Saturday, October 24, 2020
Home News A TV porn tale’s real depravity … women exploiting women

A TV porn tale’s real depravity … women exploiting women

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CHANNEL 4’s Adult Material, ‘a four-part drama about the sex industry’ tells of a British porn actress who is also ‘a busy mother making sure she’s home in time to make the kids’ tea and get their PE kit ready’.

According to the storyline, Hayley Burrows – working under her pseudonym of Jolene Dollar – has earned enough to buy a nice house in the suburbs, a private education for her daughter and a convertible.

And as she juggles her roles of mother and porn star – thinking domestic thoughts while in the height of ‘passion’ on a film shoot – the drama mines ‘the distance between fantasy and reality for comedy’, according to reviewer Anita Singh in the Telegraph

There certainly is a huge distance between fantasy and reality, since porn stars are not usually normal, suburban mothers. Instead, they suffer terrible damage to their mental health and personalities. Many are addicted to drugs to help them survive the daily onslaught of violence and abuse. 

However, the drama also depicts the reaction of Hayley’s teenage daughter to her mother’s ‘mortifying’ choice of career. And it features a young recruit to the porn industry who, ‘bright and bouncy when she first appears on set’ is ‘a dead-eyed husk the next time we see her’.

Despite this serious message, and although ‘the sex scenes are not graphic’, the drama’s ‘descriptions of them are – repulsively so. As a viewing experience, it is deeply uncomfortable’.

Like Cuties, the French film shown on Netflix depicting 11-year-olds twerking, and the pseudo-historical Harlots (BBC2), Adult Material was written by a woman – Lucy Kirkwood – giving it a veneer of respectability.

But it sounds very like another ‘entertainment’ industry project purportedly highlighting the dark side (is there a light side?) of sexual depravity, while dwelling on the depravity in such detail that those already in tune with the serious message will not watch it anyway, and those attracted to it will be oblivious to any serious message.   

Pornography is merely depraved fantasy, but Adult Material offers the even more depraved fantasy that at least some women who work in it can emerge relatively unscathed. 

And the fact that Hayley Burrows is a mother seems just another excuse to juxtapose children and adult sexual activity. However, Anita Singh says that in view of almost half of 16-17-year-olds who responded to a British Board of Film Classification survey last year saying they had recently viewed pornography, ‘perhaps they should watch and learn more about the realities of the business’. 

Children do indeed watch pornography, but it would be better if they were not able to view it at all. It would be better if the Government did not have to be pressured by a concerned public to introduce measures to protect them. 

Showing them Adult Material after watching pornography would not simply be shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted, but letting out all the other wild horses of some depraved imagination to trample over whatever is left of their childhood.

However, this juxtaposition of children and adult sexual activity is not exactly new, and it is not confined to film or TV – it has been taking place in the classrooms of our schools for decades.

Pupils are first exposed to adult activities, sometimes in a cartoony, ‘fun’ way (misleadingly called age-appropriate). Then they are introduced to ways of preventing children from resulting from these activities, whether by preventing conception or by killing the child in the womb. 

Western society has a lot to answer for in allowing the destruction of childhood innocence. And when little girls grow up thinking that this is what big girls do, why should we be surprised when something as meaningless as sex should be sold to the highest bidder?

And when the highest bidder turns out also to be the lowest, the experience can be ‘minded for laughs’ by a female author, and be regarded as feminism.  

It certainly sounds better than female exploitation – and even better than the female exploitation of other females.

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Ann Farmer
Ann Farmer
Ann Farmer is the author of By Their Fruits: Eugenics, Population Control, and the Abortion Movement (Catholic University of America, 2008).

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