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The New Porn?
May 6, 2002 4:29 PM   Subscribe

The New Porn? The trend toward music subculture-specific porn sites that began with the launch of raverporn.net more than two years ago has continued with sites like suicidegirls.com (featuring goth, punk, and raver girls) and supercult.com (featuring mod and indie rock chicks). SuicideGirls has been discussed extensively on MetaTalk. What do you think about these sites? Are they porn or erotica? Are the young (mostly male) entrepreneurs who have started these sites making porn less degrading (and/or more appealing) to women OR are they just a new generation of Hugh Hefners?
posted by popvulture (44 comments total)

 
are they just a new generation of Hugh Hefners?

New Hugh Hefner's definitely. But there's nothing wrong with that I like Hef(although he's no Larry Flynt).
I like Supercult in that the women there are more to my tastes than the usual peroxide and silicone stuff. Porn/Erotica in it's own weird way may be the nost democratic genre of all in that if someone wants to see it, no matter how off the wall it might be, someone will create a site or a news group to suit them.
Besides, us web/indierock geeks are sexual beings, why shouldn't we have our own erotica.*

*Before I am slammed as a male pig, I believe that everybody of every gender and persuasion should have stuff for their tastes too.
posted by jonmc at 4:41 PM on May 6, 2002


IMO, there's pictures of naked girls (or boys), and then there's porn.

The sites mentioned above all display more creativity in design and content than the majority of sites with pictures of naked people.

Definitely Hugh Hefners for the digital age. Actually, I'm surprised it took this long for these types of sites to appear.
posted by xena at 5:12 PM on May 6, 2002


Portland has more X-rated businesses per capita than any other American city

Yay for us, or something.
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 5:19 PM on May 6, 2002


My grandmother used to say that porn is in the groin of the beholder.
posted by Postroad at 5:23 PM on May 6, 2002


I find these porn sites more appealing and less degrading to women, but like johnmc, it might be because these women are more to my taste.
posted by jennyb at 5:25 PM on May 6, 2002


Interesting that in the article, Missy says specifically that the girls are not "objectified". Posting reveling pictures on the internet and charging people money to view them is objectification, no matter how tasteful the poses and no matter how willing the participants.

To clarify - I have no problem if people want to run a business this way, or post pictures or do whatever the hell they want to do on or off the internet, I just wish they understood that objectification occurs even when the participants are willing.
posted by birgitte at 5:32 PM on May 6, 2002


That's right, xena and PR. Erotica is the stuff that I wank to, whereas porn is the stuff that all those perverts wank to.

As to whether this is more or less degrading to women - what are we comparing it to? The laughably tame Playboy of the 70s? The sheer nastiness of Max Hardcore (salon link, probably ok for work)?

What I find particularly sad about suicidegirls and sites like it is the bios, the weblogs, the hooks to engage viewers into fooling themselves that they have some kind of relationship with the subjects. You can see it as a sophisticated twist on "Sherry, 18, plays volleyball and enjoys vanilla ice cream" but I find it deeply icky somehow. Not to mention encouraging stalker behaviour.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 5:32 PM on May 6, 2002


I agree with jonmc. It boils down to the economics of demand and the beauty of good marketing. Sure ... it will draw more women because women who enjoy porn(and I do) tend to like the softer "erotica"(its all scaled down porn no matter how you define it) but a lot more men love it and overall I think porn/erotica is and always will be geared to men. If the porn industry had to depend on the female consumer it would find itself bankrupt in short time.

Plus some of the new porn sites are just evolution of better design. The porn industry in general has changed its face to a cleaner more acceptable "facade".

Where I live it's just a little less sleazy to go into a porn video store that looks like you are heading into Kinko's(npi). A more generic population(men and women) is apt to go into adult stores, strip clubs and even fetish clubs if the design is well styled and inviting. And smart club owners will have available those different strokes for different folks. Just go into any popular strip club and you will find dancers willing to help you live out your fantasy whether you have a taste for nurses, schoolgirls, or female body builders.

