Is there such a thing as Feminist Pornography?

Courtney Trouble (with camera), Wolf Hudson (lying down), Zahra Stardust and James Darling (transgender performer) in Toronto - re: feminist pornographyToday I offer you an interesting read passed on to me from my grandmother this week. In the piece In Toronto with the world’s feminist pornographers, Daniel Nasaw from the BBC Magazine gives us a behind the scenes look at the global community that shoots, directs, stars in, and theorizes about how pornography would look when (and if) it were feminist.

In recent years, feminist porn producers and performers have settled on a rough agreement on how to shoot pornography that empowers rather than demeans women and depicts authentic female sexuality rather than the presumed fantasies of the stereotypical straight man…Aesthetically, feminist porn dispenses with many of the tropes of mainstream straight porn – the primacy of the male climax, the portrayal of women as sex objects dedicated to the pleasure of the male partner, the “male gaze” camera angles that linger on the prone female body while disembodying the penis.

The Feminist Porn Awards were established by the owner of a female-oriented Toronto sex shop who realised her customers wanted to see pornography, just not the mainstream stuff they found to be fake, robotic, emotionally vapid, and visually repetitive, and perhaps demeaning to women. Carlyle Jensen says her customers at Good for Her found the narrow range of sexual practices and imagery they saw in porn unappealing, and they wanted something they could feel good about watching.

From an alternate perspective, author of the book Anti Porn: The Resurgence of  Anti-Pornography Feminism, Julia LongLonganti-porn offers critiques on the feminist porn industry:

“‘Feminist porn’ legitimises the production of pornography, but these films are consumed by a tiny minority of people. It’s a distraction from the debate about mainstream pornography, which perpetuates narratives that normalise violence against women and girls.

We’re seeing the term ‘feminist’ applied to more and more things and it is becoming meaningless. We have to remind ourselves that feminism is not about getting an award for ‘hottest gonzo sex scene’. It is a serious political movement and its concern is social transformation and liberation from patriarchy.

— Caterina Gironda, Assistant Editor

Image is from In  Toronto with the world’s feminist pornographers, by Daniel Nasaw, BBC News Magazine, 9 May 2014

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