Feminist pornography, as an alternative to mainstream pornography, is gaining more and more success these days – especially with women. It’s a form of pornos that is safer for the actors involved. Their consent is respected, and they show real pleasure.
But this industry divides feminists. Some see it as a reappropriation of feminine sexuality; others see it as a perpetuation of misogynous violence.
Maria Beatty is a noteworthy feminist porno director. We contacted her in order to ask some questions about how she conducts her film shoots.
She explained to us that she shoots about one feature-length film per year. Her team spends between six and nine hours a day on set, but actual filming takes up about four hours a day. Each day’s filming is interspersed by several short pauses, and a one hour lunch break. A classic schedule for any film shoot, really.
We asked her how she makes sure that she doesn’t push the actors and actresses pas their limits, and if the pleasure they express in front of the camera is real or fake. And her reply was simple: she doesn’t use professional actors and actresses, who indulge in “play acting” to simulate pleasure. She finds this unconvincing, especially among women. She prefers to work with sex workers and pro-sex feminists, because “these are people who love to have fun and take pleasure in exploring their sexuality in front of the camera, with someone they feel close with, and for who they feel love and compassion.”
Maria adds: “The authenticity they radiate can’t be imitated.”
This difference with what we see in mainstream pornography is noteworthy. Maria has never had a complaint about how she conducts her film shoots. She stresses that she “never pushes an actor past their limits, if they don’t want to do something and aren’t capable of doing something.”
This director lives up to what we expect from porno directors: she pays attention so that the performers’ consent is always respected, and makes sure that they feel at ease.
Sadly, that’s not the case for all directors in this milieu. Legendary porno actress Annie Sprinkle (pictured above under an umbrella) tells us how she was once pressured into doing an anal scene that she didn’t want to do. She gave up and did it anyway. In exchange, she received a $25 bonus, which really upset her. She explains: “That’s the day I learned to stand up for myself, to say no, to establish my limits. I felt bad after that scene, like I’d been under pressure. I told myself I’d never let that happen again, and I haven’t.”
She specifies that she’s never been raped or put under any other kind of pressure. She has slept with more than 3,000 men, “almost all good experiences,” and declares that even if there have been some bad moments, she has nothing to complain about.
But this type of pressure on actresses sadly exists. It’s the dark side of pornography, whether feminist or not.