The net is the porn trendsetter because it has made porn in general more acceptable over the last five years. It's just not that mysterious anymore.

Viva la Vulva baby.
posted by oh posey at 5:37 PM on May 6, 2002


you will find dancers willing to help you live out your fantasy whether you have a taste for nurses, schoolgirls, or female body builders.

How about webloggers, guitarists and zine editors? :)
posted by jonmc at 5:44 PM on May 6, 2002


Jon...did you know some webloggers, guitarists, and zine editors are strippers, nurses, schoolgirls, and female body builders?

:)~~

p.s. I have something sitting on my desk for you.
posted by oh posey at 5:56 PM on May 6, 2002


Well, hef's work isn't exactly that exploitive really. SG is intresting because its selling the girls I think, rather then just naked pictures of them. What I mean is, you can sort of get to know them via the site, and it's always more intresting to see people you know naked then people you have no connection to.

I don't think there is anything wrong with what they are doing, btu then again I don't think there is anything inherently wrong with porn in general (A lot of the stuff on the 'net really sucks though)
posted by delmoi at 5:58 PM on May 6, 2002


Wow, it's suprizing how successfull SG has become.
posted by delmoi at 6:06 PM on May 6, 2002


p.s. I have something sitting on my desk for you.

Consider my interest piqued. I looked for email on your site and profile, and came up empty. Lemme know via my profile mail if need be.
posted by jonmc at 6:12 PM on May 6, 2002


Do any of you read the SuicideGirls journals on the site? Are the journal entries important to your enjoyment of the site? How do you think the journals differ from other independent blog-girls or cam-girls? I'm curious to hear your thoughts.

Does a porn girl's intelligence and/or personality figure in to whether or not you find her attractive/arousing?

BTW, I'm a girl who very much enjoys these 3 sites.

Delmoi:

Well, hef's work isn't exactly that exploitive really.

Yeah, I suppose Hef's work is mostly softcore (just images of naked women in repose), but I guess I think Playboy and most other mainstream porn publications present just a certain type of girl (blonde, very busty, tan, airbrushed, and vapid) as beautiful.

Are Supercult, Suicidegirls, and Raverporn any better in that they're trying to present more "real" looking girls? Which leads to another question -- are the girls on these sites more "real" than other mainstream porn chicks or is it just that we all seem to identify with their style more?
posted by popvulture at 6:20 PM on May 6, 2002


We've got Suicide Girls for the Punk Rockers. We've got Supercult Girls for the Indy Rockers. We've got Raver Porn for the Ravers.

Where are the slim blonde sorority women for my college-attending, dave matthews band-lovin', house-partyin' ass?! What kind of discrimination is this!?

Oh, wait...
posted by tomorama at 7:15 PM on May 6, 2002


birgitte: Interesting that in the article, Missy says specifically that the girls are not "objectified". Posting reveling pictures on the internet and charging people money to view them is objectification, no matter how tasteful the poses and no matter how willing the participants.

I don't think so. It all depends on whether the girls are seen/depicted as the active agent in the work. Photographers talk about "choosing a subject," not an object, and we also talk about documentaries in terms of their subjects, not their objects.
posted by bingo at 7:34 PM on May 6, 2002


Must admit I read the journals some and the forums too. I still haven't given any porn site my CC #, but SG might get it yet.
To really see porn being taken in a strange new direction, check out www.jewishcheerleaders.com (Not at all work safe)
posted by pekar wood at 7:40 PM on May 6, 2002


popvulture: Does a porn girl's intelligence and/or personality figure in to whether or not you find her attractive/arousing?

