The same journey

Posted at 21:03 on 2 Apr 2015 by Pandora Blake

Right now I feel pretty frustrated about the legal situation in the UK. I'm stressed about the consequences all this is likely to have on my life, and pessimistic about the chances of being able to successfully challenge the laws. When I'm feeling frustrated, stressed and pessimistic, to avoid lashing out at people I often curl inwards, seeking comfort and reassurance. It was in this mood that I posted the following tweets the other day:

Tags: age play, dominance and submission, kink, Princess Kelley, switching

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Teaching porn in schools

Posted at 20:53 on 20 Mar 2015 by Pandora Blake

On Monday a Guardian article entitled "Porn belongs in the classroom" made waves in the UK. I got home on Monday afternoon to several journalist interview requests, and an invitation to discuss the topic on BBC Newsnight (which I politely declined because seven hours notice really isn't enough for that sort of thing, although apparently it's standard). This idea has clearly made waves.

Prof Christian Graugaard of Aalborg University has called for pornography to be shown to older teens in schools to kickstart discussion and education that will help them become "more conscientious and critical consumers".

“My proposal is to critically discuss pornography with 8th and 9th graders [age 15 – the legal age of consent in Denmark – and 16 respectively] as part of a sensible didactic strategy, carried out by trained teachers,” he told the Guardian.

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Tags: ethical porn, feminist porn, gender politics, in the news, media, politics, sex critical, sex education, sex positive, young people

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The porn debate

Posted at 17:23 on 13 Mar 2015 by Pandora Blake

I've been doing a lot of advocacy work recently. A couple of weeks ago I was invited to participate in a Woman's Hour debate on whether "porn can empower women" (click to read my deconstruction of the myriad ways that question is unhelpful) hosted by the Women of the World festival on the South Bank. The two hour recording was edited down to 38 minutes and broadcast a week later on Radio 4 - you can listen to it on BBC iPlayer here. (I haven't listened to the broadcast. When we were chatting before the recording, Dr Clarissa Smith and Sam Roddick advised me "never watch your own press".)

The week before it went out, I dreaded an unsympathetic edit. The debate audience had been dominated by members of feminist groups such as Object and Stop Porn Culture, who are vehemently opposed to the existence of pornography and consider any woman who willingly participates in it to be either an abused victim or a gender traitor. Sitting on the stage, I was all too aware that the first few rows of audience members were very hostile towards me - not only towards my political position, but towards me personally. There was a lot of jeering, heckling and yelling, and from where we were sitting the atmosphere in the room felt very tense. When the debate opened to the audience members, individuals from these groups seemed to spend twice as long on the mic as the rest - and some even started preaching, delivering emotive impassioned rhetoric which felt very out of place.

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Tags: empowerment, feminism, gender politics, in the news, media, sex worker's rights, SWOU, Woman's Hour

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Can porn empower women?

Posted at 12:09 on 5 Mar 2015 by Pandora Blake

Last Sunday I participated in a debate at the Women of the World festival entitled "Can porn empower women?" In my three minutes I didn't have time to go into the full complexities of that question - so I'm going to do so here.

Debating "porn" is difficult because the word means different things to different people. Some people use it to mean "sexy media I don't like", and the word "erotica" to mean "sexy media I do like". So I want to start out with a definition: porn is media that is intended to sexually stimulate the viewer. It doesn't necessarily have to involve nudity, or sex (whatever THAT means).

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Tags: Fairtrade porn, feminist porn, Feminist Porn Awards, Gender politics, labour rights, Politics, Porn Film Festival Berlin, sex work, Sex worker rights

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The Full Body Project

Posted at 00:16 on 28 Feb 2015 by Pandora Blake

The Full Body Project by Leonard Nimoy

Until today, I'd never seen any of Leonard Nimoy's photography. He began taking photos as a teenager, but became famous for it after he (mostly) retired from acting. He took fine art portraits that showed the beauty and complexity of humans - particularly that beauty which often isn't appreciated elsewhere.

I absolutely love his Full Body Project, a series of nude photos that celebrate the beauty of full-figured female bodies. Some of the images are thoughtfully composed, others joyful and spontaneous. Each one has an undeniable sense of dignity and respect.

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Tags: Body positivity, Politics

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Google gradually tightens the net

Posted at 10:55 on 25 Feb 2015 by Pandora Blake

Google bans adult blogs - Violet Blue

It's finally happened: Google has pledged to remove all Blogger blogs deemed "adult" from the public internet.

