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Girls on Film: The 2009 Feminist Porn Awards

Posted by Chandra Menard / April 21, 2009

Courtney TroubleThis week, my search for noteworthy local film events took me to Good For Her, a cozy little female-oriented sex shop on Harbord - and producers of the 4th annual Feminist Porn Awards. The two-day celebration of erotic film kicks off this Friday with an awards show at the Berkeley Church, followed by a panel discussion and clip screening at the Royal Theatre on Saturday night.

I asked Good For Her's Alison Lee, Feminist Porn Awards organizer, what is planned for this year's event and for a quick rundown of who's who in the world of feminist porn.

This is the 4th time Good for Her has put on this event. Did you organize the previous Feminist Porn Awards?

I organized the 2008 Awards as well as this year. 2006 and 2007 were organized by the previous manager of Good For Her, Chanelle Gallant.

What goes on at the awards show? If it had to be rated, would it be more of an "R", an "X", or a "XXX" event?

The awards show is really fun, and really celebratory, and really grassroots. This year, we are having Raging Asian Women (RAW) open the awards with their sexy and powerful drumming, and Coco La Creme and Daddy K and the Rhythm Method and Boylesque Toronto will all be there to keep the crowd entertained. We present awards with (mostly) local sexy people (writers, educators, filmmakers and more) as presenters, and we show clips from the winning movies. I would say it's more like an NC-17 rating, more dirty than an R but not quite an X (usually! There are a few exceptions that are a bit more saucy!)

Can you list a few examples of some of the award categories?

The Awards categories that we have this year include Hottest Straight Movie, Steamiest Educational Series, Most Deliciously Diverse Cast, and Movie of the Year. There are 12 Categories in all (as well as Honourable Mentions)

Aside from the lack of phony cosmetic enhancements, and that the nominees are all female initiated projects, what are other characteristics of feminist porn?

The most dominant characteristic that I see in feminist porn is the notion of consent and agency. The people on the screen may be acting in ways that are very raunchy (or very soft) but the idea of the performer's desire is made really clear. I think by the very nature that these filmmakers are making movies with female viewers in mind also means that they are taking risks in a very male-dominated industry. That may mean working independently, and it also means adding feminist flair to the mainstream. A lot of people assume that feminist porn is going to be like a Harlequin novel come to life. Sometimes that is true, but it can also be really kinky and edgy, and somewhere in between. Feminist porn is about exploring desire and fantasy from a woman's perspective, and those perspectives are as diverse as women themselves!

Who are the major artists or filmmakers working in this genre, and what kind of work do they do?
Madison Young

In the industry as a whole, here are some of the biggest names:

Candida Royalle: arguably the Fairy Godmother of feminist porn. Starting making erotic movies for women in the early 1980's.

Tristan Taormino: Writer, sex educator, and director. Has been working for Vivid, one of the biggest porn studios around making raunchy movies as well as educational titles that seek to include women both as performers and viewers.

Anna Span: Makes rather filthy movies! She is from Britain.

Erika Lust: Made the instant classic "Five Hot Stories for Her". Also wrote a book called "Porn For Women" and runs a fab blog at lustfilms.com

Madison Young: Going to be at this year's awards! Is a writer, director and performer as well as the owner of a feminist art gallery in San Francisco. Madison is notable as she is both behind and in front of the camera as well as being very very very kinky!

Shine Louise Houston: One of my very favourite directors. She makes queer porn that is beautiful to look at and quite intense to watch. Hot people with real bodies, and a lot of the people she works with are couples in real life, making the chemistry between the performers that much hotter. Shine is a truly revolutionary director!

These are some of the biggest names right now, but there are a lot of people who are doing amazing things!


Alison also lent me a stack of porn to preview and this year's contenders are all over the map - from the very soft and straight Man of My Dreams, where viewers can choose-their-own-adventure with a fireman, policeman, or even the neighbourhood dog walker, to Maria Beatty's plotless, subversive and very painful-looking Skateboard Kink Freak.

If slapping and suspension are your scene, you will fall in love with Madison Young. The 28 year-old from San Francisco writes, directs, and stars in Tail of a Bondage Model: Real Life Memoirs of a Rope Slut. The film centers on the kinky redhead, a jet-setting model and aspiring writer, struggling to hold on to her new girlfriend while juggling a busy work schedule.

Also well crafted, Champion, Shine Louise Houston's film about an MMA fighter and her various romances. Out of the fighting ring, Jesse has to deal with a lingering ex, an ambitious manager, a lifelong enemy, a one night stand with Madison Young, and a crush on her final opponent.