I have to admit that I usually don't read the journals now, because when I do, I tend to be disappointed that the girls in question are not the sophisticated intellectuals I imagine them to be when I look at the pics. There are a couple of exceptions, notably Debra Jean Danger of SG, whose "I'm so above this" attitude is so convincing that ironically I can't get aroused by her pictures, even though she's very attractive.
posted by bingo at 7:41 PM on May 6, 2002


jewishcheerleaders.com would have been more intresting if it actualy had jewish cheerleaders.
posted by delmoi at 7:53 PM on May 6, 2002


Wow, Ron Jermy is a jew!
posted by delmoi at 7:56 PM on May 6, 2002


bingo: If you went to a site to be aroused, how does that differ from me buying a penthouse/playboy type mag, or going to those sites?
posted by bittennails at 8:19 PM on May 6, 2002


Re: porn vs. erotica; if guys like it, it's porn - if girls like it, it's erotica.
posted by RylandDotNet at 9:02 PM on May 6, 2002


Another subculture heard from: NakkidNerds.com.
posted by dhartung at 11:32 PM on May 6, 2002


SG is a great idea, and Missy and Spooky seem cool (I've met them), but as business people, I've got to question their ethics. Models for SG are paid an $100 flat fee per shoot. Missy has offered models $25 per shoot to be a "remote model" (meaning get a friend take pics of you and send them in). It seems that many of the girls seem to think this is a good deal for the fifteen-minutes that (they think) they get in return, so they go for it. To me though, it seems a bit exploitive to pay a model so little while Missy has a room full of G4s and cinema displays.

Scott from Raverporn is a bit different - models are paid $150/hr (rather than a flat fee), and "remote models" are paid up to $150/shoot. Scott *does* live in a rather nice place on Maui, but at least he's sharing his success.

Another site in a similar vein is Friction, which features "those hot girls you just couldn't bring home from the bar". Sort of like an older version of SG.
posted by endquote at 12:00 AM on May 7, 2002


bittennails: If you went to a site to be aroused, how does that differ from me buying a penthouse/playboy type mag, or going to those sites?

In that one sense, it doesn't. Did I say that it did?
posted by bingo at 12:42 AM on May 7, 2002


Are Supercult, Suicidegirls, and Raverporn any better in that they're trying to present more "real" looking girls?

I think so. The difference for me is that mainstream porn (for lack of a better term, maybe "traditional porn" would be better? Although a whole lot of porn I've seen fits neither the mainstream or the traditional categories in any mainstream or traditional sense of those words) presents women who fit an ideal that some one else (the makers of the porn and by extension the partaker of the porn) has chosen. This new porn movement present women who fit an ideal of their own making.

I get the feeling that the producers of these sites aren't out looking for average women to mold, shape, and surgically alter into your blonde, siliconed, lace and stiletto type girls, but instead wait for women who of their own choosing fit the style/type presented on the site to come to them. This lets the photos display more depth, just by the organically variable nature of their subjects, than Playboy/Penthouse can with their mostly unvarying presentations.

I find the indie porn more pleasing because I'm generally attracted to some one's personality as much as his or her looks. (And I'm not talking about the journal entries. I got a one month membership to Suicide Girls after the discussion here about the text ad and um, didn't read any of the journals.) The photos all by themselves provide a more complete picture of the women because the women being photographed are the one's who ultimately control the photos.
posted by jennyb at 4:57 AM on May 7, 2002


bingo: wasn't trying to be snarky, sorry it came off that way. Just asking aloud, so to speak.
posted by bittennails at 5:14 AM on May 7, 2002


The site casts itself as an online adult club for the “goth” community, a youth subculture obsessed with dark clothes, body art, serial killers, and angst-ridden music and movies.

What about the punks and the ravers? Silly journalist. Also, I love SuicideGirls.
posted by animoller at 5:53 AM on May 7, 2002


So, it sounds like a bunch of women (animoller, jennyb, oh posey, myself and numerous girls I know) enjoy looking at the girls' pics on SuicideGirls.

Two male friends and I were chatting the other day about why there aren't any stylish/cool naked boys on any of these sites or any sites completely dedicated to "Naked Indie Rock Boys" or "Raverboys." We figured that if there is/were cute/cool naked boy porn that it would probably be largely consumed by gay boys rather than straight girls.

I noticed that Supercult does have one male model, named US Romance --"usro," for short. (This links directly into his photo-set, so it may not be work-safe.)

Do you girls out there want to see naked boys if the websites/photos are done in a tasteful and cool way?

