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Girlvert: A Porno Memoir

af Oriana Small

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694307,528 (3.39)Ingen
Proclaimed "girl-pervert" Oriana Small, AKA Ashley Blue, a veritable artist at heart, weaves through the intricacies of a decade in and out of the adult film industry, love, drugs, and her own firebrand of what it means to live ecstatically. From accolades to agony,Girlvert illuminates the surreality of a life lived beyond all comprehension.… (mere)
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Viser 4 af 4
I'm going to level with you and admit that I knew exactly who Ashley Blue was before this one was even published. She was one of those rare porn stars who could do humiliating things on camera without seeming humiliated in the least. I knew that she'd been to art school, and it showed: she had the ability to turn the genre on itself, to make the (male) viewer feel that he there was a certain sort of honesty to what she was doing on camera but that he was sort of a creep for watching her do it. A lot's been written about how visual images allow the viewer to judge the subject being photographed, but Ashley -- or, rather, Oriana -- seemed to keep this from happening: when you watched her get treated roughly on camera, you couldn't help but feel complicit, almost guilty. She wouldn't let you hide behind your computer screen anymore.

And so I'm not surprised that "Girlvert" is astonishingly honest and straightforward. Oriana doesn't seem to be using a ghostwriter here, and she acquits herself pretty well as a writer. You get a taste of her bawdy, sometimes wounding humor, and the book keeps a good balance between details that raincoat-sporting porn fans will appreciate and explanations of the basic elements of the industry that non-fans will find educational. Oriana makes it clear that she's no longer exactly the person described in "Girlvert" but her descriptions of her own behavior hold absolutely nothing back. She readily admits that when most of the events describes in this book took place, she was easily manipulated, too eager to please men, desperate for attention, and high or drunk almost all the time. She doesn't sugarcoat anything: "Girlvert" makes Asia Akira's "Insatiable" read like "Little Women." This is the grimiest thing I've read since I picked up "The Wetlands." We hear about filthy porn sets; malodorous bodily secretions; uninhibited drug use; dysfunctional relationships, mercenary porn stars, drug dealers, and producers; insanely reckless behavior and an enormous amount of dangerous, degrading sex, some of which, it must be said, the author seems to have rather enjoyed. Ashley's an intense person, and this is an intense book: there were times that I couldn't read two or three short chapters at a time. To hear Oriana tell it, she did a hundred heavy-duty porn scenes in about a year while inhaling about half of Bolivia. She recognizes that, in some ways, she's lucky to be alive to write her story.

This makes the parts of "Girlvert" where Oriana finally learns to assert herself even more inspiring. She portrays porn as an industry full of abusive sleazeballs and druggie degenerates, but she's also quick to point out when someone she met while working went out of their way to treat her kindly or respectfully. She speaks fondly and admiringly of some of her fellow performers. She works hard to put her porn experiences in an appropriate emotional context, describing why she felt that some of what she did was more liberating than degrading. If Asa Akira's memoir suggested that porn was a healthy way to channel her worst impulses, Ashley makes the case that doing porn, at its best, was a jarring, but ultimately effective, form of therapy. Oriana also makes it clear that she's proud of her career. She admits that not everyone will agree that what she did was exactly respectable, but she knows that she did it well: it's amazing the amount of sheer effort that Oriana put into what was supposed to be a quick, money-making lark. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, she makes a credible argument that what she considers her best work -- the "Girlvert" series, in which she played a sort of hyper-aggressive, vengeful female id -- was genuine performance art. Readers (or viewers) will have to make up their own minds there, but it's good to see that Oriana had come through it all in a pretty good place when she wrote "Girlvert." Recommended to the sort of people who enjoy both dirty movies and feminist theory and to readers interested in exploring the furthest reaches of human sexuality. ( )
4 stem TheAmpersand | May 17, 2020 |
Without question, this book would win every award for the worst cover ever. The significance of the fist becomes apparent only about mid-way through the book *spoiler* (it relates to bulemia. It stands out to me as much as the first time I had sex (May 27th, 1995). I was thirteen years old. Bulimia and sex started at roughly the same age. I threw up every meal, every day. It gave me pleasure, actually, even though I know it’s not healthy behavior. I loved it—it was exhilarating, I could feel a rush in my entire body, a rush of fluids out of the stomach, mouth, eyes, and nose all at once. I found it more orgasmic than sex, until I finally had orgasms at age nineteen. . . Only in porn would a person’s wretched habit of shoving her hand all the way down her throat be considered a talent. I was praised and encouraged to puke and fist my mouth. It was perfect. I loved myself and my eating disorder.)

Oriana Small, aka Ashley Blue, had a mother who didn't care whether she drank, smoked, had sex, or took drugs. Mostly because she did all those things herself. Her mother had multiple partners most of whom regarded Oriana from a prurient rather than paternal view.

