spanked for being "slutty"

In my interview the other day I said that part of producing “feminist” spanking porn is about presenting kink and sexuality in a positive, affirming way – so no women being spanked for being “slutty”, or anyone being made to feel ashamed for their sexuality.

I was trying to sum up some very complicated issues in a very short answer, so I wasn’t surprised when I got an email asking me to clarify what I meant:

If we’re talking about a spanking scene or fantasy, what’s wrong with being spanked for being slutty? Being sexually active is a good thing so in the context of the fantasy perhaps the spankee is getting treated unfairly or unjustly. If we agree that the right and proper way to raise children and solve debates in the real world is probably not through spanking, then spanking is both unfair and unjust. It’s this inequality (sub vs Dom) that makes it sexy in play/fantasy/movies? I think you can still have that as the “spanked for being slutty” scenario without making the statement that sexual freedom is wrong!?

I think this might be simpler if I describe the sort of attitude I had in mind when I wrote my original statement. Imagine a spanking porn producer who churns out tonnes of content, often without a satisfactory storyline or rounded characters. Most of the models are chosen for being young, white, skinny and inexperienced, rather than for their acting ability or love of spanking. The producer takes no care to remember or correctly spell models’ names, and in the marketing materials no distinction is made between the model and the character they were playing in a particular scene. The adverts are, if you like, all “in character”. So when the character is described as dirty, filthy, bratty, naughty, or called a brat, minx, slut, or whore, those words are applied to the model as well.

I’m not a whore, or a brat. I’m not dirty or filthy or naughty. I’m not a mischievous little minx or a misbehaving child. I’m an adult woman who deserves the respect you would give to any other professional.

Take another example. A spanking producer shoots a scene in which a spanking model misbehaves on a spanking shoot. She has to be spanked on set and – gosh, who would have thought it? – the cameras are still running. How realistic! How gritty! You might roll your eyes, but this seems to be a favourite scenario which is returned to by loads of producers. The result is that the model – the hard working professional who has been busting a gut all day to earn the respect of this producer – is plastered all over the Internet with accompanying text saying what a naughty little minx she is, ruining the shoot – dreadful behaviour – how dare she! Such unprofessionalism clearly needs dealing with! It’s a good job the spanker was on hand to teach this little madam a well deserved lesson!

I know that when I’ve just finished a hard spanking shoot, when I’m knackered and getting a late flight or train home and about to suffer a huge endorphine crash, when I’ve worked as hard as I could to do a good job and make life easier for the people I’m working with, the very last thing I want is to read fake marketing materials pretending I was unprofessional and deserved to be punished for real on the shoot.

No-one gets to punish me for real except my Doms, and even then only in specific, carefully-negotiated circumstances. This boundary exists for my safety, and the professional contract between me and a spanking producer does not give them the right to fuck with it.

In both the above examples, a spanking producer has failed to define the “in character” and “out of character” boundary satisfactorily. The message this sends is that the producer does not respect their models, and does not consider their models to have any personality or presence worthy of attention out of scene. All the best producers – and you know who you are! – make a clear distinction between a model and the character she or he plays. In scene, by all means, refer to the character however you like, as long you negotiate it beforehand and everyone involved consents; but out of scene, a good producer will always treat their models like human beings, and talk about them with respect.

Spanking models work very hard to maintain the boundaries between acting and reality. We spend hours every week fighting off creepy emails from people who think we “deserve” to be punished, telling us how naughty we are, that we need some lonely dude to come and “teach us a lesson”. We don’t. We are intelligent, feeling adults who enjoy playing roles – and we define the boundaries of those roles, not you.

Women who are open about their sexuality have always been called sluts and whores. Some women have reclaimed the words and given them a positive slant. To understand how this works, think about the word “pervert”. You might call yourself a pervert, and be totally fine with that. But how would you feel if a tabloid article called you a “filthy pervert” and implied that you were a sick sadist who abused people against their will? That’s how we feel when people call us “slut” or “whore” outside the context of a negotiated, consensual scene. It’s nothing like using the word in a safe space, between people we trust.

