The Feminist Porn Awards celebrate films that offer a female-perspective to what has traditionally been a male industry.

Despite the fact that The Feminist Porn Awards are about to celebrate their fourth year this Friday in Toronto, feminism and pornography still aren’t exactly obvious bed partners.

The relationship may no longer be quite as hostile as it was back in 1980 when feminist author Robin Morgan famously quoted that: “Pornography is the theory and rape is the practice.”

But many women still view porn as degrading to women and simply an indulgence of unrealistic male fantasies. As a result, many women have a less than warm, fuzzy feeling about the stuff.

Granted, plenty of it is, well, less than female friendly. But, the fact is, pornography has changed a lot in recent years with one of the fastest growing market being porn aimed at couples.

An increasing number of women directors have entered the fray and brought a female perspective to what has traditionally been a male-dominated industry.

Good For Her, the Toronto-based women-friendly sex shop (goodforher.com) started The Feminist Porn Awards — known as The Emmas, named after Canadian pro-sex feminist pioneer Emma Goldman — to celebrate this.

Chanelle Gallant, the former manager of Good For Her and founder of the Feminist Porn Awards, explains that feminist porn is all about creating “sexual images that make us feel good about ourselves and about sex.”

Winning films have to meet three criteria: a) they had to show genuine female pleasure (in other words, no faking it) b) they had to be directed or produced by a woman and c) they had to “expand the range of female sexual expression currently seen in pornography.”

For Tristan Taormino, a former Village Voice columnist turned porn director (and previous Emma award winner), feminist porn “is all about creating a fair working environment and empowering everyone involved — both men and women — to have a say in the representation of their sexuality rather than simply having me tell them what to do.”

Not every woman (or man, for that matter) has to like porn or even support its existence, I just think that those who do, deserve something better.

As I remember someone saying the first year I attended the awards: “The answer to bad porn isn’t no porn, it’s better porn.”

Awards time
The Fourth Annual Feminist Porn Awards?take place Friday at the Berkeley Church (315 Queen St. E.). For more info, go to: www.goodforher.com

– Josey Vogels is a sex and relationship columnist and author of five books on the subjects. For more info, visit www.joseyvogels.com.

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