Last night I went to see “Sex and the City” with my best mate Erica. In true girl’s night out style, a Thai dinner was followed by champagne cocktails to get ready for a feel good movie with an edge. The cinema was sold out. 95% of the audience was female.
The film started out fun and flamboyant but the longer it went on, the more uneasy I felt. All of the main characters seemed to have stopped living a real life and growing. We hardly ever saw them at work and none of them experimented sexually by using toys, watching porn, or taking part in sensual workshops. They had all settled into cosy heterosexual monogamy. What annoyed me more than anything was the ending. It could have been from a 1950′s movie: Carrie took Mr. Big back only seconds after seeing him again – even though he left her on the altar, they had not been speaking for 6 months and she had been to emotional hell. No questions asked, no rules set. Why did they have to get married at all? Why could she not be happily single or go out with someone who is ready to commit and has no problem giving her the big wedding of her dreams? Oh and Miranda – why could she not (like the actress in real life) discover her bisexual side and fall for a woman rather than having Steve back? Charlotte of course has become the perfect housewife. Happily married, mother to an adopted baby girl, she says “I have everything I ever dreamt of” no more thoughts and time wasted on her original big love – art. Carrie’s assistant, a twenty-something, packs in her dream job and life in NYC to marry her boyfriend after he dumped her and moves back – wait for it – to Louisiana. And Samantha leaves the only hot guy in the show because she is bored and unfulfilled rather than making more time for each other, or living her life with him by her side. But even the breakup leaves her unsatisfied: She did not seem to go back to her old ways of being an adventuress even as a single woman but rather settles for joyful comfort eating.
Most women in the cinema were in their twenties. What messages are they told, what lessons will they learn? The sex in the city ‘icons’ are no more heroines who make their own dreams come true, experiment sexually and with different relationship models – just superficial women that drink cocktails, talk fashion and would do anything to find happiness with “the one”. It is odd that especially films which are supposed to be for women always put us down a peg.
I remember with horror the message of “All about Anna” – hailed as the ultimate porn for women. The sexually liberated woman is portrayed as an alcoholic and Anna has her heart broken by her “big love”. When he disappears without a word for years, she starts to experiment sexually but never finds true happiness. That is the prerogative of her “big love” when he returns to her after something like 5 years. She takes him back of course, no questions asked. Arghhhh. Let’s do a movie that truly reflects how modern liberated women live and love – the many variations of sexuality, relationships and definitions of “happiness”. We have moved on and continue to explore and grow. The sky is the limit.
I have recently been working on an article for Forum magazine on inspirational vagina art and also the worrying trend in plastic surgery to create cloned designer vaginas. During my research I came across Jamie McCartney, a Brighton based body caster who is currently working on a piece entitled “design-a-vagina”. He is casting vaginas from 160 volunteers to have them all on display next to each other as a celebration of diversity. He says:
“For many women their vagina is a source of shame rather than pride and this piece seeks to redress the balance, showing that everyone is different, everyone is normal, and everyone is beautiful”
I could not resist but had to be one of the vagina volunteers donating my pussy cast proudly for the arts. The experience took only five minutes and yes, let’s be honest it did not feel dignified to climb onto a wooden bench and spread my legs for a total stranger who dons surgical gloves to plaster Nivea and then blue goo onto my pussy but once the goo was one it felt good. Cold and sticky at the same time. The best part was when the cast came off: I had never seen my pussy like this – three dimensional and right in front of my face. It beats an awkward mirror image any time. I like my cunt even more now that I had a good look I think it’s beautiful in its fleshy fullness. So thanks to Jamie my vagina will be part of the art installation and also grace my bedroom wall. May this piece of inspirational art help to liberate women and teach them to love their pussies, cunts, vaginas and yonis in all their glory ! If you would like to know more about “Design-A-Vagina” and possibly volunteer your pussy for the project, check out: www.brightonbodycasting.com
During the writing of my article I also came across Grit Scholz, a photographer and publisher from Germany who has photographed lots of vaginas of friends and even her mother to help breaking an ancient taboo. She published the book “The gate to life” (www.lebensgut-verlag.de) independently so she could do it exactly how she wanted it. No compromise. Grit told me:
“The vagina became taboo in Christianity when we were told that a virgin conceived and gave birth to Christ. This myth reflects the thought that sex and the vagina is dirty. This is an ancient believe about the female sex and sexuality but most of us are subconsciously still influenced by it. The topic “vagina” is still taboo these days – nobody wants to touch it.
We see one type of cloned, shaved and small lipped vagina in porn but apart from porn films we hardly ever see any and many of us do not even know what our own pussy look like. With her picture book Grit wants to educate and inspire and encourage us to have a good look so that we can glow with pride instead of shame. She told me:
“Pornography is in stark contrast to our religious conditioning – a pressure valve that many people use to let off steam and satisfy their physical needs. To me most pornography is disconnected from our souls and true intimacy with other human beings. And this is why pornography is acceptable to most people – it is far removed from our souls and therefore also social conditioning. What I would like to achieve with my work is to reunite body, mind and soul when we approach our sexuality and genitals.”
