Wednesday, May 30, 2012

women can claim ownership of their sexuality

I recently received an email questioning my hope for women claiming ownership of their sexuality. Specifically, the author of the email was referring to how I see the cover for my book so representative of the women's progressive porn movement; "women breaking through to claim ownership of their bodies and sex. And to seize the means of representation. To explore and define sex on their terms." In response to this, the author of the email wrote that "Given that sex is inherently connected to the body, it seems to me that we cannot 'own' it in any meaningful way. Our bodies, and thus sex, are essentially out of our control."

I agree and I disagree that our bodies are out of our control. For one, how we treat our bodies greatly affects their life cycles. Second, our individual minds and cultural norms greatly affect our sexuality.

When I write about ownership of our bodies and sexuality, I use ownership in the sense of who holds the ownership to explore and define the sex, as I in fact state in said quotation too. Because I believe how we define sex greatly affects how we practice and experience sex.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

fair trade, principled and ethical porn

X-Rated Ethics (Utne)
"Feel like watching the latest fair trade–certified porn film? The actors all enjoy decent pay, health insurance, and pensions. The carbon impact of the set lighting and actors’ travel is offset through investment in clean, efficient cookstoves sold at affordable prices to women in rural Africa." (X-Rated Ethics; Utne feature on a sustainable sex industry and fair trade porn)

I've been really pleased with all the attention given lately to the value of a porn that is ethical. Considers Harvard House Master Erika Christaki, "shouldn't consumers have some context to evaluate what they are viewing? Shampoo bottles and Tuna cans assure us that animals were unharmed. Shouldn't we know if porn actors are subject to out-of-control STD rates, or are forced to do things against their will?" Sex worker and activist Kitty Styker agrees; "In a capitalist world, granted, any consumption has multiple points of issue to be addressed and paid attention to, from sweatshop labour in clothing factories to migrant farmer rights, but I do believe that porn can be ethically produced."

In the UK, Alain de Botton, a philosopher, writer, TV presenter and founder of School of Life, has announced that he plans to promote an ethical porn movement, launching a "Better Porn" campaign (De Botton will meet with leaders in porn and the arts in order to bring about a better kind of pornography) and a website (which will display content "that parents would be comfortable with their children seeing") promoting "pornography in which sexual desire would be invited to support, rather than permitted to undermine, our higher values." As journalist Nichi Hodgson points out, "Sex-positive feminists and ethical sex enthusiasts ...  have of course been espousing this for a while. Yet even if he is late to the party, De Botton’s campaign is ripe for the championing ... the faltering flow of finance makes it a good time to dump quantity for quality."

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

after pornified has a cover and proofs

I received proofs and various versions of my cover this week; all looks good. After Pornified will likely be published in August. So excited! I really appreciate that my publisher went with my title. For a while, I was fretting a bit about it, wondering if the title might have to be changed.

Which cover do you prefer? The image on the top cover is from Candida Royalle's short film "The Tunnel" on Sensual Escape. I find this image so symbolic for the women's progressive porn movement; women breaking through to claim ownership of their bodies and sex. And to seize the means of representation. To explore and define sex on their terms.

Friday, May 11, 2012

how porn fits within my feminist vision

Quizzical mama aka Anne G. Sabo
I was proud to be featured at The Mamafesto's "This Is What A Feminist Looks Like" series this week. In case you missed it, here's a link to it. And below is a brief excerpt.
I would say that my definition of feminism has changed over time to be concerned not only with the lingering discrimination and archaic expectations of the female sex, but also of the male sex. Now feminism is to me a cause to free women as well as men from stereotypical ideas about what it means to be male or female in terms of our responsibilities, opportunities, and expressions, be it in terms of work, relationship, parenting, or sexuality. Narrow, claustrophobic gender categories bother me; unfortunately, they are still all too rampant. In my book After Pornified: How Women Are Transforming Pornography & Why It Really Matters (forthcoming fall 2012), I look at new feminist porn by women whose films shine the light on how we can all — women and men — break free from traditional gender roles and shatter erotic conventions. And speaking of porn, I never thought of it as feminist — on the contrary — until I came across feminist porn by women who’ve seized the means of representation to explore and define sexuality on their terms.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

what's worse: popular media or "porn"?

In the UK, there's talk going on about introducing an online filter to block out Internet porn in order to protect children. There's been much controversy surrounding this bill. This biting article published at The Guardian nails a lot of the problems not only with the proposed filter, but also with the media's and our culture's attitudes to sex and porn in general. EXCERPTS:
The Daily Mail makes money from posting pictures of scantily-clad women on the internet. Sometimes these women are topless. Sometimes they are completely naked. Often the images are captioned with breathy descriptions of 'cleavage', 'dangerous curves', 'thigh-skimming' dresses. Sometimes the images are of disturbingly young girls, accompanied with phrases like the infamous "all grown up." [...]

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

erika lust on directing porn and parenting in marie claire

Adult indie movie director Erika Lust is a guest writer in the May 2012 issue of Marie Claire Spain where she talks about her vision for a new kind of adult cinema, and answers questions about how her work affects her personal life and parenting. Excerpts:

About her vision: 
The feminine voice is marginal in the discourse of porn, which has been expressed in masculine (and often chauvinist) terms for more than four decades. But in these last few years, other young directors and I have successfully demonstrated that another kind of adult film is possible: one where the woman is the protagonist and her pleasure has importance, where the roles that represent us aren’t those of the prostitute, Lolita, nurse, babysitter, nymphomaniac … where, finally, the men that are portrayed aren’t only the stereotype of the fucking machine, where the styling and the locations make sense, where there are stories about feelings and passion, where the sex (although explicit) is human and beautiful, and not gynecological or athletic. We are successfully producing adult films that are a pleasing experience in both aesthetics and ethics, so far beyond traditional porn, which is often offensive, violent and displeasing. 
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