Does ethical porn exist?

Does ethical porn exist?

The term "ethical porn" has become somewhat fashionable in recent years giving the often maligned industry a more palatable label akin to organic or fair trade.

 

Appealing to a wider audience and often viewed through a female lens, ethical porn - also known as feminist porn - positions itself as depicting realistic sex, diverse body types and subverting stereotypes.

With one in four women visiting porn websites, ethical porn has positioned itself as an attractive proposition for conscientious consumers. 

 

 

How is it ethical?

 

 

David Ley, author of Ethical Porn for Dicks, defines ethical porn as respecting the rights of performers, paying performers fairly, respecting copyright of the producer, showing fantasy and real-world sex and representing diverse people and sexuality.

 

"Ethical porn celebrates sexuality as a diverse, complex and multi-faceted
component of being human, without saying there is a right or wrong way to be sexual," he explains.

 

Like any industry, pay and conditions are a huge factor when it comes to defining porn as ethical.

 

"What I look for in ethical employers is that they are paying everyone fairly, crew or cast, male or female. I look for employers who don’t try to coerce you into doing work don't want to do," says BDSM producer and performer Ariel Anderssen.

 

The 44-year-old, who creates privately commissioned videos, also believes porn should be honest.

 

"I don’t want to lie to men about what women like and can tolerate. I don't want to do stuff on camera that normal women couldn't do safely or wouldn't want to do. And if I'm shooting a scene when I can't have an orgasm I would keep it in, to show that even porn performers can't always get it right," she adds.

 

Being transparent with customers about pricing is also important to Ariel, who wants to ensure no-one feels they are being ripped off. In fact paying for porn is central to upholding ethical standards because free, pirated porn is fair more likely to have been created in exploitative circumstances.

 

"If you want the porn you watch to be ethical, the first thing you need to do is to behave ethically towards pornographers yourself, by paying them directly for their work," says Ariel.

 

Ley agrees, but says consumers need to be paying the producer or the performer themselves.

 

"Some of the aggregator sites charge for VIP membership, but they may still show you porn that is pirated from porn producers," he explains.

 

 

 

Is it just a marketing ploy?

 

 

Many producers and performers in the industry argue that porn has always been ethical and ethical porn is nothing more than a marketing gimmick.

 

"I find it quite a strange term and a little pejorative. I have been in porn for 18 years and vast majority has been ethical porn, it just wasn't called that. The phrase troubles me a bit, as it suggests there is a fault of porn which is not my experience," says Ariel.

 

She argues that the industry is already full of diverse performer body types with the top 100 models featuring plus size performers plus a huge variety in age and ethnicity.

 

"It's not size six women with huge inflated breasts. I'm in the top 100 and I'm 44 with A cup breasts," she laughs.

Conor Coxxx, director of Coxxx Models in the US, also believes the industry is already much improved in terms of working conditions, pay, and professionalism and many of the stereotypes of the porn industry are "outdated".

 

And when it comes to stereotypes in the porn itself, Ariel contends that it is not the responsibility of individual performers or individual studios to dissolve them.

 

"All media rely on stereotypes. In my videos I have to get my message across quickly, usually in 15 minutes. It is a massive industry made up of really small producers. For every heterosexual movie there is a lesbian movie. For every movie with violence toward women, there is a movie with violence towards men," she says.

Porn has always been representative, showing diversity of sexuality and race, according to Jerry Barnett, author of Porn Panic. He is sceptical of the term ethical porn, viewing it as "gentrification of porn for the middle classes".

 

"I think most porn is ethical within normal bounds , the ethical label is a marketing label, like organic. Anti-porn campaigner say porn is full of trafficked women, there is no consent and it is abusing women but in the vast majority of porn this is not true. Most performers had more harassment working as air hostesses or office administrators," he says.

 

Instead he argues that ethical porn is a "social justice signal" and  "marketing message" rather than anything deeper.

 

One company trying to Kitemark porn, to enable consumers to make more informed choices is Fairporn, based in Berlin.

 

Founder Daniel Westerlund, who has a background in digital design, has launched a certification programme in response to the use of ethical porn as a "marketing ploy".

 

"Lot of studios have been bringing out their own code of conduct for years. The issue is it's their word against everyone else's," says Westerlund.

Fairporn is an independent body which works with studios to certify scenes and studios to give consumers piece of mind that the production is adhering to certain standards. These are upheld by an onset intimacy co-ordinator provided by Fairporn.

 

Tapered by the pandemic, Fairporn is gradually beginning to work with studios in Germany once more and hopes to eventually expand worldwide.

 

 

How can I check it?

 

 

So how can consumers check if their porn is created under fair conditions?

 

The first thing is to pay for content and purchase it directly from studios or performers. To avoid pirated content visit Takedown Piracy which lists safe, legal, piracy-free websites.

 

And similar to any product or service it is about doing your research.

 

"It never hurts to try and find the talents on social media and read through their timeline to make sure they openly enjoy the type of content you're consuming of them. Or use a search engine to search company names to make sure they have clean backgrounds," says Coxxx.

 

Companies will often broadcast behind the scene interviews with performers where they talk about consent as well as what the performers got out of the experience, so try to seek these out.

 

And remember is also important consider that ethical porn doesn’t necessarily involve nice sex.

"Some ethical porn can involve rough sex and be just as kinky or aggressive as other forms of porn. But, only if that’s what the performer consented to and agrees to. So, are there any cues in the video, or the site, that they make sure they get consent, willingness, and agreement from the performers?," says Ley.

 

 

 

PREVIOUS ARTICLE
Women entrepreneurs in Saudi Arabia: unveiling the feminist political activists  Women entrepreneurs in Saudi Arabia: unveiling the feminist political activists Women entrepreneurs in Saudi Arabia: unveiling the feminist political activists 
Women entrepreneurs in Saudi Arabia: unveiling the feminist political activists