Sj7g09's Blog

A London borough is proposing to stop licensing sex establishments (sex shops, sex cinemas and ‘sex entertainment venues’), and not provide relicensing to businesses that already exist in the area.

http://www.melonfarmers.co.uk/ssnews10d.htm#Moral_Expectations_6187

If you want to express your views on this, you can find an online survey on this page – http://www.hackney.gov.uk/3450.htm The consultation is open to anyone, until December 13th.

—————————————————————————————–

1. Do you have any objections to the following types of Sex Establishments?
Yes    No    Don’t know
Sex Cinemas
Sex Shops
Sexual Entertainment Venues i.e. lap and erotic dancing venues)

Please give reasons for your answers

I have no problems with any of these establishments because I don’t see that there is anything wrong with them – they sell sexual entertainment, and why should that form of leisure be discriminated against? Also, there’s the more important issue of the people involved in these businesses, who choose to work in sex establishments, and it should be their choice and opportunity to be employed here. Britain still has outdated morals to sex, particularly anything to do with commercial sex, and therefore there are so many measures in place that prevent people who do not want to be involved in these establishments from having to have anything to do with them. Sex shops and Sexual Entertainment venues tend to be plain (I dont know whether this is a legal requirement), to the point where it’s difficult to even ascertain whether these establishments are sexual at all. The only objections I can see that people would have are moral, which should never be included in policy making seeing as this is going to affect the real lives and careers of people and this cannot be done according to subjective ideas of morality; alternatively, misinformation based around ideas that all sex establishments are fronts for prostitution and trafficking, which ignores the diversity of the industry in favour of reactionary stereotyping creating stigma for those who work in these places; or simply that these sort of establishments are unsightly and send the wrong message, which means removing peoples’ businesses because some people object to them. Personally, I dont see why it should matter if people object to these establishments – some people object to McDonalds or Primark because they ‘lower the tone’ of places, but that doesnt mean that they shouldnt be allowed to operate, as people who don’t want to make use of the services aren’t forced to.

2. Do you agree with a Policy that the appropriate number of sex cinemas in each of its wards is nil?   Yes    No    Don’t know
Please give reasons for your answer.

I think that just reading the reasons for the ‘nil policy’ show why it isn’t appropriate, for any of the establishments.
“• Hackney’s strategic vision for the borough in 2018:
– an aspirational, working borough, a vibrant part of this world city, renowned for its innovative and creative economy; a place that values the diversity of its neighbourhoods, and makes the most of their links across the globe to enrich the economic and social life of everyone who lives in the borough”

Using ideas like this to try to force businesses out of the borough hardly gives credibility to it having an innovative creative economy, or valuing diversity, seeing as it’s seeking to destroy a part of its economy and choice for people to enrich their social lives by getting rid of something that symbolically disagrees with the image it is trying to produce.

3. Do you agree with a Policy that the appropriate number of sex shops in each of its wards is nil?   Yes     No    Don’t know
Please give reasons for your answer.

I see no difference between the licensing of sex cinemas, sex shops and sex cinemas, so please take the reasons for disagreement as applying to all of them.

The consultation says that it wants the borough to be
“a green, cosmopolitan part of London with safe, strong and cohesive communities, and a shared sense of fairness, citizenship and social responsibility.”

I’m unaware of how a policy of denying businesses and people the right to their livelihood creates a sense of fairness, citizenship or social responsibility, unless the people working in these establishments are considered to be less worthy of these goals than the rest of the community that the council are trying to impress. It’s possible that removing these businesses would create cohesion between the parts of the community that reject these establishments, but it can hardly be seen as fair to people being forced out of their businesses because what they sell doesn’t meet the standards of acceptability of people who have absolutely nothing to do with their work, and who don’t have to be in any way involved in it.

4. Do you agree with a Policy that the appropriate number of sexual entertainment venues (such as lap and erotic dancing venues)in each of its wards is nil?   Yes     No     Don’t know
Please give reasons for your answer.

Sexual Entertainment venues always seem to be challenged by some parts of communities under the guise that they will encourage prostitution or trafficking or sex crime, but there has been no evidence for this, and it is just a reactionary section of a community wanting to control what other people are allowed to do, for work or pleasure, and even when a club does open in a community and no harmful effects are seen, the stereotyping doesn’t disappear because people are so set in the idea that they are inherently negative. Just as a personal note, a lapdancing club opened in my hometown, and there was outrage from some of the community, but, had it not been for all of the petitioning and negative publicity surrounding it, most people would not have even known that it existed, or that it was any different to the regular nightclubs in the area.

