Whether it’s bashing or championing the Duke porn star, sex addiction via adult films, or revenge porn, women have a complicated relationship with pornography. And it isn’t hard to see why– it wasn’t originally made for us, or by us, and yet we and our bodies were the product that it was selling.
In the age of internet and smart phones, adult film is available to just about everyone. I saw my first porno online before I’d even had my first kiss. Adult films have long been dominated by men– while women outnumber dudes on the screen with 70% of adult film stars being women, the main consumer is predominantly male, which perhaps leads to the idea that it’s seedy, dirty, and something that only cheaters do.
The problem with adult films isn’t that they’re videos of people having sex. It’s how they’re produced and what they represent. In a perfect world, watching adult films would be viewed as no more dangerous than watching a film of people enjoying themselves in any other fashion– eating, playing tennis, sitting out on the beach on a nice day.
The problem with adult film is how it’s made and what it represents. While many men and women get into the adult film business, have successful and healthy careers, that isn’t always the case. Many, especially young women, are mistreated and harmed. Some are even trafficked and raped.
We all know that there’s potentially danger involved when a young woman gets involved in adult films. But what you may not know is this: it’s entirely possible for people who are both sex-positive and socially conscious to enjoy a video of people consensually having sex– and we’re not talking missionary, bra-still-on, movie sex. We’re talking bondage, facials, group sex– anything you can think of and love and enjoy from your favorite mass porno site.
A porn film can be classified as feminist, I think, as soon as women are taken into account as viewers, and that as actors within the film, their own desires are taken into account. This means basically showing that women have just as much right to erotic entertainment as men do, and their desires and pleasure is important, too. I don’t think that feminist porn has to show women at all though, and there is a growing body of excellent smut out there starring trans people (mostly trans men so far) that is looking to show genuine pleasure, consent, and loving relationships outside of the gender binary.
So, what sets feminist porn apart from the RedTubes and PornHubs we’re so used to seeing? Instead of over-saturated films involving women pleasuring men, these videos are about people pleasuring each other. These films not only promote a positive body image by showing off the sexiness of people of all different sizes, colors, and shapes, but also includes people who are often ignored or fetishized by mainstream adult film– trans* people, genuine homosexual relationships, and people outside the realm of mainstream beauty concepts. It may be called feminist porn, but it’s for everyone.
One of the first female-centric pornography companies was Femme Productions. Founded by former porn star herself, Candida Royalle, Femme Productions takes pornography and puts it into a harleyquinn-esque backdrop– friendly for women who aren’t used to porn but still have their own ways of getting off. It was monumental when it was first produced, and to this day is a giant innovator in the world of female-friendly adult films.
There’s even a Feminist Porn Awards held annually. Their goal is to more good, well-produced, and safe porn the standard for the industry.
Currently, one of the biggest names in feminist porn is Tristan Taormino. As both a writer and director of numerous films, Tristan is the voice of the current movement, adding a very important title to her already impressive resume– activist. She gave Salon an excellent interview about the topic that you should totally read further if you’re interested.