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Instagram Favorite ‘Porn for Women’ Launching Web Site

Thepfw.com will be populated entirely with original content, from editorials to musings on women in business, fashion and, of course, men.

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NEW YORK — The name implies otherwise, but there’s nothing X-rated about Porn for Women.

 

Sarah Gidick, the creator of the cult Instagram account, has almost 80,000 followers who can vouch for the tasteful images of handsome men that she’s become known for posting alongside funny commentary. Today, she will launch a Web site in the same vein, Thepfw.com, which will be populated entirely with original content, from editorials to her musings on women in business, fashion and, of course, men.

The launch of the site is further proof of how Instagram accounts that began as avocations are rapidly becoming vocations. Gidick started the Porn for Women Instagram account for fun in January 2013, and she now counts Ryan Gosling, Tom Hardy and Paul Newman as staples of the account — or the “trifecta,” as she calls them: the men who elicit the most engagement, dialogue and likes.

She celebrates men past and present and from all walks of life, and often ones who aren’t considered sexy in the traditional way (think Jason Schwartzman or Luke Wilson). Smoldering images of Robert Pattinson, Brad Pitt and model Tyson Ballou regularly run alongside those of Marlon Brando, Rock Hudson and Robert Redford. Her site will also showcase “regular” men who are good looking but not famous.

“Women have a sensory reaction when they see a photo of a hot man. It’s the same idea as food porn or shoe porn. People are really enticed by it, and I think women get happy when they see a picture of a handsome man,” Gidick told WWD, taking a sip of English breakfast tea and a bite of scone from a plate bearing the likeness of Prince William and Kate Middleton at Tea & Sympathy in the West Village here.

Gidick, 31, has bleached blonde hair that goes a bit past her shoulders, tattoos spanning the entirety of her arms and smoldering black liner rimming her eyes. She is a writer by trade, currently employed full time as a ghostwriter for an actor in Los Angeles, where she lives.

“The word ‘porn’ is intense, and it makes women feel alienated sometimes. The word holds a lot of power, and I do admire a lot of feminists who think there should be another word used — I really respect that line of thought. But this word isn’t going away, so you have to redefine it and take ownership of the many definitions it can have,” she said emphatically.

She has never relied on hashtags to build an audience. She wants her captions with the photos to read like what “girlfriends would say if they were reading a magazine and talking about guys.”

As for her rationale for posting other people’s images on the Instagram account, Gidick explained that magazines spend a fortune producing editorials that largely go unseen by female fans. She’s never been called out by someone for using an image in an unauthorized way. “I tag everyone possible down to the stylist,” she said. Many photographers follow Porn for Women, and Gidick has even gotten the attention of Pamela Hanson, with whom she is going to collaborate on a shoot later this month.

After stints in visual merchandising at Gap and Banana Republic, where she styled the store windows, Gidick worked as an administrative assistant at a law firm. Both of her parents were diagnosed with cancer between 2005 and 2007, which Gidick called a wake-up call to “get serious and go back to school.” She enrolled at UCLA, where she studied political science and graduated in 2012.

Well-versed in both fashion and Martha Stewart, she wanted to create a site that was not a duplicate of something already out there.

Gidick said the new Web site will feature one new editorial a week. Upon launch, images of pro skateboarder Alex Olson, who was photographed in his home in the Hollywood Hills by Ben Colen, will populate the site. On Monday, celebrity tattoo artist Luke Wessman was shot at designer Max Azria’s house in Beverly Hills for an upcoming story, and additional editorials will be shot in London, Paris, L.A. and New York City during the rest of the month.

The site has no traditional advertising at the moment. For Gidick, sponsored content will be the primary revenue driver for the site — but only when it’s a topic, brand, cause, event, man or anything else she feels passionately about.

In addition to showcasing men, the site will touch on issues that relate to women — social media, branding, politics and world issues, for example. “Politics usually incite a sharp inhale and an eye roll,” she said, insisting there are plenty of women’s issues that have nothing to do with party lines — like the #1is2many sexual assault public-service announcement from the White House, which she posted minutes before it was officially published.

“No one got mad, women thanked me, and I thanked them for being receptive. I have a great audience of women. Half the battle of a message is how you present information to your reader,” she said.

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