The Sex Industry, Gonzo Porn and Me…
How I became a plaything of the patriarchy.
I met the sex industry at the age of sixteen. I was in a local diner when a short, tubby woman approached me and handed me her business card. She asked if I wanted to join her glamour model agency. It sounds ridiculous now, but I was elated – I thought it was such a compliment. Then, when she told me I would get three to five hundred pound (that’s about $450 to $750) per shoot, I was completely sold. Like many girls who sign up for the sex industry, I was living hand to mouth. To me, $500 was a fortune.
A few weeks later, I went to my first job. I arrived at a Tudor-style house, hundreds of miles from where I lived. I remember a tanned, bare-chested guy of about twenty-five opened the door and gave me a cheery grin. I was led into the kitchen, given a glass of champagne and guided to a stool to have my make-up done. As I drank the champagne, I watched two men set up the shoot around a grotto-style pool.
The guy who answered the door then –very casually– pulled his penis out of his pants and started tugging on it, to the amusement of the rest of the group. Horrified, I asked the makeup artist what was going on and she said, “that’s what you’ll be screwing, honey”.
I was totally shocked. I had no idea I was expected to have sex with someone on camera. I told them that I couldn’t do it because I had a boyfriend. They were cross with me but even angrier with the woman who had sent me. Apparently, this wasn’t the first time a girl had turned up quite unaware of what she was actually going to be required to do.
One of the men told me I wouldn’t be paid for the day and nor would I be given any money for my travel expenses. This was a huge issue for me. After paying for the long cab ride out, I no longer had enough money to get back home. I started to panic. I didn’t know where I was. I couldn’t order a taxi. I didn’t even have enough money for the train. Looking back now, perhaps I should have walked. But I didn’t. Feeling trapped, I very reluctantly did what they asked of me.
This was the start of my career in the glamour industry and the beginning of my desensitization. Lured by money, numbed by alcohol, and paralyzed by the lack of other employment opportunities, I ended up staying in it for a decade. During those ten years, I experienced the sex industry in all its manifestations. I was used, raped, became a functioning drunk and lived through two drug overdoses. I now think of myself as a rehabilitated victim of sexual abuse, even though I gave my consent.
When I finally escaped, I made it my mission to change my life through education. I studied for a degree, then got my MA and finally a PhD. During this time, I began to realize that even the act of identifying myself as a glamour model had oppressed me. I wore the glamour girl’s uniform of short skirts, low cut tops and brash make-up — which inevitably invited a certain response. When I dressed this way, men treated me like an object and women hated me. Many glamour models convince themselves it’s because women are jealous of them, but I don’t think that’s the case. In reality, we were pitied for being a plaything of the patriarchy.
The sex industry turns the naked female body into a platform for perversion. Women are presented as sexual objects to be used (and abused). This is in stark contrast to the male performers in the industry who are dominating, seemingly in control, and allowed expressive range.
The sad thing is that women as object is a perspective that bleeds into the mainstream. Women are either hot or invisible. Sure we can recognise a hot male, but we don’t vilify the not-so-hot in the process. Porn amplifies this objectified perception of women, making many feel pressurised into catching the wondering eye of their partners — and allowing men to feel entitled to stray.
True gender equality is not going to be achieved by simply revealing more flesh in new forms. We’ve been there, done it. It’s not radical. True freedom is in refusing to participate and covering up for a change.
Know that you deserve to be seen as sexy because of the things you have to say — not because of the curve of your cleavage or the cling of your skirt.
Women should recognise that they are being duped by the sexual entitlement culture into thinking that this vast sex market is somehow beneficial to them. True radicalism is refusing to be an ‘ornament’. Be good looking, sure, but dress for yourself. Porn and the ‘glamour model’ have changed women’s positioning in relationships. I’ve heard many stories of husbands expecting gonzo porn to be a regular feature of the bedroom.
In fact gonzo porn (sex focused on men provided by objectified women and shot from a solely male perspective) has done a huge amount of damage to society. Men are finding it harder to get turned on by real sex, too often needing the woman to behave like a slut with some anal chucked in. The come-guzzling, double-penetrated spunk dump has replaced the Playboy model as man’s best friend.
Studies have been conducted which show that children as young as eleven years old are regularly consuming porn. These children are learning the ridiculous gonzo narrative that all women love being gang-banged. Unless something changes, these kids are the next generation of warped sex addicts, logging on and getting off in the wee hours, whilst their girlfriends sleep.
