Pornography, Queer Theory and Feminism Create Sexy Weekend at Scripps

By Simone Maule '14Guest Writer

There are truly no words that can accurately describe the amazing combination of events that was Sexy Weekend. It started out with a fabulous lecture, Porno Chat-o: Queer and Feminist Theorizings on Pornography by Professor Chris Guzaitis on Thursday, March 31 in the SCORE Living Room. The lecture was humorous yet informative and included the best description of Second-Wave Feminism that I have ever heard. It covered everything from obscenity laws to the normative ideologies presented in mainstream porn.  Porn isn’t usually presented through an academic lens, and this lecture was the perfect introduction to that subject.

The next part of the weekend was even more fabulous: Family brought Jiz Lee, a genderqueer porn star, to conduct a workshop called “Queer Sex: Tips and Techniques.” The workshop presented a unique and informative perspective. Although the colleges have hosted workshops on queer sex before, it’s always been from an educational standpoint, rather than an experiential one. Instead of simple hearing just about how queer sex is performed and how to perform it safely, attendees were able to get feedback on specific questions and more detailed information from a professional porn star in a safe environment. The open discussion about all of the intricacies of queer sex was enlightening, because it’s not a topic that is generally discussed, nor does anyone usually want to talk about it.

On Saturday night, all of those who had gathered for the lecture on pornography (and their plus-ones!) congregated at the Motley for the screening of several episodes of “The Crash Pad,” a queer porn series. All of the various academic aspects that could be applied to porn had been discussed, but ultimately there is a huge difference between talking about porn and watching it. Bere Villela, the co-president of Family, shared some of the challenges to putting together this event: “We encountered a lot of resistance to this event,” Villela said. “Considering that 45 people showed up to the lecture, 30 to the workshop and 50 to the screening, it is obvious to us that the community wanted this. Professor Guzaitis said it best in her lecture: how can we pretend that porn is not a cultural phenomenon when the industry produces and distributes more material than Hollywood?’” Family thought long and hard about how to make this event safe, sexy, fun, productive and meaningful. They blocked off all of the windows with butcher paper, put signs on each door, instituted the ticketing system described above, and alerted the audience to the content of the scenes themselves. Leaders of Family handed out small cards with resources on campus in case anyone was negatively affected by the screening and needed support. Furthermore, the welcoming remarks reminded the audience that they had consented to being shown porn but that that consent could be terminated at any time by stepping out of the room. All in all, the screening was organized intentionally.

“I think this event could easily be seen as Family ‘just’ showing porn, but that’s not the case at all,” said Villela. The leadership team talked specifically about our motivations; we wanted to show positive and healthy representations of queer and genderqueer sex. All of the explicit scenes showed safer sex practices as well as active consent.”

Participants were also able to watch a behind-the-scenes piece where the models gave feedback on what the scene had been like for them. Said Villela, “Jiz suggested we watch that because, as they describes it, it really gave the audience insight into the negotiations and conversations that go into scripting a scene for Crash Pad. It also gave the audience an opportunity to see real people casually discuss queer sex.”