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January 9, 2019

ALEX HAWKINS-PORN AND WOMEN BEHIND THE LENS.

By itchysilk In THE ITCH

, porn, porn. With the advent of the internet and social media porn has become a lucrative industry the world over, satisfying people’s insatiable appetites for carnal titillation. Despite its evident freedoms within a sexual sphere, porn (certainly on the surface) has been dominated by males.

Arguably, the male gaze within porn has by and large held a position of power in front of the screen and certainly behind the lens. And while the interest of (according to studies) in porn is growing (although of course one must question any notion that women have ‘started’ becoming interested in porn/sex) the female gaze from behind the lens has been neglected.

But that is changing. Names like Kay Brandt, and Anna Arrowsmith are directing and pushing the female gaze within porn with fervent fortitude. This does not mean that suddenly porn has become ‘softer’ or more ‘feminine’-it’s more than that.


Women also like penetration! And come shots! You’d be surprised at what women watch on xHamster.

Similar to , porn is undergoing a gender renaissance in terms of filmmakers within the industry. Importantly porn sites need to be pushing those films and Alex Hawkins (yes, a man) Vice President of the porn site xHamster is championing female directors with an initiative to attract more female directors into porn. And indeed xHamster’s 2019 surveyed has already shown a massive 284% rise in their Porn For Women Category vindicating such a push.

Credits Adam&Eve from the Unfolding (2019) directed by Kay Brandt

Porn has long been held as taboo and even the devil’s work. What would be your argument pros porn-is porn important in today’s society?

Porn is just a visual expression of sexuality, and the best porn comes from people who are making authentic, personal films. While people sometimes think of it as a monolith, porn is an incredibly progressive medium, and represents thousands of different body types, sexualities, genders and fetishes. Every day we hear from people who think “I’m not alone.” Plus, it’s a lot of fun.

Does porn (now) feed people’s fantasies or are people’s fantasies feeding porn?

It’s a tremendously interactive medium. People make porn that reflects their desires, and when other people respond to them, it helps others identify a market. Humans are visual creatures, and tremendously with our sexuality. Porn is part of that. We experiment with form, we experiment with our desires. It’s all interconnected.


For us specifically, we wanted to help fund women who were making porn for women, because very few people have considered how the product might be different if women were making it.

The porn industry is ultimately driven by men and their desires. Do you think that is true and indeed why is it true?

I think traditionally porn was driven by men because — until recently — women were told they weren’t supposed to be sexual and were shamed if they were. Until a few decades ago, men were the ones who had access to equipment to make it and the money to buy it. But all that’s changed quite rapidly, with the advent of both the iPhone and the internet. Over a quarter of our visitors are women, and I expect that in the next ten years it will be half and half.

Tell us a bit about wanting to get involved in SENSE8 for Netflix?

We loved the series and wanted to see if we could help. We put out a call to help, and they responded! We ended up having a lovely call with the producers, who told us that they loved what we did, and would love to try and work with us in the future.

So, to women in porn. Has porn taken on the whole #metoo movement?

People are more and more concerned about who is making the films, and the conditions under which they are made. I think there’s a sense that women directors — of which there are many, maybe as many as men — are more attuned to the needs of their performers.

Despite pushing ideas of do you think that porn is beset by a certain degree of rigidity?

Not at xHamster. I think the old studio system was rather stale, but we’re primarily an amateur platform, with self-produced videos. And believe me — the people on the site are inventive!

Has the female gaze within porn been oppressed or ignored?

porn
Image from the film An Appointment With My Master (2015) directed by Erika Lust

For the same reason it is in Hollywood. Men have traditionally had the access, the training and the money to build companies and brands. But there have always been female directors, even going back to the 1970’s and 80’s. Women have run companies and even empires. But until a few years ago, women weren’t recognized as a market.

How difficult has it been for women to enter into porn as directors and indeed what fuelled your push for women as directors in porn with your initiative?

For us specifically, we wanted to help fund women who were making porn for women, because very few people have considered how the product might be different if women were making it. We see this as the future of the industry, and wanted to start the conversation.

How does the gaze of a woman change (if it does) the porn created and indeed do men take on more sexualised roles?

It depends on the director. Some women directors really want to focus on the man, from the women’s point of view. Others want to see women visually enjoying the sex.

In ‘traditional’ porn by men we very much have a focus on viewing penetration and the whole come shot-has this created to a degree fairly one-dimensional porn?

Women also like penetration! And come shots! You’d be surprised at what women watch on xHamster. But I think we do see certain categories, like oral sex performed on women, that are more popular with women consumers.

Are you finding new film-makers or is it retired and (or) actresses who are becoming the directors?

It’s a mixture of both. Performers who want to direct, existing directors who want to be recognized, and people who’ve never done anything publicly.

Is there anything you would like to add?

We love new visions and voices and hope one of your readers is the next great porn director. If they think so too, have them contact us at [email protected]!

Featured image of Erika Lust courtesy of Huffington Post.

PORN FOR WOMEN