There's a short feature on retired porn star Jenna Jameson in this month's Esquire, and in it, she describes herself as a "powerful woman" and goes on to say "I think that's intimidating to a man, on every level. That's why I always go out of my way to be ultranice and ultrasweet and coy, because it makes people feel comfortable, and I want people to feel comfortable around me before I put them in a headlock." Ugh.You know, if you're really comfortable with your place as a powerful woman, you don't need to pull that manipulative, coy bullshit — you're actually just assertive. I've heard a lot of people say they respect Jenna Jameson, and even call her a feminist, because she's a good businesswoman and makes a lot of money, but just because she's in charge of her bank account these days, that doesn't mean I have to adore her or stop questioning her. What has she really done that's overly commendable, anyway? Besides arguing on behalf of porn at the Oxford Union, Jameson's post-porn life seems to have consisted of going to fashion shows and starting her own clothing line. In the pantheon of women in porn, there are many women whose achievements are much more laudable. Yesterday we got a tip asking us to write about Nina Hartley, and she's a woman who always made her own films, always campaigned for porn and sex positivity, and is a self-proclaimed feminist. Joanna Angel tries to employ "imperfect" body types in her films, while Jenna seems to only employ the slender, fake-boobed "ideals." I feel like Hartley and Angel would have no need to be fakey "ultranice and ultrasweet" in order to get what they wanted in a social situation, because they're actually empowered — they don't need to use old-fashioned notions of feminine wiles to get ahead. The saddest thing is, Jenna is in a position now where she show herself as overtly ambitious and strong, and apparently she chooses not to. What I've Learned: Jenna Jameson [Esquire]
There isn't only one way to be a powerful woman, or one way to look or one way to act. Jenna Jameson might not be a perfect, down the line "feminist" or depict an embodiment of perfectly self actualized femininity, but very few people are able to be that or do that. I still think she's pretty great.