Posts Tagged ‘porn’

Back in 2008 Mark Simpson asked a simple question: How gay is MMA?  And the simple answer was: VERY! His steamy description of a live fight he attended sounded (deliberately of course) like a review of the latest homo porno:

‘Mac Danzig is still on his back; his sweaty, pumped, almost translu­cently white torso is flushed with the auburn heat that auburn skin pro­duces when it is aroused. His pant­ing, fetch­ing head has been pushed up against the cage by red­head Marc Bocek’s ener­getic pound­ing, as if the cage were in fact a head­board. Bocek isn’t mak­ing love, how­ever, or at least not the vanilla kind. He’s ham­mer­ing the liv­ing day­lights out of Danzig, stok­ing the crowd into ever-higher waves of frenzy. Although the Octa­gon is right in front of me, I’m watch­ing all of this on one of the giant screens over­head: MMA is mostly a hor­i­zon­tal sport — one that requires mul­ti­ple zoom lenses and a big TV to enjoy properly.’

But it is in 2012 that the ‘gayness’ of MMA has really come home to roost. One of the finalists in the competition to become a contestant in The Ultimate Fighter, a reality TV show featuring MMA fighters, has admitted to once starring in gay porn.

Whilst this information could affect his chances of getting on the show, the general reaction is not as shocked or disapproving as you might expect.  In fact he seems to be winning over hearts and minds with his ‘honest’ confessional of his ‘sleazy’ past. The fact he has two kids and is about to marry his long-term girlfriend (who encouraged him to ditch the porn career) probably helps keep his reputation as a good old american boy almost intact.

This is a very different story from one Mark Simpson told us in 2006. He conducted an exclusive ‘investigation’ into a US army scandal involving young soldiers being disciplined for appearing in gay porn movies. Simpson presented them as sexual outlaws, but commented that their activities were not uncommon, either amongst army personnel or amongst ‘straight’ men in general.

Fast-forward to 2012, when the Metrosexy youtube is in full flow. And we watch our favourite, heterosexual, ‘masculine’ heroes such as David Beckham in hardcore Sporno all the time without batting an eye. This latest porn revelation, rather than seeming like a terrible blow for red-blooded, uber-‘straight’ MMA, actually just goes some way towards ‘outing’ it as  what it is: gay for pay sporno. And that seems normal.                                                                                                                                                                    
I think gay blogs such as Queerty who have reported this story in their usual giggling OOh Matron tone, are behind the Metrosexy times. Everyone knows that fit young men love nothing more than to display their bodies on film. And the line between porn, sport and personal showing off has been well and truly blurred. Not to mention the line between ‘gay’ and ‘straight’.

h/t @Parclyfe

I never thought I’d be saying this, but I want to defend Johann Hari today. Not for his confessed plagiarism, or for the fact he is terrible at writing. His prose gives me what I can only describe as abjection, which I suppose is a sort of achievement. Not for his politics, especially his gayism, which I have criticised for example at Graunwatch.

No, I want to defend Hari based on the way he has been described by a detractor as a suspected pornographer. Suspected pornographer? It sounds like ‘suspected murderer’ put like that. For all his crimes against ethics, morals and well crafted sentences, Hari’s dabblings in written porn are to me his one saving grace!

I write pornography. I watch pornography. I think porn is a healthy aspect of our sexual culture, or at least a widespread ‘normal’ one. To try and link porn to Hari’s supposed ‘bad character’ which as far as I am concerned is nothing more than bad, very bad, journalism, seems like a cheap shot to me.

The person  ( @nero on twitter) who did this assured me he is ‘gay’ and so therefore I presume qualified to shame his brothers for their sexual proclivities?

I dislike the behaviour of Johann The Librarian* as much as anyone and I am glad I won’t be forced to read his drivel in the national press anymore. But I won’t stand by idle while he is ‘brought down’ as a ‘pervert’ and suspected pornographer, when those are things I hold dear.

So there.

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/libertycentral/2012/jan/06/michael-peacock-obscenity-trial?newsfeed=true

In an unusual move, the Guardian, the ‘liberal voice’ of Britain, which is normally the feminist voice, and the puritanical voice, has come out in favour of a man who sells hardcore S and M m/m porn. Why this strange turnaround?

Well, if we look a bit more closely at their discourse, we can see it is not a turnaround at all, but business as usual for the Graun.

