Being a pornographer must be a really hard job. First off, your coworkers are all naked and sometimes they poop in front of you. And sometimes you have sex with your coworkers. Then, you have to go home for Christmas and tell your grandmother that you “work in movies” but she knows you work as a pornographer because your mother told her and she cries because you wasted your college education. That sounds difficult.
And, actually, it is very difficult mostly because of the psychological damage it can cause (at least if you are a good person). Sam Benjamin worked in both straight and gay porn for some time. It started as a means to get chicks and ended with him degrading women in order to “make porn.” Yeesh.
His work in the field has been chronicled over on Alternet (and previously on Alternet, funny enough). There are a lot of revelations here about the industry and how it functions and the most fascinating bit can be summed up with this early paragraph—
Though gay and straight porn may appear distinct from one another mostly due to the various orifices which receive the majority of the camera’s gaze, for me, the most important difference was that they felt governed by subtly different moral tenets.
Interesting. He outlines what this means for the straight world (the gender dynamics, the need to humiliate and oppress) and that it disappeared when working in gay world. The difference in the industries feels similar to being in a very abusive relationship as opposed to a very functional, fun, and somewhat loving relationship. Not that either or right or wrong but, clearly, the world of heterosexual porn is fulfilling some fucked up fantasies of female oppression. That sucks. Your grandmother would certainly hate that.
As the story shows, Benjamin did exit the scene—but he has to be one of the very few to do so. Surely some of his peers take pleasure from taking advantage of women and treating people like shit. Those dudes exist in all industry and they are surely exaggerated in porn, where all signals of sexuality and gender are over performed.
I’ve also said this once, I’ve said it a million times: we can learn a lot from gay people, particularly how to love and get along with and fuck each other.