PVV – 2012 Feminist Porn Award Nominees Announced!!

The 2012 Good for Her Feminist Porn Awards are coming!! And the nominees were just announced!! The awards are going to… – wait, what? Feminist Porn Awards? Feminist PORN Awards?

You seem confused, but don’t worry – I was confused about the Feminist Porn Awards when I first heard about them, too. Let’s learn more, shall we??

FPA logo

Canadian adult store Good For Her‘s Feminist Porn Awards are an annual ceremony that began in 2006. According to GoodForHer.com:

At Good For Her, we are feminists and we sell and rent porn. In 2006 we decided that it’s not enough to criticize adult films for not adequately representing women’s – and in many cases, men’s – sexuality. So we decided to do something about it. As porn star and performance artist Annie Sprinkle famously said, ‘The answer to bad porn isn’t no porn…it’s to try and make better porn!’ Good For Her couldn’t agree more. We believe the world is inundated with cheesy, cliche, degrading, and patronizing porn. But we also believe that erotic fantasy is powerful, and that women and marginalized communities deserve to put their dreams and desires on film, too. As feminists and sex-positive people, we want to showcase and honour those who are creating erotic media with a feminist sensibility.

Good For Her wants porn to be held to a higher standard. We all deserve to see artistic expressions that celebrate who we are in all our glory, and artists deserve to have there work recognized… (originally here)

Neat!!

There are a lot of sentiments expressed in this little bit of Good For Her text that I really agree with: it’s better to do shit than talk shit, men have sexualities (sexualities plural, I added that) that can be represented inaccurately too, and women and marginalized communities deserve to have their sexual dreams and desires on film. All those things are true, and there’s even more.

Good for Her goes on to discuss whether or not they discriminate against men (because feminists supposedly hate men, remember?)…

We know that there are a lot of men who are sick of the same formulaic porn being shoved down their throats like it’s the only thing that exists. We love the men who appreciate a different perspective on porn, and we love the men who make porn that celebrates the ladies, and we love it when men get what we are doing! (here)

…and what makes a movie a Feminist Porn Award winner.

In order to be considered for a Feminist Porn Award, the movie/short/website/whatever! must meet at least one of the following criteria:

1)  A woman had a hand in the production, writing, direction, etc. of the work.

2)  It depicts genuine female pleasure.

3)  It expands the boundaries of sexual representation on film and challenges stereotypes that are often found in mainstream porn.

And of course, it has to be hot!

Overall, Feminist Porn Award winners tend to show movies that consider a female viewer from start to finish.  This means that you are more likely to see active desire and consent, real orgasms, and women taking control of their own fantasies (even when that fantasy is to hand over that control). (here)

Super neat!! The Feminist Porn Awards engage and honor a space in adult content production that’s generally overlooked by other, more “mainstream porn” awards programs. They emphasize the art and passion that goes into adult filmmaking and also create a sub-cultural community space for members of a fairly large industry. And they’re pretty dang grassrootsy, too – love it!! There are, however, a couple of points here that I feel are worthy of a little critical consideration.

1. The idea of “women’s [and men’s] sexuality” – mis/represented or not, all women are not the same, and all women do not share one sexuality. All men are not the same either, just as all men do not share one sexuality. (incidentally, there’s also not one collective “Feminism” and/or feminist out there, but many feminists and feminisms) These points may seem like nit-picky semantic issues, but they’re actually quite significant as flattening nuance and difference is extremely problematic.

2. The idea of “genuine female pleasure” – what is that? How do you know it when you see it? And how is the pleasure depicted in “mainstream porn” any less genuine?

3. The call to arms against “cheesy, cliche, degrading, and patronizing porn” – I am overwhelmed with an uneasy sense of “meh” as this statement is far too over-broad. As it is written in the quoted text, it conflates a series of adjectives that get at (at least) two distinct and standard critiques of adult content: a) generic, lazy filmmaking and b) sexism. And both need further consideration.

a) Re sexism: “degrading” and “patronizing” are not ok… except of course when someone wants to be degraded or patronized (ie “hand over that control”)? How are we to distinguish between degrading and patronizing content that has been chosen and/or is being enjoyed verses that that is not? This gets at all sorts of issues related to consent (choosing XXX), content production (what’s going on when a text is being made), and viewer reception (what the people watching get out of something). It’s really complicated!!

b) Re generic, lazy filmmaking: popular imaginations of “porn cheese” abound… the hair, the music, the ridiculous dialogue, and the outlandish premises. But the negative attribution of “cheesy” and “cliche” here ignores the creativity and craft involved in parody and camp. It also ignores the fact that some people enjoy “lowbrow” (which is such a classist, problematic term and concept), and some people enjoy “lowbrow” sometimes. Some folks line up regularly to watch Fast Five (2011) and the like, and others will take ten minutes to watch a car chase scene before hitting the opera… or whatever. The attribution of cheesy and cliche is both overboard and classist, though it does get at bigger issues of social and cultural inequality.

But any-whooo, regardless of these points of contention, which are both significant and minuscule, I gotta say that the Feminist Porn Awards are a fascinating and significant part of the adult industry and adult industry awards programs culture and community.

This year’s Feminist Porn Awards will be held April 19-20, 2012. A list of the films and websites that have been nominated for something this year is here. I am happy to have engaged content from nominees Juicy Pink Box and JoyBear Pictures and to have interviewed the fantastic Kelly Shibari and Justin R. dos Santos – Feminist Porn Awards power!!

 

PVV and 2012 Feminist Porn Award Nominees

Interview with Kelly Shibari here.

Interview with JoyBear Pictures’ Justin R. dos Santos here.

Review of one of the best films ever, JoyBear Pictures’ Match Mates, here.

Review of Jincey Lumpkin’s and Juicy Pink Box’s Therapy here.

 

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Review of Juicy Pink Box’s Taxi Volume 1 (even though it’s volume 2 that’s nommed) here.

Review of other (not FPA nommed, but still interesting) JoyBear Pictures’ films, Street Heat and The London Sex Project, here.

 

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