The Feminist Porn Book: The Politics of Producing Pleasure

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Overview


The Feminist Porn Book brings together for the first time writings by feminists in the adult industry and research by feminist porn scholars. This book investigates not only how feminists understand pornography, but also how feminists do porn—that is, direct, act in, produce, and consume one of the world's most lucrative and growing industries. With original contributions by Susie Bright, Candida Royalle, Betty Dodson, Nina Hartley, Buck Angel, Lynn Comella, Jane Ward, Ariane Cruz, Kevin Heffernan, and more, The...
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Overview


The Feminist Porn Book brings together for the first time writings by feminists in the adult industry and research by feminist porn scholars. This book investigates not only how feminists understand pornography, but also how feminists do porn—that is, direct, act in, produce, and consume one of the world's most lucrative and growing industries. With original contributions by Susie Bright, Candida Royalle, Betty Dodson, Nina Hartley, Buck Angel, Lynn Comella, Jane Ward, Ariane Cruz, Kevin Heffernan, and more, The Feminist Porn Book updates the arguments of the porn wars of the 1980s, which sharply divided the women's movement, and identifies pornography as a form of expression and labor in which women and racial and sexual minorities produce power and pleasure.

Tristan Taormino is a sex educator, feminist pornographer, and the award-winning author of seven books including The Ultimate Guide to Anal Sex for Women and Opening Up. As head of Smart Ass Productions, she has directed and produced twenty-four adult films. She is the host of “Sex Out Loud” on The VoiceAmerica Talk Radio Network. She lectures at top colleges and universities around the world.

Filmmaker and film scholar Celine Parreñas Shimizu is Professor of Asian American Studies at the University of California at Santa Barbara. Her books are Straitjacket Sexualities and The Hypersexuality of Race, winner of the 2009 Cultural Studies Book Award from the Association for Asian American Studies. Her award-winning films are distributed by Progressive Films and Third World Newsreel.

Constance Penley is Professor of Film and Media Studies and Co-Director of the Carsey-Wolf Center, University of California at Santa Barbara. A founding editor of Camera Obscura, her work includes The Future of an Illusion: Film, Feminism, and Psychoanalysis, NASA/TREK: Popular Science and Sex in America, Teaching Pornography (forthcoming), and influential collections Feminism and Film Theory, Male Trouble, and Technoculture.

Mireille Miller-Young, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Feminist Studies at the University of California at Santa Barbara. She researches and teaches about race, gender, and sexuality in popular culture and the sex industries. Her forthcoming book, A Taste for Brown Sugar: Black Women, Sex Work, and Pornography (Duke University Press) examines African American women’s sex work in the porn industry.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Sex industry workers, academics, and feminists explore whether pornography is inherently anti-feminist in this intelligent, accessible, and relevant collection of essays. Porn has often been branded as sexist, with "feminist" groups decrying all forms; however, many women over the decades have sought to bridge their love of erotica with their feminist values by supporting and creating porn that adheres to these values. With contributions from some pioneers of feminist porn such as Candida Royalle, the book features a variety of critical perspectives that examine all sides of the issue. Contributors aren't afraid to both objectively praise and criticize advances the industry has made (such as the way feminist porn has, for some, come to equate "soft" porn, and prescribe stereotypes of female desire), and provide both practical ways to become a smart feminist or queer porn consumer alongside academic approaches to the movement. The collection also rightfully includes essays on racial, queer, and transgender representations in porn, topics often marginalized in this discussion. Besides being extremely thoughtprovoking, this must-read collection is accessible to all readers, and the topic inherently makes it engaging and fun. (Apr.)
From the Publisher

“Contributors aren’t afraid to both objectively praise and criticize advances the industry has made (such as the way feminist porn has, for some, come to equate “soft” porn, and prescribe stereotypes of female desire), and provide both practical ways to become a smart feminist or queer porn consumer alongside academic approaches to the movement. The collection also rightfully includes essays on racial, queer, and transgender representations in porn, topics often marginalized in this discussion. Besides being extremely thoughtprovoking, this must-read collection is accessible to all readers, and the topic inherently makes it engaging and fun.”
- Publisher’s Weekly Starred Review

