Sessions

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Being Out Now: How Performers Navigate Sexual Morality and Media Representation

Panelists: Tina Horn (moderator), Jiz Lee, Arabelle Raphael, Bianca Stone, James Darling, Quinn Cassidy, and Sinnamon Love

How do porn performers navigate the current socio-political landscape of sexual morality and media representation? In this panel, a diverse group of porn performers will address the complicated issues of being out to family, friends, community, dates, partners, and prospective employers. We will discuss how technology—including face-recognition and social networking—is altering the possibilities of privacy and safety. We will share strategies for coming out, living with being out, how to manage unconsensual outing, and how to leverage what privilege we have for those who cannot be out in the ways we can.

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Conspicuous Consumption: If We Sell It, They Will Come

Sex-Positive Synergy: Feminist Porn and the Making of a Market
Lynn Comella, University of Nevada-Las Vegas
A great deal of research on pornography focuses on the pornographic text as the privileged site of analysis. Far less attention has been paid to the broader systems of distribution that are an integral part of getting pornography into the hands of consumers. This talk draws on a decade’s worth of research on feminist sex toy stores in the United States in order to examine the larger context of sex-positive cultural production and distribution, one that has helped create a viable market for feminist and queer porn.

Industry Guests:
Carol Queen, PhD, Staff Sexologist, Good Vibrations
Carlyle Jansen, Owner, Good for Her
Nenna, Owner, Feelmore 510

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Feminist Identity and Identification in Porn Making and Porn Scholarship

Pornography: A Black Feminist Woman Scholar’s Reconciliation
Ariane Cruz, Pennsylvania State University
Musing the contradictions arising in both the personal (quotidian) and professional (scholarly) consumption of pornography, this critical mediation “works” out and through the racialized and gendered politics of porn spectatorship from the subject identification of a black feminist scholar. This essay colors the struggles encountered between various spectatorial positions and gazes while interrogating the constraints black feminism has engendered around such positionalities. Not in resolution but towards reconciliation, I argue for a politics of perversion to consider the complex and contradictory ways that pornography continues to inform black women’s erotic subjectivities.

A Question of Feminism
Sinnamon Love, Retired Performer
Porn legend Sinnamon Love takes a retrospective journey in examining the political evolution of her career in the adult industry. Posed with the question of intentional feminism, Love chronicles her career from origins as a “naive” 19 year old mother seeking to makes ends meet, her eminent rise and responsibility as one of the leading black porn actresses, and her role today as pioneer in sex worker advocacy. “A Question of Feminism” is an intimate exploration into the sociological influences of gender and race as catalysts behind the rise of a self branded black feminist pornographer.

“I’m Not Not Feminist”: Women-Made Porn and Feminist Ambivalence
Jill Bakehorn, University of California-Davis
The legacy of the porn wars still affects women making pornography today. While the majority of women in my study identify as feminist, many feel they must reconcile their work with their feminist beliefs. Those who do not struggle with identifying as feminist often were confronted with the debates by others. For those who do not identify as feminist, feminism still becomes an issue because they cannot control how others view their work. The generational gap between women highlights the differences in knowledge of, commitment to, and engagement with feminism. I also discuss the shifting feminist stances of two visible women in the industry and what this tells us about the evolving role of feminism in pornography.

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Feminist Porn XXX-Ed: Feminist Perspectives on Sexual Identity and Sexual Health in Educational and Feminist Porn

Vaginas of Science, Vaginas of Justice: Representations of Healthy Female Sexual Functioning in Feminist Porn
Emily Nagoski, Smith College
Feminist porn has challenged many aspects of mainstream porn’s homogeneous representation of how women’s bodies look. Has it been as active in challenging the traditional model of how women’s bodies behave? This talk will review current research on female sexual desire, arousal, and orgasm, and illustrate how feminist porn can support women by representing the healthy variety in female sexual response.

