If you’ve read Andi Guinness’s piece last week, you’d know it’s weird times for porn. Hell, if you’re any bit an internet user at all you’d know the same. Andi focused his article on what a 3DX content creator might do to survive the coming storm, of varying intensity though it seems to be, and thus gave people a bit of a practical guideline. This post is more meant to be an indepth look at what all this fuss over pornographic content might mean to the 3DX industry in the long term, and why it might be smarter to give 3DX free reigns.
Let’s do a quick recap: first came the UK, deciding that the celebration of human sexuality is a nasty, dirty thing, and that it must be monitored for the good of the people. ISPs are given freedom to censor sites as they please, and people themselves have to request access to porn like a son in puberty begging mommy and daddy to finally lift parental restrictions. Personal embarassment all around, and the government counted on it; people too shy to wield their freedom are effectively not free.
Thankfully, there were protests abound. Rational, normal folks came out as saying that they too enjoyed sex, and did not want their liberties infringed upon by backwards policymaking. Then, not long after, we hear that that the crowdfunding platform Patreon is not so sure about hosting pornographic content anymore. This news is then followed by the sudden announcement of the censoring of porn blogs in Google search results.
Now, many of these storms have mostly blown over. Google just came out to tell us that the end of porn blogs is in fact not nigh. If you were around for Yahoo’s take-over of Tumblr, then you might recall the uproar in its porn community over revised policies. Many feared that it would be the end of porn on Tumblr altogether, and now, two years down the line, nothing special seems to have happened. Patreon, too, managed to give us all a good scare. Then they clarified that they’re in fact allowing for a distiction between photographic pornography and pornographic art, the latter involving drawn/rendered imagery. Good news for 3DX.
Still, the 3DX community has a right to be upset about events, regardless of whether or not they’re ever fully carried through. After all, the way we feel about being included in a general porn ban is something akin to GTA players being targeted in a general ban against all crime-related footage on Youtube. True, the distinction between 3DX and videogames is simple in the fact that where the intent of 3DX is to generate genuine sexual arousal, the GTA series is not made to generate a genuine desire for murder and theft. Nevertheless, as far as porn goes we’re about as morally clear as it gets. We do not exploit people, we do not make them run personal health risks, and we do not rob them of their dignity by making them go further for a couple of bucks than they truly want.
Believe it or not, this side of the story is actually why I get these social media platforms when they’re looking to crack down on porn blogs. Yes, you could put it down to them just being prudes and adhering to an old, outdated morality. We could pretend that all we see in them is the same we see in Victorian-era UK lawmakers, and that there’s a level of hypocrisy to it to boot. But what if it’s not that simple?
Smack my bitch up
I used to run a porn blog on Tumblr, now long shut down, and I’ve seen some of the mean-spirited, downright hateful drivel that goes on there. It’s not all fun and horniness. I can take a lot, but when I stumble onto a long rant about how women are made to be spat on and exist only to obey the commands of men, how their bodies are meant to be used as toys for the sexual pleasure of their superiors, and how their intellect is wasted on them once they accept their true purpose in life, my stomach turns a bit. In the online bimbo culture, this very vitriolic element is a core feature. And any girl looking up Barbie on Google has the chance to run into it.
Now I realise full well that there’s a certain element of pretending to it, and that not everything you see online should be taken literally. Moreover, if this is a sexual power fantasy that consenting adults want to indulge in, they are welcome to do it in the privacy of their own home, especially when you consider that this very consent is what undermines the vigour with which some of these things are being said. Their own blogs are usually just extensions of their private lives, a way to add some fuel to the sexual fire with a bit of exhibitionism.
But that’s knowledge that comes from experience, and not everyone has that. The majority of people will simply take things at face value, and you can’t blame them. After all, some of those who subscribe to views as outlined above do actually, genuinely mean it, and how are you going to distinguish the sexual fetishists from the hateful mysoginists? I wouldn’t know.
You can’t blame Tumblr, Blogger, or any other blog hosting service for not wanting their platforms associated with these things. For them, it’s all about maintaining a respectful, perhaps even family-friendly image, and though many people harbour the fantasy of the world being slowly turned into some kind of vast, erotic paradise, we have to keep the mundane in mind. For businesses to be viable, they have to appeal to a broader audience than just sexual deviants.
So 3DX gets caught in the crossfire here, and I would say unjustly so. In the year that I’ve worked for A3D I’ve come to know this community as passionate and ambitious, as genuinely welcoming to newcomers, and being generally helpful and articulate. This is a community that believes, as I do, that sex is inherently a celebration of human nature and should be enjoyed in a positive atmosphere. Case in point: in a conversation I had with Miro about potentially expanding the G4E universe, he told me that the challenge was in creating erotica that didn’t rely on depravity to function. It’s a refreshing look on porn, and one that I can only support.
So what I ask of social media and blogging platforms is this: practice the same common sense that Patreon appears to be practicing. It is of course within their rights to crack down on what they feel is degenerate, but if they stifle the ability of 3DX to find an audience and reach a broader market, they might be counteracting a development in pornography that’s more in line with their goals than they might think. Think this industry through to conclusion for a second; what if all these render sets and short animations only serve to pave the way for a much larger, much grander sex industry free of the ills that plague conventional porn? Imagine a world in which each person has access any of their sexual fantasies without it coming at the cost of the provider’s integrity? If people, through advanced technology, could temporary be taken into a world where what they lust after affects no one but themselves?
In a world like that, porn would no longer have to piggyback on mainstream services. It’d be able to step out of the shadows as an industry, and everyone would stand to gain.