Vivid-Ed’s Taormino to Speak at Princeton Despite Student Protests

Bob Johnson

LOS ANGELES — Despite a flurry of student controversy, Vivid-Ed’s Tristan Taormino will speak at Princeton University on April 28.

The talk, "My Life As a Feminist Pornographer" will include clips from her movies — the reason Princeton students protested her appearance. The talk will begin at 7:30 p.m. EDT at the McCosh 10 lecture hall.

As reported by XBIZ last week, the director’s talk also sparked a heated rebuttal aimed at student anti-porn feminists by fellow-porn advocate, Pink Visual President Allison Vivas.

The nut of the riff revolves around the Princeton student government allocating $1,500 to the talk that will show clips from Taormino’s movies. The move prompted anti-porn students to draft a petition to block Taormino’s talk.

Vivid said Taormino’s planned appearance also caused students to write numerous op-ed articles and letters to the editor in the Daily Princetonian, the campus newspaper.

According to the newspaper, The Anscombe Society is protesting Tristan's lecture and has circulated a petition among students who object to it. The petition "acknowledged the importance of the discussion but objected to 'gratuitous' film clips that its authors said would 'damage' the conversation by turning away those who would have come if not for the inclusion of actual pornography footage."

In order to bring in an opposing viewpoint, Princeton hosted anti-porn activist Pamela Paul, who gave a lecture entitled "Why Porn is Anti-Sex" on April 8.

Taormino’s talk will address questions such as: Is feminist pornography a paradox? Or can there be such a thing as sex-positive, meaningful porn? She'll discuss why she chose to do porn, the challenges and breakthroughs she has seen within the adult industry with regard to women's pleasure, and her personal goals for working within the industry.

"Pornography is definitely a hot button topic in our society. I look forward to sharing my personal philosophy and experience with the audience about making ethical, feminist porn," Taormino said.

This marks the director’s second visit to Princeton in this academic year. In November, she gave a presentation about non-monogamy and her talk was so popular that the students decided to invite her back. The undergraduate organization Let's Talk Sex (LeTS) is sponsoring the talk.

"I'm glad the organizers of LeTS have not backed down or been bullied by the protesters," she added. "This is a valid subject to discuss on a college campus. The clips I show are not about gratuitous shock value, they are to illustrate some of my work. The students can make up their own minds about what they see. Plus, people are free to attend the lecture and leave before I show the film clip. Everyone should do what they feel comfortable doing."

LeTS is a student group devoted to promoting sex-positive dialogue on campus. Through its discussion groups and various events, it attempts to provide a forum for free conversation regarding sexuality.