Chunky: Body-Size Discrimination of Women in Porn


Chunky: Body-Size Discrimination of Women in PornLast night on Pornhub (which is how I’m starting every conversation from now on), I was trying to find videos that showed women of average size enjoying sex — and by sex, I do not mean the horrid gang-bang. To find women of average size, you have to look for them. And look hard.

The average size of the average American woman is 14/16, and yet most women in mainstream porn and professional online porn are size 4/6, maybe an 8, not including breast implants. To come across a video of an average-sized woman with large breasts that are real is even more difficult.

Average-sized women and/or large real breasts are practically fetish categories on most porn sites. The landing pages of porn sites tend to feature “tiny teen” vids, gang-bangs, the now-requisite anal bang, pseudo-incest fetish videos, and the occasional ebony/ivory featurette for a splash of color.

“Big ass” videos have become more commonplace since the rise of the “big-bottomed girl” in mainstream culture thanks to the Kardashians and the Hispanic and African-American cultures that seem to like curvy women. In fact, butt-centric workouts to increase the muscle mass of the glutes and thighs are very popular amongst 20-somethings.

Prior to this, mainstream American culture has not allowed curvaceous women to be idolized since the days of Marilyn Monroe and Jayne Mansfield in the 1950s. When skinny model Twiggy hit pop culture in the 1960s, women suddenly had to be super thin, complete with no fat anywhere, a flat butt, and a noticeable thigh-gap. This rail-thin trend was exacerbated by choreographer George Balanchine in the 1970s, when top ballerinas were movie stars and household names. It wasn’t until the Amazonian supermodels of the late ’80s and early ’90s exploded onto the scene that the idealized look for women changed. However, even though the statuesque bodies of Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell, and Linda Evangelista graced magazines and music videos, the preferred body type for women was still “thin”, in spite of the actual average height and size of American women.

Thanks to people of color widening the diversity net in the past 10 to 15 years, women of different shapes can now be seen on broadcast TV and in Hollywood films. The caveat to this is that women of color are allowed to be curvy and even bottom-heavy, while white women are still required by the entertainment industry to be thin and proportional. Or as Marcia Cross infamously quipped about being on a hit TV show, “It’s like they pay me not to eat.”

Currently, a lean, athletic look for white women is preferable to the skin-and-bones look of previous decades. But it is rare to see a large-breasted woman in a lead role on TV or in film, as large breasts still carry the stigma of the “bad girl”, the “easy girl”, or the “dumb girl”. (We just can’t win.) Large-breasted women on screen are usually relegated to characters who are prostitutes, strippers, or an amoral mistress because it seems only A- or B-cup women can be police detectives, lawyers, or doctors.

If you have ever seen an episode of “Project Runway” in which a model has more than an A-cup breast, the “boob”-shaming is prolific. Low-cut, backless (and therefore braless) dresses are chic and sexy — unless a model has noticeably post-pubescent breasts, then her breasts are condemned and must be covered up. Apparently, breasts and haute couture do not go together. And there’s nothing quite like women’s breasts being slut-shamed by gay men who supposedly love designing for women’s bodies. Well, guys, women have curves. And the average woman has lots of curves.

It cannot be understated the importance of seeing average-sized, naturally large-breasted women such as Christina Hendricks on “Mad Men” or plus-sized models on reality TV shows. Even “Masters of Sex” has had only one fuller-sized woman as a Masters & Johnson study participant, and that wasn’t until Season 3. Yet, these few hallmarks of average-sized women in mainstream entertainment coincides with the lack of average-sized women in the mainstream sex entertainment industry.

To find videos on porn sites that feature average-sized women, you have to know what words to input in the search feature to get a smattering of iffy results. The down side is that many of these videos are not titled with body-positive monikers for curvy, voluptuous women, but rather one or two choice derogatory insults. “Chubby”, “chunky”, “chunker”, “thick”, or just plain “fat” are common adjectives used in the video titles. Ironically, these “thicker” women videos fall into the “BBW” category, which stands for “Big, Beautiful Women”. How “beautiful” and “chunker” are used to describe the same kind of woman is beyond me.

And people still want to say porn isn’t misogynistic?

Not all porn sites are the same, and a few manage to show women of all sizes and skin tones enjoying rapturous sex without the body-shaming of the more well-known sites. But the body-positive, woman-positive sites are few and far between.

All I want is women portrayed as real human beings, sans fake hair-extensions, fake nails, fake eyelashes, fake tans, and fake breasts. In this way, the amateur porn movement has been instrumental in changing the way women are portrayed in porn — real people having real orgasms. The amateur and professional porn influx from Europe, Australia, and Russia are important because the women do look more natural and the men tend to be intact. Finding uncircumcised men in American porn is very difficult. Normalizing the natural penis is as important to me as normalizing the natural body of the average-sized woman. We are not here to be fetishized or degraded for internet laughs.

As a woman who loves sex and orgasms, it can be maddeningly difficult to find sites that feature porn that is woman-friendly, with no violence toward women, beautifully filmed, with great music, and none of the trappings of mainstream porn, which is an industry that is still trying to navigate its way in the 21st century online porn world. However, I will keep searching … or start making erotic films myself….

trish

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