There are some contradictions. Her story of her mother and stepfathers (her birth father deserted them before her teen years) seeming disregard for her behavior conflicts with this paragraph, However, as gut-wrenching as the idea of my family’s reaction to pornography was, it wasn’t as powerful as the allure. I have never been a good kid. I’ve always liked being bad. I practiced smoking cigarettes in the mirror when I was thirteen and was the first girl to have sex in the eighth grade. I was suspended on my first day of high school for smoking, then again for wearing too short a miniskirt. I knew of better ways to behave, but they were not what I preferred. Breaking the rules was much more exciting. Porn was attractive because I knew it was bad. I didn’t know how I could ever face my aunts, uncles, cousins, and sister afterward, or if my actions would force them to stop loving me. I would be a bigger sinner to them, for sure. None of them would believe that this was the best I could do, or that it would make me happy. These relatives all helped raise me when my own parents failed. I didn’t want to disappoint them. But disappointment was inevitable. It felt like I was choosing porn over family, and my old life was ending.

Getting into the porn industry almost on a whim, and encouraged by her boyfriend, it provided fast and relatively easy money which they needed to fuel their cocaine habit which in turn was fueled by the industry's need for her to be always up and willing. Lots of details of the porn industry. Not a pretty scene and one begins to hate Tyler, her boyfriends, a weak, lily-livered SOB, for getting her into it. Not that she was completely unwilling. One interesting tidbit, Not a lot of directors like to shoot real couples having sex on film. Couples tend to bring all of their relationship problems into the sex scene and feelings always get hurt. Tyler and I were one of those couples. I preferred to wait until we got in the car to fight, but he liked to slam bathroom doors and pull me aside in front of the other porn people. We would be standing just a couple of feet away from the camera, naked with tears in our eyes, arguing about the amount of love I actually had for him. Every little thing he did at home to irritate me got dragged into the scene.

It's certainly not a way to get rich. What money we didn’t spend on coke went into the pill fund. Even before the porno started, Tyler and I would foolishly buy “E” pills with what little money we had to spare. I remembered simpler days when Tyler and I were so broke that we lived off of frozen edamame and ice cream. That is when you really feel in love for the first time, when you’re poor. We had nothing but each other for comfort and entertainment. It was a beautiful time. Now we had all of this money. Overnight, we had instant success in the porno business and could buy as many drugs as we wanted. We were still young and had our looks, too. The party never had to end. There were many different people who sold us drugs. Tyler always found someone with stuff for sale. He was like a divining rod in a crowd.

Reading the book is like watching a horrible train wreck in very slow motion. It has a certain gruesome fascination, a forlorn hope that no one gets hurt, but it intrigues nevertheless.
It's a tragic story but with a hopeful ending. ( )
  ecw0647 | Nov 4, 2013 |
I really liked this especially its pro-sex attitude. I liked that she lives her life on her own terms and enjoys herself.

However:
I couldn't relate to being estranged from my family and I found some of her attitudes towards sex strange ( like the idea of having sex with her mom's boyfriend - she considered that creepy and incestuous ). It bothered me that she allowed herself to be actually humiliated in some of her scenes. There's this whole revenge theme in some porn that I hate. I guess every loser who can't get laid can get vicarious revenge by watching a woman get humiliated. The thing is, after the movie is over, you're still a loser who's not getting laid. I suppose that keeps you from killing yourself...but the 'humiliation' should be simulated. Sex should be fun. The perversity of porn is that the sex is not simulated which I get - but still I draw the line at women being forced to do humiliating things. That's the problem I see with having porn be your sole source of income. You'd feel pressured to do things you don't find fun just because you need the money.

I also think she allows the men she loves too much control in her life (which is why I think she did some of the things she did - it should have been more an exploration of sex on her part and her own desire - the need for drug money fueled some of it).

Also, I didn't care for her gratuitous nod to conventional middle-class American morality near the end: “That was my fucked up life and I guess it has some entertainment value.” Fucked up according to whom? Don't back down, don't ever back down. No one should ever have to apologize to anyone for their lifestyle choices.

It not only has entertainment value, but it is instructional and maybe inspirational. I would definitely read it again. ( )
1 stem ElectricKoolAid | Jan 2, 2013 |
What's a person to do after they've spent the first ten years of their adult life doing internet hetero porn? Write about it.

It's a raw, honest description of the author's coming of age in porn where she did absolutely everything and anything you can do in hetero porn while she was either drunk or coked out of her mind.

If you're thinking of getting involved in porn, you would do yourself a service reading this first.

Another review here: http://www.bookslut.com/nonfiction/2011_03_017445.php

It's a good read. ( )
  PedrBran | Dec 12, 2012 |
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Proclaimed "girl-pervert" Oriana Small, AKA Ashley Blue, a veritable artist at heart, weaves through the intricacies of a decade in and out of the adult film industry, love, drugs, and her own firebrand of what it means to live ecstatically. From accolades to agony,Girlvert illuminates the surreality of a life lived beyond all comprehension.

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