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Madison Young on MILF-hood

photo by Malia Schlaefer

Porn performer, director and sex educator Madison Young is busier than ever. Her company, Madison Young Productions, plans to release three films by the end of the year, she has a new live performance piece in the works, and a handful  of upcoming sexuality workshops to teach. For almost 10 years now, she’s been running Femina Potens, a San Francisco multimedia art gallery dedicated to work from queer, transgendered and female artists. She also maintains (and is currently expanding) the Feminist Porn Network, a collection of sexy, queer-friendly and sex-positive porn sites. I’m sure I’m forgetting a half dozen other groundbreaking projects—but Madison’s main gig these days is raising her daughter Emma, who was born in early March.

“I definitely have my hands full and sticky with the goodness of art and sex … along with a little breast milk and baby spit up,” she tells me. With Mother’s Day this weekend, it seemed like the perfect time to chat with one of the most inspirational mamas around. 

Fuck Your Feminist Porn

(Still of 1920s silent film porn by Narisa Spaulding)
(Still of 1920s silent film porn by Flickr user Narisa)

Last year, I was short on cash and struggling with full service work. For the first time in my life, I approached a porn company.

This was no ordinary porn company—they made this known every step of the way. They were “alternative” and “empowering.” They were “feminist” and made “erotica.” They were a company that was not like the others.

They were full of shit.

Here’s what working for them looked like:

They had me sign a form in which I promised that filming for them was just a hobby, not my job. It was a lie—one that was already pissing me off. They handed me a camera, took my passport for collateral, sent me home with a list of very exact specifications for what to film, and had me shoot my scene myself. Then, they had me come back to deliver the work. They complained about the amount of makeup I wore—said it didn’t fit their more “natural” style, though it was the same amount of makeup I had worn every day for the past 10 months—and handed me $200. They didn’t invite me back. They did invite back my skinnier, scar-free friend.

So feminist, right?

The People vs. Kimberly Kupps

Though she’s been an adult entertainer since the 1980s, Kimberly Kupps is currently best known as half of the Florida couple who were arrested for shooting porn in the privacy of their own home. Like me, Kimberly operates her own independent porn site, so it’s a case that definitely caught my attention. Some sex workers mistakenly view porn as legal, easy, and even dismiss it as “sex work lite,” because supposedly, those of us who make porn don’t break any laws and face no risk. As a pornographer, even if you are trying to stay within the bounds of the law and don’t shoot anything “extreme,” you can find yourself dealing with an obscenity prosecution, as Kimberly and her husband have learned this summer.

The pair was arrested on June 3rd by their local Polk County Sheriff, who is going after them as a part of a war on porn to clean up the conservative area. (Sheriff Grady Judd is also facing a federal civil rights lawsuit for allegedly harassing another local woman for her atheist organization.) Kimberly and her husband are being represented by well-known first amendment attorney Lawrence Walters. Walters is donating part of his fee, but there are still plenty of costs being incurred with mounting a strong legal defense, so Kimberly has set up a defense fund. Although their computers were seized by the police, Kimberly recently took the time to do an interview with me from her iPhone.

Porno-Enlightenment: How Pornography Propagates A Liberal Worldview

juliette1

“Modern industry, in overturning the economical foundation on which was based the traditional family, and the family labour corresponding to it, had also unloosened all traditional ties.” – Karl Marx, Capital

I open up my browser and type “pornhub.com” into the search bar. Once the page loads, I hover my cursor over “videos” and click on “most viewed.” This is a type of occupational research for a sex worker like me. The ad on the right side of the page says “small, tiny, teens gettin’ fucked!” It’s an animated .gif: the male performer wraps his hands completely around the circumference of the female performer’s torso, demonstrating just how small and tiny this teen getting fucked is.

Of the four videos displayed at the top, only two of them feature third-person cinematography showing the whole body of both performers. One of them is a lesbian incest fantasy video, the other is an interracial video, the title of which refers to the white male performer as “innocent” and the black female performer as “his First African Princess.” The other two videos feature a mix of first person, or “POV,” shots and third person shots which barely show more of the male actor than his dick. One of these videos is an internal ejaculation, or “creampie,” video; the other is an incest fantasy video. Both feature an all-white cast and heterosexual sex. Naturally, the white man is the absolute Subject, and everyone else is the Other.

According to a study featured in an early 2016 issue of sexology publication The Journal of Sex Research, porn viewers have more egalitarian views about gender than non-viewers. The specific metrics used by the study to assess whether participants have “gender egalitarian views” are a series of questions which gauge the extent to which they agree with contemporary liberal status quo with respect to gender and the family. The study shows that porn viewership is positively correlated with the beliefs that abortion should be legal, and that women should be allowed to work outside of the home and hold positions of power in society. Other studies have shown that pornography exposure is correlated with positive attitudes about premarital sex among younger adults and that women who view pornography are more likely to hold sexually liberal attitudes as well as have engaged in sex work. A plurality of Pornhub.com viewers support Bernie Sanders; most support marijuana legalization and federal funding for Planned Parenthood.

Porn is a form of media which typically delivers images of women’s sexual objectification – the camera focuses on the woman’s body and her affective performance while the male performer seldom exists more than a few inches above his navel or below his knees – and where genres commonly cater to exploitative sexual proclivities (incest, “barely legal” teens, gangbangs, exploitation of domestic laborers such as maids and babysitters, and so on). It might seem counterintuitive that consumption of this media would correlate to liberal ideas.

.XXX Domain Makes Me .MAD

icann shameless profiteers
ICANN: shameless profiteers

Hey! Wouldn’t it be great if porn sites were made pornier by putting a big .XXX at the end of them? That would make me so much more aroused and reduce the confusion I feel when I visit a dot com and can’t determine for myself whether or not I’m looking at porn. After all, it’s very hard to judge whether or not I should devalue content and the people who make it simply by looking at it. I need more LABELS, man, especially when I visit one of those sites that’s sort of sexy but also has lots of words on it and I’m not sure whether I should start rubbing my mini-boner yet. Will it pay off with a free sex video? Or is there going to be a long non-nude poem to interrupt everything? Are there going to be a bunch of annoying “join now” buttons or will the mystery be preserved of why someone on the internet is enticing me with erotic photos (just because she loves to show off her hot body for free, I hope). If professional porn sites have a big-ass Triple-X right in the address bar, won’t it provide a genuine public service?