Wednesday, October 26, 2011

why i keep calling it porn when it doesn't look like it

When I first showed a former colleague some of the re-visioned porn I write about in my book, his response was: "But this isn't porn! It's film!" Others have since reacted the same way and many have asked me, "Why do you keep calling it porn? Why not call it 'erotic' or 'explicit,' 'adult' or 'sensual,' or whatever, just not 'porn'? You're going to turn people away from your work," they would warn me.

So why do I insist on using the "porn" word?

Porn has gotten a bad rap for good reasons. And in fact, several of the female (porn) filmmakers whose work I look at in my book stay clear of the “porn” word lest they turn their targeted audience away from their work. Instead they label their films with the terms that I have been recommended to use too.

But others refuse to allow men free rein in defining porn, and therefore claim the “porn” word as a way to subversively change its meaning.

This position appeals the most to me. Because words can hold a lot of power. – Whore. Prude. Slut. Women and men are cursed by words. And women and men have been cruelly labeled by words. In turn, some women and men have claimed words to deny their derogatory undertones.

"Porn” is a loaded word that brings up a lot of negative imageries in our pornified culture. “That’s so ‘porn’” has today become an expression to describe excessive or trashy taste. But imagine if the content and connotations, and even the effects of porn were different: positive and empowering rather than negative and degrading. That’s what I’ve discovered to be the potential of re-visioned and transformed porn by women.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

afro empowerment in the form of an intelligent porno-musical

Simone Valentino as AfroDite
My new article at Good Vibrations Magazine is up today, featuring AfroDite Superstar (2007). With allusions to Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing (1989), AfroDite Superstar is an intelligent porno-musical that excels cinematically on all levels, delivering strong performances and a terrific soundtrack. The lead actress, Simone Valentino, won a Feminist Porn Award as Best New Star in 2007 for her performance as AfroDite.

The film follows the journey of AfroDite, a young black Beverly Hills woman who wants to become a rap star on her own terms. Interspersed throughout the film are compelling home video monologues in which AfroDite finds an outlet for her thoughts and fears, insecurities and longings.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

smitten kitten: educational porn

pucker up
Whether you're local to the Twin Cities or not, you'll be interested in checking out the new line of "educational porn" just released from sex-positive feminist sex shop and educator Smitten Kitten.

This first Smitten Kitten collection of sex-ed shorts features three short films by high-profiled sex educator, author, editor and feminist pornographer Tristan Taormino (on cunnilingus, fellatio, and the G-spot), and two by feminist queer pornographer Courtney Trouble (on strap-on sex and on finding the right dildo for you). They are all available for free view streaming online here. Presents Smitten Kitten:

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

pucker up: tristan taormino's sex-positive salon

Award-winning author, columnist, sex educator, speaker, and feminist pornographer Tristan Taormino has revamped her pucker up site and it looks great. Highlighting her feminist endeavors, the site now also features feminist porn resources and an article on the history of feminist porn, featuring a list of educated definitions of feminist porn by various people (including by me).

I really like Tristan's own definition, which she quotes from a lecture she gives called “My Life As a Feminist Pornographer.” Here are Tristan's thoughts on what constitutes feminist porn to her:
My feminist porn is made under fair, ethical working conditions: all activities are consensual, no performers are coerced; performers set their monetary rates, which are not questioned or haggled over; everyone on the set treats each other with mutual respect; the work environment is clean and safe; performers must present proof of negative STI results with tests that are less than 30 days old (industry standard) or a shorter time of their choosing; and performers are offered the option of using condoms and other safer sex barriers.

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