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Creating and Modeling for a Feminist Porn Magazine

11/03

As amazing as the internet has been for our generation, there’s just something special about holding a physical magazine in your hands.  Turning crisp new pages and viewing beautiful still images has a certain appeal to it.  So when we had the chance to sit down with part of the team from Math Magazine, our favourite print magazine on everything feminist sexuality, we were totally stoked.

We chatted with MacKenzie, the creator of Math Magazine and an accomplished designer, as well as Tragic, one of the brilliant and gorgeous models featured in the magazine.  We asked them what it’s like to be a part of something that pushes for equality and open dialogue, and they even shared what’s next on the agenda for them!

Can you share a little about Math Magazine with our readers.

MacKenzie: Math Magazine is a media company dedicated to celebrating sexuality through our print publication, online magazine, and events. Our flagship product, the print magazine, features photography, artwork, poetry, essays, and more dedicated to turning people on, exploring different desires, and showing that every body is hot. There are so many issues — the mainstreaming of misogyny, the suppression of gender expression, rape culture ignorance, freedom of speech in the age of “terms of service” — and I see a lot of my peers responding with anger. And I get that. I respect that. But for me, and for this company, we focus on positivity. I have this utopian vision of porn changing the world and I’m trying to do that. Whatever you are into, from mild to wild, that’s okay and the path to discovering it is beautiful.



Photo By Charlie Rubin

What inspired you to create it?

MacKenzie: I first had the idea for Math Magazine while at a house party in Baltimore. My friend ditched me. I was a little high, a little drunk and was seeing things as an artist: a little removed, capturing things, seeing how to convey these experiences as art. A group of women walked past me, going upstairs and, naturally, I followed them and they started to play dress up in a way that was sexy, natural, and fun. And they tried to pull me in and I was too nervous but I really appreciated it and it gave me this thought that I wanted to be in that sort of environment — sexy, collaborative, playful — all the time. It felt so free. I was searching for something and I needed direction. My next thought was: I want to start a porn magazine.


Courtesy of Math Magazine

The crazy thing about starting something is that everyone involved at the onset is agreeing to an idea, just an idea. The first issue was about trust. I modelled because I didn’t have any models. And I was eager to experience what I was asking others to do. It’s just like in BDSM where the best Doms have been on the receiving end of all the types of pain that they inflict.

How did you become a model for this magazine?

Tragic: A crush of mine suggested I model for the company after we had a long conversation about intellectual sex. Feminist rhetoric is so often missing the element of sex positivity. We don’t talk about sex enough and it leaves so many blanks for young adults to fill for themselves.



Courtesy of Math Magazine

How do you think opting for a print-only publication has been beneficial to your journey?

MacKenzie: Starting out as print-only was valuable because of the fervent print community — the independent publishing community is so passionate. It was very valuable for us to start in a place like that. We had this groundswell of support from people in the print and zine world. Working in print separates us. The vast majority of porn is video, on the internet and we’re distinguishing ourselves in terms of medium and our message. Our content is unique, and the way you experience it, page-by-page, is special. The purchase of content made physical is a luxury. I think people are very selective about what magazines they own and which they display on the coffee table. Math Magazine is a signifier, a low-key, subtle mention that you are open to talking about sexy things, and maybe even down to experience them too! Readers have been really responsive to that and I can only imagine the conversations, encounters, and relationships that have been borne from Math.



Photo By Sandy Hong

What do you believe are the values of “new wave porn”?

MacKenzie: The new wave of pornography is primarily focused on collaborating with and respecting the performers and changing the way we categorize kinks and desires. For example, we want to see hardcore sex and diversity in our magazine but we’re not going to fetishize race or the absence of consent. The acts can be the same as mainstream work but the way we talk about them is different, the stories we tell more interesting, and the visuals more varied and compelling. A lot of woman love rape fantasies and when producing a photo shoot or story focusing on that it is really important to convey the woman’s autonomy, consent, choice, and desire.



Courtesy of Math Magazine

The new wave of porn is also about an exploration of aesthetics and politics. It’s about engaging with current conversations, presenting experiences that are compelling in this very moment. There are lot of us doing this like Erika Lust (I love her work because it is like Art House film meets porn), Four Chambers (beautiful, artistic, and I love how queer their work is, plus I love how they use Patreon and are so entrepreneurially smart), Make Love Not Porn (Cindy Gallops is empowering people to make their own porn and people get paid on there), and Chaturbate (where performers are building careers on their own terms).  I keep up with these folks and every time I see them making amazing work, getting great press, and growing I feel encouraged to continue on my path too. You start to get to know these founders, producers, and performers and what excites them and I think of these people and companies as peers. We all push each other.

What do you hope readers take from your magazine?

MacKenzie: That we all have these secret sides to ourselves. Whether you wear it on your t-shirt or it’s something only shared between you and your partner or only by yourself; we all have desires and curiosities. They vary and we want people to be able to give themselves permission to explore what excites them.


Photo By Tramaine George

What is the Math company culture like, and how does it differ from mainstream publications?

Tragic: Math company culture is healthy and sex positive, what’s typically off the discussion table is on the table. It’s like having the good china out for every meal. I went to the Math company party for the release of their magazine and the crowd was a wonderful mix of ages and creeds. From what I can tell about mainstream companies theres always an air of something to prove about themselves, but at the Math function I felt there was a genuine interest in the people from everyone and no just a function meant for networking.


Photo By Mike Lavin

Do you have any upcoming projects we can look forward to?

MacKenzie: Coming up next we will have a table at Got A Girl Crush’s 2nd Annual Print & Zine Fest, hosted by New Women Space in Brooklyn. You can find more information about that on our Facebook page and on our website under events. Plus, we are planning a model and photographer mixer event where we will help connect a lot of people excited to collaborate on a photo shoot for us. Keep up-to-date on all our projects and events by following us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

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Robin_Swallows // Editor

Robin_Swallows is a 20 something year old who's always embraced her sex-positive outlook on life, even though having grown up in a state filled with prudes. She's a shameless slut who loves learning about all things sex, and enjoys fantasizing and late night escapades. Her motto: Never fall in love, just lust.

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