The ever growing obsession with genital grooming and also the growing figures of women watching porn has led to a huge trend in women wanting that “perfect” vagina: no pubic hair and small, delicate, almost invisible inner and outer lips. Anyone can have such a designer vagina at the cost of around 5 grant, a lot of pain and the risks of a surgery under general anaesthetic.
I find the idea of cloned body parts is unsettling. To me uniqueness is sexy. Self love is the key. If we can not accept our individuality but feel under pressure to conform, then we might get more than what we bargained for. In a recently published article in the British Medical Journal the author, Sarah Creighton, a well known London gynaecologist warns of the dangers of cutting the vagina up to give it a more appealing look:
“Incision to any part of the genitalia could compromise sensitivity!”
So women who take their genital grooming to the extreme could risk loss of sensation where it matters most. That would be a very high price to pay for the perfect look – no more feeling and therefore less or no more orgasms ever. If this was the case then the quest for the ultimate look and sexual sensation would backfire in a dramatic way and the results of this controversial surgery would be similar to genital mutilation (the cutting of the clit) that is still practised especially in many African countries. The irony is that the genital mutilation is done against the will of the woman whereas the plastic surgeries in the West are chosen by the women who are desperate to conform to an unrealistic standard. What can I say – whatever you call it: vagina, pussy, cunt – love it and enjoy it ! You know that free-range always tastes best.
I just returned from the first ever “Passion” show in London. I loved the design of the show: all black and pink with plush pink carpets leading the way to a huge variety of sensual merchandise. I got myself a wonderful miniature top hat covered in leopard skin. I had fun in de video village where half a dozen gogo boys were bumping and grinding to promote the hot gay DVDs from Corolo Films. It is always a pleasure to meet bi boys and it was a refreshing change from other tradeshows to see some guy candy rather than just the usual girls in hot pants with silicone breasts. I also spent a long time at the Vibra Fun booth selling vibrating whips and crops. It is a genius idea. A few years back I submitted this idea of the perfect slap and tickle toy to a few toy producers but nobody was interested. Now Vibra Fun have brought out a whole range and I am very impressed. The crops and whips vibrate at various levels silently and are also fully functioning spanking implements. Thanks to the director from Vibra Fun who sorted me out with a whole set of new erotic and truly exotic toys. I really appreciate it.
More info on their full range: www.vibrafunproducts.com
I also enjoyed the burlesque show with a variety of female and male acts from the London festival of burlesque. I was also looking for a distributer for my first soft cut “Sensual Seduction” a merger of my most sensual scenes from “Sexual Sushi” and “Female Fantasies”. As this film is 18 rated it can be sold in any retail or online shop. I made some good contacts, especially through Christian at Corollo Films, so fingers crossed. Soon this film will also be available to buy directly on my website.
The show had a real upmarket feel and I really enjoyed it. I hope that it was a huge success for the organisers and exhibitors and that it will be back in the next year.
I returned back home laden with lots of exciting goodies. My selection of whips and crops poking out of my passion bag raised a few eyebrows on the train. I did not care but smiled as I could not wait to get home and play…
When looking at the shelf of an average sex shop one could easily think that there are hardly any female filmmakers making creative porn from a woman’s point of view. But that is not the case. Through networking I discovered other talented women who produce films for women independently and it is a pleasure to be connected with them. Sometimes it is not enough to email or call each other but one needs to meet over a bottle of champagne in the sunshine ! I was very keen to share some bubbly with the high priestess of lesbian s/m porn: Ms Maria Beatty. Maria has created the genre “porn noir” – similar to film noir featuring high contrast flickering black and white images – a completely new approach in the often brightly it and candy coloured world of porn.
Her hypnotic debut work “The Black Glove” was an intimate portrayal of a sadomasochistic encounter between herself and a dominant female partner. The now legendary movie made the entrancing submissive a cult star in the worldwide fetish scene. In ten years Maria and her production company bleu productions has produced and directed over 35 lesbian fetish films and one feature film with the second one being completed later this year…
As Maria lives not far from me – just across the channel in Paris, I decided to meet her for an interview which will be part of a book and film on women in porn I am working on. We met by the Seine on a wonderful sunny Saturday afternoon. She brought her girlfriend Ursula along and I came with one of my favourite performers and dear friend Violetta. There were smiles an laughter all around as we chatted about our work – the pleasure it gives us to create our unique films and the battles we face a s truly independents to get distributed and seen.
Committed to total control over her own work, Maria Beatty just like me has gone on to establish herself as a true independent, winning acclaim and awards for her uncompromising work. Her personal approach achieves an authentic sensuality rarely seen in adult cinema. She enjoys leading viewers into the enticing world of fetishism.
Her work is highly controversial because she does not just feature fluffy love making but pushes boundaries by featuring bondage, fisting, golden showers and more in her exciting s/m scenarios.
