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  • Susie Bright's Blog

    Here's a blog that gets me where I live...Much food for thought on a regular basis!

    -Susie Bright

  • In the debauched world of INDIEROTICA, the thin bra-strap of a line between the seductive and the obscene is torn, stripped, and ripped off so often that one can have difficulty differentiating between the exploitative and truly erotic. Here to help us connect the dots is the brilliant and sexy REBECCA, author of the clever blog, PORN PERSPECTIVES. "Examining the interplay between pornography, feminism, economics, and technology", it's possibly the smartest sex on the internet.

    -Jess, INDIEROTICA.com

Sexy Genius Consortium

Hide the Cellphones from the Kids

Sexting = sending lurid photos of oneself via cell phone, often as a prelude to sex

Apparently this is the latest superhip activity, and the kids are wild about it. I wouldn't be so alarmed at news reports about this trend--the media does love stirring hysteria--but I recently had a conversation with a therapist who works with teenagers which corroborates this story to a disturbing degree.

I don't care if I sound like an old granny here, but I am appalled at the rise in open, casual sex among minors, and in particular the way they are using technology to facilitate it. Casual sex is one thing - you may regret it one day or God forbid get knocked up or contract an STD - it can be treacherous if you don't know what you're doing, but you'll manage.

What is so unacceptable about this "sexting" and the posting of racy photos on Facebook is that these kids are documenting their casual encounters for the world and all of eternity to see. I have ranted about this before. But it bears repeating: if you are not ok with your dad, your grandpa, and every single employer you will ever have seeing a certain image, do not post it on the Internet. For crying out loud. Do not even allow someone to have a digital copy of the image. To be safe, it's best to not even create such images.

People might be confused about my stance on this, since here I am blogging about how great porn is and how women should get more involved. But there is a massive difference between grown women creating images of their bodies as a job choice (and I am an advocate of education even within this group), and young girls giving free access to their bodies to men for all of eternity. There is no way a girl under the age of 18--and I would argue, even under the age of 30--who truly understands and appreciates the value of her body and her sexuality. Nothing is as obsessed over as are women's bodies by men. It is difficult to internalize the intrinsic value of posessing a female body, and woman constantly receive contradictory messages stirring up thoughts of inadequacy. It's not surprising, then, that women often don't learn inherent sexual self-worth until well into adulthood, if ever.

This inability to realize that men's constant pursuit of sex with you has to do with your inherent value as a sexual being is incredibly common. I posit it is the product of a society uncomfortable with sexuality, and in particular female sexuality. This is one reason I've made it my mission to advocate healthy sexual images in pornography, and the involvement of women who can present a female perspective of sex. I'm not exactly saying that these girls should quit sexting and instead watch some porn, but honestly? I think they'd be a lot better off.

That's Right!

My mortal enemy Joe Francis (founder of Girls Gone Wild) is apparently having a bad time in jail, I am pleased to report. The guards have been mean to him--they threatened to strip him naked and strap him to a chair! Can you imagine how awful it would be to have men prey on your vulnerable state and exploit your naked body for personal gain? I'm sure ol' Joe doesn't appreciate the poetic justice.

If you need a reminder as to why we all must hate Joe and GGW, click here.

Yes, on his way to turn himself in...

Because I can't resist the Joe Francis hate, I have to report on the latest sketchiness of the Girls Gone Wild creator:

Girls Gone Wild creator Joe Francis was arrested Tuesday in Florida, PEOPLE has confirmed.

The U.S. Marshal's Office in Panama City, Fla., tells PEOPLE that Francis, 34, was arrested at 6:30 a.m. at the Panama City airport on a warrant seeking his arrest for criminal contempt of court.

He is currently being held at the Bay County jail, a spokesman for the U.S. Marshal's Office says.

Although Francis told FOX News's Geraldo Rivera on Monday that he would surrender to authorities, the arrest was carried out by airport police who recognized him before he could present himself to the Marshal's Office.

A judge ordered Francis's arrest last week after Francis reportedly changed the terms of a settlement deal stemming from a 2003 lawsuit in which seven women accused him of victimizing them by filming them in sexual situations while they were on spring break in Panama City.

Francis was ordered by U.S. District Judge Richard Smoak to surrender to authorities in Panama City by noon Thursday to begin serving jail time for contempt of court, the city's News Herald

According to the
News Herald, Francis told Rivera on Monday: "I'm not trying to hide at all. I'm on my way to Florida right now to turn myself in and comply with the judge's order. I would never run from justice." 

Flash 'Em!

My first Girls Gone Wild-esque experience occurred at the ’07 AVN convention.

Given the ubiquity of the GGW franchise, and given my tendency to travel with and around young females, I’d always known that the day would come when a perfect stranger would come up to me, shove a camera in my face, and request that I lift my shirt in exchange for, at best, a tacky t-shirt.

Part of my study of the GGW phenomenon has involved deliberate time spent pondering what my reaction would be in such a situation. Would I do it? Lecture the cameraman on the evils of exploiting young, dunk girls? Simply say no and walk away? Drop kick the camera?

At the convention I learned that no matter how many articles one reads on the matter, no matter how fervent one’s feminist ideals, no matter the extent of premeditation, one really cannot plan one’s reaction. Academia can’t help you much.

The scene: Day two of the AVN Adult Expo. I am walking around the convention floor, taking in the sights, when suddenly an overstimulated and brightly colored couple bound into my path.

