There are some things that we as adults don’t actively think about. Consent, cyberbullying and how we use social media are topics that we need to have a serious discussion on because they can have serious consequences. 

When you think of the word consent, you think it should be straightforward. Sex and consent have been very hot topics in the media recently, and now more than ever are we seeing that for some people, it’s not so simple. Why not? Where do the lines become murky?

As for cyberbullying, how many people even take it as a serious subject. Many adults dismiss cyberbullying as something kids and teenagers do, something you learn about in school.

With the rise of social media, people are able to express themselves louder and clearer than before. But there’s still a strange sense of disengagement, to the point that some don’t realise there can be serious consequences for their actions.

So it’s time we had a real, hard look at these issues.

Racism and Interracial

Recently, I have been involved in a lot of discussions online about racism in porn. It has been a widely debated topic, with performers and audiences of all kinds chiming in. The question is this if a performer doesn’t work with a person of colour, and most examples actually refer to black guys specifically, are they a racist?

So there’s the question. Is it racist for someone to refuse to have sex with someone else purely because of the colour of their skin? For most, the answer is a simple “Yes, of course, that is racist.”

Now we move onto the part where we call people out for it. Should we call people out for racism? Again, the simple answer is “Yes, of course, you should call people out for being racists.”

Does that mean that every porn performer should at some point work with a person of colour? Because if they don’t, they’re a racist?  Or to take it one step further, should they work with one person from each race just to be safe?

Of course, there are many reasons why a performer might not want to work with someone. It could be they are not attracted to that person. Something I see is that a lot of people assume a performer is racist simply because they have never worked a person of colour before.

From personal experience, I was slammed by an Asian community for never having filmed with an Asian man. Even after explaining that I’ve only ever worked with a single guy who just happened to be white I still had the same racial accusations.


Homophobia and crossover performers

What’s a crossover performer? Most it refers to a performer that has worked in both straight porn and gay porn. Often it refers to male performers, as nearly all female performers do girl/girl scenes.

An issue that was brought up very recently is whether or not someone is homophobic if they do not want to do a straight porn scene with a crossover performer.

Performers who have been vocal against working with crossover performers often imply it’s due to the higher health risks. Many claim that the testing protocols between gay scenes and straight scenes are different, whilst others argue that if a guy wants to do a straight scene he has to go through the same testing as anyone else doing that scene.

That being said, there is a higher chance of STDs – especially in the case of HIV. The CDC ( Centers for Disease Control) reported in 2014 that a male performer who tested negative for HIV one month went on to sleep with 17 others before his next test which showed he was HIV positive. Of the 17 people he slept with in that time frame, tests show he transmitted the virus to 2 others, one of whom was another male performer.

But what about consent?

In both of the above cases, there is one overarching question. What about consent?

At the end of the day, no one should have sex with someone they do not want to. If they say no, that is their choice.

“But no one is forcing them!” – I’ve heard this argument a lot recently in these discussions. No, no one is forcing them to have sex with anyone. But they are berating them online. They are shaming them for their choice. All of this leads to peer pressure.

What if, because of the attitude and abuse some of these performers have received publically for their choice, a future performer things “I have to do a scene with this person. If I don’t I’ll be called a so-and-so!”. Peer pressure and public shaming contribute to the consent problem.

A solution?

When it comes to this issue, I think there is a very simple solution.

If a performer does not want to work with someone, then that’s ok. They don’t work with that person. They have chosen to not work with that person, for whatever reason, and we do not berate them for their choice.

Now the job goes to someone else. Someone who does want to do that scene, whether it involves interracial or crossover. Sure, there are some performers who don’t do those scenes, but there are lots of performers who will do those scenes. So give those scenes to them.

Everybody wins. The original performer does not feel pressured to do something they don’t want to. The replacement performer gets a scene they enjoy and get paid for it. The company get to make the scene they want.

The original performer might end up getting fewer scenes (and therefore less money) but that’s a consequence of their choices. In this way, it’s like any job. You can choose to work with someone, or you don’t get the job. Porn performers are like independent freelancers and they can pick which scenes they want to do and which they don’.t

What shouldn’t be a consequence of that action is to be witch-hunted on social media.

Cyberbullying is a real thing

Many people think of cyberbullying as something only kids and teenagers do. In the age of the internet and social media, we all very aware of people we call “trolls”. Abusive language is hurled around casually on a daily basis. No one takes that stuff seriously.

Or do they? It’s very easy to be detached from our actions online. Typing an insult to someone online is a lot easier than to say the same thing directly to someone in person. You can say something, step away from your computer or phone, and never have to think about it again.

Does that make it ok? Does the fact it’s so common make it ok? What if lots of others online rallied behind us and share the same, abusive sentiments?

Tweet by Jaxton Wheeler Tweet by Jaxton Wheeler2To say you don’t “mean it” when you throw abuse at someone is not a good enough excuse. To say no one “means it” is not a good enough explanation. An offhanded comment we make in the heat of a social media fire might feel like nothing when you write it, might just flow out naturally. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have consequences. Serious ones.

The issue here is that no one really considers their actions and words as cyberbullying. They don’t realise that when they jump on a hate bandwagon that they might be doing real damage. They might consider themselves people who would never want to hurt another person whilst typing hurtful things at another person.

The consequences

We need to all think about our actions more. We all need to take a good hard look at how we interact with others online. How our actions have consequences.

What spurred this article is the extremely tragic passing of pornstar August Ames. A performer who was attacked on social media for her choice to turn down a scene with a crossover performer.

We can debate whether or not turning the job down for those reasons count as homophobic or not. But before you come up with an answer, ask yourself this – did she deserve the amount of hate and abuse that was thrown her way for turning down that job?

But we also need to be smart about these things. You can say to yourself “well I didn’t say anything directly abusive towards this person.” but if you’re someone with influence in social media, you have to be aware that your “non-abusive” voice can motivate others to be abusive, and send an angry internet witch hunt after someone. With great social media power, comes great social responsibility.