Browsing posts tagged with feminist porn
Jan
29

Good porn for women: it exists!

Cover of Erika Lust's film, HandcuffsJournalists, especially those not familiar with the adult industry, can sometimes make sweeping statements that aren’t exactly correct. For example, it is common for a mainstream journalist or blogger to off-handedly lament that there is no porn out there for women.

That’s what happened when Nikki Gloudeman wrote an article at Ravishly arguing that she couldn’t find any tasteful, well-acted porn for women. While she conceded that feminist porn does exist, she insisted that all of it was “decidedly low-budget and short on a truly compelling plotline.”

This isn’t true, and readers and porn filmmakers alike rushed in with evidence to the contrary. A month later, Gloudeman wrote a follow-up post. “I was wrong. Very wrong. Shamefully wrong,” she wrote. She was sent a box of DVDs from Jacky St. James, director of New Sensations’ Romance Series.

I immediately curled up on the couch to watch a rom-com sex romp called The Friend Zone. And, well . . . it was good. Like, really good. It had legitimate production values. The acting ranged from just fine to truly impressive. The script was funnier than most mainstream rom-coms in theaters today (Hollywood producers, take note). And . . . what’s this? Is that a sex scene involving people who actually seem to care about one another? Is that woman being respected as she’s being pleasured? Is that a condom I see?

The experience was, in a word, a revelation, satisfying in every desired way.

With this new world opened up, Gloudemen set out to interview several women doing great things within the adult industry. She talked to two producers of adult DVDs, Erika Lust and Jacky St. James, and two owners of erotic websites, Angie Rowntree of Sssh.com and Anna of FrolicMe.com.

Rowntree began in the mid-’90s, when everyone told her there was no market for women’s porn, and she has been steadily proving them wrong ever since. Anna started with an erotic blog, which then morphed into writing stories and making films with the same sensual aesthetic. Lust studied political science and took film directing classes before shooting her first erotic short, which was so popular it changed the course of her life. Jacky St. James, an avid porn consumer, happened upon a script-writing contest for New Sensations’ Romance Series. The company loved her submission, and she soon quit her corporate job to write and direct full-time.

Ultimately, all four women were dissatisfied with some facet of the erotic material they consumed (as Erika Lust put it: “when I first watched porn the feminist in me felt cheated, the activist in me felt mad and the sexual me felt . . . aroused”), and that is part of what drives them to make something different.

Gloudemen asked each of them about their personal histories with porn, their goals and ideals with their work, what they think about the word “porn,” and where feminism fits in with what they do. The interview is full of amazing and thoughtful answers, but Rowntree’s response to the question “why is it important for women to have access to adult films that resonate with them?” is particularly insightful:

One of the criticisms I hear the most about the porn industry is that its products objectify women and present us in a very unflattering way—and that’s true of a lot of porn. To me, though, the answer isn’t to protest the porn industry, try to get porn censored, or even to spend a lot of time and energy trying to convince people that porn is bad. To me, the answer is to make better porn. The answer is to make porn that does present women in a good light, that does depict true intimacy and that does emphasize mutual pleasure, instead of reducing the women it depicts to being mere objects of men’s pleasure.

All four women urged readers to always keep looking if they can’t find porn that appeals to them. Go beyond tube sites and rudimentary Google searches. Peruse the nominees and winners of the Feminist Porn Awards. Visit sex shops and ask questions. It’s out there, and it’s really well-done — you just have to dig a little bit deeper.

  Musings      , ,  
Jan
24

A big year in porn for women

A screenshot from Ms Naughty's site Bright DesireMs Naughty is an Australian blogger, educator, and porn producer. She runs Bright Desire and For the Girls, porn sites that offer well-made erotic content such as videos, documentaries, and fiction.

Having worked in the industry for 13 years, Ms Naughty is a strong voice in the landscape of female-produced porn. Recently she published her yearly Porn for Women Retrospective, which tirelessly tracks all the developments in the world of female-friendly porn in the past year.

In her retrospective, Ms Naughty notes a boom in feminist porn specifically, including the publication of The Feminist Porn Book, the eighth annual Feminist Porn Awards (and other great awards shows honoring feminist and queer porn), the inaugural Feminist Porn Conference, and the addition of Feminist Porn Release of the Year to the roster in the mainstream Xbiz Awards.

2013 also saw the untimely passing of Carlos Batts; the release of Courtney Trouble’s Lesbian Curves, Tristan Taormino’s Guide to Kinky Sex for Couples, and Erika Lust’s X-Confessions; the publication of What Do Women Want?: Adventures in the Science of Female Desire; and the launch of a new academic journal called Porn Studies. Meanwhile, several surveys attempted to discern how many women watch porn — with no clear-cut answer.

In addition to the retrospective, check out this compilation video about the Feminist Porn Awards and Conference, with many clips from Ms Naughty’s work as well as Tristan Taormino’s Expert Guide to Pegging:

Can’t get enough or want to delve further into the past? Read the rest of Ms Naughty’s retrospectives, dating all the way back to 2006!

