Because I am a Woman

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Porn is a touchy topic, especially among feminists. Whether or not porn is okay to consume has long been a major source of debate. Fortunately, with the new genre of feminist/ethical porn making a big difference in the world of adult entertainment, many of the reasons the industry had a bad reputation are being tackled. 

What is sometimes problematic about porn? Well, unfortunately a lot of things. The porn industry frequently utilizes stereotypes, uses coercion, creates unrealistic expectations, doesn’t practice safer sex on screen, is misogynistic, and a host of other issues. That doesn’t mean that watching porn is bad, it just means that it is yet another thing that can be very problematic. Like any other thing we consume, it is important to be critical of the mechanisms it employs and the impact it can have on our lives and our culture, but that doesn’t mean watching it or enjoying it makes you a bad person. 

The availability of feminist/ethically produced porn is then another way to enjoy porn, this time without a lot of these issues that typically accompanies it.  When something is accepted as feminist porn, most of the time we accept it as not only feminist but also ethically made. This may mean we see more diversity in directors, actors choosing what acts and actors they would like to make scenes with and with their pleasure in mind, more realistic depictions of sex (acts, bodies, etc), safer sex, and most importantly negotiation and consent, consent, consent.  

By providing access to these new kinds of porn, we are also starting to see that a lot of good can result from these texts. You heard me right: Porn can do good. It can be used to safely explore fantasies, empower, help dismiss shame associated with certain acts, and even facilitate communication with sexual partners about wants and desires. By exploring these things through an ethically made/feminist version of porn, this good is amplified as the problematic aspects of previous texts fall away. 

So what is a porn-loving or even a porn-interested person to do? Sorting through the masses of content out there can be very intimidating and finding something ethically made can feel like finding a needle in a haystack. If you can’t find something feminist/ethically made and you watch whatever porn is available to you, that doesn’t make you a bad person either. As previously stated, it is important to be critical of the mechanisms porn employs and the impact it can have on our lives and our culture when watching it. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it. As a general practice, employing this criticism of all media you consume is a good idea and porn is no different. 

If you are devoted to finding some quality ethical porn, there are a couple of places you can look. First, try the resources listed below for further reading. The Feminist Porn Awards (winners and nominations) in particular provide a fantastic way to check out titles that you can be sure were produced with these standards in mind. Many of these resources also call upon well-known pornographers who make these feminist films as sources. Doing a little research before watching is all that it takes, and it can make a big difference. Lets hope that with more people demanding these standards within the industry we continue to see a turn to them.    

For further reading, try the following:

  1. Feminist Porn: Sex, Consent, and Getting Off from Feministe
  2. The Feminist Porn Awards
  3. Porn Expectations   and 7 Ways to Create a Sex-Positive Critique of Porn by Charlie Glickman
  4. New Porn by Women/After Pornified by Anne G. Sabo
  5. My Very Brief Guide to Feminist Porn from Blog Her by Anne G. Sabo
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    I’m so very torn about this because I’ve read a lot that states that pretty much everything feminist porn tries to...
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    for reference!
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