Porn Is Not Sex Ed (Except When It Is)
Carol Queen, PhD, Co-Founder, The Center for Sex & Culture
Carol will address the role of porn as a source of sex information and discuss why people turn to explicit movies and other media for this purpose. She’ll talk about why this is an important issue for pro-and anti-porn constituents alike, and examine the kinds of explicit media (feminist porn and ex-ed, aka explicit eductional) most likely to provide the kind of information porn viewers really seek.

Sex Ed: Don’t Just Tell, Show
Kali Williams, KinkAcademy.com and PassionateU.com
Explicit education is an important tool for showing the reality of sex and for creating alternative models and methods for educating ourselves and each other. What began in feminist conscious-raising groups has moved to the internet, where feminists have the opportunity to develop and disseminate new kinds of sex ed. Williams will discuss her creation of Kink Academy and Passionate U, two online portals that feature explicit BDSM and sex ed. She will explore why her work is feminist and how it fits into feminist porn.

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If I Had A Hammer: Reclaiming Feminist Porn As A Tool of Political Activism Against Oppression

Panelists: Courtney Trouble (moderator), April Flores, Carlos BattsTobi Hill-Meyer, Carrie Gray, jes sachse

Pornography can be powerful, but can it change the world? We want to talk about porn as a tool of feminist anti-oppression as it relates to the current feminist atmosphere, and our society at large — not just how it relates or differs from the dominant adult industry. How does porn reach or teach its audience, and how can we use it to promote awareness of the inequalities that we face? As feminist artists, how have we had to fight to see our work seen? As activists, how have we been able to bring our causes to the table through the medium of pornography? And specifically, how important is it that we are diverse in our creation of pornography, to promote the inclusion of all kinds of people in our work?

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Keynote Luncheon

Featuring Constance Penley, Mireille Miller-Young and Tristan Taormino, co-editors of The Feminist Porn Book: The Politics of Producing Pleasure

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Labor, Politics, and Power in The Adult Industry

Interventions: The Deviant and Defiant Art of Black Women Porn Directors
Mireille Miller-Young (moderator), University of California-Santa Barbara
Moving behind the camera offers a form of mobility and agency for black women in porn. In this talk, Dr. Miller-Young explores the self-authorship and critical erotic perspectives that black women porn directors produce in their adult filmmaking. Looking at the material factors that tend to constrain and challenge black women within the politics of pornographic production even as they provide important opportunities to control the means of production, this presentation theorizes how black women porn producers intervene in pornography and offer expansive, and even radical, views of black sexuality.

Women on Top: Female Filmmakers in the Adult Video Industry
Jennifer Moorman, UCLA
This paper will speak to the nuances of the opportunities that the adult video industry can provide for women seeking to exert creative control from behind the camera. Women filmmakers’ motivations for working in porn differ dramatically, and they have a variety of perspectives on what they do; some describe themselves or their work as feminist, and some do not, but all contribute in one way or another to diversifying the production and content of pornography. Through industrial and textual analysis I will assess the significance of these different perspectives and what they can illuminate for us about the gender politics of the industry.

Wrestling Pleasure: An Analysis of Kink.com’s “Ultimate Surrender”
Kelly Aronowitz, City University of New York
In the “Ultimate Surrender” sport, unlike others, when in power one can earn more points by provoking pleasure on their opponent: breast fondling, pussy fingering, pussy licking, kissing, etc. At round 4, the losers are forced to feel more pleasure by their opponents with mouths, strap-ons and hands. Orgasms equal vulnerability. This paper will attempt to interpret the games of femininity, aggression, desire, and sexual shame through multiple hermeneutic lenses with the hope of coming to a larger conclusion about the manifestations of alternative sexual entertainment. It will also analyze the power game within pleasure.

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Ladyporn: Porn for Women

My Decadent Decade: Ten Years of Making and Debating Porn for Women in Australia
Ms. Naughty, ForTheGirls.com and BrightDesire.com
Ms. Naughty has made a career out of “porn for women”, spending the last 12 years making and promoting it. In this presentation she looks at the history of the “genre” including her own role in shaping it online. She also discusses the debate surrounding the phrase “porn for women,” why it’s problematic and the broader issue of what labels to use for a new kind of porn.

