Sex

The Problem With Hipster Porn

January 29, 2010

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The Problem With Hipster Porn

Anyone who’s seen Mike Tyson fight is aware of the benefits a violent childhood can bring. You don’t have to condone kids getting beat up every day to enjoy seeing him in the ring. You don’t want your children to follow the same path, but as far as Tyson’s shitty life goes, there’s no better job. Not just anybody can step in the ring. Athletic commissions regulate boxing licenses and make sure things don’t get too gory. Tyson himself had his license rescinded in 1997 after biting off his opponent’s ear. This is the way it should be. Boxing is a violent sport that can do serious, permanent damage. I have never been the same after challenging a professional MMA fighter to a fight. I didn’t have the experience to handle the guy and ended up in the hospital with cerebral contusions. I’ll never do that again.

Pornography is exactly the same. I love watching porn stars like Ava Devine get violated, but I’m well aware the odds of her having been sexual abused as a child are about 99.99 percent. You don’t have to condone sexual abuse to watch porn. It’s a great job for someone who is dumb, unambitious, and devoid of sexuality. In fact, the only way you can do “sex work” (as naïve feminists like to call it) is to have no sex left in you. Some perverted uncle or disgusting friend of the family robs a girl of her most intimate and valuable asset and it’s like a light switch goes off. Now they can have sex with anyone because they’re numb. I’ve talked to a lot of strippers and prostitutes about this phenomenon and have yet to meet one who denied the vast majority of people who have sex for money are abuse victims. An ex-prostitute I dated for a while made it all too clear. “Sex isn’t the same thing to me as it is to you,” she said. “To me it’s like playing soccer or swimming.” I spent about half the relationship thinking of all the different ways I was going to kill her dad for what he did to her. This obsession eventually ended the relationship.

There is no athletic commission to regulate who goes into porn and ensure no fragile eggs get trampled. The very nature of the business has always kept the innocent away. Until now. Until hipster porn: Also called alt porn, it’s a genre of pornography that is mostly pictures on websites but also includes actual pornographic videos. Hipster porn stars tend to be middle-class punk girls who come from pretty stable backgrounds and have been convinced what they’re doing isn’t porn at all and therefore doesn’t deserve a lot of money. These girls haven’t been molested as kids and are in way over their heads.

This sexist plague began with Scene Queens: Young, punk girls on social networks who put up titillating pictures of themselves for free. They get thousands of friends and often correspond with them online. I’d never allow my daughter to do this, but it’s not the end of the world. I don’t even think I’d call it misogynist. Unfortunately, once this became cool, a new wave of pornography took hold. Websites like Suicide Girls (the Playboy of the genre) and Burning Angel (the very NSFW version) popped up and convinced even MORE girls it was hip to pose nude for next to nothing. They weren’t porn stars, they were “pin-ups”, and the whole thing was lumped in with Roller Derby and Burlesque as a fun and empowering way to show your Girl Power. Pornographic video jumped on the bandwagon and guys like Eon McKai (named after the singer of a punk band from the 80s) has convinced a whole new generation of girls porn isn’t porn. But it is porn. And porn is supposed to pay. Real porn stars hate hipster porn because they see it as rich kids devaluing the sex dollar for laughs. You’re not supposed to get $100 to have sex on camera. You’re supposed to get $1,500. These girls are stepping into the ring with Mike Tyson and getting knocked out for free again and again.

When the religious right rails against pornography and portrays it as male predators taking advantage of vulnerable women, I roll my eyes. Porn is simply victims of abuse making the best of a terrible situation. Porn producers aren’t predators. They’re entrepreneurs. However, Pat Robertson is correct when it comes to hipster porn. The men who make money off this new breed of porn star are exactly the predator the religious right say he is.

In my twenties, I lived with two punk chicks who were lazy and wanted a job where they didn’t have to leave the house. They chose phone sex. Neither of these girls were molested as kids and despite the tattoos and pink hair, ultimately just wanted a nice boyfriend whom they would eventually marry and make babies with. Guess what happened. The job rotted them. I would come home after a hard day’s work and feel glares burning through the back of my head. I would turn around and find them staring at me like I habitually raped them both. “That job made me hate men,” one of them admitted to me years after quitting. “It messes with your head.” Their boss eventually convinced one of them to go to hotels and urinate on perverts for money. She recently described the experience as “damaging”—though she’d never have admitted it back then.

I’ve always said this kind of pornography is not cool, but it’s hard to prove something is damaging in the long run when it’s only been around for a few years. A few months ago, I was interviewed at dinner along with some other media types including a blogger/hipster porn star who called herself Baby Sinead. She told me her parents were totally cool with her doing pornography. I did my best to explain to her that her sexuality is actually very sacred and not something to be tossed around willy nilly. That’s why people pay so much for it. It has value. Lawsuits that include “violating a woman’s chastity” are a very big deal because the courts understand a woman unanimously seen as a slut is in for a lonely life. Now, if someone already took your chastity and threw it in the garbage, selling it isn’t such a big deal. She doesn’t fall into that category but I couldn’t convince her it mattered. “Take what’s left of your innocence and get out while you can,” I pleaded with her. “This job will ruin your life.” The eponymous Baby looked at me like I just told her Dick Cheney is sexy. In about ten years, when she’s a lonely cougar, she’ll realize I was right but by then it will be too late.

Cougar isn’t a good thing by the way. That’s another lie women are told.

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