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SISEA: The Fourth Horseman of the Pornocalypse

Posted at 15:00 on 4 Jan 2021 by Pandora / Blake

Recently I published a post discussing the substantial change to Pornhub’s community guidelines which has seen millions of videos removed from the site, and Visa and Mastercard removing billing from PornHub during their investigation into illegal content, which will hit content creators hard.

In what appears to be a response to these changes - or perhaps to the anti-porn fearmongering that prompted them - an invasive bill has been put forward in the US Senate with extensive regulation proposals for adult sites. The bill - known as the Stop Internet Sexual Exploitation Act (SISEA) - proposes regulations such as a requirement for platforms to operate a 24-hour telephone hotline that you can contact to request removal of a pornographic image if you haven’t consented to its upload, and remove flagged videos within two hours of such a request.

Tackling unconsensual images is important, but this bill would represent the end of online porn. The privacy implications are terrifying (a global database of individuals who have indicated they do not consent, accessible by anyone uploading porn? Really?) and the impact on independent porn sites would be devastating. Show me a single indie producer who could staff a 24hr phone line, because I don’t know any. The full list of restrictions that SISEA is looking to bring in is alarming. Most online sex workers rely on platforms like OnlyFans and Clips4Sale, and advertise on Twitter. It seems likely that OnlyFans and Twitter would stop hosting porn rather than comply with these expensive and burdonsome regulations; and platforms dedicated to porn might well lack the resources to comply. If the umbrella term ‘platforms’ includes indie self-hosted porn sites as well, it's the end of online porn as we know it.

I don’t say this lightly - if this bill gets through it's the end of porn on Twitter, and the end of fan sites, clip sites and membership sites. Sex workers are already being squeezed out of most social media spaces by commercial regulations making it harder and harder to advertise. Selling sexual content online is accessible, COVID-safe work. In a pandemic, destroying the online sex industry means taking much-needed income away from struggling individuals. The callousness is staggering. Do they want people to be mixing households by meeting clients in person, and putting themselves at greater risk of violence and arrest by selling sex outdoors, instead of performing in the safety of their bedrooms? Because that’s exactly what will happen with the introduction of this bill into law.

Even if SISEA doesn't pass, the threat alone is enough to put us in our place - as our governments desire so much. Porn creators are in an abusive relationship with financial institutions and governments. They can ruin us any time they care to -  and they like showing it. Bills like this remind us of our precarity, and it's humiliating.

In my sex positive online bubble, working hard to build my business, I sometimes forget that  much of the world thinks I should stop doing what I'm doing. This bill serves as an unwelcome reminder that the mood out there is hostile. 

It is absolutely essential to the health and diversity of our sexual culture, not to mention the survival of sex workers worldwide, that we prevent this from becoming law. If you're in the US, write to your senator - and I encourage you to donate to the Free Speech Coalition to support them in their battle against SISEA.

This isn't the happy tidings I hoped to start the year with. It's a timely reminder that porn censorship never goes away completely - it just recedes for a while.

This post was funded by my 110 Patrons. To power my activism and my writing on sexual freedom and social justice, join my Patreon community here

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Tags: censorship, Free Speech Coalition, independent porn, law, Porn Censorship, porn law, Pornhub, pornocalypse, SISEA


Special Offer - Ends 23 January

Posted at 14:27 on 16 Jan 2021 by Pandora / Blake

It's a new year, a new lockdown, and I'm pleased and excited to announce a new Patreon special offer for January, making it more rewarding than ever for you to support my work! One of these rewards has been up my sleeve for quite some time...

I'm super stoked to have some new merch to give away - the SHAME LESS enamel pin. We had to pick just one pride flag for this one, out of the three options on the t-shirts, so I went with my favourite colours, purple, pink and blue - which just happen to by the colours of the bi pride flag.

Of course, you don't have to be bisexual to sport this pin. The Shame Less slogan stands for everything we're working towards: challenging shame culture in the fight for better sex education and greater empathy for each other's uniqueness; more open conversations about sex, kink and consent; and greater personal freedom and bodily autonomy for all. Let's shame each other less - and be absolutely shameless!