The tabloid in my example has trampled on your personal boundaries, taken things out of context, and implied a level of non-consent in your interactions which would be completely horrific in real life. Calling a spanking model a “filthy whore” because, for instance, she did a scene in which her character was spanked for masturbating, has the same effect. It removes the conversation from the safe, negotiated space of the scene, and applies the same language in a real-world, non-consensual context. It implies that rather than playing a naughty little girl who doesn’t know better, the spanking model is a naughty little girl who doesn’t know better, rather than a grown woman capable of defining her own boundaries.

I’ve mostly used the language of female spankees above, but the problem is even worse in malesub films. Submissive actors are referred to as “filthy slave” or “fat pig”; they are treated with as much disrespect in the marketing materials as they are on the shoot; they often aren’t named or given any praise for the hard work they’ve done or suffering they’ve endured.

Any model who has been violently beaten in order to help make the porn you’re enjoying deserves your respect. Producers who use language which objectifies and degrades their own models encourage the users to think of them as objects rather than whole human beings. To move towards a more feminist, gender egalitarian, sexism-free porn industry it is essential that producers present their models in a way which celebrates their humanity, hard work and professionalism. If producers distinguish between the naughty little boy who deserves a spanking in this hot clip, and the brilliant actor who was fantastic on the shoot, it will encourage users to make the same distinction, and that can only be good for the health of our society as a whole.

So while it might be okay to film a scene where the character was caught sleeping around, or masturbating, and was punished for being “slutty”, it is absolutely not okay for this fiction to in any way be extended to the models who participated. It is the responsibility of producers to define the boundary between in character and out of character. You can always tell how well a producer treats their models on set by how they talk about them in their publicity materials, and models quickly learn to steer clear of studios which talk about their models as if they were worthless, two-dimensional characters.

In the context of female spankees, I also have a personal issue with the specific scenario of “being spanked for being slutty”. Our society still sends the message through media, entertainment, literature and advertising that women can be virgins or whores but nothing in between; that if a woman is interested in sex, she cannot also be an intelligent, strong, interesting person. Our society still perpetuates the idea that if a woman is “slutty” (i.e. interested in sex) she loses the right to define her own sexual boundaries; if she is raped or sexually assaulted she “deserved” it, or at least would not be able to prove her rape in court, which sends the same message in practice. Women are punished every day by our society for enjoying sex. This is still a huge problem, and if you aren’t aware of it, you aren’t looking hard enough.

I don’t feel it would be responsible or appropriate to make scenes which play on that injustice while it is still something that damages my life. Until I am no longer punished for having a sexuality by the world I live in, I’m unlikely to want to play similar games for my own amusement. Too many people still subscribe to this belief for me to want to produce fiction which propagates it. “Slut” is a hugely problematic category and if you’re trying to produce feminist porn, you need to be very careful about distinguishing between fiction and reality. If I ever did produce a film along these lines (and heaven knows, there are far more interesting, original scenarios I could use!) I would almost certainly want to talk or blog about the social context, so I’m not just buying into the meme that female sexuality should be suppressed and women who express it should be punished.

I’m not setting myself up as the feminist police, so if you’re a spankee and you find playing games that play on you being “slutty” enjoyable, all power to you. I hope it is an empowering and affirming experience. I know exactly where the emotional impact comes from – I like my partners to call me a “slut” in bed, sometimes. That works for me because I know that they know they don’t think of me as a slut, they don’t think my sexual expression compromises my right to be treated like a human being. But no-one has the right to make that call other than the spankee. You don’t get to call someone a “slut” just because they’re into spanking, or enjoy sex, or model for adult films, unless they have explicitly given you permission to do so.

Films are a public space, and the way I see it, I have a responsibility to the women I share this society with not to propagate ideas that will make life harder for all of us. That’s one of the main reasons I keep this blog – to make the boundary between in and out of character as explicit as possible.

Kinky fantasies are all based on scenarios of abuse and injustice which would be unacceptable in real life. When those injustices are currently affecting the lives of the participants, I don’t think it’s okay for porn to unquestioningly trot out the same stereotypes and out-dated ideas. If I filmed a scene which perpetuated the damaging stereotype that sexually active women are “sluts” who deserve to be “punished”, I would be sure to somehow challenge, twist or critique this idea to encourage people not to take the scenario at face value.

Basically, you may know that female sexual expression is affirming and healthy, and I may know that, but until our society stops sending the opposite message, I don’t think it’s safe to assume that the viewer knows that. Statistically speaking, your viewers most likely include some misogynists who think that any woman who sleeps around or enjoys kink is a filthy little whore who deserves everything she gets. A feminist producer should avoid publishing anything in such as a way as to validate those creeps’ point of view, or give the impression that the producer thinks the same.

If, say, your top is clearly presented as a horrible villain, and the viewer is meant to sympathise with the spankee, and the language in your publicity materials clearly maintains the boundary between in character and out of it, and the model is given a space to speak in their own voice about how hot they found the scene, and it’s made clear that neither producer, nor top, nor viewer endorse the ideas expressed in the scene, then I think it would be possible to produce this scenario in a feminist way. But most of the producers who regularly use this scenario don’t do that, and that’s why it bothers me.

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15 Responses to “spanked for being "slutty"”

  1. Anonymous says:

    As a vanilla follower of your blog, the more I read of your ideas the more I think I understand some of the point of the fascinating scene that you are so much a part of.

    thank you

  2. Pet says:

    While I agree with you entirely, I wonder whether some of this arises because of a blurring between fantasy and reality in a spanking film. When we see Janet Leigh stabbed in "Psycho" we know that no harm has come to the actress. By contrast, when we see spanking porn, we know that the actress has really come away from it with a bottom as sore as her character's. Similarly, when see Janet Leigh in "Psycho" stealing her boss' money we can infer nothing about the life, law-abiding character or preferences of the actress. But with a spanking model we may infer (or at least, I hope that we may infer) that she is genuinely into kink. I'm not attempting to claim that any of this justifies the things about which you complain, but it says something about the context in which they arise. It also, I think, indicates that one should be doubly careful about such issues in the realm of spanking porn.

  3. Karl Friedrich Gauss says:

    Pandora, I think I've seen something like what you refer to on the AEG site(s). Not to say they're the only ones doing this. One can understand where the producer is coming from in doing such stunts, but one can also very well appreciate the need for models to establish firm emotional limits.

    However, I'm guessing that not all spanking models really are as professional as you. Firstly in that they haven't done so many shoots that they really know WHERE they CAN draw the line, and secondly, maybe they really were disorganized enough to really have been late or whatever it is they're supposedly "really" being punished for.

    Although punishing a girl "being slutty" raises no end of red flags. Like maybe that's the reason they hired her in the first place. Can you say "hypocritical"?

    I can see that what bugs you about such scenes is the intimation that the supposedly post-scene spanking is somehow more real than the rest of the video. I can appreciate that, but that's also where a lot of the appeal arises. Suspension of disbelief and all that…

    Still, that's not to say such scenes couldn't and shouldn't be scripted tactfully and respectfully. And maybe your writings will go some distance towards making that an industry standard.

    I agree that spanking models deserve respect like anyone else who's doing a challenging job in vulnerable circumstances. And I'll look forward to seeing your productions once they go online, for a different and female perspective on spanking and sexuality.

  4. SPANKEDHORTIC says:

    As an end line user, this type of promotion puts me off. I find that it insults not only the models concerned but also the potential members of the site by insinuating that they are inconsiderate, uncaring and as thick as the proverbial two short planks.

    I like to follow models as a fan and there is one M/f, F/f producer that I have considered joining many times because they have employed many of the personalities that I like to follow, including yourself. But even when joining their old archive site, to see if they where any better on the inside than they appeared on the outside, I found their attitude the same throughout and decided never to darken their door again.

