Porn Star Interview Analysis
By: Dr Joan Mason-Grant
Academic Dean, Women's Studies
Dr. Mason-Grant was asked to comment on the
Gazette article, "Beautiful porn star bares
it all for the Gazette", Friday, January
11, 2002, which seems to imply that pornography
It is tempting to openly doubt that Sabrina Johnson
is as thrilled as she claims to be her "dream
occupation." There is plenty of evidence
from workers in the industry that conditions are
often rotten. But it is a mistake to venture down
this path it would be inappropriately psychologizing
Johnson without knowing her story.
However, it is appropriate to ask what role such
a published interview plays in the normalization
of gender roles and sexual expectations among
readers of The Gazette. In order to get at this
question, one needs first to recognize that this
interview is not an isolated, idiosyncratic piece
of sexual entertainment. It appears within a larger
media context that includes equally the proliferation
of pornography (especially via the Internet) and
the "pornographization" of mainstream
media through prime time shows such as Temptation
Island, comedy such as The Man Show, men's magazines
such as Maxim and Details, women's magazines such
as Cosmopolitan, and many music videos. The repetition
of sexual scripts in such media is stunning; they
all play out a very old, very troubling (hetero)sexual
dynamic; men's sole aim is to pursue women they
can "f**k" (any woman will do as long
as she has the right body proportions); and women's
sole aim is to be sexually pleasing and available
to men. Men pursue and women are prey. This is
nothing other than the central power dynamic of
heterosexual rape and gang rape. But this doesn't
look like a problematic dynamic if we can be convinced
that women are naturally insatiable and offer
themselves willingly! So men who measure their
masculinity according to this script want more
than anything women who will serve their ever
sexual fantasy willingly. The web of media mentioned
above has been quite effective in delivering such
women and reinforcing the sexual expectations
inherent in this fantasy.
The interview with Sabrina Johnson is simply
more of the same. It presents a woman who is cheerfully
willing; willing to be exhibitionist, willing
to regularly have sex in front of cameras, and
most extraordinarily, willing to be f**ked by
2000 guys over a 48 hour period. Indeed, to put
the point bluntly, while the interview pretends
to present Sabrina Johnson "the woman,"
replete with personal history, the emphasis on
her "biggest achievement" to date makes
it clear that she aspires to be nothing more than
an anonymous vaginal hole for 2000 anonymous penises.
And that's all her male fans want of her, and
hope from other women. Perhaps the women on the
staff of The Gazette Dale Wyatt's colleagues
have similarly high hopes for themselves?
Or are they and their more mature male friends
and colleagues, like everyone else in the culture,
just ignoring this stuff, hoping it'll go away?
It's more likely that they are doubting their
own averse reactions, not knowing how to articulate
them for fear they will be dismissed as overly
prudish or, worse, "feminist". So they
roll with it and try not to be uptight. That's
how normalization works.
Volume 95, Issue 56
Friday, January 11, 2002
Beautiful porn star bares it
"I CAN NEVER GET ENOUGH
Sabrina Johnson explains why she
loves her job as a porn star.
By Dale Wyatt
People come and go rather quickly in the porn
Only a few are able
to develop any kind of staying power, while others
simply try it out of curiosity. Yet, over the
last five years, Sabrina Johnson has worked hard
to build worldwide recognition and make a name
for herself as a top porn actress.
Johnson first exploded
onto the scene in the mid-90s and has accomplished
what some only hope to do in a career. She has
made over 100 movies and set the record for the
world's largest gang bang. However, despite her
busy schedule, Johnson was kind enough to find
some time to answer a few questions for The Gazette.
The Gazette: Describe yourself as a child and
then as a teenager. What was your personality
Sabrina Johnson: I was a regular 'goody two shoes,'
always doing what was expected of me. I never
wore the wrong uniform at school, always got my
homework done on time, didn't hang around with
the "cool" gangs because they usually
got into trouble. But there was always something
bubbling away underneath the surface, the rebel
that needed to get out.
The Gazette: At what age did you first have sex
and what was the experience like for you?
SJ: I first had sex when I was 16. It was with
Carl, who is now my husband. The experience was
a good one it hurt, but in a good way.
