fingerprint

According to a recent NBC News story, a “California bill to force porn actors to get fingerprinted outrages the adult industry.”

Proposed Legislation Is a Terrible Idea

It seems to me that the proposed legislation is a terrible idea, for several reasons:

  1.  It conflates prostitution and porn starring. In Europe, prostitution is legal and regulated, to some extent. Maybe we should do that here. In Europe, legalization and regulation have brought about benefits such as a public interest in seeing that women get regular health checkups; the government tries to get pimps out of the picture; and physical abuse is not tolerated. Cathouses are allowed as an alternative to street work, and the women are safer. This has been fairly successful. But this is not at all the same thing as porn starring, which is regulated in very few places. To be sure, hooking and porn starring have penetrative sex with strangers in common. But the resemblance ends there. In prostitution, the client is the guy in front of you who is paying you to have sex with him. In porn starring, the client is a million miles away, sitting in his (or her, increasingly) living room, not paying anything. And you, as a porn star, couldn’t care less if the male actor in front of you gets off or not. The point is that porn stars and webcam stars have no need of licensing or regulation. No public interest is at stake here.
  2. The proposal is condescending. The concept that “We know better than you do what’s best for you” is troubling. There are industries that need regulation in the public interest, but porn is not one of them. The directors and actors can figure out on their own what is safe and permissible. They don’t need ex-industry nannies such as Amanda Gullesserian to proffer unwanted, unnecessary, and intrusive advice. Her statement that “If a person has a choice to be educated or not educated, they’re going to choose to not be educated because they’re lazy” just breathes condescension. Read: “You bitches are too lazy to find out what’s good for you. I’ll educate you with my version.” There is a long history of ex-porn stars turning on the industry and finding that it’s awful. She evidently is part of it.
  3. Very little that is pleasurable needs to be regulated. We don’t regulate how much you eat or drink. We don’t regulate how you get off sexually (except that it must not involve minors or animals, and it has to be fully consensual). We don’t regulate prostitution in Canada and you, as a young woman, are free to check it out if you think escorting (not streetwalking) might be your thing. (And a number of escorts do orgasm with their clients. “Just like a date,” some say jokingly.) Just as a matter of civil liberties, the state should butt out of the dungeon here.

Porn Sometimes Beats the Alternative

I am certainly not advocating porn starring as an alternative to a career as a neurosurgeon. There are more attractive means of earning a living than starring in porn, for sure. But if the alternative is working at a minimum-wage jobs, let’s think about this. Some women get out of the industry early because they discover that it’s not their thing. Others stay in the industry for decades because it is, after all, a fairly tight-knit community and people have a sense of belonging.

But not all the porn stars are uneducated; they don’t need busybodies to “educate” them. Some may well find that working in front of the camera a satisfying and remunerative way of life.

Nobody needs to be fingerprinted or licensed. There is no public good at risk here. The pleasures, on all sides, are all private.

Leave a Comment