"Feminist sex work excites me because I think it offers a response to both areas of concern in a practical, financially sustainable way … or it could. I don’t think anyone in the sex industry (even the feminist porn industry) could say honestly there’s nothing fucked up going on in some areas. We cannot be afraid of criticism. We should instead welcome it. We need to see being called out as a moment to check in with ourselves, to seek out the voices of the marginalized in our communities and to listen. We need to acknowledge that if we are genuine about wanting to hear from less privileged performers, we need to make it worth their while to take time off work to educate us (and yes, I mean pay them, among other things). I do not believe feminist porn or the sex worker rights movement as a whole will succeed if we do not create and encourage space for challenging discourse. …

'Why do you need me to be empowered or degraded in my work?' asks Christina Parreira, and it’s a good question. We don’t ask most employees to pick sides, because we understand that relationships to jobs are complex. We might like the money and hate our coworkers, or love our coworkers but hate the pay. We might love our work but hate the impact it has on our relationships. We might have fun sometimes, and wish we could be anywhere else at other times. Life’s complicated like that, especially under capitalism and patriarchy.”

The ’80s Called And They Want Their Sex Wars Back,” by Kitty Stryker, TheFrisky.com

It didn’t matter how indie pornography helped me love my body and discover my talent for marketing. However empowering it was for me personally, I was (and am) restricted by the society we live in, one in which all porn performers are seen as simply sexual objects and helpless victims, mindless puppets duped by patriarchy. We do not live in a culture where any of that matters. What does matter is a media who will rush to tar and feather someone for engaging with the adult industry (or the company that employs them), particularly when the someone is a female sex worker.


I started out as a bright-eyed sex positive feminist who really believed that my body was mine to do with as I wished. I have learned, since, that it is not: my birth control choices are limited by class, my sex worker history limits my employability, my fatness limits my ability to be treated with respect. My body is under surveillance.


Is porn empowering for women? I want to say it is. Unfortunately, we still live under patriarchy, and any empowerment we gain from it is still restricted by our beliefs about “the whore.”