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Why opt-in filters for "adult content" are misguided and dangerous

Posted at 23:16 on 17 Oct 2011 by Pandora / Blake

Last week, the government unveiled a deal with four of the UK's biggest internet service providers - BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin, collectively comprising about 90% of the market - which will oblige new subscribers to "opt in" if they want to view web content which has been categorised as sexually explicit.

I wrote about this in December last year when the Tory proposals were first publicised. This is part of a large-scale campaign against the so-called "sexualisation of children" which include such regressive proposals as Nadine Dorries' sexist plans for abstinence-based sexual education for teenage girls, and which collectively poses a significant threat to fans of sexual freedom, civil liberties and digital rights.

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Tags: Anna Span, Brooke Magnanti, civil liberties, in the news, Kink activism, Politics, rant, Violet Blue


Weekend hyperkinks #3

Posted at 21:44 on 6 Aug 2011 by Pandora / Blake

Every time I think back on Thursday night I can't help grinning. I feel like I did after my first well-paid glamour shoot; like a successful shoplifter. There's a tremendous sense of self-sufficiency, and the giggling, incredulous thrill of having done something outrageous and got away with it. (Although I haven't quite got away scot-free - aside from the hangover and a bruise on Jacq's right cheek, my quads have been bloody painful the last two days, and I have no idea why. Can you strain them just by kneeling up on the bed for extended periods of time?)

But enough about me. On to this week's hyperkinks!

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Tags: Elegance Studios, Gender politics, hyperkinks, Kink activism, Kitty Stryker, Maggie Mayhem, Violet Blue


The Woman's POV

Posted at 20:18 on 11 Jan 2011 by Pandora / Blake

This is exciting! Award-winning adult performer, feminist and pornographer Madison Young (whose work you've probably enjoyed on Kink.com) has launched a new porn project called The Woman's POV. It's part paysite and part open resource, combining free articles, sex toy, book and DVD reviews with photosets and videos inside a member's area, all exploring the concept of the female gaze and women's perspectives on sex, sexuality and porn.

Madison's work is artistic, feminist, fairtrade, queer, kinky, emotionally intimate - all my favourite things. There is no doubt, looking at her site, that this is woman-positive, woman-driven, respectful and ethically produced; but Madison Young is one of the most hardcore kinksters of them all, and the site already includes hot examples of consensual power play and D/s.

I discovered the project through a review by Violet Blue, and this quote from her article just made me want to applaud:

What I find very interesting about this is seeing links to female porn performers (where they are performing) and showing viewers which women have self-identified as feminist. These female performers, if you look at their online presence, can be found to be fully versed in various stances on women and pornography and feminism and where they fit in the pro-porn feminist ideology. They are not bubbleheads saying the word "feminist" because it is the thing to do, and they are open to engaging anti-porn pundits in debate on any level (Maggie Mayhem, Madison Young, Courtney Trouble, many others). This aspect dispels a significant assumption about women who make and perform in porn (even "extreme" porn, as some of these women do) that these women are unaware victims, or somehow duped or coerced. The Women's POV seems to be actively seeking self-aware, educated women in porn to create a community that dispels myths and empowers women that participate in porn, and women who watch porn."

Fucking yes. This is what I'm trying to do. This is what we should all be trying to do. This is, in my opinion, the future of porn.

It's weird writing this now - I've been working only this week on my own definitions of "feminist" and "fairtrade" porn as part of the branding documentation for my own embryonic spanking site (although its long gestation progresses apace; these days I'm definitely showing). Trying to translate the values of feminist pornography to the spanking genre is a complex business. I'm inspired by Madison Young's pioneering efforts in bringing the female gaze to BDSM porn. And it turns out that what I've come up with has a fair amount of overlap with the values listed on The Woman's POV:
The Womans POV is dedicated to the authentic documentation of female pleasure and orgasms. We realize the power of orgasm and plan on changing the world one climax at a time.

We are devoted to showing diversity in female identity, the expression of feminine sexual desire, diversity of body types, as well as a wide spectrum of sexual and gender identities.

We are devoted to empowering women and creating safe space for exploration of sexual desires and fantasies by handing women in our community the camera. It's time to turn on the camera and get turned on.

We are dedicated to obliterating body shame and sexual negativity through realizing and documenting of our sexual desires and our sexual culture.

We are ready to reclaim the term pornography and recruiting YOU and YOUR LOVER/S and FRIENDS to pick up the camera and show us YOUR POINT OF VIEW.
Oh yes, that's right - the project is also collaborative, and welcomes submissions of photosets, videos and prose from readers and viewers. This openness breaks down the traditional categories of performers and voyeurs; everyone is invited to participate. I'm tempted, but I won't - I've got a site of my own to build. I am delighted, however, that the road ahead is being paved so expertly. Thanks, Madison, for showing us what's possible.

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Tags: Fairtrade porn, Female gaze, Gender politics, Madison Young, other pictures, Politics, Violet Blue

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