Porn targets female viewers, THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 17. November 2009


Women are the future of porn. On screen, behind the camera and buying the finished article, according to a proud posse of X-rated ladies.

Women have become a big new market for the sex industry, which has been badly hit by the growth of pirated movies and freely available amateur films on the internet.

Laura Meritt, owner of a sex shop for women, points to new growth areas in „sex toys, vibrators and other dildos“ due to feminine demand.

Meritt plans to transform X-rated movie-making by putting a „PorYes“ seal of approval on all films where women are the active subjects and not passive objects of the process.

She established a new award for feminist porn movies which was given for the first time at the recent Berlin pornography festival. The trophy was appropriately in the shape of an open oyster.

She compares her PorYes label to „organic“ or „fair trade“ tags that consumers put trust in now. Her label „puts the emphasis on feminine pleasure“ as opposed to the typical focus on the male orgasm.

Out go the fake breasts then, along with „performance competitions“ and „moaning that is stereotypically dubbed“, she said.

But this does not signal a run of sentimental tosh, „porn made by a woman, for women, does not mean it will be boring,“ Meritt added.

Jurgen Gruning, a filmmaker and organiser of the Berlin festival, agreed that industry stereotypes need to be thrown out. „The idea that women cannot appreciate a film containing raw sex scenes is a myth.“

The PorYes label should also signal „proper working conditions“ for actresses, more women in the director’s chair and priority given to safe sex, according to Merrit.

British X-rated filmmaker Anna Span checks that her actresses have a passport, to make sure their papers have not been taken by a pimp.

„I’m a pornographer and proud!“ the French actress and filmmaker Ovidie said in one debate at the Berlin festival, where almost half of the films shown were directed by women.

Ovidie says it is „impossible“ for the industry to change and urges women to take over obscure classic cinemas instead, rather than be tied to specialist distributors.

Meritt is more hopeful, calling for patience in the battle to overturn an industry dominated by the male gaze.