The Feminist Porn Book: The Politics of Producing Pleasure
edited by Tristan Taormino, Constance Penley, Celine Parreñas Shimizu, and Mireille Miller-Young
genre: non-fiction, psychology, sexology, journalism, human sexuality
There were so many great essays in here, but I found some repetitive. Find out why I gave it 4 out of 5 stars!
(Taken from Goodreads)
The Feminist Porn Book brings together for the first time writings by feminists in the adult industry and research by feminist porn scholars. This book investigates not only how feminists understand pornography, but also how feminists do porn—that is, direct, act in, produce, and consume one of the world’s most lucrative and growing industries. With original contributions by Susie Bright, Candida Royalle, Betty Dodson, Nina Hartley, Buck Angel, and more, The Feminist Porn Book updates the debates of the porn wars of the 1980s, which sharply divided the women’s movement, and identifies pornography as a form of expression and labor in which women and other minorities produce power and pleasure.
I was excited to read this book because I wanted to hear the debate about pornography from an open perspective that would talk about the issues on both sides. Unfortunately, this book isn’t so much about the debate about pornography, but more about feminist pornography. Although the book talks about how feminist pornography differs for some, it is more or less ethically produced pornography that emphasises genuine sexual pleasure on screen (particularly the womans and other oppressed sexual minorities). I had heard about feminist pornography and this book really filled me in on the history and big debates in the field. For that, I found it fascinating, but I also wish there was more talk about mainstream pornography.
My favourite essays were from porn-stars-turned-directors and a psychologist. It helped me work through ingrained beliefs I didn’t believe I had. For example, that female sex workers are always victims or have somehow been ‘damaged’. Even though there is most definitely exploited women in pornography, there are also women (hopefully not a small minority) that genuinely love what they do and have not experienced any kind of trauma in their upbringing. Even though I had accepted that idea, I hadn’t really processed it as well until I read some of these essays. As a psychology student, I really enjoyed the essay from the psychologist and learning how pornography was able to help her clients through their identity and self-esteem troubles. It was an eye-opener because I had never considered pornography as a possible tool for counselling.