Hey, can I get your attention? Can I draw your ATTENTION to this issue?!!
By talking about something, do we also give it more attention? The answer is yes.
I recently provided Mic with two pieces of commentary — One on censoring produced images of rape and rough sex. Will said censorship help dismantle rape culture? (The answer is no — here) — and another on producing “porn for the blind.”
Regarding images of rape and rough sex, piracy-based tube site xHamster is censoring its related content in a stunt PR coup referred to as the “Brock Turner Rule.” (You can read about that here.) And re creating “porn for the blind,” I recently received a query from Mic reporter Nic DiDomizio regarding the following press release material, sent from another egregious piracy-based tube site.
Pornhub is set to launch a described video category featuring audio descriptions of the site’s top performing videos geared toward the visually impaired. In short – Pornhub is launching porn for the blind.
The inaugural collection of 50 enhanced-audio videos stems from the site’s top viewed straight, female-friendly, gay, bi and transsexual videos, and features voiceovers done by both professional voice actors as well as Pornhub Aria, Pornhubs’s social media personality.
This campaign is being championed by Pornhub’s philanthropic division Pornhub Cares, which has hosted several other initiatives in the past including “Pornhub Cares Scholarship,” “Save The Whales” and “Save The Boobs.”
This was what I had to say on the matter:
Honestly, I don’t really have anything productive to say about this information.
Based on the PR, they haven’t actually done anything. They’re just “set to launch” …which means once again they are fishing for media (like when they are gonna pay for college or have billboard in Times Square, etc etc) and we’re playing into their hand. Also, it says that they are essentially having voiceovers “reenact” their “top performing videos” — which means they are just repurposing content they’ve stolen, driving traffic and generating ad dollars — all under the auspices of *caring* — It’s total crap.
Audio porn — all the various forms of it — is rich and interesting and *actually* could serve sight impaired people, as well as a whole slew of others. This is just a pornhub stunt.
When replying to Nic, I knew he would use some of my statement in his article. That’s par for the course and perfectly understood. I wrestled with saying in my reply that my statement was not on the record — meaning, no, you can’t quote me. That would have been ok, too.
You can read my thoughts incorporated into Nic’s story here: “Pornhub Is Now Offering ‘Porn for the Blind,’ or Porn for Blind People” (6/15/16)
In the end, I didn’t expressly state “no quote” because I knew that Mic was going to run the story, regardless of my sentiments. PornHub would get the attention they were seeking, and once again stunt PR would win! And my time and thoughts were right there alongside it all, validating their scheme as a *thing to be thought about,* rather than the hot twisty manipulative garbage it is.
One of my favorite concepts in life is the idea of reifying. To reify means to give something enhanced power or “realness” by acknowledging it, both critically and/or positively. By commenting on the “Brock Turner Rule” and PornHub’s porn for the sight-impaired PR, I reified both — thus, I also reified both tube sites. The fact that they were worthy of commentary — even my critical commentary — makes them more powerful, real, and present in the public eye.
The only was to not reify something is to not engage it (and even then, you know about it and that counts for something) — and so I wrestled with this. I didn’t want to give these incidents more credence via attention, but ultimately I knew the stores would happen with or without me — so I wanted to get at least a moment of The Other Side in there.
But I still wonder: Am I then part of the problem? (The answer is yes.)
(pictured: Google for “Attention!”)
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Get Exposure: A Sociologist Explores Sex, Society, and Adult Entertainment on Amazon and CT.com