Pink & White Productions is a porn studio located between San Francisco’s Mission District and Potrero Hill. Since 2005 it has been the place where feminist, gay, ethical and fair trade porn has been produced. The security level out there is really high. A locked gate protects the entrance from total strangers. If you actually got in, you would still have a two-pages paperwork to do. Shine Louise Houston and Jiz Lee, the directors, take care of every detail. Before filming, they usually give a safety spiel in case of fire or any natural disaster. After each shot, Houston pictures actors having conversations about the gotten experience. That seems really nice and genially.

 

Pink & White Matter

Houston and  Lee are the only full-time stuff members in the studio. These days Houston is  to making new episodes of the Crash Pad Series, an online porn reality show. Here is the plot: if someone gives you a secret key to “the Crash Pad”, you take a lover or even two to some mysterious San Francisco apartment and make all your fantasies come true. Houston herself plays the “keymaster” and chooses people to film. She has made over 200 20-minute non-script episodes so far.

Houston likes to call her works queer porn, though she doesn’t like frames and labels that much. “People say it’s feminist porn, I say queer. It doesn’t change what I do,” she says. For Houston, filming porn is about First Amendment rights, the way of sexual expression. And that’s how she wants it to be for actors. She always provides them with snacks and safe-sex supplies. For those with disabilities she has a sign-language interpreter and an assistant who can carry a wheelchair. Performers have rights to pause or cancel any scene they want. She also discusses the actions as she wants them to explore their fantasies. As the result of such freedom, actors often come up with their own plots and have any kind of sex they want to. Yet, there’s a ban on blood, urine, tears and feces. Pink & White’s Policy is not to follow any gender or racial stereotypes. “We hire people who wouldn’t have a chance to do what we want to do [elsewhere],” says Jiz Lee. She thinks the studio’s mission is to add more diverse examples of sexuality.

Pink & White Productions. Shine Louise Houston

Pink & White Productions. Shine Louise Houston

 

A Feminist Party

Feminist porn is a term which covers all that alternative porn that shows the diversity in casting and ethics. The gender roles are blurred, women enjoy sex as much as men, though sometimes men are not even invited to join a party. There’s also dyke porn, lesbians, femme on femme, boi, stud, genderqueer and trans-masculine performers. All of the movies are made with women in mind. It’s not expected from straight men to watch it, but, as Houston says, “if they want to they can.”

Let’s refer to the actual material to feel the difference. In Marriage 2.0, which became the Movie of the Year at the 2015 Feminist Porn Awards in Toronto, a girl named India returnes from work and finds her boy Eric making dinner. In a flannel shirt, all sweating she comes from behind and starts unbuttoning his jeans while he stirs the spaghetti sauce. They push away the cutting board and make love on the counter. It’s hard to believe, but the movie was directed by Paul Deeb, a man. But it’s definitely something you can never watch on some regular porn websites. Nevertheless, not only romantic stories can be pictured in feminist porn. Anything can happen as long as actors agree.

Pink & White Productions

Pink & White Productions

 

A Stumbling Block

That’s what pornography has always been for women. In 1970, during the porno chick period, women activists like Susan Brownmiller were making a stand against the industry as they thought it was the main reason of sexual violence. Of course, the sad story of Linda Lovelace also added some fuel to the fire. Hot Girls Wanted, the 2015 documentary about women in porn industry in Miami, shows the same scary and dark side of the work. And yet, Houston thinks feminist porn has good chances to live. “The only way that we’re going to change porn is by getting in the game, not being anti-porn,” she said in 2013.

Not only directors, but also actresses treat feminist pornography as a big act of feminism. “If I have the right to choose birth control, to choose abortion, then I have the right to choose to fuck for a living,” says Nina Hartley. She started her career in 1980s and has played in hundreds of films since then. They were both mainstream and underground. Hartley has a really interesting point of view as she thinks all the scenes she ever stared were feminist ones just because she was in them. There’s also the fact that the industry has been nice to her as most of her experiences were quite good. In 1995 Hartley released a series of 40 educational films called Nina Hartley’s Guide to Oral Sex, which can be considered as an early form of feminist porn. There she gives a lecture and then demonstrates her own skills on live models. In Marriage 2.0 Hartley had a cameo as India’s mom.

Pink & White ProductionsPink & White ProductionsPink & White Productions

How to Survive

By 2016 the movement has gone global. Now, there are feminist pornographers in Spain, Sweden, Canada, Australia and the U.K. The problem is how to come to agreement of what feminism is. “You say feminist, and then you get into what’s feminist and everybody fights,” says Houston. Moreover, the new industry has to deal with the same problems that mainstream porn: how to survive, when everybody wants to get content for free. Though the feminist porn offers really good conditions to its performers, there’s a question about how long it can last. Houston is trying to make some moves and stay as independent as she can. About three years ago her company launched Pinklabel.tv, a video-on-demand site, which sells Pink & White’s movies and let users to host their own videos. “It has a very generous split between the filmmakers and us,” Lee says. “We take on credit card processing and technical support.” The visibility of porn on tube sites makes it tempting to share trailers so people know queer porn exists, but Houston has said that would be “dancing with the devil.” Houston’s loyal subscribers has supported the company.

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