The Conversation: Pornography director Anna Arrowsmith on politics, Page 3, and how David Cameron inspired one of her films

 

Was it a surprise to be invited to the BBC's 100 Women conference?

It was a nice surprise. There were three of us from the sex industry: Brooke Magnanti, who is Belle de Jour, and also Sarah Walker who runs the English Collective of Prostitutes. Three per cent of sex workers; I guess that's a start.

You've been on 'Woman's Hour' and 'Newsnight', but it's tended to be defending pornography. Did you see this as a kind of acceptance?

Yes, especially as I was part of a panel. There were a couple of things that I wanted to get across: men are just as gendered, they have things they don't have a choice about; and the assumption that if you're interested in gender equality, you're left wing, that feminists are all socialists.

How do you find the reception from feminist quarters to your work?

We had this debate in the Eighties about pornography, and basically agreed to disagree, until it cropped back up again with the rise of internet porn. The people who are anti-porn shout louder, but there are a lot of women who support me. And if you look at the stats, 33 per cent of all porn consumed online is by women.

Do you think Britain is becoming more accepting of porn?

You have to look at the context. There's a big campaign that's anti-Page 3 at the moment, one that's anti-lap dancing clubs, one that's trying to take condoms out of saunas in Scotland. Then there's the campaign to make sites have no explicit images available until you put your credit card details in, which is basically saying the industry can't exist.

What about children's exposure to pornography. Do you think they need to be protected?

There's an academic, Danielle Egan, who found that young people are waiting longer to have sex, when they do they're using a condom, and more often they're in long-term relationships. STDs are at their lowest rates, and rape is at the lowest level since the early Nineties.

Do you have one film you're particularly proud of?

I did one film called Hug a Hoodie about six years ago, which won loads of awards.

That sounds quite political.

I wrote it when I was living on a council estate in Bermondsey. We actually called one of the characters Cameron. The day of our launch party, [the PM] came out and said, "I never actually said 'hug a hoodie'". We figured he was totally just pre-empting the film, although I can't prove it.

Do you know if your parents have watched your films?

I don't know if any of my family have seen my stuff and I never ask. You have certain boundaries. It's how a middle-class family deals with having a pornographer.

You stood as a Lib Dem candidate in the 2010 general election. Any future designs on politics?

Well, never say never. But I'm not really party political. The reason I was with the Lib Dems was that I had the same ideals. With this debate about voting apathy, I don't think people aren't political, they're just not party political.

They say you shouldn't talk about sex and politics at dinner parties. What does that leave you with?

Not much! Although, people know very little about gender, and always seem to be interested, so I tend to talk about that.

Biography

Anna Arrowsmith is one of Britain’s leading female pornography directors and stood as the Lib Dem candidate in Gravesham, Kent in the 2010 general election. She is currently completing a PhD in Gender Studies at Sussex University and was part of the BBC’s 100 Women conference in October

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Judd Apatow’s make-it-up-as-you-go-along approach is ideal for comedies about stoners and slackers slouching towards adulthood
filmWith comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
Arts and Entertainment
booksForget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Off set: Bab El Hara
tvTV series are being filmed outside the country, but the influence of the regime is still being felt
Arts and Entertainment
Red Bastard: Where self-realisation is delivered through monstrous clowning and audience interaction
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
O'Shaughnessy pictured at the Unicorn Theatre in London
tvFiona O'Shaughnessy explains where she ends and her strange and wonderful character begins
Arts and Entertainment
The new characters were announced yesterday at San Diego Comic Con

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Rhino Doodle by Jim Carter (Downton Abbey)

TV
Arts and Entertainment
No Devotion's Geoff Rickly and Stuart Richardson
musicReview: No Devotion, O2 Academy Islington, London
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film

film
Arts and Entertainment
Comedian 'Weird Al' Yankovic

Is the comedy album making a comeback?

comedy
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
film
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey in the first-look Fifty Shades of Grey movie still

film
Arts and Entertainment
Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc, centre, are up for Best Female TV Comic for their presenting quips on The Great British Bake Off

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Martin Freeman as Lester Nygaard in the TV adaptation of 'Fargo'

TV
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Shakespeare in Love at the Noel Coward Theatre
theatreReview: Shakespeare in Love has moments of sheer stage poetry mixed with effervescent fun
Arts and Entertainment
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson stars in Hercules

film
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'

film
Arts and Entertainment
<p><strong>2008</strong></p>
<p>Troubled actor Robert Downey Jr cements his comeback from drug problems by bagging the lead role in Iron Man. Two further films follow</p>

film
Arts and Entertainment

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Tycoons' text: Warren Buffett and Bill Gates both cite John Brookes' 'Business Adventures' as their favourite book

books
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

    A new Russian revolution

    Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
    Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

    Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

    The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
    Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

    Standing my ground

    If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

    Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

    Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
    Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

    Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

    The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
    The man who dared to go on holiday

    The man who dared to go on holiday

    New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

    Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

    For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
    The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

    The Guest List 2014

    Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
    Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

    Jokes on Hollywood

    With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
    It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

    It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

    Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
    Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

    Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

    Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
    Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

    Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

    Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
    Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

    Edinburgh Fringe 2014

    The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
    Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

    Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

    The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried