"Porn for women" was Pornhub's "top trending" search term for 2017; across the pornosphere, the number of women viewers continues its meteoric rise and rise, up to 25% now — for the porn industry woman viewers represent a huge opportunity for growth.
But the industry has also been notoriously hostile to the idea that women had a role to play off-camera, with few woman directors or even crew.
The porn site Xhamster has decided to try to goose the porn-for-women category by creating a Porn for Women Development Fund, open to all people who identify as women and who wish to make porn, with $25,000 in grants that will be disbursed in allocations of $500 to $10,000 by "a rotating team of women-identified judges, made up of fans, porn stars, journalists and xHamster employees."
As Lux Alptraum points out on The Verge, the fund will fill some of the void left behind by Patreon's decision to kick porn off its platform, part of the wider "pornpocalypse" triggered by the Congress's 2018 SESTA/FOSTA legislation, which left independent performers without any way to make money.
Houston isn't convinced that the relative absence of women behind the camera on porn sets is due to a lack of interest from female filmmakers. "There are a lot of people making really cool stuff at film festivals," she says, pointing to venues like CineKink, the Toronto International Porn Festival, Fish&Chips Film Festival, and Pornfilmfestival Berlin as some of the places where unique and interesting erotic content by and for women pops up. "The only thing is after you make it, you're not making any money off of it."
Unlike mainstream film festivals, which might connect you to a potential distribution deal, erotic film festivals are mostly just a way to showcase your work to other filmmakers and erotica fans who are enough in the know to attend these events. And what happens next is a lot less straightforward.
What if porn, but for women [Lux Alptraum/The Verge]