are out to recruit your children

December 19, 2024

They are out to recruit your children

One of the things I wanted to expand upon in my PopMatters essay was the notion of recruitment. In writing on the website Amateur Straight Guys [NSFW], I realized that the backstory to these clips of boys doing it with each other was that they had somehow been coerced--through money--into having gay sex. Whether that's the reality of the situation or not, it's implied. And implying this financial transaction is a part of the story--it's meant to be hotter if the guys on screen wouldn't normally do this, that they had to be coaxed, brided into gay sex. Often it will be a part of the action--a discussion, before things get going, as to what they'll do for a certain amount of money. You see this a lot for example in the rather creepy videos shot by The Body Shoppe [NSFW]. Halfway through what was set up as a jerk-off scene, the cameraman will offer them another hundred bucks if they'll take it one step further.

Other motifs help convey a similar characterization of the guys on camera. Sometimes the opening sequence will take place at a playground. A convenience store. A skatepark. Most likely staged, these short clips go out of their way to convince viewers (or tap into their fantasies) that the men they're about to see have been...well, recruited.

Among the paranoid theories thrown around by radical evangelical homophobic Christian groups is the notion that homosexuals have an agenda that includes recruiting new gay boys and girls into their sick and depraved lifestyles. Since they can't procreate, their logic goes, they have to indoctrinate straight children. Organizations like the American Family Association have webpage after webpage devoted to this topic.

Maybe there's some truth to it? Someone should show James Dobson a clip from Amateur Straight Guys (if he hasn't seen one already as part of his 'research' on the homosexual agenda). He'd find his fears (fantasies?) confirmed. The gays are out to seduce America's children (at least their 18+ plus progeny). And, according to the script, it's quite easy to coax a bit of cocksucking out of a 'straight' guy.

Here is where the fantasies of both homophobic evangelicals and gay porn-consuming men twine together and overlap...they're not so different after all.

A hundred bucks. Two hundred bucks. Three hundred bucks? Probably not. Starring in amateur gay internet porn can't be that lucrative. And yet look how far a day's wages will take them, what categories they'll cross. I'm left sexuality really that mutable, or has capitalism come to shape our identities to that extent?

In my piece I wrote that at this very moment a porn site might be recruiting down the block. It turned out later I was [NSFW] is a collection of photographs of young men being tied up, shaved, hung from the rafters of some creepy basement, blah blah blah. They're actually quite aseptic and stylized to the point of being unerotic. We marvel at Lance's skin and shave his armpits, we put some clothespins on Cameron, we hogtie Justin and photograph him as he struggles. But they really are recruiting down the street, as they find their models around the University of Minnesota. Here's one running on a Minneapolis sidewalk. This seems to me to turn porn into something both liberating and banal, which I suppose it's always been to some extent.

Anyone can make porn these days. Even I dabbled in low-fi online erotica when, as a poor undergrad with a bit of an exhibitionist's streak I set up at webcam in my bedroom. And technology has improved a lot in a few years--your DIY porn film doesn't have to be a grainy 5" x 5" webcam screenshot but can instead be produced with high-quality digital cameras or video recorders, uploaded, marketed with banner ads, managed by paypal.

This has meant that the distance between porn and its consumers has shrunk. The settings and subjects are of the everyday. Consumptive practices no longer require driving to a sexshop in a seedy part of town. The fantasies have erased the distance as well. These are no longer buff, otherworldly bodies on a beach or stage set. They're the guys who sold you a pack of cigarettes at the local Super America. They're the guys you stare at when you're driving through campus. And the POV of the camera puts you in charge. You are not assuming a traditional, passive role. You are behind the camera, barking orders, taking charge...maybe even making it yourself.

Posted by jason at December 19, 2024 09:35 PM

You've really put a lot of thought into this phenomenon. I'm not sure I agree with your assessment entirely though. Do you really believe that the fantasies of the men watching these films involve seducing a straight man? I think it's maybe not so clear. I would argue that these films are a venting mechanism. A way for gay men to lash out at masculinity in general -- at society's interpretation of what it means to be a man.

I believe this is a way of disempowering straight men, making them vulnerable just like the rest of us. In fact, the disempowerment of the subjects has always been a fundamental criticsm of all porn, straight or gay. So the real fantasy is that these straight guys are knocked down to the level of gay men and straight women. Its ironic that the same strategy is used in straight porn to emphasize male dominance.

So yeah, thats my piece. Whatcha think? BTW, thanks for posting on my blog. I have no idea how you found it but by all means keep reading, and feel free to post anytime. Later.

Posted by: Mcmcmcly at December 18, 2024 10:09 PM
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