By Jacqueline Gwynne
Correction: Feck Erotica has asked us to make it clear that they are not involved in sex trafficking or the promotion of prostitution. Our apologies for any misunderstanding.
Anyone who visits Melbourne, Australia, for the first time will notice the normalisation of the sex trade. This has happened because prostitution has been legal in the state of Victoria since 1994. One of the first things that struck me when I moved to Melbourne in 2002 was the ‘in your face’ advertising of brothels and strip clubs. At this time there were billboard ads along Hoddle Street, one of the busiest streets, for Spearmint Rhino, The Men’s Gallery and bill posters for Schnitz n Tits strip clubs.
If you’ve spent any time in this city you will notice flyers for WOMEN WANTED and GIRLS WANTED, posted up on main roads in the inner city promising women $$$ for nude artistic photos.
The ads promise same day cash of up to $800 for diverse women of all ages and body types. There are different flyers that appear every week. Some lead back to a pornography business called Feck Erotica. Slick glossy business cards of artistic nudes can also be found in cafes, art venues and boutiques. The flyers always have a female contact name.
I have been following this business and the WOMEN WANTED flyers and spoke to models and former employees.
Feck is not interested in creating art, but rather pornography. Feck promotes an image of body positivity, inviting women of all sizes and looks.
I spoke to Bec*, a former employee who reports that in her opinion Feck’s business practices are predatory.
Feck has three main projects. The first two are Beautiful Agony and I Shot Myself. Beautiful Agony is where women and men film their face during orgasm. For I Shot Myself, women are provided with a camera to photograph themselves nude.
If the contributor shows enthusiasm and Feck is happy with her performance, she is offered further work on the more explicit, video-based website, I Feel Myself. Women are filmed masturbating, in girl on girl and occasionally heterosexual sex, on location or at Feck’s Melbourne premises. On the I Feel Myself shoots models often work directly with the male CEO who is sometimes the only person in the room with them.
The selling point of Feck is to create some artistic credibility with a focus on diversity through Beautiful Agony, I Shot Myself and I Feel Myself at the hip headquarters in Melbourne.
Feck inflates its artistic credibility in part through links with Life Drawing Melbourne. Attendees of the life drawing classes are often unaware of its connection with Feck. Flyers for Life Drawing Melbourne appear alongside the Women Wanted flyers, frequently in art spaces and laundromats.
Another young woman, Sonia*, said that Feck gave her a camera and kept her driver’s license until she returned the camera.
The flyers are plastered up around universities, backpacker hostels, laundromats and gambling venues.
The WOMEN WANTED flyers show how brazenly sex trade profiteers are operating in Melbourne, it is right under our noses. If you see these flyers or business cards, tear them down and put them in the bin. Contact your local MP and police to take action.
* Names have been changed to protect identities.