Elevate Difference

Hot and Bothered: Feminist Pornography

Directed by Becky Goldberg

I jumped at the opportunity to review Becky Goldberg’s 37-minute documentary, Hot and Bothered: Feminist Pornography. I thought that perhaps I had found the perfect documentary to show in my intro to Women’s Studies course. Instead, I am disappointed because topics like safety for sex workers, unionization in the sex industry and issues of inclusion for people of varying body types, ethnicities, genders and sexualities is mentioned, but mostly glossed over. The filmmaker chose to focus on the need for pornography from a woman’s perspective, an act that I believe isn’t always inherently feminist. My feminism moves beyond including women in male-dominated fields to a radical critique of representation, the importance of an intersectional race, class, gender analysis and how to connect feminist issues to other issues like economic justice and disability, worker and immigrant rights.

In this documentary you will find interviews with: feminist porn stars like Nina Hartley and Jane Hamilton (a.k.a. Veronica Hart), who have gone on to direct porn that includes women’s perspectives; sex educator, Tristan Taormino, who did a video version of her book, The Ultimate Guide to Anal Sex for Women; Greta Christina, general manager and head buyer for sex-positive sex-toy, erotica and porn distributor, blowfish.com; Fabula Magazine editor, Jen Loy; former porn actress; Sharon Mitchell who is also the co-founder of AIM (Adult Industry Medical Care), a non-profit corporation that cares for the physical and emotional needs of sex workers and the people who work in the Adult Entertainment Industry; and finally, Jackie Strano and Shar Rednour, co-founders of S.I.R. Video Productions, who makes videos by and for real dykes. These are great interviews and include voices central to these issues, but I wonder why the filmmaker excluded Good Vibrations, On Our Backs, Babeland, nofauxxx.com and other companies that not only provide products for sex-positive feminists, but also who by their very missions are making radical feminist critiques of the mainstream sex industry.

Despite my criticisms, one aspect of the documentary that I enjoyed is the many excerpts from feminist pornography such as Tristan Taormino’s The Ultimate Guide to Anal Sex for Women; SIR Video Productions’ Hard Love / How to Fuck in High Heels and Bend Over Boyfriend; Nina Hartley’s Guide to Making Love to Men, and White Lightning directed by Veronica Hart. It was a nice sample of these films, helping me figure out which might tickle my fancy. So, even though this documentary lacks the analysis, it does have plenty of porn clips to keep at least one part of our brain occupied.

Written by: Ailecia Ruscin, May 3rd 2007