NSFW

Finally, There's a Queer Feminist Porn Magazine Available In Finland

We chatted with the editor-in-chief of <em>Ménage à Trois</em>.

MARTINA BABIŠOVÁ

Additional reporting and photos by Martina Babišová and George Hooker

Rule 34 is one of the most well-known internet memes of all times: "if it exists, there is porn of it. No exceptions". Queer exists, and feminism exists. So obviously there is porn of them. Turns out that a queer feminist porn magazine is being made in Finland. When we heard out about this from a friend who draws cartoons for the mag, we were intrigued.

We decided to buy a copy of Ménage à Trois in a sex-shop in Kallio – a punky district of Helsinki. We didn't really know what to expect.

We found it on a shelf next to the anal videos. It had a little black cover of a girl posing with her tennis racket. "Queer / Feminist / Porn" was emblazoned across the front. The guy behind the counter was surrounded by dildos. He smiled at us.

"Feel free to look around!"

When we bought the magazine, he gave us two free postcards to send home to mummy. Ménage à Trois, it turns out, is pretty extreme, and something we wouldn't be writing home to mummy about after all.



One of the postcards the authors were given in the sex-shop.
The pornography part of the magazine is obvious, but the feminist part, not so much. It's clear that this isn't your average Playboy though, so we decided to get in touch with the editor-in-chief to find out more. She was bubbly, down to earth – even a little bit shy – and happy to speak with us.

VICE: So Iida, would you call yourself a feminist pornographer?
Iida Rauma: Yes. I am making porn, and feminism is important for me. Ménage à Trois is a feminist project. I would not have started it if I wasn't a feminist.

What does being a feminist mean to you?
Being feminist for me means that I am critical towards normative sexuality – the idea that sex is something that should happen between a muscly man and a feminine woman.

Why did you start the magazine?
Because there wasn't anything like this in Finland. Queer culture usually comes just from English speaking countries. I think it is important to make material that queer [Finnish] people can relate to. This magazine is a project to make those queer people more visible. There is a stronger feminist culture in Sweden in comparison to Finland, with many great feminist artists and magazines, but no pornographic ones.



So what exactly is feminist porn? How does it differ from the other types of porn?
We have ethical concerns, and are more aware of how people are portrayed, what types of bodies and what kind of sexuality. That is what is missing in mainstream porn. They are only interested in making material for straight men masturbating. What we have in common with other feminist magazines is that we care a lot about who we show, why, and how.


So how does this translate into making a pornographic magazine?
I am trying to include a greater variety of people than in mainstream pornography and women's magazines. Not only skinny and young and straight and normatively-beautiful people. I believe those outside of this category can be sexy too. Sexuality is for everybody, not just for pretty people.

How do you choose what goes in the magazine?
It's not always based on my sexual preferences. It has to be feministic and pornographic enough. If you can imagine that somebody could masturbate to it, then it's the right material for Ménage à Trois.

Where do you get the models for the crazier photo shoots?
The content of the magazine is made mostly by queer artists, but many people contact us because they want to be a model in the magazine and we try to arrange it. That's always nice.

What are your biggest inspirations?
Tom of Finland, and Bend Over magazine from Berlin. If one single person could have the greatest influence on gay culture and what gay men find attractive than it would be Tom of Finland – I admire him also because he was able to combine art and pornography. All the images of gay men in leather jackets started with him, for example. He is more famous in the US but it was he who introduced gay culture in Finland; there was none before 1950.

Some of the content is quite extreme though? People pissing on each other?
Being disgusted and being turned on can be very similar emotions. It is not unusual that people may have disgusting fantasies, things they would never make happen in real life. I think that it would be dangerous to ban them. Thoughts cannot harm anybody.



Can pornography be empowering for women?
Yes, for sure. The media is constantly serving us pictures of skinny, normatively-beautiful women, so I believe that seeing people with all kinds of bodies enjoying themselves is empowering.

But does pornography not objectify them?
I think that porn objectifies everybody, and that it cannot really be avoided. Mainstream porn objectifies women AND men. People aren't just penises and vaginas. We try to show their faces as well. We cannot avoid objectifying the models but we can make sure there are many different body types.

Do you think that taboos hold women back?
I think they affect how sexually active women are, and their ability to speak about their sex life – it's not so easy for most women to talk openly about their sexuality. Another big taboo in our society is being asexual. We're all expected to be of certain sexuality, and it's a big problem if you don't want to fuck anybody. There is so much pressure on society. I don't think everybody should have to be sexual, because that isn't sexual freedom either.

Has Ménage à Trois been successful?
We are a small magazine, but yes, successful, and Ménage à Trois is probably the only of its kind in all of Scandinavia. We had 500 copies of the first issue which sold out quickly, so for the next one we printed 700 with the same success. Let's say we are growing.

OK. Thanks, Iida!

Previously by Martina and George: The Finland VS Sweden Game Made Me Realise That Roller Derby Is a Real Sport.

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