By Megan Hussey, The Feminist Sexpert
Whereas porn once was considered an industry in which women were seen and not heard, today’s adult industry islike many professions and life in generala place of change and evolution, and (dare we dream. Ladies?) actual friggin’ progress. Today more and more women are directing, producing and writing adult films, presenting their ideas, their fantasies, their messages for a new and enlightened audience of all genders, races and sexualities. Also out thereand outspokenare the performers who demand better treatment on set, and who are unafraid to express their ideas and desires in contribution to the creative process.
And then, of course, there are the female writers, editors, publicists and journalists that also make their views and voices known in today’s adult industrylike, for example, The Feminist Sexpert! And in my role as a writer, columnist and commentator, I shall not rest until every single woman working at every level of the industry has a voice and makes it heard. Loudly. And that includes the customer service representatives who sell adult products.
This message came to me loud and clear years ago, whenin a professional capacity as a marketing rep for a leading feminist porn company, and because I wanted to look at some smutI visited a small adult store in a working class suburban area of Tampa Bay, Florida.
A sole woman was working behind the counter at this store, whichuntil the moment of the Feminist Sexpert’s momentous entranceseemed to be drawing a mostly male clientele on the day of my visit. A lovely young woman in her early 20s, the clerk looked on with wary eyes as a man popped his head out of a corner viewing booth and barked, “The film needs changing!”
“Please,” the young woman finished his sentence for him, rolling her eyes heavenward as she trudged forward from behind the counter to change the ever-lovin’ film so Mister could get on with his own private enjoyment.
Once she was free, I asked if she could show me the shop’s selection of erotic books and films for women. Immediately she brightened, and she happily gave me a tour of the corner of the shop custom made for the female porn fan. I told her that I was an industry writer, and she showed great interest and enthusiasm as she asked about my work and projects.
I reciprocated in kind, handing her the microphone as I asked her about how sheherself an industry professionalfelt about the movies she sold.
Immediately her features darkened, and she raised a firm finger as she declared, “Some of these guys who make movies, I simply cannot support.”
“Please tell me who,” I urged her, “I’m in the industry, and your opinion matters to me.”
I’m tellin’ ya; at that point, this gal seized the mic, amped up the volume, and made her voice known. And how.
As the unleashed lioness unloaded verbally on certain directors whoin her estimationabused and degraded women, I took mental note of the names she mentioned; at the same time also noting the facial expressions of the male customers who filled the shop around us.
To sum up, these expressions pretty much ranged from annoyed to out and out petrified.
“My work here is done,” I summarized.
Of course, not all of my interactions with adult customer service reps have revolved around the negative aspects of porn. I remember back to my early days as a fan, getting home from the late shift and dialing up the Adam and Eve customer service line; ordering the prized femme porn that would relieve the stress of a full day’s work.
Nearly 100 percent of the time, the customer service agents with whom I interacted were womenladies whom I engaged in lively conversations about their favorite adult films and the hunks of the genre. Soon we enjoyed a phone-based slumber party filled with laughter and warmthand not once did I order any of these lovely ladies to “Change the film!”
More recently, I saw an enlightening YouTube video about how to act in an adult video store. When I shared my favorable response to the comments of the female clerk who appeared in the video, one male viewer advised me me to “Oh, just shut up.”
Aw, Folks, doesn’t he know he’s only encouraging the Feminist Sexpert? Because my work here is far from done.