PVV – my seminar “The New Normal – Women in Adult”!! …and oh yeah some other things that happened at AEE, 2013 too

Another AEE/ANE on the books!!

This year’s big porn show was wild and amazing, new and different, struggling and striving, blossoming in some respects… and flat in others – put simply, this year’s AEE/ANE worked to find its place in an increasingly challenging, yet apparently liberalized, socio-cultural world. What emerged were a wealth of dimensions that provided a snapshot of what’s going on in the adult industry (on the surface), right now.


Let’s start with my epic seminar ;)

“The New Normal – Women in Adult” happened on Friday January 18, 2013 at 11:30 AM and lasted for its allotted hour. It was amazing.

After a little introduction by me, highlighting the main foci of the seminar…

For decades, myths and misconceptions have shaped popular, and even industry, understandings of women’s participation in the adult business. For example, all to often, we only ever hear about women performers… now, in many ways, women performers drive this business, but we often forget that women work in the adult industry at every other level too…

[O]ur panelists highlight the occupational range found amongst women in adult. And though it’s not possible to get every corner of the business crammed into a six-person seminar, we’re here today to explore some of the depth and diversity present in porn.

…the panelists - Bonnie Feingold of Honey’s Place, Angie Rowntree of Sssh.com, New Sensations’ Jacky St. James, cam model Natalie Star, TS performer Wendy Summers, and performer, director, and publicist Tanya Tate – shared their insights regarding these questions:

Tell the audience a little bit about what you do and how you got started in the business…

What’s it like to be a woman in your workspace? (good, bad, and in-between)

In your experience, how have women consumers played into your business? How has their feedback impacted your decision-making?

What kinds of specific new, edgy, and innovative things have you engaged… past and present, what have you done to push the envelope and create something new?

What one bit of advice would you give a woman who was new to the business or just coming up?

(panelist bios and more information on the seminar in general here)

We also took questions from the audience, including a couple that came to me before the event via social media and email. It was very interesting that those in attendance – which included a range of folks from industry heavy-hitters to people new to the business to fans and consumers… and everyone in between!! – were interested in talking about mainstream trends and their impact on adult consumption (a la 50 Shades of Grey, etc), women transitioning into different careers within the context of the industry, and diversifying production forms and monetization.

It really struck me – the adult community is made up of a wealth of individuals, all at different levels and stages of involvement and development. And this population shifts year after year. I felt the seminar was edgy enough to provide more experienced individuals with some food for thought, while still speaking to newer members of the community (newer members in various capacities).

And like I said, though there is no way to represent every corner of the business in a six-person seminar, I felt we really did a great job of touching on a wide and diverse range of women… women who help make up the vast puzzle that is porn!! And I’m already excited for next year’s pieces :)

Thank you again to each of the brilliant women who took the time out from a business conference to speak on the panel – Wendy, Bonnie, Tanya, Natalie, Jacky, and Angie!! As I said during the actual event, each of you is working to change the world and I am eternally grateful.

2013 seminar

 (pictured: (l-r) Wendy, Bonnie, Tanya, Natalie, Jacky, Angie, and me; image by Joy King)

But, if you can believe it, there were other things happening at AEE last week!! Let’s think about those for a moment…

In all honesty, I spent less time on the actual show floor this year than I ever have in years past. This was for no reason other than I was busy with other things… secret things!! (jkjk) But I did do my due diligence re looking around. Here’re some things I noticed…

– This was the second year the show was held in the Hard Rock, and many of last year’s bumps were smoothed out considerably. Registration was clearer, with a huge open space for the public and a nice relatively contained space around the corner for trade folks. This was awesome.

– Events were handled more strategically – things that were likely to be “fan favorites” were held in sizable venues.

– The show seemed considerably more crowded with fans and exhibitors than it did last year. And though some folks were noticeably absent (from both the public and B2B areas), many new people came out.

*A note on attendance: shows are EXPENSIVE to attend (but so is putting one on)… and there are a lot of them. I wonder if we see this shuffling in business attendance as folks weigh the cost/benefit of attending AEE and ANE..? It’s interesting to think that there are shows that are more and less beneficial to different dimensions of the business – what may be great for one is not necessarily to another. This is (partly) why I try my best to attend as many shows as I can – to get a fuller idea of what’s going on. Plus, the idea that AEE may no longer have the “mandatory” monopoly it once did is interesting.

