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Interview about feminism and submission at ErikaLust.com

Posted at 11:00 on 4 Mar 2017 by Pandora Blake

I recently gave an interview to fellow feminist porn producer, the fabulous Erika Lust, which is now available on her website, complete with some pictures and sexy gifs! We talked about how I make my porn ethical; how Dreams of Spanking is at risk from the Digital Economy Bill here in the UK; how many of the fetish acts which seem to have been highlighted as “unacceptable” are those specific to female domination porn; feminism and submission; BDSM in the mainstream, and more. It had to be cut for length, but just for you dear readers here is the interview in full:

Dominance and submission at ethical porn site Dreams of Spanking

Hi Pandora! It's so great to talk to a woman on the same mission as myself to change the face of porn, *virtual high five* :) Now down to business. Your work has been described as "ethically produced fetish content" on your site Dreams of Spanking. Can you explain a little what this means?

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Tags: censorship, Digital Economy Bill, Dreams of Spanking, ethical porn, feminism, feminist porn, kink activism, stigma, submission

 

Briefing the House of Lords on age verification

Posted at 12:18 on 3 Mar 2017 by Pandora Blake

Briefing on the age verification section of the Digital Economy Bill - by Pandora Blake for Backlash

Along with the statement about the Women's March, one of my first actions in my new role as spokesperson for Backlash was to write a briefing about section 3 the Digital Economy Bill, and send it out to 151 members of the Lords, in advance of the Bill going to Committee stage. We targeted the briefing to those members sitting on relevant committees, those who had contributed to the second debate on the Bill, and Liberal Democrats whom we might hope would be sympathetic to issues of net freedom, privacy and civil liberties.

It was no easy task to condense my research and findings on the potential harms of this bill into a short, easily digestible format. To make it more likely that the briefing would be read, I summarised the main arguments in a single cover page, and then fleshed out the three sections - privacy, freedom of expression and lack of supporting evidence - in more detail over three subsequent pages. If you're looking for a succinct introduction to the problems with the age verification policy, I think it's a reasonable start.

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Tags: activism, age verification, Backlash, Digital Economy Bill, kink activism, lobbying

 

Sexit: What the Fuck is Happening with UK Porn Laws?

Posted at 11:19 on 2 Mar 2017 by Pandora Blake

Tickets are now on sale for SEXIT: What the Fuck is Happening with UK Porn Laws? an event taking place at the Birtish Film Institute as part of BFI Flare, the LGBT+ film festival. SEXIT will question the new wave of censorship which disproportionately targets queer pornographers, performers and portrayals of alternative sexualities. What does it mean when a feminist UK business is forced offline, but hardcore free American porn will still be readily available?

I'm delighted to be sitting on the panel along with the brilliant Myles Jackman - and I've heard some exciting rumours about other front-line activists and filmmakers who may be joining us to. This promises to be a great discussion, and it's great to see the BFI making space for this conversation amongst queer and kink community members. 

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Tags: censorship, Digital Economy Bill, events, feminist porn, kink activism, queer porn, Shine Louise Houston, vampire porn

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Organising with Backlash

Posted at 10:00 on 1 Mar 2017 by Pandora Blake

I had a great start to 2017 when I became a member of Backlash's management team in the role of co-spokesperson alongside Itziar Bilbao Urrutia. Backlash is the UK organisation that defends freedom of sexual expression among consenting adults in UK by providing legal, academic and campaigning advice, and they are keen to publically lend their support to the campaign for sex worker's rights and the full decriminalisation of sex work. Fittingly my first act as co-spokesperson was to release a statement about the Women's March in response to some see-sawing on the Women's March Washington policy statement last week  around sex worker solidarity. 

Our laws around porn, obscenity, BDSM and sexual expression massively affect sex workers. Obscenity law is a sex worker's rights issue, and a labour rights issue, as well as affecting all our sexual liberties. I'm glad that Backlash are willing to stand up in solidarity with all sex workers, and I'm proud to be organising with them to defend our rights and freedoms.

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Tags: age verification, backlash, Digital Economy Bill, kink activism, sex work

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The death of kink?

Posted at 15:40 on 10 Feb 2017 by Pandora Blake

The Death of Kink? Interview in Artefact magazine

This week Artefact Magazine has published a short article on the Digital Economy Bill following a phone interview I did with journalist Nana Baah, who had already written a piece in December on Porn Censorship. This piece fleshes out the details of the censorship overshadowing the UK internet, and includes quotes from my interview with her, and by Jerry Barnett of Sex and Censorship. Jerry rightly links this sort of censorship, to "rising intolerance to free expression" that is permeating our politics at the moment, both in the UK and beyond. 

As well as pointing out the high costs of age verification software and the disproportionate impact this policy will have on small businesses, I talked about some of the knock-on effects of an increasing lack of accessibility to erotic media. '“I get messages daily from people who say that I have helped them to accept themselves, changed their lives and got rid of their shame. If you can’t find out that there are other people with these fetishes, learn about consent and how to practice it safely, then you might think that there is something fundamentally wrong with you. I did until getting online at 13 and seeing preview pictures of spanking - I finally thought ‘Wow, I’m not the only one’.”

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Tags: age verification, Digital Economy Bill, in the news, kink activism, media

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The Bizarre Fetish Handbook

Posted at 10:45 on 23 Jan 2016 by Pandora Blake

I hadn't heard of this Channel 4 short web series until one of my friends showed me the episode on Sploshing, because she was in it. It's a fun, non-explicit 3 minute short film about the wet and messy fetish, with two kinky girls getting each other messy and talking about why they like it. I found the editing to be sympathetic and surprisingly non-sneery, showing genuine curiosity about why people enjoy the kink, rather than looking down their noses. I'd be interested to hear from WAM fans what you think of it!

