Feminist Porn and Female Customers at AVN and XBiz

xbizThe two big adult industry shows, AVN and XBiz, have just concluded. This year saw a first-time focus on feminist porn and an ongoing focus on women as consumers. I discussed the feminist porn panel at AVN in this post but I thought I’d do a second write up following XBiz.

The latter convention seems to be a bit less “circus-y” and more inclusive of different types of porn/delivery methods. They certainly made an effort to take feminist porn seriously this year with their own specialist panel on the topic featuring Jiz Lee, Courtney Trouble, Lynn Comelia and Jackie Strano, moderated by academic Constance Penley. Carol Queel was tweeting the panel, here’s a couple:

 

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Jiz Lee was also part of a panel called “Porn Disrupted: The Politics of Changing Sexual Attitudes” which featured Shine Louise Houston among others, talking about “real world sex vs. perceptions created by porn.”

Xbiz also had the first ever Feminist Porn Release of the Year award in 2014 although there was no information given as to what criteria was used to judge the contenders. The nominees were:

The award went to Occupied by Shine Louise Houston. It’s an interesting choice – the only short film amid some serious heavyweight, major studio titles. I wrote a review here. Shine’s site Crash Pad Series also won Specialty Site of the Year.

Fave feminist sex toy retailer Good Vibrations also picked up Progressive Retailer of the Year. The full list of winners is here.

Xbiz provided a wrap-up of what it considered to be the most interesting panels held this year and lauded the keynote speech given by New Sensations founder Scott Taylor. New Sensations was the company that first started marketing romance titles in 2010 with an eye on female consumers.

“People want to consume the right content.” As an example he cited his successful Romance Series.

“Do not lose sight of the man: he is your customer. But so is the woman. A woman’s attitude toward sex is changing. Movies,” he stressed, “have to speak to both.”

Emphasizing the importance of innovation, he gave props to audience member Will Ryder for thinking outside the box and creating the lucrative parody craze. He stressed the importance of story films—besides their appeal to women, piracy sites concentrate on individual scenes, not (as yet) features.

I guess this sums up where the mainstream industry is at at the moment: they see female customers as a secondary source of income and they think the way to appeal to all women is with “story”.

It seems porn performer Stoya may have something to say about that. An interview with Cosmopolitan, held during AVN, features this comment:

We talk about the rise in female viewership, about whether women lean one way or another. To be clear, I have not come to the Hard Rock Hotel to tell Stoya that all women want to watch the same kind of sex. But it’s day four of the expo, and everyone’s a little testy. “The concept of porn for women drives me insane,” she says. “It’s like, ‘We made porn for women because you’re all exactly the same and want the same things.’ The concept of feminist porn as well. Feminism can be great, can be horrible. … I’m just so offended by the whole idea of catering it toward women.”

Stoya’s anger is misplaced. Seems to be a common misconception in the mainstream industry that feminist porn = dictating “what women want”. And then there’s assuming that “porn for women” only equals what the major studios put out as “porn for women”.

But really, Stoya, you’re offended by “the whole idea of catering it toward women”? You think it’s offensive when people realize that not just men watch porn? You have a problem with trying to make the female viewers of porn happy by including female pleasure or female fantasies? That’s offensive to you?

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