Welcome!

08Dec08

Welcome to my blog about feminist pornography.   Not only am I interested in the subject from a personal point of view, I’m currently pursuing my Masters of Fine Arts at Ryerson University.   My area of study is Documentary Media and my thesis project is about feminist pornography.  There are four parts to the successful completion of my MFA: a public exhibition of a project, a research paper that accompanies my project, an oral defense and successful completion of full time graduate studies.

This blog is a portal to all of the content/material that I discover, read, and create on the topic.  So welcome and enjoy the ride!  I am.

First off, my project is a broadcast length documentary film which explores sex positive feminism by interviewing key female porn directors of our time.   In addition to fulfilling the project requirements for my MFA, I’m hoping that the film is picked up for broadcast and/or festival screenings.

I’ve posted a synopsis of the film as well as a ten minute video of the material I filmed with Anna Span, the UK’s first female porn director.  She’s an amazing lady and has a lot to say.  Her university dissertation was called “Towards a New Pornography” where she outlined her vision for the female gaze within porn movies.   As I continue to interview different female directors, producers and performers from within the genre, I will post their interviews on the site as well.

The idea of the gaze within cinema is a relatively new term to me.  I don’t come from a film theory background nor a woman studies background.  So I’m delving into the female gaze and what that means, in particular, within erotic content.  I’ve posted several pages on the female gaze.  As I explore this area further, I will continue to post my thoughts, discussions and links about the topic.

In addition to my film, one of the requirements of my course studies was to take an  Interaction Design course.  The final project of that course was to create a proposal for an interactive project.  I wanted this to relate to my thesis so I’ve included a page on here called ONLINE.   Here you will find my project proposal for a website that lets visitors edit their own porn sequences.    The aim of this proposal is to develop a website in which an audience can actively engage in material from an original softcore film (I’m going to shoot a porn myself) and edit that material in whichever way they choose.  The emerging interactive films will hopefully hint at the perceptions in viewing and creating erotic imagery and will act as a “real life” analysis of a typically theoretical discourse.

The site will also act as an ongoing site of research, study and promotion for my thesis project about sex positive feminism in the pornographic film genre.

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Much like literature, cinema, no matter the genre, has it’s own language and structure.  The type of shots selected to tell a story informs a sequence and helps construct a relationship on screen with the viewer.  The notion of the “gaze” within cinema, that being gazing at someone on screen and seeing someone gaze upon another person has long been a source of discourse among film theorists. “The gaze has a direct relation between the observer and the observed; and about the relations between and among the subjects of the gaze (the people, place, thing being gazed at); and about the circumstance of the gazing. Although the gaze might be regarded merely as the action of “looking at” a subject, in feminist textual analysis, it signifies a psychological relationship of power, in which the gazer is superior to the object of the gaze.”

As a requirement of my MFA program in Documentary Media, I am producing and directing a documentary film about feminist pornography, specifically analyzing how this genre of pornographic cinema is different from mainstream porn, not just politically, but in its representations of female sexuality.  By speaking with contemporary female porn directors, I attempt to understand how these sex positive pioneers are reconstructing representations of women’s sexuality captured on film and in essence, informing an audience about female sexuality.  The goal of many of these filmmakers is to overhaul the genre and reclaim pornography for a woman’s (and man’s) enjoyment.

As a compendium to the film, I’d like to develop a website that not only promotes my film but also encourages visitors to edit together their own erotic sequence.   As I’m speaking with multiple directors regarding their perspective of the female gaze within pornography, I’d also like to engage with an audience in understanding the construction of sexual imagery in pornography from the viewer’s relationship or understanding of this imagery.

I wonder if an audience, left to their own devices would employ a “traditional” editing structure as they’ve come to know it.   Or given the opportunity to use a variety of different shots, filmed in both a neutral, female and male perspective would they construct new meanings and representations in pornography.  Is there a need for a new way of representing sexuality on screen?  Would a male audience create a scene differently than a female one?  Would there be a difference in scene construction according to both a male and female’s sexual orientation?  Even age, class, race?  For the sake of this project however, it is within the confines of self identified gender and self identified sexuality that I wish to analyze the construction of the “gaze” within pornography.

I will provide multiple clips that can make an opening sequence to the film (softcore), shot from a variety of angles (both employing the female, male and hopefully neutral gaze). After the sequence is edited (within the site), it can be exhibited on the site for viewing.