    It has to be asked, how many potential customers are sites like these losing by focusing on attracting only the idiots of the world to join?

    Prefectdt

  5. Franklin Derr says:

    Pandora, let me start by saying I definitely appreciate where you're coming from and I love that your work exudes a feminist ethos. My wife and I both consider ourselves feminist.

    As a someone with a lifetime interest in psychology and with a pending career change to become a therapist, removing shame from sexuality and its expression is highly important to me.

    It's not that I think that many (if any) of the porn producers that work from the "punished for being slutty" angle are working from this depth, but I do make room for a healthy level of play in the concept for fantasy purposes. In other words I can imagine a woman with healthy sexual image and esteem utilizing the theme for fantasy back drop in a similar way that I might utilize non-consensual CP in mine.

    Nevertheless, I'm really glad voices like yours are out there to help re-direct and enlighten the high number of those for whom attitudes of equality and healthy relationship with their sexuality haven't yet taken hold.

  6. Caroline Grey says:

    Amen. Really really good points, Pandora. I really like Pet's take on it as well–it makes a lot of sense to me.

    There are sites I haven't worked for, where I've been assured by many people that the producer is a stand-up person, lovely company, etc., but the contexts of the videos and those blurrings of reality/fantasy are such that I still get the squick factor.

    I think there's really a tendency or a desire in some consumers of kinky porn to not WANT to know/acknowledge that models are anything but the 24/7 fantasy objects they want us to be. It's much sexier in their heads to imagine that we are fluffy, silly, naughty little girls who NEED to be punished, etc, than to realize we're professional people playing a role, doing a job. (A fun job, but still, a job) We're working in a fantasy-driven industry, and some producers will do their best to exploit that to its absurd logical conclusions.

  7. The Heresiarch says:

    Pedants' Corner

    It's "tons", not "tonnes". A tonne is a metric measurement. A ton is (1) an imperial measurement and (2) a colloquialism meaning "an awful lot". So, unless you mean it literally, you should always say "ton".

  8. Mark says:

    Thanks for the full explanation, Pandora.

    Like I said before, you would be a great person to have a discussument with.

  9. Pip says:

    *applauds and cheers*

    Thank you for writing this eloquent and passionate post Pandora, this was a truly wonderful read. :)

  10. Franklin Derr says:

    Wow! I must apologize for my earlier comments having been incomplete due to the fact that I had not read the entire post. That is the last time I will trust the Blackberry browser to have rendered a page in its entirety. All I had read was up to the point at which you quoted the email. I had thought you were leaving things open-ended. Now I see that you wrote much more and I'm truly glad I read it.

    I agree with you 100% and I can certainly appreciate your take on when it may be appropriate to use descriptive words that in most contexts are derogatory, but have been "taken back" by those who were previously insulted by them. As an African-American I certainly do make a distinction between when those within my ethnicity use the n-word versus those who are not black.

    Furthermore, speaking as someone who used to be a conservative a long time ago, I see echoes of the dangerous desire to promote one's personal preferences, especially sexual ones, into the operating rules of society. I imagine these unscrupulous producers find it more appealing and more sexually gratifying to think of women as sex-objects only, and without intelligence or deep feeling. And so they only act to encourage the fantasy and not the truth. Similarly, I think the foundation of much male chauvinist thinking is the common male fantasy (sexual and otherwise) that men are stronger and smarter, so they act in ways such as legislatively and in business to promote their fantasy. And I think it is true of many proponents of the use of corporal punishment, that it is based in fetishism that they may or may not recognize in themselves. But they simply haven't made the ethical decision to separate their personal desires from what is best for society.

    Thank you again, Pandora. I'm really glad you're out there doing what you do!

  11. Anonymous says:

    Let's face it: spanking/caning has to include a big component of humiliation. To me, this means the girl has to be totally nude and positioned in an embarassing position, i.e. diaper or on all fours with ass in the air thus exposing her lovely shaved labia and pink stinky anus. Her feet should be flexed to show her wrinkled smelly soles which should also be caned. Let's not be too politically correct here.