The 2009 Feminist Porn Awards will take place on Friday, April 24th at the Berkeley Church (315 Queen Street East), followed by Feisty Feminist Porn on The Big Screen on Saturday, April 25th at the Royal Theatre (608 College Street). Tickets $12-$18 at Good for Her or online. Photos of Courtney Trouble and Madison Young courtesy of Good For Her.



Born&RaisedInTO / April 21, 2009 at 11:17 am
There's nothing sexier than self-confident, intelligent women trying to change the "Boys Club" of an industry. Congrats to all the nominees and upcoming award winners!
ddt / April 21, 2009 at 12:14 pm
Now this is what i call feminism.....girls objectifying girls for the male gaze :) :) :)
Gloria replying to a comment from ddt / April 21, 2009 at 01:04 pm
I'd call them "women." And apparently, women watch porn too!
ddt replying to a comment from ddt / April 21, 2009 at 01:39 pm
yes,lol.i'm sure they do Gloria....but it's funny to now see women advocating proper uses of "porn"...you see i went to university during the 80's when feminism ruled or muscled it's way into fine arts departments around the country....everything was "derogatory " and about "the objectification of the female form for the purpose of pleasuing the patriarchal society"...porn was bad because men liked it, lingerie was bad because men liked it, songs about women were bad if sung by men, earth feminists painted with menstrual blood, it was a nightmare, you were only accepted in art circles as a male if you were a homosexual....so it's now quite funny to see modern or current feminists doing everything that former feminists detested....and chill with the girl/woman thing toots
Gloria replying to a comment from ddt / April 21, 2009 at 02:38 pm
I guess I don't get the joke because a lot of feminists still do all those things. And a lot of the things, if not all, they believed are still true in many cases.

Toots ;-)
ddt replying to a comment from Gloria / April 21, 2009 at 03:28 pm
The joke is....in my opinion, alot of the things once seen as horrid, are now accepted by feminism, in a way deconstructing it, and causing a backlash in the opposite direction, negating alot of the previous doctrine (alot of which i agree with)....i also think that porn is porn, no matter who makes it...it's just the feminist using of the excuse "as long as the woman is empowered...."...which i dont buy....anyway it's a long debate and everyone's right...be well toots;)
conscious / April 21, 2009 at 03:29 pm
Feminist, successful, AND submissive? The more ladies like Madison Young the better this world is.
CH / April 21, 2009 at 04:25 pm
The girl in the photo on top is HOT!
I would totally take her home...and make her some dessert.
ddt replying to a comment from conscious / April 21, 2009 at 05:35 pm
That's what im talkin' bout....feminists that actually use a razor,lol
Louise Lush / April 21, 2009 at 07:48 pm
Thanks ddt for all your lovely old fashioned stereotypes about feminism and false consciousness.

My short film "That's What I Like" was nominated for this year's awards. The idea behind it was to create a porn film that celebrated the choices and tastes of the female star. Mia herself says she's an exhibitionist who chooses to work in adult films and she loves what she does.

I also deliberately made this film with a straight female audience in mind, ignoring all the cliches and conventions of mainstream porn to try and offer a more realistic, authentic and sexy viewing experience.

Feminist porn is about celebrating female pleasure and acknowledging women as creators of porn - and as the audience.
ddt replying to a comment from Louise Lush / April 21, 2009 at 11:17 pm
They aren't stereotypes.....they were the actual teachings that students both male and female paid to listen to back in the day....The roots (if you will) of what you believe now.....good luck with your nomination....it is well desrved......don't get me wrong....although what you are doing is wonderful and current, it does however make all the people that detested the quasi heterophobic nature of 80's feminism laugh...what you are doing is essentially saying that exploitation is cool if a woman does it...whereas, in the 80's all exploitation of the female form was taboo to the academic feminist.....and porn is porn...there is no intelect involved below the belt, which incidentally is the factor that decides it's success.And before you call my view old fashioned, try and choose a better word than "celebrate"- very 80's
ddt replying to a comment from Louise Lush / April 21, 2009 at 11:22 pm
Furthermore,Both Nina Hartley and Annie Sprinkle have travelled your road well before you. So although what you're doing is very original to you and your clique , in actuality it's simply a rehashing of a decade old fashion trend in reality film making....so get off the high horse with the nomination stuff....
Born&RaisedInTO / April 22, 2009 at 04:50 pm
Why can't women (not girls or "toots" - who the f*ck talks like that anymore?!?!?) enjoy porn/erotica without men belittling it? If your significant other is a female, maybe you should grab a beer and sit your ass down to watch a film together sometime...you might even lucky!

