feminist porn directors

Feminist Porn Directors – What Are They Doing Differently?

*As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. We also earn from other affiliate programs. The price to you remains the same in all cases.

Feminism and porn have had a bit of a rocky relationship. 

equal rights feminist porn
Can porn be feminist? The short answer is YES!

Since the beginning of the feminist movement, there’s been debate about the place that porn has in a more equal society. As a result of that debate, there has been a real rise in porn that is not necessarily cis-male-focused.

One of the biggest differences is the safety of performers – feminist porn being done in a way that empowers and protects the performers. There’s also emphasis on fair pay!

In this article, I’m going to explore who the main feminist porn directors are and what they are doing to create porn that is exciting and guilt-free to watch.

Feminist Porn Directors are focused on creating porn that is not necessarily cis-male-focused, ethically created and representative of the diversity of our world.

Who are the feminist porn directors we should pay attention to?

Erika Lust

Lust is one of the most important names in feminist porn circles not only for movies she created, but for her role in advancing the rights of porn performers. In fact, she is a pioneer in creating a work environment that follows strong ethical processes and ensures that all performers are fairly paid and feel safe regardless of their gender. She also considers porn as an educational tool that can help people understand their sexuality and gender role. Most of her porn work is produced by her production companies, including XConfessions and Lust Cinema. 

Erika Lust - feminist porn director
Erika Lust – image by Fabrizia, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Candida Royalle

The late Candida Royalle (1950-2015) is one of the early pioneers of the shift towards Feminist Porn. She recognised that mainstream porn’s main aim was to get to the ‘cum-shot’ – the scene where the male performer ejaculates. It was clear to her that women and couples were not enjoying that type of porn. In response to filling the void, she began creating porn aimed at couples and women in 1984. Her contribution to porn paved the way for many of the directors we see now, who continues to rewrite the history of porn.

Petra Joy

Joy is one of the many directors inspired by (the late) Royalle’s work. She began creating “porn from a female perspective” in 2004. Joy says that ‘porn is political’ and it is part of her job to facilitate change in society. After retiring from porn film-production, she is still involved in the industry by curating the content in her Create Joy website – dedicated to independent porn.  

Cindy Gallop | Make Love Not Porn

Gallop is not exactly a porn director, but her pioneer work in what she calls ‘social sex’ deserves to be celebrated. In response to ‘unrealistic’ porn that is widely available on the internet, Gallop launched Make Love Not Porn (MLNP) in 2009. The platform offers user-generated content where people upload videos of themselves having ‘real-life’ sex. Viewers can rent these videos and enjoy some adult content created by ‘real’ people. Performers get half of the proceedings from their videos. According to the website, MLNP is pro-sex, pro-porn and pro-knowing the difference. The authenticity of MLNP videos are a refreshing new direction in the adult industry. 

Cindy Gallop - Richter Frank-Jurgen, CC BY-SA 2.0 creative commons
Cindy Gallop – Image by Richter Frank-Jurgen, CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Morgana Muses

Muses is a personal favourite of mine, due to her remarkable life trajectory – which inspired the feature documentary Morgana. Muses was a suicidal housewife who became a feminist porn star and director. Watching the documentary will give you some real insights into the world of feminist porn and how important it is.

Ms Naughty | Bright Desire

Ms Naughty is the feminist porn filmmaker behind Bright Desire, a membership platform that aims to show sex is in a positive, fun and intimate way. Ms Naughty stays away from ‘tired misogynistic cliches’ and makes sure performers are part of the creative process According to her, performers have all been active participants in the setup of the scene and they get to decide what sex they have, how and when. 

Isn’t Porn Inherently Sexist?

One of the main arguments that are brought out against porn is that it is sexist and will only serve to ingrain misogynist ideas further. Early feminist were split on this topic in a way that wasn’t seen in other areas of sexual liberation.

Two big arguments are still repeated by anyone who wants to argue against porn. The first is that any porn consumption can alter the way that people treat women. Therefore, it essentially turns them into misogynists.

There has been a fair amount of research on this topic, and it’s quite a relief to discover that for the majority of people, this argument is unfounded. In fact, most porn superfans hold a lot of feminist ideals.

queer friendly feminist porn directors
Feminist porn is becoming increasingly queer-friendly

The other argument is that porn is sexist because of how the industry treats cis women, trans and non-binary people. While there is some truth in this argument, it is a safe bet to say that this is a problem across many industries – not exclusive to porn.

You can – and should – make porn without exploiting people. This is where feminist porn comes in – it is committed to doing exactly that!

