Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

COMING TO AN AIRPORT NEAR YOU? the Owner of the Hybrid Boutique Feelmore Adult Gallery Is Just Getting Started

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

COMING TO AN AIRPORT NEAR YOU? the Owner of the Hybrid Boutique Feelmore Adult Gallery Is Just Getting Started

Article excerpt

Oakland, Calif.'s Feelmore Adult Gallery isn't your typical sex-toy store. Described as "part art gallery, part adult store, and part community resource center," in Vibrator Nation: How Feminist Sex-Toy Stores Changed the Business of Pleasure, Feelmore is the kind of place where you can buy a dildo while also getting a flu shot (in partnership with Walgreens), catch a comedy show, talk politics, or ask a sex worker secrets of the trade. Founded by Nenna Joiner (one of very few queer woman of color owners in the industry), Feelmore fosters a boutique feeling with carefully curated items tastefully displayed--without the gaudy XXX-rated imagery that dominates many adult products.

"Packaging is everything in every industry except the sex industry," Joiner tells The Advocate. "Given that the industry is dominated by mainstream Eurocentric standards of beauty, it is not serving the political and social sensibilities of our diverse customers. We can either choose a product that has imagery consistent with our vision, or we can remove it from the packaging."

As she explained to Blavity last year, "We take items out of those kinds of boxes, so you don't have this objectivity of body. I want someone to feel empowered by picking something up. I don't want them to feel disempowered as they're reaching for a product and there's an image of a person on the box that does not look anything like them."

Feelmore also offers products not found in other U.S. adult shops. Recently, Joiner says she traveled overseas to "learn about how culture influences [sex]. Along our journey we have collected unique products and artwork that speak to our clients' sensibilities, giving Feelmore an authentic boutique feel. You can always get a sex product, but it is more difficult for you to come across manga-inspired products handpicked from Japan."

After moving to the San Francisco Bay Area in the '90s, Joiner served as a production assistant in her family's film and television production company before going it alone to create "feminist porn." Joiner says she produced the two films, A Drop of Color and Hell Brown: Real Sex in the City, in part to combat the dearth of people of color in the industry--behind and in front of the camera.

While there is some black talent in porn, Joiner says far fewer are owners. Likewise, black entrepreneurs aren't well represented in the ownership of sex shops, which is why Joiner said she felt, "this is where I need to be: on the business side of it. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.