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Sunday, October 19, 2008

Consenting Adult Action Network action, London, Tues 21st Oct 2008

Consenting Adult Action Network

CAAN ACTION NOTICE

London

21st October 2008

Meeting at 12:00 - leaving this meeting point at 12.30 to go and fetch the press from Westminster Tube Station.

Location: St Steven's Tavern, Bridge Street, Westminster, London, SW1A 2JR .

It is wheelchair accessible and it sells hot food!

Tel: 020 7925 2286

Nearest parking: Great College Street underground car park.

Nearest Tube: Westminster.

CAAN are back in London again on 21st October, supporting Ben Westwood to do a little stunt, to protest and raise awareness about the kinky porn ban and campaign for the freedom of consenting adults to express their sexualities.

We've tried being reasonable and now it's time to be a little bit more interesting..

If you can attend the action to leaflet and so on, or are able to assist with things behind the scenes like transporting equipment, people, or donating resources during the time surrounding the action, please get in touch with us ASAP at c-a-a-n@live.co.uk or memo me your email address.

If anyone feels generous cash wise and is able to donate towards either materials for the action or getting people there who would come if they could afford it, please contact us at the address above.

** addition** we've been asked to confirm this is a non violent action - yes it is non violent and violence will not be tolerated. There is a coach from manchester - memo me if you are interested or see separate post about it further into this thread - we still have some spaces left.

We are likely to be meeting for a drink afterwards at 5pm at the same venue, with anyone who wishes to come and celebrate a successful action with us

For CAAN, Consenting Adult Action Network See action notice on our website here: http://www.caan.org.uk/updates/Action21Oct.html

11 comments:

Ettina said...

What do they mean by kinky porn? I think that certain types of porn should be banned - mainly child porn, violent porn (eg S/M), and porn involving human-animal sex. If that's what they mean, then I'm in favour of the ban.

shiva said...

By "kinky porn" they mean primarily BDSM porn (which includes S/M).

I disagree with you, however, that S/M porn is "violent". As i said in my post on libertarian ethics, as far as i am concerned something is only "violent" if it is nonconsensual - pain or damage to the body being involved does not in and of itself constitute violence, otherwise (for example) all elective surgery would be violent.

Children and animals, by definition, cannot consent to sex with adult humans (although i'm actually not sure where i stand on cases where a non-human animal has initiated sex with a human, as has happened throughout history), and so don't come into the same category.

I don't believe anything should be criminalised which involves the full and free consent of all parties, Obviously there is a lot of porn which doesn't have that, but there isn't any necessary correlation between the type of sex acts depicted in it and whether coercion or nonconsent was present.

For more general discussion of these issues, i'd recommend The Strangest Alchemy, SexAbility and let them eat pro-sm feminist safe spaces.

(I'm not actually personally interested in porn at all myself, btw, as for me watching other people have sex has no appeal whatsoever, and only makes me feel envy at not having the opportunity to do it myself, if it's something i'm into, and pretty much nothing at all if it's something i'm not. But this is, as far as i'm concerned, a free speech and bodily autonomy issue...)

Lindsay said...

On the ethics of porn, I think it's a mistake to try to separate "kinky" porn from other types. A core ethical issue, for me, is the treatment of the performers in porn (i.e., was their participation consensual, adequately compensated, informed as to the risks, freely chosen etc.), which seems to know no genre boundaries; people can appear consensually in "violent" S/M porn, and some of the most "vanilla" films available can involve coerced performances. (An example of this would be "Deep Throat": it's hardly "gonzo" in the acts it depicts, but Linda Marchiano has come forth and said, essentially, that "Deep Throat" is a recording of her being repeatedly raped.) So it seems that the ways you'd have the best shot at combatting these ethical violations would be either a) banning *ALL* porn, making it a crime to produce it, though not to star in it, a la the Swedish model of prostitution, or b) adopt a sex-workers'-rights approach, allowing performers to unionize, have more power in negotiating contracts, and sue their employers if they are coerced, injured, traumatized or cheated.

I am still agnostic on the question of porn itself: I do believe in free speech, but it's only "speech" if it's entirely consensual. Otherwise, it is (or should be) evidence in a rape trial. Also, the treatment of performers is not the only ethical difficulty with porn: there's an argument that it does great harm to all women by reinforcing the notion that women are "the sex class." Where I'm at right now is trying to balance that latter argument with the free-speech argument; they strike me as being of equal gravity, and I don't know how to reconcile them.

...for me watching other people have sex has no appeal whatsoever, and only makes me feel envy at not having the opportunity to do it myself...

With you on that one, although for me it is not envy I feel but boredom. (I am just barely not asexual).

shiva said...

Lindsay: I agree that the "kinky"/"vanilla" separation is an utterly meaningless one.

I disagree with the position that pornography per se reinforces the notion that women are "the sex class" - sure, much if not most of the "big industry" porn produced at the moment can be argued very convincingly to do so, but what about lesbian porn produced by women, for women, with only women involved at any level of its production? Or even gay male porn produced by women (both of which exist)? Or S/M porn depicting men being dominated and humiliated by women?

A lot of the porn that will be disproportionately affected by this law, if it gets passed, will be "amateur" BDSM porn, produced purely for enjoyment rather than for profit, and by the people "starring" in it.

