating women like secondary appendages. Quit treating women’s art like it’s a niche, novelty creation only for girls. Quit teaching boys to fear the feminine, quit insisting that it’s a hardship for men to have to relate to anything that doesn’t specifically cater to them.
Because if I can watch Raiders of the Lost Ark and want to grow up to be an archaeologist, there’s no reason at all that a boy shouldn’t be able to read THE DEMON’S LEXICON with its cover on. My friends, sexism doesn’t just hurt women, and our young men’s abysmal rate of attraction to literacy is the proof of it.
If you want to fix the male literary crisis, here’s your solution:
The world is full of women who’d tell me I should be ashamed of myself if they had the chance. Quit dancing. Get some self-respect and a day job. Right. And minimum wage, and varicose veins, just standing in one place for eight hours behind a glass counter bundled up to the neck, instead of naked as a meat sandwich. Selling gloves, or something. Instead of what I do sell. You have to have talent to peddle a thing so nebulous and without material form. Exploited, they’d say. Yes, any way you cut it, but I’ve a choice of how, and I’ll take the money.
From your answer to an ask: "i think a lot of porn is ethical once we start to dissect what being supportive of sex workers really means as consumers of pornography!" — It would be interesting to read more of your thoughts on this. How can consumers identify & avoid unethical porn? Are there ways consumers can encourage the industry to treat workers better? Some performers' stories make me question whether it's possible to ethically consume mainstream porn (as opposed to queer porn). Thank you.
the way you ethically consume porn is to pay for it. don’t steal. you can make ethical porn completely worthless by taking it when it has a price tag. (if the performers worked for free for some reason and the content is offered for free for some reason thats a different story. this does not include tube sites that post full scenes from dvds or torrent sites that offer full dvds. that’s stealing and it means you are an unethical porn consumer.)
if you have particular interests in specific details of ethical porn, follow your desires. watch porn that uses safer sex barriers. watch porn that showcases different kinds of bodies. watch porn that doesn’t have derogatory titles or stereotyped roles. watch porn that was made by/directed by/suggested by performers. watch porn that won feminist porn awards.
the rest of my advice for being an ethical porn consumer is just asking yourself if you are objectifying or judging the performers in a negative way, or who made the porn, did the performer promote it on their own social media? when you are watching it do you feel good or do you feel bad? if you feel bad it may just be some internalized guilt or something, but generally - if the porn you watch makes you feel good, you didn’t steal it, and it came from a company you trust - it’s probably going to be just fine. bonus points if you are following the porn star and they said “i love this scene, go watch it using my affiliate link!” or whatever - that means they are getting even more money for sending you there and the company will know that star has a following willing to pay, which means they get more awesome work from that awesome company. even more bonus points if you buy porn directly from the performer on their clip store, membership website, or private options!
vote with your pennies. if you dont have pennies find porn thats meant to be free (like queerporntube). but there are cheap ethical porn options (either memberships, clips, or subscription streaming vod services).
most of the horror stories about the lives of porn stars come from people trying to rip them off. if you steal porn, you are one of those people.
Meanwhile, underneath the prevalence of the public apology is a great public wrong. And so we, the public, we want someone to do something. We want the offending column fixed, the black woman comedian hired, the bill to pass, banks to lend safely, clean drinking water, health care, a job, even just a book recommendation we can count on. We want action on whatever it is, and we go to Twitter for it, feed fatigue and all, because there, unlike just about everywhere else, we still get what we’re after. Twitter, for all the ridiculousness there, is one of the few places where there’s accountability at all for any of this. While it may feel dangerous that no one is above being taken down by Twitter, it also means that in its way, it is the one truly democratic institution left. It may be terrifying that it is the one place you have to be more careful than most, but that is also why, for now, it still matters.
I’m not, it turns out, sick of outrage. I’m sick of what is outrageous. I wouldn’t want to change Twitter. I’d rather change America.
Three years ago, in fly-on-the-wall fashion of parent drivers everywhere, I listened while a 14-year-old girl in the back seat of my car described how angry she was that her parents had stopped allowing her to walk home alone just because a girl in her neighborhood “claimed she was raped.” When I asked her if there was any reason to think the girl’s story was not true, she said, “Girls lie about rape all the time.”
She didn’t know the person, she just assumed she was lying.
If you’ve been online tonighr, you’ve probably seen/read/heard about Dylan Farrow’s open letter published on Nicholas Kristof’s blog, accusing Woody Allen of molesting her when she was 7. The ensuing discussion has been about what you would expect, but as a person who was molested as a child, I want to add a few words about the debate itself and how it can affect people like me (though this case didn’t trigger me specifically).