Nichi Hodgson, the author of the article, was present at the trial of Michael Peacock. He was being accused of selling and distributing ‘obscene’ material under the Obscene Publications Act (1959). It also related to the famous trial over the ‘obscenity’ of Lady Chatterley’s Lover in 1960. Hodgson wrote:
‘Why is that so important? For one, Peacock is the only person to have pleaded not guilty to a charge under the Obscene Publications Act 1959(OPA 1959) and won . He is the first person to have challenged the notion of obscenity in law, a law that was last updated in 1964, and has stood since. A law that is expressly designed to tell us what is “deprave and corrupt” – defined by Justice Byrne in 1960 as “to render morally unsound or rotten, to destroy the moral purity or chastity; to pervert or ruin a good quality.”‘

I agree that this is an important case. I am glad the Guardian covered it. But this is the paper that spends a lot of time and energy promoting the idea that pornography ‘depraves and corrupts’ people, especially men. And that it exploits and demeans people, especially women.

Gail Dines in the Guardian in December 2011, very aware of the charges against feminism and its puritanical approach to pornography wrote:

‘But feminists who organise against pornification are not arguing that sexualised images of women cause moral decay; rather that they perpetuate myths of women’s unconditional sexual availability and object status, and thus undermine women’s rights to sexual autonomy, physical safety and economic and social equality.’

Hmm. Me thinks the lady did protest too much.

In another Graun article in 2011, about a porn industry conference where feminists protested, Gail Dines was quoted as saying:

“You cannot have a massive industry built on the sexual torture and dehumanisation and debasement of women. If you want any gender equality in a society you cannot have this industry steam-rollering into men’s psyches, sexuality and identity,”

So why is the Guardian now supporting pornographers?

The only way I can see that this case has received positive attention in the Guardian is because it relates to ‘gay’ porn. If no women are involved, the Graun does not care so much about its crusade against the ‘degrading’ effects of pornography. Hodgson wrote:

‘Throughout the trial, the court had carefully warned the jury against sentencing out of any impulse of homophobic disgust. So it was disturbing to hear the prosecution lawyer invoke towards the end of his address the following example of the likely audience for the “obscene” material: “a man, in his 40s, married, with a wife who doesn’t know of his secret sexual tastes”, especially considering the defendant’s testimony that his customers were mostly gay men.’

As [redacted] has written, incidentally in a blogpost that got threatened with censorship by his webhost company, straight men enjoy watching men’s cocks in pornography. They may not be the main clientele for hardcore m/m s and m porn, but this divide between ‘gay’ and ‘straight’ porn is false. Also, many women watch ‘gay’ pornography. Again as Simpson has told us, Manlove for the Ladies is a big market and getting bigger.

Hodgson placed this case as a victory for ‘gay rights campaigners’ and ‘everyone who believes in social and sexual liberty’.

‘How ironic that the defence had begun his closing by trying to distance this case from the R v Penguin Books (1961) trial (commonly known as the Chatterley trial), which the recorder had already referenced to as precedent. That trial, in which the infamous test of the book’s obscenity was whether you would let your wife or servants read it, exposed everything that was wrong about the way those who held power and privileged pronounced on the sexual tastes and liberties of the population. Here was that same example of the white middle-class, privileged patriarch, no longer guarding against the sullying of his goods and chattel, wife and servants, but fearing for his own depravity.

Thankfully, the jury did not fall for it as a tenable argument. For gay rights campaigners and for everyone of us that believes in social and sexual liberty, it’s a day to make a five-digit victory sign.’

However, during the trial I did not see any ‘gay rights campaigners’ speaking up for Peacock (with the single exception of  Chris Ashford of Law and Sexuality Blog).  Maybe this was because ‘gay rights’ activists are often puritanical themselves, as they try (and succeed) to separate the ‘gay’ identity from ‘homosexual’ sex, and to make it respectable and almost ‘heterosexual’.

I wrote previously at Graunwatch about how gay activists such as [redacted] have taken a dim view of men demonstrating their homosexuality in public. I am not surprised this case was not taken up by ‘Teh Gayz’.

I am also disappointed that Hodgson used this damning phrase to describe the the hypothetical man who this case is suggesting is the focus of the law:

‘white middle-class, privileged patriarch’.

Patriarchy is always the ‘enemy’ in the Guardian (an imaginary one in my opinion). And this word enables the paper to come across as ‘liberal’ and caring in a case such as this, whilst maintaining its crusade against ‘patriarchal’ pornography and the ‘pornification’ of culture that feminists claim demeans and exploits women.

I rarely identify my own sexual orientation. I take the view summed up so eloquently by Steven Zeeland, that ‘sexual identity is a joke’.

But I do identify with and even practice ‘sadomasochism’. And, whilst I welcome this verdict, I do not think it represents a big shift,  in our culture which still separates ‘good sex’ from ‘bad sex’, ‘normal’ people from ‘perverts’, or in the Guardian,which remains puritanical, misandrist, and conservative.

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Photo by Robert Mapplethorpe

Belle de Jour, now known as Dr Brooke Magnanti, is writing a book called Sexonomics.

