Yesterday I stumbled upon the personal blog of male porn actor and winner of the 2009 Male Performer of the Year Award, James Deen (NSFW, duh). Peppered with pictures of his naked colleagues captioned with witticisms like “Riley Evans and her Amazing Boobs,” I expected, nay, wanted, to hate it. Except… I didn’t. I read and I read and I read, and the more I read, the more I smiled. Why wasn’t this clear objectification (I mean… we’re talking close-cropped shots of semen-covered faces) not offending my feminist-self? And then I figured it out:
Are you ready? In one fell swoop I’m going to make Andrea Dworkin roll over in her grave and bring the wrath of Catharine “Pornography is the theory, rape is the practice” MacKinnon down on Smart Girls: James Deen is a feminist. He may not identify that way, he may not even be able to spell “feminism,” but I believe the evidence is clear.
Beyond his eminently quotable one-liners (“At least I have opposable thumbs. Those are pretty damn sweet!!!” or “Here is a pig I saw wearing a purple tie… I call it ‘party pig'”), Deen’s says things like:
I totally intercoursed her and made out and ejaculated on her face and stuff.
She was super cool and totally put my penis inside of her ass … and that was pretty cool.
I’m just horny and feeling weird because this is the first day in about 7 years that I haven’t ejaculated onto some girls face
So… yeah… he writes like a whiny 12-year-old XBox-er describing sex to his uninitiated friends over doritos and pizza bagels. Nobody ever said porn stars had to be articulate. BUT, more importantly, here are a few words strikingly absent from Deen’s blog:
Bitch (okay… he used “bitch” once… but he was describing a slice of pumpkin pie, not a woman)
In an industry saturated by language that is horrifically offensive towards women, language that implies sexual object not sexual partner, Deen’s overwhelming appreciation, admiration and respect towards his co-stars is refreshing. The women he works with are “rad” not because the let him have sex with them, but because they also enjoy exhibitionist sex. The power dynamic that has so frequently plagued the porn industry (think pervy-fat cat director and naive, resource-less teenager) is completely missing. Deen frequently works for female directors, does feature films for female-headed studios and prefers co-stars who share his kinks.
Plus, there are his hilarious views on the “Slut-o-ween” phenomenon:
So every year chicks dress up on halloween as a slutty version of something right? So I decided a few years ago that if chicks can do it then so can I (What can I say, I’m a big believer in equal rights). So since then I have been choosing my costumes and basically just cutting the ass and the crotch out of them and being a slutty version of whatever said costume is.
Sex-positivity, professional partnerships, gender equality in leadership positions, respectful relationships with co-workers… if only the rest of the industry could get on board with Deen’s values, maybe I could second his frequent blog-post sign-off, “GOOOO POORNN!!!”
For further reading, check out my favorite porn-centric blogger, Lynsey G. at Conflicted Existence of a Female Porn Writer