As I see it, one of the main problems with the internet is that people don’t watch enough porn.
Stay with me here.
There’ve been a few articles in mainstream newspapers about “porn for women” lately, particularly after this year’s Feminist Porn Awards. The article in The Guardian was quite useful, especially given their history of providing a platform for a certain kind of anti-porn anti-prostitution female columnist. And the Sydney Morning Herald ran a piece after an Australian pornographer was nominated for an award.
What fascinates me is that in the comments to both articles you’ll find screeds of people happy to offer an opinion on the New Pornography, and how it’s just like the Old Pornography. “I don’t see how it’s any different!” And you know why? Because you haven’t fucking looked.
I know, the net is all about offering up unqualified opinion, and why should I find other people’s screaming ignorance embarrassing when they clearly don’t? Tough. I do.
And if you were dubious but curious, the SMH went to the trouble of getting in an expert to offer up a dissenting opinion. They don’t make it clear why they chose to ask a professor of Political Science, but she’s pretty adamant: “no pornography can break away from a male-orientated view of sex.”
She’s also Sheila Jeffreys. Sheila Jeffreys is the Gail Dines of Australia. Here’s Louise Lush (also known as Ms Naughty) on Jeffreys. And here’s Questioning Transphobia on Jeffreys’ issues in that area. And hey, here’s an Australian sex worker who has the odd entry tagged “Sheila Fucking Jeffreys“. For the trifecta, Jeffreys sees BDSM as inherently male sexual oppression of women, and boy do you have to erase a lot of people to do that. Maybe, though, I should just let her speak for herself:
all feminists can and should be lesbians. Our definition of a political lesbian is a woman-identified woman who does not fuck men. It does not mean compulsory sexual activity with women.
Yes, that’s right, she advocates political lesbianism, the kind of lesbianism that doesn’t include being sexually attracted to women.
So, if the positive voices are pornographers and the negative voices are batfuck crazy, how can you find out for yourself what the New Pornography is like?
Watch some porn.
And yeah, it’s a big, scary, squicky world to go out into with no guidance. So this is my first task: to provide you with a gentle ‘in’, a glimpse of what there is, without pushing people’s boundaries too far. By no means should anyone feel pressured to watch anything I link to. However. If you won’t even look? When it comes to talking about pornography? Shut the fuck up, you don’t know what you’re talking about.
I can promise you:
- no grainy blue film stock
- no boomchickawaawaa music
- no enormous hair or freaking scary fake fingernails
because seriously, it’s not the 80s any more, okay?
When it comes to positive sexual imagery, there is no height to which I cannot recommend the Sex Is Not The Enemy Tumblr (NSFW, explicit sexual imagery). Note the smiling, and the laughter.
Here, in a totally safe-for-work, won’t be taken down by YouTube fashion, Ms Naughty explores the idea of what porn for women actually is. (Men doing housework? Fucking seriously?)
Now, trailers and shorts. The great thing about trailers for my purposes here is that they give you a taste without going all the way. So while they’re explicit, you won’t be encountering prolonged sex scenes.
If you manage to watch one thing, make it this: the trailer for Erika Lust’s Barcelona Sex Project. (NSFW, explicit, wear your headphones, seriously.) Three men and three women, one by one, first do an interview, and then masturbate to orgasm. One of them does it wearing stripy socks.
For less white light and the new classic goth-alt porn vibe, try her Room 33, a full short film. (NSFW, mildly explicit.)
One of the most well-regarded series, and winners of multiple Feminist Porn Awards, is Crash Pad. Here’s a perfectly safe YouTube taster, and here’s a short featuring Jiz Lee. (NSFW, explicit, actual lesbian sex.) If that’s a bit full on, Friend of the Blog Amie describes another one of the Crash Pad series here. Thanks, Amie.
I have a bunch more links here, but you know… I’m going to stop with this one, Bleu Productions. These are lesbian fetish and BDSM films. (NSFW, moderately explicit) Click on the TOP player on the right hand side to see a trailer of Maria Beatty’s work. If you click on the second player down, you’ll end up watching Vampire Sisters, and I laughed pretty hard.
From there, you could try the work of Anna Span or Candida Royale. Or, okay, one more, Comstock Films Bill and Desiree. (NSFW, mildly explicit.) (I was hesitant to include this, but I’ll just note that Comstock Films consider their work “erotic documentaries”, not porn.)
Can you see how it’s any different? That’s all I really want, for people to have this as their mental image, or at least a part of their mental image, when they think about pornography. You don’t have to think that therefore it’s okay, but at least know what the fuck you’re talking about.
There’s an obvious question that remains after all that, and we’ll get to that next time.