I can’t believe its December already. This year just flew by and I feel that my feet have barely touched the ground. It was a flurry of flights, festivals, trade shows, workshops, meetings and TV interviews.
I have enjoyed reaching out and connecting with other female erotic filmmakers. Some of them have become good friends and we inspire and support each other in many ways.
I am very much looking forward to make these filmmakers and their unique films heard and seen all over Europe with my upcoming DVD compilation: “Porn for women”. I would like to show the great diversity in female directed porn – each of us has focuses on different female fantasies and creates films with a very unique creative hand-writing. It feels great to be connected to such a strong network of powerful women who all are helping to transform the adult industry and empower and liberate women. Together we are not just strong but unstoppable. It is an honour to be the curator of this exquisite compilation that will enable many viewers to discover more great films from a female perspective.
I am also pleased to represent the fabulous Marianna Beck in Europe and help her to get distribution in the UK and Germany. Her films are artistic, creative and sensual and deserve to be seen in Europe. I feel like an archaeologist discovering and unearthing buried treasures. In the eighties I watched a lot of porn and found no films that I liked. Twenty years on I have the pleasure of viewing more and more films that I enjoy and would like to share with other women. For five years now I have been doing my own distribution and PR and I am so pleased that the time has finally come to share the contacts and skills I have with other female directors that are coming in from the cold.
I feel that my work as a curator is a natural progression of my work as a director and teacher. The time has come to take a deep breath and harness all my powers in order to put porn for women on the world-wide adult map.
2008 might not have been a rewarding year financially but I have gained things money cannot buy: friendships and awards that feel that my vision and mission is being seen and heard and understood. In times of this economic crisis, it is more important than ever to count our blessings. And I count them every single day.
I am happy that the seeds I have sown for many years have flowered and are now bearing fruits.
And in the New Year they are ripe and ready for picking. I hope you will share them with me. I wish you all a peaceful Christmas and a creative, prosperous and exciting 2009!
I overheard someone the other day speaking about Buck Angel – the man with a pussy – calling him “sick and twisted”. She said angrily: “She claims to be a man but it is bullshit. She has a pussy so she is a woman pumped full of hormones. It’s disgusting, really”
I am always surprised by the strong reactions anybody provokes who dares to question gender stereotypes and indulges in some form of “gender bending”.
My strap-on scene in “Female Fantasies” caused a big stir and was censored by one of my biggest distributors. And that was just a woman wearing a plastic cock for a bit of role play. But to see some hunky men sucking a (plastic) cock worn by a gorgeous feminine woman was more than the allegedly-liberal adult industry could handle. In straight porn, women are supposed to be ultra-feminine and men are dominant super studs – there is no room for any play with gender roles.
We hold on to our perception of what it means to be male and female as if we don’t have a choice to reinvent ourselves every single day – no matter if we were born as a woman or a man. What makes a man a man? It is not just his cock. We are more than our reproductive organs and gender is a state of mind.
If Buck Angel feels like a man, let him be a man. He has got the muscle, attitude and way of life. Good for him that he did not choose to have his vagina transformed into a fake penis just to conform to what we expect a man to be. Why would he swap a giant clit that gives him multiple orgasms for a fake penis that can neither become fully erect, nor ejaculate and that would give him far less pleasure than his pussy?
Another gender-bending hate figure is Thomas Beattie who decided to utilise his womb in order to give birth to his children. Thomas is similar to Buck a “FTM” (female to male transsexual). He had his breasts removed and has had hormone therapy but never wanted to have a hysterectomy and labiaplasty. He wanted to have the choice to have children with his wife who was not able to have children naturally anymore.
He chose to physically mother and psychologically father his children. The world has been up in arms since the story of the “pregnant man” broke and YouTube is inundated with hate messages from “real men” ridiculing and abusing Thomas. Not only did he have the audacity to preserve his pussy but he kept his reproductive organs as well, and the public demands him to make a final choice: Be a man and get a cock, or stop taking hormones and live your life as a woman who is not just allowed to be expected to become a mother. Thomas pushed the envelope even further than Buck.
