I firmly believe that there is nothing that you can't get through Inter-Library Loan.
Case in point, I'd been trying to get my hands on a copy of Tristan Taormino's The Feminist Porn Book since I'd first heard about it back in February or so.
Isn't it lovely?
I didn't think I needed to own a copy of the book, and I none of my friends had a copy that I could borrow, so I was kind of stuck. Then, in March I started working for my library and immediately requested the book from one our participating libraries. It took quite a while (you can't Inter-Library Loan a book that's less than 6 months old), but finally, finally it was all mine to do with as I pleased.
So what did I do? I grabbed my folding chair, sat out on my porch and got to reading. A few days later, I emerged from my reading cocoon a beautiful, enlightened butterfly.
The Feminist Porn Book is almost exactly what it sounds like. What it sounds like is a book of porn (which would be cool), what it is is about a book about porn. Specifically, feminist perspectives on pornography. The book is composed of essays by people with all sorts of ties to the industry. From writers and directors to performers and even academics who make a career of the industry (a degree in pornography studies makes going back to grad school sound almost tempting).
The essays are (for the most part) smartly written and very well put together. They offer a number of different perspectives both on what it means to be a feminist and how pornography can actually be feminist (spoiler alert: it certainly can be!).
Many of the essayists suggest that there is more than one way for a work to be considered feminist. Here’s a list:
·A film can be a feminist work if woman (and female identifying people) are involved in any of the various aspects of its production.
·A film can be a feminist work if it features performers of color. Or gay, lesbian, queer and transgendered performers (and writers, directors and producers too!). Basically, feminist porn should be all-inclusive.
·Another standard that a production has to meet to be considered feminist is to treat it’s workers and performers like people, provide them food and facilities and pay them fairly. Performers should never be tricked or coerced into performing
So, how can a producer ensure that his/her film will be considered feminist? Have woman involved in the production, not just the performance. Have people involved who aren’t just straight and white, and just treat their performers like human beings. Surprisingly simple.1
The book also introduces its readers to the concept of the "Porn Wars", which were apparently many battles fought on both sides by feminists with radically different views on pornography. One camp felt strongly that porn could only ever be exploitative towards woman, and the other felt that porn could be liberating and empowering.
Yes, this book is an academic work (there are more than a few essays by prominent academics in the field), but it's also a very interesting work, and not at all dry. If you're interested in picking up a copy of your own (and I encourage you to do so; whichever side of the "Porn Wars" you fall on, it's an interesting read), you can do so at amazon.com, and don't worry, you can get the book in kindle format if you're not super-comfortable reading a bright red book with the word "PORN" in bold lettering…
1.This works in mainstream cinema as well, by having films pass the Bechdel Test↩