Thoughts on women and pornography


In the last few years a new generation of women have begun to make themselves felt. Women who have grown up with another attitude to their own bodies and sexuality than used to be the norm. Advertising agencies have been using the male body as a sex symbol along the same lines as the female body for ages, and male striptease acts playing to packed houses emphasise that there are women with the courage to say out loud that they enjoy looking at a beautiful man’s body. This tendency has not yet seriously made its mark in the arts or the pornographic movie.

Traditionally, the blue movie has always been directed exclusively at male wishes and fantasies. So traditional productions tend to be played out in a world that represses women, where the male is all-dominant, drags the woman round by the hair and subjects her to one degrading act after another. Indications are that the general lack of interest shown by women in sexually explicit movies is not so much because they are put off by seeing sex depicted graphically, but by the degrading situations that are inevitably associated with pornography.

The time has come to recognise that women can do and want to do more than has been acknowledged hitherto, and that women can do more and want to do more as regards pornography. There is an increasing tendency for couples to watch sexually explicit material together as a source of mutual inspiration, and it has become completely acceptable to say out loud that women can be sexually stimulated by watching sex depicted in ways that make room for their own kinds of fantasies. But there aren’t really any products on the market that consider the woman’s point of view as regards these areas.

To meet this need we intend to produce a series of films that present sensuality (or sexually explicit material, if you like) in a way that appeals to women. To serve this end, a group of women have drawn up a statement (see below) on what women would like to see and what they would not like to see in sensual/pornographic movies. This statement is intended to be the “dogma” for Puzzy Power’s productions.

Other characteristic traits of our output will be proper plots and artistic content, featuring three-dimensional characters. The whole film unit will be made up of “real” filmmakers who are used to working on fiction for the cinema.

Our films will primarily be produced with a view to video and television distribution. They will not initially be aimed at cinema audiences, but each will be made so that a decision on cinema release may be taken when the time is ripe.

The films will be marketed as trendy and “in”, a product you’ll be happy to have on your coffee table or video shelf.

Puzzy Power, July 1998.

The Manifesto

The following guidelines were developed by Zentropa in 1998 for the films "Constance" and "Pink Prison" and were also applied as a basis for "All About Anna": Women like watching erotic or pornographic films if the presentation turns them on rather than off.

Plot

The films must have plots. Individual sequences must be linked into a logical chain of emotions, fantasies, passions, et cetera so we can relate to the characters and what goes on between them. It is not enough for four unknown actors to enter stage right, drop their pants and simply get down to it unless this is obviously part of a fantasy or a set-up in which the titillation is inherent in this very occurrence.

The plot must be about something erotic. It must not be too extensive or contain too many “non-erotic” components, thus making us forget the erotic aspect and causing the fire to die down. Films must not be too lengthy—short plots are preferable.

The plot may spring from one or more female fantasies or situations that could occur in everyday life.

Eroticism

Feelings, passions, sensuality, intimacy, and the lead-up must be emphasised. The films must be based on woman’s pleasure and desire. The senses must be aroused, a play made of titillation, distance and closeness. The woman must be turned on, and her anticipation be built up into insurmountable lust, as the joys of anticipation are and will always be the greatest.

Visual style

Images of bodies must be shown that caress the body and its erotic details. The erotic aspect may well lie elsewhere than the genitalia. We must see the beauty of the body, of the male body, too, and he is welcome to offer his body up to us. The body need not be completely naked, as partial concealment can be far more erotic.

Setting

The films may be set in the past or present. Time and place are not crucial; what matters is what happens in the films. A bared shoulder or ankle can be powerfully erotic, and this kind of slightly “old-fashioned” sensuality may well be incorporated into films set in the present day.

Humour

Subtle humour is welcome; perhaps a comic sequence at the start of a film to break the ice—but fun must not be poked at the sexual act itself.

What is not allowed

There are no restrictions on what may be depicted in the films as long as it is presented in an acceptable way. The only limit is that women must not be subjected to violence or coercion against their will. However, it is fully acceptable to film female fantasies in which the woman is raped/assaulted by an anonymous man/a bit of rough trade, or if it is clear from the plot that what we are seeing is a woman living out her fantasy, perhaps by agreement with her significant other.

What we hate

… is the oral sex scene where the woman is coerced to perform fellatio, her hair pulled hard, and come is squirted into her face.