– The seminars explored some new topics and some tried, tested, and true. Though there were a couple that could’ve used a little love in various ways, I maintain that each seminar attempted to capture the current (relevant) state of the adult industry within the confines of a business event that is absolutely nuts busy for everyone.

*A note on seminars: I don’t think anyone who hasn’t actually done it fully understands the amount of work and juggling it takes to organize these events specifically. From working with others’ obligations, behind-the-scenes politics, flakes and legitimately unforeseen cancellations, and an audience’s perceived needs, they are downright impossible to do “perfectly.” But what is “perfection” in the context of sincere efforts to edify in some manner?!! Even though some manifest “better” than others, there is always something useful that can be taken away. Sherri Shaulis and Tom Hymes at AVN deserve many thanks for working to create dynamic, useful events every year.

So good job, AVN!! Certainly I have suggestions for you (DM), but honestly – I cannot imagine being able to pull off an event of this scope. And though your refinements may not be immediately visible to those who simply pop in and pop out of the business when occasion arises, your efforts to polish the massive planet-like undertaking that is AEE and ANE year after year, with a skeleton crew and so many strong personalities, are commendable. Good stuff!!

But I do gotta talk to you about one thing: the Fan [Choice] Awards.

The AVN Awards are the crown jewel of porn. Many folks question the necessity (necessity?) of awards in the first place – their fans like their work, and that’s all that matters. This is a wonderful attitude, one that also gives a subtle shout out to the importance of marketplace demands. Others grumble about the awards granting processes…

To these folks I say: see Don Houston’s first hand explanation of multiple organizations’ award-granting processes here –> http://www.xcritic.com/blogs/blog.php?blogID=3547

…and still more folks highlight the fact that the AVN Awards (and other “mainstream” adult awards events such as XBIZ) are not for them. This also happens in all mainstream media forms, which is why most industries – including adult – have multiple award granting organizations.

And though I love the idea that the AVN Awards incorporates vetted, informed industry distinctions with the opportunity for fans themselves to honor several dimensions of adult (Favorite Porn Star, Favorite Body, etc), I really don’t get why the fkkk PornHub – notorious pirates, purveyors of stolen content, and those hugely responsible for helping dip shits such as Scott (below) rationalize blatant exploitation and thievery – were even listed as an option for Best Free Adult Website!!

Not to mention the fact that they won. (so smug, here)


(pictured: “I watch porn. I don’t pay for porn. Do I feel guilty about it? No.” — Scott, porn consumer …image by Susannah Breslin from Forbes here)

I know I’m not the first person to say this, but this is absolutely NOT what needs to be happening, AVN!! I stood outside The Joint one evening and had a conversation with an attorney – an attorney – (well, he said he was an attorney) who spoke just like Scott: didn’t pay for porn and had no idea why he ever would. And this is but one example of  countless… What. The. Fkkk?!!

People and entities outside the business can nitpick adult all day long – what’s right and wrong and blah blah blah – but what an informed entity (like you, AVN) should be mindful of are issues like these: wider cultural attitudes about adult content and consumption that are working to level this business and fostering a world that devalues individuals’ labor in general. I hate to say it but this whole PornHub thing contributes to these sentiments, rather than working to fight them.


So yeah… I’d like to end this whole sum up with this: please pay for your porn, people!! Do not steal from Wendy Summers and Tanya Tate and Jacky St. James, women who work so hard to entertain you creatively and autonomously. Do not contribute to the devaluation of Angie Rowntree’s work… nor Bonnie Feingold’s, nor Natalie Star’s. Because every time you go to a site like PornHub, you contribute to this. Every time, a piece of art dies.

Think about these faces… (and know that one day your number will come up, too)

left side

 (pictured: more from the seminar – images above and below by @JohnnyCastleFan, used with permission)

right side


Complete list of 2013 AVN Award winners here.

For more on online piracy of adult content, go here for lots of things!!


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