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Author of The Pornographer's Daughter providing commentary on pornography, life and much more.

Filtering by Category: Free Speech

Bin Laden Couldn’t Escape Porn

Kristin Battista-Frazee

As funny as it was that pornographic movies were discovered at Bin Laden’s compound, it should be no big surprise— a lot of people watch porn.  I wondered if Bin Laden had watched the type of porn that explored the taboo of having sex with women that wear burqas (I discovered this at the AVN Adult Entertainment Expo) or maybe he secretly had a thing for “decadent” Western women. We may never know for sure. What’s more interesting to me about Bin Laden and his fellow terrorists stashing porn is that porn is a powerful symbol of American civil liberties.  Al Qaeda consistently denounced and sought to destroy western culture, and Bin Laden blasted how Americans “plastered our naked daughters across billboards”.  His words were insincere and he was like so many others who watch porn and try to hide it. As my dad says, “people don’t practice what they preach.” In the end Bin Laden couldn’t elude America’s cultural impact or our devotion to seek justice.

But beyond being curious about Bin Laden’s porn preferences or hypocritical proclamations against western culture, I couldn’t help but draw the conclusion that porn exists in this country, as such a thriving part of the economy no less, because we have access to unique liberties. Dare I say porn is a consequence of our American way of life? I think it is and how we choose to regulate its access in the future could impact the freedoms we enjoy. Let’s not end up like China, blocking Internet access to porn along with news and information considered to promulgate ideas of freedom. I’m glad we can continue this conversation and debate about porn in a free and open society.

Stripping for a Cause

Kristin Battista-Frazee

Everyone who saw Congressman Aaron Schock’s (R-Ill) ripped abs on the cover of Men’s Health magazine last week immediately went on a diet and learned about the importance of a healthy lifestyle. By showing some skin this youngest member of Congress (he’s 29) launched his "Fit for Summer, Fit for Life Challenge" campaign with the political savvy of an elder statesman (although you wouldn’t want to see those gentlemen or ladies shirtless.) He used sex appeal to convey his message and borrowed a lesson straight from the porn industry: that being provocative gets attention and sells products. This is an enduring and universal trademark of our culture. Rep. Schock’s gimmick to educate us about good fitness is nothing new, and certainly notables have stripped for causes before. Adam Levine, heartthrob of Maroon 5 and judge on The Voice, showed skin to raise awareness for testicular cancer and several celebs have gotten naked for skin cancer awareness and PETA. But what’s different here is this stunt was pulled off by a Republican. This party has a long history of prudish behavior about porn, mainly because of the party’s strict adherence to “family values.” Recent case in point: Schock’s colleagues Orrin Hatch and Charles Grassley recently issued a letter to the Attorney General to call for the prosecution of porn. (see last blog post).

So what’s happening here? Is Schock abandoning his GOP principles of civic virtue?  The answer is no. Rep. Schock has core Republican values despite using his boy-next-door cuteness to cross the political aisle and cozy up next to fellow Illinoisan Michelle Obama and her platform to fight childhood obesity. He is against the healthcare reform law passed last year and in favor of: the Defense of Marriage Act; tax cuts, especially for small business; and an energy-independence policy that is sometimes mistaken for protecting the environment. 

Given Rep. Schock’s stalwart stance on some core conservative issues, my guess is Republicans won’t treat him as an outcast for showing his muscles. I think they’ll welcome his attempt to teach his party how to effectively use sex appeal by walking a fine line between the titillating and the straight-laced to convey a message. His endeavor has been successful, so let’s look on the bright side and hope to see the Republicans use Schock’s hard body to raise awareness about the important issues, like truly saving the environment, ending world hunger and a myriad of other real problems. Maybe in the future Republicans won’t be so uptight about this power tool of persuasion. In the meantime, I’m going to lose a few pounds.

Fit-to-lead Congressman Aaron Schock has a plan to change America, one set of crunches at a time

Washington Post Reliable Source

Aaron Schock Shows Off Six Pack On Men's Health Cover

A Night of Contradictions: AVN Awards Show 2011

Kristin Battista-Frazee

Black fishnet stockings. Check.

Knee high boots. Check.

Cute dress. Check.

I just couldn’t bring myself to look boring at the AVN Awards Show, the Oscars for the porn industry. When my husband saw my outfit he asked, “Where’d you get those fishnets? I knew it was uncharacteristic of how I dress and I responded coyly, “I don’t remember. I’ve just had them a while.” His boyish smile acknowledged he approved of the look.

To me the stockings were like going to see the Rocky Horror Picture Show and dressing up like one of the characters. I didn’t really look outlandish, so it was only my small, fun way to participate in this event. At the show I knew the fishnet stockings would pale in comparison to the outrageous silliness, raunchy sex talk and drunk and stupid fans I would see.  In the end I decided that the cast of the Jersey Shore has the lock on being drunk and stupid, and while the award show delivered on some of my expectations, many contradictions emerged that I didn’t expect. 

