Roscoe Fuji over at noted review site Adult DVD Talk recently took a deeper look at my book, Exposure: A Sociologist Explores Sex, Society, and Adult Entertainment. Roscoe also took the time out to do a great Q&A about some snippets of life and such that have happened since the book came out.
Head over to Adult DVD Talk to read the review in full right –> here
(FYI – Adult DVD Talk is *technically* NSFW, though there’s nothing “risqué” on the book review page)
And get your copy of Exposure on Amazon here — Kindle ebook version on sale for $0.99 now through February 14, 2016!
Copied below is the Q&A portion of the piece, for your reading enjoyment!
RF/ADVDT: How long have you been studying the adult entertainment field?
DrCT: Over 10 years now – since the early 2000s!
RF/ADVDT: When you’re teaching on campus, how popular are your courses and do you meet resistance along the way from other faculty and/or student or parent protest groups?
DrCT: I’m lucky that, when I was still working as a college professor, my courses sort of leant themselves to inherent human interest – gender, sexualities, the intersection of society and identity. Who’s not interested in that stuff?! And I think I’m pretty decent at explaining academic-ese in an accessible way, so that helped too.
I always like to take things that frustrated me at various points in my life and correct them in my own practice though – like incorporating your own feedback into your own life haha – and one thing that always frustrated the hell out of me as a student was when professors would leave the bulk of a topic by the wayside in lieu of talking on and on about their own work. So in terms of there being discussion of adult entertainment in my courses (and there being resulting resistance), that never happened. I spoke about adult entertainment during relevant segments of relevant courses, and that’s it. Of course, if students had specific questions, I would answer them and sometimes even incorporate them into the class discussion, but I was always very mindful to stay on topic, in every sense.
But an interesting story: one semester, during a Work & Occupations course, I had six speakers visit the class throughout the semester – one who worked for social services in LA, a professional stuntperson, one in local healthcare, etc etc. I also had a publicist come in. The students loved her, and she gave them a lot of useful information about what it was like to work in PR/marketing (a popular major), run your own business, etc. There was some-after-the-fact grumbling from my department though when it came out that the publicist was also a porn star. Even though that aspect of her career was not discussed at all in class, her work as a sex worker trumped her work in marketing in the university’s eyes. It was really disheartening.
(pictured: …on “The Chelsea & Becky Show” talking Exposure)
RF/ADVDT: What would be the main trials, tribulations, and fallout that the women face while performing?
DrCT: Though I’m certain the trials and tribulations vary from person to person, there’s also a sort of general social negotiation that seems to occur throughout the course of a person’s career trajectory as a performer.
There’s the getting in and getting successful. I think the primary relevant social factor here is an inaccurate/non-conception of the industry. For instance, wider media still references revenue figures that were never even based in reality, much less are current, and touts production narratives that are throwbacks at best. This contributes to a perception of the industry by civilians and those looking to get in that’s grossly inaccurate. Coming into an industry with this (mis)perception certainly contributes to some performers’ trials and tribulations.
Another factor that I would say impacts performers significantly is sustained wider social sex worker discrimination. Though we’ve certainly come around to the fact that sex work is work, like, in some corners of the Internet, the fact remains that commercial sex work and porn are still widely discriminated against – from banks and other social institutions to law to on-the-ground daily life attitudes. This results in othering and isolation that impacts performers, both when people are actively in the business all the way to once they have left. The intensity of this, I think, is frequently overlooked or minimized, especially when people are located in LA or other industry hubs where society may (outwardly) seem more accepting
RF/ADVDT: How long have you been an AVN judge?
DrCT: Since 2010, so for the 2011 Awards program (if memory serves).
RF/ADVDT: How much time do you spend reviewing the nominated material?
DrCT: I honestly have no idea – more hours than I can count and until I’m cross-eyed, plus all the hours spent reviewing and thinking and assessing and comparing throughout the year leading up.
RF/ADVDT: Do you feel that the number of judges is sufficient, or do you think there should be more?
DrCT: Truthfully, I leave that up to the powers that be at AVN. From what I can tell, there’s a great diverse mix of voters in terms of expertise, experience, and standpoint. And everyone who is a judge gives their time so generously (being a judge is not compensated/paid in any way) – the commitment to and passion for the craft of erotic entertainment amongst voters cannot be emphasized enough.
(pictured: The Pink Dog wants you to read Exposure)
RF/ADVDT: What is the process for determining winners? Is it secret ballot, or do the judges convene for a voting session?