Gonzo now dominates the internet, representing almost 70% of porn traffic. Alternative porn is a genre that at least tries to show both genders equally and from conventional camera shots, but it’s not popular because the mainstream porn industry wants power and domination over women. It wants to hurt women physically, emotionally and societally whilst making money from their suffering at the same time. Gonzo porn is now so widespread and damaging that it has got to be stopped.
Women in the sex industry rarely truly consent to participation. They are either pressured, drugged, brainwashed, or feel they have no other choice. The majority of the women in porn suffer through it because they’re in a desperate situation. In the end, we all feel ruined by it. The only people who are really in control are the producers — and they are in no hurry to point out that most so-called “porn stars” end up regretting it. Those of us lucky enough to break free end up living with constant reminders of our mistakes. Thanks to the Internet, the pictures and videos that we’re now ashamed of will inescapably live on forever; making money for our oppressors and shining on as examples of very values we now despise.
I would like you to address a concern I have in my dating life and the dating lives of my friends. If we behave like gentlemen, we are overlooked. If we treat women like objects, we get laid. This spans all demographics and body types. It seems as though men are being asked to be upstanding and virtuos, but the abusive degrading males are rewarded with sex. This sends guys a mixed message and when women ask for respect, but reward degradation, men will opt with what gets them laid, which is basically validation of their worth as men. Porn in general is destroying love and reducing sex to “using another person for masturbation.” In talking to women, I have found that they are as clueless about sex as men are, mostly because their sex education is based on watching porn like men. Im also confused by women’s need for respect, but also their need for domination. This is exemplified by the Fifty Shades of Grey series success as well as conversations with women. On multiple occasions I have been told by a woman how much she loves a hot guy (hyper masculine, angry, aggressive, uncaring) dominating her.The messages that men are receiving as the standards that they are expected to strive for are in opposition. How do we choose?
Because if sex, aka “getting laid”, or as it can otherwise be thought of, using a woman to masterbate, is your only goal then sadly societies horrific norms may actually be the way to get that. But, that goal is fundamentally flawed and will always lead to disaster. So, as someone married for 13 years to the greatest woman alive, the choice is obvious. Respect and love, gentleness and kindness, learning to cherishing her for every inch of her being leads to a feeling of acceptance, belonging, oneness, joy, and freedom, as well as plenty of great sex. Marriage can take work and compromise and self-sacrifice, but living one night stand to one night porn binge and on and on is like gorging yourself on just crappy cookies at the worlds greatest seven course dinner, a committed mutually respecting, gentle relationship. Now, if that’s long gone, ok. I know many a great friends who willingly or unwilling feel they lost or gave up that option. But, a new start is available. I wonder if a first step is accepting that lots of sex is never going to leave you satisfied.
I’d like to add that I became addicted to pornography at age 9. I have managed to overcome the programming it installs, but with the porn becoming more extreme and being acceptable to younger and younger children, I see a danger coming that could destroy our ability to see each other as anything more than subhuman sex toys. I see this happening with women’s attitudes as well as men’s. It’s not as one sided as it sometimes appears in print.
It’s confusing for us too! Me and my friends have realised that we chased men who treated us like shit and looked at us as objects because it maybe confirmed our own insecurities that we had naturally as young, naive girls, and also the message of low self esteem that we are constantly broadcast by society. I’ve learned to stop looking at the dickhead who likes to make me feel bad about myself, and seek out guys who know who the fuck they are emotionally. The sex is way better when you’re not emulating some fake video with a thousand fake orgasms, and you can actually have a real friend in the person you’re shagging! Don’t give in to the temptation to act like an arsehole just because it gets short term results. Think about the long term implications for yourself, for your girlfriends, and for society!
I signed your petition and this rational approach brings me great hope that we can protect our children.
I’m 63 – I came of age when porn was Playboy and my early sexual explorations were direct experience between myself and a young man (at that time) NOT filtered through the Invisible Porn Agenda hard-wired on the male brain – and increasingly – on the young female brain to go along with this violent bullshit.
Medical doctors are saying a huge increase in teen girls asking for anal numbing agents to tolerate the anal sex as now promoted by porn and enforced on our at-least-recent virgins on a male laundry list of notches in their porno belt.
I found a list written on a scrap of paper in my 16 year old daughters pockets doiing laundry – honestly – her 17 year old boyfriends list of sex demands. #1 was anal, #2 was facial, on and on. I never told her I’d found that, but I did initiate a conversation saying that a girl can say NO to anything she finds objectionable, which is not pleasurable and that sex never means hurting or shouldn’t include bad words/namealling as that is NOT LOVE and stupid porn based acts demanded by young men these days can be declined once and for all.
