I had the chance to check out the 2nd Annual Feminist Porn Conference presented by The Mark S. Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies held at the University of Toronto. The conference was the triumphant ending to week long festivities which included workshops, film viewings, networking parties, and of course, the Feminist Porn Awards. I had the privilege and the honour of being in the presence of such a glorious group of people — from performers to academics, who came together to celebrate the Feminist Porn Industry’s achievements and to tease out the tensions in this diverse movement.
What is Feminist Porn, one might ask? Put quite simply, “it’s a genre, an industry, and a movement”. It is a certain kind of porn, one that is shot ethically (fair wages and performer treatment) and with a particular framing in mind. The conference explored the relationship that porn has had with certain sides of feminism, as well as the way in which feminist porn has sought to change the way that “mainstream porn” frames sex, race, gender, and even abilities. Feminist porn is multifaceted and diverse, and it utilized the conference as a physical meeting space for pornographers, sex workers and performers, academics and community members to listen to and to discuss with one another what it means to be part of the Feminist Porn Movement.
“Feminist porn has done incredible work in expanding sexual representation across race, gender, ability and more.” – Lisa Duggan
I attended sessions that literally changed my worldview. It allowed me to see the stakes that I have in body positivity, sex positivity, academia, and community and how to bridge the gap between all of them. I began to see where I fit in the larger conversations about sex workers privacy, the duty to archive Feminist Porn as part of “cultural stewardship”, and the importance of inclusion of POC voices in sex work. I gained a voice at this conference that has been tucked inside me. I felt liberated and inspired, motivated to use my knowledge to effect change.
I am grateful for the opportunity to have been in the presence of sex workers and performers who are on the front lines of producing beautiful work, right next to academics that I followed throughout university. Lisa Duggan, the opening keynote speaker who is the Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis at New York University, put it quite nicely when she said: “The Feminist Porn Movement is open to criticism and self-criticism,” as she traced through Feminist Porn Advocacy and commending the movement for “democratically expanding the possibilities” and exploring its limitations.
“We are free to let porn affect feminist and free to let our feminist inform our porn.” – Courtney Trouble
The highlight of the entire conference was the closing keynote by Courtney Trouble, who is a filmmaker, performer, and artist. Courtney Trouble’s angsty/angry, hopeful, but humble speech brought the entire audience to their feet, and quite literally moved me to tears.
“I want you to remember that Fat is a Feminist issue.” – Courtney Trouble
Courtney touched every raw nerve in me and challenged the audience to make fierce, radical change in everything they do – from hiring more fat, queer, trans, and racialized bodies to filming a porn with asexuals. It was a fantastic way to close out the evening leaving everyone feeling charged and inspired to make meaningful choices while pushing the boundaries. You can watch Courtney Troubles’ keynote here, filmed by Tobi Hill-Meyer. Thank you Tobi!
Tags: #FPCon2, fat activism, Feminist Porn Conference, Sex