Feminists and academics are ready for a pound of flesh and a slice of vice. It would be delicious but I am a bit chary about the intent however luscious be the execution.
I do not quite understand what it means to be a ‘feminist porn filmmaker’. Mia Engberg is one lucky chick. She has received $69,000 in public funds from the Swedish Film Institute to make Dirty Diaries. She explains, “Porn has always been made by men for men. Above all, it’s about showing sexuality through a female’s perspective. It’s not made to please a male audience and it’s not made to make money.”
Porn is porn, whether it is from the female point of view or the male. With diaries titled “Flasher Girl On Tour” and “On Your Back Woman”, it is replicating a male fantasy, perhaps with the woman playing an aggressive role. However, the porn industry does revel in experimentation and going against sexual stereotypes and being straight-laced, anyway.
The greater objectification of women is expressed in ads and films – not to speak of everyday living – where the woman has to enact the role of the complacent woman being subservient to the man, be it in the office or as homemaker. In pornography, even when the situation requires her to play dumb, it is often a role. Of course, for those who are forced into the profession, it is another issue altogether. Therefore, this humbug about from the X or Y perspective is just one way of marketing meat. Are these women doing it alone or with each other? That would be a different genre and require a different understanding.
The other story that was in the news a couple of months ago was of undergrad students at Oxford University posing in the buff for a calendar. It was to raise money for poverty-stricken third world countries. Hear, hear!
Oxford is beautiful and a walk down the cobbled streets, peeking into bookstores, then sitting for a leisurely cuppa with scones and clotted cream while the university peaks rise with snotty disdain is an experience…and then one made one’s way into the grand portals of the exclusive domain where intellectualism has been enshrined, although not quite as regularly proven.
When I look at my tourist at Oxford pictures I feel horribly overdressed. I even indulge myself to feel posh, and would not dare look poverty or the poor in the eye. Had I been stripped of some clothes would it have been any different?
The University stands for all that is elitist. The photographs are shot beautifully – punting, reading, playing music, walking along the halls, popping champagne, enjoying a drink, lounging in their rooms. As art, I quite love them. As titillation, they wouldn’t qualify as risqué but charmingly naughty, which is why I am reproducing some of them. These calendars go for £10 and the organisation was given permission by the chiefs to shoot at the grounds. One of the students said, “Given the opportunity I'd gladly get my kit off again in the university to raise money for a worthy cause – it’s liberating.”
Liberating from what? They enjoyed the experience, which is great. But, one would imagine that to be at Oxford and to have a heart that throbs for the less fortunate, you need to look good and have a body that curves and flattens at the right places with perfect undulations. I have already written about pornography without any prissiness.
My problem is with the insensitivity. Let not such pleasure ride on the unfortunate poverty of societies where nudity is not a choice. Where strips of cloth covering bodies starved of food give skin the name of shame.