“It was hard to masturbate to this,” wrote a commentator on Columbia newswire, Bwog. He’s referring to Slutever founder Karley Sciortino’s recently released video on Purple TV, “Initiation”— dismissed as a couple of nude lesbians filming a feminist porno.
But Sciortino argued that pornography is intended to titillate and stimulate a climax. As for “Initiation,” she said, “We weren’t making a video so that people could jerk-off to it.”
Filmed in Butler Library, particularly emblematic of male-centricity at Columbia where only male authors’ names are displayed on the facade of the building, “Intiation” features nude women dousing themselves in egg yoke, crawling down an empty hallway and whipping one another.
Sciortino and co-producer as well as Columbia graduate, Coco Young, collaborated on the film that, according to Sciortino, intends to satirically exemplify the hazing rituals of Ivy League secret societies. “Hazing on campuses can often be very extreme, where people are forced to perform humiliating, rigorous, sexual and even dangerous rituals in order to be initiated,” she said.
Young suggested shooting the video at Butler Library because of both its aesthetic beauty and association with a university, thus the concept of hazing. “Also, Coco and I are both really turned on by books,” she said. “So we wanted to perform our sexual rituals surrounded by books. We filmed it on a Saturday night last November, at midnight, because we felt that was when the library would be the least crowded…We didn’t want to disturb anyone.”
Young told the New York Observer, “The more you watch, the more you get repulsed by it…Men get hooked because they want to see naked girls, but then we do gross things and are not attractive at all…We wanted to provide a critique on the institution and society, in general.”
In comment, Sciortino told Her Report, “It wasn’t necessarily supposed to be either extremes of attractive or gross. We were just trying to have a good time and make a video that poked fun at the stupidity of a lot of the mainstream porn that’s aimed at men and the extremely prevalent theme and aesthetic of ‘hot girls being sexy and wild’ that dominates most fashion magazines and advertisements.”
And the Slutever founder said she’s found the heavy heated responses to the video hysterical. “People tend to get very uncomfortable and confused when women get naked in a way that isn’t specifically intended to arouse men,” she said.
Sciortino, herself, can be found photographed nude on the Internet—indeed, often not produced for male sexual gratification. Rather, Slutever, her personal blog, she said, explores sexuality in a candid, smart and fun way. “I’m interested in the psychology behind fetish, people who work in the sex industry and people involved in fringe sexual practices,” she put in plain words. “A large part of what I’m trying to do is to humanize people who are often thought of as ‘sex freaks,’ and to support all types of consensual kink.”
Sciortino said she blogs to offer a progressive and self-aware perception of sex, dating and the overall sex industry that cannot be found elsewhere online. For the past two years, she’s also curated content for both Purple TV and Vice, as well. “I’ve been making a series of short films for Purple TV…For Vice I make web series [also] called Slutever, which is a satirical sex-ed show [covering] topics like ‘BSDM for the Bedroom,’ ‘Female Orgasms’ and ‘How to Get Laid During Fashion Week.’”
Sciortino also contributes a twice-a-month “Breathless” column for Vogue. “It’s similar to what I do on my blog, in that I use personal stories as a gateway to talk about larger social issues—most that fall under the umbrella of sexuality,” she explained, while admitting that her Vogue column is slightly less explicit than her blog.