I recently read an article that discussed just how feminist porn began shaping porn in the 80s and has continued to do so in this more modern era of smartphones and instant gratification, where porn is treated as a commodity to be seen and discarded, where mainstream pornography showcases things like violence, force, and a sheer lack of diversity in the total bodies of work that are being produced.
Now some feminists will tell you that all porn is bad or degrading, some will say its a good thing, and others have differing opinions altogether. As a woman who considers herself to be opened minded, if not quite meeting the definition of a feminist, I say that porn needs the diversity, many people want it and will go out of their way to search it out. The mainstream cut and dried tropes of so much pornography is no longer relevant to a large and growing number of people.
I’ve suggested before that making ethical porn is something that can be done and should be done. By working to legitimize the business itself and treat adult performers like anyone else with a day job, by making sure that people are safe on set, by showing things like consent, by continuing to improve and do better and not succumbing to the free sites with stolen content we can provide ethical porn to viewers who want to see it. I wish I could say that everyone wants to see well made, ethical porn, but I recognize that just isn’t the case.
But the problem is that ethical porn, feminist created or not, is not often found on the free tube sites which is where the majority of consumers turn to get their porn. Or if it is there it is just clips that have been stolen and reposted without credit to the actors or creators of the particular piece of art. Because, yes, good porn is an art form just like regular cinematography is. There is no difference between this amazing film by such and such Hollywood director and the amazing work of ethical, feminist leaning porn stars, directors, and producers throughout the industry. But people label it differently because pornography is still a taboo or forbidden subject. It has garnered more mainstream attention as the industry grows, but many people will still be ashamed to admit that they do indeed watch it. I’m not one of those people. I happily watch well made porn from time to time.
My point here is that ethical, feminist porn does exist, should exist, and will continue to exist and grow. Performers who choose their own scenes and feel comfortable doing them are going to have more fun in front of that camera and that will shine through. And the performers don’t all have to be cis, white, and skinny or fit. They don’t have to be conventionally attractive because there is beauty in everyone. Feminist porn has started to pave the way for more trans, queer, and gender non-conforming performers to have a place in the world of pornography and to advocate for a broader audience with more varied tastes. Ethical porn overlaps here in that it does the same thing in many cases.
My question to do you is what makes porn both ethical and/or feminist? When is mainstream porn going to become more about real sex with imperfections and giggles and stories to be told rather than just using women or men as objects of lust? When will people learn that they can learn from watching better porn than what the standard tube sites tend to offer? Sure, it costs more, but isn’t quality better than quantity in some cases? I think this is one of them and I think that more ethical and feminist porn needs to continue to be produced in order to create greater diversity within the market of pornography. We may never see a return to the adult theaters that existed prior to the rise of VHS, but we can see the rise of cinematography and plot and story in porn that is more than just a parody of something else. And I think that people need to see that. What are your thoughts on the ideas of ethical and feminist porn and how they affect the industry as a whole?