Category Archives: Anti-BDSM

QotD: “Note that, shockingly, there’s not one positive implication of directly re-experiencing traumatic stimulus”

From tumblr

QotD: “It’s all blamed on subs as long as there’s any way of arguing that they consented”

discyours

QotD: “You’re dead wrong if you think a dom will stop a punishment if you safe word either”

(from tumblr)

QotD: “Concern grows over ‘rough sex gone wrong’ defence in courts”

Senior lawyers and women’s organisations have condemned the increasing use of “rough sex gone wrong” as a courtroom defence to the murder of women and called for a change to the law in the UK.

In the wake of the conviction of British backpacker Grace Millane’s killer in New Zealand, researchers have revealed a tenfold rise over the past two decades in the number of times similar claims have been made in UK courts.

According to the campaign group We Can’t Consent to This, in the past decade 30 women and girls have been killed in what was claimed to have been consensual violent sexual activity in the UK.

Of those, 17 resulted in men being convicted of murder, nine led to manslaughter convictions and two ended in acquittals. In one further case, there was a murder conviction but only after the victim’s husband confessed; police had initially treated the death as non-suspicious. The case of one woman’s death has yet to go to court.

In 1996 there were two cases in which deaths and injuries to women were blamed on “rough sex”; by 2016, that had climbed to 20 cases a year.

During the Auckland trial of Millane’s murderer, the accused’s lawyer, Ian Brookie, told the jury that the 21-year-old backpacker had died during “a perfectly ordinary, casual sexual encounter between a young couple … as a result of what they consensually engaged in.”

The jury, however, did not believe him and unanimously found the killer guilty of murder. “You can’t consent to your own murder,” the crown prosecutor Brian Dickey said.

Fiona Mackenzie, an actuary, set up We Can’t Consent to This after the outcry over the killing of Natalie Connolly, 26, by her partner John Broadhurst, 40. Despite having 40 separate injuries, including serious internal trauma, a fractured eye socket and bleach on her face, Broadhurst received a sentence of three years and eight months for manslaughter.

Mackenzie supports changes to the domestic abuse bill, put forward by the MPs Harriet Harman and Mark Garnier, to incorporate the principle of R v Brown into statute.

She told the Guardian: “As well as changing the law, we need to have an attitude change across the justice system. People need to stop buying into these ‘rough sex’ excuses.

“Everywhere you look in the world, there’s the same failure in countries’ criminal justice systems. It’s terrifying.”

Consent, which has increasingly entered popular consciousness as a key concept in rape cases, is no defence to injury, let alone death. The principle was established in a 1993 test case, R v Brown, in the House of Lords in which a group of men were convicted of assault and wounding even though their sadomasochistic victims had willingly participated in the violence.

The defence of “rough sex gone wrong” has no official status in law but can, campaigners claim, influence prosecutors to reduce a charge from murder to manslaughter or a judge to lower the eventual sentence.

Sarah Green, the director of the End Violence Against Women coalition, said: “Women monitoring femicides in the UK believe the so-called ‘rough sex defence’ is growing. It is deeply alarming and at worst reflects the fact that defence is, actually, a business where some are willing to ‘test’ approaches that might win in court. It sets women up to be harmed in life and grossly insulted after their deaths.

“We’re also appalled at the willingness of large parts of the media to uncritically reproduce this deeply misogynistic line. Editors need to get a hold of this now and stop the thoughtless and sensational communication of cases where women have died.”

Prof Susan Edwards, a barrister who teaches law at the University of Buckingham, believes strangulation should be made a stand-alone offence.

“Strangulation is the cause of death in around a third of all spousal homicides,” she said. “Now there’s a burgeoning use of [rough sex excuses] because there’s greater acceptance of BDSM [bondage and sadomasochism] in relationships.”

Thirty years ago, she said, the more common excuse from a violent partner would have been that they were provoked, that it was unintentional or they lost control.

Campaigners partly blame the cultural normalisation of rough sex on the growth of violent online pornography and books such as Fifty Shades of Grey with its themes of sadomasochism.

What is not so clear is whether there has been a significant rise in the number of sexual strangulation deaths or whether the excuse of “rough sex” is simply being deployed more often than in the past.