#1 – The Porn Stars Looked Like They Were at the Oscars

We arrived early to watch the red carpet.  It was hard to get a good view as I was jostled between lines of guys shouting the names of their favorite actress to cajole them over to snap a picture or get an autograph. I got the strangest “get out of my way” glances. When I finally did get a good look, I saw porn actresses tastefully dressed and surprisingly polished. Kayden Kross, Riley Steele and Alexis Texas were a few that stood out. And while some played up the slut factor, others would have fit in at the Oscars.  Click here to take a look.  Needless to say the women at the awards show were much better looking than at the expo.  If you’re the best in the biz you’re not working the exhibit hall to cater to porn enthused fans.

#2- The Adult Industry Is Not a Fan of Infidelity

The icy reception, a dating service for married people, received while presenting a sponsored award sent a message— the porn industry is NOT a fan of this website’s infidelity mission. Founded in 2001, provides members an anonymous venue to find a dating partner outside of their marriage.  Although AVN founder Paul Fishbein enthusiastically welcomed as a first-time corporate sponsor of the AVN Awards this year, Noel Biderman,’s founder, faced an audience on the edge of booing him. I loved watching Biderman squirm. It’s clear why he is known as the most hated man in America. What’s puzzling is why the industry he’s trying to be a part of seems to hate him just like the rest of the country.

There is a perception that pornography promotes extramarital affairs. I believe the opposite: It’s an industry that gears its products to improve the sex lives of couples – established couples. is counter to this position and the almost hostile reaction by this crowd made sense to me.  It’s a sad commentary on our world that Ashley just signed up their eight-millionth member. Isn’t it just easier to get a divorce or not marry at all?

Also, did you miss their tagline “Life’s Short. Have an Affair.” in a commercial during the Super Bowl? You and everyone else. Fox rejected their ad, which featured adult star Savanah Samson.

#3- Porn Stars Take the AVN Awards They Receive as a Great Honor.

You would think that the AVN Awards is just a big joke, like how the MTV Awards used to make fun of other award shows.  But for these adult stars, being nominated and winning awards for something like “best oral sex scene” is a huge honor. The actors like Tori Black and Tom Byron gushed with emotion as they nabbed their awards and thanked their agents, fans and families for supporting them in achieving their great accomplishment. It was shockingly heartfelt and it certainly impressed on me that no matter what you do, you should do it to the best of your ability and be proud.

#4- The Fight for First Amendment Rights is Still a Big Deal.

Even though the cases against Larry Flynt and Deep Throat  were prosecuted more than 35 years ago, people don’t realize legal action is still being taken against the porn industry. A moment that I didn’t expect to hit home for me was when John Stagliano, “the Buttman” and founder of Evil Angel Productions, was given the Rueben Sturman Award in recognition of his July 2010 acquittal in a District of Columbia obscenity case.

I couldn’t help but think of my father since he was prosecuted under the same Miller vs. California law that Stagliano was. Miller vs. California, passed in 1973 by the Supreme Court, grants local communities the right to determine what’s obscene, but nowadays the Internet has blurred the concept of community. This law is still on the books and pulled out on occasion to prosecute the porn industry. At the award show the audience was quiet and riveted as Stagliano spoke earnestly about the importance of being able to express ones sexual creativity under our first amendment rights. He graciously thanked his lawyers and wife and said no one should be ashamed to work in the adult industry.  The audience gave a standing ovation and heartily cheered Stagliano's remarks.

The AVN Awards renewed my belief in the old adage “don’t judge a book by its cover.” This industry is proving to have many different dimensions – just like how people are so surprised that my father is in the porn industry because I don’t fit a particular stereotype of how a person associated with this industry should look or act. Also, I found some true humanity at this event—a collection of people who care deeply about their work. It’s exciting to think what I might learn next about the porn industry. I’ll expect the unexpected for sure.

The Super Bowl and Free Speech

Kristin Battista-Frazee

  This past Sunday when I watched the Super Bowl I not only wanted to see a great game but also the controversial Focus on the Family ad featuring University of Florida’s Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow and his mother touting a pro-life message. As a pro-choice believer and devoted Florida State University Seminoles fan I couldn’t help but to think upon hearing about this ad that now I have one more reason to dislike Tim Tebow. But once I thought about this and even though I don’t believe in anything Focus on the Family stands, I was glad they had the opportunity to exercise their free speech rights.

My father, who fought for First Amendment rights, taught me how important it is to be able to speak and act freely and tolerate other points of view even if you don’t agree with them. The latter is hard for him when it comes to politics. I believe in this value and I’m thankful we live in a country that makes it possible for everyone to express a point of view.

The ad was well done, funny and conveyed a clear message. The spot was not outlandish and it was nothing like the gross anti-abortion propaganda that was forced upon me in Catholic high school. CBS did the right thing by showing the spot and also pocketed some much needed cash. As for the change in CBS’ policy to air an issue focused ad, maybe it was about time that policy changed.

I have not been transformed into an anti-abortion advocate but I give the organization credit for creating a good PR strategy. I urge the pro-choice movement to produce something as convincing and coherent.

So as people speak out against pornography, which they will, the adult industry will listen and respond and continue to exist despite how much people despise them. After all, it’s a free country.

Focus on the Family Ad

What Tim Tebow's Super Bowl Ad Can Teach The Pro-Choice Movement