5. Are there any other comments you wish to make about the Policy?

I can quite see that this policy will go through, because once there is any inkling towards sexually repressive legislation, it doesn’t matter if there was any evidence to support it or not. If there isn’t evidence, commission a study from someone who will give the right political message. I have no idea what the consultations will show in regard to this issue, but have the suspicion that there will be far many more people willing to say that they oppose sex establishments than people willing to say that they have no problem with them, perhaps because there is still so much stigma in regard to commercial sex, and sex in general in this country. My guess is that objectors will be listened to over people who are actually involved in the industry and have an investment in the issue.
The policy is restrictive and discriminatory, seeming not to recognise how hypocritical it is in wanting to remove a sector of business in order to help the economy and unemployment rates, forcing people out of their businesses in order to create fairness and citizenship, and creating strong community cohesion by vilifying a part of society that already has so much stigma attached to it (especially in regard to Sex Entertainment Venues and their workers).

8.  Are you:   Male   Female
9. Are you:
Are you:   Heterosexual
Bi-sexual
Gay man
Lesbian/gay woman
Not stated
10. Which option best describes your ethnic background?
Which option best describes your ethnic background?

White British
White Other
Black or Black British
Asian or Asian British
Chinese
Vietnamese
Mixed Background
Other (please tell us if you wish)

11. Do you consider yourself disabled?
Do you consider yourself disabled?   Yes  No
12. What is your religion?
What is your religion?   Christian
Jewish
Jewish (Orthodox)
Muslim
Hindu
Sikh
Atheist
Not Stated
Other (please tell us if you wish)

—————————————————————————————

Feels like there’s no real point filling it in when the document says:

Next steps

Once we have had your feedback we will use this to revise the draft and ask the Council to adopt the Policy formally on 26 January 2011.

So not like they’ve made up their mind already or anything. But still, can’t complain about it when it goes through unless you at least try to do something about it beforehand, if you’re aware that the policy is being consulted.

I just watched ‘A Serbian Film’, and feel compelled to write about it, despite it being nearly 2am. By pure luck, I ended up watching the uncut version, so seem to have watched it in its purest, most ‘vile’ form, although, to be honest, I had to look up whether I was watching the cut or uncut version, because I’m desensitised like that. I would’ve been surprised that the BBFC let so much sexual violence through though.

There was one scene that I’m considering writing about in the essay I’m meant to write for Visual Culture over the next month or so… It was nicely ambiguous, so has a lot of room for interpretation. Early on in the film, the main character grabs his wife’s hair, rips her clothes to expose her, then pushes her into the bed as he roughly fucks her, with her facial expressions looking ambiguous as to whether this is wanted or not. In the context of the rest of the film, it’s more clear that it’s not a rape scene, but obviously classification and cutting takes into account that a scene can be isolated and replayed, so it doesn’t necessarily have to be within the original narrative or context of the film. Anyway, I’m thinking of comparing this sort of ambiguity to the rape scene in Straw Dogs, maybe, if I ever get round to it.

But back to the actual film. It’s just generally very interesting. It’s a relatively slow-paced affair, but filmed in such a way that makes it gripping while it sets up the story. It’s a film that I genuinely enjoyed watching, because of the contrast between the pacing and the climactic scenes – it’s not all horror and suspense. It’s kind of difficult to talk about the parts of the film that aren’t ‘controversial’ for some reason, I suppose because they’re what stand out because of all the hype.

To me, none of the scenes are especially disgusting or disturbing, although I’m pretty desensitised to media and try to have a grounded view that none of it is real. The only thing that ever really gets me at all is copious amounts of blood, just because it makes me feel a little sick, but that’s a cheap trick.