There are a few other films in the series, including Pony Play, Shibari, BDSM Wrestling, Interrogation and Forniphilia. I don't recognise any of the other performers at first glance, but I wouldn't be surprised if I know one or two of them. The only remaining question is - when are they going to do one on spanking, and can I be in it?

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Tags: in the news, kink acceptance, kink activism, politics, porn, WAM

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Help us diversify the British Fetish Film Festival

Posted at 20:02 on 20 Jan 2016 by Pandora Blake

The British Fetish Film Festival is still brand new. The first event, in 2013, was a closed group of producers only, testing the format and giving kinky UK filmmakers the chance to screen their work in front of their peers. This was actually the first film festival I ever went to, and it was invaluable to see how fetish films play on the big screen.

I learned a lot about the different requirements of a festival compared to viewers watching films individually online: for instance, pacing needs to be much tighter in a festival edit; long kinky shots that would allow viewers the chance to climax at home are wasted on the big screen, because people probably aren't masturbating at a film festival; and funny films are almost universally better suited to festivals than unfunny ones. In fact, it was watching my online edit of Marital Discipline on the big screen at the zeroth British Fetish Film Festival that inspired me to start cutting festival versions of the films I wanted to submit to the Feminist Porn Awards that year, a process which eventually resulted in my shooting Houseboy for the Berlin Porn Film Festival, and winning the Short Film Competition last year. So I owe a lot to the British Fetish Film Festival, and I'm keen to help other UK filmmakers benefit from it too.

Tags: Ariel Anderssen, British Fetish Film Festival, film-making, Hywel Phillips, kink activism, porn

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Support Myles Jackman in his fight against censorship

Posted at 16:30 on 13 Oct 2015 by Pandora Blake

When the new porn laws came in last December, criminalising the distribution of material depicting sex acts such as facesitting, female ejaculation, watersports and spanking or BDSM that leaves lasting marks, the first person I called was Myles Jackman. Over brunch, he provided invaluable advice regarding how I should proceed with my porn site Dreams of Spanking, which was strongly affected by the new legislation. Since then he has taken on responsibility for handling my Ofcom appeal, provided support countless times as a volunteer for Backlash, and been on the end of the phone during the most stressful periods of my investigation by ATVOD, the new UK video on demand regulator. Almost all of this support has been provided free of charge.

Myles is a tireless campaigner defending sexual liberty in the UK, and many individuals who have been charged with consensual adult pornography offences, or facing family or employment law issues on the basis of their sexual preferences have benefited from his pro bono legal advice. He has dedicated his career to challenging the legal framework through which sexual morality is constrained in the UK, and he specialises in privacy and freedom of expression issues, especially for members of the BDSM and queer communities, sex workers and people in the adult industry.

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Tags: censorship, extreme porn legislation, kink activism, obscenity, politics

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Where do the AVMS guidelines come from?

Posted at 22:13 on 13 Jul 2015 by Pandora Blake

When I talk to someone about the AVMS guidelines, which control what content it is now legal to distribute online in the UK, their first question is always how on earth these regulations came to pass. Why is facesitting banned, but not gagging on cock? Why can UK video producers not show female ejaculation, but male ejaculation is permissible? Why are the guidelines weirdly specific on the details of a high number of niche activities only found within female domination porn - such as trampling, ballbusting, facesitting, scissoring, wrestling, urethral sounds, anal insertion and BDSM pain play - but no mention is made of countless other obscure fetishes?

A preview photo from Femme Fatale Films, which definitely doesn't depict any of ATVOD's banned acts.

After I describe these inconsistencies, the person I'm talking to usually makes a face as they try to imagine how such a bizarre list of banned acts could possibly be compiled. Perhaps they envisage a group of old white men sitting in a boardroom, listing all the fetishes they can think of on a whiteboard, deleting some and underlining others. Half the fetishes on the internet they have never heard of, so they don't get a mention. None of these old white men have ever made a woman squirt, so the consensus is that female ejaculation is a myth, and probably urine - better ban it. But perhaps some of them have guiltily visited a dominatrix or watched femdom porn, so those activities are on their radar - along with all the attendant anxiety of a repressed sexuality. It's potent stuff, they might think, but it's also clearly morally suspect. Best to remove the temptation and ban it all together.

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Tags: ATVOD, AVMS, BBFC, censorship, CPS, fisting, kink activism, obscenity, OPA, politics

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Caned for charity

Posted at 20:05 on 22 Feb 2015 by Pandora Blake

I'm sitting on a sore bottom to type this on the train home from visiting Hywel Phillips and Ariel Anderssen. We've just filmed mine and Ariel's sponsored canings for Backlash UK, as part of our 10-a-stroke fundraiser which raised 3836 to help Backlash fight the new UK porn laws.

Nimue Allen was the first to take her caning, and she tweeted photos of her welted bottom after 50 cold cane strokes on Friday... which just served to make me more nervous. Thanks to the generosity of our funders (said through gritted teeth!) I was due 50 strokes and Ariel 25 strokes. I kept on waking up last night and was had to give myself a stern talking-to to stop myself getting all strung out with nerves.

Tags: Amelia Jane Rutherford, atvod, Backlash, cane, censorship, cold caning, D, hard caning, Hwyel Phillips, Kink activism, Photos, Politics

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