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Feminist porn 'challenges traditional gender roles'

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Feminist porn 'challenges traditional gender roles'
16:21 CEST+02:00
Film maker Mia Engberg explains the genesis of Dirty Diaries, a movie made up of 12 'feminist porn' shorts that has been generating heated debate across Sweden in the lead-up to its premiere this week.

A few years ago I was asked if I wanted to make a short film on a mobile phone. The result was Come Together, a film in which a number of women point the camera at their faces while masturbating.

The film was put onto the internet and provoked a strong reaction. A lot of the reactions were negative, with comments like: "Damn, they're ugly. Could they not at least have put on some make-up." I found the comments interesting. They showed that we're still living with the age-old belief that a woman and her sexuality should please the beholder above all else.

Throughout the history of art, the image of woman has been created by men. The gaze has been a man's gaze and female sexuality has been limited to a few identities that have suited the patriarchal system (and the male artistic ego): whore, wife, mother, muse.

Now, in 2009, it's high time for a change. With this in mind I asked a number of female artists, film makers and activists to each make an erotic film showing new images of women and sexuality, images that are not created with a profit motive or for the benefit of a male audience.

We have been faced with many questions. Is there a female sexuality that can be differentiated from its male counterpart and, if so, what does it look like? Is it possible to be subject and object at the same time? How can we liberate our own sexual imagination from the commercial images we see every day and that seep into our subconscious minds?

In many ways we have had to reinvent ourselves. In order to create a new genre. And to view the world with a new gaze.

So what is feminist porn? There's no easy answer to that question. Dirty Diaries is made up of twelve very different films: soft erotica and hardcore porn, hetero and homo, provocation, penetration and visual poetry... This is just the beginning, and I hope to see the creation of more alternative images that challenge stereotypical gender roles.

This article was originally published in Swedish on the Newsmill opinion and analysis website.

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