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What is the project about? Our project delves into the rise of feminist porn. According to data from Pornhub 24% of their viewers in 2015 are women. As more women are watching porn, it is slowly changing to cater more to what women want. Feminist porn still isn’t mainstream but is an alternative where the focus isn’t just pleasure for men. Here, women are more than their isolated body parts. Through this project we explore what drives the need for this alternative porn, how porn is changing both production and practices to cater to women and how feminist porn is far from being homogenous. Who are the authors? This project was created by Johanna Chisholm, Daniel Castro, Samantha Lee and Rheaa Rao. We’re grad students at CUNY Graduate School for Journalism and this was out final project for our Data Interactive class. Porn for women is a topic underreported on and often a taboo to talk about. We wanted to tackle this through solid data and interviews from porn directors, porn stars and actual consumers of porn. The Data: We made the graphs using Infogram and Datawrapper. For the data about the rise of feminist directors, we selected feminist directors from the feminist porn directory we found on Ms. Naughty’s website and checked how many films they made over the past 20 years through data from the internet adult film database. We then created an interactive graph where readers can click on a group of years to see the change- the rise of feminist porn through increased number of movies and directors is clearly visible. Different feminist porn directors had different ideas of what they meant by feminist porn and the word ‘sex-positive.’ We investigated the rhetoric by going through the bios in the websites of each of the directors to see what terms mattered more or less to them. “Female perspective” was used by a lot of directors while “attractive men” was used the least. To represent this information the best visually, we went for a word chart, where frequently used words have a bigger, bolder font compared to less frequently used words, thus driving the point home for our readers and keeping up the aesthetic flow of our project. It was hard to secure raw data from Pornhub so we compared what we thought were two interesting differences- the differences between what women SEARCH for more than men versus what they VIEW more than men. We divided that into top 5 categories each using an area graph that would be clear visually- with one glance readers can see which categories were viewed more. We made the map using Cartodb. We got the data about the most searched terms in the United Sates by State from Pornhub’s website. We used the information about the polygon coordinates to be able to colour the whole state. The reader can hover over each state and see both the name of the state and the type of porn. How We Wrote the Story To supplement the data we found, we conducted interviews with • Prize-winning feminist directors in the industry, who specialize in heterosexual and queer films. Many of them are also sex educators. They include Annie Sprinkles, Erika Lust, Petra Joy, Ms Naughty. • Actresses who have performed in feminist porn, including queer icon Courtney Trouble; Bren Ryder, creator of Canadian queer porn website GoodDykePorn.com and Amarna Miller, who acted in Erika Lust's short films. • Academic experts in the field, including Rachael Liberman, professor of Gender and Sexuality in Media Studies. • Various young women from around the world to gain anecdotal evidence on their porn-watching preferences. Additional research was conducted by reading articles and essays online. Material from Tristan Taormino, leading educator and filmmaker in the field, was especially useful. We also looked at information provided by the Feminist Porn Awards on their website for the latest industry news. We broke the story down into three main sections. The first, What Women Want, lays out our findings from the data, elaborating on what women look for when they watch porn. This leads into the second section, which explores how the feminist pornographic movement has responded, and is responding, to women's stated preferences for porn. Finally, the third part of the story focuses on the evolving and shifting definition of feminist porn, and what it means for women today and the future of the industry. The layout: We created paper prototype for a clean layout on an off-white background interspersed with quotes, interactive data and icons. We used shades of blue and turquoise because we wanted to stay away from the stereotypical ‘shocking pink’ typically used for projects about women. We coded the project using Foundation.
Data:
We made the graphs using Infogram and Datawrapper. For the data about the rise of feminist directors, we selected feminist directors from the feminist porn directory we found on Ms. Naughty’s website and checked how many films they made over the past 20 years through data from the internet adult film database. We then created an interactive graph where readers can click on a group of years to see the change- the rise of feminist porn through increased number of movies and directors is clearly visible.
Different feminist porn directors had different ideas of what they meant by feminist porn and the word ‘sex-positive.’ We investigated the rhetoric by going through the bios in the websites of each of the directors to see what terms mattered more or less to them. “Female perspective” was used by a lot of directors while “attractive men” was used the least. To represent this information the best visually, we went for a word chart, where frequently used words have a bigger, bolder font compared to less frequently used words, thus driving the point home for our readers and keeping up the aesthetic flow of our project.
It was hard to secure raw data from Pornhub so we compared what we thought were two interesting differences- the differences between what women SEARCH for more than men versus what they VIEW more than men. We divided that into top 5 categories each using an area graph that would be clear visually- with one glance readers can see which categories were viewed more.
We made the map using Cartodb. We got the data about the most searched terms in the United Sates by State from Pornhub’s website. We used the information about the polygon coordinates to be able to colour the whole state. The reader can hover over each state and see both the name of the state and the type of porn.
To ensure that our data was sound, we interviewed porn directors and porn stars to confirm that what the data was saying about the porn industry changing was actually true. In addition to this, we supplemented our data with anecdotal evidence from actual young women who like to watch porn, whether it was feminist or mainstream. We found it difficult to find women willing to speak out about the topic, as it is still a bit sensitive a topic, but eventually we were able to find a handful of good interviewees, even if some of them wanted to be anonymous.