You'll Know It When You See It: Gender, Sex, and the Porn Industry

ID: 3634
School: TBD
Program: TBD
Status: Ongoing
Start date: November 2018
End Date: August 2019


The pornography industry in the U.S. is massive, with reported earnings much larger than those of mainstream Hollywood films, and its cultural influence on sexuality, sexual behavior, and gender norms appears to be profound. Despite its high earnings and widespread influence, pornography work remains highly stigmatized and very uncredentialed. Moreover, it is somewhat paradoxical that an industry which is often criticized for being disrespectful to women reportedly pays female performers much more than males. Very little sociological research has investigated the complex theoretical confluence of gender, sexuality, work, and deviance that this enormous industry embodies. In my current research project, I propose to look specifically at how the high-end porn industry understands its (presumably mostly male) viewers, and how that understanding shapes the industry. I plan to conduct 90 interviews with people of all genders from many different parts of the mainstream porn industry, including models (actors), accountants, directors, producers, business managers, and others to get their perspectives on their job satisfaction, working conditions, and work experiences. I plan to focus on how gender affects these experiences, but most particularly, I want to know how the porn industry creates a product and sells it to men.

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