I very much applaud your BRAVERY, Vikki. I am inspired myself to become a more brave outspoken critic of this hypersexualized for-profit commercialized sex insanity. Aren’t our gonads flogged enough already? Are we not seeing rise in hostility towards women/girls? Isn’t the world a more dangerous fascist controlled male autocracy every day? Look at Weimar Germany – corrupt and very pornified. Resist pornification!
Porn definitely is driving sex trafficking of girls and women. All women need to face their intimate partners and tell them why porn has no right to live in their bedroom. Or, else.
Anything to save young children and adolescents. To keep their innocence to a point where it should be and not lost in the haze of bad folk… We need to keep our young girls safe and well. The sex industry has a lot to answer for, and we all know children can be curious at times, but it’s wrong to just say ‘roll with the times’. I also don’t think that children should be given mobile phones or computers at an early age. Technology can be a good thing but it’s also an evil dark place.
J.C. - Executive Director, AntiPornography.org
Well done, Vikki, on sharing your important story! 🙂 We hope many young women learn from everything you’ve been through.
You are also doing an excellent job in educating people about the current state of the porn industry, and its many horrific harms to women and girls. Please continue! We hope many men and boys hear you and chose to no longer use or support pornography.
We urge everyone to sign your petition to help enact vital legislation to lessen the worst harms and abuses of pornography.
STORY BEHIND PETITION, PLUS WISH WALL:
We also urge everyone in the UK and Europe to support and get involved with these feminist UK organizations, who are fighting against the harms of pornography and porn culture, as well as sexual objectification and exploitation.
In North America, there are only two feminist or truly nonreligious charities that are fighting against the multi-billion dollar porn industry. We are one of them, and are the only one to give support to survivors of the porn industry, and to provide a platform for them to share their vital stories and voices.
However, if we don’t acquire major funding in the next few months, we won’t be able to continue to provide this important service to these survivors in need and the public.
So we urge any of you who are able to, to please donate to our organization:
Also, if any of you know of any potential funding sources for us, either charitable foundations or wealthy individuals, please feel free to refer us to them, or refer them to us. Thanks!
Thank you again, Vikki, for all of your much-needed efforts for this critically important cause! We also are very grateful for your caring support of our organization and our work. We appreciate your kindness and your helpful writing and activism very much! 🙂
If you want to support this cause please sign my petition: http://www.petitions24.com/signatures/protect_human_rights_from_pornography/start/60
And to offer support visit AntiPornography.org, a non-religious charity that works on the front lines of the devastation caused by the sex industry.
All help is needed to fight this.
Thank you Ladies
Summer Rosie Ferrel
Porn destroys lives. They degrade women. Porn has nothing to with love and affection. Simply it is demonic . If anyone supports the practice of pornography they should be ok if their sister, mother, or daughter go into pornography. If they would not want their loved ones going into porn then they should not endorse others going into it. Everyone knows that the porn industry is a dirty filthy, greedy criminal machine. Porn shouldn’t even be legal. it’s addicting and it degrades the people doing Porn and it makes everyone look like objects. it has to be physically damaging to them, not to mention mentally. plus if they are on drugs that’s even worse.
The porn industry is full of the worse kind of human filth and scum. I am referring to the producers and executives, not the actresses who fall prey to these vultures. Please people stop watching and buying this filth. I know it’s hard but get out of your seats and go meet someone and have real life experiences. Don’t make these women suffer any longer.
This is so true. I didn’t meet anyone of integrity in it.
Domestic violence and assault are 100% illegal but it’s acceptable to violate women on-screen for money? How are those guys not getting arrested? Anyone who watches or supports this stuff should be treated just like those who watch child porn–like dangerous criminals. This isn’t about fantasies or whether ythey’d violate a woman in real life. It’s about the women who ARE getting abused on screen for their pleasure. Remove the demand and the supply will dry up.
Apart from the violent stuff, having all the girls auditioning lined up nude on cardboard boxes in a manky old warehouse pretty much says what the men in porn think about women.
I was under the impression that there are laws about this- for instance, they can only show what is obviously FAKE or “play” “violence” (or “rape”). Anything that is obviously (or apparently) too real is NOT allowed in porn- it’s illegal. Or am I wrong in regards to the laws?