Hi, I'd like to tell you about what's been going on with porn and US culture in the past 24 hours.
I want you to understand first of all what sex workers are expected to constantly endure, but also that a cultural movement to ban pornography is building right now.
The first thing is that the NYTimes thought it was appropriate to publish - as their Magazine cover story seen by millions of people - a feature by @maggiepjones about why porn is so problematic for teen sexuality, and how we can mediate that problem.
It's a cowardly article.
Maggie displays no knowledge about porn history, porn as an artform, porn aesthetics, how pornographers make it..
She doesn't know anything about porn. She's an MFA professor.
Somehow, the @nytimes thought, "now THIS is the person to write this story about the problem of porn!"
So of course, the piece rehashes all the old narratives.
The starting point, as always, is "porn is a problem!" And then it moves onto "How can we fix this problem so that it's not a problem!"
It has a gloss of not being anti-porn. ANY porn performer can see that it is.
One of the things that makes this so obvious is Maggie's choice of two main interviewees to represent porn: Cindy Gallop, who has always stood apart from the industry, and Erika Lust, who assisted Rashida Jones in creating the anti-porn series, Hot Girls Wanted.
The piece offers absolutely nothing substantial.
She interviews teenagers that say things like, "If I don't act like a porn star, girls won't like it" and "Do women want what's on the screen?" You know, stuff teenagers have always said and thought.
It also takes on the false assumption - revealing of its fundamentalist and anti-porn attitude - that somehow the sexuality of teen boys was going just GREAT before internet porn came along and ruined it.
But really, you don't need me to comment on the article's many failings.
You can simply read conservative writer Ross Douthat's enthusiastic response to the piece -which the New York Times published yesterday - to see how articles like this are used to make a case against porn.
Because when you know nothing about porn history, aesthetics, etc, and you don't know many sex workers - basically, if you are like Maggie Jones - you don't really know how porn works in culture and how narratives about it are seized constantly to ban it.
So yes, you read that right:
The New York Times published an opinion piece by a conservative anti-porn activist saying "let's ban porn" to affirm the worth of their article about how teen sexuality is messed up by porn.
(Also, look at how Apatow also equates being pro-porn with being "anti-reading."
I'm sure he's read more books than me, or most porn performers for that matter.)
I want you to put this all in the context of a cultural climate of the #MeToo movement, which of course has some real substance and much to offer, but which also - and this has been true from the beginning - employs "I'm not a prostitute!" anti-sex worker rhetoric.
I want you, ALSO, to put this in the context of an upcoming ban on all pornography in the UK.
Yes, you read that right. Porn is banned in the UK starting in April unless individuals actively un-ban it for themselves by verifying their age and saying they want it.
How this will affect adult/non-adult mixed-content sites like twitter that run in both the UK and the US is unclear.
But you can imagine twitter saying, "well, the UK porn laws have made it impossible to show porn anywhere!"
Then imagine the fallout for sex workers on here.
If you don't think there is a war on porn, sex workers, and freedom to create/access sexual expression going on, you're not paying attention.
The easiest way to combat this?
LISTEN TO SEX WORKERS.
Many of us have been practically BEGGING you to hear us out on how the #MeToo movement would be seized by conservatives and sex work exclusionary radical feminists SWERFs.
We saw this happening.
(if you look at the Douthat opinion piece, he cites everything from the Aziz Ansari incident to "The Cat Person" in the New Yorker as evidence that women really think porn should be banned - if he's thinking it, how many others?)
But it is no longer just about LISTENING to us, it is about amplifying our voices.
If you have been afraid, until now, to say, publicly, that support sex workers,GET OVER IT.
Your fear is actively making things worse.
Amplify our voices.
We understand how sex and culture work.
If you don't, you will watch not only our livelihoods and lives be destroyed, but you will experience a constant erosion of your own sexual health, livelihood, and freedom of expression.
This is not a drill.
Get on board.
Amplify sex worker voices.
Support sex workers in any way you can. Follow them on here freely. RT them. But that's not enough. Support us and our nonprofit organizations financially.
Publish our articles and books.
Get us on your media.
And do not ever listen to anyone's opinion on porn or sex work who is't a sex worker or actively involved in engaging with sex work communities.
And do not publish articles by people who don't know anything about porn history or aesthetics outside of it being an "issue."
You know where you've been afraid in the past.
Get over it.
Fight the bullshit.
Support the truth.