What Is Feminist Porn? Find out at the Feminist Porn Conference
All of a sudden, everybody’s talking about “Feminist Porn.” Who makes it, who watches it, and who thinks it’s just plain pointless. Thanks to the new book, smartly called the FEMINIST PORN BOOK, it’s become a topic de jour among academics, fans, and performers everywhere.
To many people, this concept may seem brand spankin’ new. I myself got into it about 14 years ago, as a curious teenager who already identified as feminist (hello, riot grrrl) and sought out pornographic images and videos of women smiling, which I thought was the first hint of feminist-approved wank assistance. It was a pretty basic idea, but hey - sex can be basic sometimes. Particularly solo sex. It was only when I started noticing my genderqueer-ness, fatness, queer-ness, punkness, and other points of oppression beyond just looking like a woman (a white one, at that)- that I realized how much more involved, and important, feminist and feminist-related equality/civil rights anti-opression politics really, really mattered in my world.
But I digress, feminist porn has been with me quite a while. And, I may be one of the few well-known pornographers in current rotation who come from a feminist background and continuously and currently identifies as a feminist - AND includes those politics in my day-to-day shoots. It’s not as simple as believing that women should have equal rights - though that’s the purest form of feminism and why I wonder why some people refuse the label so strongly. Feminism in pornography can mean different things to different people - which is why I’m so glad that the FEMINIST PORN BOOK is an anthology, gathering academics and performers together to discuss what makes porn feminist, and what current feminists think about porn.
Next week, the creator and co-curator of this book Tristan Taormino will be hosting the first ever Feminist Porn Conference, taking place at the University of Toronto, where contributors to the book, and contributors to the feminist porn community (dare we call it a “scene?”) will all get together for the first time in history to analyze, interpret, define, un-define, and maybe even argue about topics ranging from sex work, porn law, diversity and accessibility, art, and all the politics involved in calling porn feminist.
I will be present for the entire conference, and there are some sessions that I’m excited to go to - as well as two that I will be involved in.
My big presentation/panel is called If I Had A Hammer: Reclaiming Feminist Porn as a Tool of Political Activism Against Opression. I know, that sounds like a whole lot of big words to come out of a porn star’s mouth, but believe me - I’ve been thinking about this stuff for my entire life. And Im excited, and even a little nervous, to finally have a place to come out, and speak out, on my beliefs about what makes porn feminist, and how we can use porn as a medium for social change.
Pornography can be powerful, but can it change the world? We want to talk about porn as a tool of feminist anti-oppression as it relates to the current feminist atmosphere, and our society at large — not just how it relates or differs from the dominant adult industry. How does porn reach or teach its audience, and how can we use it to promote awareness of the inequalities that we face? As feminist artists, how have we had to fight to see our work seen? As activists, how have we been able to bring our causes to the table through the medium of pornography? And specifically, how important is it that we are diverse in our creation of pornography, to promote the inclusion of all kinds of people in our work?
It looks like I will also be present on a panel on condom use in porn based on this paper written by a University of Toronto academic:
Safer Sex?: Feminist Perspectives on Condom Regulation in Pornography
Lisa Kadey, University of Toronto
The November 2012 passage of Measure B in Los Angeles re-ignited the debate over mandatory condom use in pornography. This paper will look at how condoms are represented in both feminist and mainstream pornography, and will draw on historical and contemporary debates over condom use in order to examine the following questions: In what ways might condom legislation help or hurt women working in pornography? How have issues of safer sex been addressed in feminist, lesbian, and queer pornography? What historical factors have led to the focus on condoms as the single/most important barrier method in pornography?
If you can make it to the Feminist Porn Conference, please come and partake in the panels, discussions, and presentations that will surely change the face of feminist porn. There is even a student discount!
Three AVN Award Nominations!
I am proud to report that I have received three (three!!!!) AVN Award nominations this year! My thanks to the folks at AVN for considering my indie projects and making sure that my DVDs and websites got into their piles. I am forever grateful for their dedication to give smaller production companies consideration - these nominations may seem little to a big porn company, but to me - they mean a lot. My audience may be smaller than most, but knowing that my art is on track with a larger scheme of the adult industry makes me feel like I’m working towards a goal of normalizing, representing, and respectfully erotizing what may seem like a “fetish” or a minority in mainstream sexual ideals. I imagine a world where everyone “gets it” - and these nominations show that at least, the journalists and judges do. These nominations don’t fuel my work - but they strengthen my stand for sex positivity, justice, and the fight for great pornography for everyone!
