Pornography is an inescapable element of modern society, a fundamental part of our culture the same way as advertising and consuming. It plays a key part of adolescence, whilst the sex education curriculum reveals how to avoid pregnancy and unwanted diseases, porn teaches whole swathes of young people just “how to do it”. When the industry is dominated by testosterone and heavily based upon the oppression of women, this passes on a gross misconception of how sex works and continuously reproduces patriarchal structures.  A new wave of feminist talent is creating a new type of porn, made by women, for women which is beautifully natural and authentic. The industry that was once run and consumed by a misogynist band of men is being transformed. Estimates suggest that women make up one in three porn viewers, and insiders suggest that women are increasingly taken charge behind the camera to direct. Here are our most loved females in the porno industry, these women are creating films that empower the women who appear in them and the women who are the other side of the screen.

Erika Lust

Aptly named Erika Lust is a Swedish born filmmaker bringing a feminist edge to the male-dominated porn industry. Lust is using her background in political science and feminist science to create female written, produced, and directed pornos under her self-created company Lust Films. Erika’s films are starkly different to more traditional, patriarchal porn, she crafts a narrative of sensuality with attention to detail rather than presenting a film that immediately jumps from end to finish in a meagre three minutes. She is involved in every element of the process, masterminding the story she wishes to tell, writing the script and casting the actors, describing the process as similar to a pregnancy, “It’s a nine-month period to get the kind of movie I want to make”. The films have a gritty realness that averts hypermobile porn-y poses in favour of skin-on-skin intimacy, illustrating orgasms through facial expressions and body positions rather than just genitalia.

Olympe De G

Olympe De G is a self defined amateur photographer, author, director, and performer for her own pleasure and convictions. She is the main star of XConfessions’ latest film “The Bitchhiker”, which enabled her to bring a long-held sexual fantasy to life. The beautiful cinematic, arthouse elements of XConfessions drew her in initially, she speaks of the psychedelic flashes you see appearing on screen when she is about the come. With a past in directing advertisements and music videos, her passion lies within creating pornography because of the extraordinary confidence it instils in her own body and her sexuality. There is a philanthropical element to her work, as she donates every dollar she receives to associations for sex workers’ rights. She speaks of a desire to create her own non profit porn production company giving all the profits to charities who work on the ground to help sex workers and teach sex education where it’s most needed.

Jacky St James

Jacky St James is a screenwriter, a director, and a publicist for New Sensations who creates sensual narratives and explicit pornos. She understands that not all women want to see cum shots above the neck and over zealous thrusts, but rather they appreciate a more psychological sexual exploration. In an interview with Slate, she comments on women as inherently sexual beings “Women weren’t sexualised by 50 Shades of Grey. They’ve been watching porn and reading erotica for centuries. It’s shocking to me that there’s suddenly a consciousness that women are sexual. We’ve always been that way.” St James is an unapologetically outspoken feminist, creating roles that champion the complexity of women and celebrate their independence.

Lucie Blush

Feminist pornographer Lucie Blush creates movies that respect the actors involved and the audience that consumes them, by making films that craft a story of real passion and uncensored pleasure between the characters. The films are based entirely on her own experiences and fantasies that have risen out of personal exploration and are acted out by natural, happy and healthy individuals that champion diversity and challenge unrealistic standards of beauty in our society. Blush describes her work as “feminist porn” that values the female presence as more than just “sex machines”, but individuals with soul and personality. Her work portrays strong, confident women unapologetically enjoying sex, and she dispels the deeply engrained myth that porn is always oppressive and anti-feminist. In a Kinkly interview she comments, “I think women, just like men, want to see sex that is intense, that is passionate that is hot and that you can only achieve when actors have equality and are having fun.”

Gala Vanting

An important part of Gala Vanting’s identity is her profession as a porn star, backed up by a whole lot of politics and ethics to support her slightly unconventional career choice. This Melbourne based porn performer first curated a series of orgasm faces from all around the world for a website, filming the sexual act from the neck up. As a sex positive feminist, she affirms that all sex is positive as long as it is consensual and healthy. She creates educational material for a queer and straight audience to destigmatise the practise and provide information about health risks. For Gala, the argument is not to reduce the amount of sex young people are watching but rather, it is essential to diversify the porn available for consumption that models good behaviour around consent and a safer sex practise.

Header Image via Lina Bembe