Ethnic pornography

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"The Dairy Maid's Delight", a drawing by Thomas Rowlandson (1756–1827)

Ethnic pornography is a genre of pornography that features performers of specific ethnic groups, or depictions of interracial sexual activity.[1][2]

Interracial pornography[edit]

Although 'interracial pornography' theoretically can apply to depictions of sexual activity between performers of any different racial groups, the term is most commonly used for heterosexual sex acts between black and white performers.[3]

Interracial pornography typically employs ethnic and racial stereotypes in its depiction of performers[citation needed] and many of interracial pornographic films still include racial stereotypes, although the segregation of actors by race has diminished considerably.[4][5]

Interracial pornographic films have experienced an explosion in popularity, becoming one of the fastest-growing and biggest-selling genres.[6]

Behind the Green Door (1972) was one of the first pornographic films to feature sex between a white actress (Marilyn Chambers) with a black actor (Johnnie Keyes).[7]

Controversy in the American pornographic industry[edit]

In the past, some of American pornography's white actresses were allegedly warned to avoid African American males, both on-screen and in their personal lives. One rationale was the purportedly widespread belief that appearing in interracial pornography would ruin a white performer's career, although some observers have said that there is no evidence that this is true. Adult Video News critic Sheldon Ranz wrote in 1997 that -

"We keep hearing a lot about 'the powers that be' that tell white women that it's not in their 'interest' to work with blacks. Is there any proof that Ginger [Lynn]'s scene with Tony El-Lay in Undressed Rehearsal hurt her career? Nina Hartley still gets lots of bookings in Southern strip clubs, especially Texas, even though she is an avowed interracialist."[8]

Sophie Dee, prominent figure of the genre, claimed in a 2010 interview that agents often pressure white female performers not to appear in interracial pornography, although they will be paid better for performing with black men and their careers will not be damaged in any way, pointing at positive examples of some Vivid Entertainment actresses.[9]

Aurora Snow noted in a 2013 article that the major factor preventing several white actresses from doing interracial scenes is "career anxiety" imposed by agents rather than their own racial bias and Tee Reel, male porn star and one of the few black agents in the U.S. industry, had a concurring opinion, saying, "In the business, some girls who say they don’t do interracial, I’ve actually had sex with, off-camera."[10] Porn star Kristina Rose has alleged that some agents tell younger actresses that they will earn less from performing in interracial pornography to bar their involvement, although the opposite is true on a global level.[10]

On the other hand, some commentators have pointed that the lack of racial divide and "nonsense about 'attraction' and 'preference'" in the European pornographic scene allowed many top European female performers appear in American interracial pornographic films.[11] Lexington Steele told in a The Root interview that white female performers who appear in interracial pornography may conceal their careers due to social pressure from their intimates, arguing "It's just an element of American culture that still exists, and that is the feeling that a white female will be deflowered or soiled, if you will, by doing a scene with a black male".[12]

Scholarly criticism[edit]

Some scholars have written about porn actors’ interviews, in which the actors express their view that interracial pornography is a transgressive form of overcoming racism.[13] In Chapter 3 of her book Porn Studies, Linda Williams, professor at UC Berkeley, points to the porn film Crossing the Color Line starring Sean Michaels, a black actor, and Christi Lakes, a white actress.[13] In the interviews of this porn film, Michaels and Lakes express how being “color-blind” is a progressive approach to interracial porn.[13] However, scholars have identified a contradiction between these interviews and the subsequent performance, in which both actors make several references to the differences in skin color between them.[13] For example, Lakes refers to Michael’s private parts as “big and black”.[13] Scholars argue that by advertently pointing out racial differences, race is being made the main point of intrigue for the audience, which perpetuates the exotification of racial differences.[13] Some argue that this eroticized sexual tension in interracial pornography dates back to slavery during which white owners kept white women and black men separate.[13] Williams states that there is a tension between fear and sexual desire within interracial pornography.[13]

Mireille Miller-Young, professor of feminist studies at University of California in Santa Barbara, argues that while the porn industry hypersexualizes African American porn actresses, they are often paid less, hired less, and given less attention during health checks than their white counterparts.[14] Some scholars also argue that white women are upheld as the most-prized commodity in the industry, while black women are often devalued for their sex work, regardless of their perceived erotic abilities.[14]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "AVN Feb 2009". Mydigitalpublication.com. Retrieved 2010-02-06. 
  2. ^ - Lehman, Peter (2006). "Pornography: film and culture". Rutgers University Press. p. 208. Retrieved 2 December 2011. 
  3. ^ "Glossary". Internet Adult Film Database. Retrieved 2009-12-07. 
  4. ^ Carroll, Rebecca (2007-06-04). "Savanna Samson: Becky & the Pussycats Debut Interview". PaperMag.com. Retrieved 2007-07-19. So many girls [in the industry] said, 'Oh you can't be with [a black man] it's gonna ruin your career.' I think that's insane. I love black men, so I was really insistent about being on camera in an interracial [situation] because I didn't want to be part of that mentality. 
  5. ^ Cachapero, Joanne (2007-07-15). "Lex Steele Talks God on BET". Xfanz. Retrieved 2007-07-19. 
  6. ^ "Black/White: Sex, Race & Profit". SexTV. 2006-09-09. Retrieved 2007-07-19. 
  7. ^ "Interracial porn pioneer Marilyn Chambers dead at 56". Vancouver Sun. 2009-04-15. Retrieved 2010-11-01. 
  8. ^ Ranz, Sheldon (1997-04-05). "Stars Who Refuse Interracial Scenes". Newsgrouprec.arts.movies.erotica. Retrieved 2007-07-06. 
  9. ^ "Xcitement Interviews: Sophie Dee". Xcitement Magazine. 2010. Retrieved 2010-05-27. And off the top of my head, Janine, Monique & Savanna who were Vivid girls have done interracial. It hasn’t hurt their careers. 
  10. ^ a b "Interracial Sex Still Taboo for Many Porn Stars". The Daily Beast. 2013-03-05. Retrieved 2013-10-13. 
  11. ^ Luke Ford (2005). "Racism". LukeIsBack.com. Retrieved 2008-01-18. Angel Dark, Stacy Silver, Sylvia Saint, Jane Darling, Liliane Tiger, Monica Sweetheart, Sharka Blue, Ellen Saint, etc., have all done IR, and not because they had to do it to salvage their careers either. And these are all hot European starlets who can pick and choose any guy with whom to do a scene, but don't go around talking nonsense about "attraction" and "preference." 
  12. ^ "Is the Porn Industry Racist?". The Root. 2013-04-03. Retrieved 2013-10-13. 
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h Williams, Linda (2004). "Pornography, Race, and Class: Skin Flicks on the Racial Border: Pornography, Exploitation, and Interracial Lust". Porn Studies. 
  14. ^ a b Miller-Young, Mireille (2010). "Putting Hypersexuality to Work: Black Women and Illicit Eroticism in Pornography". Sexualities. 

External links[edit]