  12. Eric says:

    I have no doubt that you will toss this into the rubbish and I wasn’t going to respond but I have felt for some time that you have some issues with being a sub that you haven’t honestly confronted. Sometimes when I read your entries it seems like we’re on two different planets. We are on two different continents but I don’t think that is the problem. For instance, “women are either virgins or whores.” I suppose there are some clerics somewhere that believe that but I have not heard that comment since maybe the sixties, or fifties. And if I were to hear somebody say it I would consider him or her to be the one with the problem. This may all sound a bit harsh but if I didn’t like you and your work I would not bother with it.

    To be succinct, I think you should get over this feminist claptrap and get on with your life and enjoy it and stop caring what others think of what you do or don’t do. I think no less of you for what you do for us all to enjoy (in fact appreciate it) and I hope you keep doing it and make a very nice living at it. I’m sure that somebody somewhere thought that Mother Theresa was a Nazi bitch.

    To be not succinct, no matter what you do you’re going to piss somebody off. The more public you do it the more you piss off. That pertains the public in general. In the kink, there are people that have fantasies that require you to be a certain sort of person. I don’t care how many videos you make somebody will complain, as you probably know better than I. But, damn it, that’s their problem, why let it become yours? You have legions of fans, of which I am one. Understand that when you put yourself in the public eye there is all sorts of stuff is going to come your way, and as has been said, it’s the price of fame. If you were in some Muslim country you would probably be beheaded, does that keep you up at night?

    I’ve been lucky enough to have known and played with quite a few professional spanking models. (Think Shadow Lane, and many private parties.) Some of them were people that I would very much not want to sit next to on an airplane for ten minutes and some were women that I would have been happy to be married to. But the fact that they bared their butts in public had nothing to do with how I felt about them. I’m as kinky as you are, wanna guess how much that bothers me?

    You have one of the nicest asses (there’s nothing wrong with the rest of you, but we’re talking spanking here) in porn, (in my opinion there is no such thing as THE nicest ass,) you take a very good spanking, you seem intelligent and fun. What more could I ask? Well, there’s that chip on your shoulder; I wish it were gone.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Nice to see a couple of rather loathsome weirdos have shown up – first the one-handed typist who feels the need to share his sweaty fantasies with everyone – and now eric, a random loser who wants to explain at turgid length who Pandora should be and what she should feel.

    If anyone needs their issues examined, eric, it's you. Why do you feel this urge to control what someone else thinks and feels?

    Congratulations, Pandora – a great point, well made (as always).

  14. Karl Friedrich Gauss says:

    Elizabeth Forster has an interesting post in which she opines that men like to spank women partly because women are "too sexy", as in they're causing the men to feel anxious because the men are so irresistably attracted to the woman and thus the desire to spank as a form of symbolic and/or real "retaliation" against the sexual power than women have over men by virtue of their alluringness, perhaps aggravated by how they dress. I think this puts your "spanked for being slutty" rant in a somewhat different light. It's not so much they're being spanked because being slutty is somehow morally "bad" but rather because slutty dressing can be construed as being sexually overbearing and distracting and perhaps a way of using their sexual appeal for purposes of influence and perhaps control. Thus the backlash of spanking, which is an assertion of control, by the man, on another level. Of course we're talking here as if the spanking is non-consensual, but I think what I'm primarily trying to get at is the sexual and power dynamics at play in the spanking relationship and that "too slutty" may not be so much a moral judgement on the woman as a comment on the appropriateness of her attire for a given social context, an a recognition that sexy woman can be experienced as overwhelming by men, especially if their dress accentuates that sexual appeal.

  15. Karl Friedrich Gauss says:

    Oh, and here's the URL of Elizabeth's post, referred to in the comment above: http://perfumedkisses2.blogspot.com/2010/06/stockings.html

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