2.3.10

"The adult industry is changing, and people are going to have to be progressive—and if they're not they're going to fail." - Sasha Grey (RM part 5)

The adult entertainment industry is the subject of the fifth and final installment of the realness movement analysis. The realness movement in this industry has not manifested itself as much as in the fashion, music, photography and modeling industries that were analyzed in the previous four entries, however, with the rise in popularity of porn stars such as Sasha Grey and Faye Reagan as well as erotic magazines such as Jacques and S magazine there still has been a shift towards depicting a realer side of adult entertainment. Yes, porn stars that resemble Jenna Jameson and magazines such as Maxim are still the norm but a niche market has developed that favours more natural looking porn stars and more stylized skin magazines. Although adult entertainment is considered by some to be a controversial topic this industry is prevalent in our society whether it's out in the open or not and the development of the realness movement would not have been complete without bringing the adult entertainment industry into the picture.

Sasha Grey has received quite a bit of media coverage in recent times. She has appeared on the Tyra Banks show, in American Apparel advertisements, in Steven Soderbergh's film The Girlfriend Experience, in magazines such as VMAN and she has had several speaking engagements at colleges including UCLA. If you read or watch an interview with her she is poised and articulate, mentioning Godard, Nietzsche and Baudrillard along the way. Although Faye Reagan may not be considered an intellectual porn star like Sasha Grey she has also appeared in American Apparel advertisements and graced the pages of Paradis magazine, garnering her some attention in more mainstream press. Career accomplishments aside, Sasha Grey and Faye Reagan have both become popular because of their naturally beautiful physiques. They're both attractive women that don't seem to wear a lot of make-up. The average porn star looks like a real-life barbie doll with piles of make-up on her face and surgically enhanced breasts. In other words, they look fake. Sasha Grey and Faye Reagan have decided to go for a more natural look. For example, Sasha Grey has small breasts and Faye Reagan (pictured above) doesn't try to conceal her freckles. These aren't physical traits that you would normally associate with porn stars. However, viewers find this refreshing. It's by embracing their real looks that they are differentiating themselves and creating a new image. It's about time the pornography world experienced a change of direction.

There's also a niche market that is championing a return to classic erotic magazines. Jacques magazine seems to be garnering the most attention at the moment. The self-proclaimed only new luxury erotic magazine in America prides itself in "...illustrating the real beauty of real women." (Jacques magazine website) The publication abides by a strict no airbrush policy differentiating itself from the big players like Nuts in the UK. Their photoshoots depict women of all shapes and sizes. Even the Editor-In-Chief strips down for her photograph, showing that she wholeheartedly believes in the product. S magazine has also been getting a lot of attention by creating a bi-annual erotic/fashion magazine. The magazine consists of tastefully photographed real nude women. Another magazine worth mentioning is Paradis magazine. This men's magazine is much more progressive and contemporary than the average men's magazine, mixing interviews with artists such as Damien Hirst with editorials by Juergen Teller with nude pictures of model Daisy Lowe and the previously mentioned Faye Reagan. To a certain extent, even Playboy has been targeting this niche market. The recently launched Playboy France is much more classy, sophisticated and stylish, reminiscent of the Playboy magazines from back in the 60s or 70s. The October 2008 photoshoot with Lily Cole is a direct reference to this iconic magazine's past. These magazines are getting good press because they're branding themselves in a different way and therefore distancing themselves from the sleezy men's magazines we're used to. They've gained credibility and a certain acceptance by portraying real and naturally beautiful women in an artistic yet erotic manner. As Cayte Grieve stated in Blackbook, these publications are blurring the lines between art, eroticism and pornography.

As the popular saying goes: "sex sells" but it doesn't mean that we have to sell sex in a sleezy and dirty way. This may sound cliché but sex is a beautiful thing. So why not portray it in an organic, natural and real way? This is obviously a question that the previously mentioned porn stars and erotic magazines have asked themselves and they've decided to do something about it. The realness movement is helping the adult entertainment industry become more tasteful, stylish and sophisticated and therefore more respected in mainstream culture. They've done all of this by going back to the basics: getting rid of the unnecessary touch ups, embracing models' natural beauty and depicting realistic settings. Who knows, maybe with the proliferation of porn stars and erotic mags such as these, adult entertainment will one day become more openly accepted in society.

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