What Kind of Porn Does She Really Like?
Liesbet Zikkenheimer, Dusk TV, The Netherlands
Dusk! is a digital TV channel, which broadcasts via cable erotic films for a female (straight) audience, 24 hours per day. Dusk! TV started in 2009 with an all-female online panel. This Dusk! panel now consists of over 2,000 women. The main question is: “When do women consider a movie to be really hot and exciting?” More than 3 years of research provides a huge amount of information resulting in a growing insight of what women really like to watch. We will present the research and the results and thus share some of our major findings and conclusions.

Beautiful Porn: Aesthetics in Representations of Sex and Feminism
Sophie Delancey
This contribution to the panel focuses on a few key questions. Is porn for women necessary? Is porn for women feminist? Is porn for women beautiful? Is the shift towards a softer, more aesthetically pleasing model of porn actually what women want, or is it a reductive attempt to sell to an audience that the adult industry doesn’t understand? Does porn for women benefit from real couples, limited direction and diversity of bodies/races/abilities? What is the overlap between erotica, couples porn and porn for women? Can porn for women be queered?

Industry Guest: Nica Noelle

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Lesbo Retro: A Dyke Porn Retrospective (Screening and Q&A)

Shar Rednour, S.I.R. Video Productions and Nan Kinney, Fatale Media
Lesbo Retro is a clip show featuring footage of lesbian sex made by queer women in the 1960s, 70s, 80s, 90s, and early 2000′s compiled by Shar Rednour and Jackie Strano. Shar Rednour be presenting Lesbo Retro in person; revealing the behind the scenes details of history, economics, popular-culture, community expectations, as well as the filmmaker’s artistic eye and how all of these factors influenced the making of these radical films. Some of the footage is rare and hasn’t been publicly released. This is a very fun, informative, evocative, feminist presentation that is rarely viewed and, even more rarely, presented with such historical commentary! We are very pleased to have groundbreaking lesbian pornographer Nan Kinney of Fatale Media as a guest speaker appearing with Shar Rednour.

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Lovely Lads and Ladies: Representations of Gender & Sexuality in Porn Magazines

Sexualized Representations of Trans People in Niche Publications, 1960-1980
Nicholas Matte, University of Toronto
Fantasy-oriented magazines and newspapers between 1960 and 1980 used trans people and performances to attract and stimulate readers, but they also provided space for an interactive community of consumers to imagine themselves as trans or as having relations with trans people. In most cases, trans expressions were highly sexualized and exclusively focused on trans-feminine male embodiment, creating and reflecting gendered and racialized discourses of trans sexualization. I argue that the major shifts that occurred in trans representations during this period also reflected extensive changes in legal censorship, social acceptance of more explicit sexuality, demonstrating that trans people played a distinct role in broader social and historical shifts in pornography and sexual representations, whether as actors or objects of fantasy. As such, the discourses established in niche publications laid the groundwork for more recent efforts to create more trans-positive representations and pornography.

Chicks, Dicks, and Contradictions: Reading Porn for Women in Playgirl
Andrew Owens, Northwestern University
This paper examines Playgirl as a rich yet overlooked archive in the history of American pornography. Largely dismissed as the token attempt of a masculinist industry to equalize its representational politics, I argue instead that a demonstrable synergy exists between Playgirl and the entwined debates over pornography, gender, and commercialized sexuality in 1970s America. Employing established conventions of the women’s magazine, Playgirl utilized that form toward granting women access to sexually explicit images. Yet given its “better living” advice on how the sexually liberated woman might feel empowered by viewing male nudes, Playgirl’s reluctance to display full-frontal nudity until the midpoint of its first year fashioned an initially compromised aesthetic. Not only were women largely interpolated as untutored viewers through this regime of genital obstruction, but models were also all but emasculated. Consequently, such flirtation with how much both viewers and models could handle vis-à-vis male exposure was questioned, critiqued, and debated across Playgirl’s letters to the editor section, aptly entitled “In-ter-course.” As an artifact of sexual media history, Playgirl is invaluable because readers are able to trace throughout its pages the ways that changing tides of gendered power began to problematize pornography’s habitual dichotomy between masculine subjectivity and female objectness.

