Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Ex-Porn Producer Advocates Education Over Legislation

Warning: This article has adult content.

Donny Pauling was a Porn producer for nine years. Donny's clients included major networks such as Playboy. Donny talks to True Feminism on why he quit the industry.

SD: How did you become a porn producer?

DP: That was a process that started when I first brought a computer into my home in the late 90s. When my wife was at work or asleep I'd look at porn on the Internet. I started thinking, "I could make money producing this stuff" and had this fantasy about how great it would be to be paid to photograph naked girls. I contacted my favorite sites and asked where they purchased their content. One of them gave me a shot, and it turned out others hired me simply because that first one was well known. I often heard, "If you can produce for them, you can produce for us". My career was launched, albeit part time and behind my wife's back for the first 3 years.

SD: What marketing techniques did you use to hook your audiences?

DP: I specialized in shooting first time amateurs. I'd photograph any woman willing to pose, no matter what her body shape or size. I knew enough about human nature to know there was a market for just about anything. My network had 12 million unique monthly visitors at one point. I received good reviews for my willingness to put just about anybody in front of a camera.

SD: Why is Playboy not seen as porn or a mild version of it?

DP: I'm assuming you're referring to the main Playboy magazine - the company actually owns some of the most hard core porn sites on the Internet, with names so raunchy you wouldn't be able to print them.

As for the main magazine, I think many people DO consider it porn. It's mild by today's standards, for sure. Porn is progressively more extreme. I suppose the same can be said for many aspects of human existence, however. Because of the extremes some go to, many people tend to label Playboy magazine as mild or non-pornographic. The truth is, even some of our network TV shows are pornographic, despite the fact that clothes might be kept on. Let's not fool ourselves.

SD: Prof. Robert Jensen, an anti-pornography activist says capitalism plays a big role in the success of the sex industry. Do you agree?

DP: Of course. Porn brings in more money than professional hockey, major league baseball, and NFL football combined. Anywhere there's money to be made you'll find people trying to get their piece of the pie. Porn's no different. Porn companies have a market that is hard wired by nature to want to indulge in their product.

SD: The very first issue of Playboy magazine said, All sophisticated Playboys are interested in virginity. Is this the reason why producers go after younger or fresh faces?

DP: There's a big market for innocence. It's very appealing to a certain segment of both men and women to be with a person who has never been with anyone else. Porn involving younger people creates that fantasy. Young, fresh faces were always popular, but in the latter years of my career "mature" women were becoming almost as popular. Some credit the movie American Pie for that. I think people go through phases. Notice I'm using the term "people" rather than "men". Porn isn't unique to men. More than 70% of women admit to using it, too - and that number is increasing. And just thinking back over the headlines in recent years about all the female school teachers who have been arrested for messing around with male students is a good indication that perverted sexuality isn't a male-only issue. Women are no longer being told, "Ladies don't act like this!" and are instead being told, "Why not?" The younger generations, in particular, are showing the results.

SD: You mentioned that you edited out things you did not want your audiences to see. What was edited out?

DP: Let's say a girl started crying on a set. While a small percentage of the population might find that appealing, I didn't want to put out that sort of work. That's one of the things I'd edit.

Another would be hygiene problems. Put it this way... baby wipes are a good thing to have sitting in every bathroom. Dry toilet paper doesn't truly clean a person.

Another thing... if certain STDs showed up on film, I'd take those out too... such as genital warts or a herpes outbreak. A large percentage of adult performers are affected by STDs of some sort.

Porn's not the glamorous fantasy most people get in their heads. The final cut never shows in the credits declarations such as, "This girl was curled up in a ball between takes, sucking her thumb in the corner because her mind is so blown by the scene you just witnessed" or "this model had to undergo surgery to repair the damage done to her body by the scene you just witnessed" or "this model had to do take after take to get the scene right... it took awhile before we could get her to convincingly look as if she was enjoying this, and she knew she wouldn't be paid if we couldn't get usable content".

By the way, those things in the last paragraph wouldn't keep happening if consumers weren't a reality. Supply and demand dictates that all of us, from producer to consumer, are needed to keep the cycle going.

SD: Why did you decide to quit being a porn producer?

DP: One of the biggest reasons I was in porn, besides the money, was hatred. I hated the church. I sometimes hated God. Porn was a way to vent that frustration on the world. Using that to fuel me, I'd justify what I was doing to people. I'd tell myself things like, "They're adults making adult decisions. They signed a model release. They were warned about what was coming." etc, etc. But the truth of the matter is that I still knew I wasn't having a positive effect on lives.

I met a missionary group called XXXChurch.com at a porn convention. Over the course of 4 years I watched them truly love people. I saw them inside our conventions telling people God loved them no matter what they'd done. They didn't condemn. They did crazy things like bringing in women to do makeup for porn stars, and while the girl was in their makeup chair they'd hear how much they were loved and be told there was someone to talk to if they needed to do so. I raged against them from time to time, but always received love as a response.

Those 4 years of interaction broke down my hatred. Because of that, I was able to take a better look at my life. Excuses didn't seem relevant anymore. I couldn't delude myself any longer. Other aspects of life started weighing on me more, making me see first hand what it was like to be on the other side of the camera. I just reached a place where I couldn't continue devastating lives.

On the day Playboy offered me an additional $4,000 a day to shoot a new series, I prayed to God, thanking Him for blessing me no matter what I did. He responded by physically touching me - a literally shocking experience that took my breath away. That touch seemed to say, "This is petty... I have so much more for you than this." After that September day I could no longer pick up a camera.

SD: Why are you opposed to censorship? Even free speech has its limits.

DP: What limits has God placed on human free will? And who are we to put ourselves above Him? He's given us the ability to do whatever we wish to do. There are consequences for our actions, but those actions are our decision. Censorship will never change hearts, and true change can only come from the heart. Love is the answer, not legislation. Showing people "why" they shouldn't do something is so much more effective than telling them they can't "because we said so".

SD: What would you say to those who might want to get involved in the world of adult entertainment?

DP: I'd tell them they're intelligent adults able to make their own decisions, but to be responsible they need to consider as much information as possible. Then I'd have them read a few articles on my blog such as this one:


and this one:


because I think those two articles alone would give them a few things to think about that they've likely not considered before. Ultimately, a person needs to make their own choices. God Himself gave us that capability. He hopes we'll use our free will to choose Him, and I hope people use their free will to stay away from porn.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Pornography Undermines Our Humanity

Warning: This article has adult content.

Robert Jensen is a Professor of media law, ethics, and politics at the University of Texas at Austin and a feminist anti-pornography activist. Prof. Jensen is also the author of "Getting Off: Pornography and the End of Masculinity" Prof. Jensen talks to True Feminism about the pornographic war on women.

SD: How did you get involved in women’s studies?

RJ: When I went to graduate school in 1988, I was lucky to have a chance to read radical feminist work and meet feminists working to end men’s violence and the sexual exploitation of women. I realized that feminism not only creates for women a path to resist patriarchy, but also gives men a way to deal with the ways in which patriarchy undermines our humanity. Feminism offers men a chance to be fully human. I also realized that radical feminism’s struggle against male dominance was based on a deep critique of the hierarchy and domination/subordination dynamic that permeates society, especially along race, gender, and class lines. For me, it opened up a new way of understanding the world that made justice seem possible.

SD: If pornography is anti-woman, then what about the men who work in the sex industry?

RJ: The domination/subordination dynamic that defines the sexual-exploitation industries of pornography, stripping, and prostitution is rooted in men’s use and abuse of women. But that domination/subordination can play out in other kinds of relationships, such as in the gay male world. There are also men who perform in the heterosexual pornography industry, of course, but they are not the targets of the cruelty and degradation that is routinely directed at women.Bold

SD: Prostitution advocates often claim that prostitution helps reduce the crime rate. Do you think this is true?

RJ: There’s no evidence of that, and it’s counter intuitive. So, I see no reason to accept the claim.

SD: How did you get involved in making “The Price of Pleasure”?

RJ: I had worked with the filmmakers on one of their previous projects. When they expressed interest in making a documentary on pornography, I was eager to help. There are few resources like this film available, and it has proved to be an important part of efforts to educate the public about the realities of the industry and the images it produces.

SD: Why do some feminists advocate prostitution and pornography?

RJ: I do not find their arguments about the liberating potential of pornography persuasive, and I think they typically avoid an honest assessment of the industry and the images it produces. I find the radical feminist critique of the sexual-exploitation industries to be a more compelling account of the world that I observe.

SD: How does pornography differ from sex?

RJ:Pornography is primarily a masturbation-facilitator for men. It’s one of the ways that men use women for sexual pleasure. It’s a mediated form of prostituted sex.

SD: Does adult pornography have an impact on child pornography?

RJ: The adult pornography industry is careful not to use minors in the production of their films. But they do produce films that present women who are over the age of 18 in child-like settings, with clothing and styles that evoke childhood -- what is sometimes called pseudo-child pornography. The classic examples would be a pornographic film that presents the women as students in a high school or babysitters. I don’t think we have enough evidence to know whether this cultivates in male users a desire for actual child pornography or sex with children, but there is reason for concern.

SD: Psychologist Sigmund Freud, in “Civilization and its discontents,” argued that all male aggression comes from sexual repression and it was the patriarchal family that places restrictions on male sexual activity. How can patriarchy then be the enemy?

RJ: Freud was wrong about some things, including this. The patriarchal family, which was devised by men, is a way to control women, not constrain men.

SD: How does capitalism contribute to pornography?

RJ: Capitalism is a predatory economic system that encourages exploitation, of people and the resources of the earth. Capitalism’s demand for profit undermines other values, such as respect, dignity, and equality. In a patriarchal society, it’s not surprising that profits can be generated by the sexual exploitation of women and that pornographers pursue those profits without concern for the consequences.

