The objective of this piece is to find out whether it is possible to find pornography that is filmed with gender perspective. Is pornography just a patriarchal entity, and should it be abolished as well? Or is there any other way?

Pornography has been traditionally targeted by feminism because of its portrayal of women. The vast majority of the pornographic content we are offered has a very “masculine” imprint – if not downright sexist. In fact, the vast majority of pornography was made by men and for men. It only makes sense, then, that the vast majority of women are not interested in pornography. Or maybe they are interested, but cannot find compelling material – a representation they can feel identified with.

Throughout history, pornography has been deemed an agent of patriarchy by almost all branches of feminism. One of the first activists to question the consumption of the feminine body image by men was Emma Goldman, a feminist-anarchist who became very popular after emigrating to the United States in 1885. Goldman was adamant: the female body, and therefore the female subject, should not be considered a sexual commodity. In this regard, the feminist movement is divided into two branches – the ones that are against pornography and all kinds of sex work, and the ones that not only tolerate it but also claim the right to embrace it professionally.

The issue of sex work is much more complex, and it definitely exceeds the purposes of this piece.

According to Esquire magazine, this is what the porn market left in terms of figures during 2019. “The U.S. was the biggest consumer of porn in the world, according to Pornhub, with Americans spending an average of 10 min and 37 seconds on the site per visit, up four seconds from last year. American women made up 27 percent of Pornhub traffic, which was below the worldwide average of 29 percent. “Fortnite” was a top trending search for men and women, and Stormy Daniels was the most searched for porn star for women. In general, women’s favorite search term in 2018 was “lesbian,” and men’s was “Japanese.”” If we take a closer look at these numbers, at least two conclusions are to be drawn. Firstly that, in the porn lore, pop culture has a big penetration (all puns intended). Secondly, that most women opt for non heterosexual porn genres. This second conclusion is crucial to our discussion.

Let’s break mainstream pornography down. What do we usually see? A standard porn scene does not include legitimate female orgasms, and 99% of the times oral sex is performed on a male by a female. Women are often forced into sex, or plainly raped – if not gang-raped. The female point of view is absolutely under represented. The pornography that takes into account what women actually want, the one that does not acknowledge them as mere objects with orifices…is absolutely scarce, although not unheard of.

The inception of the female’s misadventures in pornography has a lot to do with another taboo: the one of female masturbation. Virgine Despentes wrote King Kong Theory in 2006, a book that has achieved the status of feminist manifesto. Despentes, a former porn industry worker herself, addresses the subject: “Not so long ago, the female orgasm was unthinkable. Colloquial speech picks it up around the 1970s. Men have confiscated it – women can only achieve pleasure through men. Female masturbation remains, to our days, an object of contempt”. If female orgasm is to be underestimated, what place can there be for feminist pornography? The consequences are there to be seen.

There is a strong relationship between mainstream pornography and violence against women. The vast majority of pornographic materials only reproduce sexist stereotypes, sending messages of plain objectification via sub-genres such as gang-bang or group rape. When we learn that this is the only sex education most little boys get, we understand we are in trouble.

The term feminist pornography refers to adult productions that actually take the person’s feelings into account and respect their identity as a whole. This does not make said productions exclusive for women, nor “soft” or “romantic”. As Wikipedia would put it,

“Feminist pornography is a genre of film developed by or for those dedicated to gender equality. It was created for the purposes of encouraging women in their pursuit of freedom through sexuality, equality, and pleasure.”

Nothing more and nothing less.


I know what you must be thinking right now: “Where do I find this kind of content, in case it exists altogether?”. Well, here’s a quick curated list for you, my fellow skeptic:

XConfessions:
EroticFilms.com
Four Chambers:
PinkLabel.tv
Bright desire:
JoyBear
Lightsouthern Cinema

Now, let’s go back to the proverbial question: can porn be educational? Or, to that effect, should it be? I know what I said only two or three paragraphs ago – that porn has been linked to violence against women, and that it is all the “sex education” many little boys and teenagers ever get. However, sex ed – and all things health, for that matter – is a very serious subject that should be taught both at school and at home.
The porn workers have been struggling with the same issues for decades. The industry claims that condoms and safety “are not exciting”, and keeps producing plots where sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are not a concern. In the meantime, actors endure health hazards and consumers get a dangerous message.


On the other hand, if porn were to convey a health-concerned message, porn artists should have to wear protection. And by “protection” I do not only mean just condoms – performers should have to wear dental dams and even googles. Can you picture such a scenario? Could porn present those elements and still remain erotic or exciting? That’s a creative challenge.
Pornography can be illustrative. It can enhance our fantasies and inspire us to explore different things. That is sex education, of course. It also has the potential to teach us to love ourselves and respect others. But when it comes to public health matters, the porn industry cannot be the solely educator.

Like all forms of culture, the porn industry is a byproduct of a particular time and place in history – a social byproduct. Feminist pornography is just another milestone reflecting the current state of affairs in the feminist cause.
Art, media and pop culture are a reflection of our common practices. If our society is disrespectful of women and minorities, porn is bound to reflect those injustices too. We cannot ask the porn industry to change the world – but we do expect it not to cause any more harm. Porn should never be kid’s sole source of sexual information, but it should not teach them nocive habits either.
In times when previously considered “natural” inequalities are being put into question, all forms of culture must adapt. Pornography is no exception.