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The gifts of coronavirus

Posted at 17:56 on 9 Apr 2020 by Pandora / Blake

As this pandemic drags on, we are all experiencing something of an emotional rollercoaster. Grief, fear, frustration, loss, anxiety and exhaustion and perhaps even traumatic triggers are wearing us down. Now more than ever it's important for us to look after ourselves.

For me, part of looking after myself is practising gratitude. Especially when things are tough, gratitude is a mental health practice for me. It's important to lift our spirits, nurture our compassion, and if we are fortunate, to help avoid entitlement. So I thought I'd share some things I'm grateful for in this crisis. Partly for my own benefit, and partly in the hope that they might help you see some of the opportunities and the hopes of the situation, as well as the things that are scary and sad.

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Tags: ableism, COVID-19, gratitude, health, mental health, pandemic, Patreon, politics, self-care, social justice

1 comment

Pandemic strategies - comparing herd immunity and flattening the curve

Posted at 12:05 on 17 Mar 2020 by Pandora / Blake

This post is about government and individual pandemic strategy, what I'm doing, and what I recommend you do too.

If you're in a country which is still figuring this out Iike the UK or US, I'm hoping to convince you to lay in a month or two's supplies as soon as possible, minimise social contact while doing so, and stay home for 4-8 weeks. Not everone can self-isolate, so if you can, I consider it a civic responsibility to do so.

I planned this post yesterday morning. By the time I got time to write it in the evening, the UK government released more information about the rapidly changing landscape, and my planned post is already out of date. I'm writing this as quickly as I can on my phone. It won't be the exhaustively referenced post I'd planned. 

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Tags: COVID-19, health, pandemic, Patreon, politics, strategy

5 comments

Age verification: Where do things stand?

Posted at 15:42 on 25 Mar 2019 by Pandora / Blake

After the Digital Economy Act passed in July 2017, implementation of age verification has been repeatedly delayed. We were initially told it would start being enforced in April 2018, but it was put back till the end of 2018. In November the Minister for Digital, Margot James, claimed that it will come into effect by Easter 2019, but as far as I know things aren't yet in place to enable the BBFC to begin enforcement.

This leaves website owners and viewers in a state of uncertainty, not knowing at what point they will need to start age verifying to access porn - or publish it. A recent YouGov survey showed that more than three-quarters of Brits have no idea this is even happening. Meanwhile, there are still irregularities and uncertainties with the policy, which I lay out in detail in my recent academic article: Age verification for online porn: more harm than good? My Patrons (at Ally tier and above) can access the full article here.

Which sites will have to comply?

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Tags: age verification, audio porn, Digital Economy Act, freedom of expression, in the news, media, Mindgeek, Open Rights Group, politics, porn, privacy, sex workers' rights

9 comments

ManyVids have launched this new 'Inclusivity' feature and it seems... anything but

Posted at 11:47 on 23 Jan 2019 by Pandora / Blake

ManyVids have just announced their new 'Inclusivity' feature, and it is making a lot of people very angry. Nimue and I had a talk about our feelings on the changes.

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!

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Tags: feminism, gender, ManyVids, politics, porn, queer porn

1 comment

My response to the obscenity consultation

Posted at 17:00 on 26 Oct 2018 by Pandora / Blake

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) recently ran a public consultation on the Obscene Publications Act (OPA) - submissions closed last week. I was really glad to see them open the consultation, as the current guidance is out of date with case law and with modern social standards of obscenity, and is well overdue for review.

The fact that the CPS are considering updating their guidance is massive. The CPS Guidance on the OPA is what's behind the 'facesitting law' (AVMS 2014) which criminalised the depiction of facesitting, fisting, watersports, BDSM that leaves marks, full bondage with a gag, etc in online porn. These same rules were nearly reinforced with new draconian web blocking penalties via the Digital Economy Act 2017 - thankfully we were able to talk them out of it via an amendment in the Lords. And they are also behind the BBFC classification guidelines, and the reason these acts are banned from classification even under R18, the highest classification (and therefore from DVD distribution) in the UK.

