Eric Barker muses on a study of male- and female-directed pornography (emphasis his):
We conducted a quantitative analysis of 122 randomly selected scenes from 44 top-renting adult videos in 2005 (half male- and half female-directed). Findings revealed that all films shared similar depictions: Verbal and physical aggression was common, women were the primary targets of aggression, and negative responses to aggression were extremely rare. Compared to male-directed films, female-directed films were significantly more likely to portray women-only scenes and sexual acts. Even when controlling for main characters’ gender, female-directed films showed significantly more female perpetrators aggressing against female targets and significantly more depictions of women as perpetrators of aggression.
To restate the most salient point:
- Even when controlling for the gender of the participants, female-directed porn features significantly more instances of women initiating and escalating.
I take this to mean that in male-female scenes, women are more featured as logistical escalators and sexual perpetrators, and in threesome/group scenes, women are more featured as escalating against each other rather than simply responding to male sexual aggression.
Even with all of my red-pill reading and writing, these results surprised me…I had bought the “conventional wisdom” that female involvement in porn would skew the content towards soft lovemaking, non-aggression, emotional support, relationship commitment, pillow talk, tasty omelettes, you get the idea. I had blocked out the ideas taught to me by the Internet, conversations with women and my own personal experience – that many women want to have dynamic, high-energy sexual experiences, that they often seek playful dominance in the bedroom (disregarding how they conduct themselves in “real life”) and that they will exhibit aggression if there’s enough comfort or lack of judgment to make it safe to do so.
(Incidentally, I think that is what a lot of this cheap alpha hookup sex we’ve been talking so much about provides – when it’s with a guy who is semi-anonymous, and you’re being cheered on by your friends, and there aren’t all these personal commitment expectations swirling around, it’s a lot easier to push your boundaries without being nervous he’s going to judge you or smear your reputation around your social circle.)
One layer of the onion here is the last bit of the abstract:
We highlight the importance of economic forces, rather than director gender, in dictating the content of popular pornography.
I take that to mean “directors give the market what sells, not what they think should sell.” Remember we’re talking about “top-rented” films here, so ipso facto the study results are taken from what the market wants.
We also have to consider that there’s a difference between female-marketed pornography and female-produced pornography. A woman behind the camera isn’t necessarily only seeking to address female interests in her craft. We do have to note selection bias…the type of woman who wants to direct an overtly pornographic film is herself more interested in graphic depictions of sex than in the romance-novel style of emotional pornography through the written word. And there’s probably a sex-poz feminist streak in those directors as well, which motivates them to portray women as sexually alive and assertive rather than following a man’s lead. In this way, some of these films are sexually political in nature.
Another question: are these results a matter of director gender itself, or are there underground factors that indirectly link director gender to other factors which themselves correlate to the artistic and character style of the movie? Perhaps certain movie houses that happen to cater to certain tastes also happen to have a gender skew on their film staff? It could also be the case that women engaging in girl-on-girl or fem-dom roles on film are more comfortable working with female directors, and the director gender is instead a proxy for the preferences of the actors and the needs of the script rather than being a determiner of those things.
There’s also the matter of how much influence the director has on what goes on in the movie. Is the director an auteur of sorts who controls all creative aspects of the film? Or is the director simply blocking and filming the scenes that a separate producer and screenwriter have already planned out, like a high school theater teacher bringing Guys and Dolls to the local stage? My knowledge of the operations of the porn industry is slim, so I’m guessing this varies by studio, size of project, and the director in question.