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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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Magazine interviews this month

Posted at 17:49 on 2 Feb 2017 by Pandora Blake

Sexual freedom campaigner Pandora Blake

I've had several requests for press interviews this month, and it's been a great opportunity to get the word out about my political campaigning and the other things I'm working on. I've talked to a writer Artefact magazine about the Digital Economy Bill and its impact on feminist porn that should be out in the next few weeks.

I also contributed to a feature with  Huck magazine , who interviewed me and queer porn performer Blath together. We co-ordinated a content-share shoot at my house especially for the interview, so that Huck's journalist and photographer could both come and have a look behind the scenes on a feminist porn set. (I get a lot of requests for this, but far fewer publications that are willing to pay for our time, so it was lovely that Huck were willing to help make it happen.) We shot a super gothy ritualistic scene featuring hot wax, knives, witchcraft and lots of other fetishy hotness! The Huck photographer took lots of behind the scenes pictures which I can't wait to see, and we gave an in depth video interview too. I might be able to put footage of the interview up on YouTube - although it might be a bit annoying to watch, as it has the journalist tap-tapping on his keyboard in the background, making notes as we talked! But it was totally worth it - he wrote an amazing piece, and was generous enough to let us approve it before publication. I wish more media folks were like this! I'm looking forward to seeing the feature and photos in print - and of course the scene itself will be available on Dreams of Spanking and Foxclure Films  once its out. 

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Tags: Blath, ethical porn, feminist porn, media, Patreon, queer porn

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2016 year in review - highlights and reflections

Posted at 13:35 on 11 Jan 2017 by Pandora Blake

Happy new year! It's traditional to do an end of year review, and I've been chewing over my 2016 one. Damn, it was a hell of a year; comparable in craziness only to the year before it. Here are the headlines:

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Tags: Bright Desire, Charlie J Forrest, Digital Economy Bill, Dreams of Spanking, Eroticon, media, Nimue Allen, Parker Marx, politics, porn, School of Erotic Mysteries, Tai Crimson, year in review, Zak Jane Keir

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Restricting niche porn sites is bad news for people with marginalised sexualities

Posted at 09:41 on 30 Nov 2016 by Pandora Blake

Restricting niche porn sites is a disaster for people with marginalised sexualities - Pandora Blake for The Guardian

Last week I had an article published in the Guardian about the impact of the forthcoming Digital Economy Bill, and its proposed restrictions on online porn. You can read it here - Restricting niche porn sites is a disaster for people with marginalised sexualities.

The article has received over one and a half thousand comments - and I was pleasantly astonished to discover that the majority of them are sympathetic or supportive. It seems that many people share my outrage that the Government think it a worthwhile use of time and money to legislate what consenting adults do for fun - or think that this bill is a proportionate, workable answer to the problems emerging from young people's lack of sex education.

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Tags: age verification, BBFC, classification, Digital Economy Bill, Dreams of Spanking, ethical porn, feminist porn, Guardian, in the news, kink acceptance, Kink Olympixxx, law, media, Myles Jackman, Obscene Publications Act, obscenity, porn, protest

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Age verification: Problems with classification

Posted at 21:01 on 20 May 2016 by Pandora Blake

Response to the Government consultation on Child Safety Online: Age Verification for Pornography

1: Evidence of Harm

2: Sex education

3: Privacy, surveillance and freedom of speech

4. Credit cards, classism and social exclusion

5. Problems with the existing classification system

The proposals assume a straightforward definition of “pornography” which is not workable in practice. During the second reading of the Online Safety Bill in the House of Lords Baroness Brinton argued that:

“A simplistic definition of pornography will cause immense problems in our courts. How do you define arousal and to what level of arousal - partial, full? Is that arousal the view of the average person on the Clapham omnibus, or should the definition cover the various fetishes that people may have? The famous film director Quentin Tarantino is a foot fetishist. There are a number of people who have assessed his use of bare feet in all his films. Clearly they arouse people with the said fetish.”

If a website calls itself “porn” or “erotica” but none of its contents depict nudity, staged violence or sexual acts - a foot fetish website is a perfect example - should it be categorised as a “sex work” for classification purposes? What harm could a young person possibly come to, looking at artistically lit videos of bare feet?

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Tags: age verification, AV consultation, AVMS, BBFC guidelines, British Fetish Film Festival, CPS, ethical porn, feminist porn, fetish porn, freedom of expression, freedom of speech, media, Myles Jackman, obscenity, politics, porn

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Age verification: Credit cards, classism and social exclusion

Posted at 13:36 on 11 May 2016 by Pandora Blake

Why would anyone use an alias?

Response to the Government consultation on Child Safety Online: Age Verification for Pornography

1: Evidence of Harm

2: Sex education

3: Privacy, surveillance and freedom of speech

4. Credit cards, classism and social exclusion

Most methods of age verification assume certain privileges which marginalise and exclude adults on low incomes, those at risk of violence for whom it would be unsafe to share their passport names, and those in unstable accommodation.

