September 1984 – Penthouse features both Vanessa Williams and Traci Lords

In the magazine, 1983’s Miss America Vanessa Williams stirs up controversy when nude pictures of her posing with another woman were published.  These pictures simulated lesbian acts that were photographed in earlier years.  Her reign ended early and the crown was taken away from her.  Since she was an icon for American woman, this incident was shocking at the time. As a young girl, I can recall hearing people discussing the news. 
What I did not recall at the time was the news of its centerfold, Traci Lords.  However, as years went on her name became more and more popular.  It was later discovered Traci was only 15 when she posed for the magazine. Today, under the laws of Child Pornography, owning a copy of the magazine with the centerfold intact is illegal.  Her appearance in the magazine kicked off her career.  She quickly became known in the adult video industry and is considered the first porn queen.  Because of her underage status in the films, all but one “Traci, I Love You” (made when she was over 18) are illegal in America.  The industry had to remove hundreds of her videos and magazines with her naked pictures from circulation which cost them millions. This scandal made her famous or infamous actually. 

I remember just hearing the name and thinking, slut, whore or anything else derogatory. The boys wanted to date her and the girls hated her. She was the first porn star to have her name known by everyone.  She made mainstream front page headline news.
As a result, Ronald Reagan and other politicians made it a priority to change pornographic laws and to protect innocent people from exploitation.  For years afterward, anyone affiliated with Traci’s films faced legal problems.  Traci on the other hand was never charged. The controversy still continues!

Sources: Wikipedia, Tracilords, Crime Library and tranquileye

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2 Responses to “September 1984 – Penthouse features both Vanessa Williams and Traci Lords”

  1. TechSex » Blog Archive » Response to Williams and Lords Says:

    [...] I just finished reading the blog post called, September 1984 – Penthouse features both Vanessa Williams and Traci Lords, which has its concentration on the pornographic star Traci Lords whom I have never heard of.  The blog post states that she was considered the first porn queen.  I am not that familiar with pornography, but know some of the famous names.  I guess Traci Lords was just before my time.  I find it suiting that she made her break while underage.  It always seems that controversy and anything illegal are always associated with launching a career whether it is in the film or music industry.  There is no such thing as bad publicity as is shown in this example.  I feel that it is justifiable for the adult film industry to lose their revenue for having to discard or shelf the movies or magazines that include the underage Traci Lords.  Even if the Child Pornography laws were not intact at the time of the creation of these movies I do not feel that it is morally ethical to be displaying a minor in such a way.             The other part of the article discussed in the blog I am familiar with.  Everyone knows the controversy with Vanessa Williams and the Miss America Pageant.  In the 1980s I suppose that photos that symbolized homosexuality was not as widely as accepted as today, but I believe it should have not been the result of William’s crown being taken away.  Miss America must represent America and especially women.  Even though they have to flaunt themselves in an evening gown and show their sexuality through a bathing suit competition we all know their score to becoming Miss America is heavily based on their interview.  This simulates that Miss America must be intelligent and present herself in a “ladylike” way that is suitable for all audiences.  Just because someone decided to be photographed nude with another person of the same sex does not mean it is degrading or depicting the wrong idea of who Miss America should be.  It’s not like the pictures were photographed during the process of the Pageant, but years earlier.  I just feel that in competitions the competitor should be based on what goes on inside the competition and not outside of it.  This is just another example of how pornography, nudity, or anything related to these topics has a deep social stigma. [...]


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