Columnist Anka Radakovich wrote an article for artbyte a while back where she said:

Porn for women's biggest problem is aesthetics. Excuse me, but I'd like some style with my porn. Porn I'd Like to See: "My new, incredibly sexy boyfriend is standing in his SoHo loft, cooking me breakfast after a night of unbelievably hot sex. He looks like he's posing for a spread in a men's fashion magazine. We see an Eames chair in the background...

Agree? Disagree?
posted by popvulture at 8:29 AM on May 7, 2002


So, it sounds like a bunch of women (animoller, jennyb, oh posey, myself and numerous girls I know) enjoy looking at the girls' pics on SuicideGirls.

You do not have to answer this (of course) but I'm wondering if women here look at these pics with the same "objective" as men characteristically look at these kinds of pics on the net.

That's as delicately as I can put it. . .
posted by Danf at 8:41 AM on May 7, 2002


any sites completely dedicated to "Naked Indie Rock Boys" ..

do they need models? :)
posted by jonmc at 9:01 AM on May 7, 2002


popvulture: agree. I find most porn/erotica (written as well as visual) to be so homogeneous and thoughtless that it's just boring (as jennyb said: it's someone else's ideal. To me, the standard-issue porn model, male or female, just isn't sexy or appealing). High-quality photography with a bit of imagination, style, art, substance and thought put into it, with subjects who look like real people with personalities, who aren't all super-buff, ultra-tanned, vacant-looking, artfully depilated Basic Pleasure Models in standard poses...that I might find interesting to look at. And I find the fixation on body parts of some porn to be just plain silly, the naughty bits aren't the most/only arousing part of a person.

Danf: I can't speak for everyone, but I suspect the "objective" is somewhat similar at least some of the time. Also, looking at good photographs of attractive people is enjoyable regardless of any sexual context, AFAIC.
posted by biscotti at 9:01 AM on May 7, 2002


Danf:

You do not have to answer this (of course) but I'm wondering if women here look at these pics with the same "objective" as men characteristically look at these kinds of pics on the net.

Alright, I'll bite the bullet and give my answer. (It's only fair, since I'm posing so many questions to all of you...) To be honest, I've never outright masturbated while looking at porn/erotica photos on the Internet. (The physical logistics aren't the problem either, we have 2 laptops that can be moved anywhere in the house...) I don't even usually get aroused while looking at them, but I occasionally have.

Stuff on the web that I am more likely to find gets me all hot'n'bothered is some of the fiction and/or articles on Nerve, like this story by Marge Piercy called "New Kid."

Words are mostly what turns me on, but interestingly enough -- like jennyb says above -- I have a SuicideGirls membership but I don't read many of the journals, (except Missy's because I'm interested in what she has to say). Mostly, I just look at the photo sets and video shorts. There are only a few of the girls who are genuinely interesting/"honest" writers. But, I suppose this is much better than nothing...
posted by popvulture at 9:19 AM on May 7, 2002


popvulture has pointed out the ultimate website in terms of internet erotica/porn as far as I'm concerned...it is the only adult site I've spent much time on at all. (I've never visited Suicide Girls...but I will.)

Nerve's collection of photos is superior to anything I've seen because plainly speaking they are just damn sexy and diverse. I enjoy the text as well. There are lots of guy pictures in there and since I enjoy men those are very appealing to me. But I must admit I favor the feminine pictures.

Danf(we know anyone using the word "pics" is a porn lover :) I never found myself wanting to sit at the computer and masturbate to it or anything else on the internet for that matter. I just don't find it sexy to do so in that way. That's not to say something I've seen on the net won't cross my mind later. But for the most part I'm with popvulture in that words are the greatest stimulant...my favorites being Anne Rice's, Sleeping Beauty Trilogy or the annual collection of The Best American Erotica edited by Susie Bright which seems similar to internet porn in that it offers a little something for every nuance.

