Friday, 12 June 2009

Feminist porn: the review

What are the common complaints made by women about mainstream porn? That it has no plots, that there are too many un-sexy close-ups, the women in it are ‘faking it’, that it’s all about the ‘mighty phallus’, and, very importantly, the soundtracks are terrible. All very understandable and off-putting points I would say.

So you’d expect feminist porn to be different, to address these issues, right? I decided to put this to the test and settled down with a slice of marble cake and a pot of jasmine tea to watch ‘The Crash Pad’, an award-winning lesbian, feminist porn film directed by Shine Louisa Houston.

I don’t really know what I was expecting to be honest, but whatever it was, it wasn’t what I got. The Crash Pad is a place where women can go and have sex with each other whilst they have the key. After 7 times, you have to pass the key to another lucky lady. This isn’t a plot though, just a kind of framing device, the twist at the end being, all the women are being filmed.

The women who star in ‘The Crash Pad’ are certainly not your average porn stars. They don’t seem to be surgically enhanced and some of them even have love handles, horror of horrors. Lots of them seem to be genuinely enjoying themselves, looking authentically flushed and sweaty. Interestingly, all of the women in the film are real-life couples.

The weirdest thing about this film (apart from the part when one of them uses the loo and then doesn’t even wash her hands), is that it is still all about the peen. There are huge strap-ons everywhere. And lots of close-ups of them being put to use. Before being introduced to the framing device we are introduced to the vaginas of two and then three of the stars. And the soundtrack to all this hardcore action is uniquely terrible. Although these women are not the Barbies we usually expect in porn films, most of them don’t deviate massively from the norm. Although a little less tanned and toned than other porn stars, most of their pubic hair is missing and the majority have hairless underarms and legs.

This film is made for lesbians, not for men who just want to watch gay-for-pay girls get ‘naughty’ with each other. The problem is that despite being made for women by women, the director hasn’t managed to escape the tropes of traditional, non-feminist porn. I’m not saying that women want to watch soft-core, romantic, take-me-roughly-in-the-barn films, but this film doesn’t really address many of the issues that put women off porn. If I had to write a (naughty Catholic) school report for this film, it would read, ‘Could try harder’. Lol, harder.

4 comments:

  1. I think a good way to judge feminist porn is on the story and the artistic quality of the film, outside of all the sex. Obviously, the sex is what you want when you settle into watch the movie, but what makes porn "good" is the ability for it to relate to the audience's fantasy's and imaginings and not just be seen, but felt, by the audience. Maybe that's just me, but first and foremost what turns me on is a good story.

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