SQIFF: Empower Me, Pornhub

Credit: Tiu Makkonen

Credit: Tiu Makkonen

Aileen Booth
Culture Editor

When we think of pornography we tend to think of laptop screens illuminating an otherwise dark (and probably messy) bedroom. We think of masturbation and taboos and deleted internet histories. For most of us, pornography could definitely be categorised as part of our lives – if not day to day then at least fairly regularly – so why then does it still carry such a feeling of shame and embarrassment? Why do women prefer to pretend it doesn’t exist and why do men utilise crude humour to discuss it? Simply put; many of us have sexual urges, yet we know that mainstream pornography is problematic and at times downright sadomasochistic.

Enter stage right Scottish Queer Independent Film Festival’s (SQIFF) second annual Feminist Porn Night. Whilst feminist porn may at first seem to be a bit of an oxymoron, this could not be further from the truth. Through their Feminist Porn Night, SQIFF aims to celebrate and encourage sexual freedom and enjoyment and merely offers avid porn watchers an alternative to the mainstream heteronormative, aesthetically restricted and often downright inauthentic porn of the likes of PornHub.

In all honesty, no one associates porn with a sold out cinema screen in Glasgow’s Centre for Contemporary Arts, complete with detailed subtitles and a post-porn Q&A. Actually, this most likely sounds like many people’s worst nightmare. However out of the ordinary this event may have been for its attendees, no one could deny the educational and spiritual benefits. The event’s presenter described feminist porn as “porn which acknowledges that humans feel sexual urges regardless of their sexuality, age, gender, physical aesthetic”. More than this, however, feminist porn exhibits itself as pornography with an equal pleasure balance and consent. There is something shockingly refreshing about leaving a pornographic screening feeling empowered and elated, as opposed to feeling as though you have contributed to a dangerous and backwards industry.

Far from the safe, vanilla sex viewers may have been expecting pre-program, SQIFF’s Feminist Porn Night II actually showcased some of the most daring and experimental yet beautiful and balanced porn that a self-confessed porn skeptic has ever seen. If we are searching for a way to satisfy both our moral compasses and our sexual desires and fantasies, SQIFF has shown us how.