I’ve had Sasha Grey on my mind a lot this week; I don’t know her personally, but she’s popped up in my life a few times over the past year in some fairly significant ways. She really hit my frontal lobe last week when Fleshbot covered some on-set sideline footage of leading-lady Grey working with Steven Soderbergh on his upcoming film, The Girlfriend Experience. I actually didn’t make it all the way through that clip. I’m extremely entertained — subsumed — if I’m on one side of the camera or the other, but watching others set up shots isn’t akin to watching paint dry — for me it’s more like being hit with a Thorazine air dart, and I probably tried to run from my Cinema Display at about 2:36 in, but woke up on the floor of my office in a snoozy puddle of drool when the visual sedative hit in about two steps out. It’s that boring. But I really dig Grey.
For me, Grey occupies that hyperpublic, female-sexual-power groundbreaking space shared with young female porn performers such as Lorelei Lee (articulate eloquence embodied), Dana DeArmond (vanguard realist), Kimberly Kane (cutting-edge visionary), Ashley Blue (powerful muse), April Flores (playful agent of change) and Madison Young (soft-spoken shock troop of female sexual power). These women are my heroes, and they are not to be trifled with. Like her amazing colleagues, Sasha Grey is articulate, smarter than the journalists and pundits (and pud whackers) that record her every move, and she more than sees the forest for the trees when it comes to sex work and porn. Third gen feminism? Try screw-your one-size-fits-all feminism, or fuck feminism altogether and watch me shred your quaint old notions of female sexuality into pure feminine power and the redefinition of sex and gender roles — and porn.
These women — and Grey, on her mainstream star trajectory minus the porn stereotypes — are the death knell of anti-porn, all-women-are-victims mythology. Hear the bells tolling, Focus on the Family? That sound is the death of your porn hysteria and desperation to control over our bodies, our sex.
No, really. I don’t think that the mainstream media or mainstream porn industry is ready for these women because they’re from the future of female sexuality. And that’s a really good thing. Grey, like the others I mentioned, plays the porn femme to a delicious “T” and undermines the icon in the most subversive way, shattering all the underlying anti-porn messages that surround everything she does (and yes, the sexual shame that still permeates the majority of the mainstream porn industry). Which I’ve seen her do with a casual comment that later cuts the bullshit like a knife.
For instance, in a scene where she was giving a blowjob she freaked out the guy she was going down on by telling him to punch her in the stomach — on reflection she called the moment, “An exercise in improvisational fantasy.” This resonates neatly with another statement she made, saying “I wanted to express my sexuality as a strong woman, to push my own boundaries and see which part of my psyche would take me to my next euphoric sexual experience.” In Shot By Kern (highly recommended) she writes an artist’s statement, dovetailing similar sentiments with, “I have a huge appetite for sex and self-exploration. I wanted to express my sexuality as a strong woman, to push my own boundaries and see which part of my psyche would take me to my next euphoric sexual experience. I wanted to do all of this in a sex positive way. Despite the controversy that surrounds this industry, I felt I could ultimately bring an enigmatic quality to it. I decided that if my instinct continued to push me toward the reality of this, and the dissatisfaction with my education continued, I would seize the opportunity on my own.”
So when I look at the anti-porn pundits who get airtime on mainstream news outlets, like the Shelly Lubbens who see all women in porn as the typical, tired (and largely mythical) trope of the helpless abused victim, and I watch the suckers swallow it down like it’s gospel, I wait for the day that Grey is launched into the fray like the little sexy existentialist bomb that she is.
Actually, I want to see the day that any of us articulate pro-porn females are let into the gated walls of those Fourth Estate motherfuckers. Like me, Grey was also on Tyra, and like Grey, I had a really hard time trying to be who I really was — though I was despite all efforts to control my appearance and message. Grey and I both videoblogged our experiences. I wonder if, like me, Tyra’s lawyers went after Grey for nearly two months in a legal bully battle trying to get me to take my video, and according to them “the blog” offline. I stood my ground, and Grey’s video helped me do just that — stand up for the right to tell my story in the face of more money, power and wigginess than anyone can imagine.
Anyway, I love Grey, and I want to see her become a mega-star, upending even the played out (and Hollywood-predictable) road that blonde, big-boobed, surgified Jenna Jameson forged. In the meantime, I’ll look forward to Grey’s turn in The Girlfriend Experience, and enjoy the occasional gallery I find of her on Kink and other sites — like these:
* Fun with sex machines.
* Sasha Grey shot by Richard Kern.
* Sasha humiliates Trina Michaels at Device Bondage.
* Sasha in a straightjacket.
* In bondage with a pink-haired punk girl.
* An older shoot (last year) where she’s 18 and with her first fucking machine.
* Bound and forced to orgasm at Hogtied.
* At 18, playing a journalist in a bondage fantasy.
* Dominating Riley Shy last month at the Armory.
* Playing a “sex addict” in a girl-girl femdom medical/nurse fantasy.