The feminist filmmaker creating ethical porn

Swedish filmmaker Erika Lust felt like most pornography had been made by men with "the emotional intelligence of a teenage boy". So she started to make her own.

Catherine Edwards
Catherine Edwards NewsMavens, Sweden
The feminist filmmaker creating ethical porn - NewsMavens
Erika Lust. WIkicommons

Why this story matters:

Through her films, Erika promotes a sex-positive feminism by highlighting female pleasure and autonomy as well as male, and reflecting different tastes as much as possible. She also aims to ensure that they are created in an ethical way, prioritizing safety and a culture of consent on set.

She doesn't see a causal link between pornography and rape culture, but notes that like all art, porn is a product and reflection of the society it's made in. "We have always lived in a culture of toxic masculinity that allows and encourages men to perpetrate acts of violence and disrespect towards women," she says, and adds that a lot of existing pornography reflects this.

Her experience as a Swede living in Spain has also given her a chance to compare attitudes in each society to sex work and consent. For example, she argues that Swedes are reluctant to engage in debate about decriminalizing sex work, but has been impressed by the recent women's rights movements in Spain.

In this interview, she talks about why she thinks porn is important, and the conversations she hopes her work can spark across the world.

Details from the story:

  • Erika's first film, The Good Girl, was downloaded by millions in just a few weeks.
  • She has also created films based on submissions from the public, to reflect broad tastes in erotica.
  • Sex education has been compulsory in Swedish schools for over 50 years, but this is not the case in Spain, where the filmmaker now lives.
  • She has financed more than 25 guest-directed films, with an investment of more than 250,000 euros.

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Zuzanna ZiomeckaGazeta Wyborcza, Europe
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