“If you look at a single mom trying to put herself through college, and she works at a strip club, is she a victim? All business Still, having more women signing the paychecks does not necessarily mean the industry as a whole is better for female performers.

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“I think the nicest word they have ever used to describe me is ‘brainwashed,’” said veteran performer and business owner Nina Hartley.

“Usually it’s more like ‘traitor.’” An organization called Stop Porn Culture, a group of academics and activists who believe that “patriarchal, capitalist society” fosters porn, states that regardless of who is in charge, many female performers “are under a variety of constraints such as economic hardship and a perceived lack of options. We are critical of the industry that exploits these women, not the women themselves.” King finds this 30-year-old argument unconvincing.

Surprisingly, many women who work in the business say they don’t like porn — at least not the porn that takes up most of the shelf space in adult stores or is downloaded from the Internet.

They do not object for moral reasons, they just think it’s a crummy product and often far too misogynistic.

Many other women work in upper and middle management.

Some have struck out on their own to create Web sites, others have started porn’s version of “indie” movie outfits.But from the owner of the small adult store near you, to video directors, to promoters, to online porn purveyors, women have quietly become integral to the world of adult entertainment in ways that have nothing to do with wearing stripper heels and a big smile.One of the earliest pioneers of Internet naughtiness was a woman named Danni Ashe who built her own small digital empire in the early ‘90s.For years she has been in the world of “adult,” as it is commonly known, but hardly anyone outside that world has ever heard of her.People have heard of Christie Hefner, of course, Hugh’s daughter who runs Playboy.The co-owner of one of the nation’s top producers of X-rated movies, Digital Playground, is a woman who goes by the name Samantha Lewis.