PVV – Nadya “Octomom” Suleman… seriously?

After a day’s worth of trying to not say anything (more like a few hours really), I can’t stand it anymore…

Many many rumors and things are swirling around about this “issue,” and much information has been mis/reported, taken down, changed, updated, whatever by the mainstream and adult press. Here is an example of “changing facts” as they were documented on the adult news site LukeIsBack.com.

So, for the sake of clarity, here is what I know:

1.  Nadya “Octomom” Suleman recently performed in a “self pleasure” video. In other words, she did a solo masturbation sex scene. She also did some nudie-foodie pics (covered in canned pasta).

2. The above-referred production was funded by Team Octomom. I am not sure who or what Team Octomom consists of, but they paid for the video and pics.

Let me repeat that: Nadya Suleman, et al paid for this shoot.

This implies that Nadya has had a hand in creating a product that she perhaps hopes to parlay for some financial gain, not that she finally succumbed to the wants and ways of an adult producer looking to shoot/film her.

HuffPo asked: “So how will Nadya put the money from her hard day of work to good use?” BUT IT MUST BE CLARIFIED that Nadya has not yet made any money from this project… nor will she – not until it is available for consumers to purchase (and consumers actually purchase it).

The ever-reputable TMZ posed this puzzle: “As for how much she’ll make, it’s hush hush, except we’re told, ‘It’s a lot more than the $10,000 she made for posing topless.'”

This is all well and good – TMZ says “make” …like “will make in the future” (cuz Nadya hasn’t made nothin’ yet), however the statement should really read something more along the lines of: “We expect it to be a lot more than the $10,000 she made for posing topless.”

3. The above-referrred production was directed and shot by adult director and performer Brad Armstrong. Brad Armstrong is currently a contract director for Wicked Pictures, however Wicked Pictures was not involved in this production in any way. I am not sure how the logistics of this work…

From AVN: “Octomom’s rep Gina Rodriguez [aka Demi Delia] told AVN that the shoot was not for Wicked Pictures, as previously reported, even though Wicked contract director Brad Armstrong directed. Details about who will be releasing the footage will be forthcoming, she said.”

le sigh…

So there you go – Octomom has now been in “porn” (porn?), which you cannot see until she and the rest of Team Octomom work out a distribution deal with someone.

And in the end, who cares? I mean seriously – wtf is the big deal? Nadya is not the first “celebrity” to commission her own sex tape of sorts; but, for whatever reason, people are reacting to this particular occurrence somewhat differently. Consequently, here are some thoughts…

*opinion, opinion, opinion*

1. I don’t know much about Nadya… I know she has given birth to quite a few children (fourteen) and that she had eight all at once as a result of some fertility treatment (experiment?). I also know that she seems to be having some pretty serious financial troubles lately.

So this lady wants to do some exploring and try to make a little money in the meantime? Whatevs. It doesn’t seem like she’s had much of an opportunity to plumb the depths of her sexuality (having babies doesn’t necessarily correlate with sexual exploration), and an individual’s sexuality is a significant component of everyone’s humanity.

But sex stuff (still) makes us as a society rather uncomfortable, so maybe people react to Nadya so hard in general because of issues surrounding normative conceptualizations of sexuality…? Maybe that’s part of it, however I think the real, deeper social issue lies in the fact that…

2. …people are really really upset that Nadya debased herself and her pristine mother image by doing porn. Like she is sooo desperate in these tough economic times, and porn is willing to jump all over her while she’s in crisis mode searching for a way to feed and house her children!!


Yes, one member of the adult production community in particular has been all up on Octomom for years now (I’m talking to you, Steve Hirsch). But he is just one person among thousands, and he has nothing to do with this particular situation. Further, from what I understand, Nadya was and is in the driver’s seat here – her team funded, thus produced, the video and pics. She – Nadya – made the decision to proceed in this manner, not porn. So that “debased victim” critique is out.

I think what’s really happening here is a clash between normative notions of sexuality, gender, and motherhood, several dimensions of social inequality, perhaps some form of mental and/or emotional issue, other things, and the fact that we currently live in a world that can create an Octomom.

The wider social world has a hypocritical serious of conflicting ideologies it likes to engage regarding sex, sexuality, and porn… hence this site and all the work I do. The wider social world also likes to engage a series of problematic, culturally specific, often classist and racist, ideologies surrounding gender and motherhood. Thus, on so many levels, Nadya disrupts the wider social world. Couple these disruptions with judgement and evaluation, socio-economic and financial struggle, work and labor issues, mental and physical health and welfare issues, and the fact that Nadya has all these things times fourteen-total-kids, and we get a perfect storm of superficial support, behind-closed-doors eye rolling, and (very likely) individual fear and revulsion.

Nadya is flesh and bone example of so many problems and inconsistencies present in our contemporary culture. She frightens us because she, another human, prevents us from pretending so many social things that aren’t OK are…

So when this woman, who embodies endless issues that are far greater than her alone, decides to make a solo sex tape… what do we do? We blame porn.

Kinda misses the mark, I think.

* * *

Like what you see? Follow PVV on Facebook and Twitter and/or follow Dr. Chauntelle at @DrChauntelle!!

You may quote anything herein with the following attribution: “Reprinted from Porn Valley Vantage/PVVOnline, copyright © Chauntelle Anne Tibbals, PhD (www.PVVOnline.com).”

PVVOnline – Critical Commentary on Adult Production