Women In Porn: They Direct, Win Awards, Control Their Careers; More Progressive Than Hollywood?

Jan 28, 2015
Bonnie Rotten
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LAS VEGAS — Fewer than 8 percent of the top-grossing Hollywood movies in 2014 were directed by women. And while media discussion of the “director gap” in Hollywood is growing, particularly after the Ava DuVernay Best Director Oscars snub for “Selma,” one film industry seems to have no problem employing female directors or handing them awards: the adult film industry.

Women In Porn: They Direct, Win Awards, Control Their Careers; More Progressive Than Hollywood? Pictured: "Gonzo" legend, director John Stagliano (kneeling) at an AVN party hosted by Evil Angel, with director/performer Dana Vespoli (far left) and Aiden Starr (middle). Other performers include Bonnie Rotten (in red) and Skin Diamond, to Starr's left. January 23, 2014.  PHOTO:  Barbara Herman

“Gonzo” legend, director John Stagliano (kneeling) at an AVN party hosted by Evil Angel, with director/performer Dana Vespoli (far left), director/performer Francesca Le beside her, and Aiden Starr (middle). Other performers include Bonnie Rotten (in red) and Skin Diamond, to Starr’s left. January 23, 2014.
PHOTO: Barbara Herman

Is porn more progressive than Hollywood?

At the Adult Video News awards on Saturday, considered the Oscars of the adult film industry, Mason, a female director who has been filming hard-core porn since 2002, won two directing awards: for the non-feature “Allie,” starring Allie Haze, and for Director of the Year. And she is one of many female directors in the adult industry with clout.

The barriers to entry for women as porn directors tend to be as low as they are for women as performers, in part because of the star power of women in the industry and the low economic risk of films made cheaply and quickly. Not only are many female directors mentored by male directors, who provide them with opportunities to direct, but once they’re in — not surprisingly – their films tell different stories and reflect different desires from the films of their male counterparts. And they make money. Everybody wins. So why can’t Hollywood do this?

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