GOTN Avatar

In their own words: let’s get angry

I don’t have a guest blog for you this week, but what I do have is a couple of things that I’d love you to take a look at. If there’s a broad theme here it’s anger. Anger at shit decisions or anger at something that could be better but isn’t.

Please check them out.

Dreams of Spanking

Of course I’m going to start with this. Dreams of Spanking: a site run by the amazing Pandora Blake, who I’ve worked with for over a year, is being censored. We knew this was coming, just not when. But now ATVOD (the UK censor) has issued its final determination.

I’ll let Pandora explain:

Please go and look at the Dreams of Spanking blog, in which Pandora explains where things are now and what happens next. And follow @PandoraBlake if you want to keep up to date with what’s going on.

And, oh, if you want more, check out this YouTube video, in which adorable teddy bears explain the ridiculous rules around UK porn censorship. A sentence I never thought I’d have the opportunity to write.

I could put a long argument here about how the rules are ridiculous, and how you should support Backlash (the organisation that will be helping Pandora appeal ATVOD’s decision), but I’ve already done that elsewhere. For now all I want to say is that I’m really angry about this. Furious. And I hope you are too.

Amnesty and sex work

Update 12/08/15 – Amnesty has voted to protect the human rights of sex workers, which is fantastic news. You can view their decision here, and the Q+A on sex work decrim here

I’ve wanted to write about sex work decriminalisation for a long time, but I’m probably not the right person to do it in depth. Luckily, Amnesty has recently launched a draft policy on sex work, so I’ll let them do it for me. The key part of the policy (in my opinion) is when Amnesty calls for states to:

“review and repeal laws that make those who sell sex vulnerable to human rights violations.”

Essentially the policy is the product of a huge amount of research and work that concluded that, yes, sex workers are more vulnerable to human rights violations.  And that, no, criminalising sex workers and/or their clients will not stop them being more vulnerable to human rights violations. Some people have offered the opinion that sex work is none of Amnesty’s business. But the thing is, Amnesty cares quite a lot about human rights violations: it’s kind of Amnesty’s ‘thing’.

A lot of Hollywood celebrities kicked off because they think sex work is inherently bad. This is one of those tricky situations where people’s dissenting opinions are more than just frustrating fodder for an interesting if ultimately futile debate on the internet. Their dislike of sex work is causing them to act in a way that will curtail the rights of those they disagree with. And I’m angry about this too.

The brilliant @pastachips (follow her!) explained in the Guardian:

“It is essential to listen to sex workers all over the world in order to draft laws to help keep us safe. This is both a simple and yet radical act. From Zimbabwe to Paris, Bangkok to Guatemala, sex workers are hoping that Amnesty will not be bullied out of voting for the truth of its own research when its members meet this week. We are hopeful that the quieter voices of sex workers remain audible next to those of Hollywood’s stars.”

Feel free to leave a comment if you like, although I probably won’t get engaged in a massive debate with you here: those things can be saved for longer posts. I’m not putting forward an argument or trying to persuade you if you disagree with me. I’m just asking that if you do agree with me, you join in and support the people who are fighting so hard on both of these important issues.

I know this is a sex blog, so passion and love are usually the order of the day. But sometimes we need to get angry.


  • SpaceCaptainSmith says:

    Ugh. The ATVOD policy seems like the modern equivalent of Section 28 (remember that?). It’s that perfect mix of petty authoritarianism and hypocritical Puritanism which is so very British. And of course, completely unenforceable in the broader sense – there’s no way they can actually get bondage off the Internet – so the only point is to Send A Message to the public by making an example out of the Wrong Sort Of People.

    And this, in one of the kinkiest countries on Earth! We’re famous for it! The French don’t talk about ‘la vice Anglaise’ for no reason… and undoubtedly some of our high profile politicians, when not making concerned speeches about the Internet, take a personal interest in the subject.

    The strangest thing is that (as far as I can tell) the law doesn’t even set out anywhere exactly what is forbidden. Heaven forbid that someone in government might actually have to utter the words ‘spanking’ or ‘facesitting’ somewhere. Like the old obscenity laws, people are just supposed to know what sort of thing is off limits.

    Fuck this, I’m going to go donate to Backlash. None of my favourite sites has been hit yet, but it’s only a matter of time.

  • SpaceCaptainSmith says:

    Oh yeah, and unsurprisingly I agree with you on the Amnesty issue as well. But despite the ill-informed criticism, they actually seem to have got a lot of support and might already be winning round public opinion on that one. I think many people are coming round to the idea that (much like with drug laws) a prohibitionist attitude to sex work doesn’t actually help the people it’s supposed to. (Why, it’s almost as if, as above, these laws are made for their appeal to tabloid prejudices rather than for their efficacy. Perish the thought.)

  • Charlie says:

    I retweeted this yesterday ( and this line stuck with me: ‘ it displaces accountability by locating the vulnerability within the person, not their life situation and circumstances.’ I think this applies to the sex work as well as disability. I know very little about sex work, but I think I’d agree that while their work has the potential to make them vulnerable (as do many other types if jobs), it doesn’t mean that they themselves are inherently vulnerable.


    • Girl on the net says:

      Thanks for the link! In general I utterly suck at using language like this well – I end up tying myself in knots and double-thinking everything. I think when it comes to issues of human rights, it’s important to stress the point that people (in fact, all people) are specifically vulnerable to abuses of rights, because when it’s framed like that it’s clearer that they aren’t just people who ‘fell by the wayside’ or what have you, but people that governments have specifically targeted or made vulnerable as a result of systemic problems. To a certain extent trying to shift the dialogue to language of danger – to highlight the power that orgs have to place people in that danger. But yeah, that article’s really interesting and I can definitely see why that language, and specifically the word vulnerable, isn’t helpful. Hmm. I need to think on this a bit more – thank you for the link to that post!

  • Jillian Boyd says:

    Goddamnit, ATVOD. Goddamnit.

  • Pandora says:

    Thanks for sharing this, and for all the other support you’ve given me so far. This would have been way way harder without you.

  • squatbunners says:

    Someone needs to point out to the Tories that there is a world of difference between a ball-gag and the electrical cord, bin bag and orange peel (?) that one of their own MPs managed to bring about his own demise with in 1994! And yes it is reminiscent of section 28!

  • SpaceCaptainSmith says:

    Sorry for leaving another comment on this one, but I also just wanted to add how true that video with the teddy bears is. I couldn’t help but think of it as I got caught up watching Game of Thrones. That TV show features extremely brutal and grotesque scenes on a regular basis – characters getting raped, beheaded, flayed alive, that sort of thing – but it’s (rightly) perfectly legal to watch, and indeed widely acclaimed. But it’s illegal to show people having happy, mutually satisfying sex if there’s some kinky stuff involved.

    I mean, yes, one of them’s fictional… but not much less disturbing for that, and besides, much of it’s still real for the actors. There are certainly scenes which feature people being tied and gagged and the like. But apparently it’s OK as long as they don’t start having sex for real.

    So, fictional rape and torture are fine, but real happy consensual sex isn’t. There is something seriously fucked up there.

    Of course I know you agree with all this already, I’m just venting. OK, I’ll go take this rant someplace else.

  • michal says:

    Wow i’m shocked. You actually have censorship? I’m from post communistic country, and we are still very happy we’ve got rid of censorship (and other stuff that goes in hand with that) in 1989. So I’m pretty stunned to see, that citisens of a democratic country willingly choose to give up on their basic, and probably most important freedom.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.