‘She Lovers Forever’: Problematizing Voyeurism and Antiporn Feminism in the Late 1970s
Jennifer Robertson, University of Toronto
‘She Lovers Forever,’ a 1978 pornographic ‘photography handbook,’ complicates the male voyeurism anti-porn feminist abhors as it is paired with the queering of female sexual representation. Through this paper, I will demonstrate how the magazine both contextualizes the dawn of the anti-porn feminism, and the censorship that ensued, as well as being seen as a complex artifact of (limited) sexual representation of WSW in the late 1970s.

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Safe: A Discussion About Mandatory Condoms and Safer Sex in Porn

Safer Sex?: Feminist Perspectives on Condom Regulation in Pornography
Lisa Kadey
, University of Toronto
The November 2012 passage of Measure B in Los Angeles re-ignited the debate over mandatory condom use in pornography. This paper will look at how condoms are represented in both feminist and mainstream pornography, and will draw on historical and contemporary debates over condom use in order to examine the following questions: In what ways might condom legislation help or hurt women working in pornography? How have issues of safer sex been addressed in feminist, lesbian, and queer pornography? What historical factors have led to the focus on condoms as the single/most important barrier method in pornography?

Industry Guest: Courtney Trouble, Director/Performer, Trouble Films

Industry Guest: Nica Noelle, AEBN Studios

Industry Guest: Arabelle Raphael, Performer

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Sexual Tensions: Contradictions and Ambivalence in Feminist Porn

Explicit Contradictions: Facilitating Social Change Through Ambivalence in Feminist Porn Communities
Toby Wiggins, York University
This paper presentation looks at the potential for feminist pornography to generate counter-narratives of sex, sexuality and gender that delegitimize systems of oppression. Drawing from influential titles like Want, Dirty Diaries and Community Action Center, contemporary theories of happiness and trauma will be used to challenge prevailing positive ideologies surrounding feminist pornography, arguing instead for a space in between what is being called “authentic pleasure” and unhappiness. By supporting the lived reality of mixed feelings, pornographers can simultaneously celebrate marginalized sexuality, resist pathologization, and better facilitate social change.

Knowing Dick: Fucking Trans* Masculinities and FtMs in Feminist Porn
Bobby Noble, York University
This paper will explore the emergence of female-to-male trans* subjectivities in porn to argue that the sexualization of masculinity’s complex forms of embodiment have, as a result have, in part, produced a shifting gaze between feminist porn cultures and masculinity. Recent depictions of FtM trans* masculinities have given masculinity and masculine sexualities a far more nuanced and queer texture, something perhaps flagged by the concept of post-porn: Films under discussion will include the non-porn documentaries such as The Butch Mystique (2002); You Don’t Know Dick (1997) but also docu-porn Enough Man (2004); Trans Entities (2008); films from Trannywood productions; the porn profile of FTM trans-porn star Buck Angel; and more recently the consistent depiction of trans-male, trannyfag and genderqueer bodies in feminist and queer porn including Courtney Trouble’s Billy Castro Does the Mission (2011). This body of work as counterpublic and potentially post-porn practice has transed sexuality from the heteronormative male phallic body and the visual spectacle of the money shot to the dispersal of pleasure across denaturalized bodies of desire and sites of gendered pleasure in performance, production and consumption. Such trans-formed masculine pleasures and their dissemination across the incoherence of transing genres of porn and post-porn have crystallized a different grammar of feminist looking relations organized around a queering of the normativities that attach binarized sex bodies to normative genders.