To ban the production of *all* porn would criminalise those people, as well as taking away the livelihoods of all the people for whom being in porn films is their primary source of income. I would support the sex-workers-rights approach though.

Also, i think there are a whole lot of other things out there, many of which are more visible and mainstream than any sort of porn, which perpetuate patriarchal and misogynistic belief systems...

I would, at the moment, very much like to be "just barely not asexual". Unfortunately, i seem to have a very strong sex drive which i have no viable way of either fulfilling or removing. :(

shiva said...

Also, i think this is a good anarchist-feminist perspective on sex work: http://radgeek.com/gt/2008/10/24/ending_state/

Trinity said...

Ettina,

SM porn? Why should the sorts of things I'd most want to see -- sex like what I do -- be banned?

How would you propose the censors tell the difference between industry stuff, and erotic images made by my good friends? How will it be enforced?

Ettina said...

I think it's possible for people to consent to and actually desire things that are not good for them. For example, I self-injure, it feels satisfying when I'm in a certain mood, but it's not a good thing for me and I'm working on trying to get to the point where I don't need to do that anymore.
And it has an impact on people to watch that kind of stuff, which is not limited to consensual activities in it's ramifications. There are studies* showing that viewing pornography (even, in some cases, showing nonviolent consensual sex) increases the likelihood that the person will believe certain 'rape myths' that are characteristic of rapists - particularly the myth of a rape victim relenting and enjoying the experience.
In the book the Courage to Heal, there was a woman who had been brutally sexually abused as a child and was into S/M. She then realized this was because of her abuse and was not healthy for her and actually managed to change her sexuality so that she could be aroused by something else (in her case, a fantasy of a healing waterfall). I wonder how many people who enjoy S/M really have similar issues to this woman?

* For example:
http://tinyurl.com/5f384a
http://tinyurl.com/6zp7z3

Trinity said...

"In the book the Courage to Heal, there was a woman who had been brutally sexually abused as a child and was into S/M. She then realized this was because of her abuse and was not healthy for her and actually managed to change her sexuality so that she could be aroused by something else (in her case, a fantasy of a healing waterfall). I wonder how many people who enjoy S/M really have similar issues to this woman?"

Ettina,

I think I know what you're talking about. That was in _Trauma and Recovery_, wasn't it?

I don't in any way mean to suggest that I know better than that person where her fantasies came from or how her healing should have gone. But I will say that personally, I found the assumption that healing from my trauma would involve no longer being a sadomasochist pretty harmful.

The people I relied on for mental health care told me that my fantasies came from my trauma, and that once I'd really healed, I'd not have them any more.

I spent so much time worrying about my sexuality not changing, of waterfalls or whatever else not replacing my self, that I didn't allow myself for years to take pride in the actual progress I was making toward healing. I became obsessed with the idea that my sexuality wasn't changing and therefore there was something wrong with me, even as I slowly felt better about myself, less inclined to self-harming (again, maybe to you the desire to do SM and to self-harm are the same, but in my experience they are very different), etc.

I think promoting the idea that SM fantasies are *always* scars from trauma is harmful.

Lindsay said...

I've also heard of those studies Ettina cites; the effect of habitual pornography viewing on men's likelihood of believing rape myths is one of the things I count as "reinforcing the notion that women are 'the sex class.'"

I think there's probably a feedback loop at work, with (much of mainstream) pornography reinforcing societal misogyny, and societal misogyny driving the demand for ever-more-misogynistic, rape-myth-propogating pornography. With that understanding of it, banning porn wouldn't make society more woman-friendly, since misogynist porn is just one head of the Hydra that is rape culture. And, as Shiva points out, not all porn feeds into rape culture.

shiva said...

"I think it's possible for people to consent to and actually desire things that are not good for them. For example, I self-injure, it feels satisfying when I'm in a certain mood, but it's not a good thing for me and I'm working on trying to get to the point where I don't need to do that anymore."

Well, maybe so - but that doesn't justify banning things, which is paternalism of the exact same type as that which is used to deny disabled people choice and control over where and how we live. It's the right of the individual to make the call over whether something they do or think is "harmful" (to themselves, obviously it's different if harm to another person is involved) or not...

Also, while i'm not necessarily saying that cutting (etc) as self-medication for depression is the same kind of thing as BDSM (IMO, for some it is, for some it isn't - Elizabeth at Screw Bronze has some really good discussions on that subject), i think there's a whole lot of cultural stuff around that branding it as "inherently pathological", and a big taboo around saying that it can actually be an effective way of coping with situations. I think if a lot of that pathologising stuff around it was stripped away, people would view it a lot less negatively...

Also, something i just thought of in relation to the "reinforcing rape culture" stuff - as an autistic person i get VERY disturbed by any portyrayal of a sexual situation where explicit, verbal consent is not given, because, to me, as i can't percieve non-verbal indicators of consent, the only way i can interpret any such situation is as rape. So i think that an incredibly important thing that people who make porn and who don't want to reinforce rape culture should do is make sure that the porn they make includes explicit verbal consent in its scripts, and portrays giving and receiving explicit verbal consent as a sexy and sex-positive thing to do...

Anonymous said...

lee

this law is not meant to be enforced it is a sop for the anti sex brigade!!!