Karen Ingala-Smith, the chief executive of the domestic violence charity Nia, said: “Women don’t die from rough sex. Women die because men are violent to them.”

She said violent and degrading online pornography was “socialising young men into different expectations of what they are supposed to do in bed. Women are pressured, whether they’re conscious of it or not, to accept violence during sex and do things that weren’t commonplace 10 or 20 years ago.”

(source)

Grace Millane murder: Man guilty of killing backpacker in New Zealand

A man who strangled a British backpacker and hid her body inside a suitcase has been found guilty of murder.

Grace Millane was found buried in bushland outside Auckland, New Zealand.

A jury at the city’s high court rejected claims by the 27-year-old man, who cannot be named, that she died accidentally during “rough sex”.

Ms Millane’s parents David and Gillian wept in the public gallery as jurors convicted their daughter’s killer.

He showed no emotion as the verdict – reached after about five hours of deliberations – was read out.

Justice Simon Moore said the defendant would be sentenced on 21 February next year.

[…]

Jurors heard the defendant and Ms Millane had met via the Tinder dating app on 1 December last year, the night before Ms Millane’s 22nd birthday.

They spent several hours drinking cocktails in bars around Auckland before going to the defendant’s hotel.

Ms Millane, from Wickford, Essex, was found in the mountainous Waitākere Ranges a week later.

Prosecutors said post-mortem examinations found bruises “consistent with restraint” on her body, and that she had been strangled.

On the night of her death, the court heard, the defendant “wasn’t distressed or concerned by her death”, and set about making plans to dispose of her remains.

He “sexualised” the killing by searching for pornography, stopping at one point to take lewd photos of her corpse, prosecutors said.

The following day, he went on a Tinder date with another woman while the body of Ms Millane remained in the hotel room.

He had bought a second suitcase in a bid to cover his tracks, as well as cleaning products and a shovel, jurors heard.

The defendant did not give evidence in his defence.

Following the verdict, the step-brother of the murderer spoke to television station TVNZ reporter Paul Hobbs.

The man, who also cannot be named for legal reasons, said he initially thought Miss Millane’s death could have been an accident but when he saw the timeline of events, his view changed.

His step-brother, he said, was “a pathological liar that lies over pointless things and continues to lie until the point where he’s got no out – absolutely no out – and then he just breaks down and cries and runs away.

“It’s just absolutely terrible that a life had to be lost because of it.”

He said he did not think his step-brother intended to kill Grace, but said: “In that moment he just kept going… and he took Grace’s life.”

In an interview with police, shown during the trial, the defendant was seen to break down in tears.

“His tears, to me, they’re more tears for himself.”

Apologising to the Millane family, he added: “I’m just so, so incredibly sorry for their loss.

“To know it’s one of our family members – even though it’s not our actions – it’s very difficult, and I can’t imagine the pain and hurt and what [the Millane family] had to go through for a court hearing… to me that’s all because he doesn’t have any shred of a decent human being inside him, and couldn’t just confess to the fact he murdered her.”

I really thought he was going to be found not guilty of murder, becuase of the evidence that Millane was into BDSM and ‘breath play’, so this is amazing.

QotD: “The ‘Consensual Rough Sex’ Defence Is On The Rise In Murder Cases And We Need To Discuss It”

Last week, the trial of the man suspected of killing British backpacker Grace Millane finally began.

The 22-year-old from Wickford, Essex, had been on a round-the-world trip when she was strangled to death in the Auckland apartment of the 27-year-old man she had met for a Tinder date last December, the eve of her 22nd birthday.

Jurors have heard that after she died, the accused took “intimate” photos of her body, watched pornography, and went on to have on another Tinder date the following evening, while Grace’s body was kept in a suitcase in his room.

Prosecutors allege Grace was strangled to death in the man’s apartment – but the case for the defence? They claim that Grace died by accident during consensual sex, saying “acts designed to enhance sexual pleasure went wrong”.

This defence will mean Grace’s family will have to endure a month-long trial during where her sexual behaviours and preferences are openly discussed. Her parents, David and Gill, are sitting just feet from the accused.

Grace’s story is a shocking one – but sadly not unique.

‘Consensual rough sex’ defences to the killing or injuring of women and girls are successfully being used to get lighter convictions and sentences.

In fact, the consensual violence defence has been used in the case of 59 deaths of women since records began. Only in the case of 36 pf those deaths was the defence not supported by the jury, and the accused were convicted of murder.

Of the remaining cases, 16 resulted in manslaughter convictions, two were found not guilty, and in three no charges were brought. Two cases – Grace’s included – are ongoing.

Currently, so-called ‘sex gone wrong’ defences are successful roughly 45 per cent of the time.

Around 60 per cent of women who are killed in alleged ‘rough sex’ die from being strangled, and a third of the dead women just met their killers on the same day as their murder.

What’s worse, the use of the ‘consensual rough sex’ defences to the killing or injuring of women and girls is on the rise in courts.

According to the most recent available statistics, there were 20 uses of the defence in 2017, compared to just two in 1997 – a tenfold increase in 20 years.

These statistics have been collated by We Can’t Consent To This (WCCTT), an initiative looking to change laws on domestic violence, with the consensual violence plea at the heart.

WCCTT are campaigning to amend the Domestic Abuse Bill in England and Wales to end the use of these defences in court.

The bill has sadly been temporarily halted due to the dissolution of parliament ahead of the general election in December. But two MPs – Harriet Harman and Mark Garnier – have announced they will take action over the use of ‘rough sex’ defences.

Its message is a simple one: women can’t consent to their own death. And it’s one that is brutally encapsulated in the dozens of true stories it has on its website – stories like Grace’s.

There’s Natalie Connolly, a 26-year-old mum who died at the bottom of her stairs in 2016 after suffering 40 separate injuries, including serious internal trauma, vaginal arterial bleeding, a fractured eye socket and facial wounds.

Her partner of only a few months, millionaire property developer John Broadhurst, claimed it was consensual, alcohol and drug-fuelled rough sex. He was convicted of manslaughter and got only three years and eight months.

Then there is Laura Huteson, a 21-year-old who was killed by a man she had met just that day. Her killer Jason Gaskell had held a knife to her neck while having sex and cut through her carotid artery.

Gaskell, the only surviving witness, claimed he didn’t intend to use the knife to kill Laura. He was ultimately charged with murder but admitted manslaughter and got just six years in prison. Courts heard how Gaskell had strangled a woman 11 days earlier.

Chloe Miazek was a 20-year-old student who had been out drinking in Aberdeen when she had been thrown out of a nightclub for being too drunk. She was approached by Mark Bruce, 32, while waiting at a bus stop and within two hours he had strangled her.

Bruce claimed it had been an accident and denied murder. He pleaded culpable homicide – the Scottish equivalent of manslaughter – and got just six years inside.

The examples make for tough reading – yet unbelievably, the subject of ‘consensual rough sex’ remains fraught with grey areas, legally speaking at least.

But for WCCTT founder Fiona Mackenzie, it reads starkly black and white.

“The law should be clear it shouldn’t matter if she consented to rough sex, that shouldn’t matter at all, it shouldn’t be part of a case,” she tells Tyla.

Fiona was inspired to create WCCTT when she heard MP Harriet Harman speak about Natalie Connelly’s death on BBC Woman’s Hour.

She – like a lot of other women she knew – were horrified by John Broadhurst’s short sentence and concerned by the frequency in which these kinds of cases were appearing in the news.

On Christmas Eve last year, Fiona decided to collate all of the cases she could immediately and launched the website.

Fiona explains how in some cases, even police officers investigating these cases, coroners, and crime scene officers are then “writing them off” because they look like sex accidents gone wrong.

“This defence allows people to switch their brains off,” she explains. “They think ‘other people must get up to this, who knows what goes on in the bedroom, maybe she asked for it.’

“That’s why it’s so successful. It’s the ultimate in victim blaming – blaming women for their own death.”

In all cases, jury’s have to go off the accused’s word alone. The victim can’t offer their side of the story, as is the sad situation with Grace.

“We need a change in attitude in the criminal justice system so people know that women do not consent to this violence,” Fiona adds.

Aside from changing the law, Fiona hopes WCCTT can help to raise awareness about the dangers of violent sex more generally.

“There’s a huge issue with young women being choked, punched, slapped or just horrendously assaulted as part of consensual sex by men that they are dating,” Fiona explains.

“We know this, we know its really dangerous to strangle someone, but for some reason young men are able to override this knowledge and are choking their partners.”

Recent figures from the ONS showed an estimated 4.3 million women have experienced some form of domestic abuse, and one in five have experienced some type of sexual assault since the age of 16 in England and Wales.

Police receive a domestic abuse call every 30 seconds, while two women are killed by an ex or current partner every single week in England and Wales alone.

It’s clear the increase in cases of violent sex and the use of the consensual rough sex defence goes hand-in-hand with the normalisation of violence against women, and it needs to be stopped.

(source)

QotD: “Husband killed his wife ‘when 48-hour bondage sex session’ during their ‘honeymoon period’ in Germany left her with a perforated bowel”

A German man is in court facing manslaughter charges for killing his new wife in a 48-hour BDSM sex session just days after they walked down the aisle together.

Ralph Jankus, 52, and his wife Christel, 49, took part in a 48-hour sex session for their nuptials, he claims.

New bride Christel suffered severe internal injuries allegedly after a sharp object was inserted into her.

When emergency services were called four days later, they were unable to save Christel.

Self-confessed sadomasochist Jankus faces manslaughter charges at the court in Krefeld, a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, in western Germany.

He is being prosecuted for failing to call for help, allegedly leaving her injured for four days. He claims he was not aware his wife was seriously ill.

The public prosecutor believes that Jankus must have been aware of how unwell his wife was and that her life was in danger.

When questioned, he told police the sex had been consensual and that he had been taking part in sadomasochism sessions for the past thirty years.

[…]

Jankus has reportedly admitted that his wife had previously complained about discomfort and had been to see an internal medicine specialist who had carried out a colonoscopy, but nothing had been found to be wrong with her.

Forensic medicine specialists came to the conclusion that the woman must have had some sort of barbed hook inserted into her and when it was removed this caused a perforated bowel.

The victim’s 30-year-old son, who has not been named, claimed his mother had been abused as a child and was mentally unstable.

He added that his mother was dominated by her husband and had started wearing clothes that covered her up well.

She had also allegedly reported abuse at the hands of her husband before they got married, in 2017, but later withdrew these allegations and had spent some time in a psychiatric clinic.

Her son claims that she fled to a women’s shelter in 2018, before turning up happier and marrying her partner in July of the same year.

He said: ‘She had injuries over her whole body and in her genital region.’

The son said: ‘I made accusations to her that she was putting up with too much and that it should never have gone this far.’

He added he had seen bruises which his mother had shown him and she allegedly told her son that she never wanted to see her partner again and never wanted to be hurt by him.

He claims that Jankus ‘abused, mistreated and humiliated’ his mother, but added: ‘I do think she loved him though.’

Her son’s partner, who is also a witness and who has not been named, said: ‘We had no idea about the violence at first. But over time it became more apparent, she was not allowed to leave the apartment. She was forced into taking drugs. She was beaten for going to the hairdressers without permission.’

(source)

QotD: “Porn is warping the minds of a generation”

A pint of semi-skimmed, 20 Bensons, a scratchcard and, er, a porn pass . . . The odds on this becoming a regular corner-shop scenario crashed this week as Jeremy Wright, the culture secretary, announced that age verification checks for accessing online pornography would be delayed yet again, this time because the government forgot to inform the European Commission. No wonder it’s been called Sexit.

Age verification began as a thoughtful response by the coalition government to alarming NSPCC research that 65 per cent of 15 to 16-year-olds and almost a third of 12-year-olds access porn. That porn sites should be age-verified, as gambling domains already are, has a 67 per cent approval rating. The problem is that it’s technologically impossible to enforce.

From July 15, clicking on a porn site was supposed to generate a page where a user must provide proof via a credit card, passport or driving licence that they are over 18. Unfortunately Britain stands nobly alone in this endeavour against a global porn industry. And any fool can easily install a VPN (virtual private network): a bit of software which conceals your geographical location. British kids use them already to dodge rights issues, particularly to access US Netflix with its superior range of films.

A VPN would allow a porn user to swerve the UK age-blocker. And which punter wouldn’t do that rather than give personal details to the state-approved verification firm AgeID (which, unbelievably, has the same owner as Pornhub)? No amount of blah about safe encrypted data will reassure anyone that their name and mugshot won’t one day pop up alongside their taste for “watersports” and MILFs.

The alternative would be to go into a shop and, after showing an age ID, buy a £4.99 porn pass. While oldsters might find this no more embarrassing than the time they bumped into their mate’s mum while buying a copy of Razzle, young people have grown up under the total anonymity of the web. Besides, they would simply access porn on platforms such as WhatsApp, Reddit or Snapchat. And a VPN can make the internet an even more dangerous landscape, opening up blocked extremist, paedophile and drug sites on the dark web.

Yet whether age-verification is feasible should not distract from the bigger, more pressing question: does allowing the porn industry to pipe its product unrestricted into every home have toxic consequences? Ireland is reeling from the murder of Ana Kriegel, 14, found naked with extensive injuries and a ligature around her neck, killed by two 13-year-old boys. One of the boys was found to have phones containing thousands of pornographic images, many involving children and animals. The Irish prime minister has said he will be viewing Britain’s age-verification plans closely.

This, of course, is the most extreme scenario. Experts speculated in 1993 whether James Bulger’s killers were inspired by “video nasties” or were just disturbed children who’d have killed in any era. But there is no question that having immediate access to images once obtained only by writing to obscure PO box addresses has changed society. Police now investigate 1,000 cases of offenders viewing child abuse images each month: our jails could not accommodate them all so most are dismissed with a caution on a first offence. Many such men say that viewing “barely legal” porn involving teenagers on legal sites drew them to younger children.

There has also been a spate of deaths of women at the hands of partners who claimed they were engaged in consensual “sex games”. These include Anna Reed, 22, from Harrogate who was suffocated in a Swiss hotel room; Charlotte Teeling, 33, from Birmingham, who was strangled, as was Hannah Dorans, 21, from Edinburgh. Natalie Connolly, 26, was penetrated with a bottle of carpet cleaner and left for dead at the bottom of the stairs. All the men concerned argued that “rough sex” or “Fifty Shades of Grey games” had gone wrong, that these women had, in effect, consented to their own deaths.

These are scenes choreographed by violent pornography, which is not some rare category but just a click away. Researchers studying aggressive porn that involves slaps, hair-pulling and choking found that in 95 per cent of cases the actresses responded with expressions of pleasure, suggesting to the viewer that violence is desired.

Is it any coincidence that the first generation of children exposed to hardcore pornography before their first kiss have epidemic levels of mental illness? The extreme aesthetics of porn fuel body-hatred in young women, while psychologists are concerned that a growing cohort of young men are so desensitised by porn that they suffer erectile dysfunction and emotional disconnection from real women. Moreover, when sex is learnt through porn — a misogynist industry focused solely on male desire — girls prioritise their performance above their own pleasure.

This is now normalised in the mainstream: Teen Vogue ran a feature on anal sex, which most women find uncomfortable, even painful, but is demanded by some men because it’s a major porn trope. Teen Vogue’s anatomical diagram did not even include the clitoris.

Yet young women are not allowed to balk at porn. In the US high school comedy Booksmart, two girls watch porn on their phone in horror. One tries to tell herself she must enjoy it because “I’m a sex-positive feminist”. Not to love porn marks a girl out as uncool, conservative and “unwoke”. Age-verifying technology is, alas, a distraction from the real conversation we need with young people about porn. That it is not feminist nor is it positive sex.

Janice Turner

QotD: “London porn festival goes into hiding after feminist protests”

A pornography festival in London this weekend has been forced to relocate after protests.

Faced with the prospect of a picket, organisers of the London porn film festival, which describes itself as “celebrating queer, feminist, radical and experimental porn”, pulled screenings from the Horse Hospital, an arts venue in Bloomsbury. The three-day event will instead be held at a new location disclosed only to ticket holders.

Multiple complaints about the festival were made to Camden council. Local authorities have the power to permit screenings of uncertificated films.

Despite the festival’s progressive intentions, feminist organisations branded it demeaning. Janice Williams, chair of the activist group Object, said the films on show promoted “degradation and oppression”. Rude Jude, one of the festival’s organisers, disagreed. “This is the next step on from the moral panic and the rightwing conservative groups that protested this kind of thing before … Britain likes to think of itself as a place tolerant of queer people, but when queer people assert ourselves, we’re attacked.”

The festival programme includes screenings titled Soft Tender Tuff Bois, described as a “love letter to all genderqueer and transmasculine people”, and The Kinks Are All Right, which takes the theme of “seductive humiliation”.

Rude Jude said the festival was staged as a response to 2014 legislation that extended pornography laws to films streamed over the internet: “It banned so many queer acts. It banned the depiction of female ejaculation, caning, breast play, flogging. These things are part of queer sexuality. The festival was formed as a protest.”

The coordinators of a separate pressure group, Women Against Pornography, said: “Feminist pornography is an oxymoron … feminism is not about individualistic wishes or desires, it is about liberating all women from the oppression of males. This can never be achieved by being tied up in a bed or by telling women that torture will make them free.” Women Against Pornography cited “security reasons” for not wanting to reveal their names.

In a letter to Camden council, Williams singled out a festival strand titled Sex Work Is Work, the online description for which included the hashtag #necrophilia. Williams claimed the festival was to show extreme pornographic images and pornography that is “likely to result in serious injury” to the performers. The hashtag has since been removed from the festival site.

[…]

In a series of Twitter posts, the festival claimed transphobia underlay the attack on the event. Women Against Pornography refute the accusation: “In the letters we sent there was no mention of transgenderism. However, if transgenderism is apparently so closely linked with pornography then that’s not a very good advert for it. As radical feminists we are gender critical, although this didn’t form part of our criticism of the festival.”

The Horse Hospital, which does not receive public money, is known for its grassroots art programming and has hosted the festival since its inception. “We’re in a difficult position here. We’re always up against it with somebody,” said director Roger Burton.

Full article here

‘Mums Make Porn’ but there’s still no such thing as feminist porn

‘Mums Make Porn’ is a Channel 4 documentary about a group of mothers who make a short porn film. Emma, the lead on this project, describes mainstream porn as “horrible. Gruesome” and her intention is to create a ‘new wave’ of porn.

The result is a 14-minute film that Emma’s 20-year-old daughter was happy to watch alongside her mum, dad, and grandmother, with her boyfriend and friends in attendance.

There is some acknowledgement of the realities of the porn industry:

“The darker realities of the sex industry are never mentioned – in the first episode of the series at least. Emma says that they met one actress who had performed so much that she was physically injured, and that some of the films she saw were so gruesome she could barely kiss her husband goodnight. There was a point when the group thought that instead of making a porn film they should be campaigning to have it banned. “But that’s a huge step,” Emma says. “We were just four middle-aged hormonal females. But absolutely it needs to be policed. Everyone needs to get involved, from the government to mums and even those working in the porn industry. […] Back home they started to interview potential cast members. The first question was: “What sort of porn do you like to watch?” Most of the actors, Emma says, didn’t like a lot of what they saw, or indeed a lot of what they were doing.”

While this write up reports one of the mums vomiting after attending an ‘amateur’ porn shoot.

The idea that the porn industry will police itself is hopelessly naïve, and has been shown not to happen in the real world.

What is the actual purpose of this 14-minute porno, apart from making a small group of middle-class women feel good about themselves?

Could it work as ‘sex education’? But education in what? If its purpose is to educate about consent, why do you then need to see real sex acts? Does it include stopping and starting again, or giving up for the night? (at 14 minutes, I doubt it.)

Is it supposed to be an education in technique? The mention of male performance anxiety suggests so, but then who gets to set the standard?

Is it commercially viable? Is it going to ‘disrupt’ the porn industry? Of course not. The fact that it is being put up online for free (on Erika Lust’s website – more on her later), suggests that making it commercially viable was not a part of the plan (making it even more a middle-class vanity project, working-class women don’t have the time or resources to make porn for free, instead, they get ‘sex work’ pushed on them as something they ‘need’).

There is no meaningful definition of ‘feminist’ when it comes to porn, only ‘a woman made it’ and/or ‘a woman gets off on it’; which means all porn is ‘feminist’, including the most extreme acts of violence, bestiality, and child sex abuse images, because somewhere there is a woman who will get off to that.

Pandora Blake, a self-styled ‘feminism pornographer’ produces only sado-masochistic porn centred around corporal punishment, and even Emma “is impressed by a couple of fetishists she watches making a naughty little video” while another mother is interested in “’beauty’, ‘tastefulness’ and large penises”, so there is no standard (sex products sold to women always claim higher production values, and always sport a bigger price tag).

The Guardian published an article last year titled ‘The Pleasure Revolution’, some of it was interesting, like the need to correctly describe, and normalise, female genitalia, and sex toys that aren’t objectifying and aimed at men; and some of it was ridiculous, like politics lecturer Reba Maybury, who has a side-gig as ‘political dominatrix’ ‘Mistress Rebecca’, who only dominates white, right-wing men, in order to ‘shift the power balance between the sexes’ (which is laughable, of course, she is being paid by these men for this ‘service’, she is still doing what they want, and outside that BDSM bubble, these men will carry on exactly as before). The article also links to a supposedly ‘feminist’ website, called ‘frolic me’, at the bottom of the website’s front page (click on image to enlarge) is a list of ‘erotic’ films and stories available on the site, including “voyeur catches a couple having a sexy rough fuck’, ‘BDSM erotic story of a submissive girl and her daddy’, and ‘forbidden seduction of a young horny stepson’. There is no meaningful definition of ‘feminist’ porn.

The idea of ‘ethical porn’ is equally meaningless. Mainstream porn uses ‘exit interviews’ (filmed statements where the female porn performers say that they consented to everything that just happened to them); as recent cases of abuse in the US porn industry show, these are faked in order for the woman to get paid, and there are plenty of other accounts of abuse and abusive conditions on porn sets. Any genuine policing of porn sets would make porn production impossible.

The pornographer Erika Lust is name-checked approvingly by the Mums, but this is Gail Dines’ description of one of her porn shoots (from ‘Hot Girls Wanted: Turned On’):

Lust’s rather bizarre idea of a compelling “erotic” movie for women was to portray a woman pianist living out her fantasy of playing the piano naked while being “pleasured.” So Lust finds Monica, a woman who is both a pianist and willing to play out this fantasy, concocted by Lust. The problem is that Monica is new to porn and lacks any experience, while Lust hires a mainstream male porn performer, resulting in the usual degrading porn sex – pounding penetration and hair pulling included. Monica finishes the scene in obvious pain and traumatized, looking like a deer caught in the headlights of an oncoming truck. But remember, this is a “feminist” porn film, so Lust, acting all sisterly, gives Monica a big hug and a glass of water to make her feel better. And then asks her to fake an orgasm for the final scene. So much for authentic female sexuality!

It was stomach churning to watch Lust manipulate and cajole Monica into making this film, and lying through her teeth as she explained that she is doing something different from the boys. Despite all the talk about aesthetic value and women’s sexuality, HGWTO is just a clever piece of ideological propaganda. Lust, just like the boys, is making money from sexually exploiting women; unlike the boys, she wraps herself in a feminist flag as a way to differentiate her brand in a glutted market. In Lust’s world, sisterhood is powerful because it provides cover to pimp out women in the name of feminism.

What projects like ‘Mums Make Porn’ miss is that even ‘better’ porn still objectifies and commodifies sexuality, and also ignores the addictive nature of porn, requiring more, and more extreme, images. It also makes the common, mainstream, assumption that men are simply consuming ‘bad’ porn by mistake, because there isn’t any ‘good’ porn available (a similar apology is made for male sexual violence, that poor men simply don’t understand when they are raping someone). If ‘good’ porn were commercially viable, it would already exist, and higher production value porn already exists.

This porn film will do nothing to challenge the mainstream porn industry, and it is no substitute for compulsory, age-appropriate, sex and relationships education, including education on consent, and the porn industry.