PORNSTAR was the Tshirt caption of the 90’s [?]; we were told by those in the know that a younger gen committed raunch as a way of life; girls gave blowjobs but preferred otherwise to remain virgins, which is the Clinton defense. The reportage was tinged with inferences that young girls were put upon, manipulated by unscrupulous males. The pornstar-tagged tshirt was big, big, big for a while, blithely indifferent to the reality that in the US industry male performers were addicted to steroids, viagra and reality enhancers. The work environment of newer porn producing countries like Slovakia or Russia was anyone’s guess. Hetero porn was one thing, gay porn however did not seem a viable, long term career option. Fashion, that merciless ruler of gay lives, was in play; I like Oscar Wilde’s definition of it being an ugliness so extreme that it had to be changed every six months.
Why do I ruminate on these things? In my otherwise intelligent newspaper, the Sydney Morning Herald this weekend ran a story about male escorts; the cover showed a photo, always good publicity, of one of the models, a happy, very handsome & buff young guy. The article eagerly quoted him as earning up to 8 thousand dollars a month. It was an article for executive women, who, like their male counterparts, could afford the best of everything and everyone.
The article also ran the line that male escorts had to be good at listening to their clients, at empathising with them. Suddenly the converse of the situation made itself clear: were women automatically expected to be good in this area? Or, were men mostly uninterested in sharing emotionally, which meant that women had to be able to cope with brute, impersonal encounters?
What soon became clear was that the writer of the article was reluctant to make use of the extensive career vocabulary directed at women: prostitute, prossie, call girl, hooker, slag, slut. The writer showed a young man who kept himself buff, disease free, whose self regard was at a maximum, who not only coped with the activity but thrived and made it a positive feature.
One wonders if the great unspoken myth about prostitution is that people can perform the job of prostituting themselves, make money and get on with otherwise normal lives. Is there a pseudo feminist myth that women are preyed upon by brute males in this industry, either as pimps or clients, joes? Yet again, it seemed to me that someone was trying to run the line that women can participate in a nasty situation and make it okay?