Live Sex Show, you know, the film where Nina Hartley fists Jiz Lee? Yeah. That film, that i directed on a stage in front of a live, masturbating audience, won a nomination for Best Web Priemere - which is awesome, because not only was it first released on Indie Porn Revolution - but remember: It was broadcast live on the internet, streaming all the behind the scenes goodies, during the Masturbate-a-thon at which it was filmed! The movie also stars April Flores, Tina Horn, Jolene Parton, and me in an unscripted gangbang - so props must be given to the entire cast for making this web-driven film a major success. (Now, if only more retailers would carry the DVD in it’s fist-friendly entirety, but that’s a whole other fight!)
Indie Porn Revolution, the site that I called No Fauxxx (no fakes!) when it launched exactly ten years ago this month, got a grand nomination for Best Alternative Porn Site. FUCK YEAH! My 18 year old self was struggling so much with this idea that my body, in all of it’s fatness and queerness, wasn’t worth showing. After countless rejections from “alt porn” sites, I fought back by starting my own - a site where anyone of any gender, size, race, or subculture affiliations could revel in their own unique sexiness and define, or undefine, themselves. I never, ever thought that this all-inclusive, all-over-the-place porn format would become common-place, or even duplicated by anyone anywhere ever at all. Needless to say, porn has shifted - and now a site built on fighting stereotypes, body shaming, white-washing, and queer-bashing with gorgeous images moving and still of people who refuse to fake it - has truly started the revolution of it’s new name-sake. Recognized by AVN as one of the best Alt Porn sites is huge, because now indie porn IS alt porn. Feminist-made, art-driven, anti-oppression building, revolution-starting porn IS the new alternative porn. We are living it and loving it, and somehow I feel like a major goal has been reached. The fight has been acknowledged. And accepted.
The third nomination also went to the Best Alt Site category, and this one goes to QueerPornTube.Com - a site I started specifically for amateur submissions, queer community building, home made porn, and free accessible queer porn to people from all areas, ways of life, and financial statuses. I didn’t want queer porn to be something that only rich queers could access - I’ve always wanted it to have free elements. In the end, if queer people can’t see the porn - what’s the point? Queer Porn Tube was a platform for change. An open inviation to all people to join the queer porn movement by making thier own films, representing themselves, speaking for themselves, and enjoying everything else the movement has to offer them as a vouyer. I LOVE this project. It wouldn’t be what it is without Ella Quincy, the site’s manager and peace-keeper. Ella fearlessly watches every submission to make sure that it doesn’t violate any copywrite, piracy, or ethical standards. Thank you Ella, for making QueerPornTube the awesomely sexy social hub it’s become!
None of these nominations are nods that I would be able to appear on stage at the awards ceremony, so consider this blog my drafted acceptance speeches. In my heart I do of course hope something wins - nothing has yet in the four years running that I’ve been nominated - but either way, the nominations alone reward me with the sense that we as a community of ladies, artists, and queers - are being heard. It reminds me that there’s no better time than now to stick to my guns and keep going, keep making porn that rocks, keep speaking my mind, and keep taking risks - it’s risks that get the rewards. Or, awards. You know!
Thank you dearly,
RIDE AND KISS
This Friday in Portland Oregon, a short film I made with Bianca Stone and Arabelle Raphael will be showing at Bike Smut: Turning Trixxx
“Bike Smut is an internationally touring film festival celebrating human powered transportation and sex positive culture. Bike Smut 6: Turning Trixxx will be our 6th year of totally original erotic bicycle movies. After a solid year of travelling and sharing the good word (and films) in 23 different countries, this year’s program will be the most star-studded and international to date. Boasting films by 2 Feminist Porn Award winning directors and films from 6 European countries, we have never been more excited to share this radical content. Each year we have a new theme, which filmmakers can choose to take as seriously or lightly as they want. This year’s double entendre of bike tricks and prostitution, has provided a fun and diverse platform for our filmmakers to work from.” - http://www.bikesmut.com/
Here’s some screen shots from the film we made especially for Bike Smut, entitled RIDE AND KISS: