UK Ban on Spanking in Porn Punishes the Wrong People

December 3, 2014
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Bettie Page Vintage Pinup

It’s fair to say that this week’s ruling on UK porn passed by the government and the Authority For Television On Demand (ATVOD) has generated a lot of anger among industry workers, consumers and just about anybody else who believes the strict new rules are unfair.

Perhaps most surprisingly, even the average person felt outraged, with the perception being that these laws are not simply trivial and frustrating, but that they strike at the very heart of expression, sexuality and free will.

The view from the UK’s porn industry is a mixture of sadness and anger. Jerry Bartlett, of Sex and Censorship, an organization that fights against the suppression of free speech and sexual freedom, predicts that the UK industry, particularly the smaller/individual websites and dommes, will suffer enormously as a result.

“The UK porn industry has already been heavily damaged by the ATVOD regulations. The new law just tightens existing regulations further,” he said. “Small fetish producers will be hard hit by the new R18 requirement, although many fetish sites left the UK years ago, aware that the UK authorities would not tolerate Internet porn indefinitely. This will primarily affect sites run by individual dommes, who cannot uproot their businesses to another country.”

The emphasis on dommes is one that we should be paying attention to the most. There is more than a whiff of anti-feminine groupthink within ATVOD’s rulings. The banning of face-sitting and female ejaculation are the two key components of this. Or, as UK porn star Daisy Rock so keenly puts it:

 

Daisy inevitably had some strong words for those in charge. “This ruling now means that many fetish fantasies filmed cannot be sold through legitimate female domination or femme domme sites,” she said, “which makes most of these female strong sexual fantasies illegal to run in the UK. The art of this censorship is insulting, these rules have been decided by the BBFC, the Police and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).”

Or to play the comparison game, as blogger stavvers has noted: “It’s worth noting that facefucking – an activity which, when shown in porn, often involves a man putting his penis in a woman’s mouth hard and fast (so, basically, exactly how it sounds) – a staple of mainstream heterosexual (and often deeply misogynistic) porn isn’t on the list. It’s fine to be there on DVDs, and it’s fine online. Meanwhile, facesitting –which usually involves a woman sitting on a man’s face – is banned. So, a representation of female dominance is banned, while a representation of male dominance is perfectly legal.

Frankie Mullen, a freelance journalist who writes about the industry, expressed her shock and amazement as to the extent of the changes.

“The new ruling is ridiculous and shows how out of touch the UK government is about both technology and sex,” she said. “It stinks of misogyny. On what planet is female ejaculation dangerous? And why should being smothered by a pussy be considered more problematic than gagging on a cock? The UK fetish porn industry is made up predominantly of entrepreneurial people running small businesses and it is usually here that the most interesting, boundary-breaking stuff is being made. They deserve our support.”

So there we have it. The UK’s lawmakers have shown themselves up as not only out of touch and determined to destroy livelihoods, but willing to discriminate against female sexual expression BY LAW. It’s a lot more frightening when you word it in such simple and stark terms. Look a little closer and it’s not difficult to interpret that the criminalization of fisting and urination is also a strike against homosexual porn.

Pandora Blake, an English spanking performer and producer compiled a lengthy and intricate blog post that expressed fears about her own site, Dreams of Spanking, being shut down and criminalized as a result of the changes.

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So what’s the next step? Can UK porn fight such strict measures? Or will there simply be, as many fear, a mass abandonment of the UK’s industry in order for people to continue making their livelihoods. It’s a terrible situation; one that shows not only the lengths the authorities are willing to go to in order to impose their own moral guidelines on you, but also just how quickly and without any fuss such rights can be taken away from you.

Jerry believes the government should grow a spine. “It’s time that the government stood up to the unelected regulators who make these rules. It’s a scandal that none of these regulations were created by our elected representatives. Ofcom, the BBFC, ATVOD, the police and CPS should not be making policy based on puritanical moral value judgments. If the rest of Europe and the US can have (fairly) open access to pornography, why can’t Brits?”

Even moving away from what other nations outside of the UK can or can’t view via porn, the hypocrisy of the ruling is maddening. Here we sit in a world replete with military conflict, violent movies and video games, images of horror on the news, constant images of sex for commercial purposes… and yet the activities of two or consenting adults within the confines of a professional porn setting are deemed too far? It’s the puritanical outlook turned rotten and most likely a lame attempt at vote winning, with the UK gearing up to re-elect Parliament in May 2015.

UK Ban on Spanking in Porn Punishes the Wrong People
Maggie Gyllenhaal in ‘Secretary’ (2002)

Moving away from the horrible legal mess, consumers will also be hit hard. Now that ATVOD’s ruling applies to both DVDs and websites, UK porn will no longer be able to offer variation on content between formats. It will simply amass into uniform, grey and vanilla films that are simply reinforced as male fantasy, since so many pro-feminine aspects and tropes have been removed. Is this REALLY the future?

Before you go, consider this nugget of information: On the same day this ruling passed, the British Board of Film Classification passed the upcoming Fifty Shades of Grey movie with a ‘15’ certificate. The adaptation of a book commended for helping a number of women rethink sex and their desires, a wildly successful mainstream product, is fine… but the things that people either don’t want or don’t care to understand are deemed dangerous and made illegal. It shows you just whose side people are on.

ATVOD were approached to comment but at time of publishing had yet to respond.

To sign the petition calling for a re-think of these changes, click HERE.

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