It must have been good because after that, I was
completely addicted to sex. Even now, I can never
get enough of it.
The Gazette: How did you first get introduced
to the porn industry?
SJ: At the time, Carl and I had a photographic
studio in England and, one day, a photographer
left a copy of Color Climax magazine with us.
In the back, there was an advert for models and
so we sent a photo of me to see if we got a response.
After about six months, the head photographer
at the magazine called and said he was interested
in shooting me in a few hardcore stills sets and
asked if we could be in Hamburg the next week.
A few days later, we flew to Hamburg and the rest
The Gazette: Why did it appeal to you at first?
SJ: The main appeal was that I'm a total exhibitionist,
so the thought of not only being naked, but having
sex in front of someone and getting paid is a
dream occupation for me.
The Gazette: How did your family take the news
when you first told them?
SJ: I didn't tell them. They found out about it
from the local paper, as, at that time, we lived
in England and the backward authorities were making
a big deal about the fact that I was doing porn
films. My parents took the news badly. I don't
suppose any parent ever dreams that their youngest
daughter will grow up to be a porn actress.
said she didn't want to hear about it and felt
she couldn't speak to me for about two months.
My father was a lot better though. I talked to
him about it and he said that as long as I was
happy and safe, then that was OK, although he
would much prefer it if I did something else.
However, all of
my family blamed Carl for corrupting me, though
they now know that is
not the case, even though they will never admit
it. The funny thing is that I have an older brother
who is going to train to be a preacher.
The Gazette: What was the biggest surprise for
you about the porn industry?
SJ: I suppose the biggest surprise was that everyone
was so nice. On a set, it's like one big happy
family, with everyone sitting around and having
a laugh and a joke together. Even during an actual
scene, there is a huge element of fun involved.
The Gazette: What has been your greatest achievement
both in the porn industry and outside the porn
SJ: Up until this point, my biggest achievement
in the porn industry was to do the world's biggest
gang bang with 2,000 guys. However, I would now
say that thanks to Patrick Collins at Elegant
Angel embarking on our new porn series
is the biggest achievement.
Outside the industry, my biggest achievement will
be the publication of my book. I am currently
writing a factual book about Chicago gangsters
during the period of prohibition.
The Gazette: What are some common myths about
the porn industry and the people in it?
SJ: I think the most common myth is that everyone
in the porn industry was abused as a child or
that some other terribly traumatic event must
have occurred in their childhood to make them
abnormal in some way.
Also, I think people outside of the industry tend
to think that it is a real seedy business and
that all the companies involved are corrupt and
underhanded, which is most definitely not the
case. It is really a classic example of how people
believe the worst about something they know very
little about and do not understand.
The Gazette: What do people say or how do they
react when they find out what you do for a living?
SJ: Most people are lost for words, mainly because
it is the last thing they expect me to say. Occasionally
they say that I don't look like the type of girl,
but then once they get over the initial shock,
the curiosity factor takes over and it's non-stop
questions. I actually like telling people what
I do because I never get tired of seeing their
The Gazette: What do you think you would be doing
if you never got started in the porn industry?
SJ: That's a tough one. I think I probably would
have started writing a lot earlier than I have
done, as I always enjoyed writing ever since I
was a kid. From the age of about 17, I was a photographic
model, so I think if I had been turned down by
Color Climax, I would have carried on with that
side of my career.
The Gazette: Do you have any interesting projects
that you are currently working on?
SJ: The most interesting, apart from my book,
is the new porn series that we are involved in
entitled, Sabrina Johnson, "Can I F**K You
Too!" In our mind, it is completely different
to anything that anyone else has done, in that
it is real. By that I mean it is real real as
opposed to porn real. For example, in the first
film, which we just completed, we have two real
couples, plus a girl and a guy who have never
done anything on camera before in their lives.
Also, we have live interviews on the street with
ordinary people who are going about their everyday
lives until we stop them and ask
them some questions about sex. It will shortly
be edited and then we will decide on a launch
The Gazette: How long do you intend to be doing
SJ: As long as possible, or rather, as long as
I enjoy it and as long as people enjoy seeing
my movies. I have said right from the very beginning
that I will stop when I don't enjoy it any more
and at the moment, I am having a great time.