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Let’s Talk About: Exploitation (or The Lack Thereof) in Porn

My boss (who may or not be checking in here over the next week or so) told me at one point that he wanted to see more of my editorial-type stuff here, so here it goes.

More often times than not, when I read/hear/watch an anti-porn viewpoint, whether it’s coming from the perspective of social conservatism, feminism or some other -ism, concerns of widespread exploitation of performers enters the mix.

It tugs at the ol’ heartstrings, doesn’t it?

The problem is that I’ve never seen any real data to back up such claims. Instead, we hear anecdotes from former performers who went through difficult times before, during and/or after their careers as adult film actors.

And those anecdotes are used in large part because there isn’t really any reliable data on the subject.

So until the time is such that a real study is done with proper method by qualified persons, let’s just go ahead and talk anecdotes.

I’ve met and interacted with a lot of performers (dozens and dozens) since the early 2000’s, mostly women and men who perform girl-girl and boy-girl scenes. And through that entire time, I’ve only met one whom I believe was truly being exploited.

I won’t mention names, but she was a very big star. But she was known to have serious addiction issues and was by all accounts in an abusive relationship. And what I saw the day I met her supported those claims.

But beyond that one woman, I can’t honestly think of another.

That doesn’t mean it never happens. I’m sure it does. And that includes the ‘gay’ side of things.

But is there an epidemic of lost men and women in legal, mainstream porn production who are being used, abused, and coerced?

My answer is no.

In fact, I believe there’s a solid argument to be made that other industries, particularly retail, food service and the corporate realm, employees are systematically exploited more than adult performers.

But that’s another conversation.

Now, I’m not going to tell you that I believe everyone who decides to model in porn films has really thought it through carefully. I’m not going to tell you that there aren’t models performing extreme sex acts specifically because it pays more.

I’m not going to tell you that everyone who acts in porn movies are happy with their job. And I’m not going to tell you that every single member of the porn performing community has their head screwed on straight.

But does that mean exploitation is widespread?

I say no.

What I can say, from my extensive experience, is this:

Most of the porn performers I’ve met, especially the ones who are successful, seem to be well-adjusted, thoughtful, brave, intelligent, healthy people who simply see the world differently than the ilk that tend to criticise them. They celebrate themselves in ways many of us never could.

To the critics, I say this…

You can detest porn all you like. You can make all the anecdotal, unfounded claims you like.

But I ask this…

When you look back on your own life- your past and present- who has been more exploited? The people who willingly act in pornographic films without shame and are paid excellent wages to do so? Or you?

Something tells me that if you’re honest with yourself, you may be surprised by your answer.-SMcG

  1. Jacco says:

    Yes Scott, I am around…