Posted at 11:47 on 23 Jan 2019 by Pandora / Blake
Blake: When you visit the site, you now get this popup asking you to choose between “MV Straight, MV Gay Boys or MV Trans, or All” and I just…. THAT IS NOT HOW INCLUSIVITY WORKS.
Nimue: NO! IT’S NOT!
The thing that hit me first is…. where are the lesbians?
Blake: Right? Like gay men get their own category but lesbians don’t? I guess… lesbian porn counts as “straight”?
It’s so clearly set up to protect the poor ickle fragile sensibilities of presumed straight male viewers who are perfectly comfortable watching girl/girl but think they’ll get gay cooties if they accidentally see boy/boy.
Nimue: Even putting aside my personal identity, I film g/g content, and lumping that into the “straight” category just reinforces the idea that any sexual interaction between two women is just for the pleasure of men.
Blake: EXACTLY. And what about bisexual performers? I guess they’re “straight” now too?
The MV Straight category allegedly includes MV Boys, but is that only if they’re doing b/g? What about MV solo boys? They do realise that any guy watching that is probably not straight, right?
Nimue: “MV Straight will tailor the site to show you straight vids and content including MV Girls, Producers, and MV Boys. “- so the straight boys are allowed to be straight, and not be lumped into a category that isn’t relevent to them, but queer femmes get forced under the straight category.
Blake: Yes, it totally erases queer femmes. Not to mention the hilarity of trying to figure out where you’re going to show up if you’re non-binary. Place bets now!
If we pass as our assigned gender are we misgendered into “straight” as an MV Girl/Boy?
Nimue: I was just about to say it’s gonna be horrible if you’re non-binary…. I’m guessing that if you set your gender as one of the binaries, you’re going to show up there (but are you a straight boy, or a gay boy if you choose to mark as that gender)
Blake: “Yes but are you the MAN kind of non-binary, or the WOMAN kind??”
The fact that MV requires store owners to choose between four categories at set up (Girl, Boy, Producer, Trans) is already very constraining. I chose MV Girl because I often play feminine roles in my porn (although not all the time) and ManyVids was originally an outlet for my solo content. But now, I’m finding myself wanting to publish other material on it… like solo content I shot a while back with a trans guy, and couples content starring other performers. I feel like I don’t fit in any of the categories. I’m trans, but I’m not what people are probably looking for when they’re searching for “trans”, which I feel is a porn category mostly geared towards fetishising trans women who haven’t had bottom surgery.
Nimue: Yes - by setting your profile to trans, you’d be losing out on potential customers who wouldn’t even think to set their preferences to trans.
And that’s the other thing - the fact that it’s a “set it and forget it” option.
Blake: Yes, it really discourages exploration and discovery. Letting people “stumble upon” porn they may not have looked for is one way to help people explore their sexuality and find out new things they like, that they didn’t realise they liked!
Nimue: A lot of customers are going to set it to straight when they first see the pop-up, and then forget about it. So they’re not going to have the opportunity to see trans performers without conciously making the choice to change their settings.
Blake: Yes - it erases queer performers and makes it harder for marginalised sex workers to sell porn, rather than easier. All for the sake of making straight people a bit more comfortable. Because let’s be honest, this isn’t intended to help queer people. If it was, there would be a mechanism for selecting lesbian, bisexual and non-binary content.
Nimue: Straight people already have enough porn sites catering to them, and enough ways to not see the stuff they don’t want to see. Sites need to be focusing on making those marginalised performers work more visible, not less.
Do we still love ManyVids?
Blake: I find it very unlikely that there are even many gay male customers who ONLY want to see boy/boy, and never want to see solo MV boy content, or trans content.
Nimue: I almost wouldn’t mind the change so much (though it’s a terrible idea on many levels) if it wasn’t done under the name of inclusivity!
Blake: Yes! The fact that they’ve insisted that every customer select which narrow band of content they want to see at the exclusion of all else (unless you select All, which I recommend everyone does immediately) is the opposite of inclusive!
They would have been much better off developing a feature like the “squick/squee” feature on TrenchcoatX, where you can go down a list of tags and unselect individual squicks you don’t want to see, and highlight particular squees you definitely do.
Nimue: I’ve also seen some sites do an “I am M/F, and I’d like to see M/F”, which if you included TransM and TransF into it would be a lot better than what they have now.
Blake: When I built Dreams of Spanking, I deliberately chose to include all gender categories in one spanking website, explicitly in reaction to the segregation of porn into “gay male/male” and “straight i.e. everything else” (trans spanking content wasn’t a thing 10 years ago, and is still pretty rare). I was like, look, we all like spanking and gender is complicated, there’ll be enough hot scenes for everyone, and if this means some homophobic or transphobic people don’t visit my site because they can’t deal with scrolling past a boy/boy scene, good riddance.
I actually discovered that a lot of “straight” identifying male customers LOVE the boy/boy scenes. In fact those are my biggest sellers on clips4sale. ManyVids are catering to fear for the sake of keeping a few bigoted customers, and I actually think it’s going to lose them sales in the long run.
Nimue: I remember reading the comments on some of your boy/boy scenes on dreams and seeing so many “I wouldn’t usually like this sort of thing, but I really enjoyed this scene” comments from straight men. And that was wonderful.
Blake: ManyVids are missing out, and so are any of their customers that don’t select “MV All”.
At least on ManyVids you get to self assign your store category - so a trans woman performer can assign herself as an MV Girl if she wants. But given how binary the categories are, it sucks that you can’t assign yourself to more than one. I’d love to be in Girl, Trans and Producer because my content is a mixture of all three.
Nimue: I feel the same. Being able to be in girl and producer would be wonderful, because I’m not always in the scenes I post, and I have a scene I filmed with a wonderful trans performer, which I’m not sure I can post.
Blake: In conclusion: ManyVids this is not what inclusivity looks like, DO BETTER.
Nimue: I just want to encourage everyone to select “MV All” and make sure that it really is #MV4Everyone.
This piece was published on Medium on Friday 17th January.
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