My vote for the naming of the 5th annual awards - 2010 Humanist Porn Awards.
Louise Lush / April 22, 2009 at 06:10 pm
ddt, your comments became moot the minute you associated feminism with not shaving.
conscious / April 23, 2009 at 02:13 pm
You can buy any number of books on "quantum healing," not to mention quantum psychology, quantum responsibility, quantum morality, quantum immortality, and quantum theology. I haven't found a book on quantum feminism, quantum financial management, or Afro-quantum theory, but give it time. - Richard Dawkins, Snake Oil And Holy Water

What Mr. Dawkins is saying is that there are many kooks attempting to tie science in with their own ideologies to make them seem more factual. He sure as hell is not saying, "The reason modern feminists are accepting of porn is because feminism is a bunch of nonsense..." but nice try to attempt to tie the two together.

Feminism is a movement of acceptance, equality, and empowerment. If anything it's a study of sociology, and not something you're about to understand by sitting in a lab. So Joe, please never ever cite Richard Dawkins again, because he has nothing to do with what you're saying. And this is coming from a man.
Louise Lush / April 23, 2009 at 09:49 pm
I was going to write a longer comment but instead here's a blog post that sums things up for me: http://www.msnaughty.com/blog/2009/04/24/hey-assholes-weve-heard-all-those-feminist-porn-award-jokes-before/
ddt replying to a comment from Louise Lush / April 24, 2009 at 09:31 am
I do congratulate you Louise on what you've done....and you must admit, feminist or big ole patriarchal pig, porn is better when the "actresses" use a razor...what you've done is indeed informative, but it's nothing new, it's fashionable....One year it's gay life, the next it's "sex in the city" type jenifer anistons, this year its female porn and all the cleverness and societal comment it believes to bring along with it...
Joe / April 28, 2009 at 09:17 pm
"So Joe, please never ever cite Richard Dawkins again, because he has nothing to do with what you're saying. And this is coming from a man."

I was citing Dawkins regarding people take an interest in the theory of evolution, not any personal views he has stated regarding feminism or even his political leanings.

Feminism is an ideology based on the premise that women and men are equal in drives, cognition, sexual behaviour etc.

This ideology is particularly apparent when feminists analyze unequal outcomes between men and women in some aspect of life (lack of women in engineering, top echelons of science faculty, CEO's of corporations etc)and having them automatically assume that this must be due to the male power structure or other such horseshit.

"If anything it's a study of sociology"

That's one of the problems right there. With the exception of a few sociologists, sociology is generally devoid of rigour and contributions from the field of behavioral genetics and non-sociological contributions to behaviour such as exposure (peri-natally through adulthood) to hormones, pathogens, environmental toxins etc (although that may be starting to change: http://chronicle.com/free/v55/i18/18b00601.htm)
conscious / April 29, 2009 at 06:24 pm
You're still trying to push the idea that feminism is invalid because men and women are biologically different? Really...

Joe replying to a comment from conscious / April 30, 2009 at 07:45 am
"You're still trying to push the idea that feminism is invalid because men and women are biologically different?"

Probably because one of the major tenets of feminism has always been that m-f sex differences in aptitudes, drives, cognition etc. are social constructs that can simply be ameliorated via quotas and equal rights laws.
onegirl replying to a comment from Joe / April 30, 2009 at 10:03 am
I don't think you actually understand feminism at all, so before you go off about all the reasons it is invalid, you may want to try to first get an idea of its scope. Lots of info on the internet...

Feminism has been around long enough now that there are many different angles to it. For instance, ddt is right in saying that porn didn't have a place in feminism in the 80's (I sat through lectures on porn in my Women's Studies course that now would sound like some kind of anti-porn propaganda). I remember, maybe 8 years ago, reading about feminist porn and realizing that something I'd been taught was BAD BAD BAD for women was now a form of empowerment.

I am a feminist AND I accept that women and men have a lot of biological differences. What I can't accept is, that those differences justify the imbalance of power that occurs in our society. What I've learned is that no matter what the differences are, they will be used to prop men up and bring women down. So, if a woman is "good with her hands" she should sew and knit or type, but of course, she shouldn't be a surgeon (I'm using an old-fashioned example that hopefully also shows how much feminism has improved the situation). Or, in the case of a rape, the man is unable to control his response because of his instinctual desires, and it must be the fault of the woman, who has enticed him (this argument has been used in court to defend even the rape of a child).

You know, I think a lot of it comes down to choice and privilege. What are your privileges in life, and what kinds of choices does that privilege allow you to make? An awareness of that sort is the first step towards leveling the field.
Aamir Hameed / July 27, 2011 at 08:29 am
Is there any female who would like me to lick her as long as she wants me to???????????????ahameed2000@yahoo.com
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