The most common method for age verification, with currently available technology, is for the site visitor to enter their credit card details to confirm that they are over 18. This often operates as part of a paywall but can function separately, with the card details being checked but not actually charged. Age verification for online porn is already mandated on UK-based adult websites, with credit cards the only method of age verification accepted by ATVOD - and (since ATVOD folded in January 2016) by their parent body Ofcom, who have taken over sole regulatory responsibility. Debit cards are not considered acceptable proof that a porn site visitor is over 18 - in fact this was one of the gotchas under which my site was ruled against last year. 

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Tags: age verification, AV consultation, censorship, credit cards, Facebook, freedom of speech, media, politics, porn, privacy, surveillance, technology

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Age verification: Privacy, surveillance and freedom of speech

Posted at 16:32 on 8 May 2016 by Pandora Blake

Ceiling Cameron is watching you masturbate - by @wefail

Response to the Government consultation on Child Safety Online: Age Verification for Pornography

1: Evidence of harm

2: Sex education

3: Privacy, surveillance and freedom of speech

Freedom of expression is important and must be protected. The UN Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression, Frank La Rue, stated last year in his report on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression that "the right to freedom of expression includes expression of views and opinions that offend, shock or disturb". His report also noted that restrictions on access to information can have a "chilling effect", whereby individuals restrict their own activities in anticipation of being forced to comply, often over-estimating and censoring themselves far more effectively than if it were left to government enforcement. He concluded that restrictions on access to information online must be:

  • limited to exceptional circumstances
  • governed by law and a clear legal process
  • necessary and the least restrictive means required to achieve the aim.

The Open Rights Group has reiterated the importance of these principles; they limit the extent to which governments, businesses or others can limit the free access to information, whether through overzealous efforts to protect citizens, or more abusive attempts to control free access to information.

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Tags: age verification, AV consultation, censorship, child safety, freedom of speech, media, politics, porn, privacy, surveillance, young people

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Age verification: Young people, porn and sex education

Posted at 14:51 on 27 Apr 2016 by Pandora Blake

Response to the Government consultation on Child Safety Online: Age Verification for Pornography

1: Evidence of Harm

2: Sex education

The consultation opens with the bold claim that:

"The UK is a world leader in child online safety" (p4)

In the context of recent revelations showing how unsafe children in the UK are at the hands of exploitative individuals abusing their power within church, political and media institutions, this opening sentence is in poor taste. The Government's obsession with conjuring a demon to fight in the form of online pornography, while ignoring the real problems of child sexual exploitation, poor sex education, unsafe sex, and sexual violence faced by young people in our society, is reminiscent of the politician's syllogism: "We must do something! This is something - therefore we must do it!" Policy-makers would be far better served by devoting their energies to reducing real incidents of child sexual exploitation, that have caused provable and lasting harm, rather than going to great lengths to defeat the nebulous and unprovable harms of online pornography.

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Tags: age verification, AV consultation, censorship, child safety, DCMS, gender politics, media, Ofcom, politics, porn, R18 material, sex critical, sex education, sex positive, young people

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Interview with Marie Claire on feminist porn

Posted at 18:19 on 16 Mar 2016 by Pandora Blake

I recently had the pleasure of talking to the features editor of Marie Claire magazine Indonesia, who wanted to run an interview with a female pornographer. Somehow they stumbled across my name, and got in touch to ask if I'd like to take part. I was a bit surprised to be asked - with my niche spanking fixation and weird insistence on shooting non-consent fantasies, I'm hardly a straightforward representative of the feminist porn movement. But the questions were interesting, and I had fun answering them. I also enjoyed the challenge of finding a selection of pictures from Dreams of Spanking that were suitable for a mainstream women's magazine (ie. no nudity or spanked bums!)

I'm finding it a bit strange how many journalists are interested in talking to me about Dreams of Spanking now that the site is offline, when I struggled for ages to get publicity for the project while it was live. But I suppose if my experiences of government censorship help shed light on the conversation around porn, feminism and production ethics, it's no bad thing. I'm certainly pleased to see a feature like this in a mainstream magazine - it all helps to spread awareness of feminist porn. It's a bit surprising that this is still necessary after 40 years of pioneering work by female directors, but when prominent feminist celebrities are still unaware that any alternatives to heteronormative mainstream porn exist yet, I guess every little helps.

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Tags: Dreams of Spanking, ethical porn, feminist porn, interviews, Marie Claire, media

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What I'm up to - autumn edition

Posted at 01:06 on 5 Nov 2015 by Pandora Blake

I'm back in the UK for three short weeks before I go travelling again, and I can't believe how quickly the time is passing. There's an awful lot going on at the moment - almost all of it good! Here's a brief snapshot of my autumn:

Sexual Freedom Awards

I've been nominated for a Sexual Freedom Award! I'm a finalist in the Publicist of the Year category for my work promoting ethical porn and campaigning against censorship and for sex work law reform. It's an incredible honour to be named - in fact I've been aware of the awards for ten years, and it's a bit of a dream come true. Thank you so much to those who nominated me - you know who you are. ♥

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Tags: Australia tour 2015, English Collective of Prostitutes, media, politics, sex work, Sex Worker Open University

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