sex

"What I learned working as a niche porn magazine editor."

Where I’d normally seen women doing everything to delight men and rarely seeing their own needs fulfilled, the women in these mags were definitely the ones enjoying themselves. equally to if not more so than their male counterparts.

A few years ago, I was in dire need of a day job. My friend suggested I apply at the company she worked for: a pornography company specialising in niche magazines and DVDs.

She’d made this suggestion numerous times over the years, but I’d always been reluctant.

While I was a regular porn viewer myself, I wondered how I’d handle taking part in an industry that at times not only objectifies but sometimes harms women, while still calling myself a feminist.

I also feared that having the title of “Porn Magazine Editor” on my resume might hurt my chances of getting what I felt at the time might be more “legitimate” writing jobs in the future.

But with few other decent-paying options available, I decided to go for it and see what happened.

The company called me within a day to set up an interview. They were located among a series of warehouses and, driving past, you’d never imagine what was going on inside those walls. My interview with the CEO, COO, and managing editor went without a hitch. That afternoon, I got a call back letting me know I had the job.

Mamamia Confessions: How much sex I’m having. Post continues after video. 

I started off as an assistant editor for a slew of porn publications. My first job was to go over the fan mail. Our publications weren’t as popular as, say, Playboy, so it wasn’t much to read through— but all of it was highly entertaining.

Most of the mail we got was from men in prison, with a few others from fans who lived in tiny towns I’d never even heard of.

They mostly talked about the different girls in the magazines, and what they would like to do to the girls if they could meet them. Some wrote in suggestions of things the girls could do or wear in the spreads. Others wrote in to complain about the amount of tattoos the girls had.

Our company covered a number of niche interests, including women with enormous “natural” breasts, women with extremely large rear ends (who were mainly Black or Latina), small-chested teen girls (which I appreciated on a personal level, as I’d never seen small-breasted women like myself actually idealised), highly curvaceous plus-sized women, and my personal favourite: the “MILFs.”

I’m not talking about 20- and 30-somethings who happened to be moms, either.

I’m talking about women in their 40s, all the way up to the high 70s, low 80s. While a bit shocking at first, I came to enjoy these the most — simply because it appeared that these models were mainly in it for the fun of it, to add some excitement to their lives.

After a few months of editing copy mainly for the teen mag, big-butt, and mature mags, I was promoted to editor and given a few magazines to manage from start to end. I took over the teen mag, and was also given two others: one was for “amateurs,” and the other was one for fans of legs and feet.

The amateur mag was interesting because we used a combination of models from all our niches. Many of the women we got for other mags debuted in this magazine, which included 18 year olds all the way to 50-something women.

Here, the appeal was simply that these were relatively-unknown women delving into pornography for the first time, yet all different body types were appreciated.

The leg-and-foot fetish mag was another favourite niche for me — not for the subject matter, per se — but rather because it featured women in a more dominant role.

The models in this niche were worshipped for the length of their legs and the curves of their toes; the men that sometimes (though rarely) accompanied them were often placed in more submissive roles.

It was very different from the usual stuff I’d find on any search on PornHub on a lonely night. Where I’d normally seen women doing everything to delight men and rarely seeing their own needs fulfilled, the women in these mags were definitely the ones enjoying themselves, equally to — if not more so — than their male counterparts.

It would be a lie to say that I worked for a feminist porn company: It was run by a pair of sleazy men who were obviously not in it to improve the lives of women.

But there were some aspects about it that were feminist. For example, humiliation of any type or any suggestion of violence towards models was not tolerated in our magazines and videos.

Also, the head of the studio was a woman, and some of the best writers and art directors were also women. These things together don’t equate to feminism — but they certainly help fight against the misogyny of the industry.

I’d like to think that while I was working as an editor, I was able to positively influence the way women in my magazines were portrayed: through their profiles and even through the images I helped select. I did my best to use more diverse models so that we didn’t only feature blonde white women.

In one spread, I opted to do a special on different kinds of labia — which might seem odd to those not working in pornography, but I found it to be almost empowering. Growing up, I had no idea that women’s vulvas all looked different: different sizes, shapes, colors. But here I was, celebrating all these differences.

And sure, our audience was small and likely more male than female, but in my version of feminism, every little bit helps.

One last thing: When I thought that working in porn would hurt my chances at obtaining future writing jobs, I was wrong. Since then, I’ve gone on to freelance for several publications — many of them feminist in nature — even scoring a few regular contributor and staff positions.

No one has ever actually asked me about that first job at an interview. And now I’m even able to share my experiences with the world.

Not a bad way to start a career!

ADVERTISEMENT

This story by Priscilla Blossom originally appeared on Ravishly, a feminist news+culture website.

Follow us on Twitter & Facebook and check out these related stories:

FROM OUR NETWORK
00:00 / ???