Feminist Porn

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Feminist porn. To many, this sounds really oxymoronic. Yet I, a modern feminist, am constantly watching, getting off to and recommending you get off to porn. Allow me to explain.

Porn can be violent, anti-feminist, degrading and exploitive. But it isn't inherently so. If it's news to you that women watch porn, you'd better get with the times, quick. If you think of soft kissing scenes, minimal penetration and "making love" when I say "feminist porn," it's an understandable stereotype to jump to. But women get off on porn of all kinds, rough, BDSM, anal, queer, straight and vanilla. So what is feminist porn then?

Just because a woman gets off to it doesn't make it feminist. Just because someone's female doesn't mean they only like feminist porn. Feminist porn is inclusive of all genders and sexualities and focused on authentic pleasure, featuring real orgasms. It's consensual, sober, often (but not always) women-directed, features genuine performer chemistry and promotes safer sex. In the words of Chanelle Gallant, organizer of the annual Feminist Porn Awards (goodforher.com), it "makes women and couples feel good about themselves and about sex."

Feminist porn often features queer and alternative performers and sex acts, making this genre a great place to find tattoos, piercings, fluid gender pairings, kink and taboos like fisting. There are exceptions, however; there's feminist porn for all tastes. This is a working definition, gleaned from my feminist porn-watching and the words of female porn directors and performers described below.

Shine Louise Houston is director and producer of the Crash Pad Series (winner of the first Feminist Porn Award for Hottest Dyke Sex Scene) and the powerhouse behind Pink & White Productions. "There is power in creating images," Houston says, "and for a woman of color and a queer to take that power...I don't find it exploitive; I think it's necessary."

Focused on authentic passion and pleasure between a wide range of bodies and sexualities, Houston's films feature feminist-favorite performers Jiz Lee and Dylan Ryan, who soak the screen with their natural, orgasmic chemistry. Dylan and Trucker's sexy reel, for example, follows the real-life couple through a jaw-dropping jaunt with fisting that'll make you think (and wish) you were in the room with them.

Madison Young, performer and director behind MadisonBound.com, is a self-proclaimed "sexual revolutionary and indie porn pioneer" and "world's kinkiest feminist." Her films focus on connection, real orgasm and kink, working to bring authenticity to the sex screen that often pushes pornographic boundaries, for example, through Young's own pregnant porn performances (see her interview with Good Vibrations' Charlie Glickman at magazine.goodvibes.com for her perspective on exxxpectant eroticism).

Though Courtney Trouble describes her website NoFauxxx.com as the "longest running indie queer porn site on the Internet," she strives for diversity on what she says is the only place to "mix alt, gay, lesbian, straight, trans, kink and bbw genres into one common site." Committed to respect and high art, Trouble's site is run entirely by women, in accord with this statement: "We believe feminists can make pornography, perform in pornography, view pornography, and enjoy pornography as artists, workers, participants, and consumers."

Tristan Taormino's films (puckerup.com) utilize some of the most cutting-edge means of capturing pornographic chemistry. Her Chemistry series put porn stars in a home together MTV's Real World style, where they created, directed and filmed their own scenes with performers of their choosing.

The kinkier Rough Sex 2 slaps around an all-star feminist cast including Dylan Ryan, Madison Young, April Flores, Adriana Nicole and Jiz Lee, who fulfill their real-life rough-me-up fantasies with performers they select to work with, often based on actual attraction.

These directors and performers are breaking boundaries for women watching and starring in a man's pornographic world. A feminist getting off on feminist porn made by other feminists sounds pretty feminist to me. If it makes you feel any better, I'll burn my bra when I'm done.

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