As Maria does everything herself: directing, camera, editing, marketing and distribution, she can often be seen packing parcels with her DVDs late at night to fulfil orders that come in from around the world. After ten years of working as an independent Maria has not lost the tiniest bit of enthusiasm. Her joy and energy is infectious and lifted m spirits and encouraged me to continue with creating my films. She also told me that she thinks my films are groundbreaking and that’s he has never seen straight erotic films where women are being pleasured as much as in my films and that she hopes that unique quality of my work will finally be recognized. Thank you Maria for a wonderful time and your supportive words and smiles. I hope to be on set with Maria a couple of days this summer in Berlin when Maria will shoot her second feature film. If you would like to find out more about her amazing work, check out: www.bleufilms.com
Violetta and me continued to have a wonderful time in Paris sampling more champagne, visiting the crazy horse club and unsettling quiet a few sex shop owners with our mission to find female-friendly porn amongst a mass of assembly line porn. Needless to say we did not find any. But one day all of that is going to change! There is a revolution happening in the erotic industry right now and at the heart of it are women. Women working world-wide around the clock on bringing sensuality and creativity, humour and magic back into sex. And it feels fantastic to be a part of this !
I am so excited because today my feminist porn award for “best bi scene” arrived. I was not able to fly out to Toronto to collect it personally so I want to thank the organizer for sending me the unique glass butt plug trophy !
It is interesting that this award was given to me for one of my most controversial scenes: “Cruising” from “Female Fantasies”. This scene is based on the female fantasy what it would be like to cruise or cottage like gay men in a public place for a spontaneous chance encounter of uncensored passion. The scene starts with three bi men making out in a toilet – the kind of eye candy many women like to see: various men turning each other on. To top this experience the next step in the female fantasy is to join the boys and have them play by your rules. In “Cruising” the woman who joins the guys is well equipped with a big black starp-on that the guys suck for her. It is refreshing and exciting to show a woman receiving rather than giving a blow job all the time. How do the boys give head? For the woman who looks down on the guy who sucks her starp-on the feeling of being turned on happens in her biggest sex organ – between her ears – before it slowly travels down between her legs.
Male bi sexuality and female/male role reversal is still a major taboo in mainstream porn. So this scene was censored by one of my big dealers who accepted “Female Fantasies” on their shelves only if that particular scene that they called “ugly, dirty and image damaging” was cut.
I had to think long and hard about what to do and in the end decided to let them cut this scene as it was more important that 90% of my content reached their customers than none. So now there is a director’s cut of “Female Fantasies” and a censored version.
They forgot to tell me that they were also going to cut my very special feature, a porn parody on how mainstream porn would shoot a threesome. In my original scene “car wash” the woman gets pampered by two guys – with hands and tongues only. I did not want to fulfill the expectation I knew people would have from previous porn films. I did not want to show double penetration and the guys fraternizing over her body as if it was just a piece of meat. In the parody we gave her a long blonde wig, glued on red false finger nails and gave her the smokiest eye make up possible. The guys were oiled up and they were instructed to continuously look into the camera to show off how “hot” they were. The proceeded to (fake) spit roast her whilst she was moaning into the camera, tossing her hair and sucking her index finger. Faking it, not feeling it at it’s best.
When I am asked what’s different about my films vs. mainstream porn I always show these two scenes and amidst lots of laughter everybody understands instantly. I think it is absurd that this scene has been cut as it is so unique and makes everyone laugh. But it looks like the porn industry is very sensitive to criticism and can’t take it and embrace it even when it is done tongue in cheek.
I really hope that the industry especially the porn film distributors and dealers become more open minded and encourage unusual scenes that question and break existing rules rather than censor them.
“Cruising” was recently shown at the renowned BFI in London during the Lesbian and Gay film festival to huge acclaim. I have been invited to show this scene and my porn parodies at 6 other international film festivals. And now I won an award for the Cruising scene.
It just illustrates what is filth for one person is art to another. Visualized fantasies are powerful and push many buttons. Depending on where you are coming from the reaction to a cutting edge scene will be positive or negative. And this says nothing about the quality of the actual scene. If it polarizes ideas, it is important that it was made.
This just confirms to me that I need to continue to work as an independent filmmaker because if a big name financed me it is almost certain they would want to control the content and “Cruising” would have never been made…
What the industry needs is not more of the same but a huger variety of porn. There should be even something like a new talent award that is sponsored within the industry. This way the porn industry will be able to rejuvenate and attract new interest and maybe even reclaim viewers that have lost interest a long time ago.
Tickets for Passion show and more to be won !
London has got a new erotica lifestyle event, aimed especially at women and couples. It launches on the weekend 24/25 of May. This show will feature a wide range of burlesque entertainment of lots of stands selling corsets, upmarket toys etc.: www.passion-uk.com.
Passion has donated 5 pairs of tickets to us, worth £30. To win a pair of tickets please email me with a couple of sentences on what kind of erotic scenario you would like to see in my next film. You do not have to go into detail, a couple of sentences will do. Your entries will be confidential. Our favourite five entries will win the tickets and the next five will win my limited edition erotic playing cards photographed by me. Please send your ideas with a phone number and your address so that we can send you your prize. Good luck!