News | Making feminist love, not porn

Porn Event speakers tackle the challenges of mainstream porn

Closing the first day of the Centre for Gender Advocacy’s (CGA) week-long annual fall event series “Another Word for Gender,” the“Porn Event” made its way to Concordia on September 29.

The event featured speeches from two guest speakers: Baltimore-based Ignacio Rivera, an activist, filmmaker, kinky-sex-positive sex educator, sex worker, and performance artist, and Sarah Beall, a curator and community manager for MakeLoveNotPorn.tv. The speakers explored issues related to the porn industry, the definition of feminist porn, their personal involvement in the industry, as well as tackling politics pertaining to consent, gender, and race.

Rebekah Glendinning, a second-year Concordia student in Human Environment with a minor in Women’s Studies who was in the audience told The Daily, “I came here to learn more about the power structures in porn and how it could be more inclusive for everybody.”

Maya Rolbin-Ghanie, Publicity and Promotions Coordinator at the CGA, opened the talk by introducing the event series, including giving a brief overview of other events that will be happening throughout the series. She also acknowledged her excitement for having an event that explicitly “addresses porn and the issues surrounding porn, whether that be mainstream porn or feminist porn.”

Beall spoke from their experience from their website MakeLoveNotPorn.tv and its history, while Rivera drew from their personal life and achievements within their work with the porn industry. Both speakers were generally pro-porn, took the time to recognize the privileges and power they hold, and situated their perspectives within feminist dialogue.

Beall recognized the critique that their website is heteronormative and stated their intention to combat this flaw by including more gender-inclusive porn films.

In their discussion of feminist porn and real world sex versus porn sex, Beall also sought to emphasize the importance of embracing sex as it is, rather than its fantasy form in mainstream porn, in order to make porn more socially acceptable.

“The idea is that we want to make sure that videos on our [web]site reflect our belief that real world sex is the hottest sex there is.”

According to Beall, that includes seeing everything awkward before, during, and after sex – from putting the condom on to the clean up afterwards.

Rivera noted that Beall’s feminist conception of real world porn would also involve individuals with more realistic body types. “We get to see different types of bodies that we don’t get to see in mainstream porn,” they said. “We get to see everything, and we want to see all of that, stretch marks, et cetera.”

According to Rivera, a “radical, comprehensive” form of sex education is needed for people to have a more positive relationship with their own sexuality. “What the issue here is when we saw porn I was a kid – I thought this is how people have sex, how people cum,” said Rivera.

They emphasized that people should be able to embrace their sexuality, not fear it.

“It’s not about policing sexuality,” Beall stated, “but it’s really about celebrating sexuality.”


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