Yesterday the owners of blogs behind an "adult content warning" page were emailed with a notice that if they didn't remove all "sexually explicit or graphic nude images or video" from every post in their archive, their blog would be removed from public view and set to "invitation only", meaning it would become private content only visible to logged-in Google users who have been invited to view it. Users have until March 23rd to comply (which for blogs that have been running for years amounts to an incredibly laborious job), or their whole blog will be hidden and removed from search.

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Tags: Blogger, censorship, freedom of expression, google, Politics

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Caned for charity

Posted at 20:05 on 22 Feb 2015 by Pandora Blake

I'm sitting on a sore bottom to type this on the train home from visiting Hywel Phillips and Ariel Anderssen. We've just filmed mine and Ariel's sponsored canings for Backlash UK, as part of our 10-a-stroke fundraiser which raised 3836 to help Backlash fight the new UK porn laws.

Nimue Allen was the first to take her caning, and she tweeted photos of her welted bottom after 50 cold cane strokes on Friday... which just served to make me more nervous. Thanks to the generosity of our funders (said through gritted teeth!) I was due 50 strokes and Ariel 25 strokes. I kept on waking up last night and was had to give myself a stern talking-to to stop myself getting all strung out with nerves.

Tags: Amelia Jane Rutherford, atvod, Backlash, cane, censorship, cold caning, D, hard caning, Hwyel Phillips, Kink activism, Photos, Politics

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We did it!

Posted at 15:44 on 13 Feb 2015 by Pandora Blake

I'm still reeling from the news. Thanks to our 105 generous funders, we raised a whopping 3836 for Backlash, and the money was transferred to their account yesterday. I met with David last week and he tells me the cash will be invaluable for funding legal support for producers affected by the UK porn legislation (which might well include yours truly).

I want to extend a personal thank you to each and every person who supported our sponsored caning campaign - whether by donating, sharing the link or writing a newspaper article. I had no idea when I launched this campaign  that it would turn into such a wild success, and it's heartening to learn how many people in the UK and worldwide support the stand we're taking against this unjust attempt to censor our freedom of expression.

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Tags: Adele Haze, Alex Reynolds, Amelia Jane Rutherford, atvod, AVMS, Backlash, cane, censorship, D, Extreme porn legislation, Hwyel Phillips, Kink activism, Michael Stamp, Nimue Allen, Performers and producers, Politics, Rosie, sponsored caning, Vincent Brennan, Zoe Page

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Charity caning campaign update

Posted at 14:41 on 31 Jan 2015 by Pandora Blake

Wow, what a week it's been! Thanks to you, the kinky Indiegogo campaign I launched with Nimue Allen has raised more than five times our original funding target to help fight UK porn censorship - and there's still 18 hours left.

The fundraiser is running until midnight tonight PST (that's 8am on Sunday for us Brits), so there's still time to donate. Every penny raised will be donated to Backlash to help fight the UK's regressive new porn laws. Please do contribute if you can!

2000 stretch goal reached!

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Tags: Alex Reynolds, Amelia Jane Rutherford, atvod, AVMS, Backlash, Extreme porn legislation, Fairtrade porn, fundraiser, Hwyel Phillips, in the news, Kink activism, media, Michael Stamp, Nimue Allen, Paul Kennedy, Performers and producers, Photos, Politics, Zoe Page

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Amelia Jane Rutherford joins our sponsored caning

Posted at 01:19 on 28 Jan 2015 by Pandora Blake

Our sponsored caning fundraiser to fight against UK porn censorship has now raised 1400 - thank you so much to all who have donated so far! But we aren't stopping there. All proceeds raised (and I mean literally all - we aren't keeping a penny) will go to Backlash, who campaign against laws that restrict sexual freedom - and maintain a legal fund to help defend those prosecuted under such laws.

No UK fetish porn producer can afford an expensive court battle. We are all small independent businesses operated by solo kinksters or couples, working from home and barely making a living after the costs of running a website. Any producers affected by these regulations will desperately need Backlash's support - and it's up to us, the kinky community, to help ensure Backlash have the resources they need.

Encouraged by the amazing support we've received so far, we are continuing to promote the campaign and are adding new stretch goals. Every pound will help in the battle against the UK's draconian new censorship of consensual kinky porn.

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Tags: Amelia Jane Rutherford, atvod, AVMS, Backlash, Bars and Stripes, censorship, Extreme porn legislation, Hwyel Phillips, Kink activism, Michael Stamp, Nimue Allen, Performers and producers, Politics, pornprotest, Restrained Elegance, Rosie, Sites and studios, Zoe Page

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