By now, certainly you’ve heard of Measure B – the “safer sex initiative” that, if passed, would make condoms mandatory in *all* adult content shot in incorporated areas of Los Angeles County.
(fyi: *all* means literally all – from big professional productions to cam shows starring a fluid bonded couple)
Oh wait, you haven’t? Well then, you’d better read this. And you’d extra-expecially better read this if you live and/or vote in LA County… because this initiative is on the November 6, 2012 ballot.
Here are only some of the issues I see (point and counterpoint):
1. Measure B severely limits individual choice and bodily autonomy. This has the potential to impact society as a whole.
If this initiative passes, barrier protection in adult content production will be MANDATORY – mandatory as in “have to,” and have to as in “you have to put this object in and/or on your body.”
The precedent this measure seeks to set makes me shudder for sexual expression specifically and freedom of speech overall. It also means that some cadre of workers – people who likely didn’t sign up to work in the adult industry when they decided to work for the county – will have to enforce this mandate. A Handmaid’s Tale (1985) comes to mind.
Now, I will be the first person to say that the idea of “condom optional” – which is what’s supported by a *NO on Measure B* vote – is not exactly perfect. This is for a variety of reasons, reasons that have as much to do with the wider market as they do with individual choice/behaviors. But mandatory condoms is not the way to fix this. Concerted collaborative effort on behalf of the industry and external regulators might be a good option. Educational outreach that actually has an idea about adult industry-related issues would be nice, too.
2. This initiative will further weaken the California economy. This initiative does not take market demands into account.
The adult production industry in Southern California employs thousands of people directly and indirectly. I know it’s fun to think that all porn is is one guy (of course it’s a guy) holding a camera while he films some folks knockin’ it out, but that imagination couldn’t be further from the truth. Think of everything that goes into making a Hollywood film or mainstream TV program, from performers to producers to make-up and lighting to catering to a location/set – you have all those same players in porn. Think about everyone it takes to run an office, from HR to reception to the people who stock the vending machines – you have all those same players in porn. Think about support industries – think about people who rent equipment or sell theatrical make-up and costumes, think about people who run lunch trucks, those who rent big office equipment, shipping companies, and online billers and processors. All of these people and more will be negatively impacted by Measure B.
Because guess what else?! Porn is a for-profit entity that participates in the economy and must negotiate consumer demands. It also seeks to meet the market’s needs… just like every other for-profit entity.
This does not make porn evil or sleazy; it makes porn just like every other thing you buy.
The market demands porn without condoms. You wanna know how I know that – because six big companies went “condom only” in 1998. Four of those six are now out of business, one of them is Vivid (Vivid reverted to “condom optional” about four *over six* years ago), and the other is Wicked Pictures – a company that satisfies a very specific niche in today’s market.
Some like to say that the market has changed, and perhaps it has… somewhat. But consider this: recall your tastes during the last ten years (any tastes will do – food, leisure time, sex, no matter) and then consider them today – have they changed that much? What about during the last five?
If porn producers cannot create content that meets market demands in California… well, then they’ll be forced to leave the state (because the market still continues to want). This will give rise to whole other set of issues. These issues include, but are not limited to:
– Fracturing the adult community in Southern California… For those of you who know anything about marginalized subcultures, you know that community is key. In marginalized populations, it provides folks who experience all sorts of ails at the hands of wider society with a complex, multi-dimensional support system/social network. If the industry scatters from LA County… well, that will scatter the community as well.
– Measure B will entrap legal, job-producing, tax-paying entities to break the law… because it’s only legal to produce porn in the US in California and New Hampshire (this is 100% true, regardless of the fact that people do produce it everywhere).
– Legal ambiguities will create a shortage of US produced content in general, which will have a very significant impact on the young girl/teen market (at least).
– Measure B will entrap consumers who enjoy perfectly legal young girl/teen (as in 18 and 19-year-old teens) to seek their preferred content elsewhere. This will then potentially expose said consumers to illegal, graphic sex depictions of minors… because the rest of the world doesn’t have the same laws and/or standards as the US does.
3. This initiative is a misguided band-aid on the steadily increasing problem US culture has with declining sex eduction.
In spite of how much it boggles my mind, apparently kids watch porn for sex ed nowadays. Caregivers apparently can’t be troubled with guiding and/or communicating with their young people or monitoring their technology use, and god forbid we teach kids anything useful in school (public or otherwise). THIS IS A HUGE PROBLEM.
So you say condoms in porn sends a better message, a safer healthier message… What message is that exactly? That this heterosexual couple is doing it the “right way” – with a condom? Or that this 6-on-1 gangbang is how peers should be exploring sex? Or that the slasher who actually gets to kill and fuck the chic in Some Parody Porn Title (Halloween is commmingggg!!) is where your adult-aged practice of safe sex should be headed?
Porn is not real (it never claims to be). Porn is not for kids. Porn is not sex education. And porn with condoms doesn’t make it any more real or educational, for kids or otherwise.
4. Measure B sets barrier protection up as the end all be all of “safe sex.”
I hate to rain all over everyone’s parade, but the only 100% completely “safe sex” is no sex at all. And as every person from an abstinence only background is probably gonna tell you, no sex isn’t bloody likely.
Even when used in the most controlled and expert of environments, condoms are no where near 100% effective. And though a porn set may be an expert professional environment, it’s not controlled so much as it’s an epic condom stress test. Further, most condoms are made out of some latex-y material… but many folks are allergic to latex. And though latex condom alternatives are readily available, these alternatives are more porous than conventional rubbers – in other words, relatively girthy semen can’t get through but much smaller virons/virus particles/STIs can.
Condoms provide, at best, visible “evidence” of mitigated STI risk – they let us see that there’s some kinda something in place (versus the “invisible” testing system that performers engage currently). To me, this sounds like an elaborate circus trick; some kind of latex band-aid opted for in lieu of engaging the real issues…
Measure B is the product of some megalomaniacal third-party organization’s obsession with the Southern California adult industry. Speculations as to why said organization is so fixated in the first place, while being not at all concerned with other geographic and genre-specific dimensions of the adult industry, are lengthy and disturbing; but these issues are beyond the immediately pressing issue – Measure B is on the ballot in LA County this November.
Measure B is an artifact of power inequality coupled with stigma and marginalization. It’s also a Pandora’s Box containing oh-so-many socially repressive regimes.
It is certainly true that the adult industry is not perfect – improvements and adjustments could be made to many dimensions of adult content production. But nothing is perfect – this is true of every workplace, group, organization, subculture, etc etc… even the group that initiated this debacle.
Rather than attempting to make others’ decisions for them, let’s focus on working to develop constructive and informed solutions to perceived problems. Rather than sweeping this under the rug or looking away, let’s be proactive. Let’s not let one private entity that knows nothing – trust me, nothing – about the industry it has campaigned to “regulate” drag the rest of us down.
Because let me tell you: if this measure passes, it invites the government into your bedroom.
–> Vote NO on Measure B < – Make Sure Your Check Out Dr.Chauntelle’s Blog