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Feminist Porn

Comments (15)
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.

Comments (15)
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Sexism, degradation, unsafe sex practices and homophobia, all casually rendered and served up in a radical feminist wrapping . . . thanks "Ms." Tallon-Hicks, but no thanks! I don't want any of what you're peddling. I'm really tired of sex being portrayed as transgressive.

Posted by Stuffed Animal on 5.3.11 at 14:58

Um...did you actually read the column, Stuffy A.? Or watch the films talked about in it? Not sexist, quite empowering, latex/barrier-loving and quite homosexual.

And it's actually "Mrs." Tallon-Hicks. I've got a wife. Thanks.

Posted by Yana Tallon-Hicks on 5.3.11 at 16:34

I'd much rather be "stuffy" than pretentious . . . not to mention a distorter of true feminism and a peddler of degrading smut. Pornography . . . "rough me up" sex . . . "kink" . . . that's what you call "empowering"? Not for any oppressed people I know about! Fist-fucking, safe(even using a latex barrier)? Practicing such a dangerous act is foolhardy, and recommending it as entertainment is reprehensible. Your terminology is also censurable: There is nothing whatsoever "queer" about homosexuality, "Mrs" Tallon-Hicks, and contrary to what you may have heard, Lesbian women are not to be called "dykes". Educating yourself beats embarrassing yourself every time! You've got the nerve to call yourself a "modern feminist"? Who do you think you're fooling? There's nothing remotely modern or feminist about your thinking. All I see is the same old hedonism, stigmatization and objectification, which you try to distract from with your radical posturing. Forget about that, because I can read you like a damn book. I'm sure lots of others can, too. Pull your face out of the porn industry's ass crack for a second, and you may be able to perceive reality more clearly.

Posted by Stuffed Animal on 5.4.11 at 11:35

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Stuffy A.! I thought I could just fork you over a mouthful of sass and you'd be satiated, but apparently you're hungry for more. I like your persistence, big words and the time you took to read and rant about my writing. So, I've taken the time to respond, too.

I do not think that kink and rough sex are inherently empowering acts, though I think they can be. I also do not think that “fist-fucking” is inherently safe and especially isn't made so with a latex barrier alone. In fact, the pornographic films mentioned above as well as the columns I wrote about fisting including Love at First Fist and Fist Fright are intended to educate people about how to fist safely and pleasureably. I do not recommend fist-fucking as merely entertainment as you imply Stuffy A. - I recommend it as a pleasurable sex act (that, as you have shown, certainly isn't for all).

As long as we're on the topic of the “dangerous” sex acts you cite as fisting, kink and rough sex – let's talk about “danger”. Yes, blindly practicing BDSM or fisting without first educating yourself about how to do it safely and consensually can be both physically and emotionally dangerous. However, so can any other sex act. Never have I heard of someone dying from fisting, Stuffy A.. However, I have heard of people having unprotected penile/vaginal sex while HIV-positive, for example, and dying after a long battle with AIDS. Our assessment of sex-related danger is personal and our risk can be reduced by practicing safer sex and educating ourselves on how to perform these acts safely. My columns always talk about how to assess the risks involved with the sexual situation at hand and the performers and films mentioned above religiously practice safer sex, setting a refreshing example often not found in “the porn industry's ass crack”.

I also do not think that “homosexuality” is inherently “queer”. However, I do think that the performers and films mentioned above are often “queer” (and some outrightly identify as such) in the sense that they exist outside of the heteronormative box and often include bodies, gender, identities and sex acts that exist under the umbrella of “queer” such as lesbian, gay, bisexual, questioning, trans and genderqueer.

I sense that my use of the word “dyke” has offended you for generational reasons. As a self-identified “dyke” (who you, Stuffy A., might call a “lesbian”), I and the GLBT/Queer community I exist in uses this term in only an endearing and – your favorite word, Stuffy A. - empowering way. In recent years, the often derogatory term “dyke” as well as “queer” have been reclaimed by the community they describe. Like other reclaimed slurs, the word “dyke” can, of course, still be harmful, depending on the intention behind the word and whose mouth it comes out of. I assure you, Stuffy A., I feel entitled to and only use the word “dyke” with love. I'm sorry that it offends you.

I am glad to hear that you can “read me like a damn book” because as a writer, I do love to be read.

For all of this fighting you claim to be doing in the name of empowerment, oppressed people and feminism, Stuffy A., I have to say it comes off as awfully hypocritical in light of your attempts to shame me, the adult film performers and directors above, those who like to get off to them and those who safely enjoy fisting, rough sex and kink. Maybe instead of my taking my face out of the porn industry's ass crack, you should try putting your face into it so as to give yourself a break from your own self-made (and much stinkier) ass crack of self-loathing and sex-negativity.

I hope you keep reading the column, Stuffy A., because I think you are the one that needs to educate yourself in order to stop embarrassing yourself.

Posted by Yana Tallon-Hicks on 5.5.11 at 18:53

I find the first coment interesting considering that pointing out that that porn like this does exist (oh thank goodness. Though I wish it was a little easier for the masses to find) and supporting it does more to further feminism than oh, hey, most things that shove us in to boxes (heh) that say we must be "above all that". Are we not animals, too? Competant, thoughtful, awesome animals, but animals. Just like everyone else. Not some sexless, pure, better-than-thou thing to put on a shelf and get kept out of the mess of the world. Mess is what's fun.

I'm not sure I have anything to add but I wanted to put in an exclimation, for your awesome prose and awesome point.

Posted by valleyradionerd on 5.5.11 at 23:04

Thanks for reading valleyradionerd! Let's make it easier for the masses to find these feminist flicks, shall we?

OhMy on Main St. in Northampton carries many titles by Tristan Taormino and Shine Louise Houston and those starring the some of the performers mentioned above. Rent them for $5 a week - best porn rate I've seen in a while!

NoFauxxx.com the Crash Pad Series are available online for a pretty darn affordable weekly or monthly fee.

Or, watch them streaming from GoodVibes.com which allows you to pay in increments of mere minutes! Happy hunting!

Posted by Yana Tallon-Hicks on 5.6.11 at 12:14

Open up Stuffy A. It's best to keep an open mind about all things and be comfortable with your own choices and doing no harm to others.

Bird, you go.

Posted by Susan Tallon on 5.13.11 at 21:21

Thank you for this article. As a young woman only just begining to explore the world of internet porn and all its associated delights, I was thus far disappointed (but not surprised) with the extremely male-geared industry. Not knowing where to search and google not providing any easy answers, I've finally found something I can relate to.

It might not be for everyone (femporn, porn, and all the associated niches of sex), but as long as someone is getting something out of it, then it's worth the effort. And I'm glad someone is putting in the effort to educate the naive.

A thoroughly enjoyable read. Thank you.

Posted by Kristin on 5.17.11 at 7:58

No, no, no, Kristin - thank YOU!

Posted by Yana Tallon-Hicks on 5.17.11 at 13:04

Yana,

Thank you for a beautiful article opening up others to pornography that values it's participants and engages with cast, crew and audiences in a way that is ethical. We're honored to be included in your post, and proud of the work we've done within our queer community.

Our models are brave individuals, who are empowered with their choices as sexual adults. We are lesbian, gay, transwomen, transmen, genderqueer, kinky, vanilla, people of many sizes and abilities and so much more.

When we film we honor each others boundaries, safeties, and desires, and because of this, our director (a queer woman of color) Shine Louise Houston and her company Pink & White Productions has won several Feminist Porn Awards. We hope more people hear about our work so that we all can see there are many options when it comes to erotic videos, and it's not all a "four-letter word".

The more people support our work with memberships and by talking about us, the more we can afford to keep doing what we're doing and offer more alternatives to adult entertainment and documented sexual expression.

As Annie Sprinkle said, "The answer to bad porn isn't no porn... it's to make better porn!"

Jay, casting and assistant CrashPadSeries.com
Pink & White Productions

Posted by Jay from CrashPadSeries.com on 5.17.11 at 15:36

Some related reading: performer Dylan Ryan talks to CNN about STD testing and prevention in the porn industry (while on set with Tristan Taormino). Check it out --- http://www.cnn.com/2011/HEALTH/05/19/std.protection.ep/

Posted by Yana Tallon-Hicks on 5.22.11 at 11:58

Hi Yana! Thank you sooo much for writing this wonderful article. I am an educated heterosexual feminist woman in my mid 20s and am so sick of subjecting myself to the porn I find on the internet that constantly forces me to ignore the degrading and violently sexist footage I see to get off. At this point i feel somewhat scarred and would like to move in a more positive direction. I decided to research "feminist porn" today and came across this article. How refreshing! I feel better already. Although I am a supporter of any BLGTQ representation in pornography and am psyched to see gender-bending and queerness happening, I am straight and white, and what I am looking for are women who look like me who are not gender-benders but are just having fun, hot sex and for once are not being exploited for the pleasure of men. Help! Where do I look?

Posted by JC Breezy on 7.10.11 at 2:37

PORN IS HOT. SO THERE.

AS A SURVIVOR OF SEXUAL ABUSE, A FEMALE AND A FEMINIST, I SAY THIS PROUDLY.

I AM SICK OF THE SHAME AND SELF-LOATHING THAT COMES WITH BEING AN OCCASIONAL PORNOGRAPHY WATCHER IN A POST-PURITANICAL AGE.

MORE FEMALES NEED TO BE DIRECTING THE FILMS, AND IN ORDER TO DIRECT, MANY WILL WATCH WHAT MYRIAD EXPRESSIONS CURRENTLY EXIST.

I AM TIRED OF SEX BEING PORTRAYED AS DIRTY AND WRONG.

LEAVE WOMEN WHO SUPPORT PORN ALONE, FOR MANY OF US LOVE PORN; WHY SHOULD WE BE ASHAMED AND ENJOY IT ONLY IN SECRET?

EMBRACE AND LOVE YOUR BODIES, LADIES, OWN THEM.

DO NOT LET THE MEDIA OR THE CHURCH OR THE STATE OR A BLOG TELL YOU WHAT IS OKAY TO LIKE, LOVE WHAT YOU ARE AND HOW YOU WORK. DON'T BE ASHAMED, AFRAID OR TIMID ABOUT YOUR SEXUAL POWER IF YOU DON'T WANT TO BE.

MODESTY AND SUBTLETY CAN BE BEAUTIFUL AND FEMININE TOO, BUT JUST AS THERE ARE ALL DIFFERENT KINDS OF WOMEN, THERE SHOULD BE ALL KINDS OF PORN.

INSTEAD OF QUELCHING SPEECH WE NEED TO BE ENCOURAGING MORE OF IT, AND DIFFERENT KINDS. IF WE START DRAWING THE LINES BETWEEN GOOD AND BAD PORN AND CENSORING SOCIETY, WE MAY END UP SILENCING A VITAL PART OF OURSELVES.

BY ENJOYING MY OWN NAKED BODY TODAY, IN SAFE AND CONSENTUAL WAYS, I FEEL A RECLAIMATION OF MY INHERENT RIGHT TO LOVE MYSELF--SOMETHING THAT WAS TAKEN AWAY FOR A MOMENT, BUT THANK GOD, NOT FOREVER.

Posted by Ranster on 8.5.11 at 2:27
As a hetrosexual male, it may seem out of place (traditionally) for me to have an interest in such areas and support the work that these industries do and the coloumbs of people such as yourself who aim to educate, and elighten about feminism and pornography. But I am a feminist myself and a big fan of pornography. The two are not mutually exclusive and in my own huble opinion, expressions of the human form; be they male, female, solo, with another partner, or as part of a group, are fundamentally important to explore ourselves as humans, to understand ourselves as humans and to not deny that we are essentially animals. Representations of the body and the actions of the body define and tell us who we are.

Millions of women around the world are opressed, discriminated against and prevented from acting in their own desire. It is institutionalised in almost every case. It is an offense and a disservice to women to deny the (sadly still limited) areas of society whereby women do have the freedom to do something so seemingly fundamental as a right; to be naked on camera, let alone explore the physical and psychological depths of human sexuality. I think this is a blessing, cheers.
Posted by CharlieTwoPies on 5.12.12 at 9:03

There are many ways to protect yourself from catching a sexual transmitted disease. For instance, you don't have to worry about such health problems if you are in a long term relationship. But if you have issues with painful sex, you should visit your gynecologist to find out what you have.

Posted by marvinvinn on 8.20.14 at 2:51
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