Tender Tensions: Erotic Entanglements Between Feminist Art and Feminist Porn
Jenna Lee Forde, University of Toronto
This paper will critically consider the relationship between contemporary feminist pornography and feminist art as generative tools for creative community making. I will discuss A.K Burns and A.L Steiner’s sixty-nine minute film entitled Community Action Centre as a case study that illuminates the political and aesthetic landscape between feminist art and feminist porn. Thinking through these sites, my focus will be concerned with the way porn and art creatively use the politics of feminism to represent the erotic’s of community. Community Action Centre represents a new wave in erotic queer art. Burns’ and Steiner’s goal for this film is to highlight community by speaking to the location of how and where we view porn. This film is not intended for solo viewing, instead it is meant to be viewed in community with others. As such, by advocating for a communal viewership, Burns and Steiner effectively create a space for turned on togetherness. Unlike previous work that scrutinizes feminist art and feminist porn’s relationship to power and representation, I want to think through the politics of feminist art and porn as it relates to radical community making.

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Shiny Jewels (Screening and Q&A)

Shine Louise Houston, Pink + White Productions
Shine Louise Houston speaks with Shine Louise Houston and her co-director Shine Louise Houston about a day in the life of an adult film maker. This short documentary looks at the creative process, practical nuts and bolts as well as the ethics of Shine Louise Houston. What does liking porn say about one’s self? What does it mean to make porn for others? Why, in your everyday life, are you closeted about what you do? These questions and more are answered candidly in this self-conscious, self reflective and humorous short.

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Teaching Porn in Academe

Teaching Pornography: “A New Low in Humanist Excess”
Constance Penley, University of California-Santa Barbara
Rolling Stone called me “one of the most dangerous professors in America” for the course on pornographic film I have been teaching at UC Santa Barbara since 1993. The televangelist Pat Robertson denounced my class as “a new low in humanist excess” on a special of The 700 Club on godlessness in public schools. What have been the changing challenges and successes of a feminist teaching pornography as a genre and an industry over those 20 years? Can teaching pornography help to shift the cultural and political climate for sexual expression, feminist and otherwise?

Edgy Knowledge(s): Porn Pedagogies, Porn as Method
Bobby Noble, York University
The explicit study of porn in university Sexuality Studies programs poses challenges to the classroom as framework for pedagogy. Mid-way through a SSHRC funded study of feminist porn and porn cultures, this paper begins to interrogate the challenging and difficult knowledges, methods and pedagogies that can be put into motion in the undergraduate classroom as porn. Detailing the work of one such undergraduate course, this paper argues that porn as pedagogical method raises but also reconfigures the spectre of embodied learning. Such a differently configured body works against the desiring-to-know ‘bad’ bodies put on display in anti-pornography feminist films such as the Studio D, NFB produced Not a Love Story: A Film About Pornography, still taught in many undergraduate classrooms as the feminist anti-porn text exemplar (1981). This project asks can the body caught looking — that is, the body desiring-to-know through porn — exceed both the pedagogical body and the body subjected by the imagined affect of ‘anti-woman’ violence? Of what might such an edgy body be generative?

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The Politics of Kinky Porn and Feminism

Madison Young, Madison Bound Productions
In this multi-media presentation, Madison Young will discuss the in-depth politics behind BDSM pornography from the perspective of a kink performer, director, and activist. Madison will address the complications and flaws that currently exist within the adult film industry as it relates to BDSM and how pornography can be used as an educational tool to demystify and give language to kinks and fetishes. Through a series of film clips and photographic media, Madison will catalyst conversation around empowerment through submission and the vastness in which BDSM can be portrayed based on the producer, director, and performers intent.

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The Queercrip Politics of Re/Making Feminist Porn: A Facilitated Discussion About Access and Porn

Loree Erickson, Femmegimp Productions and York University
I want to create a space to interrogate and re-imagine the ways we make porn. Much queer, trans, crip, and/or feminist porn seeks to open up understandings and practices of desires, bodies, sex and sexiness. Despite the many ways this work is happening, and there are many, as it is in these spaces of exclusion and disappointment where much feminist porn gets it inspiration. There are still many ways that we are replicating larger patterns of systemic power and privilege. While much queer, trans, crip, and/or feminist porn goes a long way in addressing the invisibility of many different desires and bodies as well as challenging the formulaic sex conventions in mainstream porn, there many ways we haven’t pushed ourselves and our work far enough. Porn makers have some control over who is involved in their productions and should attempt to create conditions that encourage and enable people typically excluded from being involved in porn. We will discuss different strategies to make this happen. There are also many structural barriers and conventions in how we make porn that often allows for the repetition of white supremacy, ableism. cissexism, classism, femmephobia/misogyny, fat phobia and so much more. Breaking out of these repetitions is difficult, and that’s why I want to host a discussion that utilizes the imaginative potential of porn, porn makers, and performers to transform cultures of undesirability that exclude so many of us. This reflection will provide a foundation for re-imagining how we make porn in order to make the porn we make and watch hotter and more accessible.