She is blogging about the topics that will be covered in the book: mainly pornography, sex work and the sex industry. It is a critical look at the media, research and feminist analyses of these areas. It sounds great, but I have had quite a few problems with what I have read so far on her blog.

1) Just The Facts

The first problem I have had is her attachment to ‘science’ and ‘facts’. Sex and the sex industry are a very complex area, and we all bring our own subjectivities to the table. Brooke is someone who made a name for herself writing about being a ‘high class’ sex worker. This identity is never far from her analyses. She seems most concerned with ‘women’ in the sex industry, and also with media and social attitudes to sex/sex work/porn, from a white, middle class perspective, which is her own perspective. But Brooke is also a scientist by trade, and so she presents herself as able to critique ‘science’ of sex, and offer the ‘true’ factual version of events as a scientific researcher. For me, as you know from some of my previous writings, ‘science’ is one of the most problematic areas in sex and sex research. I do not rate it above social studies or personal accounts, that is for sure.

When I did challenge Brooke on her use of one particular study by J Michael Bailey:

http://quietgirlriot.wordpress.com/2011/04/08/the-appliance-of-science-1-sexing-the-brain/

http://quietgirlriot.wordpress.com/2011/04/09/the-appliance-of-science-2-chicks-dicks-flicks/

she blocked me on twitter, sent me a rude email and basically told me I didn’t know what I was talking about, because I am not a scientist. I do have a PHD though, as does she. But just in social science. And, as she does not allow comments on her blog, her version of the ‘facts’, her ‘truth’ will always be what takes precedent. She is not allowing other voices to even attempt to enter into her writing process. How lonely it must be, being a true scientist.

2) No, seriously, what about teh menz?

I just had this great blog brought to my attention: http://noseriouslywhatabouttehmenz.wordpress.com/

It is a question I should like to pose to Brooke: what about men in porn, in sex work , in sex itself? Her focus, for example in this set of posts about porn, is all on women. As porn actresses, as potential ‘victims’ of porn, as the people most qualified to comment about the role of porn in people’s lives. The newsnight debate she took part in recently that she refers to, included only women guest speakers, but she does not comment on this. I expect she would if it had have been all men! Brooke distances herself from ‘feminism’ as a dogma, but her analysis is ‘feminist’ in that it is women-centric. This, for a forthcoming book aimed to be a serious study of sex in the economy, is a huge oversight in my view. When she does mention men, e.g in the post ‘does porn make men see women differently?’ it is always in relation to women, and nearly always (with one brief exception)  with men cast as consumers of porn, women as subjects/objects. And again, in these posts she seems to be aiming to reveal the ‘truth’ about pornography as opposed to the ‘myths’ put about by the media. But I do not think there is one truth. It is a very complex area. One which includes men!

http://sexonomics-uk.blogspot.com/2011/06/porn-by-numbers-1-does-porn-objectify.html#more

http://sexonomics-uk.blogspot.com/2011/06/porn-by-numbers-2-is-pornography.html

http://sexonomics-uk.blogspot.com/2011/06/porn-by-numbers-3-does-porn-make-men.html

http://sexonomics-uk.blogspot.com/2011/06/porn-by-numbers-4-is-porn-taking-over.html

http://sexonomics-uk.blogspot.com/2011/06/porn-by-numbers-5-on-feminist-porn.html

3) You so heteronormative, girl!

Brooke Magnanti is not stupid. In fact, she is very, very clever. Much cleverer than me. She is actually making money out of writing about sex. I am the stupid one in many ways.  She is also clever in that in her current writing about the sex economy, she is using a lot of the ‘right’ words, that make people think she is a good, liberal critic of draconian attitudes to porn and sex.

For example, in her recent posts about pornography debates above, she mentions ‘queer’ porn, and how a lot of the discussions are very ‘heteronormative’ in approach. She also discusses ‘feminist’ pornography and mentions some big names in the field like Anna Span and Jiz Lee. These people have currency not just in the industry but in the ‘critical’ industry of how we talk about pornography. She gives them a nod. They will think she is covering their interests and their work.

But is she? I have found all Brooke’s essays so far completely and utterly heteronormative in themselves. In her post on whether or not porn ‘makes men see women differently’ for example, she does not once refer to gay porn, or the fact some men are either not heterosexual or do not watch exclusively heterosexual pornography. Or, the big, bulging pink elephant in the room that I like to bring up every now and again, that when ‘straight’ men watch ‘straight’ porn they are not just looking at women but also at naked big-cocked men and their naked big ejaculating cocks.
The studies she refers to in this piece also fail to mention that not all men are heterosexual.

http://sexonomics-uk.blogspot.com/2011/06/porn-by-numbers-3-does-porn-make-men.html

So, to summarise, I am very impressed by Brooke Magnanti. She is convincing a lot of people whom I respect, that she has a balanced, ‘scientific’ and politically sound approach to critiquing pornography, sex work and the sex economy.  She is doing this despite (or because of?) her unquestioning acceptance of the value of ‘science’ in the study of sexualities, her complete focus on women in the sex economy, and her heteronormative perspective.

