What do you think of when you hear the word erotica? 50 Shades of Grey, the Playboy magazine hidden under your bed, or maybe the grainy pornography you watched as a teenager?
Whatever it be, the images ‘erotica’ conjures to mind probably aren’t all that realistic or empowering for women either. But with Feck’s “ethical erotica”, there’s a difference.
Whether it’s the naked photos of ishotmyself, or the raw, unedited clips of orgasming faces that appear in Beautiful Agony, this Melbourne based media company is providing content that’s just as rewarding for the creator as it is the audience.
The women featured aren’t unrealistically thin, big boobed and submissive, and nor are the videos and images edited, photo shopped or altered. They’re real, candid and all shot by the women themselves.
“Basically we want to be everything that porn isn’t. Diverse, empowering, and a positive model,” says Feck creator Richard Lawrence.
When beginning Feck, Richard explains that he wanted to create a connection between the people accessing ethically produced erotica, and those making it.
“I had met some people working in the adult industry and I was surprised at how many women were interested in participating, as long as there was a safe and supportive space to express themselves,” he says.
And so in 2003, Feck was born.
“On Feck sites you’ll see all body shapes and sizes; we don’t glorify skinny or tall or large breasted or whatever. The diversity is not only more interesting, it’s how life really is, and that needs to be out there.” Richard says.
“We also aim to make the kind of erotica that you hope your 14 year old kid is watching. Not that we promote children accessing adult material, but we all know the reality on where kids get their sex ed.”
It’s this realistic portrayal and openness that sets Feck’s content apart.
Another difference of Feck’s ethical erotica, Richard explains, lies in how it’s produced, and how it’s consumed.
Feck’s role is to provide an honest, transparent process for potential contributors, and it’s then up to consumers to pay for the content to ensure production can continue and participants can be fairly paid.
“We don’t actually recommend [Feck shoots] to anyone… it’s a matter of personal choice,” Richard says.
“If they [do] decide to go ahead we do everything we can to make it a rewarding experience by making sure they’re respected and presented in the most positive way possible.”
“As well as being paid for submissions up front, contributors also earn a few cents every time someone views their content.”
“It’s just women having an adventure, getting their kit off and flaunting their sexuality a bit – and being well paid for it,” he says.
For Jane Louise, a long time contributor, Feck has also provided an avenue for self-empowerment and expression.
After completing her first shoot 13 years ago, Jane explains that she found “a satisfyingly subversive element” to it.
“I was young but I had a drive to break outside of myself, I wanted to celebrate myself and feel beautiful and sexy,” she says.
“I used to have a very negative inner dialogue surrounding my body and my appearance, [but] I couldn’t maintain that narrow and frankly damaging narrative once I’d done ishotmyself and enjoyed it so much.”
“I liked the pictures, I liked feeling good about myself and I liked taking photos and documenting myself. It was fun and empowering and I wanted to tell the whole world all about it!”
There was also, Jane explains, a freeing element that came with each shoot.
“When you photograph yourself and it’s published on the internet, you are 100% getting outside of yourself and how you think you look,” she says.
“Especially with the ishotmyself project, there’s also a lack of pretentiousness which is incredibly refreshing. You can think of an idea and a theme and just go for it. There’s a freedom that’s kind of magic.”
The fact that Feck is challenging conventional erotica norms is also something Jane finds empowering.
“I hate using the word fake but loads of porn/erotica is about extremities, extreme bodies and intense sex-acts,” she says.
“Mainstream porn has become almost ridiculous, it’s like a caricature of sexiness that isn’t real or believable. Because it’s prolific, I think it starts to warp peoples attitudes & ideas about sex, [but] Feck sites are 100% about the beauty of reality.”
“You can look at ishotmyself and honestly say THIS is what people look like. [It’s the] same for Beautiful Agony, THIS is how people cum – the stills and videos are real.”
Embracing women, and celebrating the human form is what Feck is all about, and its openness in doing so is something Jane says needs to be encouraged.
“I think all areas of life should be empowering women to take control of their image and how they’re portrayed,” she says.
“Having agency over your narrative, especially when you’re naked, can be an immensely rewarding experience. You’re shirking the virgin/whore trope and stepping outside the ways we socialise girls and women and taking charge of navigating your own path.”
“Your sexual identity is your own, and…when this is fully realised, awesome stuff happens!”
Interested in submitting to Feck or want to find out more? Visit http://feck.com.au/.