It probably comes as no surprise that Europe’s first feminist porn award, the PorYes Award, started six years ago, right here in Berlin. This October the award honoured Berlin-based Danish photographer and queer porn filmmaker Goodyn Green alongside a cast of prolific pornographers the likes of trans porn pioneer, Buck Angel; gender-queer porn star, Jiz Lee; “emotional realist” porn filmmaker, Jennifer Lyon Bell; and slow porn revolutionary, Gala Vanting. If you missed the Award, you can still catch everyone at this week’s PornFilmFestival (Oct 21-25 at Moviemento).
Goodyn’s work specializes in two aspects lacking in most mainstream smut: authentic pleasure and aesthetics. Her first short film, Want Some Oranges, won a prize at the 2013 XPosed International Queer Film Festival, and her next film, Shutter was nominated for this year’s Good For Her Feminist Porn Award. She’s also part of a group photo exhibition on now at the Schwules Museum, “Women”, which documents women who are commonly mistaken for men. I sat down with her for a chat about androgyny, female pleasure, and making arty porn.
What is queer feminist porn?
Traditional porn focuses on male ejaculation. Feminism is about equality so feminist porn can show male desire, if there are men in it, and it definitely shows female desire and orgasm. It’s made with ethics, often by women, but not necessarily.
Feminist porn isn’t a genre; it’s as diverse as feminism. It can be a lot of things. It can be really rough. If we talk about queer feminist porn that means including intersecting marginalized identities. Disability, people of color, different body types – these elements don’t have to be present, but usually, there are things you don’t normally see in conventional, conservative porn.
Is feminist porn misunderstood?
Feminism is misunderstood, so yes. There’s this myth that female sexuality is mysterious, women’s sexuality isn’t taken as seriously as male sexuality, and porn’s always been a male medium about male pleasure and so misogynistic, and because of that, a lot of people don’t understand that feminist porn can exist.
The pleasure in your films looks very authentic.
I meet up with the protagonists before filming and we talk about the kind of experiences they like to have, but that’s really the only thing that’s planned. It’s very important for me that they don’t put themselves in a role where they feel like they’re acting.
I normally only shoot one take. I just move around and try to get as much as possible. I do that because I’ve acted in porn myself. I’m not a professional and the people I work with mostly aren’t professionals either, and when you’re so intensely in a sex scene and then, if suddenly it’s, “Hey stop! Can you do it again?” It’s so hard make it look authentic. So it’s like observing people having sex in a natural way. I’m the pervert fly on the wall.
Why do you make porn?
I started acting in porn because I wasn’t comfortable with my body and I wanted to change that. I became interested in making porn, because I couldn’t find the kind of porn I wanted to see. Whenever something’s lacking that motivates me to make it. At first I just wanted to make something that turned me on. Something a little artier because what was available was boring.
Now I want to show different bodies that aren’t just white, skinny women. I want the viewer to know that they’re normal if they have long [genital] lips or cellulite. And I want the women who are in my porn feel good about their bodies too. They might say, “Oh, please don’t show this”, whatever it is that they don’t like about their body, and I won’t show it if they don’t want me to, but we talk about it.
What’s the goal of your films?
To turn women on. To educate about female sexuality. To show that women have sex, women love sex, and lesbian sex is hot. There’s a fear of the clitoris in our culture. Most girls don’t even know where it is and boys definitely don’t know.
My friend, Sophia Wallace, has a project called Cliteracy and it’s so crazy how little knowledge there is of the clitoris. Porn reflects this. There’s so much focus on vaginal penetration and not nearly enough on the clitoris!
Does making porn influence your day-to-day?
Yes. The other day I saw these two really hot women sitting outside a cafe and it was obvious that they didn’t know each other well – that they’d just met – and I wanted to approach them and say, “Have you ever considered porn?”
How does your photography influence your work?
When I started shooting porn, I was inspired by some of my photography series. I wanted to put my photos into film. I’m filming with a camera that’s also a photo camera. Besides that, I get a lot of inspiration from fashion magazines.
Is that where the androgyny element comes from?
Yeah, I love fashion magazines. When I started eight years ago, androgyny was super in. I always wanted to see those women naked, so my idea was to take some of that androgyny and make it pornographic.
I’m actually focusing now on getting fem into my work because a lot of my friends are suffering from the fact that they’re not visible enough in the queer scene. There’s a lot of butchness happening.
You told PorYEs you’re not a “gender-bender”.
I’m not bending any genders in my work. I’m just showing different ways of female sexuality. I take photographs of women who look androgynous, but they identify as women. At least back then.
That’s a thing that provokes me, that my work is seen as transgender or that my assumed pronoun is “he” or “they”. For me that’s problematic. I want to be assumed “she” because, throughout my whole life, it hardly ever happens. We focus so much on deconstructing these gender roles, but for me, we don’t need to deconstruct gender so much as just widen it. Open it up. If you identify as female or male, there are so many ways to express yourself.