Hype for UK's 'Mums Make Porn' Is as Clueless, Offensive as You Would Guess

Hype for UK's 'Mums Make Porn' Is as Clueless, Offensive as You Would Guess

This morning, as many U. K. TV viewers were going through the daily ritual of watching popular breakfast show Good Morning Britain, they were treated to the sight of three very properly dressed middle-aged women, identified onscreen as “mums” (or, as we would say over here, “moms”).

These mums (in fact, two mums and an executive producer for Channel 4) were hyping tonight’s debut of a three-part show chronicling how and why they had decided to make an adult film.

The show’s unsubtle title? “Mums Make Porn.”

Its bizarre, exploitative premise? “Five mothers have cast, written, produced and directed an adult film they'd be happy to show their children to create a healthy perception of sex and relationships.”

If you were living in the U. K. for the last week, you pretty much could not escape the relentless media blitz promoting these unlikely mum-pornographers. But their appearance on the insanely popular Good Morning Britain was particularly noteworthy.

#GMB (to use the Twitter hashtag displayed onscreen) combines the promotional junkets and stay-at-home homespun vibe of Good Morning America, with the reactionary dystopian glee of Fox & Friends. The latter comes mostly courtesy of a bloviating Piers Morgan, the regularly disgraced “pundit” who nowadays looks like an 18th century caricature by Hogarth:

Piers Hogarth

Porn Mums Wanted

The GMB segment did not waste any time and cut straight to the fearmongering. Morgan’s cohost Susanna Reid started off by asking pornomum Sarah what she was “worried” about her “kids … would see online” and what she was “afraid they would access.”

Porn + kids + fear. Just your standard-issue moral panic triggers to go with your jolly breakfast beans, mate.

The timing of this documentary and related hype is not accidental. As XBIZ has reported, the U. K. government is about to enact new regulations requiring age verification to access adult websites.

The legislation was approved last December, after a sensationalist campaign by the Tory government. “It's time to act to prevent children from accessing pornography online” was the typical headline for an editorial by Theresa May’s chief censor David Austin on the conservative-leaning Telegraph newspaper.

It’s in this cultural climate that Channel 4 chose to greenlight a show that outright states that the “vast majority” of currently produced commercial adult content is “violent to women” and that a sensible solution to this perceived problem is to have concerned mums, with no experience in the matter, produce smut.

Britain's sensationalist press had a field day riling up their readers while teasing the show's premiere. "As part of their research, the participants watched adult films based on violence, female submission and rape," wrote the Daily Mail. "Sarah Louise, a mother-of-six who works as a beautician in Bolton, was so disturbed by what she watched that she vomited."

Hopefully one doesn’t need to point out the obvious hypocrisy of commercial, mainstream media wanting to show and describe erotic content — in the case of “Mums Make Porn,” what’s essentially the BTS footage of a demented, misguided amateur shoot by paranoid prudes — choosing to hide behind a mask of “concern.”

This is not unlike Netflix’s sanctimonious, slanted “Hot Girls Wanted” franchise taking the viewer inside "the world of cam girls” or "a Florida audition," or NBC running an exposé of agent practices while showing endless B-roll of lingerie-clad torsos slow-dancing to porny music.

Finding a supposedly moral reason to show T&A — to have the sex cake (or creampie) and eat the lucrative meal of mainstream advertising money too — is a strategy as old as Salome’s dance of the seven veils.

Speaking to GMB, pornomums Sara and Anita (no surnames) offered a bunch of unverifiable, preposterous “facts” about the current state of an adult industry they obviously both despise and are completely clueless about. “In my experience and research,” Sara tells Reid, “a lot of children accidentally come across pornography,” implying that she might have discovered an mysteriously effective way to differentiate accidental from deliberate internet usage.

Any bullshit detector should start flashing the sirens when the host then asks her if she knows if her own teen daughters have accidentally come across porn and she quickly answers, smiling and shaking her red tresses, “No, they haven’t, nah—we’ve had that discussion and they haven’t.”

Realizing that Sara is about to derail the whole charade with her dubious “research,” Morgan steps in to interject “the problem is that it’s so easy to access, for everybody, you can just click on your computer and stuff comes up, and a lot of it is, I would imagine… very bad stuff for a young, impressionable, early teen mind.”

It goes on like this for a full six minutes. You can watch the whole thing, though it is exactly the kind of thing you would expect:

Sex and the "Normal Woman"

At some point, one of the pornomums repeats the usual mainstream line about “porn for women,” as if all women who watch porn (even non-queer, middle-class cis women like the pornomums) like the same things, and those same things always involve stories, tender caresses and expensive lighting rigs and camera filters.

I don’t know about you, but when women I know discuss porn, they idolize Charlotte Sartre and Natalie Mars, go on and on about the “intense,” “rough” style of cult clip producer Owen Gray, and enjoy, or are curious about, a very wide diversity of kinks. And the fact that a huge number of women watch male gay porn is not even a secret to anyone seriously looking into the matter.

To claim, like these British pornomums do, that women only like one kind of porn is as ridiculous as claiming all women want to shave with a dainty pink razor.

It would be unfortunate enough if only the socially conservative and/or prudishly minded (Make Britain Victorian Again?) were in favor of this kind of thinly veiled anti-porn campaign. But, as in America, one also can find the liberals repeating a sex worker-exclusionary narrative.

Behold today’s headline by The Guardian — the London-based progressive/liberal paper of record, about the “Mums Make Porn” phenomenon:

Guardian Mums


That's right: “Mums Make Porn: can five normal women do it better than the pros?”

It is a sad spectacle to see the The Guardian referring to these reluctant amateur porn producers as “normal women,” thus implying that the sex workers in the adult industry, especially those who are also moms, are “abnormal.”

I doubt The Guardian would ever use the expressions “normal women who’ve had abortions” or “normal victims of prejudice,” but apparently their writers and editors develop sudden blindness to insensitivity whenever sex worker issues come into the picture.

Gustavo Turner is the News Editor at XBIZ. Twitter: @GustavoXBIZ