My character Chanel in Menage a Sartre is a relatively well-adjusted teen porn star. But is there such a thing? Can the pornographic film industry be a healthy environment for its workers?
Recent former porn stars in the news include a woman who believes her relationship with a famous actor slash serial abuser is somehow stable. It seems dangerous for her to latch herself to someone that considers her replaceable. Has porn stardom robbed her of her independence?
Even porn stars who do emphasize their independence aren’t entirely convincing. Discussing Sasha Grey, Salon’s Drew Grant writes:
I want to believe in her: that a young woman can have total agency in the world of sex work, and that she can then expand her horizons and be known for other things.
Grant goes on to reveal that he hasn’t seen enough from Grey to justify his fantasy—Grey is still being rewarded for being a “porn star-plus”, not for any other merits she might have.
But that’s all mainstream pornography. Is amateur porn any healthier? Not if too much of it is based on deception.
As a guilty liberal, I’m not comfortable with these conditions. How can we make pornography healthy for all involved?
A large part of the problem is that our pornography is being mass-processed in California—or grown under dubious circumstances in Eastern Europe. How can we reassure ourselves that the pornography we consume is safe?
What we need is a Local Porn Movement. Community co-ops where we can trust that the participants are willing and well-adjusted.
I’m asking all of you to take the initiative. Get in contact with each other through your local newspaper’s website. Take an introduction to photography course at the community college. Then send pics to everyone in your address book. Sext with Michael Pollan!
And don’t forget to copy me on it. My e-mail address is above.
It’s only neighborly.