Sunday, October 15, 2006

Alt-Porn for Everyone!

Disclaimer: Maybe this is needless to say in a blog like this, but this post contains some links that are Very Very Not Work Safe. If links like these are okay at your place of employment, please tell your bosses to hire me. Thank you.

Up until a few years ago, when you thought of porn you inevitably thought of bleached blonde, fake breasted, bored women pretending to come for money in an industry controlled by men.

Or did you? The alt-porn industry has made the days of mainstream porn into a mythical dark age. Alt-porn is supposed to be different: the models and actresses are brainy and subversive; they really get off on what they’re doing; they love hardcore music and body modification, and they do women because they want to, not because their director told them to.

By now, much of the Suicide Girls fa├žade of alt-porn has come crumbling down. Former Suicide Girls complain about their treatment by the company, about breached contracts, and about being kicked off the site for criticizing the company. Subversive, eh?

So I did some research. And let me tell you, it was terrible, backbreaking work looking at all those beautiful naked women. I’m lucky I survived.

I looked around. I looked at the mainstream alt-porn porn sites (how’s that for an oxymoron?) that make all the money, I looked at the sites that feature alt-porn models on an alt-porn budget and with alt-porn trappings of tattoos and rock bands, and I looked at an awful lot of erotic photography, amateur sites, and sexy photoblogs. And, y’know, since I was in the neighborhood, I checked out some good old fashioned porn sites, too. And after all that research, what I decided is that someone needs to tell the world that there are alternatives to alternative porn!


The Reviews Are In

I looked at Suicide Girls and Burning Angel, two of the major pay-sites of the alt-porn world. I found some hot women with some extensive body modification, that classic marker of alternative pornography. On BA, I found a fuck-you attitude and a lot of filthy language (and not in a sexy way). I also found a punk rock ethic that doesn’t particularly appeal to me, but I love that it’s out there. I can think of lots of people who get wet just thinking about punk music. On SG I found, I felt, a slightly broader range of ladies (granted, this is all just from the guest galleries. I’m broke.). And their FAQ doesn’t tell me to go fuck myself, which is nice. Best of all, the front page has an extensive “news” section, bringing the brainy side of alt-porn out of the individual model’s “about me” section and onto the front page. Still, almost all the models owned up to some body mod. It’s not that I don’t like tattoos and piercings. It’s just not all I like. Can’t I be alternative and want something more than this?

Other sites, like Supercult, Deviant Nation, and RazorDolls (all paysites), are busy as well, and feature body-mod, punk-rock subculture lady-types. All of these sites, though, contain a very clear message about what they are, which I appreciate. From RazorDolls’ splashpage:
"RazorDolls.com depicts amateur naked punk girls with tattoos and piercings usually associated with the Goth, Heavy Metal, Punk Rock Alternative Subculture. People over 18 can view them here.”

There we go, plain and clear: these are the particular kinds of models we feature. Even better, from Supercult’s FAQ:
“do i have to be pierced or tattooed to model?
no. that's stupid. this isn't about everyone looking
the same. cookie-cutter "alt.porn" is just as bad as
cookie-cutter anything else.”

While the truth is that many of Supercult’s “girls” seem to follow the alt-porn (un)dress code, it’s refreshing to see them acknowledge the cookie-cutter nature of so-called alt-porn.

And then, there’s No Fauxxx. I adore No Fauxxx, so much that I’m actually considering subscribing (hmm… pay college loans, see hot naked people… what to do?). It’s a paysite, and costs as much to subscribe to as Burning Angel, but oh! The selection! I feel spoiled for choice. I knew as soon as I read the Mission that I was bound to see something I’d like:

What you might find in the members area:
• Soft core, pin up girls, black and white erotica, sensual shots.
• Hard core, masturbation, role-playing, kink, and fetish.
• Straight, lesbian, gay, queer, and bisexual couples and groups.
• Girls, Boys, Transgender, transsexual, genderqueer, or gender-bending models.
• Fat, thin, chubby, curvy, zaftig, short, tall, and athletic models.
• Models of all races, taken out of the stereotypical context models of color are usually assigned in the sex industry.
• Able-bodied models as well as Not-as-abled bodies.
• BSDM, bondage, SM, shown as a positive thing as opposed to scary, dangerous, or perverted. (And also maybe some really dark creepy stuff too...)
• Punks, goths, emo kids, hipsters, hippies, and other "alternative" models. We love tats and piercings here, but not all of our models have them and not all of our models adhere to any subculture.

Furthermore, we will strive to break down all sex stereotypes and typecasting, providing an in-depth analysis of the porn industry while creating HOT HOT HOT HOT PORN.

Damn! Please especially note that “not all of our models adhere to any subculture.” No Fauxxx, you are beautiful.

Alt Porn for the Rest of Us

This is what I think about alt-porn. I think that any one site (ahem! SG) that pretends to “be” alt-porn is, well, wrong. As a movement that largely began in response to the overwhelmingly blonde, big breasted nature of mainstream pornography in which few of us truly saw ourselves reflected, alt-porn (as culture has come to define it) is merely another stereotype – in which, again, many of us do not see ourselves (or the people we love/crave/fuck) reflected. And as a genre that began to combat certain anti-woman aspects of mainstream porn (say, poor treatment of models)… well, the Suicide Girls scandal was proof positive that people are bound to get hurt if you let success go to your head. I’m not blaming this on the sites or their creators. I don’t think they sat down and said, “let’s make this different kind of porn, and call it alternative porn, and absolutely everyone who doesn’t like mainstream will have to love our stuff!” I just think a lot more could be done to combat the idea that what we now call alt-porn is the only alternative to the mainstream stuff.

Enter websites like VegPorn. I love this website. I wish I could hug it’s creator, FurryGirl (who, by the by, has her own fabulous website. She also runs Erotic Red, a period-porn website. No, not like girls in old-fashioned clothes. Like menstruating women. Yeah, it surprised me too, and it doesn’t turn me on, but I’m really glad it’s out there – check out the mission statement). VegPorn is packed with sexy photos of naked types, all of whom are vegetarian or vegan.

Then there’s RetroRaunch, one of my favorites. RetroRaunch features real pornographic photos from early-mid 20th century. They’re beautiful, fun, hot photos that some people really get off to. Meanwhile their sister site, Martha's Girls, features recreations of some of those old photos, done especially for the site. The images look like those glamour shots you can get where they doll you up and then do soft-focus retouching afterwards, only naked! They don’t know it yet, but they want me to model for them.

Another great site I came across in my (ahem) research: The Beauty Curve. The website, created by size-activist Shyly, is erotic photography featuring very sexy models – who happen to be big. In all honesty, I think Shyly is one of the sexiest women I’ve seen on the internet. Damn.

And as for mainstream porn, the stuff produced by Playboy and Vivid, I say: if mainstream porn is what gets your rocks off, mainstream porn is what you should be watching. Contrary to popular belief, mainstream porn is not the devil. Just like with other every area of your life, though, being an informed porno-consumer is important, and especially so with mainstream.

There are sites for every taste: sex blogs featuring the dirty-doings of their creators (or erotic fiction), erotic photography sites with bondage and fetish slants, photo blogs like the amazing Feminism Without Clothes (where you get intelligence with your nudie shots -- score!), and of course PornoTube, the adult industry’s answer to YouTube. And what of the work of Fatale Media? I’d say that’s much more subversive than naked-skinny-girls-with-tattoos (although not necessarily more subversive than any one of those naked tattooed women individually). And there’s Susie Bright and Carol Queen. And pornography in film, so many hot alternative options! There’s Crash Pad, Sugar High Glitter City, Hard Love/How to Fuck in High Heels, Bend Over Boyfriend (and the sequel!), Tristan Taormino’s movies (which have some alt-porn aesthetic without the alt-porn attitude), and oh boy am I excited about Audacia Ray’s The Bi Apple!

Whew! I sure am glad there are so many alternatives to alternative porn!

As long as people find something sexy – be it body modification or vegetarianism, or big-breasted blondes – there will (I hope) be porn to match it. I’m not out to say there’s something inherently wrong with mainstream porn, or Suicide Girls, or anything else. What I want to see is a proliferation of niches, an alternative to every option. Alt-porn for everyone!

14 comments:

Michael said...

I would like to extend an invitation to you to join in on a collective blogging section of our upcoming winter issue of Reconstruction. The issue is the “Theories/Practices of Blogging.” In addition to the special section of posts on blogging there will be about a dozen essays on blogging.

The deadline is October 27th.

Our intent in this section of the issue will be to collect a wide range of bloggers and link up to their statements in regards to why they blog (something many of us are asked) and any statement they have on the theories/practices of blogging.

If you already have a post on this you can feel free to use it, or, if you are interested, you can submit a new one.

We will link to each statement from the issue at our site, with the intent of creating a hyperlinked list of statements on blogging that can serve as an introduction to blogging (or an expansion of knowledge for those already blogging).

If you are interested please contact me at mdbento @ gmail.com

Anonymous said...

Hey- I was wondering if you were planning on adding to this writing to address the 'dark ages' of porn from before alt-porn became more mainstreamed. It seems like a good use of your time. Y'know, further eh-chem "research."

-c

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