Protesting Porn Lovers and Parliament’s Perversion

Tomorrow at noon, protesters will gather outside Parliament to protest against the draconian anti-porn censorship law that came into effect on 1st December. Sephy Hallow believes such protests are vital.

You’ve probably heard by now about the face-sitting protest scheduled to take place outside of Parliament on Friday 12th December, where 500 people are due to simulate face-sitting in order to protest the draconic new porn UK porn laws. Personally, I’ve got to say that I love it: Charlotte Rose’s campaign has everything a good protest needs, including ruffling some disgruntled feathers to make its point. Some people, however, aren’t so keen; my favourite retort was a tweet that called the protesters “selfish porn sick cockwombles” for their participation. And whilst I love the flourish of her counter-protest language here, I have to say, it worries me that having the right to determine our own adult entertainment laws is somehow considered “selfish.”

Is it really selfish to demand the right to freedom of consensual adult expression? Is it selfish to say our sexual expression is a fundamental part of our humanity? Is it selfish to point out there are deeper underlying issues?

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People that complain about protest in this way – that assert a protest is too brash, too trashy, or too inconvenient – always strike me as people who fundamentally don’t understand the purpose of protest. A protest is not something you can undertake in private. It is a loud, proud public action designed to disturb and disrupt, to force attention towards issues that would otherwise go ignored. It has a long and varied history of causing inconvenience and making the masses uncomfortable, acting as a thorn in the side of public discourse until someone pays bloody attention. It isn’t, as some suggest, a form of tantrum; it is meaningful and planned, and as such both more sustainable and more worthy of our respect, or at the very least, our ears. In short, yes, we are trying to piss you off – but for a very good reason.

Because this isn’t about good spank-bank material. This is about legislation that creates a veil between on and off-camera activities, shrouding the illegal from public scrutiny, and forbidding certain consensual sex acts to be recorded, allowing for a climate in which public, consensual acts are shamed, and private, illegal acts are overlooked. This is about recognising what this illusion of a distinction between porn and sex does. This is about pushing back against a mentality that simultaneously slut-shames for face-sitting and female ejaculation, whilst having one of the lowest rape conviction rates in Europe. The protest might be considered crass. But the idea that our government thinks banning face-sitting in porn is a more effective method of protecting women from sexual harm than addressing the dismal statistics on rape reporting and conviction is absurd, and standing up for that idea – even by face-sitting – is something we should only commend.

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Because the anti-protesters are right: it is disgusting. It is shameful. It is vile. All of these adjectives are correct. It is disgusting that we have to protest. It is shameful that parliament passed ineffectual censorship laws, and played it as some kind of female liberation stance. And it is vile that this is the length we feel we have to go to in order to be heard – that we have to crowd around the offices of our representatives, and mimic the very act they have banned from being seen, just to make them listen.

For me, this isn’t just about censorship of consensual sexual expression, even though that is enough reason for me to get angry. For me, this is about a government so patronising, they believe they can placate women with a gesture – to say, “we are protecting you, through legislation which shames you.” Banning the publication of consensual sexual expression – and let’s be clear, much of this legislation has to do with banning female acts, regulating female bodies – sends a message. This is taboo, this is wrong, it cannot be seen – it is shameful.

That is what our government is dressing up as protection. And it’s not protection, it’s nothing like protection. It doesn’t stop men and women getting raped; it doesn’t improve communication, or provide protection for sex workers, or better our sex education. All it does is shame.

So let us take away the shame from the act of face-sitting. Let us make that point, and make it so damn clearly, they can’t misinterpret what we’re trying to say.

We’re not ashamed. We demand respect, and the protection of law. And we will sit on faces outside of Parliament until we get it.

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4 thoughts on “Protesting Porn Lovers and Parliament’s Perversion”

  1. What the anti porn brigade should take into account is this “Elements of porn are being banned now but what is next? Political descent?”
    Don’t think it couldn’t happen.

  2. A face sitting protest should be fun for everyone, I hope it helps.

    Maybe we can learn something about being more proactive from all this; there was hardly a murmur when David Cameron announced the following in July:
    “[…]

    And today I can announce we will be legislating so that videos streamed online in the UK are subject to the same rules as those sold in shops.

    Put simply – what you can’t get in a shop, you will no longer be able to get online.” See http://www.politics.co.uk/comment-analysis/2013/07/22/david-cameron-s-porn-speech-in-full

    It’s frustrating how the world works sometimes.

  3. As I was filming there yesterday I have o say Charlotte Rose done a good job in making it a nice blend of serious and a bi of humour at the end. The humour blatantly highlighted the sheer absurdity of the new legislation.

    Mores to the point, it was great that another organisation stepped up to the plate in making this happen. I’m sure there was close to 600 people there.

    I was there as myself and representing UKAP as was Zara DuRose but it would have been nicer to see a few more porn stars and producers turn up in support to lend some weight to the proceedings given this was about producers as well. Plenty of people whose lifestyles would be threatened were there but it shouldn’t be left down to them but speaking on behalf of those who weren’t there I thank the organisers and all who participated anyway.

    It was a highly productive day and t the naysayers who think this hasnt achieved anything should realise that the fact our presence was felt, our voices were heard and recorded and photographed in excess of about 60- 80 reporters, bloggers, journalists was a great achievement in itself

    Im hoping the video and pics on the day will carry the fight on for the next few months and get new support from those who thought this was an exercise in futility

    If I have just one complaint it would be that the “Sit on My Face” song wasnt sung with enough gusto as I had hoped

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