But nothing will ever be as great as Xaviera Hollander's, The Happy Hooker, my first adolescent porn found in the back of my parent's closet.
posted by oh posey at 10:27 AM on May 7, 2002


OMG -- oh posey -- I almost mentioned Anne Rice's Sleeping Beauty Trilogy in my post. Those books do it for me every time!

Nerve's print books are also pretty good. I must say that Lisa Carver's "Lisa Diaries" entries used to get me feeling a bit stimulated.

I also found Tracy Quan's semi-autobiographical Salon column "Diary of a Manhattan Call Girl" to be fairly titilating.
posted by popvulture at 10:47 AM on May 7, 2002


bingo: I'm not sure what you are saying. My point is, one can't be a pornographer without objectifying. I think you're assumption is that the girls participating are more like subjects in a documentary - maybe because the journal entries allow the women a more active participation (?) - which is an interesting idea.

Also, please don't think I mean objectification = bad. I don't. All I'm saying is the people running the site can't have it both ways.
posted by birgitte at 10:49 AM on May 7, 2002


birgitte: What do you think "objectification" means?
posted by bingo at 11:15 AM on May 7, 2002


In an effort to get to diffuse this, let's consult dictionary.com:

ob·jec·ti·fy
tr.v. ob·jec·ti·fied, ob·jec·ti·fy·ing, ob·jec·ti·fies

To present or regard as an object: “Because we have objectified animals, we are able to treat them impersonally” (Barry Lopez).

From that, one would guess that objectification seems to be bad. HOWEVER, it's important to point out that some women (and men) have fantasies of being objectified. So, is it fair to say that objectification is bad?

And how about cam girls who post their own (sometimes racy) photos and journals, are they being objectified or objectifying themselves? Or not?

I'm just insatiabley curious on this topic, I guess.
posted by popvulture at 11:30 AM on May 7, 2002


In the dictionary.com definition of objectifiy (cited in my post above), it says that objectifying animals "allows us to treat them impersonally." Following from that, it would seem that stripping someone (pun intended) of their personhood or personality is part of what is key to making him or her objectified.

But do the journals and self-description found on SuicideGirls, Supercult, and Raverporn as well as on many cam girls' websites -- therefore make them less objectified, because of the presence of their personalities?

OR are they still being objectified just by appearing in racy photos? because as Bingo said in one of his posts above:

I have to admit that I usually don't read the journals now, because when I do, I tend to be disappointed that the girls in question are not the sophisticated intellectuals I imagine them to be when I look at the pics.

Are the people who appear in the more arty photos on Nerve being objectified?
posted by popvulture at 11:48 AM on May 7, 2002


About my only thing to contribute is that MeFi is mathowie's baby, and, as such, he is beholden to no one but himself to censor or not censor. If he wanted to kill MeFi tomorrow, I'd miss it, but I wouldn't blame him. He provides this as a service to all of us at no cost.
posted by Samizdata at 11:51 AM on May 7, 2002


Samizdata:
I don't think any of us in this thread are saying anything negative about MattHowie's decision to run the SuicideGirls text ad on Metafilter. (I personally, think it was a fine idea.) That particular discussion thread is here on MetaTalk.
posted by popvulture at 12:05 PM on May 7, 2002


some women (and men) have fantasies of being objectified.

Actually, one of the main gender differences, to my eye, is that most men don't mind being objectified at all. We kinda like it. If you say to men, "We're gonna put your picture online and women are gonna be eyeing you up like a peice of meat,", most of us would be like "Where do I sign?"

Prolly has to do with overactive ids and weak egos I guess.
posted by jonmc at 12:31 PM on May 7, 2002


Words are mostly what turns me on

popvulture: Words as a spur to the imagination (as in the nerve story you link to) or words as a form of expression?

I'm thinking of stuff like Erin Wilson's Erotica Project (excerpt) where words themselves are used as a potent means of self-expression. If you read Erin's work aloud, I assume that there is a strong sense of impropriety which in itself (as you become the bad girl) is a form of sexual fulfillment.
posted by vacapinta at 12:51 PM on May 7, 2002


Danf: sometimes.
posted by jennyb at 1:16 PM on May 7, 2002


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