Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Ethical Porn....Feminist Porn

There is a trend to move away from the term Feminist Porn and use Ethical Porn instead.  I feel rather weird about that.  I think the term Feminist Porn puts the discourse squarely within a historical context that's important to have...one of power and gender politics.  Why do I care, being a gay pornographer who's main production line is all male?  Because gender politics and power don't really know boundaries.  If we ignore homophobia, it doesn't go away...just like ignoring racism doesn't erase it.  So, ignoring misogyny and butch/femme dialectic and anti porn rhetoric doesn't make it go away (butch/femme isn't a bad thing, but it often is used for and against queer porn).

But what are some basic similarities between feminist and ethical porn versus standard porn practices?
When we fell into starting Trannywood, we listened to talent and crew who had worked on other projects, and started to developed how we wanted to do business.  That included:

Pay the talent.  It may be less than what they can get elsewhere, but it's an important transaction, that we value their service and their continued good will.  When it's volunteer or in kind payments, there is a strange dynamic...the producers may not feel as accountable to actually producing or supporting the product.  If the project is worth doing, it's worth supporting.

Talent creates the physical scene.  We've heard and viewed directors who really direct the sex.  We wanted the talent to create the experience.  We want to bear witness to how queers are having sex in this time and place, not create some fiction of what queer sex looks like.

Treat talent well.  That means be clear on time alloted for shoot (and pay the accordingly).  Provide snacks/beverages for getting energy back after the shoot.  We let the actors have access to all their photos to use as they will.  We ask that we be cited or a watermark used, but they are jointly held.  We know a few online photo based sites that only let models use 2 of the pics for their portfolios, we don't like that idea.  We provide a copy of the DVD.  Many a talent have been promised this from producers, but we believe it's really important.

We don't hound the talent for free publicity....we hope they provide it because they had a good experience.  We currently don't have the mechanism for a direct affiliate program, but we offer profit sharing beyond a certain point of sales.

If talent is interested in learning other aspects of production, we try and make room for that.

I really believe that ethical porn needs to be sustainable.  It's gotta last as long as their is a desire for it.  It saddens me when queer porn disappears from VOD or the shelves of feminist porn stores because the producers lost interest or ability to support it.  It also frustrates me when porn projects have fundraising parties, even though they are income generating.  Start up capital is one thing, but if you need to keep fundraising for each project, was the last project really that sustaining?  It's a rant of mine, and I realize it's just a different business model than what we have here.

I do think there is a place for temporary porn that is ethical and feminist.  Everything from wheat paste postering to tube sites could fall into that category.

In (fake) conclusion, cute underwear is the defining feature of ethical AND feminist porn.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Whoo hoo! T-Wood Gone Wild Nominated!

For a 2011 Feminist Porn Award!  Check out www.goodforher.com for more info.