Feminism

Beyond “Feminist Porn”

Let’s get one thing very clear off the bat: the reason that porn and sex work has long been deemed an unsavory or dangerous profession is because of men. It’s the patriarchal structure we live in that has long empowered cis men to assert dominance and power in all industries, and as sex work is already a vulnerable profession by nature, it is one that has been a perfect breeding ground for abuse thanks to that structure.

It is white conservatism that allows for repressed sexuality to continue to be the norm. It is a patriarchal structure that demonizes women that show skin or outwardly enjoy sex. It’s these structures that have long established that women’s pleasure is nonexistent.

So when the modern resurgence of feminism reared its head, it was a welcome move. With it came plenty of ways to support women’s rights with your dollar, some more directly helpful to the cause that others. Pink pussy hats, t-shirts exclaiming that the future is female, and of course, feminist porn.

Feminist porn, they said, is what women want! Feminist porn is the Popular with Women category on PornHub but with lots of pink! Feminist porn is disruptive, baby! Like with so many things that genuinely deserve the discussion of equity and how it affects marginalized genders, it’s a term that is so commercialized it seems to not mean too much of anything anymore.

“Feminist porn” in concept is wonderful. Porn and our entertainment should absolutely work to prioritize inclusion and representation, and the title has made some strides in the porn offerings that go beyond tube sites. But we need to do better than this label. We need to honor it’s conceits; prioritizing women’s pleasure, sex positivity, body and identity diversity, to name a few, but we need to make sure we’re pushing beyond that surface. If you’re hiring or engaging with the content of an under-represented erotic creative, are you compensating fairly? If you’re producing work with models of varied sizes, are you advertising those projects with the same energy as those with “straight body” performers?

Making pornography and erotica a more inclusive space means actively working towards fighting those structures that demean and endanger our profession and the work we love. It needs to be more than a label and an active, intentional way of creating or engaging with work. Check the label before you buy, and support adult content creators that move beyond the shallow messaging of female empowerment. All our porn will be better off.