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Asa Akira: Just Because I Do Porn Doesn’t Mean I’m Not a Feminist

Asa Akira: Just Because I Do Porn Doesn’t Mean I’m Not a Feminist: Photo by Van Styles

Photo by Van Styles

If you’re not a feminist, I think you’re an asshole. But that doesn’t mean the word itself doesn’t suck. I’d group “feminist”—along with “bisexual,” “nympho,” or even “blogger”—as words that define who I am but still make me cringe every time I hear them.

My sexuality is so much more complicated than what “bisexual” would imply. “Nympho” feels downright insulting: I am affected with “excessive sexual desire”—just as the dictionary defines it—but the word doesn’t seem to celebrate my sexuality so much as medicalize it. “Blogger” is just the worst. I can’t think of a job description that could make me take someone less seriously. And when I hear “feminist,” I’m guilty of immediately envisioning a man-hating woman who refuses to shave, wear a dress, or fuck doggy-style. The world has (conveniently!) painted the most unappealing picture of “feminist” as possible, and I am subject to those presumptions, even though I should know better.

I think my distaste for the term also comes from the fact that so many try to use their definition of the term against me. As if I’m the problem. I have sex for money, so I’m not a feminist? I portray sexual fantasies on screen for entertainment, so I’m not a feminist? I like to wear makeup and feel sexy, so I’m not a feminist?

Fuck you. I’m a feminist.

Feminism is about gender equality, and the things I listed have nothing to do with that. In fact, I’ll go as far as to say it should just be called “humanist.” Or “gender equality-ist.” Whether you’re a male or female, black, white, Asian, whatever—if you’re a human being, you should be a fucking feminist!

Really, there shouldn’t even be such a thing as feminism. It’s embarrassing that women striving for equality is even a thing in 2014. We are half the population. Do we really need an advocacy group to fight for equal rights as the other half of the human race?

Yes. It’s pathetic, but we do.

A number of people think it’s ironic that I consider myself a feminist. “You are a porn-star, therefore anti-feminist,” is what people say all the time. I would urge them to consider these points:


Feminism is defined as the movement for women to obtain economical, political, and social equality to men. Economically, it’s no secret that in many professions, women make less than men—on average 82 cent on the dollar of what men make doing the same job. This is where porn thrives: women make twice, thrice, up to four or five times as much as our straight, male counterparts.

Now take a second to think about a sexually promiscuous man. No, really: envision him. Let me guess. Odds are, you thought of a tall, good-looking, rich Playboy-type. Ok, now try to picture a woman who has just as much sex. It’s likely that many would picture someone damaged, a victim of her upbringing and circumstances. Why is that? Why can’t a sexually voracious woman be seen as a winner in the same way as a guy who sleeps with a hundred girls?

Because social inequality. Women should be allowed the luxury of being just as sexual as men. A woman who wants to have sex with lots of men, and does so, regardless of what society may think of her, should be celebrated as a feminist, not shunned for holding the movement back, like many would say. She is an important part of redefining norms about what’s acceptable for women to do, as being equal to what’s okay for men to do.

Politically, to say the porn industry is anti-feminist is laughable. As performers, we women exercise our rights to the highest degree. We express ourselves freely, publicly, for the whole world to see, just as men have been doing for a very long time. Within the industry, our voices are heard just as loudly as the men’s. I’ve never once felt that a male’s opinion meant more than my own. Which is more than I can say for the general political system: How many people didn’t take Hilary Clinton seriously as a presidential candidate, simply because of her gender?

So, what exactly about me doing porn is anti-feminist? Many would say I degrade myself, capitalize on the ideology of men, and present myself as a sex object. And they would be right. But it’s what I choose to do, because I want to. Whether you understand this desire or not, whether or not you share my urge, and whether you are a man or a woman, it’s counterproductive to feminism to tell me I can’t do what I want.

The fight is not with me, or porn, or wearing makeup to make oneself look better. And, as I so often have to remind myself, it’s certainly not with what the movement is officially labeled. The fight is with inequality. I refuse to back down to anyone who holds double standards for the sexes. Political and social stigmas should have nothing to do with gender. Men and women should be equal, in every aspect. Period, Whether we’re having sex with hundreds of people for money or completely abstinent. And as for me, for now, I will just have to be content with calling that “feminism.”


Asa Akira is a porn actor and author of Insatiable: Porn—A Love Story. Follow her on Twitter.

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