Censorship never is, never has been, about protecting the vulnerable. Censorship of sexual material, in particular, has always been far more about maintaining the existing power structure than making women’s lives safer, no matter how much ‘banning filth’ has been trumpeted as the answer to misogyny and inequality.
Back in the 90s, when Canada put a ‘feminist’ anti-porn law into practice, the effects were not what you might call a big win for feminism in general. The ‘extreme porn’ laws brought in a few years back have led to one dimwitted, dodgy, time-wasting prosecution after another.
Probably the most blatant demonstration of anti-porn legislation being a matter of enforcing heteronormative patriarchy has been the behaviour of ATVOD who, pleasingly, have just got their arses kicked again. It wasn’t just that the list of ‘banned acts’ covered all sorts of things that are perfectly legal to do with consenting partners, it was that face-sitting and female ejaculation were targeted while deep-throating and that sub-genre of mainstream porn which delights in women choking, gagging and even puking on big dicks was considered nothing to worry about.
When it comes to written erotica, once again, it’s generally OK to write about erotically dismembering women if you are a credible, wealthy, connected white man, but when Amazon decides to have a purge, it’s nearly always the self-publishers – and quite often the female ones – who get their books pulled with no explanation. Amazon also appears to have no problem selling Pick Up Artist bunk, including the work of the deluded and laughable Roosh V – go figure.
The people who are fighting back against the censors – and winning – are not turning out to be yet more wealthy, connected white men, on the whole. Pandora Blake of Dreams of Spanking and Ms Tytania of USCC have both stood up for the right of women to explore and share their own fantasies in filmic form, and Nikki Sloane is making plenty of noise about Amazon idiocy
I find this encouraging. Not just because we need these reminders that not all feminists are bucketheads. but because it shows how much fascinating, diverse stuff there actually is out there.