The guy, who has some sort of neon paint in his beard and hair, does the talking while his sequins-laden, dreadlocked female counterpart holds a camcorder. “Hi, we think you’re very beautiful, and we’re wondering if you’d show us your tits.”

They pause expectantly.

The subsequent sequence of events occurred in slow motion. My senses heightened. Every book, treatise, and discussion I’ve had on the topic flashed through my mind. And despite my extensive background and forethought, I was simply stunned.

Instinct kicked in.

I smiled. “Absolutely not.”

That was the end of the verbal exchange. The rest was all reaction, occurring in the space of about 2 seconds:

Me: How DARE they ask me such a thing? Me, a dignified, intelligent girl who has so much more to offer the world than a quick flash of her chest

Them: Shock—why on Earth is this girl not doing what we ask?

Me: How dare they act surprised, presuming I would do as they ask simply because I’m a female and they have a camera?

Me: Wait, I’m at a porn convention. Of all arenas in which such a request is somewhat reasonable, a porn convention is definitely up there

Them: Whatever, man. This chick is a square. Footage is not hard to find—95% of all the women here are half naked anyway

So there you have it. I didn’t undermine my principles or betray my feminist values by giving strangers access to my body. But given the venue, my indignation seems absurdly out of place. Were my principles or feminist values really threatened? I was already offering up some degree of sexual availability simply by being there, and besides, no one cared whether I cooperated or not.

For the rest of my time at the convention, I secretly hoped (feminist fantasy land) that I’d run into the Technicolor hippies again, only this time I’d ask them to flash the camera themselves—see how they feel when the tables are turned, ha! But then again, I’d bet money they’ve got a 20-volume self-filmed wall-to-wall series floating around out there. Flashing a camcorder isn’t likely to make any difference in the world to them.

So, good for me. I can feel self-righteous and indignant. No one cares.

Naughty Joe Francis

Girls Gone Wild got busted for failing to document the ages of the girls performing in some of its videos (the perrenial classics "Ultimate Spring Break," "Girls Gone Wild on Campus Uncensored," "Totally Exposed Uncensored and Beyond," and "Girls Gone Wild College Girls Exposed/Sexy Sorority Sweethearts" were specifically targeted).

Under the law 2257, producers, distributors, and pretty much anyone who handles the images are required to keep extensive records verifying the legality of performers' ages. I'm frankly surprised GGW was only fined $2.1 million--the Justice Department these days is pretty intent on age verification, at least that's what the strenuous record-keeping required by the law would indicate.

As my earlier post on GGW indicated, I'm appalled at how this company takes advantage of intoxicated--and apparently underage--girls. Take that, Joe!

You're Wild! (what?) You're Wiiiiiiiild!!!

I’ve long despised the franchise known as “Girls Gone Wild.” So it pleased me greatly to see the LA Times rip apart its mastermind, Joe Francis.

For those who haven’t seen the late-night ads, the Girls Gone Wild videos are predicated on this very simple formula: go to a location where drunk young girls abound (spring break, bars, etc), shove a camera in front of their attention-starved faces, and ask them to lift their shirts in exchange for stupid merchandise (a t-shirt or a trucker hat usually). Shocking how pliable these girls are…I see it as a combination of the need to rebel from their parents, maintain their virginity while still sexualizing themselves, a desire for attention, and a cultural obsession with reality TV.

As the Times article explains:

Francis has aimed his cameras at a generation whose notions of privacy and sexuality are different from any other. Nursed on MySpace profiles and reality television, many young people today are comfortable with being perpetually photographed and having those images posted on the Internet for anyone to see. The boundaries that once contained sexuality have also fallen away. Whether it's 13-year-olds watching a Britney Spears video, 16-year-olds getting their pubic hair waxed to emulate porn stars or 17-year-olds viewing videos of celebrities performing the most intimate acts, youth culture is soaked in sexuality.

Francis has made a fortune off these girls. What irks me so much is that the girls featured on the countless GGW videos are almost invariably intoxicated. They likely would not make the same decision where they stone-cold sober. Of course, I do think some of the blame lies with the girls who make the decision to go on Spring Break, get drunk wearing a bikini, and act irresponsibly. At the same time, one must wonder, in the words of Susie Bright, "Why are we at a place where the only way a young woman thinks she can be important or meaningful is to take her top off for a creep's camcorder?"

Bright sums up a feminist position that I personally agree with: "It's not the topless part that's the problem, it's the exploitation by this prick. If the women took their tops off for their own movie, their own orgasm, and their own point of view, it would be a completely other story."

Most astutely, she notes: “Francis' dirtiest secret is that he traffics in porno-puritanism, in sexual shame. His profit lies in young women snookered into doing something "shameful" that they will want to hide the rest of their lives— once they sober up. They have been ruined— the ultimate GGW turn-on. It's the frisson of humiliation that makes him, and his audience, hard.”

Ariel Levy has done the best analysis I’ve seen of the problem of GGW and similar media in her book Female Chauvinist Pigs. In essence, Levy argues that GGW is not women being liberated, as many of the featured girls might posit (we’re past feminism; we’re now at a point when women should be able to flash their breasts at a camera with impunity). GGW, in Levy’s (and my) view is women acting at being liberated. Big difference. They are not in control. They are not expressing themselves—it’s all a ploy to appear to be something they believe men and society will value. And the main beneficiaries are Joe Francis’s wallet and horny male viewers.