Porn panic… Digital Economy Bill

Porn panic… Digital Economy Bill

On 1st Dec 2014 Audio Visual Media Services introduced a series of regulations banning the following to be created within the UK pornography for distribution online or DVD pornography:
Spanking, caning, aggressive whipping, penetration by any object “associated with violence”, physical or verbal abuse (regardless of if consensual), urolagnia (known as “water sports”), role-playing as non-adults, physical restraint, Humiliation, Female ejaculation, strangulation, facesitting and fisting.

The final three are regarding by the British Board of Film Censors (BBFC) to be “life threatening”.

This did not mean we could not access them online, so long as they were produced outside the UK.

Roll on two years and a proposed new Bill (the Digital Economy Bill see Part 3) will now ban certain acts from being accessed by UK citizens to view online. Essentially previously online porn was not certified by the BBFC, but the new Bill has been bought in to safeguard children accessing online pornography and has therefore had to define what pornographic material is. It has done so as follows:

“In this Part “pornographic material” means any of the following—

  1. (a) a video work in respect of which the video works authority has issued

an R18 certificate;”

What is R18? (BBFC)

R18 – To be shown only in specially licensed cinemas, or supplied only in licensed sex shops, and to adults only (CURRENTLY, the Bill will change this to include anything online)

The R18 category is a special and legally-restricted classification primarily for explicit works of consenting sex or strong fetish material involving adults. Films may only be shown to adults in specially licensed cinemas, and video works may be supplied to adults only in licensed sex shops. R18 video works may not be supplied by mail order.

The following content is not acceptable:

  • Material which is in breach of the criminal law, including material judged to be obscene under the current interpretation of the Obscene Publications Act 1959.
  • Material (including dialogue) likely to encourage an interest in sexually abusive activity which may include adults role-playing as non-adults
  • The portrayal of sexual activity, which involves real or apparent lack of consent. Any form of physical restraint, which prevents participants from indicating a withdrawal of consent.
  • The infliction of pain or acts, which may cause lasting physical harm, whether real or (in a sexual context) simulated. Some allowance may be made for moderate, non-abusive, consensual activity
  • Penetration by any object associated with violence or likely to cause physical harm.
  • Sexual threats, humiliation or abuse, which do not form part of a clearly consenting role-playing game. Strong physical or verbal abuse, even if consensual, is unlikely to be acceptable.

The BBFC has given a non-exhaustive list of acts that will look to be banned online (currently not allowed on DVD). This will include things such as:

  • Female ejaculation
  • The sight of menstrual blood within any porn
  • No more than four fingers to be inserted (into an orifice)
  • Penetration by an object associated with violence
  • Any sexual act deemed “obscene” under the Obscene Publications Act from The test of obscenity being:

“For the purposes of this Act an article shall be deemed to be obscene if its effect or (where the article comprises two or more distinct items) the effect of any one of its items is, if taken as a whole, such as to tend to deprave and corrupt persons who are likely, having regard to all relevant circumstances, to read, see or hear the matter contained or embodied in it.”

So once the Bill is passed, it would no longer be legal to be viewed any such content within Britain, even if made abroad. Porn sites can still host them, so long as they are not available to view in the UK. Any sites showing them would be breaking the law.

Is it censorship gone mad?

I was outraged when I first read about this. Having really done some research now, I can see the complications of the law behind it. Part 3 of Bill itself is a good thing in its endeavors to protect children from being able to access porn (I do agree with this, particularly some of the porn we can currently access in particular, I think it’s wholly inappropriate). It took me quite some time to pull apart why it affects what adults can view, but because they have intertwined the previous regulations and are clearly laying out what is classified as porn in the Bill, it affects it on a much greater level.

I think the Bill either should have been reworded so as not to blanket ban these, or the classifications reviewed. Though presumably, this would be a step backwards considering the ban in 2014.

Some of the acts that have been banned seem so odd to me. It feels like female ejaculation and menstruation are being shamed, both of which are perfectly normal female bodily functions so why shouldn’t they be viewed? Fine, they might not be to everyone’s tastes, but come on, don’t like it, don’t watch it. Why on earth is seeing a woman ejaculating so terrible? What are the reasons the BBFC deem this act so hideous that the public must never view it? Menstrual blood – I’ve never seen porn with this in myself, but why the FUCK shouldn’t you have sex when you’re on your period? Sorry, I can’t watch it in porn darling, so I best not allow you near my precious bleeding cunt.

No more than four fingers. Lets just call it what it is shall we, fisting. I understand that there is likely to be some porn out there that is going to be of the aggressive fisting type that not many a woman is up for. So, are the BBFC trying to ban it to save you from accidentally having your uterus punched by a guy who has seen an over eager porn star slamming his fist into a groaning woman’s cunt? I highly doubt it. They probably just disapprove of the notion altogether, and as earlier was banned from being filmed within the UK (and deemed from being “life threating”, they obviously think the general British public has no fucking common sense.

A few different guys have fisted me several times. But guess what, WE’RE NOT MORONS. I realise that my vagina wasn’t going to suddenly open up and take a fist, so we took our time, used plenty of lube and they actually listened to direction. I feel the BBFC doesn’t think I’m smart enough to realise these things, and also wants to punish me for enjoying this act, and potentially wanting to view others enjoy it.

So, this Bill is all digital, but why are the government stopping there if they’re so concerned about what children can access? I read books that have a lot of descriptive and often violent sex in as my preferred tastes lean to authors such as John Niven and Irvine Welsh. Why aren’t you protecting under 18s from their portrayal of things? Is there to be an age screening at Waterstones? Because I was sure as shite horrified by Easton Ellis’ “American Psycho” smearing brie on a woman’s vagina, shoving a plastic tube up it followed by a rat for his own sick pleasure, but WHAT IF a 16 year old read it? Surely that’s not ok?

And what about where things are implied in television and film? Black Mirror’s first episode where the Prime Minister fucks a pig breaking the law on bestiality. Ok, it’s simulated unlike porn, but with porn getting more and more vanilla with the laws you’re imposing, is that going to get the same treatment? I appreciate these are currently rated by the BBFC, but I’ve seen many a graphic rape scene in films that has made me feel extremely uneasy, yet I know it’s only acting. Yet spanking in a porno I’m not allowed to watch?

Furthermore, many people make their own porn nowadays, be it for private use (sexting etc) or to put online on fetish sites or camming work. Anyone with home videos who has uploaded these anywhere would be breaking the new law. With blogs, tumblr, fetlife and other sites being as common as they are, individuals are being stripped of their own freedom to have the sex they want and share any videos publicly as they so wish.

Frankly, I was annoyed in 2014, but as this affected the industry and not as much the consumer, I suppose there was less uproar. This, I don’t find to be acceptable. You cannot dictate what people should and should not be allowed to watch. So long as the porn has been made consensually (yes, I appreciate there are issues with this in porn), why should you take this away from a whole population of people?

Leave a Reply

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