What is Feminist Porn?

Feminist porn is porn created by directors and companies who want to develop erotic materials that are guilt-free to consume. They treat their employees fairly and keep their safety at the forefront of what they do.

Not only do they consider their performers, but the viewers are kept in mind.

Feminist pornography is much more diverse, not only in terms of casting but also target audience. They are creating material to appeal to a much wider audience, not simply white cis males.

diversity feminist porn performers
Feminist porn is body-positive and much more diverse than mainstream porn

Feminist porn is becoming increasingly a body-positive place – where you see performers with different body appearances – and queer-friendly! Feminist porn is shifting away from a ‘women’s centered space’ to become much more inclusive.

It is easy to see that these movies have not been made for cis-males only!

How is Feminist Porn Any Different From Mainstream Porn?

The focus of more cis-male-oriented porn is the ‘money shot’. It’s about male pleasure, and it’s not uncommon for women to be treated as little more than objects. But feminist porn directors are flipping the script. They are shifting the focus to pleasure experienced by non-cis- males. 

However, while feminist porn may be shifting to focus, it’s not necessarily at the expense of men. The aim is to create a sex-positive catalogue of exciting media that has something for everyone. One of the best examples of this being put into practice is MakeLoveNotPorn – the brainchild of Cindy Gallop. 

What Work Goes On Behind The Scenes? 

There are a few key tenants that are followed in the creation of ethical feminist porn. They are consent, clear expectations, and safety. This basically boils down to the fact that feminist porn directors are communicating clearly with their performers and giving them all the information they need to consent to the work they’ll be doing properly.

The performers won’t suddenly find themselves being pressured to do something that wasn’t in the script on the sets of these productions. They can also expect to be listened to. If a performer says stop, everything stops.

feminist porn performers
There is great emphasis on consent and safety of feminist pornographers

A great introduction to the behind the scenes of feminist porn is the story of Morgana Muses. Watching the documentary will give you some real insights into the world of feminist porn and how important it is.

Can you find free feminist porn movies?

Yes, I get it. The internet is full of free porn. So, why should I pay for porn?

If you want to consume feminist porn that is made ethically, you are likely going to have to pay for it. 

I understand this can feel like a pointless choice when there is so much free porn on the internet. However, if you want to see porn that is more representative, created by performers who are treated fairly and shows more points of view, you need to start paying for porn.

‘Free porn’ still has to generate revenue. This is usually done through adverts, which are likely to be hiding malware and viruses. While revenue is being generated, it’s a safe bet that little of that is going to the performers. So all told, there is a price to be paid for this porn. It’s just possibly not a price you’ll want to think about too much.

It’s only by supporting the media that we like that we’ll see more of it. So if you want more ethically produced, inclusive porn, then you’ll have to open up your wallet and put your money where your mouth is. 

The good news is that there are many free trailers and short ‘sneak peaks’ accessible for free, so you can have a good idea of what the content is like before paying for an entire movie. 

ethical porn directors need to be paid fairly
Payment is an important component of feminist porn’s fight against exploitation

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the difference between Feminist Porn, Ethical Porn, and Female Friendly Porn?

With so many different flavours of porn, it’s easy to lose the distinctions between them, so if you’re confused, don’t worry about it. Here’s the main difference between these related but different genres.

Female Friendly porn is porn that is tailored to appeal to women, usually straight women. It is generally softer, with more focus on kissing and foreplay.

Ethical porn is focused on the conditions for those involved in the process. The aim is that all the performers and crew are treated well, are fairly paid, and are not pressured into doing things they didn’t sign up for or that they aren’t comfortable with.

Feminist porn take both of these positions and then takes them further. In addition, feminist porn usually has a more diverse range of performers and aims to have broader appeal.

What do women want from their porn?

Honestly, women want the same thing that men do. They want to be excited, and they want to find pleasure.

However, the things that will help women get there do tend to be different. Statistics from large aggregate sites suggest that women tend to prefer more diverse sexual scenarios than men. Women are much more likely to be interested in watching gay sex, with a wider combination of participants.

While women may like to have some of the softer aspects of sex included in their porn, they still want the explicit bits. They are usually interested in porn that shows all participants enjoying themselves.

How can I learn more about combining feminism and sex?

If you feel like you want to educate yourself about inclusivity, feminism, and sex, you might want to look at the media being produced by Tristan Taormino. Tristan makes a lot of sexual education materials and has a fascinating point of view. A great place to start is with Sex Out Loud. It’s a podcast hosted by Tristain that explores a wide range of topics.

Top Picks

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *