I just had to ask… Especially since the Feminist Porn Awards are getting huger and more popular every year. We must know! What does it mean? And I may be stepping into yet another controversial minefield. But it’s important, and really interesting, especially with the quotes I got… Check out my San Francisco Chronicle column this week, WTF is Feminist Porn? The Feminist Porn Awards announce 2008’s winners, and Violet Blue wants to know why we can’t all just get along. Here’s a snip from a *very* hot debate:
Feminist porn. For many, seeing those words together is like putting together the words “comfortable flight,” “lightly scented” and “Bill O’Reilly: journalist.” We now have Jet Blue and Virgin America, not everyone can smell your panty liners, and there’s no debate about the irony of the last bit — but pretty much everyone wants to know, what the hell are porn and feminism doing in bed together?
Some pretty nasty, kinky, shocking, and fun things, if the selections from this year’s Feminist Porn Awards are any indication. The winners were announced April 7 and included local bondage model (and porn performer, producer, art gallery owner and self-identified feminist) Madison Young (madisonbound.com). Winning Hottest Kink Film for her debut film, the ultra-stylish Madison Bound Production “Bondage Boob Tube,” Young summed up her stance on feminism, porn, sex work and the raging debate between anti-porn feminism and pro-porn feminists in her acceptance speech by paraphrasing Emma Goldman: “If I can’t fuck, it’s not my revolution.”
I’m not going to say who’s playing top or bottom in that statement, but feminism and porn have been like Crisco and condoms for decades, and feminist positions (ahem) on porn are diverse. They often boil down to the notions that porn is degrading to women, abusive, encourages rape and violence against women, and reinforces sexual domination, coercion and humiliation of women. This is much like the position of religious fundies, who toss on top a little cherry of porn as destroyer of heterosexual families and marriage, encourager of serial killers, creator of child molesters and endorser of the sin of lust (that’s sexual pleasure to you and me). Many feminists loudly argue that porn-cum-sex-work is bad at its core values, and that any woman involved must be damaged, drugged, forced or worse.
Except for all the cool-headed women currently identifying as feminist and doing sex work and loving porn, like Young, Nina Hartley (nina.com), Carol Queen, Susie Bright (susiebright.blogs.com/), all the women behind Spread magazine, plus oodles more.
The whole notion that a girl can get off watching porn, be in it, make it, and view sex work as positive — and be feminist — remains confusing for many. (…read more!)
BTW, I’m really proud of this one, even if you don’t agree. Let me know either way in the comments!