Porn. Love it or hate it, there’s no getting around the fact that the world is inundated by it. As someone who has dated men ashamed of their porn habits, I have mixed feelings.

One ex would describe the violent, degrading porn he had to watch to get himself off, while claiming he wouldn’t and couldn’t ever do such things to a woman he was in love with. Another turned down sex with me and the 30 minute subway ride it would take to make that happen, opting instead to get his rocks off with porn, courtesy of his virtual reality headset. 

There was also the guy who had to cancel plans because he had been aggressively masturbating to porn all week, to the point where he had given himself some sort of injury that made him incapable of having sex.

Frankly, it kind of grosses me out how normalized porn addiction has gotten and how far removed from the emotional connectedness of sex we as a culture have become. 

Yet, I’m not some religious zealot who thinks sex and by extension porn is sinful, nor am I a Gloria Steinem era feminist, who fails to see the nuance of sex work and declares porn to be inherently exploitative.

Rather, I am a humanist and 4th wave feminist who is disturbed by how extreme and dehumanizing porn has become in recent years, and saddened by the often exploitative nature of the porn industry, which fetishizes youth to a disturbing degree, condones violence against women, and milks adult actors for all they are worth before putting them out to pasture. 

But declaring myself anti-porn is not the answer. It’s here and it’s here to stay. While I personally tend to be more attracted to the spiritual hippie types who abstain from social media and the consumption of porn, I don’t judge those who watch it nor do I think the world would be better off without it. It’s sex education after all.

God knows how poorly our schools have failed us in that arena. It’s also a safe space to explore your sexuality, free from judgment. I’d even go so far as to say it saves lives. Imagine if all the sexually repressed incels of the world were forced to live without it.

There’s no doubt in my mind that we would see an upsurge in violence, be it mass shootings or sexual assaults. 

Hell, at one point I had even enlisted a filmmaker lover of mine to make indie porn with me that focused on the female pleasure. Ultimately, I think that’s my biggest issue with porn. It’s directed and produced by men for men.

Companies have finally caught on to the fact that diversity in leadership not only gets them a PR gold star but actually fosters innovation and breeds superior decision-making. But for how cutting edge the porn industry is when it comes to advances in marketing and technology, it remains behind the times with its boy’s club mentality.

Thankfully though, there are some boss babe pioneers trying to change that.

I watched Hot Girls Wanted: Women in Charge on Netflix and walked away feeling inspired by the three adult filmmakers it followed, all of whom are women who focus on creating content that is empowering to women. See below for the full debrief:

Suze Randall

Suze Randall: The goddess who showed the male-dominated porn industry that women could be babes and bosses. (Photo Source: Amazon)

Suze Randall first broke into the adult entertainment industry in 1970’s England. She was working as a nurse when she met the penniless writer who would later become her husband. To generate extra income, she started doing nude modeling.

As she recalls in Hot Girls Wanted, her early on set experiences were cold and impersonal. All the photographers she worked with were men who had the technical skill set but who lacked the social intelligence to be kind and considerate to their models.

So, she decided to try getting behind the camera and was able to do what her male counterparts could not: make the women she worked with feel comfortable, which in turn, yielded higher quality content. As Suze puts it: “You can take total advantage of the men if you’ve got the balls to do what you want.

To do it better. To do it harder. And you’re also cute. Come on!”

Lillian Müller shot by Suze Randall, 1974. (Photo Source: Live Auctioneers)

In 1975, a model she had discovered and shot named Lillian Müller caught the attention of Playboy founder, Hugh Hefner.

The two were flown out to L.A and when Hugh tried dropping Suze from the project, she replied with: “Well I’ll have to sell my photos to Penthouse then.” This resulted in a job offer from Playboy as their first ever female staff photographer – talk about iconic! After a three year stint there, Suze left to start her own production company.

Her work is known for featuring beautiful women in full-on glam and exquisite costumes. These bells and whistles not only boosted the confidence of her models but resulted in a feminine appeal that female porn viewers went wild for. Suze describes her work as follows: “It’s just like doing ballet.

It’s the movement that goes from your toes to your fingers and everything’s gotta be in alignment. It’s like watching someone do a great dance. It’s beautiful.” 

Holly Randall

Holly Randall: Continuing the family business while creating a legacy of her own. (Photo Source: Wikimedia)

Carrying on her mother’s legacy is Holly Randall. Growing up, her parents didn’t hide what they did for a living but they didn’t shove it in her face either. At the age of 20, she officially joined the family business, building upon her mother’s highly stylized, feminist branding. “I think the most important thing I learned from my mom is how you treat your models, making sure they look and feel beautiful.

All that attention to detail,” says Holly. But the world has changed drastically since her mom burst onto the adult entertainment scene. As Suze puts it: “In my day, we would spend three days on a centerfold.

Today my daughter has to do three centerfolds in a day. That’s a lot of pressure.” 

Name a more iconic mother-daughter duo. I’ll wait. (Photo Source: KCRW Radio Station)

Holly goes on to add that since the dawn of the internet, “Nobody pays for porn anymore.” Porn has become an oversaturated market, making Holly’s high production projects more niche and less in demand than ever before.

This oversaturation has forced pornographers to generate increasingly aggressive and taboo content in order to stand out from the crowd, which in turn, has created a twisted generation of men (and women) who think degrading sex is where it’s at. But Holly is firm with her limits, refusing to shoot anything that is demeaning to women, including swirlies – where a woman’s head is flushed down a toilet (Ew, right?!).

The Hot Girls Wanted episode, which aired in 2017, ended with Holly uncertain about her future in the porn industry. I’m happy to report that after a quick google search, Holly is still going strong, putting out new work and sharing it with her 495k followers on Instagram

Erika Lust

Erika Lust: Leader of the Feminist Porn Movement (Photo Source: Cineuropa)

Erika Lust is the third powerhouse featured in Hot Girls Wanted: Women in Charge. Born in Sweden and based in Spain, Erika took the adult entertainment world by storm with her 2004 erotic film The Good Girl.

Within a couple months of its release, it had been downloaded over two million times. Since then, Erika has become a leading figure in the feminist porn movement. “When I look at regular, mainstream porn, it’s not good enough for me. I want something more,” she says, “I want emotions. I want passion. I want intimacy.

I want to feel with them.” Erika considers it her duty to create porn that shows good sexual encounters rather than men punish fucking women. In her words: “We can’t ignore that porn today is sex education, especially for people who never had sexual experiences in their own life.” 

A still from Erika Lust’s erotic film, XConfessions.

Her latest project (at the time of filming) involved crowdsourcing female’s fantasies and turning them into films. She is all about making content that focuses on the female perspective, challenging the status quo of mainstream porn, which tends to focus almost exclusively on male desire.

Some view her approach as radical, calling her a “feminazi” or ‘fake feminist.” But she doesn’t let the haters get her down. Instead, she continues to build her adult film empire, alongside her husband, Pablo, who handles the operational side of things. Erika also relies heavily on her female dominated crew to transform her visions into reality, crediting the sense of sisterhood on set for making female actors feel at ease and better able to perform.

The episode ends with a poignant comment from Erika: “The gender roles that most porn shows, it’s not a modern vision at all. It’s not a feminist vision. But we’re gonna change that.”  

Culture
adult entertainment
content creator
Feminism
Feminist
porn
Jules

Jules

Author

Based in Brooklyn, Jules has dedicated her twenties towards harnessing her pussy power, exploring the muse, whore, and wild woman archetypes along the way. When not blogging, you can find her sweating the toxins out in a hot yoga class or sipping a matcha latte at a pretentious coffee shop, whilst she scribbles away in her journal.


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