"He is unusual in his period for claiming the rights of free sexuality for women, and in installing women as beings of power in his imaginary worlds ."
Carter writes that pornography can perpetuate the oppression of women because sex in porn is treated only in terms of power and therefore it simply reinforces already existing patriarchal power structures of men’s dominance and women’s submission or subjugation. She proposes that until structure of society changes, this wont change.
But in Sade’s writing of women she finds the classic archetype of the willing female victim who suffers in the character of Justine but subversion in the voracious and joyfully viscous sexual appetite of Juliette . She sees Juliette as the first character to reject this victimisation and actively overthrow it, becoming the brutal, successful and uncompromising master of her own sexual desire.
Performing in porn is often seen as a requiring a rejection of personal agency, you become a vessel for the desires of the imagined consumer. In relation to Carter’s essays, women in porn are presumed to be Justine - willing victims in their own passive subjugation for the pleasure of others. There’s an idea that porn sex, that is, intense and visually performative sex is not the kind of sex people really want. That there’s an inherent divide between REAL SEX and PORN SEX.
We wanted to make a film that explored porn performers who actively relish and enjoy acts that are considered to be only for “porn sex” - that performative sex on screen isn’t only a passive experience to be endured. That these acts aren’t just to be dismissed as disposable on screen caricatures of sex. In relation to Carter’s ideas - embracing Juliette’s agency in performing acts considered degrading or extreme with joy. That sexual agency isn’t only found in comfort, soft lighting and sensuality.
This is an exploration of screens and how they translate the visceral flesh of sex and bodies and what that now means today in an age of digital pornography.
In short, fuck being reduced to 'muse' - in art, in porn, in life, whatever.
“To be the object of desire is to be defined in the passive case.
To exist in the passive case is to die in the passive case – that is, to be killed.
This is the moral of the fairy tale about the perfect woman.”