Feminism. Art. Porn. Sex.


Why I Make Porn
February 7, 2010, 10:14 pm
Filed under: Art, Feminism, Porn, Sex | Tags: , , , , , , ,

It occurred to me recently that I’ve been working as an editor for Feck for a year. During this time, I have also contributed a little to their websites. I currently have two folios up on I Shot Myself and an upcoming, homemade film on I Feel Myself and something in the pipeline for Beautiful Agony. I want to discuss my motivations for working at Feck and contributing to these websites.

A convoluted backstory, God help us all!

When I was 14, I was out shopping with my mother and we passed a place advertising exotic dancers. Mum must have commented because I said to her “I don’t think there’s anything wrong with women doing that if they want to.” I can’t recall exactly what she told me, but the point that stuck with me was that the problem with sex work is it leads to the exploitation of women.

So just as I was starting to think about sex work, I was already aware of it as a complex issue and feeling guilty about the titillation I secretly felt about the idea of performative sexuality.

As I got older and came more strongly into a feminism that my parents had always encouraged, this further confused my feelings about my interest in sex work. I worried that my desires and fantasies were no longer my own, but a product of some sort of patriarchal brainwashing. It was really fucking confusing. Often it still is.

However, this conflict was almost entirely theoretical as until I moved away from home at 22, my actual exposure to pornography was minimal. That said, I had created quite a lot of pornographic drawings of my own and had posed for a little nude photography for a girlfriend of mine. This led me to start to consider how sexuality could be depicted in an exciting and interesting way while still remaining “Art” with a capital “A”  (with a bunch of critics nodding, stroking their chins and making thoughtful, insightful comments.)

When I moved away from home and was able to explore my sexuality more freely, I started looking around at the porn out there. Surprise surprise, most of it was absolute crap. Yet a lot of it was still arousing in some way. Porn became tied up with my own sexual awakening, as my use of it came not long after my discovery of orgasm and helped me tap deeper into my own erotic imagination.

It was about this point that I came across Violet Blue and her sex positive, porn positive attitude. I read “The Smart Girl’s Guide to Porn” and while it didn’t really say anything I hadn’t already started to feel myself, it helped me understand something – that as a feminist woman, I can enjoy porn and that’s OK. As a matter of fact, I have a right to enjoy it. Yes porn tends to exploit woman but that’s because porn currently tends to aim itself at a very simplistic idea of a male audience. By allowing myself to consume porn, I also become a customer who creates a new kind of market. At least, that’s my idealistic dream. I have a lot of those.

Then I read Alan Moore’s Bog Venus and Nazi Cock-Ring and this was what really tipped the scales for me. Fuck, I love Alan Moore. He’s so sexy with anarchistic, bearded, comic book writing ways. Let’s quote him directly.

“With the guilty and embarrassed tone thus set for the impending reign of Queen Victoria, we find pornography in the condition that has by and large defined it ever since: a wretched ghetto with which no respected artist would desire to be associated, and which therefore rapidly becomes the province of those with no literary or artistic leanings whatsoever. The once rich erotic landscape was effectively deserted by the genuinely talented. It turned eventually into a genre that not only had no standards but also appeared to think it had no need of them”
Alan Moore, Bog Venus Vs. Nazi Cock Ring, 2006.

Ok, so the essay isn’t flawless, some of the opinions are extreme and I don’t agree with everything Moore says, but it inspired me nevertheless. Here is the conclusion I came to:

Porn is not bad because of some property inherent to it. Porn is bad because of our defective attitudes towards sexuality, women, gender and so forth. Because we see sexuality as despicable and base, we see the people who create consumable sexual products as immoral and bad… so it can be something of a self fulfilling prophecy.

In conclusion… sort of?

As attitudes towards sex change (painfully slowly) for the better, so they do with porn. A couple of producers of porn with a conscience the likes of Tony Comstock, Feck, NoFauxx etc are arising. Sexually explicit, yet beautifully constructed comics such as Alan Moore’s Lost Girls are shining examples of sex treated openly, excitingly, differently… most importantly, thoughtfully, as serious subject matter.

So what I did by joining a company that makes porn was test myself, test my notion that porn can be ethical, empowering, all those happy things. I contributed and continue to contribute my own material as a test to myself.

So far I don’t felt exploited, instead I feel excited and dream more strongly about someday creating my own independent pornography that works exactly how I want it to and depicts the kind of fantasies -I- have. I feel excited in the same way I get excited about making art, except this is even better because maybe, just maybe, someday I will make art so good that people come all over it.

Edit: For a bit more insight into this, you can read my interview with the excellent Gore-Gore Girl here.

Advertisements

8 Comments so far
Leave a comment

This blog is already filled with well-thought-out, rational opinion-provokers and engaging personal stories, and yet you’re only just scratching the surface. I’m looking forward to delving deeper with you and discovering just how big and potentially overwhelming this submerged iceberg (of sex) truly is.

Comment by Lus

Thanks for the comment, ayyy!

I hope to discuss these things in more depth as I become more comfortable writing about them. Though I’m obviously no expert myself!

Comment by Nio

Agreed. The idea of any genre being inherently flawed or incapable of achieving real Art is pretty naive. I mean, I hate Westerns with a passion, but I still love Unforgiven. This becomes more true when the genre itself is so wide in its scope. When you actually spell out the argument, “No film/book/etc driven by sex can amount to much,” the absurdity of it is immediately clear, and it’s obvious that the question it raises (Why?) doesn’t have an answer.

Comment by Wes

Sexual art has to be talented and emotionally intelligent and feel good. Starting with a respect simply for the subject matter of sex without any art and then celebrating that with artistic expression, effort and talent. Dirty dancing is a sexually inspired film and a favourite of one of my friends. If it had scenes of sexual fulfilment with Patrick Swayze on a DVD that let you watch the movie without them or with them or those scenes by themselves that would be something that would outsell most the vampire stuff around at the moment. I use the movie Dirty dancing as an example of something your probly not into, to illustrate that from the erotic to scenes of sexual fulfilment the market is so diverse and much bigger than the narrow focus associated with the “porn” of nutjob males :)

Comment by Jake

Sex has so much that it can offer art…artists explore every other facet of humanity – why should this one almost random interaction be considered any different?

I’m so pleased you’re starting this blog miss, especially now. I’m going though my own redefinition of a few things in my life and my sex life and issues and thoughts surrounding sex and relationships is something i’ve found a new interest in.
So yey for your timing!

Comment by Oz

That last line was amazing. I think I might steal it and slip it into conversation one day “I want to make art so good people come all over it.” My god that’s genius.

Also, I want to work for Feck??? I don’t suppose they are looking for editors?

Comment by Olga Wolstenholme

Hahaha, thankyou! To be perfectly honest… I was rather proud of that line so I’m glad someone noticed it!

I don’t think Feck are looking for editors, but I’ll let you know if they ever are?!!

Comment by Nio

I like pointing out good lines, or specific examples of what was especially good. I like it when people are more specific in their comments or compliments. Although…any comment is pretty much awesome regardless.

Comment by Olga Wolstenholme




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s



%d bloggers like this: