Free Naked Truth Film Club tickets for Patreon supporters

Posted at 12:56 on 22 Sep 2016 by Pandora Blake

What are you doing next Tuesday evening? I'm going to the cinema, and I'd love you to come too. The Naked Truth Film Club are hosting an exclusive screening of Respectable - The Mary Millington Story, followed by a discussion and Q&A. I'll be speaking on the panel along with Simon Sheridan, the film's director, and guests Jerry Barnett and Linsey Dawn McKenzie.

This documentary has been described as "genuinely compelling" by BBC Radio London, and is showing at 6pm on Tuesday 27 September at the Prince Charles Cinema, Leicester Square, London. It should be a fascinating springboard for a conversation about the adult industry, slut shaming, and the ongoing attempts of those in power to suppress our sexual freedom; and there are free tickets available for anyone supporting me on Patreon.

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Tags: Naked Truth Film Club, sexual freedom, slut-shaming

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Age verification: The Digital Economy Bill and what it means

Posted at 22:30 on 30 Aug 2016 by Pandora Blake

The government have published their reply to the consultation responses we submitted earlier this year on their proposed policy to enforce age verification for UK viewers of online porn. These proposals are not evidence-based, are classist to the core, and have worrying implications for privacy and freedom of speech. Along with many of you, I submitted a response to the consultation in April, which you can read in full here (it's split into six parts - turns out I had a lot to say). My response was also submitted to the Liberal Democrat policy committee, as well as to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport in the civil service. 

Since then I've attended meetings with representatives from DCMS, the UK Adult Producer trade association, and the Adult Provider Network to discuss the age verification proposals. In these meetings the civil servants I spoke to worked hard to come across as reasonable, open-minded, and interested in listening to our concerns and improving the proposals. But now they've published their official response to the consultation, it's clear that this was a performance purely for our benefit. The Digital Economy Bill reproduces the original policy proposal pretty much unchanged; which in turn is drawn straight from a Conservative party manifesto pledge. It seems that the consultation was a mere box-ticking exercise, paying lip-service to the of listening to experts, industry and the public, but without any intention to actually take the responses into account. Despite seeming open to criticism when we met in person, the official response makes it clear that they don't care what we think, and intend to go ahead with the proposals as if the consultation had never taken place. 

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Tags: age verification, ATVOD, AV consultation, AVMS, BBFC, BBFC guidelines, censorship, child safety, civil liberties, credit cards, digital rights, freedom of expression, freedom of speech, obscenity, Ofcom, politics, porn, privacy, surveillance, technology, young people

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Patreon update: sex work research, feminist spanking porn in the Guardian, and more

Posted at 00:00 on 9 Aug 2016 by Pandora Blake

First posted on Patreon, 9 August 2016. Patreon backers see these updates first; I add the posts to my public blog a month later.

 

Hi Patrons! Here’s my update just for you about the work you’ve helped to make happen in July. After June’s hectic news and Dreams of Spanking relaunch, it’s been great to start settling back into something approaching a routine...

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Porn performers talk about the UK porn laws

Posted at 12:32 on 7 Aug 2016 by Pandora Blake

I made this documentary about the UK porn laws about a year ago, using interviews that were shot as part of my sponsored caning fundraiser to raise money for Backlash, the non-profit organisation dedicated to fighting for sexual freedom in the UK. In case you weren't following at the time, this protest project was intended to help fund them to provide legal support to producers affected by the AVMS regulations, which had recently criminalised the depiction of a whole slew of consensual fetish activities in online porn. Myself and nine other spanking enthusiasts volunteered to take one hard cane stroke per £10 raised, to a maximum of 50 strokes per person. We made a colossal £3836 in total, which was donated in its entirety to Backlash.

Each of the ten sponsored canings was filmed and released under Creative Commons - you can view them for free at Dreams of Spanking. We shot an interview with each participant before the caning itself, giving them the opportunity to talk about porn criminalisation, censorship, and why they cared about the UK legislation enough to put their bottoms on the line to help fight it. It amused me no end that when ATVOD were investigating my site, they had to sit through these interviews and listen to lots of well-articulated criticism about themselves before getting to watch the free caning scenes that they were so incensed about.

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Tags: Alex Reynolds, Ariel Anderssen, ATVOD, AVMS regulations, BBFC, censorship, classification, documentary, Jilly Boyd, Nimue Allen, Ofcom, Pandora Blake, Paul Kennedy, porn law, Rosie Bottomley, Sarah, sponsored caning, Vincent Brennan

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Life-saving sex worker support service Open Doors is under threat

Posted at 17:28 on 3 Aug 2016 by Pandora Blake

The other day I attended the sexual health clinic at Homerton University Hospital. I was impressed. The clinic was clean, modern and well staffed; I was seen quickly, and the care I received was non-judgemental, helpful and thorough. In fact it was probably the best experience of attending a sexual health clinic I've ever had in London. During the short time I was sitting in the waiting room, I saw posters and leaflets advertising the other free services Homerton University Hospital offers to the public, including Out There, the walk-in center for bisexual and gay men, and Open Doors, a free and confidential advice service for people working in the sex industry.

If you look at the Open Doors website (there are three other Open Doors NHS clinics in London, but I think the Homerton one is the longest running) their mission statement is clear:

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Tags: Hackney, intersectionality, law enforcement, marginalisation, migration, Open Doors, police, racism, sex worker rights, stigma

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Patreon update: Ofcom victory, age verification meeting and more

Posted at 00:00 on 30 Jun 2016 by Pandora Blake

First posted on Patreon, 30 June 2016. Patreon backers see these updates first; I add the posts to my public blog a month later.

