by Furry Girl

03.01.10

I've had a lot of smut thrust at me over the years as awful examples of "women being degraded", but none of that has ever truly pissed me off quite like ForTheGirls.com.  It's with that long-standing annoyance that I was disappointed to see that the only porn site to ever really offend me with its disgusting amount of sexism is up for a Feminist Porn Award.  For The Girls (and others in the genre) takes sexuality back about 50 years, insults viewers' intellect and their libido, and tacitly says that all women are vanilla heterosexual chicks who squirm and giggle at the very thought of penises.

For The Girls and other smaller "porn for women" companies feature cheesy soft-focus images, putting forth the idea that in order for women to be aroused, a sexual situation must be framed in terms of love and cuddling.  I love snuggling, too, but it's obscenely offensive to me to suggest that women are such delicate little flowers that we can't handle sex without it being about love.  That, to me, is exactly the sort of mentality that feminism was supposed to be fighting against.  (But, I have that sentiment about a lot of matters when it comes to feminism, which is why I abandoned that sinking ship.)

I don't need saccharine romantic story lines to get wet - I want to see relatable people and fucking.  ("Porn for women" rarely features shots of penetration and other things that supposedly frighten women.)  When I look at porn, I want to see people getting sweaty, aroused, smiling and laughing, being "imperfect", and in realistic locations and situations, not a "fantasy hay loft where the muscular stable boy makes sweet gentle love to me while never ruffling my feathered hair."

For The Girls is just as bad as mainstream "male-centric" porn in the type of body images it promotes- oiled up beefcake guys with muscles, who generally look like they were photographed for some gay porn mag.  The women have flawless thin bodies, just like what you'd see on any mainstream porn production.  The sex - what little of it is shown - is of the extremely staged variety where the focus is on camera angles and keeping the performer's makeup and hair looking perfect.  (Nevermind the fact that most "porn for women" looks like it was shot in the 80s and 90s.)  Apparently, "women" like their porn tacky, contrived, and like something out of a letter to Penthouse Forum from 20 years ago where it's obvious a man is writing his fantasy from the perspective of a woman.

Why is For The Girls' content so similar to mainstream porn, you ask?  Because it is mainstream porn - and I don't mean that just as a personal judgement.  In talking with the site's owner on an industry message board several years ago, she explained how she gets the material she uses on her site.  For The Girls' owner buys cheesey mass-market heterosexual porn content, and removes all the shots of the actual sex, since women don't want to see that sort of thing.  She also buys generic softcore male content and deletes any photos that look too gay.  She then writes flowery introductory text to make the content romancey and (supposedly) appealing to women.  While the site's audience is led to believe that the content is special, "made for women", and focusing on women's pleasure and desires, it's just random porn produced under whoever-knows-what circumstances, with all the icky sex and the icky gay stuff deleted out.  Very feminist and sex-positive, don't you think?

(I've had a number of online conflicts on this topic with the owner of For The Girls, and I wish I had them screencapped for posterity.  Our fights were on a couple of different message boards for women in the porn industry, both of which are now offline.)

For The Girls and the "porn for women" niche is just dripping with the idea that women actually don't like or want sex.  It's deeply misogynistic in ways that aren't obvious on the surface.  (The whole thing reminds me of an Onion article about a woman masturbating to the thought of having a husband, a house in the suburbs, and 2.5 darling children.)  For The Girls' owner wouldn't even bother me if she peddled her product as "softcore romance porn", but don't beat your chest and make a fuss about how your conservative anti-sex "porn" is is what all women - as a blushing hivemind - want.

I've heard that For The Girls does sell well, which is sad, because it's not the only option.  There is a lot of porn out there for vanilla heterosexual women that doesn't belittle them, and is actually directed by women, focused on women's pleasure, and features performers who love their work.  (As well as amazing porn directed by men and transfolk, and porn that's not so vanilla or heterosexual.)  There is just so much kick-ass erotic material out there these days for all women, of all different tastes, and it's a shame to see one site claim a monopoly on knowing what's best for the fairer sex.  It's especially sad to see For The Girls mentioned in the same breath as Buck Angel, Jamye WaxmanShine Louise Houston, Carlos Batts, Courtney Trouble, and Tristan Taormino - and all the other people who create beautiful erotic material that doesn't condescend to their audience by "protecting" them from sex.





