WORLD

Do girls need their own porn?

Is there a need for pornography created specifically for women? A group of French women thinks so. We ask our Observers, from Budapest to Beijing, what they think about the idea. Read more and see the videos...

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Is there a need for pornography created specifically for women? A group of French women thinks so. We ask our Observers, from Budapest to Beijing, what they think about the idea.

Sick of male-dominated pornography, a group of French women decided to create a business tailored to the needs and desires of women. "SecondSexe" offers downloadable raunchy readings, female-friendly films, and an online boutique selling lingerie and sex toys. But not all of its target audience are appreciative of the incentive....

 

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One of the SecondSexe adverts.

"This group of so-called feminists has only launched these products to make money"

Wajeha al-Huwaider is a Saudi feminist who is renowned for her campaign against the driving ban imposed on women.

I'm categorically against pornography, whether it's made for women or men. It's something that goes against our customs and religion and which reduces women to slavery. We're well aware that the girls who fall into that trade are always the victims, and that they only do it to escape poverty. I imagine that this group of so-called feminists has only launched these products to make money."

"Many of my female friends watch porn online"

Esra'a Al Shafei is a women's rights activist from Bahrain.

Because here there's no sex like there is in other countries (you can't just go out and meet someone and go home with them), the only way to learn about sex is online. That leads people to porn sites- and while some are disgusted, most people are very interested. Many of my female friends watch porn online, so I think "feminine porn" would prove popular here. In the Arab world women are looked down on for taking a leading role in sex. It mirrors wider social circumstances - men dominate women in all senses in Arab society, and that's seen as ok: it would be refreshing to see something showing the contrary."

"The idea of watching two people having sex... turns me off completely"

Grace is a stripper in a club in Texas. She also contributed to an Observers post here.

When I was younger, I thought women and men thought about sex in exactly the same way. But I don't anymore. Men need to see things to get turned on. Personally, I can masturbate by playing out a story in my mind, while the idea of watching two people having sex, with no context, turns me off completely. I've always been more turned on by an Anaïs Nin story than a porn film.

Being a stripper I've got to know men's fantasies, and the first is to dominate - every single strip club in the world practices this man dominating woman scenario. But it always makes me laugh, because in the end I always feel like I'm the one in charge."

"I don't feel fully comfortable with the idea of 'feminine' pornography"

Nathalie Margi is studying Women and Gender Studies at Rutgers University and is an activist with the Women's Environment and Development Organization (WEDO).

I don't feel comfortable with current male-directed pornography because it has established what I see as an artificial norm of masculine desire, based on the submission of woman. It has normalised humiliating and violent fantasies, which have nothing to do with real sexuality. On the other hand, I don't feel fully comfortable with the idea of "feminine" pornography, because it implies that there are "masculine" fantasies as opposed to "feminine" fantasies. But not all women share the same fantasies.

A small minority of scholars, such as Andrea Dworkin, actually claim that all heterosexual sex is by nature a form of oppression of woman, but they are marginalised today. By contrast, younger, Anglo-Saxon feminists have placed a lot of emphasis on sexual experimentation (sex toys, bisexual relationships or even sex work) as a form of empowerment for women."

"It would be nice to see more men's bodies!"

Vivien Piros is a former pornographic film producer from Budapest, Hungary.

When I worked in the industry it was very frustrating because I really felt like we were only targeting men, and that's because about 90% of the people controlling and working behind the cameras in the industry are male. They only consider their own needs. And although a lot of female consumers do like normal porn, this stuff is much more erotic than normal pornography; there's definitely a place in the market for it. It's very tasteful. I also think that most women - not radical feminists, obviously - will find these products empowering. I'd certainly be interested in working on something like this. The only criticism I have is that we don't see enough men - and as much as woman on woman stuff is very attractive, it would be nice to see more men's bodies!"  

"It's a niche product"

Muzi Mei made her name by being the first Chinese woman to blog about her sexual adventures. She's a huge success both home and abroad; some of her posts have even been translated into French and German.

Porn is banned in China. You can only find it on DVD or on the web. I understand what these women are trying to do with producing feminine porn, as we don't see sex in the same way as men do. We want quality films with a storyline; not just sex scenes. That said, I still think it's a niche product, because women don't consume a lot of porn products. The most well known film like this in China is Nu Ren Na Er. It was produced in Hong Kong and caused a lot of noise, but in the end it didn't sell many copies. On my blog I was talking to everyone, to men as well as to women, to address a big audience [her podcasts get around 10,000 listens each]."