PVV – hott off the presses: some of the greatest research ever conducted (part 2)!!

Another something “transcendental, mystical, and out-and-out epic” has occurred…

My paper, “Sex Work, Office Work: Women Working Behind the Scenes in the US Adult Film Industry,” has been published by the scholarly journal Gender, Work and Organization (GWO)!!


(and once again, that means “yay!” in nerd spaz; for the first transcendental, mystical, and out-and-out epic publication event, go here)

For those of you familiar with the grueling and time-consuming odyssey that is academic publishing, you can imagine my elation… especially because this publication process was particularly challenging.  For the record: I conducted this research in 2006/2007, wrote up the paper and submitted it in 2008, and waited and wrote and re-wrote the entire thing while it went back and forth under review for 26 total months. Let me say that again - this paper was under review for 26 months.

It has recently been in copy-editing limbo for about three months (nightmares!! problems!! that are still ongoing), and this on-line only “early view” version is still without a full reference… but none of that is the point!! The point is that more rigorous scholarship that engages and complicates the adult production industry is now available – woohoo!!

Now I know that each and every one of you wants to read a 20+-page scholarly paper about women working behind the scenes in adult – duh!! who wouldn’t want to do that??!! – so here it is… but just in case your dog needs walking or your nails need filing or you have some yoga to do, here’s the low down…

I explore these questions in this paper:

An estimated 6000 people work in Southern California’s adult production industry, and only 1200 of these people work as talent/performers. In spite of what fallacious urban legends tell us, many of the 4800 “behind the scenes” (bts) workers are women. So…

1. Who are these women working in the US adult film industry in occupations other than talent?

2. What can these women’s experiences tell us about sex work in general?

In order to try and figure some “answers,” I conducted 253 hours of ethnographic observations and countless informal interviews at “Fascination Films,” an adult film production company that employs a high percentage of women workers both as talent and behind the scenes, and in various other adult-related locations (trade shows, sets, and the like).

This work is extremely unique – one of a kind, really – because I consider the experiences of women who work in the industry who are not, and never have been, employed as talent.  What is life as an adult industry sex worker (by proxy of the stigma of porn production) like for these women?

These are only some of the things I “find:

1. Women bts workers experience employment opportunities and occupational advancement that have been shaped by the stigma of adult production and a close-knit occupational network.

2. Even though Fascination Films’ bts women workers do not perform sexual labor directly, they share a measure of the stigma of sex work with adult performers and with workers in other sex work occupations (ie stripping, prostitution).  Consequently, their experiences speak to those of an un-studied population (women bts adult industry workers) and to the experiences of sex workers in general.

Here is the abstract:

“Women currently working behind the scenes in the adult film industry both inform considerations of the contemporary experiences of sex work in the USA and shed some light on differential experiences of gendered workplace organizations. Based on ethnographic observations and informal interviews conducted at a typical adult film production company and on examining the industry’s historical development, I have found that a diverse range of occupations and occupational opportunities are available for women in the adult film industry and women workers in the US adult film industry experience their gendered workplace in unique ways. I suggest that this is due in part to the adult film industry’s wider social network, which has itself been shaped by the historical development of the adult film industry and the stigma of sex work.”

So there you have it!! I can’t even begin to tell you how happy I am to get this work out in to the world – I pretty much sacrificed the second half of my 20s to get this done, and I would love to know what you think of my efforts!! Email me!!

<3 Dr. Chauntelle

…and just in case you have too much free time, here are some other scholarly porn-related pieces I have written:

Tibbals, Chauntelle Anne. 2010. “From The Devil in Miss Jones to DMJ6 – Power, Inequality, and Consistency in the Content of US Adult Films.” Sexualities 13(5).

Tibbals, Chauntelle Anne. 2009. “Pornography, Legal and Political Perspectives.” Encyclopedia of Gender and Society. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Press.

(pictured: a calm, cool, and collected dr. chauntelle… that South Park avatar is old news!! jkjk)