Mums Make Porn – And Also Make A Dubious Sort Of Porn History

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The latest sensationalist tosh from Channel Four has been the headline-grabbing Mums Make Porn, the sort of series that seemingly exists as the broadcast version of clickbait. vacuous beyond the title, the reality shows features a collection of mothers who have decided to combat the one-dimensional, single body type, heteronormative and sexist porn that they have decided is the only type out there – this despite the fact that a cursory  look at just about any porn tube site will reveal that every conceivable form of sexual experience, sexual preference and body shape involving consenting adults is widely represented – by making their own porn movie – Woke Porn, perhaps. Admittedly, if you wanted to stop teenagers from watching porn, then I suspect right-on hardcore shot by their mums would do it more effectively than any porn block.

Fellow Reprobate David McGillivray has watched the finished film, a twelve-minute epic called Four Play, and reports that “it’s a noble effort – consent is uppermost, safe sex even includes a condom when one woman is licking another out. It’s not a huge turn-on because whoever has made the film has no artistic ability. Once the humping starts it’s a standard porno.”  

A piece in The Telegraph, of all places, is more scathing, calling the series “a kink-shaming insult to young women” and attacking both the regressive ideas about both the porn industry and ‘violent sex’ (that’s consensual BDSM to the rest of us) that the show trots out without challenge. And as the article points out, plenty of ‘mums’ (and, indeed, grandmothers, and fathers, grandfathers, and other people who are part of families) already make porn – but their input was not required, it seems.

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The most interesting things about the movie have little to do with the content. Rather, the film is responsible for a couple of dubious ‘firsts’. It’s almost certainly the first hardcore porn film to be distributed online by a mainstream broadcaster – the full, uncut movie is available for viewing through (though not actually on) All4, Channel 4’s on-demand site – clicking the link takes you to distributor Erika Lust’s specific site for this film. The promotion of an R18 rated film in this way would be unthinkable under most circumstances, but the other ‘first’ involved here is more significant. The film is the subject of a trial for age verification.

As we reported a few days ago, the launch of the government’s porn blockade, and the requirement for adult sites to install age verification software, has once again been delayed, in part because of fears over privacy when people prove their identity in order to access hardcore sites in the UK. But Four Play is protected by a system called AgeChecked, which has also been used by gambling sites, and has the option – alongside credit card and passport submission – of the use of mobile phone numbers to verify age. For the record, McGillivray used this method to verify his age and reports that it was straightforward and that he was assured that no records would be kept.

We might raise eyebrows at a porn site that is willing to be the guinea pig for government censorship – and a quick look at Erikalust.com reveals that her site, currently freely available without restriction and featuring hardcore images in video trailers, would immediately fall foul of the new rules. The porn block might be fait accompli, but helping it along still feels like collaboration. As we’ve said before, the porn industry is unfortunately awash with people more interested in short term publicity and one-upmanship than coordinated defence against their opponents.

Mums Make Porn might feel like throwaway entertainment – and it probably is. But it is also, effectively, another part of the demonisation of the sex industry – and that’s the entire sex industry, including the ‘body positive’ and ‘ethical’ porn producers, who will be just as affected by blocks and restrictions (and might not have the financial wherewithal to afford the price of blocks if they haven’t been paid for by ratings hungry mainstream broadcasters). Outside the ratings grabbing sensationalism of this series, the simple truth is that many companies will go out of business thanks to the rules Erika Lust is embracing.

DAVID FLINT

2 comments

  1. Setting up an AgeChecked account is certainly easy, but how does the possession of a cellphone confirm age? The e-mail address I chose was not the one known to my telephone services provider, so anyone could just borrow a ‘phone and set up an e-mail account. Trouble is, will this programme be used as “evidence” people are happy to navigate an 18+ filter?

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