Porn 3.0

On: October 7, 2013
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About Gizem Ezgi Akdag
Matthieu is a research MA student in Media studies at the University of Amsterdam.

   

An online platform to crowd-fund porn production? This not-so-silly idea has been the subject of much online talk, from tech specialists to webzines but even more serious newspapers, especially after the launch of GoGoFantasy or the more famous Offbeatr.

This Kickstarter for porn allows users to “find, support and create” projects for “fetish communities” and, therefore, sexual minorities. What some already refer as “Crowdsexing” or “Porn 3.0” might be the next level for post-pornography.


From Sex-Positive Feminism to Queer Theory and Post-Pornography

The relationship between porn and minorities remains an old and passionate divide among radical feminists, with anti-pornography feminists on the one hand, and sex-positive and queer movements on the other.

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In her 2009 documentary Mutantes (Punk Porn Feminism), French author and director Virginie Despentes makes the following statement:

The body, pleasure, pornography and sex work are political tools that must be taken over by [women and sexual minorities].
Pornography should not be subject to control by the patriarchal state.

In other words, it’s women and queers responsibility to produce porn content they can identify with and to challenge mainstream pornographic representations.

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This concept reminds us of a funny video posted in May by Youtuber Davey Wavey that perfectly illustrates a cruel yet not surprising reality: as many other media platforms, the porn industry remains mostly made by straight men for straight men.

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The Internet: A Space of (Sexual) Freedom

If the Internet has most definitely changed the face of pornography, it has also always been a particularly interesting tool to develop new feminist and queer networks. Several researchers here in Amsterdam have deeply investigated the impact of new technologies on sexual culture and practices in what they call the Netporn society.

The recent success of Grindr, a smartphone app favoring encounters among gay men, and its lesbian equivalent Qrushr, can also count as enlightening examples.

New communication technologies have enabled many creative industries to bypass traditional production and distribution networks and therefore challenge dominant cultures. Around the globe, several initiatives intend to create porn content that is more female-friendly -sometimes labeled as feminist pornography. The award-winning work of Erika Lust embodies this quite well:

http://vimeo.com/22480967

 

Lust, a Swedish director living in Spain, explains her work as follows:

I pledge to create new waves in adult cinema, to show all of the passion, intimacy, love and lust in sex: where the feminine viewpoint is vital, the aesthetic is a pleasure to all of the senses and those seeking an alternative to porn can find a home.

No doubt  the Internet has been an essential tool for the Barcelona based director whose movies are available on VOD via her website erikalust.com.

 

The Future of Porn Lies in One’s Own Hands

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Since its launch in Augut 2012, Offbeatr has successfully supported 24 projects as of today. The website, created as a response to other kickstarter platforms prohibiting adult content, aims at raising money for sex-related productions, from political porn comics to World of Warcraft with sex.

Offbeatr claims to hold a mediatory position between the public and XXX companies, by securing their funding and increasing their visibility. The platform’s working structure is similar to Indiegogo and Kickstarter: people first share their project ideas with the community to obtain a required number of votes. Next, the funding stage begins and users pledge donations for projects they want to support. They are only charged if the targeted amount is achieved.

According to cofounder and CEO Ben Tao, neither of the two founders had planned on becoming adult industry entrepreneurs. In another interview, he explains:

The problem as we’ve learned from our foray into the adult industry is that there is very little access or ways to raise money for anything adult. Traditionally movie studios were the ones funding all the shoots, but as the internet grew up fast (i.e BitTorrent & tube sites) the business models didn’t […].
If we can put the future of the adult industry in the public’s hands and of those who are passionate about the movies, books, or art combined, they can try new things that otherwise your traditional studios / publishers would never attempt. Of course this is no different than what kickstarter and other crowdfunding platforms do for their users, but adult as of yet has no such platform.

 

Offbeatr is not only aimed at fetishists or porn producers, but also at erotic artists and creative types wanting to explore sexuality. It can be described as queer in its widest definition, as it welcomes projects from straight face-sitting enthousiasts as well as urban black lesbians or furry-erotica devotees.

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Since the founders in person depict the area of acceptable and unacceptable content as “a little grey for [them]”, Offbeatr seems like a space of freedom indeed…

 

 

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