Buck embraced being a man by living out his very active, ‘male’ sex life in full view of the public. Thomas is allowing himself to take the gender bending even further by utilising his womb rather than paying a surrogate mum to mother his and his wife’s baby. He is a man yet he chooses to become a biological mother and focus on his family. And that is something those ‘real men’ cannot accept or respect. They want him to be in a nightclub, get pissed, watch strippers and crack jokes about gay men. But the times are changing and more and more people stand up to be whoever they want to be – call it male or female, transsexual or third gender or simply a free, individual and unique spirit.
In the animal realms gender is much more fluid. At any stage in their life fish can swap gender and they often do. My boyfriend had three swordtail fish in his aquarium: two female and a male. When the male died, one of the females did her very own gender reassignments by growing a swordtail within a week. I therefore christened him “Buck”. And it’s the male seahorses that give birth.
For a long time I was optimistic. The talk of the “credit crunch” is everywhere and I thought as I have no property to sell it won’t really affect me. I will be OK, slowly making my way out of red and into black figures. Things were looking up: A few weeks back I was delighted to sign a distribution deal with a big record company and film distributor for my soft films. My friend Ian, a gay erotic film producer, hooked me up with them and I was so happy to finally have found a company that would get my films into high street shops such as HMV and Virgin. The soft cuts were made, a new BBFC license was paid, new covers were designed and a print run was done. All of this is not cheap and comes in at around two thousand pounds per film. But I was optimistic that I would not only make my money back but eventually make a small profit too and that without me having to pack boxes and write invoices.
On Tuesday Ian and I went to meet the sales team of the company to firm up the “Feeling it!” soft-cut release. Everyone was in high spirits for the year that lay ahead and the team was very appreciative of our chocolates and bucks fizz. Smiley faces all around. We chatted briefly about the fall of Woolworth and an attached multimedia company but when it came to discussing a contract renewal for next year, we were assured that all would be well. The happiness did not last. Not even 24 hours.
The next morning, when I opened my mail box I found a mail from the distributors stating that the company had gone into administration and will not be able to pay me or Ian for any of our sales. They will also withhold our remaining stock and if we get it back at all after two months we will have to pay a fee for the packing, handling and delivery.
My whole world came crashing down. It’s not just about the stock and the price for the print run as such. It is also about the huge investment I made to do the soft cuts and get the BBFC licence in the first place. I would not have done that if I had not been sure to finally have found an efficient company that could represent me and generate some serious sales.
Now I don’t even think that I will ever do a print run of “Feeling it” in the soft 18 rated version, so the re-edit, BBFC license and cover re-design were all for nothing.
I have tears of anger and frustration in my eyes. This is the second time that a company that owed me a lot of money had gone bust. A few years back I was owed a large amount by a publishing company for articles I had written and lots of photos I had taken. I always delivered way before my deadline, worked my ass off typing and photoshopping until the small hours and then I did not get a penny. What an easy way out for them – they just don’t pay their debts, shed them like an old skin and then start afresh without being weighed down by the red numbers. Very convenient for them but terrible for all the little sole traders and companies that are left to pick up the pieces and pay the price. Because there is no easy way out – we still have to pay our bills that allowed us to create a product for them to sell. It really sucks and it is not what I needed a few weeks before Christmas.
I tried to contact everyone of eight the sales team members that we met on Tuesday but they have except one all been let go – just like that, without any notice. I am deeply shocked and sorry for them. And it leaves Ian and I in limbo because we have no one to communicate with.
I can’t believe that this is happening. It just seems so unfair. And the collapse will continue; without stock we cannot trade and supply stores with our goods and the customers will not be able to buy any of our products, even if they wanted to. It’s a lose-lose situation.
They call it the “credit crunch”. But it’s no joke. This is not a “credit crunch” but a full-on recession that has hit the UK and me.
The first part of a special feature in which Petra discusses “What Women Want”