Here’s some of the arguments I’ve seen bandied about.
You have to separate the artist from the art.
Actually, I don’t. There’s enough great art in the world that I’ll never get to that I can easily write off seeing any more of Woody Allen’s films (of which I’ve only seen 2, maybe 3 already) and not feel like I’m losing much. My life will be plenty full regardless of whether or not I see Annie Hall.
Do you know if all the artists you appreciate are moral people?
Nope. And I don’t plan to research them to find out. People who make this argument are making the wrong conclusion about why people like me are avoiding Allen’s (and Roman Polanski’s in my case) work. I don’t expect that the art I enjoy will be created by people I share moral values with. I don’t even expect that I would like them if I met them at a party. I’m an artist myself—I know that there’s just as much variety in personality in the world of art as there is in the general population.
I will admit that my decision to avoid Allen’s and Polanski’s work is made easier by the fact that I wasn’t a huge fan beforehand. I’ve never been in the situation where someone whose work I adored has been accused of molesting a child, so I don’t know how I would react to their work afterward. But I do know this much—if that person was credibly accused (as Allen and Polanski have been), I wouldn’t start dismissing people who say that they’ll stop following that artist as simple-minded or naive.
So what would you do then?
At the very least, I’d keep my mouth shut about it. People who are sharing their stories about being molested are already taking a huge step by saying anything about it in public—that the internets are full of assholes who get off on picking at other people’s scabs is a surprise to no one. There’s really no upside to talking about this when you’ve been a victim, other than to maybe help other people who have been victimized feel a little less alone. If you attack them, even on the level of “you need to think more deeply about this subject” (and fuck you for that condescension, by the way), then the message you send is two-fold. You tell the person you responded to that their experience doesn’t really matter, and you tell anyone else watching (because this is the internet, after all) that if they come forward, they’ll get the same treatment. You’re taking a shitty situation and piling on pain.
But this is art!/Artists are different!
Bullshit. Artists shouldn’t be held to a different standard of behavior than everyone else in society just because of the work they do. Child molestation is wrong whether the perpetrator is a painter or a mechanic, a novelist or a schoolteacher, a filmmaker or a bus driver. We don’t excuse a mechanic accused of child molestation because he can tear down an engine and rebuild it like no one else. If Roman Polanski drove a bus, no one would have been defending him against rape because of his impeccable on-time record. Nobody gets a pass on rape.
So you’re saying I’m a bad person because I like Woody Allen movies.
No, I’m not. I’m saying that I won’t have anything to do with his movies. What you do is up to your conscience.
I was molested and I don’t have any problem with Allen’s/Polanski’s movies.
In all sincerity, I mean this: good for you. It’s always a good thing when you’re not reminded of being molested. Like I said above, neither of these filmmakers are triggers for me either. But, and this is important, my experience is not universal, and neither is yours. Just because you love some film doesn’t mean that it won’t trigger another person. You’d no doubt laugh at some of my triggers, which I will never mention online because, hello, internet assholes, but they can still shake me for hours if not days. These are things that would be background noise to most people, but to me, they’re linked to painful memories. So if someone says “this is a thing for me,” don’t react as though they’re ridiculous. Give them the benefit of the doubt.
Woody Allen was never convicted of anything
True. But most molesters aren’t. Mine wasn’t. Mine was never even accused. I didn’t tell anyone about mine until 14 years later, even though we’d lived more than 800 miles from the molester for 11 of those years and I hadn’t seen her for more than a decade. If that’s the standard you’re going to demand before you’ll take personal action, again, that’s up to you. Just don’t expect it of everyone else.
If there’s been a common theme to these answers, it’s this: it’s not about you. If people are sharing their stories, their pain about being molested, at least give them space if you can’t give them sympathy.
“The way Wikipedia works is that the strongest articles cite facts and information in existing sources—in that way, the historic lack of attention to female artists in books, museums, and galleries perpetuates their continued erasure in an age of crowdsourcing.”—
Bitch just posted a nice overview about the feminist Wikipedia edit-a-thon coming up 2/1, if any Rookie readers/writers/coders want to get in on that. Wiki just posted a list of feminist work/artists and topics they seek to add or improve entries on—and the list makes me PSYCHED for 2/2. For my own selfish music-obsessive reasons, I really hope someday soon there can be an edit-a-thon for female musicians and artists. This seems like just the beginning.