A profile of porn star James Deen reveals something that shouldn't be shocking but maybe is: he has bona fide female fans.
Good's Amanda Hess spent time with Deen in his Woodland Hills home, and got a number of amusing quotes from him, including my personal favorite, on how he gets hard for scenes: "'This part of you is really nice,' Deen will think. 'You have really nice eyes, you have really nice hair, you have really nice boobs, your vagina is really cool, I can't wait to jerk off all over your face.'" But the most interesting part the profile, at least from a sociological perspective, is the examination of his fan base. Hess writes,
Deen is not supposed to be the star of his scenes — his sex partners are. But on Tumblr, a network of teenage bloggers has emerged to turn the focus on him. The young women trade Deen videos, post candid photographs, and pluck out all the minute details that turn them on: the way he looks at a woman, touches her, stares into her eyes, whispers in her ear. "There was just something about the way he moved," Emily says of her first exposure to Deen. He seemed to be "speaking to the girl, but not with his mouth, with his hand over the girl's throat, and with his eyes." Now, Emily says it doesn't matter if Deen is having intimate sex with a woman on a bed or shoving her into the trunk of his car: "I go for just about anything."
And she describes an interaction between Deen and one of his 27,000 Twitter followers, who responded to his request for a burrito:
One of Deen's young fans tweeted back, answering the request. After Deen sent her a private tweet-"for reals :-)" — she rushed back to Tumblr to present the message to her friends. "I'M GOING TO FAINT OH MY GOD FUCK," she wrote. When other bloggers asked how the conversation evolved, she told them she was "too shy to say anything back to him." After all, "it wasn't like he was all ‘HEY LET'S HAVE SEX AFTER YOU BRING ME FOOD.'"
Much like the male fans who flock to porn conventions to see their favorite starlets in person, a group of women (and girls) appears to have fixated on Deen. As Hess points out, this is compelling evidence that women actually like porn — and like it enough to idolize a particular performer. So is the porn industry taking notice? Not so much. Hess quotes porn producer Joshua Lehman:
You may see him in every movie, but do you see him at the center of a [DVD] box? I don't think so. If you put a man in the foreground on a box cover, male and female customers are going to assume it's gay porn.
Publicist Adella Curry adds, "No one wants to alienate the male audience." So how come more companies aren't courting a female audience? Maybe it's partly because that audience feels it needs to stay invisible. Hess notes that for many of Deen's teenage fans, loving his movies is "an aspect of their sexuality that they're exploring exclusively on the internet." Says one, "The few friends I have that actually watch porn are male and don't really feel comfortable with talking about porn with me." Another deleted her Deen-related Twitter, Tumblr, and blog after talking to Hess. These girls may love porn, but they're talking about it amongst themselves, presumably often under pseudonyms. Perhaps because of the perception that girls aren't supposed to watch porn, some guys are uncomfortable talking to them about it, which may further convince them that their admiration for James Deen and his winsome bedside manner is something to keep secret. Watching pornography is now something that most guys admit to, and expect their partners and friends to at least tacitly accept — the same isn't true for girls. And until it is, James Deen might never get that cover.