Review: The Feminist Porn Book


And the honesty begins! This was not what I was expecting. I saw the title, thought it would be appropriate for both of my blogs so I went ahead and requested it. I had high hopes for it. Actually, there were no hopes, I expected greatness because Epiphora raved about it on her site.  But I was disappointed. I could hardly get through it. It was literally like a roller coaster. Except, you know, I wasn’t moving. What I mean is that there were some parts I 
loved like the essays by porn stars, producers, directors and writers but I wasn’t feeling academic literature. Or literature that can pass as scholarly work. But don’t stop reading this review here, because it does actually get better.

While I can complain about how similar it is to a textbook I cannot complain about the quality of the writing or the content. The content was wonderful. It covered everyone; I was especially excited that it covered trans-women, queer women and women of color and had an essay from one of my sex-positive idols, Tristan Taormino.

The blurb I received with the book: “If this doesn’t sway anti-porn feminists to the pro-porn feminist side, I’ll eat my bra.” –Annie Sprinkle

That quote is actually one of the reasons I requested this book. I grew up thinking porn was no good for women’s image and it was something we couldn’t possibly enjoy so that was the mindset I was in when I started the book. And, quite frankly, what I’d seen for free on the internet reinforced this mindset. This book actually did sway me. Hearing the voices of porn entrepreneurs, women, made me realize that it’s okay to get turned on by erotic videos and a lot of women who act in porn actually do enjoy it (something I adamantly denied prior to reading this book).

This inspired me to do my own research. Tristan Taormino is one of the editors of the FPB and she is also created porn and I looked up her work. It really was fantastic; attention was paid to the women in the video and it was arousing while being educational. It totally blew what I knew about porn out of the ball park.

My book is overwhelmed with post-it flags that formed a large dent in my wallet but was well worth it. It was tagging ideas every few paragraphs. Nina Hartley was wonderfully non-apologetic in her essay, details her introduction to the porn world and her rise in it. Her story was one of the stories that had the most impact on me rethinking how I viewed porn.

I realized, when reading this book, that in order to be a sex positive feminist I must embrace consensual sexual activities. What works for her may not work for me but that doesn’t mean that she’s doing it wrong.

tl;dr?

The Feminist Porn Book is full of sex-positive essays, some borderline scholarly work. It’s bound to change the way women view porn and change sex-negative feminists into sex-positive women.