“The voices that stand out most are those who’ve been traditionally either left out of mainstream porn or fetishized in a way that leaves them cold. After a historical overview from Betty Dodson, Susie Bright, and Candida Royalle, the book presents women who knowingly entered porn to make women like them more visible. From April Flores on plus-size porn to Tobi Hill-Meyer on trans women’s fight to be included at levels proportionate to trans men to Loree Erickson on disability in porn, each practically echo the other in conveying porn’s real-life impact.”
-The Hairpin

“For Taormino and other feminists involved in making and studying pornography, sexually explicit media provide an opportunity to critically engage with the relationship between identity and agency. By subverting and diversifying the often-stereotypical portrayals of sexuality found in much mainstream media, feminist pornographers invite traditionally marginalized audiences to connect with sex as a medium of pleasure and power. These explicit portrayals, grounded in a cognizance of pornography as both an industry and a cultural form, empower viewers to take charge while getting off.”
-Manifesta Mag

"In terms both jarring and harrowing, women's bodies became the terrain on which the 2012 election was fought. That the choices, experiences, and consequences of women's sexual lives became fodder for such poorly informed national "conversations" is evidence of the pressing need for thoughtful, sex-positive scholarship which centers on women's sexual agency. The Feminist Porn Book is just such a contribution, and I predict this volume is going to find its way onto the bedside tables of several generations of American women. This volume brings together academics, activists, and porn entrepreneurs who have a startling array of interactions with pornography as an experience, a business, and a field of inquiry. This text is straightforward and informative in ways that are unfortunately rare in the multi-decade feminist struggle over porn. It's also fun and sometimes a bit naughty to read. The authors do not assume that the porn industry as it exists is the one essential and only possible incarnation of porn. Instead, they assume that when feminists engage, intervene in, produce, and study pornography, they can radically alter its formations and meanings. At the core of the book is the question: Can porn coexist with the principles of feminism? No matter how one ultimately adjudicates this question, The Feminist Porn Book leaves no doubt about the inherent value in the inquiry itself.”— Melissa Harris-Perry, host of MSNBC's "Melissa Harris-Perry," author of Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America, and professor of political science at Tulane University

"Finally the time is right for feminist porn! This stunning collection by academics and artists in dialogue accounts for the massive changes in technology, erotics, modes of spectatorship, and embodied identities which impact the world of pornography. As this volume demonstrates, we are now far from the sex wars of the 1980s, the sex panics of the 1990s, and well into a new era of erotic representation. In order to make sense of new and emergent worlds of desiring bodies, trans-femininities and trans-masculinities, transgressive racial performance, and the erotics of disabled bodies, read The Feminist Porn Book , and when you are finished, go out and make some porn!"—Jack Halberstam, author of Gaga Feminism: Sex, Gender and the End of Normal

“The Feminist Porn Book is a knockout! If this doesn’t sway antiporn feminists to the pro-porn feminist side, I’ll eat my bra. Let’s come together right now!” —Annie Sprinkle, feminist pornographer and eco-sex activist

“This thrilling anthology brings together scholars, producers, and fans of feminist pornography to define an emerging movement of gender and sexual visionaries, working at the radically inclusive and egalitarian edges of sexual representation. The authors explore an ever-widening range of body types, and a proliferating variety of images, sensations, and feelings. They examine the conditions of production as well as the politics of representation. They show us the new feminist porn as deep play—challenging, exciting, and important.” —Lisa Duggan, professor of American studies and gender and sexuality studies, Department of Social and Cultural Analysis, New York University

"Finally: academics are actually talking to sex industry workers, pornographers are doubling as theorists, and feminists have grabbed the cameras. The Feminist Porn Book sets the agenda for new ways of thinking about the sticky social relations of dirty pictures." —Laura Kipnis, author of Bound and Gagged: Pornography and the Politics of Fantasy in America

"This is the book that feminist scholars, teachers, students, and activists have been waiting for! Eloquent, smart, passionate, and engaging—each page of the The Feminist Porn Book offers a timely reminder of the continued importance of feminist interventions into the politics and production of pornography." —Carol Stabile, director of the Center for the Study of Women in Society at the University of Oregon