DrCT: I actually just wrote a piece about the exact process, as well as some of the voters’ experiences, recently for Mic. The basic voting process itself is actually really simple. Voters rank their choices in each category (there have been as few as 17 categories when the awards first started in 1984 to up to 140. This year there were 114), from best to worst. In a category with fifteen nominees, for example, a voter’s top choice gets fifteen points, their second choice gets fourteen points, and so on. The nominee with the most points after all the voters’ choices have been aggregated is the winner. After those parameters though, it’s a pretty intense and personal process, so no – we don’t all get together (though that would be awesome). I even had one long-time voter tell me that she’d had no idea about some of the demographics until she read my article!
RF/ADVDT: Every year on ADT, the top category of Female Performer of the Year is debated heavily to say the least. This year was no different. The overall feeling is that Adriana Chechik should’ve been the winner and not Riley Reid. From a judge’s point of view, why did Riley win and not Adriana? What criteria are used to crown the winner? Is it popularity amongst the judges by smoozing and swag, number of releases, lack of extreme acts, etc?
DrCT: I cannot speak to each voter’s process, but for me, after I go through my own complex and laborious quantitative assessment (number of scenes, diversity of productions, etc etc), there’s the qualitative. And that’s where voter experience and expertise comes in – because there are so many intangible-yet-significant dimensions that factor in. Especially for an extremely significant award like Female Performer of the Year, for me, after I winnow the pool to the front-runners, the final decision almost feels instinctive.
As far as shmoozing and swag, that’s funny. The days of swag are long gone, and in the words of voter Jennifer Peters, “One of the ‘perks’ of being in the industry for so long is that autographed DVDs or new swag don’t really have any impact on me. Chances are I’ve interviewed whoever it is whose autograph is being given to me, and I don’t need more crap filling up my apartment, so short of buying me a pony, there’s nothing a nominee could really do to curry favor with me.” I couldn’t characterize my experience any more concisely!
RF/ADVDT: If you could add one category to the show, what would it be?
DrCT: I would definitely bring back the “Unsung” performer categories, though perhaps with a bit of a rebrand. The category seemed to be getting a bit of a “backhanded compliment” reputation, but to me it always felt like a way to acknowledge performers whose work was fantastic, but who weren’t necessarily as prolific (often by design) as the Performer of the Year powerhouses. Maybe rather than “Unsung,” it could be called “Critics’ Choice”? That’s what I’d like to see.
RF/ADVDT: If you were to watch porn for enjoyment, what genre would you choose?
DrCT: I don’t know if I could narrow it to a genre, as there’s a great diversity in content quality and execution within every genre. I can say that some of the greatest content I’ve ever seen has been directed by Mason, both because of her eye and because of the interviews she often does with her stars; that Wasteland (2012) is one of the most beautiful and moving films ever made; and that Café Flesh (1982) remains one of the most cornerstone narratives informing my standpoint on porn, as well as gender relations/inequalities in general.
RF/ADVDT: Other than the soup incident described in your book during your first ever porn viewing, have you been offended by anything you’ve viewed?
DrCT: Haha that story! And it wasn’t even the soup per se that was “offensive” – It was what the soup was supposed to mean to me when I was just a wee 20-year-old lady. It’s such an intense example of wider social norms and narratives shaping our individual thinking. Everything else aside, it’s wonderful, I think, to be able to self-reflect like that.
Today, I wouldn’t say that there’s really anything in porn that I find offensive, but there’s definitely stuff that’s not my cup of tea. Rosebudding and big anal gapes – not for me, and I honestly get worried about what’s going to happen to peoples’ assholes later on in life. I’m also not a fan of blowbangs. But those are just my views and preferences – and as long as sex is consensual, what I or anyone else thinks about a specific act is kind of irrelevant.
RF/ADVDT: What’s next professionally for you?
DrCT: More writing, more research, and (hopefully) more demystification – there truly is nothing more fulfilling to me than finding a new piece of information and then making that information available to an interested world. Every piece, big and small, contributes to the wider conversation. I hope to continue contributing to making that conversation more fulfilling, authentic, and autonomous for everyone. It’s not about everyone accepting porn – because it’s not for everyone, nor should it be – it’s ideally about helping us all get to a place where people can feel free to make informed, consensual decisions without fear of having their lives limited because others may not approve.
RF/ADVDT: How can people get ahold of you?