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!