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May 08, 2003 06:26pm
Suffragette Valley - The Emergence of the Female Auteur
Source: Adult Industry News
by: Peter Moore

There is no arguing the accelerated evolution currently at work in porn valley. Industry personnel are in a perpetual state of innovation, employing fresh creative slants and marketing techniques. A trimming of the fat has taken place. Quality has been the result. But how can the industry avoid over-saturation or worse, stagnancy? One must wet their finger and feel which way the winds will blow.

The bandwagon is full and there's another one on the way. But who will be holding the reigns? In early 1997, U.S. News and World Report acknowledged pornography as an undeniable entity within our economy, suggesting a peak in sales around the turn of the century. It also prescribed an inescapable expiration date for this erotic/financial revolution. According to the article, a "seen one, seen 'em all" mentality will come to pass, followed by a general cooling of sales.

In spite of this theory or perhaps because of it, the industry has undergone numerous changes since the publication of this article, exceeding even those great expectations. Household names such as Jenna Jameson and Ron Jeremy are being sidelined (if, only slightly) by production companies (i.e.- Evil Angel, Red Light District). This is undeniably symbolic of an increasingly business savvy mentality. After all, we buy a Chevy because it is a Chevy and Coke because it is a Coke. The consumer wants to know, at the very least, what it's getting.

With a constant rotation of performers, consumers have turned to familiar corporate logos. Critical acclaim and financial gratification is awarded to a well-defined line of quality product. Immediately identifiable sub-genres within adult define a company's output (i.e.- Gonzo, Feature, Wall-to-wall, etc.) This renders it impossible to have a "seen 'em all" mentality. A random perusal of any given adult section will reveal designated shelving, much in the same way the mainstream sci-fi section will be separate from a foreign section.

This heterogeneous grouping requires creative innovation. For example, a tape without anal or fresh talent can run the risk of being overlooked. More so, a tape lacking an established company logo may result in oblivion. Pioneers such as Ed Powers, Max Hardcore and Randy West spawned limitless innovators, not imitators. Mainstays such as Brandon Iron, Vince Voyeur and John Stagliano (constantly topping himself) have improved upon the formula and continue to do so. The male auteur has dominated. Pornography has not lost its detractors and while the media often opts for a conservatively negative slant, there is no such thing as bad publicity. Porn's greatest asset is the curiosity of the uninitiated. For nigh on a century it has been a statistically male audience.

A generally male dominated industry has relied heavily on the participation of the opposite sex to meet its bottom line. However, just as early Hollywood had a Mary Pickford, the Nudie Cuties had Doris Wishman; a further emergence of the female auteur is imminent.

Women have often been at the helm (i.e. Veronica Hart, Ashlyn Gere), fleshing out sexual fantasies from the female perspective. It is impossible to ignore their pre-emptive creative strikes. Recently, pro-am pioneer Shane dished out a feeding frenzy with Campus Invasion. While Shane herself is no longer involved with the line, it was a formula she created.

Even the negative implications of Belladonna's interview with Diane Sawyer have been thoroughly contradicted. She is developing as an auteur, in control of her creative output - on display in Bella's Perversions 1-3 from Sineplex Ent. Mason's Dirty Trixxx and Lady Fellatio far exceed the all-out hardcore raunch of any male-directed sexual blitzkrieg. These girls deliver- just as well as the boys, if not better.

A trickle-down awareness is in the works. A sleeping giant is to be awoken. The undiscovered country of a female audience is inevitable. Auteurs such as Shane inadvertently created female-oriented lines. After all, adult material is a reflection of our culture's dormant desires. There is still much work to be done. The female consumer percentage remains marginal, but accounts for one half of the sex equation in general. This cannot be ignored. Solo male viewing will always exist. Yet, the "Couples" demographic has inevitably opened the doors for solo female viewing.

Statistically, the adult industry generates a revenue on par with Hollywood's domestic gross. Imagine the multiplicity of those numbers with women as a target audience. If there is any doubt regarding who's really watching: Simply tune into any given radio station. The talk show drawing card is always sex. When the lines are open on the topic of porn, women often openly admit their porn addictions. Have a conversation with any given sorority girl. It was only a matter of time for the other shoe to drop. For every guy's sock drawer with a "stash", there is a curious girlfriend will soon have her own stash next to her vibrator collection.

Simply put, women get horny too. It is the survival of the fittest in this industry. And with an increasing number of female directors making a mark, the wheels of progress are going to get a run for their money.

The time to meet the demands of the silent majority is on the horizon. A refusal to cater to this demographic can be put off for only so long. So let's all be prepared.

Peter Moore welcomes your comments. Please write to him at PeterMoore@AINews.com

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