5 Feminist Porn Stars Nominated For AVN Awards

The "Oscars of Porn" are coming on January 23, and although adult entertainment doesn't have to be overtly political, it's pretty part-warming that so many feminist porn stars were nominated for AVN Awards this year. The feminists in question don't explicitly make feminist porn — which remains a niche market — but they have been vocal about identifying as feminists in their personal lives, which does influence their professional choices to some degree.

True, celebrity feminism is nothing new, but there remains a level of cognitive dissonance between mainstream feminism and pornography that began with the feminist sex wars of the 1980s and never quite went away. While it's important that feminists continue to discuss adult entertainment (and all media) to raise issues about objectification, sexism and racism, it's equally important that we listen first and foremost to feminist porn performers and what they have to say on the subject.

Just thinking of all the men who proudly proclaim an aversion to feminism but spend their hard earned cash getting off to porn stars who happen to be feminists is awesome, if you ask me. And it's also a win-win to watch a killer creampie scene knowing deep down inside that the actress on your screen believes in gender equality as much as you do.

Here are five feminist porn stars nominated for 2016's Adult Video News Awards. Good luck, ladies!

1. Joanna Angel

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Porn polymath Joanna Angel is the founder of alternative porn paradise Burning Angel, and is not only nominated in the Best Director — Parody category but also happens to be co-host of this year's awards ceremony in Las Vegas — and will be inducted into the AVN Hall of Fame. In an interview with Slutever, Angel discussed her views on the relationship between porn and feminism: "I don’t make porn that I don’t want to watch, and I don’t like it when women look like they aren’t enjoying themselves. That’s my own personal way of making feminist porn."

2. April Flores

The reigning body-positive queen of porn, April Flores is nominated for BBW Performer of the Year, a category that she won in 2014 and 2015. In an incisive personal essay about being a queer, fat Latina in porn in 2013's The Feminist Porn Book , she writes: "I am a fat woman in control of her sexuality...To me, there are few more genuine or powerful forms of self-expression than a woman performing sex for others to watch. It is the ultimate statement of empowerment."

3. Stoya

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Nominated for Best Supporting Actress this year, Stoya is a whip smart sex-positive advocate, penning columns and articles for Vice, The Verge, and The New York Times on sexuality, sexual health, sex work, and the adult film industry. In a highly nuanced piece about the complex relationship between feminist politics and porn, she once wrote:

"I’m conflicted about applying the label to myself because I rarely do things specifically for the purpose of furthering women’s rights. Avoiding giving a straight answer about whether I’m feminist or not is kind of a cop-out though. Shirking the word feels like turning my back on the women who fought to give me many of the advantages I have. So here goes: Hi, I’m Stoya. My politics and I are feminist... But my job is not."

4. Asa Akira

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Asa Akira is up for Mainstream Star of the Year, and famously quipped, "F*ck you. I'm a feminist" in an article for Playboy. She believes that porn is the one place where the feminist fight for wage equality has been won many times over, with women being paid far more than their male counterparts. She went on to explain: "Men and women should be equal, in every aspect. Period. Whether we’re having sex with hundreds of people for money or completely abstinent. And as for me, for now, I will just have to be content with calling that 'feminism.'"

5. Carter Cruise

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Nominated for Best Actress, Best Oral Sex Scene, Female Performer of the Year, and many more, 23-year-old porn star and musician Carter Cruise told Cosmopolitan that she was raised by a feminist father, and has taken those values with her into the adult industry.

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Images: Getty Images (5); April Flores/Wikipedia