Wednesday, April 25, 2012

"mommy porn," fanfiction and bdsm

The media continues to be abuzz about the Twilight fanfiction slash "mommy porn" bestseller Fifty Shades of Grey, in particular for the book's BDSM themes. Yesterday, BlogHer Love & Sex section editor AV Flox posted a critique about the book's troubling messages about BDSM. Firstly, the idea that all who practice BDSM are "fucked up" the way the male protagonist Christian is portrayed to be; and secondly because of how dangerous this said male protagonist is: "the world — with all its old cars and commercial airlines — is nowhere nearly as dangerous as Christian is himself, not because he practices BDSM but because he's a terrible dominant." She explains in detail.

Earlier this week, I posted a longer post at Love, Sex, and Family about the psychological underpinnings of submission & domination where I give examples of good dominants who provide the form of sensitivity and "aftercare" of which Flox points out the absence in Fifty Shades of Grey. And for whom those who practice BDSM is a safe, healing and empowering journey and not something from which they need to be "cured." As explains feminist BDSM pornographer and performance artist Madison Young:

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

another porn is possible

I recently came across One Dimensional Woman written by high-profiled philosopher lecturer Nina Power and published by Zer0 Books, which is also the publisher of my book, After Pornified. I haven't read Power's book yet, but I know I want to. "Brilliantly acute," commends The Guardian; an "explosive book," acclaims the F-word, exploring "how the right has co-opted the language of feminism to defend its wars and anti-choice stance, how the market sells us empowerment in a glass of Chardonnay and a shiny shampoo, how the feminisation of labour puts women's bodies/goods on display and how looking at the history of pornography can provide us with new narratives with which to talk about the performance of sexuality."

Power's discussion of pornography is striking to me both for what it has in common with my own, and for its different angle. Power and I agree that "another porn is possible," to quote this review of her book. But whereas I look to women's re-visioned and transformed porn, Power looks to to French porn of the 1920s where "she sees things that we would never see today (despite the porn saturation of our culture), scenes that lack the grim seriousness of the standard ‘sex-as-combat’ porn scene and that instead have farcical elements, silly, fun stories: joking scenes about men having trouble with erections and needing to be coaxed into them by understanding women."

talking porn with college students: dos and dont's

Last week, I went to attend a talk about porn at a college in town. Specifically about the negative effects of porn: "how pornography shapes and reflects cultural norms that support sexual violence in our society." I was running late, but wanted at least to take part of the post-talk discussion to put in my five cents about how porn in fact also can have positive effects, but I was stopped at the door by a student. Because I had missed the opening disclaimer that explicit material would be shown, I could not enter the room. I wanted to pass on my card to the speaker and asked the student if she were his assistant; she offered to pass on the card but explained she was not an assistant, but a "survivor."

Suddenly it dawned on me: this wasn't just any talk about porn. April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and this was a talk for survivors to help them pin the larger enemy in society. This was a talk intended to release that same kind of aha-moment that anti-porn activist professor Gail Dines recalls experiencing when she read legendary anti-porn activist Andrea Dworkin, known for perpetuating Robin Morgan's infamous claim that "pornography is the theory, and rape the practice."

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

feminist porn in australia

High-profiled US-based sex educator, author, editor and feminist pornographer Tristan Taormino is on tour in Melbourne, Australia this week, giving talks and workshops and in general raising awareness about feminist porn. Explains Tristan to The Age:
These anti-porn feminists who say that 99 per cent of porn is violent and misogynist … clearly, they haven't watched enough porn,'' she says. ''I'm not denying that stuff is out there but to claim it represents the entire industry is a lie.'' Melbourne, she adds, has a reputation among her peers as ''a hotbed of radical sexuality''. Thanks to the efforts of local women such as Gala Vanting, Anna Brownfield and Liandra Dahl, it's also considered a leader in ''feminist porn''.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

dive: a new independent erotic film festival

On August 26, Detroit will host its first erotic film festival, Detroit Independent Video Erotica (DIVE), a one-night showcase of international short films and videos. Open to amateurs and professionals, DIVE is currently accepting submissions of films, videos and animations of all genres ranging anywhere from a few seconds to 6 minutes, "so long as the theme is erotic or concerning sexuality:"
 If you can tell a story, entertain and titillate, or enlighten in six minutes or less, the DIVE Film Festival is the place to show your skills! Videos can be in any style — drama, comedy, thriller, science-fiction, documentary, animation, puppetry, musical, dance numbers, horror, visual art, straight or LBGT — anything you can imagine and put on video. Maybe your band has a video that’s too hot for YouTube… Submit it to us!
DIVE wants to make a distinction, however, between erotic material and straight-up porn. If you have videos of you and your mate going at it gonzo-style in some motel room — we’ll probably look at it…but it wouldn’t be right for the festival.
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