15 Comments

  1. It's like the titillating cover stories on Cosmo (or whatever the current women's magazines are) about "What Men Really Want" or "How To Make Sex Hotter." Then you see that the advice they offer is always along the lines of "light candles in the bedroom." Really?? The overwhelming message is 'women don't (or shouldn't) enjoy sex.'

    Comment by Some Guy — March 1, 2010 @ 4:10 pm

  2. If I could give an award to any site it would be HippieGoddess.com. I love that site. It makes me feel happy and positive when I visit there!

    Comment by Lorelei Mission — March 1, 2010 @ 4:16 pm

  3. If you think about it: it's interesting, the relation between sex work and the idea that women "can't/don't/shouldn't enjoy and want sex".

    I like how you also mentioned "male-centered porn" as an equally bad idea.

    Great post (:

    Comment by Sadie — March 5, 2010 @ 11:33 am

  4. Ooh, thanks for the list of suggestions at the end :) You forgot Erica Lust though!

    Comment by Mysti — March 6, 2010 @ 12:26 pm

  5. Wow.
    After all these years you dig this up and proceed to talk the same shit as in 2003.

    You don't have any idea about the content inside For The Girls. What you are saying is wrong. Instead, you have just written a long post completely rehashing your misconceptions from six fucking years ago.

    Just as well there is no screen shots from the Female Webmasters board. That discussion went for about 10 pages wherein I tried to explain to you where I was coming from but you simply refused to engage with me on this topic. And then later you just went for personal insults.

    Furry Girl, I don't have the time to get into another argument with you about this. I was happy to let you go your own way and do your own version of porn. I've never had a problem with it. Indeed, I wish you well with your new site.

    But enough with this crap. It's not true.

    Comment by Ms Naughty — March 9, 2010 @ 12:59 am

  6. OK... another comment, but brief, because I'm sick and don't have the energy to argue about this.

    I have already written about the old accusations of stereotyping, "porn for women" as a genre and other stuff on my blog. A couple of examples:
    http://www.msnaughty.com/blog/2008/05/13/porn-for-women-the-backlash/
    http://www.msnaughty.com/blog/2006/05/27/but-what-if-stereotypes-turn-you-on/

    The only true thing asserted by Furrygirl in this post about the content at FTG is that we buy existing photos and movies. That's true. We're Australian and it's very difficult and possibly illegal to make our own contet here (I discovered that after making an erotic film last year - a film that featured relatable people and fucking, Furrygirl.)

    We choose content that turns us on. *Us.* The two straight women who run the site. You may be surprised to discover that we're entitled to find that sort of thing sexy, as do the thousands of women who join our site, even if you don't consider it to be feminist. Potato, po-tah-to. We don't edit out the sex but we do edit out the goatse butt shots on the guys because we don't find them sexy.

    We also publish a large amount of exclusive written content that is incredibly diverse, sex positive and female friendly. Our written content has been the main focus of our site for many years.

    You are entitled to your opinion about whether FTG is feminist. That's fine. But make your arguments using facts rather than rehashed misconceptions about our site from 2003.

    Comment by Ms Naughty — March 9, 2010 @ 1:50 am

  7. Oh, whatever-your-name-is-this-year, I too wish I had our old fights screencapped, both from Female Webmasters and Naked Smart Chicks. I'd love to have some direct quotes from you about "what women want". It's so great that you've empowered yourself to speak for what all women - even all heterosexual women - are into. As I've said to you countless times, I wouldn't mind if you called your niche "romance porn"- but when you sell yourself as the only game in town for women as a whole, you're dismissing any woman's desire that is more kinky than soft-focus 90s glamor porn.

    I have never said that you, or your subscribers, are not ALLOWED to be turned on by romance porn. That's always the angle you take, as thought that's even the issue. I'm not trying to take romance porn away from you by force, but thanks for trying the "Help help I'm being oppressed!" angle again.

    EVEN LEAVING ASIDE YOUR ANTI-SEXUALITY CONTENT THEMES, let's look beyond the presentation and talk product.

    What the hell is so "feminist" about porn that's made under you-have-no-idea-what circumstances?

    You don't make porn- you buy or license it from producers in America. You have NO idea what goes on on the set, NO idea if your models are mistreated, NO idea if they were pressured to do anything they didn't want to do, NO idea if the producer ripped off any of them or tried to talk them down on payments the day or the shoot. Do you even know how much your performers got paid? How many models on your "feminist" porn site have you personally interacted with? Without referencing your model releases, do you know the names of any of the performers on your site, just off the top of your head? Or are they just pieces of ass for you to repurpose, repackage, and resell?

