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Sinnamon Love is an adult performer and fetish model. She began performing in adult films in the early 1990s, and has since appeared in approximately two hundred movies. She directed the movie My Black Ass 4, which received nominations at the 2001 AVN Awards for Best Ethnic-Themed Video and Best Anal Sex Scene (Video). Love was inducted into the Urban X Hall of Fame in 2009, and the AVN Hall of Fame in 2011. She was profiled in the book Money Shot: The Wild Nights and Lonely Days Inside the Black Porn Industry by Lawrence C. Ross Jr. Her writing has appeared in Hos, Hookers, Call Girls, and Rent Boys: Professionals Writing on Life, Love, Money, and Sex, edited by David Henry Sterry and R. J. Martin Jr. I n 2009, I sat on a panel with notable feminist academics and a feminist pornographer—all of whom were well-respected. I was put on the spot when asked, “Do you consider yourself and your work to be feminist?” I didn’t know how to answer. I tried to steady my voice as I replied, “I’ve never really given that any thought.” The other panelists gave their view of my work and what they knew about me . . . but the question, which I had to answer for myself, remained: “Am I a feminist?” I was naive about the sexual liberation movement, and had never considered whether or not my decision to flaunt my sexuality on screen was a feminist act. I had never wondered whether fighting for the right to be both mother and sex worker was part of a greater fight for the rights of women around the world. I certainly had never given thought to whether my choice to be tied up, disciplined, and fucked by men and women on film contributed to sexual freedom. All I knew was that I alone was responsible for my body, my life, my sexuality, and my bills. It never crossed my mind that someone might tell me what I should or shouldn’t do with my body or my sex. I knew that prostitution was illegal, and had heard rumblings of the unsuccessful fight for decriminalization in the United States. I knew pornography wasn’t the same as A Question of Feminism Sinnamon Love prostitution, by legal definition, but had no clue about the fight in courtrooms to make it so. I was like many of the porn stars of my generation who entered the adult film industry with the intent of earning a living, having a good time, or both. When I walked onto my first adult film set at nineteen, I had never seen a porn movie or magazines or been to a strip club. I merely wanted to provide for my family and finish college. I wanted to have a kind of financial stability that I didn’t see possible as a divorced, single mother of two toddlers working two mall jobs and carrying a full load of classes. That first time, having sex with a complete stranger in his apartment wasn’t about a feminist agenda or some sort of promiscuous sexual itch I sought to scratch. It was about the best option I saw for myself at that time; it was about financial freedom. Even years later, while embroiled in a bitter custody battle, where my decision to work in pornographic movies was a critical issue, I still didn’t consider my fight to be feminist. My angry ex-husband walked into the courtroom holding a VHS box with my image on the cover in a schoolgirl uniform, accusing me of “portraying a child” in the movie. The black female judge that mediated my divorce and subsequent custody hearing told him that my porn career was irrelevant unless there was evidence that the children were neglected or exposed to porn. Was she a feminist ? I think the judge was merely following the law, and I was fortunate enough to have gone through the experience in California, where making porn has been legal since 1988. There is no doubt in my mind today that I am a feminist. I believe first and foremost in choice—whether it’s a woman’s right to choose to work outside the home or the right to a safe, legal abortion. I believe that “no means no,” and provocative attire is never an excuse for rape. I believe in sex-positive childrearing and the right for every person to marry regardless...


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