Traci Lords Blurs The Line

photo by effelbee
The porn industry endured its most hellish nightmare in 1986 when it came out that performer Traci Lords had been making (performing, producing) porn films using a fake ID. She was 15 in her earliest photo shoot. Hundreds of videos and magazines were suddenly deemed child pornography and taken off store shelves. Traci, I Love You is the only legal film in the US, as it’s the sole movie produced while Lords was over 18.

I’m sure many of her fans cared little for the law though. How could they get rid of their Traci Lords collection simply because her work had been branded illegal by bureaucracy? To them Traci wasn’t a “child” at 16. They cite her womanly figure and demeanor. These justifications makes sense when you consider that someone who looks as young as Denise can be legal.

The Internet is on the side of the fans. Either too many are unaware of the Traci Lords controversy or a lot are civilly disobeying. Little Traci Lords is all over the web as if no one cared. Not only has the web given people access to Traci but also the anonymity to profess their love for a child porn star.

A few pages into a Flickr search and any registered user with safesearch off can see Lords spreading her legs. The same goes with any other search engine. A cumshot to her tits is on the first page of a Google Image search. Sites unabashedly hosting hardcore pictures of Lords are easy to find.

It’s apparently a non-issue that, like the reporters who used censored stills of Traci Lords to report on the scandal in the ’80s, the maker of this compilation YouTube video had to have used illegal copies of her films. More revealing footage of Lords can be found at Daily Motion.

As for the x-rated stuff,  hardcore tube sites will tempt you. Look at that. “Tracy” was just fucking Peter North on the front page of Microsoft is okay with Traci, too. Who wants to see Traci Lord’s first time on film via Bing?

Some of the “illegal” content may be deleted. Some won’t, either because it is hosted in a European county where Traci Lords porn is legal or because it’s indistinguishable from legit ’80s porn or because no one cares to report it.

We’re never going to go back to how it used to be. An unashamed porn review from 2001 states:

[My neighbor] told me yesterday that in our local video store (which only has 80’s porno movies for rent) to rent the 1986 movie named “Cheerleader Academy”. He said that Traci Lords’ first movie (“What Gets Me Hot!”) which she made at age 16 is on the video and not “Cheerleader Academy”. I went to the video store to see if he was full of shit or not. I found the “Cheerleader Academy” box. I brought it up to the counter, and the clerk gave me a cassette which read “Cheerleader Academy” on the cassette label

I popped it in my VCR, and my neighbor was right. It was “What Gets Me Hot!” Apparently, the store doesn’t know (or care) if the box and the cassette label match the movie on the tape itself.

Traci Lords may have made porn as an adolescent, but labeling her underage photos and videos child pornography is increasingly becoming out of date. Some fans are confident enough to walk around with a topless Traci Lords on their T-shirt.

Legal technicalities aren’t stopping people from doing what they believe is okay. The images of Traci Lords are obscuring the line preceding unacceptable. She’s a symbol of the impossibility of policing the Internet and its people. Teenage sexting has been a major issue in the last couple of years. The clash between the sexualized youth and technology is certainly going to continue. Is it a scary thought to see Traci Lords as a pioneer?

I doubt Amazon is aware that it’s selling the Vanessa Williams*/Traci Lords Penthouse issue. The single customer review gave it one out of five stars:

“This issue is illegal to own or sell due to the [fact] that Ms. Lords was under age for the pics [shown] and published in this issue! At the time she was 15.”

“2 of 5 people found the following review helpful.”

The beauty of youth may frighten you
The Rise of Adolescent Pornography

*missing link

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