    How can any product call itself feminist or ethical when the working conditions under which it was made are unknown?

    Comment by Furry Girl — March 9, 2010 @ 3:56 pm

  8. You seem to be fairly certain about the definitions of feminism, despite saying that you no longer consider yourself a feminist on this blog. Make up your mind.

    I note also that you are STILL misrepresenting me and my site. You know nothing about the sources of our content or the ethical decisions we make regarding it.

    Answer me this:

    Have you been inside the member's area at For The Girls recently? Or ever?

    Did you even look at the tour or our FAQ before writing this piece?

    If you didn't then it means you have settled down to make your case without actually doing any research.

    If you did then it means you have deliberately misrepresented For The Girls in order to construct your argument.

    If this piece were published in the print media I'd be chatting to my lawyers right now. Since it is, however, just a rant posted on a blog I can only come here and point out that you are publishing untruths.

    Fact is, Furrygirl, you need enemies, it suits your politics. Your blog is all about "taking on the enemies of sexual sanity" and it casts you in the role of the more-alternative-than-thou saviour. In order to define yourself, you have to attack the "other". It's "us versus them" with you. You need to set up straw men so you can knock them down and then claim the high moral ground. The other day it was Amber Rhea. Now it's me. Tally ho.

    Never mind the facts. Cherry pick your arguments. Argue from authority. Ignore any counter-arguments. And then later, go for the ad hominem attack.

    You're an atheist but the creationists would be proud of you.

    Today, I'll be playing the part of the straw man. Because of me, you won't have to actually give any serious thought to this discussion or make your case in a reasoned manner.

    This isn't new behaviour. I saw it five years ago (not 2003 as I once thought) and it's why I just gave up and stopped trying to discuss anything with you. And here you pop up again making exactly the same statements as in 2005 - almost the exact wording, actually. One of the webmaster boards is still running, despite what you claim. I also still have the extremely long (and somewhat sarcastic) reply I wrote for the FW board in May 2005.

    Actually, the original argument was very good for me. Your challenge made me think about what I was doing. I made some changes to how I did business. Perhaps, five years ago, I was monolithic in how I approached the whole idea of porn for women. I re-examined things.

    I don't think you did any of that. This blog post shows you didn't engage with me. You have simply rehashed your old arguments and then made up a few lies to back yourself up.

    Stupid thing is, we are actually on the same side. I was even considering joining your new affiliate program the other day, sending some traffic towards Cocksexual.

    Ah well.

    No doubt all this doesn't fit in with your idea of who I am and what I'm about. So go ahead. Hate away. Make yourself into the hero. Stand up for your rather narrow definitions of what is acceptable and continue to misrepresent me and my site. Pretend that things I may or may not have said half a decade ago still apply.

    In the meantime I'll continue to run For The Girls according to my own definitions of feminism - not yours - and cater to the thousands of my members who enjoy it.

    And I will also continue to network with all the other female filmmakers and webmasters who are creating their own vision, including those you named at the bottom of your post. Jayme makes vidcasts for us. Tristan, Buck and Shine Louise Houston appear in interviews on our site. We are many facets of the same idea - trying to offer a female point of view in our own way.

    You are the only one who wants to exclude. You are the only one attacking.

    And if your idea of sex positive activism means telling lies and ignoring the legitimate viewpoints of others, it's time people stopped listening to you.

    Comment by Ms Naughty — March 9, 2010 @ 5:59 pm

  9. Just realised I included Buck Angel in my statement about a female point of view. Obviously the lovely Buck is in a class of his own, part of the diversity which I celebrate and promote at FTG and my other sites.

    Enough. I'll leave you to your high dudgeon.

    Comment by Ms Naughty — March 9, 2010 @ 6:28 pm

  10. You accuse me over and over of lying and making things up because I'm just crazy and hateful and like attacking ANYONE I encounter online. But you've never addressed a single one of these "lies". Do you think shouting "lies!" over and over again is a counter-argument? As long as you just keep harping on how I'm merely a crazy mean liar, you don't have to address actual issues, and you get to play the victim. Congratulations, you have failed debate class.

