This week’s article in The Daily Beast from performer Aurora Snow on racism is really good. She speaks plainly from the perspective of a performer in the early 2000s confronted with the issue of race for the first time. She follows this insight with different reasons performers may choose not to work with black performers, then quotes industry insiders.
“When I first got into the adult-film business about 12 years ago, one of the most confusing things my agent asked was whether I “did interracial.” I was completely baffled. So the old man clarified: “Do you do black guys?” I was shocked at what seemed a racist question. As I sat on his dusty couch in a small, smoke-filled office, it suddenly felt like I was in another era: the black-and-white one.
I timidly answered: “Sure, I guess so. I don’t know what the difference is. It’s just skin color.”
One reason for some actresses’ reluctance might be size. Because of the way porn is cast, most black male performers have disproportionately large schlongs. The sheer size of these guys can be intimidating. I know one male performer who is as big around as a soda can. (I refused to work with him, afraid of his size, at the beginning of my career.)
But what’s more often behind the taboo is career anxiety. Most girls in the industry hear at some point from their agent or another performer that an actress can increase the longevity of her career by refusing interracial scenes—at least until directors have stopped using her.
I believe this is an outdated formula for success. My experience has taught me that the adult audience is far more progressive than porn-industry leaders, mostly old white men, may believe. There was once also a belief within the industry that a girl could extend her career by not doing certain sex acts. Circa 2000, the conventional wisdom was that if a girl wanted to maximize her career arc, she should start off doing solo work, then begin shooting with girls, move on to doing nonblack men, and then go into interracial or anal. There were hundreds of companies to work for at that time—and all kinds of movies to be made; porn was a booming, multibillion-dollar industry.”
It’s much longer than this, so I encourage a closer look!
Also intriguing is an article by Hanna Rosin about Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer entitled, Marissa Mayer Thinks Feminists Are a Drag. Is She Right?
“Last week I made fun of Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer for saying in the PBS Maker documentary about the women’s movement that she would not call herself a feminist. Mayer described feminists as women who are “militant” and have a “chip on the shoulder,” which struck me as a pretty unsophisticated portrait. But a few days later I am starting to reconsider. Maybe Mayer’s outdated stereotypes are distracting me from the more interesting question: If someone as smart and successful as Mayer, someone who tours the country speaking to young women, can’t comfortably call herself a feminist, then maybe we need to take her objection seriously. Maybe there is a reason why that PBS documentary was so much better on the history than it was on the modern era. Maybe feminism is a term too freighted with history and it’s time to move on.”
I once scoffed at my coworker for talking about feminism–years ago–asking him what it all meant beyond the stuffy angry women behind it. Since then I have come to appreciate my privilege in this world built on the backs of early feminists, yet Rosin’s article asks an interesting question that reminds me of the source for my irritation. If I have to call myself anything at all, I feel I am first and foremost a humanist. Simple? Yes, but that’s the way I like it. *uh-huh, uh-huh*
“Mayer more or less agrees with the aims of movement feminists, only she goes about achieving them in unorthodox ways. During her tenure at Google, she took pains to accommodate working mothers, only she did in a way that did not give them special status. (She allowed employees to identify their personal priorities, so a mom could leave early for a kid’s soccer game and a young man with no kids could leave early for a weekly potluck dinner with his old college roommates). She could have passed a special policy for working mothers. But Mayer’s way seems more viable in a world in which men and women compete equally for scholarships and jobs and are moving toward sharing domestic responsibilities, too.”
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