I am sure she will sell lots of books.

But will she bust the ‘myths’ about sex in consumer capitalism? I don’t think so. She is reinforcing them.

QRG has been getting into a spot of bother-again-about the ‘female gaze’ again! This time by arguing with Kitty Stryker, who has recently set up the Andro Aperture Project.

http://androaperture.wordpress.com/

This is what she says about the project (emphasis mine):

‘Andro-Aperture is a mini-crusade for the appreciation of male beauty in all its forms- sexy men,sexy male, and sexy trans-masculine bodies of all kinds. There aren’t enough images shot for female appreciation, so I want to explore and discuss what defines (and defies) a female gaze.

I want to celebrate the diversity of the erotic male body- encouraging more sexy photos of male-identified people of different ethnicities, body sizes, ages, hairiness, and abilities.

I want to challenge the knee jerk reaction that “female bodies are just more attractive”.

And really, I just want hot porn to jerk off to.’

I have said before I don’t think there is such a thing as a female or male gaze. I have said it in relation to my problems with distinguishing between ‘female’ and ‘male’ in the first place  here:

http://quietgirlriot.wordpress.com/2011/02/20/human-impersonators/

and here:

http://quietgirlriot.wordpress.com/2011/04/21/crushed-women-no-longer-centre-of-attention-shocker/

and I have agreed with Mark Simpson when he has said it (in not so many words. He takes it as a given, that the main ‘gaze’ in contemporary visual culture, is ‘metrosexual’ or maybe seen another way, ‘Transexy’) here:

 

and here:

 

But to take Kitty’s own words on the subject:

There aren’t enough images shot for female appreciation, so I want to explore and discuss what defines (and defies) a female gaze.

I do not agree with this statement. I think it involves a number of reductionist positions. The first is that ‘men’ and ‘women’ are two distinct groups in a gender binary. The second is that those two distinct groups like to look at different things for pleasure. The third is not articulated but it is that the ‘female gaze’ in this context is ‘heterosexual’ – men being looked at by women for the women’s heterosexual pleasure.

Kitty says she wants to discuss and explore what ‘defines’ the female gaze but when I have tried to do this, she and her readers have suggested I am disrupting their project. But she has not discussed, explored or defined it. She has just said it exists and needs catering for by commercial pornography. I do not even know what defines a ‘female’ so how can I know what defines a ‘female gaze’?

She also says

I want to challenge the knee jerk reaction that “female bodies are just more attractive”.

I do not know who has this reaction. Wherever I look I am surrounded by images of male bodies. In The Times newspaper, on Wimbledon TV coverage, on buses, in magazines, on adverts, in the park. The world I see before my very eyes is saying to me that ‘male bodies are as attractive if not more than female bodies’. And that men demand to be looked at, by anyone, and that we notice them looking at us, looking at them, looking at themselves!

So I think Kitty’s project is based on a number of false premises.

I will write more soon I  just wanted to kick off my side of the debate in my own ‘space’ as I am not getting very far in her side of town. This person has summed up my objections very well indeed:

http://soccerdomme.tumblr.com/post/6979855779/the-andro-aperture-project-my-gut-reaction

One reason I don’t get as wound up about the ‘lack’ of decent pornography that features men’s bodies, as some, is that I find plenty of very hot images in realms that are not officially classed as ‘porn’. AND they are free or cheaper than the vast majority of porn.

How many M/M/m S and M porn scenes have you seen that contain as much tension, power dynamics, violence and beautiful bodies as this photo from a MMA fight for example?

None? Thought not.

I found the photo on this article by Kevin Arnold on Guyism. The article is not very good but the picture is just fine!

http://guyism.com/lifestyle/on-masculinity-male-violence-and-aggression.html

And I found the erotic charge of MMA, via, of course, the Daddy of pornography that is not categorised as ‘porn’- Mark Simpson. He asked, ‘How Gay is MMA?’ and the answer of course, is very.

 

Can you have beautiful buff boy fatigue?

Beautiful, buff, hairless chest, pretty young white boy fatigue?

Beautiful, buff, hairless chest, a hint of sensitivity in the expression, pretty young white boy fatigue?

Beautiful buff, hairless chest, a hint of sensitivity in the expression, homogenous homoerotics pretty young white boy fatigue?

Beautiful buff, hairless chest, a hint of sensitivity in the expression, homogenous homoerotics, perfectly coiffed, designer stubble, pretty young white boy fatigue?

Because I do.

h/t @homo_superior http://bigbutchmuscle.com/post/5049552865/cigar