“A ludicrous, badly written law that criminalises sexual minorities”: Pandora Blake on the UK porn restrictions

There’s an excellent commentary on the UK restriction on porn content by English spanking performer, blogger, and producer Pandora Blake. It’s titled Online porn: the canary in the coalmine. (Note: the page includes some sexual imagery, including kinky imagery.) Some of the best quotes:

This is a ludicrous, badly written law that criminalises sexual minorities and small business owners. It predominantly targets the cottage industries of women, couples, queers and fetishists – people who are making enough to cover their costs or perhaps a little more, people who are making their own porn because the mainstream genres don’t cater to our needs.

We are self-employed performers, artists, producers, directors. We buy our camera equipment ourselves and edit our content ourselves. We create safe spaces for fellow kinksters to discover they are not alone. We propagate much-needed information about consensual kink practice, showing examples of safe play, negotiation, and healthy kinky relationships. Our films are homegrown, niche, playful, political and sexy, documenting our authentic sexualities where they are not catered to by the mainstream. We work alone or with our partners and like-minded kinky friends. We dare to be different, and to reach out to others who are like us. For this we are criminalised.

Pandora intends to defy this legislation — because she’s a badass.

I’ve had people sending me this information for the last few weeks, asking what I intend to do, and my answer has been the same every time. If you think that this legislation is going to send me running and hiding, you are mistaken. I have no intention of helping the bigots by self-censoring, and I’m certainly not going to pre-emptively shut up shop.

If you care about this, here’s what Pandora says you can to to help:

So what can you do? Well, you can tell your journalist friends about it and get them to write articles about how stupid and harmful this is. You can talk to your mates about it, post about it on social media, and raise the chances that the next time this comes to trial, the jury will think this legislation is a load of rubbish. You can donate to Backlash UK and join the Open Rights Group (of which I am a member), both of whom are campaigning on this issue. You can write to your MP. And you can support your local independent queer and fetish porn producers by buying their porn while you still can.

It’s been said (on the Obscenity Lawyer blog) that “pornography is the canary in the coalmine of free speech: it is the first freedom to die.” Pornography and other sexual expression is all too easy to censor, since many people aren’t willing to publicly say that they like it and think they should have a right to have it. And this is even more true for pornography catering to unconventional tastes: as hard as it is to write a letter to the editor saying, “Bring back my porn!”, it’s harder still to write one saying, “Bring back my kinky porn!” But we have to be willing to do this. If you can do this without destroying your life, please spread the word — even if you’re not in the UK. Let them know that the eyes of the world are on them — and we bloody well want our spanking porn.

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“A ludicrous, badly written law that criminalises sexual minorities”: Pandora Blake on the UK porn restrictions
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9 thoughts on ““A ludicrous, badly written law that criminalises sexual minorities”: Pandora Blake on the UK porn restrictions

  1. 1

    I can’t say that it was unexpected. Some time ago I read this piece. Although it concerned a different law, even then some people expressed concerns that all of this might lead to a campaign targeting the BDSM people. I felt that way as well. Here is how the author of the linked piece tried to dispel these worries:

    We have been clear throughout the campaign that we are not targeting BDSM pornography and are not conflating the two. We see a clear difference here and I personally have been quite surprised that others do not, which has led me to think, perhaps mistakenly, that people have not truly engaged in the content we are campaigning to legislate against and have reacted rather than responded to the campaign.

    They see a clear difference. They are not conflating the two. Yes, of course. At the moment I can only wonder whether the author is still surprised. I admit that the slippery slope arguments can be very bad and unconvincing. Unfortunately, sometimes … well, sometimes they are not bad at all.

    Greta, in your previous text you wrote:

    these prohibitions bear no connection to anything regarding actual issues of sexual ethics — such as consent.

    For a reply, here is the relevant fragment from the piece linked by me:

    The campaign is not presenting a causal argument […] We speak of cultural harm in the same ways that we know as feminists there’s cultural harm in Facebook’s refusal to remove ‘rape joke’ pages.

    Do you want to know why spanking and physical or verbal (consensual) abuse was banned in VoD porn? You really want to know? Here is the answer: because this sort of imagery does cultural harm. Period. That’s why. Still not getting it? Not enough details for you? Stop asking questions, then. It’s the law, for God’s sake! It’s for everyone’s good! These people know better, so shut up and listen.

    [Sorry for the snark; I’m just angry. It’s also one those rare moments when I’m truly glad not to be English.]

  2. 2

    […] “A ludicrous, badly written law that criminalises sexual minorities”: Pandora Blake on the UK po… – Free Thought Blogs. “Pornography and other sexual expression is all too easy to censor, since many people aren’t willing to publicly say that they like it and think they should have a right to have it. And this is even more true for pornography catering to unconventional tastes: as hard as it is to write a letter to the editor saying, “Bring back my porn!”, it’s harder still to write one saying, “Bring back my kinky porn!” But we have to be willing to do this.” […]

  3. 3

    Apparently I should pay less attention to books written by people that seem to be from the UK, and write about certain things, than UK laws, because, apparently, there is also something being argued about making skinny dipping a, “sex crime”, i.e., the equivalent of rape, or child molestation, and with the same penalties, including being placed on the magic list of sexual deviants who are not allowed near schools, or what ever else.

    Seriously, I thought the US was insane, in some parts of it, but this…

  4. 4

    Do you want to know why spanking and physical or verbal (consensual) abuse was banned in VoD porn? You really want to know? Here is the answer: because this sort of imagery does cultural harm. Period. That’s why. Still not getting it? Not enough details for you? Stop asking questions, then. It’s the law, for God’s sake! It’s for everyone’s good! These people know better, so shut up and listen.

    Are we certain it isn’t an issue of national security yet?

  5. 5

    Are we certain it isn’t an issue of national security yet?


    We are. Just like in case of many other problems (all of them perhaps?), discussed both here and at other blogs, often very passionately. Or should all the passion be reserved for the issues of national security only? What’s your opinion?

    This said, I admit that I was quite irritated – perhaps overly. Sorry.

  6. 6

    Can someone provide a link to either the text of the law, or a write-up on a page that would qualify as work-safe? Before I rage against something (and I fully expect to rage against this), I prefer to know the precise nature of my objections.

  7. 8

    Even if there was a case for ‘harm,’ or injuries to be prevented, passing new legislation isn’t going to address the issue as well as funding enforcement of existing laws would. But you don’t get Daily Mail headlines actually making law enforcement earn their keep.

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