Apparently, there is a new term (at least new to me) for porn that is geared toward women’s taste – Porna. An article on the Huffington Post this weekend described a Dutch media firm, Dusk TV, that is considering expanding the US with its “porn for women” TV stations.
Porna, as the Dutch call it, is porn targeted at female consumers. It tends to be, from what I can tell from the article and a quick browse of this website: mostly female produced or directed; possibility a little softer core than average porn; acted by fewer made up hollywood-styled porn actresses (I think); and more plot driven.
All-in-all, it seems like a pretty good service, but I wonder if it is making correct assumptions about the porn women like. In my experience I am not so sure the type of porn women like (i) can be generalized and categorized so simply; and (ii) is all that different from the type of porn men like. I think women, until recently (and still to some extent) have more trepidation than men in admitting to, or succumbing to, prone watching. As a result, women would put more caveats and psychological conditions on their porn viewing. I am not sure it was actually because different things get them off, as oppose to setting higher barriers to entry for themselves.
In my experience, women’s porn tastes are, like men’s, very hard to generalize. I don’t think women necessarily require plot-driven porn; when a better storyline goes with higher production value they like this, but don’t we all. I don’t think they always care whether the porn is produced or directed by a man or a woman and, honestly, in my porn viewing experience, I often can’t tell the difference. I think the degree to which women like softer (versus harder) porn varies tremendously, as it does for men. I would agree that women are less into heavily surgically enhanced hollywood-type actresses, but this varies a lot too – my wife adores Jessica Drake and is actually a little turned off my “average” people doing porn, saying she likes the eye candy as much as me.
So what is really going on here? Is ‘porna’ just drawing sexual lines where none exist. I don’t think so. While I don’t buy the rhetoric that women’s taste in porn is always different that men’s taste in porn, I do think women have to pass over more hurdles – many personally imposed – to allow themselves to watch pron. I think services like this give licence to women to do something they might otherwise consider taboo. I would prefer that the stigmatization of porn be eliminated, but barring that, services like Dusk TV and terms like porna are probably not a bad thing.