So, as most of you will have already heard, June has brought big news. After a prolonged legal challenge, and lots of stress and difficulty behind the scenes, my feminist spanking site Dreams of Spanking is back online! Ofcom upheld my legal challenge against ATVOD (the quango who originally ordered it to be taken down) and… well, it’s been a long time coming, and I'm very happy to have been vindicated, but it hasn’t been entirely plain sailing. If you’d like a few more of the details you can read more about the impact of this whole ordeal on my blog.

So what with that and all the work it's taken to get Dreams of Spanking up and running again, I hope you'll forgive me for this newsletter being a few days later than expected. But without further ado, here’s the lowdown on all the political campaigning work your support has helped me do since I last wrote!

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Age verification: Piracy, monopoly and industry standards

Posted at 09:59 on 29 Jun 2016 by Pandora Blake

Response to the Government consultation on Child Safety Online: Age Verification for Pornography

1: Evidence of Harm

2: Sex education

3: Privacy, surveillance and freedom of speech

4. Credit cards, classism and social exclusion

5. Problems with the existing classification system

6. Piracy, monopoly and industry standards

The age verification proposal observes that free tube sites are the primary route by which under 18s access porn, and yet the proposed regulatory framework fails to adequately differentiate between tube sites - which make money from advertising, and often distribute commercial content without the consent of the producers - and commercial porn sites, where the viewer can purchase content direct from the makers. This distinction is worth emphasising. It is not reasonable to impose identical regulatory controls when the two types of site function in very different ways, and have very different effects on the browsing experience of under 18s.

Adult content redistributed on tube sites (often by a third party rather than the original creator) is usually given new headlines and scene descriptions, utilising very different language. Videos are often re-edited to be more concise, with contextualising dialogue and scene-setting removed. A scene which was originally published as an extended exploration of foreplay, intimacy and sensual affection, described with respectful, humanising language that emphasises the consent and mutual respect of the participants, might be pirated and uploaded to a tube site, cut down to a jerky sequence of out-of-context sexual acts, with the activities and participants described using sexist and offensive language. Moreover, videos on tube sites are redistributed outside the content in which they were originally published, without giving the viewer access to any behind the scenes videos, performer interviews and commentary that were available on the original site.

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Tags: age verification, AV consultation, civil liberties, decriminalisation, digital rights, piracy, politics, porn, sex workers rights, tube sites, Zahra Stardust

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Flickering

Posted at 20:59 on 23 Jun 2016 by Pandora Blake

"Are those 'ows' real 'ows'?" my top asks in concern, resting the tip of the cane on the bed.

"No. Well, yes, they're real as in it really hurts, but it's the difference between owwww!" (high pitched squeal) "and 'Gerroff, you fucker'." I twist around and look at him through my eyelashes. "Basically if I'm still being cute, I'm consenting."

"Aha." He smiles, and picks up the cane.

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Tags: cane, consent, D, empowerment, Felix, hand spanking, helpful tops, kink, m-f, negotiation, personal, pleasure spanking, teaching, thigh spanking

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The Naked Truth Film Club

Posted at 19:56 on 17 Jun 2016 by Pandora Blake

Last night I attended the second Naked Truth Film Club screening, a new adult industry event organised by Terry Stephens, chair of UKAP, the UK porn producer trade association. Like most of us who organise within the adult industry, he's interested in destigmatising porn and raising public awareness about the realities of porn, combating the myths and misconceptions that percieve erotic labour as exploitative. The film club screens relevant documentaries in Central London, with a panel of sex workers hosting a Q&A after the screening.

The first event was a few weeks ago, and showed UnSlut: A Documentary Film, an American documentary about slut-shaming and teenage sexual bullying. It doesn't mention the adult industry but examines slut-shaming more broadly, looking particularly at the way that it affects young people. The documentary was born out of The UnSlut Project, an internet initiative that invited people to submit their own stories of being bullied or shamed because they were perceived as being slutty or sexual. The project brought people together to share experiences - some who had never told anyone before - and offer support, solidarity and healing.

The documentary follows a number of women telling stories of sexual assault, slut-shaming and bullying. It's a serious subject, and the film is powerful; definitely not light viewing. One girl, Allyson Pereira, was asked to send a nude photo to her ex-boyfriend, who then shared it with the rest of her school without her consent. She was bullied and ostracised by her town as a result of this violation. The most harrowing story was that of Rehtaeh Parsons, who was drugged and gang-raped at a party. Her assailants took photos, shared them, and she was labelled as a "slut" as a result. The subsequent slut-shaming and bullying followed her despite changing schools several times, compounding the trauma of her assault. Eventually, at the age of seventeen, she took her own life.

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Tags: camming, events, reviews, sex work, slut-shaming, stigma

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How does it feel to fight the law - and win?

Posted at 18:10 on 9 Jun 2016 by Pandora Blake

On Monday it was officially announced that I'd won my appeal to Ofcom against the ATVOD decision that forced Dreams of Spanking offline last year. "Congratulations!" people have been saying, "You must be over the moon." And so I reply that I am. I tell the papers that I'm overjoyed, because that's the story: I fought the law, and I won. This is my moment of triumph. Of course I'm delighted.

But how does it really feel?

Even here - my blog that is more political than personal these days, but still the closest thing I have to an online journal - I'm not sure if I should stick to the "official" story. You want to hear how happy I am, right? And I am happy. I am. I think. But the truth is that with events this huge, processing emotions can be more complicated than that. I've been struggling to access my happiness over the last few weeks, since I first found out that I was going to win. I thought that it would all connect up on Monday, when the win was announced, but I still find myself feeling weirdly ambivalent. And hey, this blog has always been about authenticity, so you get to hear all about it.

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Tags: appeal win, ATVOD, censorship, Dreams of Spanking, Ofcom

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