You really have to hand it to the beauty industry — they get what women want from them, and they deliver it up in a heartbeat.
This year, I attended a cosmetics trend show at a major department store and wrote about it; a favor for a friend who owns and runs a beauty message board site. It was one of the most intriguing displays of corporations attempting to squeeze cash out of female consumers I'd ever seen. It was also a really good time with multimedia displays, free stuff galore — every woman in the place got a train case filled with samples of expensive products — raffles for thousands of dollars worth of product as giveaways, and the ticket to the event was a gift card that could be spent in the store. For every bit of worthless pitching (my favorite — "Green is the new pink!"), there were 50 companies saying that they clearly understood that the last thing that a woman in America wants to do is spend 30 minutes in front of the mirror fucking around with her eyeliner in the morning because it won't go on right. There was a real effort to make sure the women knew how to use the stuff they were scrambling to buy, and the store was staffed so that it was easy to do it.
We just came off a great AVN Awards Show, and it was a year where the plot-based nominees were just plain dirtier than ever. In the Best Video Feature category, we had plenty of anal offerings (Belladonna getting her butt plowed in Bella Loves Jenna is a nice example), a gangbang with a double penetration (Sunset Thomas in Caf� Flesh 3) and an orgy (Dinner Party 3). The two biggest films of the year — Vivid's The Masseuse and Wicked's The Collector —had nastiness aplenty with The Masseuse's serious bondage and The Collector's Jessica Drake blowbang and d.p.
A good question to ask is this — why are these companies who are very open about catering to women and couples producing stuff that's edgier than it certainly used to be? One possible answer is on the cover of this issue. My ex-boss John Stagliano's The Fashionistas won more AVN Awards than any production in the 22 years of that annual gala, and it was one motherfucker of a hardcore movie. It was brutal and real in the way it displayed the sexuality of the players within the storyline, and it deserved every honor it received. It also sold and rented really well. There is the chance that features directors had their eyes opened by The Fashionistas — which Stagliano has now turned into a live dance revue, the subject of our cover story — to all the styles of sex that they can use to tell their stories.
Another answer is to look at the performers themselves. Every female contract performer worth anything in the game right now is pushing herself to do harder and nastier scenes within her releases. Hell, I even went to a JKP gangbang this year with Cindy Crawford getting pussy and ass fucked by five guys in Cindy's Way 3. I have always believed that female contract performers possessed the opportunity to become complete sexual juggernauts if they wanted to, and a lot of them seem to want just that these days.
We live in a more processed, programmed, spoon-fed, manufactured culture than humankind has ever lived in, and more people, especially women, are rebelling against that by demanding stuff in their lives that's closer to their own ideal truths — makeup that does in front of the bathroom mirror what it did in the department store, a ton of reality TV shows and yes, gonzo porn by the gross. We are getting sold more loads of emotional and ideological shit than ever by businesses who, to their credit, are better at delivering on their promises than ever, but our sexuality is still something the majority of us keep under wraps, lest it be branded with a Nike swoosh and registered as a Republican when we aren't looking. Real sex is messy, occasionally painful and physically and emotionally demanding, and it's damned magic when it's done right. It's completely flawed and gorgeous. So, the majority of women out there probably aren't hosting blowbangs in their living rooms after their kids are in bed. But they do want to see the drain of one, and when they watch a feature, they are watching them to witness the exertion and beauty of heroes and villains as they fuck or masturbate along.
I really hope that more production companies this year encourage performers to give the kind of sex up for the screen that they engage in at home — the real, dirty, loving, hard sex — the good stuff. Give the women on your sets respect and the space to feel good about sating their appetites with the men put there to fuck them to pieces. Encourage performers on your sets to do what feels good and nothing else, even if it was supposed to be an anal day and her butt says otherwise. Women intuitively know that green isn't the new pink, no matter how badly you may want to sell it to them, and they intuitively know when a fuck's bad for the parties involved. Green is green, and you, as pornographers, will see a lot more of it in your bottom line if you give the people truth.