The Wild Search and I have kind of an epic relationship.
Though it’s filed under Peep’s Picks, The Wild Search was picked for me. You see that’s what people who study and teach porn do when they visit each other. With tummies full of delicious Southern barbeque and tequila, we watch ethical feminist award winning porn and yell things like “THIS DOES WHAT JUDITH BUTLER’S GENDER TROUBLE DOES IN UNDER 2 MINUTES USING NOTHING BUT BODIES. And DILDOS!”
Which is exactly what we did, but more on that in a minute. I fell in love with The Wild Search after screening it for the first time that delightful afternoon. Later, when toying with the idea of doing a lecture on it, I ordered a hard copy from Smitten Kitten, which was delivered during the epic polar vortex that riddled the Midwest a post-apocalyptic tundra. A snow plow knocked out our mailbox, but The Wild Search was still inside, unharmed. I likened the event to a feminist ethical queer porn miracle, which it undoubtedly was.
Came home and our mailbox was gone, found it down the road (a snow plow probably) but The Wild Search from @PinkWhite was still inside!
— Sarah (@femmeradicale) February 5, 2014
First, of all, The Wild Search (earlier the film was titled In Search of the Wild Kingdom) is funny. And I don’t know about you, but I like to giggle when I’m turned on, I REALLY like to laugh at comedy that is critically engaging. The film is a mockumentary that follows a hetero cis lady documentarian who is desperately trying to capture “authentic lesbian sexuality.” She follows around an all star cast, creeping into their apartments and filming them fucking each other. One second I’m laughing, the next I’m so turned on I don’t know what to do with myself. That, for me, makes me love The Wild Search even more.
The first porn number features two major heartthrobs of queer porn: Courtney Trouble and Jiz Lee. It’s safer, it’s playful, and it’s super hot. It is one of the earlier films from Pink and White Productions, and watching it now, it’s neat to see porn performers who are now considered all-stars in some of their early roles. Yes, I get attached and near romantic and hell even a bit sentimental with my porn. I like it that way.
Documentary lady follows each star around trying to capture another aspect of lesbian sex: the “monogamous couple,” the bar hook-up, and there’s even the lesbian decoy. The pornographic numbers are scorching, intense, and unrelenting, and are complimented by the satirical and quirky way that they are framed. Here are some core themes that plays with:
- Porn and documentary
- Authenticity and Surveillance
- Lesbian and Queer Porn v. Girl-Girl Scenes
I also like The Wild Search because I think that it lends itself nicely to analysis and discussion. Which is to say that it immediately comes to mind for those interested in Porn Studies, or in need of a film to screen so that all the MFAs around you will stop asking what feminist/ethical porn “looks like” but also happens to be funny, critical, and feature diverse expressions, sexualities, and bodies. The Wild Search pokes fun at two double standards: 1) that documentary films are regarded as separate, “higher”, and more objective than porn films, 2) that the sex being touted in the porn industry as “lesbian” is not exactly as authentic as many might think, simply because there are two people who appear to have vaginas fucking each other. Another way of saying this might be to suggest that The Wild Search queers “lesbian” as a stable orientation and relation.
Or, maybe I should just repeat what I screamed when I watched the scene between Jiz Lee,Papi Coxx, and Wil Thrustwell: This does what Judith Butler’s Gender Trouble attempts to do in 200+ pages, and does it in under 2 minutes using nothing but bodies, dildos, and some skilled camera work.
It’s just true.
I can write about it. I can jerk off to it. There I said it. It seems like a win-win to me!
Because that’s the other thing, I am an aesthetically picky viewer, on my own time, which is to say when I’m masturbating and not trying to spin some porn theory, I really can’t get it into some gonzo aesthetics, because, well, the truth is I like things to look a certain way and this film is pretty stunning in terms of its formal compositions, aesthetic, and quality of the image. Shine Louise Houston is an auteur of the ethical, queer, and feminist porn universe. This award winner for Best Trans Sex Scene (2007, Feminist Porn Awards) has the aesthetic, formal, and ethical production qualities I look for in my porn, in or outside of the classroom.
You can rent The Wild Search here. And please ethically consume it. Paying for your porn helps sustain alternative economies and labor practices.
Other posts you may be interested in:
- From the Floor: Volume 1
- OhMiBod Lovelife Adventure Review
- Review: Pleasure Works Sidekick
- Review: Pleasure Works Captain
- Review: Exotic-Erotics Hippocampus (Medium)
- The Bratty Bottoms Spanktacular Giveaway Series: Bettie Page “Picture This” Spanking Bat
- Best Sex Writing of the Year Review
- Princess Play: A Fairy Tale Round Up Review
- Peep’s Re-Group Reading Group: Ecstasy is Necessary
- Peep’s Picks: Tantus Thwack, Wham Bam, & Snap Strap