Recently it was mentioned that yet another crusade has been announced, to 'combat child porn'. While I completely agree with stamping out pornography that exploits children, I suspect that -- as usual -- the crusade's announced intention is nothing near its actual goals.
In the past decade, adult entertainment has been increasingly discriminated against and 'ghetto-ised', that is to say, it has been forced into a sort of ghetto, an area where similar things exist in a sort of insular world from the rest. Because of a completely frivolous law demanding ridiculous amounts of documentation for adult film actors, some studios suffered massive losses, and all studios in the US today are forced to file much greater documentation for their employees than practically any other industry.
What especially irks me is that the adult industry is often presented as some sort of mafia-run, crime-affiliated, exploitative, illegitimate business that is conducted in shady warehouses and seedy motel rooms. The adult industry is a multi-billion dollar industry, with some studios that produce films comparable to Hollywood quality, such as Digital Playground's big-budget extravaganzas. Maybe once upon a time, adult films were associated with illegality...chiefly because they were made illegal by the same puritanical sorts that seem to be on the same soapbox now. Even nudity, which is not adult material (and the Supreme Court even said so when a nudist film finally brought it to court), was harshly dealt with, especially male nudity. Double-standard, anyone?
It's always the same buzzwords; adult content is purportedly 'endangering' others. As if it's some sort of a weapon. When I was in middle school, some friends of mine at the time purloined a porn mag and flashed a peek of the centrefold at me. I was nonplussed, but mainly because of the massive airbrushing. I wasn't 'endangered', I didn't shrivel up and require hospitalisation, and I don't even remember what she looked like now anyway. Endangering someone means that you are putting them in danger, which means that they may suffer injury, possibly serious. If you are letting your 12-year-old son drive your motorcycle on a cliffside, you are endangering him. If he discovers your vibrator in your closet, he's just embarrassing you.
Canada, England, and a few other completely insane countries have even gone so far as to outlaw any drawn images that may be considered pervy, which contain subjects who 'look' underage. Considering this includes fictional characters, such as aliens and magical beings who may look 19 for pretty much ever, it's rather ridiculous. How do you apply age to a fictional character anyway? I know people in real life who were late bloomers and looked 15 until they were 25. The creepy types who pushed these laws through apparently would like to restrict these people from engaging in any adult behaviour if they 'look' underage. By what standards are we exactly judging this, though? Art styles vary wildly. I have seen art that has depicted fully adult characters, even 40+-year-olds, who are drawn in a style that makes them seem much younger. I have, conversely, also seen art styles that depict supposed middle-schoolers so that they look like collegiates.
And what about the masters like Caravaggio? Are we going to stamp out masterpieces of art because they have subjects who 'look' too young? And shall we destroy Parrish and his gorgeous oeuvres for the same reason? It's inane and ludicrous.
This isn't about protecting or endangering anyone. It's about lazy parenting and lazy lawmaking. Most of all, this only punishes those who already abide by the law and work to put an end to true exploitation and unscrupulous such activities. This is comparable to running a campaign to have cheese removed from grocery stores because you don't think your children should have it. And it's comparable to actually getting cheese removed, or restricted for purchase, simply for that reason. If you don't want your children to have cheese, how about just not buying them cheese and monitoring them, guiding them, being a parent to them so it doesn't become a part of their lives until they are at a point where they can decide for themselves about it?
I am an adult. I have the right to my own entertainment. I am not saying that adult films should be sold in every store, or that children should be able to go out and buy their own. But I am saying, it's time to take a stand. Lawmakers and fanatics need to back off. It's trickling down to the rest of us; I'm not in the adult entertainment industry, but as an artist, I am affected. Every artist is. It's time for parents to be responsible for the children they just had to have. I am through sacrificing rights and privileges for someone else's inability to be a responsible parent.
The attempt to encourage adult sites towards the .xxx domain suffix should be vehemently resisted. While they cite that it will make filtering those sites easier for schools and parental controls, it will also make it easier to further restrict and eliminate adult sites altogether. Many sites with adult content already work with these filters and controls. And if they do not, it is the job of the people who update the controls to find which sites need to be added. It is simply more laziness, more irresponsibility, and an uncomfortable attempt to place everyone involved in a single place for convenient disposal or further marginalisation.
Furthermore, websites that refuse to link to any sites that use the words 'boy', 'girl', 'teen', et cetera are only contributing to the problem. So now words are also endangering? When I say 'I'm going to have a night out with the girls', it means I am going to go out with my friends who happen to be female. I don't mean I'm going to go cruise the elementary school to take some kids to the coffee house. Similarly, when someone says 'I'm going out with the boys', it tends to mean 'I'm going to go out with my male friends'. For example, famous singing group, the Oak Ridge Boys, were well into adulthood and no-one thought the name was misapplied. Sites that advertise 'hot boys' are generally assumed, by most adults with any degree of common sense, to feature attractive adult men. And last but not least, 18 is the age of majority in most places, though 16 is the age of consent in most places. Therefore, some adult stars are teens. Let's not make 'teen' any more demonised than it already is, as a term. What's next? Twink? The more people pre-judge these words to be bad in meaning, the more it will further be promoted.
It's time to put your foot down. The media buzzwords about children being 'endangered' and women being 'exploited' (it's always like this; as if there are no men in adult film) need to stop. We need to make it clear that this is ultimately only detrimental for society and culture, and furthermore lazy and irresponsible on the part of authorities. As an artist, I refuse to be further censored just because someone who had to spawn some offspring can't do his or her job. I already have a more difficult time of things because some of my comics have adult content, meaning I can't use most printers for my work. I am discriminated against because of that adult content, when I have to take measures to make sure this account or that account aren't linked to it. That is, frankly, unacceptable. And I say that it needs to stop. Now.
Please do take a stand. Write your lawmakers, write your representatives, or even phone them and say this must stop. Saying you're doing something to 'protect children' or 'protect women', and so forth, is just a cheap and frankly exploitative way to get votes and support. It also makes it easy to try and demonise anyone who questions your goals, casting them as some sort of criminal or child-hater. News flash: not everyone likes children, and it's not a bad thing if you don't. But just because you don't want to pick up the slack from lazy parents doesn't mean you don't like children. If anything, it means you don't like lazy parents.
Let's take a stand and prevent this from going any further. It needs to stop right here, right now.