It is very queer, but not the less true, that people are generally quite as vain, or even more so, of their deficiencies than of their available gifts.”
~ Nathaniel Hawthorne, The House of the Seven Gables
Monday, adult trade publication XBIZ reported on a new New York Times piece on women in porn. The Times announces, about a decade too late, “Technology has made it possible for just about anyone to shoot, direct and star in their own porn films. Women are leading the new guard.”
“Women are rising up,” the Times adds. Setting aside the problematic subtextual corollary that, up until now, women had been “held down”, the success of women in adult is unquestionably a great thing. However, it might bear reminding that just because one could raise the Titanic, that doesn’t mean one should.
Among the women cited in the Times piece — featured prominently, in fact (although, interestingly, not quoted) — is adult performer Leigh Raven.
XBIZ deals with the Leigh Raven portion of the Times essay in three paragraphs:
The Times noted that the porn biz had a “moment of reckoning” with sexual misconduct several months ago when the performer Leigh Raven and her wife, the director Nikki Hearts, posted a wrenching hourlong video to YouTube, in which Raven described being coerced and abused on a porn set.
The Times writer makes no mention of the devastating on-set video evidence that counters Raven’s and Hearts’ allegations.
More importantly, neither does XBIZ.
The XBIZ report continues:
“Taking a stand has cost them some work,” the Times said. “But their story has also complicated prevailing narratives about pornography and abuse, which situate performers as either perpetual victims or asking for it.”
No, it hasn’t; in fact their tale of voiceless intimidation on an “all male set”, as well as their use of Buck Angel to label any man a #toxic #male #rapist if they do not believe the women’s story even in the face of contrary evidence, plays directly into the dominant narrative of the Catherine MacKinnon school of anti-porn Marxist-feminism that has held sway since the early 1970s.
The XBIZ piece then drops one last quote about the Raven matter from the Times article:
“We now know similar abuses happen on Hollywood film sets and in hotel rooms, on production lines and in offices across America. It’s harder than ever to paint porn as uniquely exploitative — or to ignore abuses that do happen.”
Again, this presumes facts not in evidence; to wit: that Raven was indeed “abused” on set. And moreover, the alleged (and proven) abuses in Hollywood are far, far worse than anything that’s come out of Porn valley
It’s easy to excuse the logical and rhetorical shortcomings of feminist Times writer Amanda Hess, but less so industry trade magazine XBIZ.
It is no exaggeration to say that, in the adult business, the widespread understanding of the Leigh Raven/Nikki Hearts accusation is that they are both false and the product some other, unacknowledged objective, phenomenon, or strategy; that they went too far out on a limb and now they cannot back out. So, to not even mention that Raven’s claims are, if not debunked then broadly considered debunked in the adult business — or at the very least that they are hotly disputed — represents a striking bit of tone-deaf reporting, even for Xbiz (and, unfortunately, that is saying quite a lot).
Alec Helmy of XBIZ, you will recall, hired Ron Jeremy, now accused of multiple counts of sexual harassment and assault, to host its 2017 awards show.
Any other year she would have made a fine, if hopelessly bland, choice. But she was scheduled to host the event a month after playing a role in a cyberbullying scandal that helped drive a beloved adult performer to end her life.
Calls went out for Helmy to replace her, or for drake to have some class and gracefully step aside. . . .
Nope. Full steam ahead.
[ ] Helmy’s pick also prompted a minor insurrection: a protest by industry members wearing “fuck y’all” t-shirts inspired by the cyberbullying tragedy.
The House of Helmy’s inability or unwillingness to “judge the room” when it comes to adult industry sentiments and politics is legend, and it’s a reputation that deepens by the day.
If, as many suspect, Helmy has lately ben trying to redeem himself for past missteps, he has only managed to trip himself up yet again.
Archimedes‘ principle is the statement that the buoyant force on an object is equal to the weight of the fluid displaced by the object. The effort of a feminist to spin the Leigh Raven affair into “proof” of abuse in porn is to be expected, however the move by the House of Helmy to re-write history may be something of a different shade.
“What other dungeon is so dark as one’s own heart!”