Seeing the Forest through the Trees

This week I was scheduled to shoot a porn scene, one that I was very excited about doing. I fantasized about it, I kept notes with ideas about it, I was very much looking forward to doing it, and making a decent amount of money, too which I was hoping I could use towards my travel budget to Toronto this year for the Feminist Porn Awards. (Don’t worry — I’m still going!)

Just days before the shoot, I was surprised to learn that I was required to shave. (Crotch hair, armpits, etc…) Now, I’m pretty flexible when it comes to hair, though I go 364 days out of the year without shaving a damned thing — maybe a buzzer set on level 1 from time to time. But every now and then I like to mix it up, and when it’s for a porn project, that can make exploration feel pretty special.

I’ve been hairless for Superfreak, and was excited to go bare for April Flores in Dangerous Curves. (April recently returned the favor by growing it out as much as she could for me in the upcoming AlphaFemmes, how sweet is she!?) I’ve shot hairless and had a good time or at least an interesting one doing it for co-stars and directors. And though I often cut it off, the opposite was true for Belladonna. For her film Strapped Dykes, I grew all my hair out as much as I possibly could, because I knew she would welcome it and it’d be fun! If someone I’m working with respects me asks me if I’d be interested in doing a certain look for them, I jump at the opportunity to try something different. It’s just hair, after all.

However when someone demands me to look a certain way because of the idea that hair is gross, or that they want to make fun and SHAME people who have hair or those who like it (this was an offer I received on a separate occasion, but easily declined), then that’s when I have an issue. Being required to shave presented a hard call for me. On the one hand I was really looking forward to working and I know as much as anyone that hair grows back. On the other hand, I deeply resented the fact that I didn’t have a choice about how I was to look. As a queer and a genderqueer performer, I do porn to express my sexuality, and myself. I hope through doing so, I can add to the visibility of people who don’t fit hegemonic ideals.

Hair, come or go, is a part of that equation. I’m not going to get into the details about what company it was; who it was isn’t the point. That kind of demand is everywhere.

What is important is having a choice. The ability for me to reaffirm my choice in a conscious way, to communicate with the people involved, and to step away when I felt uncomfortable, was a good lesson for me. This was the first time I was in a position of making this sort of decision, though I realize that this situation could have not been about hair. It could have been a number of other things in which I found myself in a place where I had agreed to do something and having to decide if I needed to back out of it if it didn’t feel right for me. I am fortunate that I don’t depend on the money and that I can financially afford to decline a shoot. I don’t make my living doing porn, I’m lucky in that I decided to do it so that I could express and explore my sexuality in a safe and fun environment with people I trust and love, and hopefully invite viewers to see a part myself that they could relate to. Maybe it validates, maybe it inspires, maybe it just provides one more definition of sexuality.

This was a good test of one of my goals for 2010 — being true to myself. I’m so glad I did, and it can only get better from here.


  • call_me_ann

    i have to say, that’s totally awesome. i wish more people would be true to themselves. granted, i guess many of them feel like they have to “sell out” in order to survive, which may be true. i’m just glad you’re doing this because you LIKE doing it–not because you have to.

  • Azurdee Miller

    I completely agree with you here. I am glad that you didn’t compromise yourself. I also want to add a few comments about hair in general. Recently I’ve come to realize that I like the bush. About a year ago one of my friends posted this photo of Demi Moore:
    I have to say that is some serious hair, but it is still a really hot photo of her when she was younger. I realized that having pubic hair is preferable to me. After many years of shaving and liking a shaved partner I’ve changed my preference. I don’t really find shaved very attractive or sexy anymore. I’ve come to the conclusion that nothing says, “sexual maturity” more than pubic hair. The same goes for armpit hair. There have been a few times in my life that I’ve grown out my armpit hair and ironically it made me feel more feminine. The only reason I don’t grow it out now is because it gets tugged and makes my pits sore. Anyway please don’t shave. You should always wear your bush, pit hair, and leg hair proud. You are beautiful.

    ps. I read that you and Syd used to do performance art around San Francisco. Do you still make art or involved in any art around town?

  • ted


    Sorry you lost a job but, glad you stuck to your guns. I personally think it’s that company’s loss for not hiring you as you are, or at the very least not being courteous enough to ask you ahead of time(before they said they wanted you for this job) if you would mind shaving for a part. As you said hair grows back and you have shaved for others in the past. This company in my opinion did lose out because, they failed to recognize that female beauty comes in many forms. I feel it is also very interesting as female body hair is making something of a comeback in websites and even in mainstream porn as not all the women shave off everything. Good luck with your next job and hopefully that company will not be so closed minded.

