Musical Porn: the New Mary Poppins
It all started off innocently enough. A bare-screened office with a flash of red in the chairs, a woman enters. She’s dressed as a secretary, but she moves her hips as a lady accustomed to the catwalk. She takes her seat flirtatiously, willing a camera close-up: we see her red lipstick, it’s over-emphasised and we are drawn to her sensatious lips. She’s holding a milkshake, which she takes an easy sip from, all the time aware of the camera’s attention. She plays with the milkshake on her tongue, begging us to come closer. It becomes clearer. She fondles the milkshake carton as if a penis, and the scales fall from our eyes. Later, but not much later, she takes a position in a dentist chair as milkshake is lovingly spurted over her face, at an ever-quickening and frantic tempo.
This is not porn, but the latest music video for cutting edge techno. The cum-shot has splurted into the mainstream, and left an indelible stain on our MTV screens, with the deft touch of a film director. The music video is that of Masterkraft’s “Easy Love” (and for all those early doubters the video is available here: www.mstrkrft.com, scroll down and click on “Easy Love”). The story goes that it all began with the release of the sexually licentious and industrially-talented models featured using pneumatic machinery in bikinis in producer Benny Benassi’s “Satisfaction”. It spurned a competition within the music video business to produce a line of ever-more explicit content, based loosely around the music. A competition which ultimately goes to the dirtiest bidder.
So what should I do about this? Should I pick up the phone and call The Daily Mail, whilst gaspingly reaching for the new red button I had installed called “Moral Panic”? It really is an outrage, there are young impressionable girls receiving one sex ed lesson more than they bargained for on MTV Dance. I will not spare my blushes, and I demand the cum-shot retreat back onto those seedy porn cards passed amongst the anxious and sweaty palms of molesters.
'The acceptance of the cum-shot into the mainstream demonstrates a societal maturity towards sex, and the sexually explicit.'
Enough false outrage, and phoney flabbergasting. On reflection, the Masterkraft video is a good thing. The acceptance of the cum-shot into the mainstream demonstrates a societal maturity towards sex, and the sexually explicit. Surely we have travelled a long way from the petty prudishness of the Victorian era, where marriage was a useful advancement for the woman, and sex was seen as a dirty yet necessary act. The Victorian view of sex has demonstrated remarkable tenacity and longevity; it holds a corner in all of our minds, it is a tomb of inner reticence. Even for DH Lawrence, porn connected us with a dirty animalistic side: “Pornography is the attempt to insult sex, to do dirt on it”.
It is only by the utter prevalence of the “dirty” image, that we, as a people, can begin to externalise this repression. Through a vigorous engagement with the animalistic side of the love act, we can begin to overturn years of prudery, of embarrassed silence, and accumulated blushes. We can re-engage anew with the sexual act, but, in order to at least doff a cap at The Daily Mail crew, should this re-engagement begin as young as 12 (or whoever watches MTV Dance)?
There is another argument lurking, barely concealed, beneath this talk of wholesome sexual liberation. Porn, as a phenomenon, is generally degrading to women, and the Masterkraft video is no exception: a dribble of milkshake becomes a waterfall, as the woman is uncomfortably drowned in milkshake (read cum, for any slow readers). Porn involves the revenge of the male patriarch, keen to assert male dominance in act of abject degradation of women. Since the 60’s the feminist movement has provided the unassailable and salutary phenomenon of rights-conscious women. It is entirely right that women now have equal (if not often higher) status in the workplace; society has become an immeasurably better place.
Herein lies a contradiction of the modern porn movement: the cause of porn is advanced by two groups who have nothing in common, and would despise each other. On the one hand, the Big Daddy patriarchs are keen to assert male and male stereotypical dominance, through subjugation. On the other, the liberal cause espouses porn under the “all values are relative” mantra, and that the individual should be allowed to engage in whatever act he/she pleases (including the cum-shot) without state proscription. It is an unholy alliance. The Big Daddy patriarchs and the whining liberals make an unusual match, but a powerful team.
'Freed from the desolate worries of producing an unloved child, modern woman can engage in sexual choice just as much as any man.'
There is a chink of hope on the horizon. It comes in the form of porn targeted specifically for the female audience; the focus is softer and the narrative less blunt, gone are the abrupt Anglo-Saxon exhalations and grunts. Now women too enjoy porn. The sexual revolution of the 60s and the prevalence of the contraception now means there is no bar to women achieving their sexual desires in no less brutal a manner than their male counterparts. Freed from the desolate worries of producing an unloved child, modern woman can engage in sexual choice just as much as any man.
The truth is porn is now never going to go away. It is omnipresent, and there is symbolic resonance in the cum-shot bursting onto MTV. We cannot shy away from D.H. Lawrence’s “insult to sex”. It would be churlish to take the Daily Mail line and wish for a return to the stiff-collared Victorian values of an idealised golden age when women were treated as mens’ possessions. We should embrace sexual expression in the mainstream, it might make us all more willing to self-express, and to move away from an era of painstaking and painful repression.