Bud and Stripteases: What’s Happening to Porn

Okay, so a little bit of history before I get to my point.

Bread and Circuses is a term used to describe a kind of political idea that you can keep the masses happy with what you’re doing to them as long as you can distract them and give them something they want. It’s kinda like gaining a lot of good will by, instead of addressing issues that people have, you wave shiny things at them and give them something everyone could agree is a good idea. It was coined by the Roman poet Juvenal sometime in the first or second century and he was famous of being rather critical of Roman politics, in particular the practice of giving free wheat to Roman citizens and throwing circuses (basically really expensive parties that sometimes had chariot races and the like) to gain political power.

And that’s what I think is happening with porn.

Well, more specifically weed AND porn, but I’m gonna talk more about the porn part.

It wasn’t like I’d been thinking this for a while, either. I was talking with someone on Twitter about the recent news that Pornhub is looking to buy Tumblr. Seeing how Tumblr had a mass exodus recently due to them cracking down on anything deemed too pornographic and letting their algorithm run wild through their site I was kinda surprised that Pornhub would want to buy them. I mean, isn’t Pornhub also in danger from the recent increase in policing sex content on the internet?

Well…no, not really. Pornhub (which is owned by the Luxembourg-based tech company MindGeek) is buying up a LOT of distributors of porn and because it’s a large company, they have the money to basically get around a lot of things. Like the fact that it owns most of the “free” porn distribution, or that they can black list porn stars and almost starve them out becuse of their reach. For a more in-depth look at both of those problems, check out this great article here by Chronic Sex

Now, I don’t think they’re ever going to just outright ban porn. Any culture that tries to actively demonise or remove things like porn just makes people more interested and more clever in how to get it. (I mean, look at prohibition for example) What I do think will happen is that less and less people will be allowed to host and create porn. We’re already seeing a huge crackdown on “sexualized content” across most of the internet. SETSA/FOTSA is not only attacking the livelihood of sex workers, but it’s removing safe havens for speaking about sex. But then there’s Pornhub, which seems almost unphased by this change in the landscape.

It’s almost like being a huge company with money lets you circumvent consequences that others can’t, huh?

Kinda like how legalization of weed is getting more traction now that a particular demographic is finding ways to make large amounts of money off of it and everyone else who’s already been demonized for its use aren’t in a legal position to profit from it nearly as well.

From when I was growing up to now, there has been SO many more places to find porn that resonates with you. In just the last year, I’ve gotten to review a good amount of Crash Pad Series and I cannot describe how seeing porn made by and for queer people has been a boon to my life. I’ve followed and talked with sex workers that have made my feelings on sex more understandable. It’s given me a framework to really think about what I want out of my sex life and from my partners.

And the last thing I want to see is all that being stripped away some some guys in a tower can make all the money.

Because I know what that looks like. It looks like the shitty porn that has nothing but athletic white guys doing the same kinds of porn that everyone is ‘told’ is good. It’s only seeing minorities or queer people as some kinda fetish rather than real people. It’s coloring porn as stuff for white men, produced by white men, and distributed so that most of the money goes to the rich white men at the top because that’s the people who will control the entire conversation. And I’m not the only one that’s noticed that. I just hope that I’m wrong, or that people continue fighting against this sort of thing.

Because if only the wealthy get to control what kind of porn is seen, it sure as shit isn’t going to be making it for me.

*Edit: It’s been brought to my attention that MindGeek and Pornhub are not based in Canada, but have offices in Canada, the U.S., the U.K, Cyprus and Romania and I have updated the article to reflect that.

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