Reading Time: 3 minutes I've been thinking. In doing the philpapers inspired Philosophy 101 series (found here and here, so far), touching on the questions asked in the largest ever survey of philosophers, i thought i would give some nice, basic factfiles explaining what some of the key philosophers have brought to the philosophical table. We hear so much about Aristotle, Plato, Hume and Descartes, but who the hell are they and what did they think (in a really short, easy-to digest manner)?
Reading Time: 3 minutes

In November 2016, the California Senate will be voting on a law to regulate condom use and STI test reporting in the adult/porn industry. Actors will be required to wear condoms at all times, and producers will be required to report certain information to the state. Third parties can also report, which is where it starts to get weird.

Photo from Pixabay by Meditations.
Photo from Pixabay by Meditations.

I’ve blogged before about why legislating sex work is problematic, stating that these sorts of laws basically put sex workers in the same category as other folks who historically have not been trusted with decisions about their own bodies and lives (children, prisoners, the impoverished).

Even more frustrating is how it’s pretty obvious that no one making the laws has actually taken into account the perspectives of the people they’d impact, and probably hasn’t talked to many producers or actors. This one Huffington Post blogger did, and came back with a wealth of information on how adult actors manage their risks (quite rationally, it turns out) and should be trusted to handle these issues themselves.

As Lux Alptraum puts it in her excellently-written article A Proposed Condom Law Could Help Stalkers Harass Porn Stars, Get Paid for It, the “condoms in porn” initiative in California could have devastating consequences for workers:

Though the initiative positions this section as a way of protecting performers against the harmful actions of producers and directors, the fact that many performers create and produce their own content—whether for their own website, a Clips4Sale store, or even just camming—means performers themselves could easily be at risk of being dragged into court and getting their legal information entered into the public record, all because they, personally, made the decision that a condom wasn’t the right choice for a scene.

Adding insult to injury is the fact that, should a whistleblower’s case prove successful, they’d personally be awarded 25 percent of any fines levied against the producer (with the other 75 percent paid to the state of California itself). Performers I’ve spoken with have outlined nightmare scenarios where aggressive stalkers might use this provision to gain all of their personal information, and then pocket some cash as a reward for their harassment.

Again, I’m not a frequent watcher of porn myself, but that doesn’t mean I believe the people working to produce it should be subject to unfair and potentially dangerous amount of scrutiny. This is yet another example of how stigma carries its own risks: in this case, stigma against sex workers is leading politicians to try to regulate them in ways that are unnecessary, and could add harm to their situation that wasn’t previously present.

I wonder how much of this scrutiny is due to the fear of porn becoming a public health crisis, as the GOP has made a fuss about in their platform (spoiler: porn is not a public health crisis). Except rather than the vaguely moralizing concerns that politicians have voiced, this is a concrete (though unjustified) fear about STIs, specifically HIV. Again, porn performers are very strict about regulating themselves and getting tested frequently – probably more frequently than the general population. So I refuse to believe that they’re the disease vectors that the political rhetoric makes them out to be.

I don’t live in California anymore (sad face), so I can’t vote on this measure, but I’d urge readers to share this blog post and other relevant links with California voters. Don’t fall back on lazy stereotypes and ill-informed political hype when making decisions that impact people’s safety.

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Jeana Jorgensen

FOXY FOLKORIST Studied folklore under Alan Dundes at the University of California, Berkeley, and went on to earn her PhD in folklore from Indiana University. She researches gender and sexuality in fairy...