I think probably the most interesting thing to me about the film is that it’s supposedly allegorical about Serbia, which is something that I’m not really going to talk about because I know nothing about Serbia, or that for non-Serbians, it’s about the brutal, demoralizing effects of pornography. Obviously because of my own views, I read it slightly differently, not as the anti-porn piece that some take it as, but instead as commentary on moral panics, and that people genuinely seem to think that the things that happen in ‘A Serbian Film’ happen. It’s back to the Snuff phenomena all over again! I find it immensely strange that people can realise that films are films, but when it’s a pornographic film, there must be some degree of reality to it. I thought that it was interesting that most of the ‘upsetting’, ‘disturbing’ scenes within A Serbian Film are presented as a film within a film, somehow giving them more credibility as a semblence of reality within a fantasy setting. The hyperreality of the internet seems to have created an environment in which people can’t distinguish between fantasy and reality, because filmings are low-quality and people don’t seem to expect that porn films will be acting – that everything expressed is genuine.

Anyway, a fantastic commentary on what I see as fictitious views of the pornography industry – the very worst fears of the general public, touching on all of the most taboo issues; incest, rape, snuff, necrophilia, and paedophilia. I thought that how the film dealt with some of the paedophilic themes was wonderfully artistic, but of course these have been cut out of the UK version – a projection of a young girl sucking a lollypop while a woman gives a blowjob to the main character, and the same girl putting her hand on the main character’s thigh as he refuses to fuck her. Too morally ambiguous and fraught with myths that children want abuse, it would seem.

(Image from ‘A Serbian Film’. Tell me this screenshot isn’t artistic/erotic…)

As I was watching it, I also couldnt help but think that isolating many of the scenes within the film would be a criminal offense under the Extreme Pornography Act. I wonder whether isolating a scene that’s sexually violent but not explicitly extremely violent would mean that it was illegal, or whether it could become illegal because of it’s original context in the film. For example, isolate the scene where a woman is shackled to a bed and fucked, before it becomes graphically violent, and could that still be extreme pornography, perhaps just because of the narrative in the original film, even if the violence isnt captured within the video clip that you possess? I often find that horror ends up filling the deficit within pornography, seeing as pornography really isnt as violent or degrading as is suggested. By criminalising extreme pornography, access to more moderate scenes is restricted, so material that is sexually violent but intended to be arousing isn’t allowed, meaning that imagery allowed within mainstream films, where violence can be gratuitous and sexual violence can be shown so long as it’s aversive, is substituted for erotic material. This is just going to be personal opinion, but that as someone into BDSM material, pornography doesn’t really offer the sort of fantasy narrative of film, and film doesnt offer the imagery of pornography. Obviously ‘A Serbian Film’ isn’t the sort of thing intended as wank-fodder, but it presents scenes that do border on being pornographic, as many horror films do (if ‘A Serbian Film’ can really be categorised as horror), showing something relatively tame in the beginning (although maybe other people wouldn’t classify a woman being punched to the floor, or a woman shackled to a bed as tame, but I do seeing as it’s so obviously acting), that only becomes non-erotic by how much it escalates to become graphically violent.

Don’t really see what all the fuss was about though. Nice to know that I was able to watch something that film critics said they found hard to watch though – I’m all for ultra-violent, extremely pornographic films becoming mainstream, and obviously am a niche in the market that needs more graphic films to be happy. A Serbian Film is certainly a commendable effort at not shying away from showing violence, sexuality and sexual violence though.

Edit: Reading other reviews of this film on blogs, I really feel like the minority. I dont understand how anyone can say “I dont believe in censorship, but… there are some things that just should never be shown on film”. I think A Serbian Film is a fantastic step forward to making sure that anything fictional can be shown. I feel slightly like I must have a better grip on reality than the other people I’m reading, seeing as they seem to be so disgusted by it. I find it partly funny and everso slightly worrying that people are reacting so strongly to it and seem to think it’s impossible to view it without cringing and wanting to turn it off. At least in my opinion, it’s really not that bad. I cringed a lot more when I watched Hostel, probably because there’s not all that much bloody violence in A Serbian Film – the bits it has are graphic, but they’re not constant. And as for the infamous baby rape in A Serbian Film, I have to wonder whether the people complaining about it saw the cut or uncut version. I have the suspicion that the cut version is actually going to make it more disturbing to people capable of being disturbed by this sort of thing, seeing as it takes out all the visuals to allow viewers to imagine what the characters are responding to, whereas in the original version, you see. And when I say ‘you see’, I mean that you see a very clearly prosthetic baby (thanks for clarifying that it indeed is prosthetic, BBFC, I was so totally worried that it was real!) held up against a man, thrusting slightly in the baby’s general direction. Maybe it’s just the sort of person I am, but personally I found the sight of the newborn child the most disgusting thing about it. Desensitisation isnt a bad thing, it really isnt.

