Note: Some links NSFW
This month, I went to the Feminist Porn Awards in Toronto, a three day event showing and celebrating porn focused on women’s pleasure and visibility for marginalized identities. The events included three nights of screenings, performance, discussion, and lastly an awards ceremony honoring the best in feminist porn this year. In an interview, the founder of the Feminist Porn Awards, Alison Lee said,
“Porn has expanded to include women and marginalized communities, and many people don’t know about the hot and artistic movies that are being made with a feminist sensibility. We are proud to promote these filmmakers, and excited about directing people to their work.”
The awards brought in a huge diverse crowd, and was successful in showing a huge array of films showcasing sexual diversity and sex-positivity.
In it’s 6th year, the events were truly inspiring. The guests were sex-positive, creative and radical folks who strived to revolutionize a largely sexist and transphobic industry. Notable guests and panelists included, feminist pornographer and educator Tristan Taormino, sex educator and filmmaker Jaiya, genderqueer pornstar Jiz Lee and filmmaker Cheryl Dunye.
One of my favorite parts of the events was the inclusion of men in discussions of feminism and responsible media making. Artist and filmmaker Carlos Batts spoke about the importance of making his models feel comfortable and consenting to everything they do in his shoots. Batts also includes varieties of body types in his films, expanding sex-positivity beyond the world of skinny white women. It was so refreshing to see a man in the industry who cared about these issues and is making politically aware ethical smut.
Drew Deveaux, who won the “Heartthrob of the Year” award is a Canadian, trans woman who noted her porn performance as a natural extension of her previous activism work. Not seeing herself represented in porn, she found this lack of diversity to be a problem. In an interview she said,
“My motivation for making porn was that I didn’t see many representations of trans-women…I put myself out there as an androgynous, post-op trans-woman. There were virtually no women who were like me in porn, but I knew so many hot, andro, queer trans-women. I was kind of doing it for them.”
Being cautious of the dangers of stereotyping, Drew is making porn to represent herself and her community.
The events really pointed out the importance of promoting feminist media and using it as a powerful tool for changing stereotypes and creating visibility.
For more about the awards check out the Good for Her website.