Amanda Seyfried is staring in a biopic of Linda Lovelace of ‘Deep Throat’ fame. I recently read an article that took issue with the newly-released movie poster. In it, the writer stated:
Amanda Seyfried, who plays Boreman/Lovelace, is shown in a traditionally alluring pose with her head angled at the camera, eyes come-hithery, a hint of cleavage, and her red lace bra strap and lace shawl falling off her bare shoulder. Light bounces off her brunette tangle, as if her halo slipped. Most egregiously, given the subject matter of “Deep Throat,” her plump pink lips are parted, though mercifully not in an “O.” The tagline “X marks the legend” is not reassuring.
It is your basic sexist movie ad, and there are have been far worse, but surely in this day and age a movie about the experiences of such a brutalized woman as Boreman daren’t suggest it can be sexy and amusing?
Well, it’s a movie about porn, so a sexy pose would be relevant to the topic, right? Furthermore, the sentence, “about the experiences of such a brutalized woman as Boreman daren’t suggest it can be be sexy and amusing,” I would have to answer this question with a resounding “No, it can’t be.” Of course a story about the horrors that Susan Boreman/Linda Lovelace endured can’t be portrayed as sexy or amusing. Gosh, what are we, barbarians?
This is not an empowering porn story, nor is it porn girl makes good. This is a story about a woman who gave so much power to men that she allowed them to run her life. The backstory is that while Susan Boreman was recovering from a car accident at her parents’ home, she met Chuck Traynor. Traynor convinced Boreman to move to New York and get into porn where she became known as Linda Lovelace. Susan, now Linda, started out performing in short “loop” films, did a bestiality film, and eventually did the porn film ‘Deep Throat’, which coined her as a bona fide porn actress.
The reason she’s famous is that Deep Throat went mainstream, even receiving a review in the New York Times. She’s also famed for performing the title act, having a fully shaved pubic area, and engaging in anal sex—all of which was very rare and taboo in porn at the time. She eventually left porn after producer/choreographer David Winters convinced her to, and once again, another man made her decisions for her. She eventually joined the feminist “anti-porn” movement, which wasn’t all that surprising, ultimately, considering the issues she’d had.
Lovelace had a history of drug abuse and was clearly used and abused by men. The synopsis for the film, “LOVELACE” is as follows:
Story of Linda Lovelace, who is used and abused by the porn industry at the behest of her coercive husband, before taking control of her life.
But I would argue that every woman who entered porn in the 70’s was used and abused by the industry. Porn was not pro-women until recently. I’d say, within the last decade or so, porn has become an industry that is run by women and controlled by women. The bottom line? If you’re looking to tell a feminist story, don’t tell one about a 1970’s porn star who clearly needed help that she was not given, and if you are going to tell that story, kindly remind the audience that this girl is not a feminist icon and should not be perceived as such … even in a movie poster.