Some photos of my final, finished exhibition piece, because I’ve left the unfinished pictures up too long.

Not especially good, but it’s something. I don’t feel painfully inadequate to other students at my school, but also know I’m not exactly setting the world on fire or anything. Just don’t want anyone to think that I think what I do is really amazing… I’m just interested in the issues and at least formulating ideas into visuals makes me think about them more.

On a side note, the exhibition was called ‘Pain’, which personally I find hilarious. Who comes up with these things…?

My exhibition piece for tomorrow in progress. Better than I expected, considering I found out that I have an exhibition tomorrow at 3.30 this afternoon, and so had to go into my studio afterhours to take everything down and paint the wall white in preparation, then start actually making the piece. Obviously it’s completely badly made – it’s all stuck together with sellotape, but it doesnt show too much. My excuse for being able to link it to everyone elses’ work in my studio is that it has some stuff directly on the wall, and other people are doing murals, and the bedframe looks like an extension of the wall, or something. Failing that I’ll have to paint on the wall, which I dont want to do because I like how clean it looks as it is – maybe that can be my point, it’s not similar to the murals, it’s dissimilar, with black letters stuck to clean white wall. Bleh, dont really care. Not marked on it, will probably only be up for a couple of days. Totally unimportant, just dont really want to look like a twat for doing something completely different to anyone else in my studio, but not quite sure how painting a mural of kitchen utensils would really be that useful to my work, and get the impression that while the things should link together in the room, they are still meant to be something to do with your own working practice.

 

Here are some pictures from my studio shortly before it was dismantled. After moving in a couple of weeks ago, they’ve now decided that we’re having an exhibition tomorrow (which we were told about today), and are using the studio spaces to do this, so have to move everything out.

Luckily enough, I had my crit earlier today, otherwise I would have been very very unhappy seeing as I wouldn’t have a studio space if it were next week.

My crit was utterly bizarre. I’ve kind of given up writing on this blog now, or at least have done for a while. I dont think that it can really be that interesting to read, and probably would be of no interest to people who know me, let alone people who don’t. But maybe I should try to write, even if it’s just for myself.

The crit was strange and terrible, but not really that terrible. I was really nervous and nearly had a panic attack while people were discussing my work. It was horrible. The comments seemed to be that the subject matter was ‘dark’, ‘disturbing’, ‘horrible’, which I always find strange because there’s obviously nothing inherently dark, disturbing or horrible about the sex industry, in my opinion, and that the only reason you’d think it was dark, disturbing or horrible from seeing my work is if you believe the things my propaganda says. People seemed to think that there wasn’t any subtlety, that it was blunt and bludgeoning, but I hope that that’s about the propaganda images, as that’s exactly how they’re intended. I got the impression that people didn’t really understand that the views expressed in the propaganda wasn’t what I actually thought, and there wasn’t really any challenge of the views expressed within them.

The lecturer leading the crit suggested that with images of women, money, handprints, toys, etc. that even without the text she would have understood that it related to the sex industry. I think that that’s perfectly true, but can’t help but think that because of the level of stereotyping about the sex industry that people would get to the issue of the sex industry from that sort of imagery but that most likely they would arrive at the exact sort of thoughts expressed in the text on the images, without necessarily realising that those are stereotypes and generalisations, not universal truth. Part of why I use the text is so that when people read it they might actually question it, seeing as if they’re thinking those things then see them written down, they might wonder why those sort of things spring to mind.

I can stand people  not liking the work, not thinking it’s subtle enough, or wanting to take away the text, but wanting me to not have worked on it at all is quite something else. There was someone who talked about having been told not to work on anything to do with any ‘issues’ by a staff member here, which I think proves that intelligence and academia is actively discouraged at this university. At foundation level she worked on the subject of human trafficking, but at degree level she’s told not to discuss female domesticity, because it’s too much work…

That one’s not so bad, because they were talking about their own experiences and not trying to tell me not to work on this, just saying that they’d been advised not to, but one girl makes my heart want to burst with rage. She said that maybe I could have got the point across with just 1 or 2 images, but I’d taken it too far. She said that she didn’t want to talk about it (so why did she start speaking infront of everyone?), because I’d used myself in the pictures, and she didn’t know whether I’d had personal experience or whether I was using myself as a prop, ‘for want of a better word.’ Then she talked about how I should be very careful, because lots of women have actually been through this, and, if she was one of them, then she’d tell me what for, trying to talk about something I didn’t understand or have personal experience of.