I've been advocating an update to the guidance (and a root and branch review of obscenity law in general) for years now: seeing the OPA Guidance finally updated would be a huge win for freedom of expression, sex positivity, and fair representation of diverse sexualities.

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Tags: consultation, CPS, Obscene Publications Act, obscenity, politics, porn law

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Age verification: new definition of "commercial" sites

Posted at 21:10 on 11 Oct 2018 by Pandora / Blake

Circumstances in which pornographic material is to be regarded as being made available on a commercial basis

The latest (and, I think, final) update to the Digital Economy Act has been laid in draft for approval: a Statutory Instrument defining the scope of "making pornographic material on a commercial basis". In the Online Pornography (Commercial Basis) Regulations 2018, the Government specify in more detail which websites will have to comply with age verification:

  • Only websites where at least 33% of the content is pornographic material;
  • And only if the website is marketed as a pornographic website.

If your website is not "marketed as an internet site... by means of which pornographic material is made available to persons in the United Kingdom" (ie it's not advertised as being a porn site) and if "pornographic material makes up less than one-third of the content", the website is exempt from age verification and does not have to comply.

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Tags: age verification, BBFC, DCMS, Digital Economy Act, in the news, politics, porn, sex worker rights

0 comments

Radio AvA's 26th show: today, Fri 3rd August @ 6pm on www.radioava.org

Posted at 10:19 on 3 Aug 2018 by Pandora / Blake

Radio AvA: Sex Workers Radio

A show full of spritz from tropical London, with dispatches from Amsterdam and Bogotá.

On our bubbly list:

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Tags: politics, Radio AvA, sex work, sex worker's rights

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Feminism, Sexuality & Obscenity at Housmans

Posted at 10:29 on 25 Jul 2018 by Pandora / Blake

I recently chaired a panel at Housman's Radical Booksellers in Kings Cross, discussing Feminism, Sexuality & Obscenity. This was a bittersweet opportunity. The event had been devised by journalist and author Catherine Scott, author of Thinking Kink: The Collision of BDSM, Feminism and Popular Culture. Catherine had just finish her second book, To Deprave and Corrupt: Obscenity Battles in British Law and Culture

Catherine organised this panel to bring together feminist thinkers, sex workers and activists, to discuss the issues facing women around sex and obscenity today. It was with great sadness that I learned that Catherine suddenly passed away a couple of weeks before the event.

Her friends knew how much she had been looking forward to the panel, and how much it meant to her. They felt that these were important issues that deserved a platform, and they wanted to honour her memory by making sure it went ahead.

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Tags: Catherine Scott, censorship, feminism, gender politics, Itziar Bilbao Urrutia, law, obscenity, politics, porn, Zak Jane Keir

1 comment

Spring porn and politics news

Posted at 17:00 on 27 Mar 2018 by Pandora / Blake

Spring is sprung, the ass is riz (that's how the poem goes, right?) London has had approximately ten years of winter, or at least that's what it's felt like. I couldn't be gladder to see the back of it. As well as age verification being delayed (hooray!), lots of exciting stuff has been happening in recent weeks. If you're part of my team of elite campaign supporters on Patreon, you'll have seen a mammoth update about the former already - and if you aren't, read this to  find out how you can be part of my fight for a better world.

This blogpost is a round up of various other things I've been up to lately.

Joining the Open Rights Group Advisory Council

Keep reading »

Tags: campaigning, Chelsea Poe, Courtney Trouble, events, Global Women Strike, IWD, Lana Moon, news, Open Rights Group, photos, politics, porn, queer porn, QueerPorn.TV, shoots

1 comment

Adult content on Patreon

Posted at 23:49 on 25 Oct 2017 by Pandora / Blake

Pandora Blake is creating sexual freedom - Patreon

"Small tweaks, big impact." That was the title of the Patreon newsletter which I got sent last week. I read the headlines - changes to the way we can browse and store patron data and issue refunds, and thought nothing of it. It wasn't until this week that someone on Twitter posted paragraphs from the Terms of Service that had been updated.

Tags: censorship, Patreon, politics, pornocalypse, sex worker rights

5 comments

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