The pressure porn stars face to change their bodies

Friday 22 June 2018 09:30
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Picture:(iStock / mihailomilovanovic)

Please note that I am answering this question from the POV of being a mainstream porn performer, and not a niche performer. There is a fetish for everything, and obviously in certain niches, there is less, or no, pressure for performers to be thin. I am speaking only in the context of the LA-based adult film industry and the large commercial studios based here.

I'll start by mentioning that I am 5'9" tall, weigh 145 lbs, and wear a women's dress size 8.

The average American woman is a size 14, 5'5" tall, and weighs 164 pounds. Look at this website: What Real Women Look Like and you can see the variety of ways a 5'5", 160-pound woman can carry her weight. Most of these women look just fine to me, but by porn's ridiculous standards they would be considered fat or obese.

The average porn star is a size 4-6, 5'5" tall, and weighs 117 pounds (here are some more reference photos from What Real Women Look Like) - considerably smaller than the average American woman (average porn star statistics are from Jon Millward's infographic compiling stats from 10,000 male and female porn performers).

The concept of what a normal, healthy woman looks like is warped in the adult film industry.

I have seen myself incorrectly labelled a "BBW" (Big Beautiful Woman), which is considered a niche in the porn industry, typically referring to very overweight and obese women.

This is a huge red flag to me, because I am well within the healthy weight range for someone my height; at most I would consider myself "thick," because I have a big butt and thick thighs.

(Also, my boobs alone account for about 15 pounds of my weight.) In contrast, my bra size is 32H, which means I measure 32" across my back, whereas the average female performer has a smaller cup size but measures 34-36" across the back.) 

Amazingly, I have never been told directly by a director, producer, agent or other decision-maker in the porn industry that I should lose weight. And if they had told me that, I would have told them to suck it, because I think I look great. On the other hand, some of my female friends in the industry (who are thinner than me) have been told to lose weight and "tone up."

...But, despite not having been told face-to-face that I'm "too big," I have indeed felt a lot of pressure from the adult film industry to be smaller.

In my case it seems to manifest by certain companies and producers simply ignoring me.

It doesn't take a genius to look around me and see that girls who are 20 pounds lighter than me are considered to be more marketable and less of a "gamble" by producers and directors.

There's a handful of "top-tier" companies who have never hired me for this reason, and probably won't ever hire me--unless I magically become a size 4.

That's their loss. (And genetically, that is literally not even possible for me - my hipbones are so wide that I will never wear a pants size smaller than an 8. I could starve myself trying to be a more "perfect," marketable porn star, and I would get absolutely nowhere. Besides, I wouldn't ever try that, because one of the many reasons I became a porn performer was to change the image of what a successful, attractive adult film star looks like.)

This is where I see a bit of a chicken-or-egg scenario.

There are some porn decision-makers and avid porn fans who are conditioned to think that the only attractive female is a thin one with less than 10% body fat.

And because porn is created in order to satisfy fan demand, this is strange to me. Which came first - the director who only hires thin girls, thereby conditioning fans to expect and like that, or fans demanding to see only thin girls, thereby conditioning directors to like that?

Either way it's a completely pointless, self-serving concept, which does nothing but limit the profitability of studios and performers.

I have a large, extremely loyal fan base which is very willing to spend money to support me. My fans are also fans of many of my peers who are average-porn-star-size-4. In the fan's mind, there is no difference in desirability between me and my thinner peers; we just have different body types. Each of us is equally valuable to the adult industry; just as marketable as the other.

I just wish that more of the decision-makers in the adult film industry could be on board with me on this. It's a change that is definitely going to have to come with time, in baby steps, and with lots of hard work.

This article was published originally on Quora.

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