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Feminism & Why I’m Not a “Good Girl” (Anymore)

I’ve been annoyed at feminism the last couple months/years. I was once head over heels in love, but then once we got past the honeymoon phase I realized it would be a difficult relationship to maintain, and not one I was sure benefitted me. I had the typical “evil patriarchy” male privilege perspective that kind of fell apart once I started interacting with men on the internet on a regular basis. Men would email me questions about their love and sex lives, clearly wanting more but not knowing how, their pain evident between the words as they struggled to be vulnerable. Men would write me adoring emails, thanking me for the value I added to their lives. Submissive men especially surprised me, how much they worship and adore women – all contrary to what I expected.

I also saw an unpleasant side of men – exactly what I expected. Especially when I webcammed. Grown men begging me to flash my tits, trying to scam for free shows, demanding, being verbally abusive. But this wasn’t actually the majority. It was/is a very loud minority. The squeaky wheel. At times I’ve wanted to throw that wheel through the window. But it wasn’t worth it. The vast majority of men I’ve interacted with in the last 5.5 years have been polite, respectful, and nondescript – I don’t remember anything about them in particular, because they simply consumed the product they bought in peace. No problems.

The combination of these two sides has led me to conclude that men are far more clueless about women then they are misogynistic. An otherwise intelligent man can be colossally dumb in terms of appealing to women, which can come across as rude or entitled. As a generalization, men are FAR more straightforward and direct in their communications than women, particularly when it comes to sex. They miss all the nuance that makes a woman feel comfortable taking off her clothes and opening herself up (literally and figuratively). And when they fail, they don’t understand, which basically turns (some) into assholes. Which is even less effective. I honestly think only a minority of men are truly out there to victimize women; if there weren’t, I think I’d run into a lot more douche bags in this line of work.

This, combined with arguments flying all over the internet over whether a sex worker could even be a feminist (especially from women), and a few other things not worth getting into here have soured the taste of feminism in my mouth.

Yet I can’t disavow feminism entirely, as I remembered yesterday, this ideology helped me create the weirdly safe space that is my porn site.

It came from a negative place, actually. IF I was going to do porn, I was going to do it for me. Yes, the scenarios and fetishes would be my customer’s. But the experience would be all mine, and no way in hell would I compromise myself for a strange MAN on the internet. It was very uncomfortable in the beginning. I was hyper concerned with somehow allowing myself to be taken advantage of by a tool (hah) of the patriarchy.

I was going to be authentic. This did not, however, mean I would film my own fantasies. It did not mean I would be true to my body’s desires, as is often celebrated in feminist porn. (I wasn’t able to then even if I wanted to.) This wasn’t this wasn’t feminist porn. This was fetish porn. I was, however, a feminist doing it. Which meant I would draw on a part of myself, I suppose in the way an actor does in film. I would not create a fake character that did not exist at all in reality. I created a reality that wouldn’t exist otherwise, but the person inside it was always having real experiences. Curious, excited, aroused by the situation more than the specific acts, almost like a child filled with wonder at the vast world of sexuality – her own as much as her viewers’.

I would put a very new part of myself out there, someone who had only shown herself in brief glimpses to anyone before Terry (before I got off antidepressants, before I tried any recreational drugs, before I became fed up with following the script of life that was put before me by people who weren’t me). This “dirty girl” thing I have going was something I was just discovering. I figured out that I like weird shit. The feeling I get doing it. I also learned that I like turning my partner on. I like knowing his body, and even more that deep part of his psyche where desire comes from. I like the interaction between him and me. I like knowing that something I’m doing is affecting him, and that in turn affects me. I like being seen, whether by a camera or simply when he looks at my body as he fucks me; knowing I’m watched makes my skin prickle with aliveness, my blood pound harder, my awareness more present. I like the human body and how primal it feels to breathe in the scent of his sweat, to feel him pulling my hair, his spit dripping down my face, to fill our mouths – noses – ears – every sense with each other.

She was vulnerable. (She still is.)

I’ve managed to keep her safe and allow her to explore by making boundaries. Lots of them. In my time in porn, I’ve laid down more boundaries than in all the years prior. Porn became a place where I could say no, and mean no. Because I was producing my own content, if I didn’t want to make something – NOBODY COULD MAKE ME. Sometimes it was fun saying no, other times annoying. But I got to say it, and got to mean it. Some things that were an early no, are now yes’s; others will probably always stay no (such as other men). And a couple yes’s became no’s in time. I’m not sure I’ve had such power in any other area of my life. I’ve needed it.

At the same time, there have been many things I’ve been unable to control. I don’t know who I’m working with until that day, sometimes (though typically I know a couple days ahead). I don’t know how she’s going to react to my crazy ideas (though usually positively). I don’t know if some new legal issue will make selling porn more difficult (though if obscenity didn’t defeat the industry I’m not sure what will). I don’t know if STD testing will become more difficult or condoms be mandated state-wide and force us to move our production.

But most of all – I have no control over how people receive my videoswhether they laugh at, judge, or are disgusted by a very personal part of me.

This is absolutely the most difficult part of my experience. This is what I’ve hoped to control much of my life – other people’s perceptions of me, by presenting mostly what they want to see. Being the “good girl.” Assuming you’re capable, its easy to get a good grade when you simply do what the grader asks. Do it over and over and over again and people start thinking you’re a God damn genius. Yet being good at meeting expectations is hardly the same as intelligence, and its certainly not who I am.

Its a stereotype about porn stars that they thrive on attention from men (with the implication, of course, that this is a bad thing). While its true I’ve discovered I DO enjoy male (and female) attention, there’s as much negative attention out there as positive surrounding the adult world. I have this wonderful safe space, yet to others it doesn’t necessarily look that way. I used to think the goal was to stop caring about what other people think, but as I get older that seems like bullshit. We’re social creatures, and other people’s opinions of us DO matter to a degree. We must acknowledge them, we just can’t let them run our lives. The irony, of course, is that when someone is confident in what they’re wearing they can pull off the most ridiculous of ensembles (hello, Lady Gaga). That is a quality I’ve always admired in others – the confidence to simply be. Perhaps they’re not as confident as they look; I know I’m not as confident as people seem to think I am.

Control is an illusion, an attempt to tame uncertainty by being – doing – feeling the “right” thing in the “right” way at the “right” time. Power, though, is dynamic and nobody knows when I have it except me.

I may get social approval, but I will never have any power as a good girl.

Related posts:

  1. But I Thought Feminism Gave Me Self-Esteem…
  2. Socialist Feminism Makes a Terrible Relationship Model
  3. Help! My Wife Doesn’t Want Sex Anymore… Addressing Typical Relationship Problems

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