2012 – Fifty Shades of Grey, romance porn, After Pornified and the growth of feminist porn.
2011 – Younger women using porn, more hot movies, sites and festivals.
2010 – “Hello Ladies,” queer fun, more hot movies and anti-porn crusades.
2009 – Oprah, awards, and increasing censorship.
2008 – Goodbye Playgirl, more queer porn, erotica book covers, The Porn Report and more.
2007 – That housework book, Daniel Craig in togs and blowjob debates.
2006 – Inaugural Feminist Porn Awards, CAKE and Ellora’s Cave.

Apr
30

She Bop Presents The Feminist Porn Show with Tristan Taormino

Tuesday, June 5th — Mississippi Studios21+ only — Doors 7 p.m., pre-show 7:30 p.m., show 8 p.m. — $25

Join us for a special evening showcasing feminist porn, a genre of adult films and a growing movement!

Tristan Taormino will share a brief history and definition of feminist porn, then screen a special compilation curated by her, which includes clips from the work of feminist porn pioneers and newcomers including Candida Royalle, Annie Sprinkle, Nina Hartley, Petra Joy, Erika Lust, Shine Louise Houston, Madison Young, Courtney Trouble, and more. The screening will be followed by a facilitated discussion, where we’ll explore some of the current issues surrounding feminist porn.

The pre-show will include a sexy performance from Felice Shays. Afterward, Tristan will stick around to sign books and videos, and the party can continue at the adjoining Bar Bar!

Tristan Taormino is a writer, sex educator, speaker, and feminist pornographer. She is the author of seven books and editor 25 anthologies including her latest, The Ultimate Guide to Kink: BDSM, Role Play and the Erotic Edge. She is co-editor of The Feminist Porn Book: The Politics of Producing Pleasure, the first collection that includes writings by scholars, academics, producers and performers about feminist porn, forthcoming in 2013 from The Feminist Press. She runs the adult film production company Smart Ass Productions and is an exclusive director for Vivid Entertainment. She has directed and produced twenty-four sex education and porn films including the groundbreaking series based on real female kink fantasies, Rough Sex, and the Expert Guide sex education series, which she created for Vivid-Ed. She was the first female director to win an AVN Award for Best Gonzo Movie for the debut film in her reality series Chemistry, and she received the Trailblazer Award at the Feminist Porn Awards in 2010.

This event is general admission, so get there early for a good seat. Tickets are available in person at She Bop and Mississippi Studios. If you buy tickets online, there is a $4.40 service charge.

This event has already taken place. Thanks for attending!

Mar
17

Industry Spotlight: Erika Lust

Erika Lust is an erotic screenplay writer, film director, producer, and all-around entrepreneur. She loves the beach, Absolut vodka, and her favorite porn movie is Behind the Green Door. Born in Stockholm, Sweden in 1977, she earned her Bachelor’s degree in political science at Lund University, with a specialization in feminism and human rights.

During her time at college, Lust produced a few short films and studied the writings of Linda Williams. She was fascinated by Williams’ way of analyzing and critiquing porn. Although Lust had seen her share of porn over the years, it had never impressed her.

The first time I ever saw a porno film, I had the same reaction that I reckon most women have and it was most definitely not love at first sight. Obviously I was aroused by some of the images but there was so much in it that bothered me. I didn’t identify with any of it: nothing of my lifestyle, my values or even my sexuality was represented in any way. There was no sign of the women enjoying themselves, and it was as if they were there simply to please the men. The sexual situations just seemed ridiculous and were all based on sexist male fantasies . . .

And anyway, for my generation, that grew up watching MTV, the audiovisual quality of adult film is totally unacceptable: tacky sets, horrible styling and make-up, non-music, crap acting and even worse dubbing, amateur photography… in general a product left wanting on many levels.

For years, Lust had been on the hunt for porn that would appeal to her — porn that was modern, urban, and realistic, with high production values. But everything she saw, even the porn that was marketed as “for women,” was disappointing. She eventually came to the conclusion that if she wanted to see her style of porn, she was going to have to produce it herself.

In 2000, after graduating from Lund, Lust moved to Barcelona and started doing odd jobs at production houses — making coffee and picking up actors at the airport. She also took some film directing classes. In 2004, after honing her vision for adult entertainment, she founded Lust Films, an independent adult film production company and erotic book publisher.

Lust’s first porn project was a scene that poked fun at the pizza delivery boy trope, entitled “The Good Girl.” Her first feature film, Five Hot Stories For Her, included a scene in which the male gaze was swapped out for the female gaze. Next came Barcelona Sex Project, a documentary-style portrayal of various Barcelona residents and their intimate moments of self-pleasure. And Lust’s latest films, Life Love Lust and Cabaret Desire, are her most stylish and hot pieces to date.

In Erika Lust’s films, everything is meticulously chosen and crafted, from the casting to the clothes, music, script, and photography. Her work is both atmospheric and explicit, and she casts actors who look modern and natural. Lust is inspired by Sofia Coppola, and it shows — her films, much like The Virgin Suicides and Lost in Translation — are lush and dreamy, with aesthetic beauty and emotional resonance. All of her films have won a host of awards, such as Movie of the Year at the Feminist Porn Awards and Best Narrative Feature at CineKink.

Lust has also taken her sex-positive, feminist perspective and compiled a porn manifesto called Good Porn: A Woman’s Guide. Lust contends that in order for women to be in charge of how porn represents them, they must take the reins within adult entertainment. She believes in the value of porn as a discourse, as a way of looking at and discussing sex.

I see porn as a tool for excitement, education and pleasure. It’s not only an entertainment product, but also a powerful way to influence future generations’ vision of human sexuality. That’s why I think women have to take part in the political discourse of porn: if we don’t participate, porn will not be an expression of human sexuality, but an expression of male sexuality.

Read all about (and see screenshots from) three of Erika Lust’s films in our blog post here.

Erika Lust can be found on her blogFacebookTwitter, and Vimeo.

Apr
28

New product round-up for April

We recently added a truckload of new items to our catalog, and we want to tell you all about them!

First, the vibrating delights: we’re now stocking the much-anticipated Jimmyjane Form 4. This vibrator is bulbous, rechargeable, powerful, and waterproof — awesome!

We have several new cock rings: a leather one and even a stainless steel ring. We’re also excited about the new Tenga Flip Air masturbation sleeve, an updated version of the uber-popular Tenga Flip Hole.

Remember how we promised to stock even more of the movies nominated for Feminist Porn Awards this year? Well, we got ’em! Feast your eyes on the feminist-approved Billy Castro Does the MissionRoulette Toronto, and My Own Master. We are also now stocking Matinee and Tristan Taormino’s Rough Sex 3: Adrianna’s Dangerous Mind.

We’ve added a ton of books to our catalog! We got some exciting parenting books: Sex and Sensibility and Always My Child. We’re also plumping up our Gender/Politics book section with some amazing and important books: Kate Bornstein’s Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation, Helen Boyd’s My Husband Betty, and S. Bear Bergman’s Butch is a Noun.

Oh, and how could I forget — Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex, which is seriously hilarious.

Believe it or not, that’s not even everything we’ve added in the past month, but I’ll spare you an even longer link barrage! Drop by the shop and ask us what’s new, or use the filter in our online store to sort items from “newest to oldest.”

Mar
29

Nominees for the 2011 Feminist Porn Awards

We love the Feminist Porn Awards! Since 2006, they have been honoring and celebrating woman-positive porn. This year’s awards show and other festivities will be held April 13-15 in Toronto. The nominees for this year (of which there are 50+!) were recently announced. Any film chosen for the awards must meet certain standards: either that a woman was involved in the production of the film, that the film depicts “genuine pleasure and consent,” and/or that the film “expands the boundaries of sexual representation on film.” The Feminist Porn Awards (FPAs) are known for their awesome nomination categories, such as “Most Deliciously Diverse Cast” and “Hottest Trans Scene/Film.”

Here are four films nominated this year that we carry at She Bop! We plan to pick up more titles that were nominated in the coming months.

Tristan Taormino’s Expert Guide to Female Orgasms. Tristan Taormino is the queen of making education hot. In this film, she examines what it takes to get a woman off, then shows the techniques in action. Taormino’s other educational titles, such as Tristan Taormino’s Expert Guide to Oral Sex: Cunnilingus/Fellatio and Tristan Taormino’s Expert Guide to Anal Pleasure for Men, have also won FPAs in the past.

Life Love Lust. It’s no wonder this film by Erika Lust was nominated — her previous film, Five Hot Stories For Her, won “Movie of the Year” at the FPAs in 2008. Lust’s distinct filmmaking style focuses on nuance, romance, and authentic sex.

Crash Pad Series Volume 6. This is the sixth installment in a historic queer porn series by director Shine Louise Houston (named “The Visionary” at the 2010 FPAs). As always, this film features a vast array of queer-identified performers having the time of their lives together. Check out all the other movies in the Crash Pad series — many of which have won FPAs.

Rough Sex 2. This movie is why Tristan Taormino was named “The Trailblazer” at the 2010 FPAs. Her Rough Sex series takes female porn performers, asks them about their rough sex fantasies, and brings those fantasies to life. It’s a wonderful marriage of feminism and BDSM.

We also proudly stock movies that have won FPAs in the past, such as Caribbean Heat, Xana and Dax, The Wild SearchChampion (“Movie of the Year” in 2009), and Dangerous Curves.

Thank you, Feminist Porn Awards, for reminding the world that feminist porn not only exists — it deserves to be applauded.

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