It’s Time for Porn to Change by Erika Lust (Full Transcript)

Transcript of — It’s Time for Porn to Change by Erika Lust by TEDxVienna

Full speaker bio:

About Erika Lust

 

MP3 Audio:

 

Right click to download the MP3 audio:
Download Audio
 

Erika Lust – Swedish erotic film director

Come on. Imagine a scene. A porn scene.

What do you see? A woman. Blonde, skin tight dress, red lips, watermelon breasts. A cock. A cock the size of a stallion’s between her pursed lips. She is giving him a blow job. Why? Because this nice guy came to her rescue when her car broke down. After the ‘thank you-blowjob,’ he cums all over her face, and she smiles in fake pleasure. That is porn. And it’s time for porn to change.

I went from being a Political Science and Gender Studies graduate in Sweden to a feminist adult filmmaker in Barcelona. The last 15 years of my life have been an amazing trip, an amazing journey from feeling dirty and guilty for watching porn to creating the adult cinema that Iwant to watch.

My first time was at a sleepover party with my best girlfriends. Popcorn, pyjamas, and porn. We expected to discover the mystery of sex. The forbidden fruit. We ended up laughing, we ended up giggling, we ended up feeling — repulsion. The movie went back to the secret hiding place of my friend’s father.

Six years later, I’m at my freshmen year at University and my boyfriend suggests that we watch a porno. “Should I give it another try?” Stop. Before we press ‘play, ‘ remember where I came from: Sweden. Probably the best place to grow up with a feminist conscience. One of the first — no! the first country in the world to make Sex Education mandatory in schools. Meet me, a feminist, a sex positive feminist. I own my own body. I can have sex just for pleasure, like guys.

So back to my dorm room, where my boyfriend is waiting impatiently. We press ‘play.’ And what do I see? A woman, blonde, skin tight dress, red lips, watermelon breasts. Nothing had changed. Nothing has changed. Horny housewives, desperate nannies, fuck bunnies; women as objects fulfilling men’s desires.

ALSO READ:   Nat Ware on Why We're Unhappy: The Expectation Gap at TEDxKlagenfurt (Transcript)

So there I was, the feminist me felt cheated, the activist me felt mad, the sexual me felt aroused. Arousal tasted sweet. Objectification tasted bitter. I was confused.

And I did what we do when we feel confused: I blamed my boyfriend. Oh, yeah. I blamed men. I blamed porn. Oh, yeah. Until I came across “Hardcore,” a book by Linda Williams, a Berkeley Professor. I learned that porn isn’t just porn. Porn is actually a discourse. A discourse about sexuality, about masculinity, about femininity, and the roles we play. That was my Eureka moment. I realized that the only ones participating in the discourse of pornography are men. Chauvinistic men. Narrow-minded men. Men with little sexual intelligence.

But, hasn’t the world changed? Hasn’t the role of women changed? Hasn’t it changed in politics? In the workplace, at home, in bed? And isn’t the world because of that a better place? Everywhere, the role of women is under debate. Everywhere, except in the porn industry.

It’s time for porn to change, and for that we need women. We need women in the leadership roles, as producers, as directors, as scriptwriters. I don’t want to get women out of porn, I want to get women into porn. We need women in porn. Behind the camera. And that’s exactly what I did.

In 2004, I was studying film direction and for my final short film project I thought: “Let’s make a porno, but let’s make it different. Let’s make an indie film with my values.” I shot “The Good Girl,” and I made it available for free on the Internet. I couldn’t believe the reception it got. Millions of downloads in just a few days. The film attracted media coverage. I attracted media coverage. I was on a high. I wanted to embrace the world. My mom called me and said, (Swedish) [Vad i helvete gör du Erika?] “What the hell are you doing, Erika? This will affect your future, your career, your life. What will the neighbors say?”

I understand their association with the word ‘porn’: dirt, smut, low culture. But it was a career as a filmmaker I wanted to pursue, not as a pornographer. A filmmaker exploring the beauty of sex from a different perspective, from a female perspective.

ALSO READ:   Building Your Inner Coach by Brett Ledbetter (Full Transcript)

Do you know that one-third of all Internet traffic is estimated to be pornography? That’s a lot of traffic, eh? Do you know that every fourth search request is someone googling for porn? Are you aware that teenagers, our children, are watching porn online before they even have sex? Porn is today’s sex education. And it’s impacting on our gender education.

And what is our children’s source of inspiration? Bad, wrong, chauvinistic porn. This is why it’s time for porn to change. Adult content has, of course, the power to arouse, but also to educate and to inspire. I believe that it’s our generation’s responsibility to rethink pornography. Don’t get me wrong: the sex can stay dirty, but the values have to be clean.

I have two daughters, Lara, 7, and Liv, 4; and I don’t want them to learn about self-esteem and body image from Photoshopped supermodels. I don’t want them to smoke, I don’t want them to eat crappy fast food, and I definitely don’t want them to learn about sex from bad, sexist porn.

We need to teach our children to respect and value themselves and their sexuality. We need to teach them to think critically about sexual representations. And that, whether you like it or not, includes porn.

Imagine a scene. A different scene. I see a man, an attractive man. He weaves his way through the wet streets of a city. He is on his way to meet a woman. A woman he met recently at an event. It was an inspiring event. An event that made his senses soar. It was a TEDx. It was this TEDx. And cut. I don’t know how this scene ends. I leave it up to your imagination.

But I do know that this time, he’s not the only one receiving pleasure. And that, for me, is an idea worth spreading your legs for. Thank you.