    I get it. "Feminism", to you, seems to mean SELLING THINGS TO WOMEN- things that arguably play on their insecurities and reinforce heterosexism and shame.

    Have fun profiting off human beings whose labor conditions are unknown to you. Yeah, I'm so sad I'm not a feminist like you.

    Comment by Furry Girl — March 9, 2010 @ 7:19 pm

  11. Interesting article and debate. I know nothing of either party so I will weigh in only with the observation that Ms Naughty indeed does not respond to the allegations that she is ignorant to the working conditions of the models whose work she sells. And I think this may be telling.

    I came here through a link from sexisnottheenemy. I wanted to comment that I, as a male (not to speak for us all, just to clarify my gender), find stereotypes of what is/isn't feminine/masculine in the realm of pornography to be very frustrating. As a "man" I am not, despite what one may be lead to believe, interested in watching women's arseholes getting ripped apart, or groups of women being hosed down by bucketloads of fake semen, or a woman grimacing in pain or despair at the whim of some mindless, frothing-at-the-mouth Neanderthal. Nor do I want the brand of "erotica" I see promoted as "woman friendly", "romantic" and the like. It seems most porn is about brainwashing, whether it's men into suppressing their loving sexual instincts or women into suppressing their fucking sexual instincts. Put the words "sensual" into a typical porn search engine and see what you get: lesbians, "porn for women", massage, along with the usual trash tagged with any words that'll get hits. How about "cumshot": straight cumshots, gay cumshots, massive cumshots, bukkake; won't find much from the "porn for women" folk. So, men can't enjoy tender kissing and touching? And women don't like seeing/feeling/making their guys cum? And cumshots can't be sensual? Kissing can't be sexual?

    And what's with this artificial dichotomy of porn for men and porn for women. Surely one of the most sexually powerful uses of porn is between couples.

    Comment by Jordan — March 17, 2010 @ 8:47 am

  12. Jordan: In my many years in the adult industry - and as someone who personally tries to buy ethically manufactured goods where available in my personal life, the one constant is that if a company refuses to talk about the labor conditions under which a product is made, it's because the either don't know, or they do know, and they're not proud of it.

    All of my sites say how much I pay my models, and what I pay them for. I pay everyone the same rate- whether they're well-known or a first-timer. Equality is important to me and I don't want anyone to feel shafted. I love getting input and ideas from models about what to shoot- and they decide who they want to fuck, and how. I have spent time getting to know plenty of my models, I know their names, and often, things about their lives and why they enjoy working in adult, and their general interests in human sexuality and sexual politics. I see that as an integral part of producing ethical porn. My models (and I don't mean "my" in an ownership sense, of course) are all human beings to me that I selected to work with because of not just their cuteness, but because I think they sounded like interesting people with a cool sense of sexual self. You just don't get that if you're purchasing random porn content shot by who-knows-who thousands of miles away. (Not that other porn models aren't whole and multidimensional people, but I value getting to know the people that work with me and appear on my sites. As do a lot of other producers, like the ones I listed at the end of the post.) One of the primary things I love about the alt/indie/amateur/queer porn genre is the focus on performers as *people* and *friends* and a *community*, not just a zip file of photos you bought for $50 from a content store online.

    Comment by Furry Girl — March 17, 2010 @ 9:50 pm

  13. I take it you've seen this recent xkcd? http://www.xkcd.com/714/

    This is a great post. I've just discovered your sites, starting with cocksexual.com, and I now have a huge crush on you.

    Comment by Penny D — March 24, 2010 @ 5:58 am

  14. Yes, I love that XKCD- I Twittered about it when it came out. Thanks for the compliments!

    Comment by Furry Girl — March 24, 2010 @ 4:42 pm

  15. This stupid "for the girls" site and its ilk is the reason I started my blog. I think we need a shitty faux-feminist porn bingo card. "Ohhhhh god it's huge, it's filling me up!" is the first space.

    That's hilarious that it's actually just mainstream porn without the sex. I can see her steepling her fingers now.

    Comment by lovesickrobot — June 8, 2010 @ 4:43 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Furry Girl: a good time not yet had by all.

Activism

My adult sites

More of me online

Enjoy my writing? I enjoy presents!

Buy SWAAY shirts:

Browse by topic

New to my blog? Some favorite posts

Vaguely similar blogs

Videos and podcasts

Sex workers' rights info

Search

RSS