July 31, 2003 05:00am
Mainstream Movies and Porn on a Collision Course
Source: Sydney Morning Herald
by: Michael Idato
(SYDNEY, AU) -- When it comes to entertaining the masses, mainstream movies and porn seem to be on a collision course.
Pornography, once the preferred art form for men in raincoats, was shifting across the cultural divide because of controversial films like Ken Park, Intimacy and Romance, porn actress Serenity said yesterday.
The adult entertainer, whose film credits include Cheerleader Strippers, Hillbilly Honeys and Serenity's Roman Orgy, was speaking on the eve of the sex industry's biannual exhibition, Sexpo.
"You see mainstream movies pushing a little bit more, a little bit more, in terms of nudity, sex scenes," she said.
The actress, who owns two multi-million-dollar adult businesses, flagged an inevitable collision between explicit mainstream films and big-budget porn.
"It's all a question of how far mainstream films are going to go, and how large-scale are adult features going to become when they become more and more dialogue intensive and more like mainstream movies," she said.
But film commentator Margaret Pomeranz, who has championed the showing of Ken Park, dismissed the claim.
"Despite the production values which might go into making porn, the intentions of the two streams of cinema are vastly different," Pomeranz said.
"One is designed to titillate, and I don't think Ken Park, Romance or Baise-Moi are in the least bit titillating; in fact, they are downright depressing.
"Porn is meant to make you feel good, and I don't know that art cinema that involves actual sex has the same effect," she said, adding: "I don't think that interface is as close as the porn industry would like to think."
Serenity, a feminist adult industry company executive, has become an unwilling poster girl for the gender power shift in an industry historically associated with exploitation.
She owns the American-based Las Vegas Novelties and the Australian-based importer C&L, and lists "management" as her occupation on her passport.
Female porn stars can earn between $US150,000 ($228,000) and $US200,000 a year, compared with $US40,000 for their male counterparts.
In the US, the debate is fierce between rival lobbies: conservatives who claim the industry exploits and degrades women, and pro-porn feminists who argue porn with positive female images is empowering.
"Each and every woman I have worked with has been in complete control of the roles she takes, and the acts she performs, so I think, on an individual level, employee and employer, we are definitely not taken advantage of," she said.
"The women get paid more than the men, they have more of a say than the men."
"As far as the perception of the viewer goes, I think a lot of people who say that have a hard time with their own sexuality."
Sexpo, which is being held at Fox Studios, expects a crowd of 50,000 people to pass through its turnstiles between today and Sunday, at least 40 per cent of them women.