  • Jo

    ALSO, the more people who respond as you did, and say, pff, no, I don’t think so, the more the message gets across that it’s a silly request, and they might stop insisting on it…

    That naked rock climbing shot is astounding! How high up did you go, though? πŸ™‚

  • Jeffer

    “However when someone demands me to look a certain way because of the idea that hair is gross, or that they want to make fun and SHAME people who have hair or those who like it (this was an offer I received on a separate occasion, but easily declined), then that’s when I have an issue.

    As a queer and a genderqueer performer, I do porn to express my sexuality, and myself. I hope through doing so, I can add to the visibility of people who don’t fit hegemonic ideals.”

    THANK YOU! Yeah it’s “just hair”, but I think it does say a lot when people stick up for themselves like you did there. With the shaming thing, I’m just really sick of people deciding for others about what’s appropriate/attractive or not, especially for female bodies… which totally ties into abortion laws and stuff, too. Yeah sorry, train of thought just hopped on over to an article I just read about the bill the Utah gov. just signed this week.

  • Achtung_Baby

    Yes Jiz you’re right .
    They don’t have to require to shave . Well, this company looks quite narrow-minded . They’d better asking you instead of being so authoritarian . Too bad for them, you’re such a good ( the best ? ) performer .
    You express your opinions and you’re right doing it . The point is that you must feel at ease during the shoot, so good decision !

    Wow you’re so hot on the rock ! :p

    ( I hope not to have made many faults in my sentences because I’m French so I do my best ! πŸ˜‰ )

  • Rusty

    Good for you Jiz πŸ™‚
    You look amazing whatever you do – kudos for being the driving force behind that. You are one helluvan inspirational gal x

  • Essin' Em

    I’m so proud of you for sticking to your own beliefs. That is how one can enact change.

    I also appreciate you writing about having the ability to decline it; not everyone does. It’s often easy to say “don’t give in and shave” (or “don’t ever shop at walmart” or “only buy sustainable”), but not everyone is at a place in their life (mentally, physically or financially) where they CAN afford to be as ethical as they want to be. Thank you for point that out.

    Unfortunately then, that responsibility falls on those who CAN afford to stand up and make a difference, which is sometimes hard. I’m sorry that you had to go through this, but I can’t think of anyone who could write about it and express it in such a healthy, well thought out manner. Thank you.

  • Hardin Reddy

    This is heartening. Sex should be a matter of personal expression and not a mercantilist enterprise.

  • ct

    i came to read yr post and say something along the lines of im proud of you (which you already know) but those photos stopped me dead in my tracks and now i can’t think about anything except pussy. yours in particular.

  • Ashley

    This is so inspiring and heartwarming. As someone who chooses not to shave, both because I don’t want to and because I enjoy my and other women’s body hair, and who has seen opposition for it from every direction this makes me very happy. And also, you’re so very beautiful; can I draw the picture on the right? It’s fucking amazing.

  • WorkInProgress

    “If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth
    what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.” –Thomas, Saying 70.

    The above quote was the first thing that pop into my mind after reading your post. It’s one of my
    life philosophies.

    I have a tremendous amount of respect for you and your decision to decline the shoot rather than
    supplant your values. You’ve demonstrated that you have the sine qua non necessary for one’s personal

    I’m really sorry you lost out on a shoot you were so obviously looking forward to doing. It’s interesting
    (and disappointing) how something once considered the norm in 70’s porn (having pubic hair,) is now
    considered a genre or fetish. Really?! Why, because I prefer my partner appear as if they’ve actually
    completed puberty. I’m not a fan of the prepubescent look. I bet you can guess which picture I prefer. πŸ™‚

    I’ve always thought you were cute. Now I think you’re beautiful…in every sense of the word. πŸ˜€

    Thanks for sharing your experience. You’re awesome!

    P.S. In case you couldn’t tell, I’m totally crushing on you now!:D

  • Nio

    I am so glad you stuck to your guns on this one too, despite losing a job I can’t help but feel you made the right choice by not sacrificing your ideals.


  • Jiz Lee

    I’m returning to this blog post after a couple weeks have passed and it makes me so happy to read all of this support. Thank you!

    I just have to say, I LOVE you all!

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