So, basically, offence. People pre-empting offence on the behalf of other people who havent seen my work, may never see my work, and may not even exist. The predominant theme throughout was that it’s reeeeeally hard to work on big issues like this, and that you need to research it really thoroughly (I research this obsessively), and should maybe find someone to talk to who’s actually been involved in this sort of thing, to get personal experience. As though talking to someone in the sex industry means that you’ll understand what it’s like and be able to make better work – it’s just lazy. It’s trying to prove that you’re not lazy, when actually you are and are just indulging in a bit of reaching out to and meeting undesirables. Aside from this, there’s the fact that this girl who said ‘exploited’ women would be offended was completely generalising. I even asked her whether she meant in regard to trafficking specifically, or the entire industry, and she said she meant it as a whole, which seems to mean that she thinks that any woman involved in the sex industry would react the same way to this.

I truly believe that people should be able to talk about and produce work on anything they want, whether they have personal experience on it or not. It annoys me when people create stereotypical art work based on buzzwords, but that doesnt mean that they shouldnt be allowed to do it by any means – they’re at least probably going to learn something from undertaking a project like that, even if they never bother to actually research it properly. This may seem a little conceited, but I think that my work comes across as stereotypical and cliched because it’s intended to come across that way – the propaganda was designed in order to show how shallow and simplistic those views are when they’re actually spelt out.

I’m not quite sure what could be offensive about my work other than it’s subject matter in general, seeing as it expresses so many viewpoints on the issue. Why is it suddenly considered offensive to have really strongly opinionated propaganda on sex work in an art studio when there are posters about sex work and trafficking out in public on the street, or commissioned by our government? Are they not offensive because it’s not expected that they’ll be thought about?

I don’t like doing one-up-manship, so didn’t rise to the baiting of only being able to work on this sort of thing if you have personal experience. The girl who really pissed me off for being generalising and patronising and condescending apologised to me afterwards, not for what she said, but for how she said it, although I wouldnt really say it’s an apology when you say sorry but then justify what you said. Apparently she was sorry that she bit my head off, but it was that she found out that my only experience of this was from the media, not personal experience, and that she actually does have personal experience in this sort of thing. Because I’m that sort of person, I obviously started trying to deduce exactly what sort of experience she has with this sort of thing, and I’d be willing to guess some sort of sexual abuse, but absolutely nothing to do with the commercial sex industry, although obviously I may be wrong. It’s just that when she was telling me my work might upset people who’d been through these things, she mentioned my supposed mentioning of rape in my work, which actually doesn’t come up at all. I kind of took it for granted at the time that my work explicitly and specifically had something about rape in it, but then later realised that’s not true at all, unless you’re going to argue that all sex work is rape, so I think it was just her projecting onto it.

Anyway, it was an interesting crit. Definitely worthwhile, if nerve-wrecking. At least I’m able to pretend that all the negative criticisms were because the work is meant to be obvious and bludgeoning. I still dont think that any restrictions should be put in place as to what you can and cannot work on, and that it shouldnt always always be a big competition of “well, this has happened to meeeee, so I can talk about it, and you all have to listen and believe me because I have personal experience!” It would be cathartic to play that game, but never mind. I want people to think that my work has integrity, but unfortunately by giving my work this, I’d lose any integrity that I had personally.

Posted on: November 21, 2010

Posted on: November 21, 2010


  • fred whitacre jr: they don,t have any sex invaled why are we so againce children being nude in pictures because of alll the sick fucking rapetist out there children
  • fred whitacre jr: she only 12 but it is not porn at all it is nude only only a sick person would want to fuck her not me but i will tell you the true she is a very hot
  • fred whitacre jr: i see noghting wrong just a nude girl no porn that would be wrong with a child but not worng with a grown up only nude pics of children is ok if no se