What I Found When I Went Looking For Feminist Porn

Posted on October 18, 2016 in Society, Staff Picks

By Saswati Chatterjee:

So I’ve been looking at porn since I was pretty young. For those of you who have not fainted yet, I’m here to tell you that many of us watch porn and there’s nothing immoral or disgusting about it. But let’s say, I’ve had my own problems dealing with porn.

My experience has been limited but exciting. I discovered it in high school when I randomly Googled the word ‘sex’ (hey, we’ve all been 15) and was thrust (pun totally intended) into the world of online porn. I didn’t find much of the content very titillating, but the exciting and forbidden atmosphere around what I was doing had me going back to it. However, once that had died out, I found very little reason to keep revisiting these sites and eventually, I just stopped.

Part of the reason I stopped, I suppose, was the very nature of the porn that existed. Much of it seemed to be targeting a very specific kind of viewer (predominantly male, I think) and I simply didn’t fall into that category. And even then, I was uncomfortable with a way a lot of the porn portrayed women. Many women appeared to be only portrayed as passive, sex objects who needed to be ‘done’ rather than participate in any ‘doing’, to be crude about it. Their pleasure was never put on the same footing as the pleasure of men, and as a female viewer, this was off-putting to me. Not to mention the fact that a lot of these videos seemed to sell the idea of dubious consent as ‘sexy’ or ‘desirable’ which is a straight-out no-no. While not all the porn I saw followed these lines, enough did and soon, I called it quits. My short journey with porn was over or so I thought.

Now I sit in disbelief in front of my computer. Disbelief because well, I’m Googling ‘feminist porn’. And yes, I never thought ‘feminist’ and ‘porn’ could end up in the same sentence.

Porn turned out to be a weirdly grey area in feminism – straddled somewhere between ’embracing sexuality’ and ‘exploitation of women’ and somehow I felt ‘feminist porn’ would be the perfect thing to deal with this. I just wasn’t sure if ‘feminist porn’ even was a thing. Not to mention the porn industry doesn’t have the greatest reputation as a ‘safe’ industry.

So newsflash: there isn’t exactly a category out there called ‘feminist porn’. Rather, it is porn that focuses more on women being seen as equal in the pleasure equation and less as women being seen as objects. It can also involve a lot of porn which is seen outside the ‘norm’ and often involves many queer directors and actors, many of whom are award winning. So basically sexy and guilt-free! Which is great, except it’s very hard searching for exactly this on pretty much any porn site you can think off. I mean, I don’t see myself searching “videos where it doesn’t just look like women are being forced to do stuff” on RedTube, do you?

I decided to approach this systematically. Looking through some of the old haunts, I noticed a few things. Lesbian porn videos seem particularly made for an audience of straight men and were nothing like any of the actual lesbian women I knew and what the hell is the ‘female-friendly’ section?

But everyone has to start somewhere so my first stop was the aforementioned ‘Female Friendly’ section of any porn site. Here, I quickly gathered that what they mostly meant was usually a whole lot of foreplay, but not much else. I don’t know why anybody thinks ‘foreplay’ is a women-only thing, in fact, I’m pretty sure it’s untrue.

So that turned out to be a disappointment. I wasn’t really sure where to go after this except the refuge of any Internet-savvy person ever. To Google it is!

For the record, these are the search words I used: feminist porn. That’s it. And I found that not only was the internet more than happy to offer me what I wanted; I had opened up a whole new world. There was a whole range of websites which offered porn for the feminist in everyone, from CrashPadseries to LustCinema. Wonderful! Or not.

Turns out, every single one these websites were paid for. This made things a lot more difficult than I expected it to be. At this point, I’m torn between being glad that there is something called ‘feminist porn’ in the first place and disappointed that it wasn’t easily accessible.

For the 15-year-old me, who was struggling with the idea of embracing her own sexuality, this would have been a godsend. And I suspect this would be the case for many girls at the time too, many of whom I doubt will be able to pay for their porn. But even without the money angle, I had not even considered the idea of feminist porn and only found it when googling the very specific words ‘feminist porn’. Considering the fact that when I was young, I used to think feminism was ‘icky’, I don’t see myself Googling this. So while it’s great that it’s out there, I just wish it was more ‘out there’, know what I mean?

But it’s a good start, and it gives me hope that there’s something which embraces sexuality while not embracing objectification. It’s about damn time we got there.

P.S – For anybody who is interested, here are a few great sites that I found!

The Feminist Porn Awards and Pinklabel

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