Thursday, March 10, 2016

Regulation not sexy

I’m not a prude. There are limits, however, to what I think is an appropriate use of sexual innuendo. Justice Potter Stewart described obscenity most directly: “I’ll know it when I see it.” That’s the great thing about America – the structure of the Constitution and the three branches of government are designed so that one person’s objection doesn’t immediately become the baseline for everybody else. That, however, is being chipped away – especially in California which is leading the way.

In 2012 Los Angeles voters approved Measure B which “requires the use of condoms in all vaginal and anal sex scenes in pornography productions filmed in Los Angeles County, California. The measure also requires porn production companies to obtain a health permit prior to production and to post the permit and a notice to performers regarding condom use during production.”

The main argument came from AIDS Healthcare Foundation which claimed that “"thousands of performers have been infected with thousands of STDs.” Opponents claimed that sex workers were actually healthier and safer than the general population due to their awareness of the issues, commitment to a healthy work environment and it was up to the producers and on-set personnel to make sure that everything is safe.

Vivid Entertainment – one of the largest producers of adult films (gay and non-gay) – immediately moved their operations outside of Los Angeles county – to other counties in California and also to Las Vegas. In the first year film permits for pornographic films went down 95% and caused a significant economic impact throughout the region with fewer support staff, crew, etc. being hired. The content didn't change. The films didn’t disappear. They just moved, infuriating backers of the measure.

A statewide measure was then introduced to mitigate companies moving (short or longer distances away) and to have a consistency state-wide. AB1576 also included a provision that criminalized violators – so that an adult film actor could be sent to jail for having sex without a condom. The law criminalized a law abiding act in a legal business because some don't like pornography and others who want to tell the experts how to run their company.

California’s Division of Occupational Safety & Health rejected the regulations recently (2/18/16). The opposition won saying: “For the consumer, there’s not going to be the fantasy, there’s not going to be the artistic vision and the expression of sexual freedom. It’s going to be hazmat suits.”

The damage has been done. Millions of dollars moved out of Los Angeles county and may be moving out of California. Perhaps the 'prudes' won this round, but has the lesson been learned? Nope.

California is poised to become the first state to regulate models. Yes, California - home of pretty people, movie stars and wannabe movie starts - is setting rules for models. Under the proposed regulation “modeling agencies would be licensed by the state and could be fined for hiring models who don’t have a doctor’s note saying they’re healthy.”

Sex workers should have a safe and healthy environment to work in. Models should have a safe and healthy environment to work in. So should office workers, athletes and really any type of employee. Unions exist to protect workers. Let them do their job. Government does not need to be dictating the appropriate weight of a model. What about plus size models? Will the government ban them as well as under-weight models?  Regulation isn’t sexy and government should be more prudish in trying to manage every business and every person's lifestyle.

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