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ABBYWINTERS.COM; FEMALE FRIENDLY CORP ORATE AMATEUR PORN? A CASE STUDY

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ABBYWINTERS.COM; FEMALE FRIENDLY CORP ORATE AMATEUR PORN? A CASE STUDY
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    ABBYWINTERS.COM; FEMALE FRIENDLY CORPORATE AMATEUR PORN? A CASE STUDY ANDREEA CASTILLO BOCANETE 6274102 Gender, Sexuality and Society (MSc) Graduate School of Social Sciences Thesis presented to obtain the title of Master of Science in Sociology Supervisors: Gert Hekma Marie-Louise Janssen Universiteit van Amsterdam July 11, 2011 Amsterdam, Netherlands   2 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I would like to express my gratitude to Gert Hekma, my main supervisor, for his  patience and support during the whole research and writing process for my thesis. I would also like to thank Marie-Louise Janssen for accepting to be my second supervisor and showing interest in my work.   I must express a special thank you to Garion Hall and all the people at AW who helped me with this process and who were kind enough to share with me their time and experiences, and thus facilitate my research. To my family and old friends who have always supported me, even though they do not quite understand what I am doing, or how I will be able to apply my learning in “real life”. I share their concerns every day… To the new friends I have made along the way, a warm thank you for your company, interest, support and the hours of discussion about stressful papers, deadlines and the thesis of course! I am grateful for having found people with similar interests and concerns; brilliant minds that helped open and challenge my own, to grow by understanding new realities and points of view.   Finally and most importantly, I am very grateful to my student, employer, style and spelling corrector and great friend, who has been with me during this entire process, not only when writing my thesis, but for almost the whole duration of this master's course. I owe him an infinite number of things that I had never found before in just one person, and I must say that my thesis would not have been possible without his help and support. I am glad I chose this University and program, and I am feeling proud for having achieved this goal on my own.   3   CONTENTS Introduction.......................................................................................... 4 Methodology………………………………………………….......... 10 Chapter I: Abbywinters.com; an in-depth description of the site …. 15 Chapter II: The Models ……………………………………………. 25 Chapter III: The Employees ……………………………….............. 36 Chapter IV: Discussion boards and Members …………………....... 45 Conclusions ………………………………………………………... 58 Bibliography ……………………………………………………….. 68   4INTRODUCTION “Pornography is fundamentally a discourse, a way of speaking about sex in which  patriarchy is over-represented but open to colonisation by non-sexist, non-patriarchal voices. Pornography is further conceptualised as continually engaged in processes of interrogation of the female body, always trying to get more knowledge and to tell the truth about sex”. (Williams, 1999:42) This thesis is based on my research about a corporate-amateur porn site which as Williams remarks, tries to show the realness of sex and female sexuality expressed by amateur female models. This is a case study about abbywinters.com, a company srcinated in Australia and now based in the Netherlands. Thru interviews to the founder, models and employees, my aim is to show how the particular discourse and functioning of this production company situate it apart from other kinds of  pornography producers and ascribe it to a more female-friendly, sex positive type of adult content production. At the same time, due to the relations and interactions with members or subscribers, abbywinters provides more than just a space for sexual explicit material consumption, it creates a community by taking a more interactive approach between its actors and involving them in the production process. The concept of corporate-amateur porn is developed by Zabet Patterson in his text Going Online: Consuming Pornography in the Digital Era, and it is used to describe a new tendency amongst the pornographic industry to amateurize the content  produced by companies within the industry. "There is a wide spectrum of material on the web which could be classed as ‘amateur  pornography,’ ranging from camgirls who show a little skin periodically to  professionally produced shots of the same airbrushed and implanted women you see on ‘professional’ porn websites. The images, then, are set apart by the rhetoric which surrounds them; these women are billed as your neighbour, your boss, your sister in law" (Patterson, 2004:12). In this specific case, abbywinters has a professional production crew, but the models who pose for the site are amateurs and are shown as natural, real women performing real sexual explicit content, not acting or faking it.   5 This sub-genre, the amateur porn, has increased the production and also diversified what the pornographic industry is now offering. As Frederick Lane pointed out in his  book Obscene Profits , the industry adapts not just to the market and the new technologies, but also to different types of rhetoric in order to avoid restrictions and fit into the cultural norms, and abbywinters.com is a perfect example of this. This company by showing "natural girls" resembling the concept of amateur porn and models, at the same time uses categories and concepts from the sexual-positive feminism as part of its motto and to advertise the site to its members and models. By showing "women's natural beauty"; no makeup, no particular outfits, "the girl next door" as they say, they claim to have the potential to empower their models thru exploring and enjoying their sexuality on camera. The concept of amateur porn is interesting to analyse because it implies not just the realness of the models, but also of their pleasure; they are not models "acting", but they are seen as women enjoying themselves and deriving a genuine pleasure out of their actions. "(...) in amateur pornography, this ‘enjoyment’ on the part of the woman is exactly what people articulate as the critical point of their interest. What this suggests is a situation in contemporary culture in which people defer their enjoyment onto others; that what they enjoy seeing in pornography is not necessarily the impulse towards masturbation, but precisely the experience of seeing, and having, someone else enjoying in their place" (Patterson,2004:22). Apart from this, it is also interesting to identify how academic and political discourses (such as the one of the positive-sexual feminism) are adapted and used in contexts like this one, and how categories are understood and applied in different settings and taken into practice. Although due to the nature of the research and the few material available about this new type of porn production, I apply categories of analysis which emerged from the fieldwork and the research process. Therefore I combine grounded theory and already existent theory in Porn Studies and Sex positivity to analyse and interpret the data obtained. The general question which leads the research is:  How the discourses based on female-friendliness and sex positivity established by this  particular porn website, are represented in its practices and how can they be understood within the context of the pornographic industry?
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