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Tags: book, Dreams of Spanking, merch, reward, rewards, Shame Less, shame resilience, special offer, Watch Me Write


On Hiring Marginalised Folk

Posted at 15:00 on 19 Jan 2021 by Pandora / Blake

I saw a Tweet recently that caught my eye:

"One day I want to run a business big enough to hire disabled/marginalized folks. I want to create a business model designed to be flexible enough to accommodate accessibility needs, schedules, etc [...] So many disabled folks could work if they really got the accommodations they actually needed. And we should be able to get that without all the animosity and disdain that usually comes from employers when asking to be accommodated."

- @hedonish 

“Hey!”, I thought. “That’s my business!”

I’m not an employer, exactly; everyone who works “for” me is actually freelance, and I’m their client as much as their boss. But the point stands: all the contractors I regularly collaborate with belong to groups which are often discriminated again.

This decision wasn’t a deliberate strategy; more of a gut preference. One way or another the team I’ve assembled is a diverse one, a majority of us are LGBTQ, and there's a range of mental and physical disabilities represented, as well as a wide variety of neurodiversities. Not all of us are able to maintain full-time jobs for various reasons, and I suspect none of us thrive in a traditional office environment. We all have different preferences, different needs and different working hours. Now that I’ve tried running things like this, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

For one thing, I include myself in this. I have yet to pursue a formal diagnosis (there’s sort of an apocalypse on, and all that), but I've known for a few years now that I'm ADHD, and the more I learn about it, the more I suspect I may also be autistic. It would explain a lot about my history, my childhood, my personality, and the things I struggle with on a daily basis. I live in a creative and stressful tension between my desire for structure and clarity, and my impulsive enthusiasms, the ideas and fascinations that come to me in a flash and can carry me away for days if I let them. I feel lucky to have put together a group of people who can roll with those two contradictory modes, who can handle new ideas and sudden changes of plan while also managing to maintain an ongoing schedule. Some of our best work has come out of being able to maintain flexibility within that framework.

This flexibility obviously doesn’t only work one way. I’m proud to provide a working environment in which we can accommodate each other’s needs. Sometimes people need to take a mental health day or even a mental health week, and they can’t always give a lot of notice when that happens. Chronic health conditions can fluctuate at unexpected times, and make working difficult with little forewarning. Not to mention the constraints of parenting and childcare. I make an effort to regularly check in with everyone on the team to find out where they’re at, what they need and how they’re feeling about the work. It’s a bit like what I do when I’m in charge on set; as the “director” it’s my job to make sure that everyone is as safe and happy as possible, and that we’re all on the same page about what’s going on.

I guess it’s kind of natural that I’d run my business this way. I’m neurodivergent myself, my mental health hasn’t always been exactly pristine, and I’ve never thrived on doing things the way the proverbial “everyone else” does them. But what it’s taught me is that almost any organisation could benefit from adopting some of these practices - if only they’d see past their preconceived ideas of what a working environment should be like.

We rarely have face-to-face meetings at a preassigned time; almost all of our communication takes place over Asana and Slack. This means we can accommodate everyone’s working hours no matter what they are - one person can start at 6am, another can stick with a standard 9-5 structure, and our night owls can turn things in at three in the morning, all without anyone being either judged or inconvenienced. 

This in turn has been good for my own working practices, as it encourages me to plan ahead - something that reduces my stress levels significantly. It’s also helped me to get better at documenting processes and condensing things into clear requests, as I know I won’t always be available to answer questions at the precise time someone needs to ask them. I’ve been more organised and better able to maintain my own boundaries as a result.

We’re trying to establish a working culture in which we can be honest about how we’re feeling, where we’re at and what’s going on for us. This not cultivates respect and empathy, and helps me stay connected to my collaborators as human beings, it also means I can plan around life stuff when it comes up. It means that if someone meets an unexpected trigger (which is always a possibility, given that I’m making kinky porn and writing about deeply emotive politics) they can just tell me it’s not the right day for them to be working on that content, or that they need someone else to take over on a particular project so they can step away. The work still gets done, I’m not left in the dark as to why something is delayed, and nobody is putting themselves through unnecessary stress.

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Tags: business ethics, business strategy, equality, leadership, oppression, social justice, work


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