A group of women dressed as butchers and businessmen assembled in a Central London location as a form of feminist protest. No it wasn't an inappropriate PETA demonstration against animal cruelty, but rather opposition to an international "adult entertainment" trade summit held in Bloomsbury.
Reiterating the booming pornographic trade of women's bodies by the industry, the "meat market" theme was only symbolic of what the conference conveyed. Described as "three days of world-class seminars, workshops and special networking events," the commercial production and sale of women's bodies was pressing forward in terms of 'economic development,' and not human rights.
The XBIZ EU speakers included Hustler TV President Michael H. Klein, a leading producer of pornographic pay-per-view services; whilst a 1978 edition of Hustler magazine is renowned for its controversial image of a woman being mutilated by a meat grinder. So why does the industry continuously try to portray themselves as a clean-cut enterprise by means of business jargon?
Presented as a lavish, corporate event at the Radisson Edwardian hotel, the XBIZ EU conference was aptly sponsored by "PussyCash," a marketing affiliate for the adult industry. Klein has previously stated that Hustler TV does not do any marketing in the geographies where it offers the channel without first getting approval from the affiliates in those areas. And so the expansion of Hustler TV became apparent as it was made available in Europe in November 2005, and it facilitates further growth of its business seen through the conference.
"Everybody recognises that adult programming is part of the mix that's available. It's a huge revenue generator for every affiliate," said Klein. But the issue that women are the main commodity of the industry seems to be continually overlooked. The Hustler TV product comprises of dozens of x-rated, and more commonly known as 'sexploitative' programmes. In '100% Fresh Teen Flesh,' young girls are being offered as part of the butcher's selection and made to "learn the "ins and outs" of the [business]". And with Hustler Taboo part of the porn array on offer, women are literally strung up as cattle and made to endure abusive behaviour, BDSM is thought to be illegal in Britain.
Amongst the speakers was alleged "Reluctant Porn King," Berth Milton Jnr who took over hardcore porn company, Private Media Group from his father of the same name. Despite assertions that Milton unwillingly followed into the industry, he quickly conceded to the allure of business and profit. The meat-packing theme is only too evident within Private Media's collection of adult films. "Open Wide. It's Feeding Time" or "Up all Holes," are just a number of products that insist women's bodies are detachable pieces for commercial pleasure.
In 2010, the porn mogul furthered plans to create a global chain of sex hotels in which guests could stay for free if they allow their sex sessions to be broadcast live on the web. "The numbers are astonishing," insisted Milton from a Daily Mail interview, calculating that a single hotel could generate $43.8 million a year in subscription fees from voyeurs watching from computers around the world. For such a "Reluctant Porn King," this shrewd business venture only epitomises an eagerness to gain further wealth through the industry.
With the adult website industry now exceeding over £1bn in the UK, the surge in use of web pornography mirrors a huge boom in the number of hard-core sex films available to buy legally in the UK over the past few years. Hence, the question that frequently arises is what exactly would it take for CEOs to admit that porn is part of a wider power-play of politics, profits and prejudice and not just innocent business transactions made in the world of commerce.