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To Be Real: Authenticity in Queer and Feminist Porn

Making Authenticity Explicit: How Women-Made Pornography Constructs “Real Sex”
Jill Bakehorn, University of California-Davis
This paper focuses on how women who make alternative pornography justify and legitimate their participation in a stigmatized profession, how they construct their work and products as distinct from the mainstream pornographic industry, and how they define their labor and products as activism. I analyze how women strategically deploy constructions of authenticity to achieve these goals. Authenticity hinges on creating a product that showcases “real sex,” appeals to women, depicts women’s genuine pleasure, and features “real orgasms.” Because the visual evidence of pleasure is difficult to portray, other cues to authenticity must be used by focusing on identities, “real people,” and “real bodies.”

Fucking Feminism, Or How I Became a Feminist Pornstar
Dylan Ryan, Performer
This piece is an autoethnographic exploration of the impact that feminist discourses on sex work have had on my life as a sex worker as well their impact on as how I identify as a sex worker and porn performer. This exploration stems from my own experiences as a pornographic performer, my intersections with adult performers and creators that identified as feminist and effect that the concept of authenticity has had on my identity development and the development of feminist porn as a whole.

Uncategorized: Genderqueer Identity and Performance in Independent and Mainstream Porn
Jiz Lee, Performer
An autoethnographic essay that straddles the sexy and political, with a personal strike on politics, queer representation, and the philosophies of a lived experience of an outsider welcomed inside adult entertainment

Dyke Gaze Influential: Documenting Pleasure, One Shot At A Time
Shar Rednour, S.I.R. Video Productions
Hear revelations from a career built on education inextricably intertwined with sex from a femme lesbian feminist pornographer including her challenges in choosing cast and crew, cross-cultural communication (sub-culture to common culture), filming and framing real sexuality for the big or small screen, genderqueer sexuality representation and how feminist pornographers help save men’s sexuality by creating Bend Over Boyfriend, a feminist porn manifesto.

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Watch and Learn: Sex Education Discourses in Feminist Porn

From “It Could Happen to Someone You Love” to “Do You Speak Ass?”: Women and Discourses of Sex Education in Erotic Film and Video
Kevin Heffernan (moderator), Southern Methodist University
For over one hundred years, images of female sexuality have been subject to vetting and curating by male figures of medical authority. This control extended into the cinema, where male doctors appeared onscreen to frame forbidden images of sex and the female body, from black-and-white exploitation films to the dawn of hardcore in the early seventies. Recently, the niche marketing of home video has made possible the appearance of sexually explicit educational materials completely created by women which dispense with the patriarchal voice of medical authority and its detached, clinical eye and reframe sexual experience as open and intuitive.

Towards a Pussy Oriented Pedagogy: Self Help Pornography and Feminist Modes of Meaning Making
Sarah Stevens, Ohio University
Feminism has historically taken a pedagogical approach to understanding and unearthing the potentialities of female pleasure. From the works of early radical feminists like Koedt and consciousness raising groups to texts like Our Bodies, Ourselves and Sapphistry, feminist theories of sexuality have relied heavily on a pedagogy that emphasizes discovery, curiosity, and self knowledge. This paper focuses on the relationship between the historical pedagogical approach of feminist theories of sexuality and pornography. Drawing largely from the expert series of videos by Nina Hartley and Tristan Taormino, this paper places feminist pornography practices on a spectrum feminist pedagogy that is informed by a critical ambiguity.

Industry Guest: Tristan Taormino, Smart Ass Productions

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