Eon McKai vehemently appeals, "We are a part of the subcultures that we represent, so if you look at the people who are behind it, I think you'll find that they are pure to the street, and everything is authentic and this is who we are. We are just making porn about it, and this happens to be who we are. It's really artist and filmmakers who make porn who are really expressing the aesthetic that they find in their life, that they live in their life." But what, really, is authentic porn? Isn't a bona fide cumshot enough to prove authenticity? Eon McKai's own name is a point toward the absurd, as his moniker is a play on the name Ian McKaye, the Fugazi and Minor Threat frontman who was a leader of the straight-edge movement that rejects alcohol, drugs, and casual sex.
From what I gathered from those in the altporn community, authenticity necessitates that creators of altporn be actual members of the subcultures they represent on camera. Smith elaborates, "All the originators in this genre were driven to create sexual media that appealed to their own community and their own communities' aesthetics. So, the goths created goth erotica and the punks created punk erotica and the ravers created raver erotica. So, on an aesthetic level, altporn offers an alternative look, as well as the community interactivity, to prove it's authenticity." Whether they are "true" punks, goths, or hipsters, shouldn't really matter if the work speaks for itself, right?
It wasn't until after I watched hipster porn videos like Sugar Town and Honey Bunny that I realized why altporn needs to paint itself as authentic. Smith puts it best when he says, "Without genuine subcultural attributes, it quickly becomes self parody." For porn that banks on its subcultural attributes, being perceived as inauthentic means dismissed as a joke. Of all forms of cinema, porn with its skeletally thin plots, poverty of character development, and cheap production values is most vulnerable to lampoon. For those who have ever watched porn, I am sure you know that embarrassed, cringey, oh-my-god-ew feeling of watching a particularly ludicrous moment in any scene. That feeling is magnified tenfold when watching a hipster porno that features stars discussing Sartre while wearing nothing but tube socks, such as in Honey Bunny.
While altporn might have originated under the auspice of DIY amateurism, it has proven to be lucrative and, as a result, has carved a niche for itself in the porn market. Because of the push to earn money, altporn has become less concerned with representing certain aesthetics than it is with latching on to new trends and then marketing them to get more customers. Annaliese of Gods Girls reflects, "I think that altporn will always be a representation of what is in-the-now for the customer that it is appealing to, the models that it features and the culture that it represents. The Y generation are furious followers of now trends in fashion, art, music, film, etc., and our site is a reflective of those nuances. Altporn will go where ever the models go and will evolve as the culture evolves. I personally see fewer and fewer applications from stereotypically 'goth' models, so perhaps that look has become less trendy." What's the next big thing in altporn? Hipsters.
It seems like everything is getting hipstered out these days. From clothing to music to even the rebranding of the Pepsi logo, everything is getting a hipster makeover. Porn is no exception. If you look at the logo for Vivid Alt, you'll notice that it's tricked out to resemble an Urban Outfitters catalog. In the videos, the actresses are decked out in American Apparel. Hipster culture subsumes and dismantles the aesthetics of popular culture, appropriates its sincerity, and transforms it into a pastiche of irony.