Porn for Women who love Women… for more info call Steve.

When I first started sharing with friends my desire to do porn, I heard the same concern come up over and over again. No… it wasn’t “What will you do if your parents find out?” And no, it wasn’t the quintessential “What if you decided you wanted to run for office?”

It wasn’t either of the two questions above, because these were queer friends, and they had specific concerns, namely:
“What if some straight guy ends up jacking off to it?”

My short answer: So what?
The start of a longer version: How could bringing pleasure to anyone, regardless of age, race, gender, be a bad thing? If someone finds it erotic and gets off to it, I’d be glad. If it altered someone’s stereotypes about what queer sex was like, all the power to them! If after they watched it they saw ‘lesbian’ sex as something passionate, intense, and real — and this validated their choices to treat queers as equals, good! If it changed their mind about female sexuality and expanded their notions about what the female body is capable of, yes! If by watching it they began to see gender as a lifestyle, a fluid notion, and they realized that they can’t judge someone by anatomy or sexual actions, please! If they resonated with what they saw and were able to internalize feelings of desire, or came to terms with their sexual identities within the rigid definition of the masculine and that made them a more receptive person, by all means, watch! Enjoy! Come! (or not!) The irony is that even buying the DVD supports queers. Money talks. Think about it. Let’s inform the people with the pocket books, share our own wealth to nurture what we love, support those around us, and make the world better place. [For you and me.]

But Really: “What if some straight guy ends up jacking off to it?”

No doubt many of you reading this are that ‘guy’… or have been perceived and even judged for the thought of being ‘him’. The defining characteristics of this man isn’t always the same — whether he’s a “creepy old guy” or a “dude”, or an “old white guy” (calling attention to race, when it was perhaps assumed in the previous examples).

This is not a new topic. In fact one of my favorite books by Sex Blogger Audacia Ray called Naked on the Internet talks a little about the fear and she herself even posted a blog (link broken) about the “Creepy Dudes” phenomenon about a year ago that is still as fresh in its issue though it is buried in archives. It’s worth a look, particularly the comment thread which includes discussion from writer ThomasRoche, (link broken) and pornographer Tony Comstock (here’s a good resource for anyone looking for porn that includes straight couples in a loving formula). Both older straight white men who incidentally KICK ASS.

Despite the specifics of this male gaze, the implication is thus: What if I am in danger of being exploited?

Just last week, the subject [sorta] came up again when my friend Richard (of the awesomeness that is Fem.Men.ist) posted his review of the 2006 Feminist Porn Award Winning film The Crash Pad, which was Shine Louise Houston’s first film. The Crash Pad is often people’s introduction to Pink & White Productions;  traveling mostly word of mouth similar to the symbolic key in the plot line, it has reached an unknown number of people who find their hearts opened to the idea of porn as a hot and celebratory experience. Even a corrective experience, as Richard so deftly put it. A beautiful interaction soon followed by comments from his readers, who are among some of the most intelligent and considerate voices I’ve read in a long time.

One idea has left me to muse… What are the new queer spaces and when is it appropriate to share our words or images within a space that places no boundaries? I say, bluntly: anytime we fucking feel like it. Heterosexual pornographers have long had the privilege of distributing their work to whomever was curious enough to pull out their charge card. Why do we queers second-guess our intentions, limit the breadth of our distribution, and reject opportunities that have the potential to propel marginalized experiences into mainstream understanding? If we don’t make our own images, we’re granting others the power to make those images for us, often with the stereotypes that can fail to represent an authentic experience. Is this exploitation and isn’t fear of exploitation the reason many of us choose not to become involved with pornography? What if it possible to exploit oneself for noble purposes? Merriam-Webster defines an exploit as a deed or heroic act. And in the transitive verb usage, “exploit” actually has two definitions: the first of which is to make productive use of, the second; to make use of meanly or unfairly for one’s own advantage. Is pornography inherently exploitative? What of Feminst Porn can be applied to issues of queers and women/transpeople of color?

I witness production companies marketing to a broadening notion of queer female sexuality. One series directed by a man markets itself as porn for women who love women. Regardless of the composition of their production crew, this common phrase speaks to a particular audience. Your guess is as good as mine if that audience includes you.

Why does this particular ‘By women for women’ or “By Lesbians for Lesbians” phrase intrigue me so much? Well, I’m not a ‘woman’. (I identify as genderqueer and I’m opposed to cisexual logic, even when I hear myself subscribing to it. What is a Man and What is a Woman? (link broken) What is undefined?)  I’ve never considered the sex I have to be gendered per se. And yet… I have an unmistakeably female body, especially when buttnaked. So if a reviewer, be they straight, dyke, or any other identity calls me a ‘woman’ and the porn I do for women who love women… what of that? This is where language gets tricky. Queer eras and echelons overlap. The same language that helps us shift through a million hegemonically minded titles to get to the handful of these with which we resonate is the very generalization of definitions and categories from which we work hard to be free.

Recently my bio was put up on HotMoviesForHer.com, a VOD site that is one of the most queer friendly on the market to date. For example, their theater is defined by: Hetero, Lesbian, Queer, and Gay. For my bio, there were gender choices: Female, Male, Transsexual. When I decided not to pick any of these labels, I was assigned a curiously perfect default: UNKNOWN.

3 Comments

  • richard

    WOW JIZ!! This is an incredible piece of writing, i hope it gets cited in someones dissertation or something! i thought you covered the spectrum of the male gaze in this context in ways that spoke well to questions of affinity (and correctivity!) and questions of (creepy) concern. your egalitarian approach, and mission to transcend marginilizing boundaries of queer images is inspirational. How exactly that is inspiring *me*, is still formulating…! But thank you so much. And.. happy holidays!!

    ps gonna go link you up in the review thread!

  • kat

    thanks for the forth-gushing inspired thinking. Nice to see ¥ou again
    will check back for further musings.

    kat eiswald

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