SD: What do you think of Playboy magazine?

RJ: Playboy sells objectified female bodies to men for sexual pleasure. It’s the soft end of the pornographic spectrum, but some women have told me that they think it is as destructive as the hardcore material that degrades women in overt ways; they believe that their male partners’ ideas of what makes a female body attractive are shaped by soft-core material like Playboy. Those perceptions can negatively affect relationships.

SD: How has pornography influenced mainstream media and television?

RJ: Mainstream pop culture is much more pornographic in recent years. The codes and conventions of pornography - the way pornography presents women sexually -find their way into the mainstream. More explicit and degrading sexual situations that look a lot like soft-core pornography are increasingly common in mainstream media.

SD: What advice would you offer men who view pornography?

RJ: Don’t. I think we men are much better off when we disconnect our sexuality from mediated images of explicit sex. Images that present women as sexual objects to be used for our pleasure undermine our ability to be fully human. Even if men don’t care about harm to women and children, we should abandon pornography for our own sake.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

True Feminist for Africa

Oakville’s Catherine Mulvale has Africa in her heart.

Mulvale visited Sheridan College in Ontario, Canada, to tell students about her trips to Africa and the non-profit work she does there.

Mulvale used to run her own business, when she was struck by a flesh eating disease that almost took her life. She had a 10 per cent chance of survival. This experience made her want to do something to help people with infectious diseases. Together with her husband Tom, Catherine organized a hike to Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. The funds she raised went to establish Strategies for Life, an organization that helps people cope with infectious diseases.

Aside from the rainforests and wild life in Africa, it was the orphans of Uganda that caught her attention. Mulvale met 12- year- old Anna, who told Catherine “I have no joy in my life.” Anna had AIDS. She woke up at sunrise, walked two hours to school, worked at a hotel, but was not paid.

Mulvale also met a girl who was not taking her anti-retroviral medication that kept HIV at bay, because her stepmother threw her medication in the hope that the girl would die, because she had four other children to look after.

Moved by the plight of these children, Mulvale came across Rafiki, a program for orphans in East Africa. Rafiki initially had 35 children, and two adults who looked after them. The orphans had many needs that were not being met. She returned to Canada, and started raising funds for Rafiki.

An art show in Oakville helped her raise funds for shelter, education, food, and medicine. Rafiki restored hope for more than 35 orphans, by building a school, a vocational program, and a well to supply them with three liters of water a day.

Catherine goes back to Africa every two years, with her husband Tom, and her two children, Jordanne and Zack.

Ride for Rafiki is a program in Canada that raises funds for orphans in Africa. Catherine still organizes hikes, the second one is planned for 2011.

There are an estimated 3 million orphans in Africa. Whenever Catherine Mulvale feels that she has not done enough for all of them, she remembers a guy called Michael she dated when she was 13. Michael told Catherine “You are going to do great things for the world.”

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Does this make me look fat?

One of the things to come out of third wave feminism and the sexual revolution are eating disorders.

Danielle’s Place is a non-profit organization that provides support services for eating disorders. Danielle’s Place was founded in memory of Danielle Mayeur, who passed away from anorexia in 2001. Danielle wanted a support group that would prevent other people from going through what she had gone through.

There are several warning signs that accompany an eating disorder.

  • An impulsive focus on healthy food and nutrition.
  • A sudden interest in reading food labels to check fat grams and calories.
  • Starting diets to lose weight or become healthier.
  • Skipping meals.
  • Lying about foods you’ve eaten, when they’ve been eaten and how much you’ve eaten.
  • Worrying about weight and being dissatisfied with how they look.
  • Drinking excessive amounts of water or liquid that have no calories (in order to feel full)
  • Poor concentration.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Four Levels of Communication In Sex and Relationships

Level 1: Consumer – No Communication
I see you as an object which can give me (instant) physical pleasure.
I do not communicate with you. There is no respect, or self-respect, here. Sex is only entertainment.
e.g., porn, sex while high or drunk, masturbation, rape

Level 2: User – Functional Communication
We will use each other to achieve our goals.
We limit communication to exchanging consent about what bodily functions we will use with each other. This is still selfish: the other is dropped when they are no longer useful to me. This is also achievement oriented: the more sex with more people the better.
e.g., one night stands, sleeping around, promiscuity

Level 3: Helper – Communication about feelings
I want to help you to be happy.
Feelings alone don’t make a relationship. Commitment is left as an open question, so I hold back from you. The two people can never really know where they stand. When will the other break it off?
All relationships may go through this stage. People often think that they can use sex to create commitment. But it doesn’t work that way. In fact, commitment needs to come before that ultimate bond for it to be complete.
e.g., long term dating, living together

Level 4: True Self – Communication of my inner self
We bond spiritually. People of faith would say that God enters the relationship. We are committed beyond our feelings. This is true mutual self-giving.
All true happiness at the other levels has its source and end here.
This is the true place for sex. The couple can accept each other as potentially the mother or father of their children.
e.g. Marriage.

Source: Lifeteen