“In this breakthrough collection, scholars, artists, and producers from across a spectrum of identities serve up profound new insights on making, consuming, and studying porn. This book advances my understanding of how porn works, when it doesn’t, and why it matters. The short essay format makes this book ideal for teaching, but it’s essential reading for anyone insterested in sexual politics or contemporary culture.” —Richard Fung, video artist and professor, Ontario College of Art and Design

“The Feminist Porn Book is a readable and smart must-have for any classroom dealing with sexual representations.” —Chuck Kleinhans, co-editor of JUMP CUT: a review of contemporary media

“To have writings from so many of the most important creators in feminist porn in one anthology is wonderful. It captures the past, present, and future pioneering of this important film genre.” —Shine Louise Houston, director and CEO of Pink and White Productions

“This impressive volume of essays shows that thirty years after the feminist sex wars first erupted, porn is still a hot topic for the women’s movement, and for the scholarly study of gender and sexuality. The Feminist Porn Book brings together a potent mix of perspectives from academics, activists, and sex indus¬try workers, while addressing dis/ability, transness, and race/ethnicity.” —Susan Stryker, director of the Institute for LGBT Studies, University of Arizona

Library Journal
Freedom for women to express their sexuality on their own terms has always been at the center of feminist thought and activism. Pornography, however, presumptively aimed at men and often degrading of women, has engendered powerful disputes among feminists. This collection of new essays compiled by sex educator and pornographer Taormino (Opening Up: A Guide To Creating and Sustaining Open Relationships), Celine Parreñas Shimizu (Asian American studies, Univ. of California, Santa Barbara; Straightjacket Sexualities), Constance Penley (film & media studies, Univ. of California, Santa Barbara; NASA/Trek: Popular Science and Sex in America), and Mireille Miller-Young (feminist studies, Univ. of California, Santa Barbara), features work from feminist scholars and theorists, porn filmmakers, and performers such films whose work assumes that both the author and the viewer of feminist pornography are women and that feminist pornography empowers them. Sections of the book address the history of feminist porn; the inclusion and exclusion of groups of women from the feminist porn project; the teaching of feminist porn; and the current state of the art. VERDICT Despite the authority of the writers included and its provocative title, this dense work, suitable for a college-level course, will appeal to a fairly narrow audience of feminist theorists and scholars.—Cynthia Harrison, George Washington Univ., Washington, DC
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781558618183
  • Publisher: Feminist Press at CUNY, The
  • Publication date: 2/19/2013
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 525,968
  • Product dimensions: 6.22 (w) x 8.34 (h) x 0.77 (d)

Meet the Author


Tristan Taormino is a sex educator, feminist pornographer, and the award-winning author of seven books including The Ultimate Guide to Anal Sex for Women and Opening Up. As head of Smart Ass Productions, she has directed and produced twenty-four adult films. She is the host of “Sex Out Loud” on The VoiceAmerica Talk Radio Network. She lectures at top colleges and universities around the world.

Filmmaker and film scholar Celine Parreñas Shimizu is professor of Asian American Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her books are Straitjacket Sexualities and The Hypersexuality of Race, winner of the 2009 Cultural Studies Book Award from the Association for Asian American Studies. Her award-winning films are distributed by Progressive Films and Third World Newsreel.

Constance Penley is professor of film and media studies and co-director of the Carsey-Wolf Center, University of California, Santa Barbara. A founding editor of Camera Obscura, her work includes The Future of an Illusion: Film, Feminism, and Psychoanalysis, NASA/TREK: Popular Science and Sex in America, Teaching Pornography (forthcoming), and influential collections Feminism and Film Theory, Male Trouble, and Technoculture.

Mireille Miller-Young is associate professor of feminist studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She researches and teaches about race, gender, and sexuality in popular culture and the sex industries. Her forthcoming book, A Taste for Brown Sugar: Black Women, Sex Work, and Pornography (Duke University Press) examines African American women’s sex work in the porn industry.

Read More Show Less

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 20, 2013

    This collection is radical, controversial and totally hot. Can p

    This collection is radical, controversial and totally hot. Can porn be feminist? Can feminist porn be queer? The essays complete one another and result in a powerful new idea of the erotic, the pornographic and the plain old sexy. I recommend it to everyone, no matter your identity, whether you're a self-proclaimed prude or a self-proclaimed slut.

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