Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Her Money Shot

I've been thinking about this piece I am writing for Nerve.com. About the difference between male directed porn and female. Specifically, what makes Candida Royalle so good at what she does and why I'm glad she's doing what she's doing. A couple of years ago, when I was getting my Masters at NYU, I wrote a paper on the text or language of male porn. The whole landscape of it--- how the body functions, how language functions and about the power dynamic. I parsed and pondered the deep (ha ha) structure. Here is what I found: Male porn has a distinct and definite three act structure and I wonder if this is the macrocosm of male desire. The (1) reveal, the (2) blowjob and/or the fucking and (3) coming in a woman's face (hair, tits).

E. Ann Kaplan writes: "...we have been rightly wary of identifying with our own objectification." Women are objects in male porn, this is undeniable. And it was troubling to identify with the woman, all donned up in fetishistic costuming, servicing that big juicy cock. I always felt a vague sense of shame while watching, a sense of--- am I not perpetuating stereotypes, what if she's a drug addict and is being coerced, what if she ended up in porn b/c she was abused? Not exactly the tableau one envisions for a night of reckless abandon. It didn't stop me from being a consumer of porn, but it was a double-edge sword.

Along comes Candida Royalle in 1998--- first brought to my attention by a couple of friends who bought me a Femme Production film (her company), a nightie and a vibrator for my birthday. I was startled and pleased and thrilled. The narrative is completely different. The women are subject not object. In Eyes of Desire, which I wrote about in an earlier post, a pretty blonde woman is being watched by a handsome stranger who lives across the street. Soon she is naked in the window so he can really get a taste of what's going on. She positions herself. She is a willing and active participant in the seduction. She has agency--- the character in the film and the actress who is playing her.

Yes, like male porn there is a reveal, but it is gradual. And like male porn it progresses in sexual intensity, but unlike male porn, it doesn't end with the money shot. It ends with her orgasm. Her satisfaction. Her money shot. This is the kind of story I can relate to. You feel me?

photo by: Marc Travanti

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