Something Better: Performers Talk About Feminism And Porn

In January I decided to throw together a mini doco that featured the performers from Bright Desire talking about feminism and their work in porn. I originally decided to do this as a promotion video for the site because it was the sort of thing that is “safe” to put on Youtube (this was before Youtube summarily deleted my whole account in February). Things didn’t go quite as planned; the video expanded well beyond its small promo boundaries and turned into a ten minute, serious-sounding documentary film. I also included snippets from each performer’s scene which made it distinctly un-Youtube-friendly.

So I did two things. Firstly, I put it up inside the member’s area of Bright Desire. And secondly I submitted it to the Feminist Porn Awards. I’d already sent in four other entries, this was an afterthought.

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This meant I was really surprised to discover that the film had been given an Honorable Mention award at the ceremony in Toronto. I wasn’t expecting this little film to do so well, though I’m very glad it has.

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Now I’ve finally got around to re-editing a version that IS Youtube – or Vimeo- Friendly. And here it is. I had to swap out all the rude bits and I’ve also cut it down for length… and also to encourage you to join Bright Desire and see the full, dirty thing.

The film is made up of excerpts from the interviews I usually do after a shoot. If you’ve seen behind-the-scenes interviews in mainstream porn, you’ll know these can be rather shallow in nature (“Hi, I’m Mandy and I’m having my hair done now and I’m going to be blowing Jack today”). My aim is to show how smart my performers really are and one way to do it is to ask them if they identify as feminist. It always results in an interesting answer.

Every single performer I’ve worked with has been smart, confident of their choices and open about their sexuality. The interviews on the site help to give the viewer a glimpse of the person who they’ve just been admiring sexually. If “objectification” in porn is a concern, interviews help to overcome that problem.

I think this film is a useful tool in the ongoing fight for respect for porn performers and sex workers. It also gives an insight into feminist porn and shows just how central performers are to the movement and genre.

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