Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Justice Department anti-porn regulations empower exploitation of women.

I've found over the years that keeping an eye on the porn business keeps me ahead of the game in many ways - I note social trends, I find out cutting edge web techniques - and there are stories to be had in the Naked City.

This one could be titled What Part of "World Wide Web" did you not understand, John Ashcroft?

It's now official. We have managed to outsource our porn. And in doing so - for all the "right" reasons - we have managed to return to the bad old days, when porn's ulterior motive was, amoung other things, the reinforcement of certain rather toxic social ideals we Americans seem to cherish. Or rather, the sort of cynical elites who see these social stereotypes as being very useful indeed.

The text below is a signifier of a great pile of compliance issues - the greatest of which is the legal requirement to maintain very explicit records on all models for as long as the images exist on your servers - or are leased to others. It's not difficult to imagine that many potential models might not wish to provide such explicit information - which includes a requirement for photo ID, and a requirement that there be an actual live person "on site" to provide access for inspection, which may occur at any time with no notice.

Perhaps a more benevolent government might be trusted with such information, but our current lords and masters never seem to use the process of law save to abuse it. Odd, don't you think, that this has the effect of making all amateur, not-for profit productions illegal? It's not an issue for industrial-scale porn-producers, though renting and staffing a separate compliance office is an annoyance, it's not crippling.

But then, large producers can be relied on to donate money to conservative political causes, put conservative politicians in contact with people they don't want their constituents - or spouses - to learn of. Meanwhile, domestic mainstream porn can be relied upon to uphold (by contrasting, negative example) stereotypical "family values" perceptions of sexuality and women.

That is to say, that they are all potential sluts and whores who must be carefully conditioned from birth to repress all sexual desire or expectation of any non-reproductively oriented satisfaction. And in porn oriented to that perspective - whores are no different. They just don't say "no" to men who DO want some non-reproductively oriented satisfaction.
Now, I'm not a feminist and I don't do feminist critiques of "mainstream" via "empowered" porn. A lot of feminists would chase me with torches made of vintage boned undergarments soaked in nail-polish remover for such arrogance.

Nonetheless, there was a tremendous renaissance in the exploration of sexuality, ethics and consequences - and it was disproportionately led by powerful women with powerful ideas about their "proper place." That "proper place" was not exclusively the missionary position - and they made it clear that they were throwing the catholic guilt and prodestant shame away with all male-designed undergarments and feminine hygene products. Furthermore they established the idea that women had the right to some basic consideration within the sexual dynamic. And orgasms. They made the word "orgasm" respectable - and expectable.

Now, this is a perfectly ordinary "webcam" site, and the nature of the technology is such that "coercing" people to play for pay is quite unnecessary; By the nature of the mechanism, it takes a lot more co-operation than your ordinary photo shoot with a lot less opportunity for coercion.

Oh, coercion may exist, but that's not within the power of the site, nor is it something record-keeping provisions will either prevent or allow anyone to easily detect.

LiveGirlBabe.com - Welcome to the World of Babes - Live Nude Video Chat:

18 U.S.C. Compliance

All persons who appear in any visual depiction contained in LiveGirlBabe web properties, including but not limited to LiveGirlBabe.com were/are eighteen years of age or older at the time of the creation of such depictions. The records required by Section 2257 of Title 18 of the United States Code and associated regulations with respect to visual depictions of actual sexually explicit conduct are kept by the custodian of records listed below. LiveGirlBabe hereby certifies to all subscribers, webmasters, distributors and other related commercial entities that the aforesaid materials are in full compliance with the requirements of 18 U.S.C. 2257 and associated regulations.

Producer Name: LiveGirlBabe.com
Custodian of Records Information: LiveGirlBabe

Drobnera #8

Wroclaw, Poland, 50-950


Now, you might well be tempted to shrug and question why this is significant. Well, there are many reasons why it's very significant, but of course, the most important one from a domestic perspective is this; it's a matter of serious concern when ANY multi-billion dollar industry pulls up stakes and goes offshore. All that lovely tax revenue goes with it.

As for compliance - well, it's hard to say what you would find at Drobnera #8. I imagine there would be very sincere seeming records, with photocopies of very sincere-looking identification cards. I doubt very, very much if local authorities would be willing to back up the FBI in verifying them, since validating the manifest insanity of a declining world power is not high on any cop's agenda, especially when they have real crimes to investigate.

And besides, there is an even darker and uglier truth. Eastern Europe is now a hotbed of human trafficing. So, again, on a least harm basis, to the extent that the police are trying to control the trade at all, they could probably care less about those who have legal businesses with voluntary models. And if they are NOT voluntary, there's not much reason to believe the records will lead anywhere useful. But watching the streams themselves might well lead investigators right to where real victims are.

Forensic video techniques can be quite impressive, and a photo or video stream is what is referred to in the law-enforcement industry as "evidence."

Anyway, like most Bush Administration initiatives, the "anti-porn" crusade made sense from a certain, narrow, privlidged and moralistic perspective - if you were completely ignorant of the realities of the industry, the people in it and the social implications of pornography, with the additional requirement that one very carefully not even think about the ethical and social implications of trying to crush an entire industry and destroy the livlihood of hundreds of thousands of people who are not heavily invested in the status quo ante the effort is intended to reinforce.

But the real reason - just like the earlier efforts against child porn - is not what is said on television or written in Reader's Digest. It's nice that some tragedies are prevented and some children rescued, but if that were the goal it would make sense for the penalties for the crimes involving human beings to be greater than those involving pixils and film - but in both cases, the target is not those who may be committing the crimes, but those publishing and exchanging the evidence of the crime.

Odd, that. Unless it's not an act, but an idea that is being targeted.

The idea that sexuality is innate to humanity, that it is not the manifestation of that most pernicious doctrine of "original sin" and that ignorance of one's own sexual nature and needs is a blessing of some sort is the idea under attack. Bluntly, it's the idea that human beings have many sexual identities and an even wider range of choices to make regarding them, and that there is more than one responsible choice; moreover, that for many people, heterosexual marriage is possibly the most irresponsible and injurious choice they could make.

Some people are not heterosexual, some are not monogamous, some are unfit for much human company at all. Some folks have overpowering sex drives, others have little to none; in all cases, trying to be what you are not in order to comply with "appearances" and social expectations can lead to great harm to oneself and to others. Indeed, sexual morality in the west is one of the most conspicuous examples of how a system of morality can evolve away from any consideration of ethical behavior, creating double binds and harmful situations by definition if it's rigidly followed and enforced.

This is especially true in cases where "moral" behavior is imposed on other people by force. Personally, I see no difference between being forced to be forced to be good and being forced to be bad. Either way, it's the force that is the evil, not what one is forced to do.

And if you are "being good" in public because that's what's expected and you fear the consequences of an especially "wide stance," - that's of no great spiritual benefit. Since you are only "being good" for the sake of appearences, it's not much of a guide for you when nobody is looking.

Just do an engine search for "Republican Pedophiles" and "Republican Sex Crimes" if you doubt me on that one.

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