A feminist's take on the London Porn Film Festival
 
After the success of the first ever London Porn Film Festival last weekend, I contributed to this magazine article by a journalist who wrote up the event. She is new to queer porn and identifies as a feminist - and I was pleased that she wrote up the political context in which the festival took place, as well as reviewing several films:

"After the show Rude Juud, one of the organisers, explained how the Digital Economy Bill was part of the inspiration behind the event. In a matter of days, the Digital Economy Bill will go to the House of Commons for consideration. It’s the latest in a trio of new laws that threaten to shut down small pornographers in the UK and create a culture of surveillance and shame around porn use. Although it wasn’t intended to be explicitly political, LPFF was still an act of resistance.

Pandora Blake, who runs the website Dreams Of Spanking, had her website forced offline for ten months after it was targeted under the Audiovisual Media Services Regulations of 2014. (In case you didn’t catch that piece of legislation, it banned people from making porn that includes facesitting and female ejaculation. Cheers, democracy).

Before the festival Blake told me by email that the festival was vital in the current legal climate: “With laws such as the AudioVisual Media Services Regulations and the Digital Economy Bill increasing the oppression and stigma faced by porn workers, we badly need to come together and celebrate inclusivity and acceptance of gender and sexuality in the face of worsening state censorship.

“Legislators are completely ignorant of how diverse porn can be. I hope people who attend the festival witness how joyful, celebratory, positive and political porn can be - and why we need to fight for our freedom to enjoy it if we want to.”

As the organisers explain in a comment piece they published at the weekend: “Do we think a really hot sex scene will change the world? No. But it’s not about a really hot sex scene. It’s about protecting the margins, and showing resistance.”"

I also love this paragraph at the end of the piece - 

"Before I went to LPFF the biggest link between porn and politics, for me, were my worries about women's rights in the porn industry. While I haven't abandoned those concerns, LPFF made me realise what a narrow (and, frankly, paternalistic) attitude I had. Porn can make feminist politics stronger and deeper. By the end of the festival I couldn’t fathom why I usually watched so much crap."

I always speculated that if an anti-porn, or porn ignorant feminist came to a porn film festival, this would be the sort of reaction they'd be delighted to have. So many people have opinions about porn founded on a very distorted view of what porn is like - usually shaped by what's available on free tube sites. It's delightful to see my theories borne out, and witness the positive effect a film festival can have to expand people's horizons - and change their minds about porn.